Because Prince Seon and his allies were completely incompetent at trying to solve the poison issue on their own, Hwa-goon's dad pops out of nowhere and just gives them the formula for the antidote on one condition. It should come as little surprise that even in his final dramatic victorious moment, Prince Seon manages to find a way to screw things up in this regard. No matter how simple the task, Prince Seon is just not up to the job.
Hilariously, even other characters have zero faith in Prince Seon, as the legions of Dae-mok's poison victims straight up refuse to try Prince Seon's antidote. Why? Because it will probably kill them since Prince Seon can't do anything right. What's especially ridiculous is that there's good precedent for this. Recall how the whole reason the other Seon turned against Prince Seon was because the last time Prince Seon procured an antidote it just turned out to be an even worse poison.
Neither Prince Seon nor the other Seon ever expressed any interest in finding out who switched the last antidote with a poison. Even Ga-eun, who surely should have heard both sides of that story, never bothered to investigate that contradiction. So of course that particular hole in the plot comes back to bite everyone in the butt by the end, as a character whose motivation was never explained decides to act suicidal out of sheer stupid spite.
I'm probably making the last episodes of "Ruler: Master of the Mask" sound more entertaining than they really were. In between these scenes of grotesque character stupidity we just gets lots of endless conversations about nothing, where characters express guilt but never stop to ask themselves what they could have or should have done differently. Prince Seon and Ga-eun separate again, just so that they can get together again, and I can't for the life of me figure out why.
Remember way back in the first episode, when it seemed like "Ruler: Master of the Mask" was going to be a political thriller centered around Dae-mok's criminal gang price gouging for water? We actually get a call back to that here, when the opening of a new well is treated as this great moment of heroic victory, even though water rights had not been discussed this entire time. It's a wonder Dae-mok never poisoned the water supply come to think of it. Why else would he need so much poison anyway? Oh. Right.
Review by William Schwartz
"Ruler: Master of the Mask" is directed by Noh Do-cheol & Park Won-gook, written by Jeong Hae-ri & Park Hye-jin-II, and features Yoo Seung-ho, Kim So-hyun, L, Yoon So-hee, Heo Joon-ho and Park Chul-min.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 39-40 Final"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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