- Information: South Korea • TV Drama • 2015 • 20 episodes
- Original Title: 가면
- Starring: Soo-Ae, Ju Ji-Hoon, Yu In-Young, Yeon Jeong-Hun
- My Rating:
I just finished watching Mask. Luckily for me, I caught it when the show was nearing the end of its broadcast in Korea so I was able to watch it all the way through with no down time in between. What are my thoughts on this drama? Read on for my Korean drama review for Mask.
Byun Ji-Sook’s family is constantly being hounded by loan sharks because of her father’s debt. After bumping into Seo Eun-Ha, the daughter of a congressman and fiancée of the heir to SJ Group who happens to look exactly like Ji-Sook, at the department store, Ji-Sook’s fate begins to change. One day, Eun-Ha mysteriously drowns in (her fiancé) Choi Min-Woo’s pool and Ji-Sook is blackmailed by Min-Woo’s brother-in-law to become Eun-Ha’s replacement. Ji-Sook agrees in order to pay off her family’s debt and marries Min-Woo under the guise of Eun-Ha. But she realizes she has stepped into a fight for power and money within the wealthy household and can no longer turn back nor take off her mask.
- Good chemistry between the main couple
- Funny and cute moments between the main couple
- Realistic development on the romantic relationship
- Overly dramatic and crazy
- Characters become dumber/smarter depending on the situation
Mask is a melodrama, a crazy one. We’re made to sympathize with the main character, Ji-Sook, whose family is poor and in debt. She goes through some desperate measures in order to get some money to help out her family. Purely by coincidence, she looks exactly like the congressman’s daughter and it just so happens that his daughter mysteriously drowns in a pool and Ji-Sook is secretly blackmailed to replace her. All for money and hopefully a better life, she agrees and walks into the rich house to live with the crazies. They’re so crazy that we just cannot sympathize with them; we’re automatically on Ji-Sook’s side from day one. I guess that’s a good starting point for a story. At times it felt very over-the-top; I was thinking to myself how every single rich person in this drama is crazy and evil. To give you an idea, here’s an outline of her new in-laws.
Husband – Choi Min-Woo: Played by Ju Ji-Hoon, this rich son is the heir to a large corporation known as SJ Group. After a traumatic childhood experience when his mom drowned trying to save him, he has a fear of water and swimming and often gets hallucinations of a dead woman in the pool. He also has OCD and hates touching anything dirty, including other people, nor does he like to be touched. And finally, he has a very short temper. This guy has issues.
Father-in-Law: The wealthy chairman of SJ Group who built his company from the ground up. He is mainly focused on his company and profits and neglects his family. Much of the schemes and problems that exist in his family is oblivious to him. He’s very strict on his children. I don’t remember seeing this character smile for joy in this drama at all.
Mother-in-Law: The selfish mother-in-law is the chairman’s second wife (I think). She is after power and money and wants the best for her daughter. When she doesn’t get what she wants, she yells and whines.
Troubled Sister-in-Law – Choi Mi-Yeon: Played by the talented Yu In-Young, Mi-Yeon is hopelessly in love with her husband who doesn’t love her back. Despite this, she continues to love him and will do anything for him even if his love for her is fake. She hates Eun-Ha because her husband was in a relationship with her. She also doesn’t smile throughout most of the drama; can you imagine the amount of stress this character has built up inside her all waiting to explode?
Manipulative Brother-in-Law – Min Seok-Hoon: The crazy guy who blackmailed Ji-Sook. He is seeking revenge, money and power and he’s willing to do anything for it. Manipulation, betrayal, and even murder. That applies to his wife, too, which he has the most control over.
Mask is entertaining in that you never know what will happen next because it all seems so hopeless for Ji-Sook. She cannot take off her mask and is surrounded by enemies, there’s nobody who can help her, pretty much everyone hates her including her husband, she doesn’t have any friends because her old life no longer exists. Besides the crazy people, there are more outrageous plots that will have your jaw hanging in disbelief. Characters randomly become dumber or smarter depending on the situation is not uncommon in this drama. But just accept it and watch it for entertainment’s sake.
A high point of this drama was the development of Min-Woo and Ji-Sook’s relationship. In the beginning, they were nothing more than business partners striking a deal via arranged marriage but eventually, things began to change and it was so evident in how they acted and behaved around each other. They were both curious about each other’s whereabouts and worried about each other but also wanted to show some pride so of course, they denied their feelings at first and made excuses — it was actually cute to watch them develop into a couple. I really like how Korean dramas develop their romantic plot lines because it’s pretty realistic.
On the bad side, I feel that the main villain, Seok-Hoon, is the least developed character in this series. He’s basically the one-dimensional villain without much motivation for his evil ways. Yes, it was explained eventually why he’s doing what he’s doing but it was not developed in full so I don’t feel sympathy for him nor do I feel sorry for him. But even without a good villain, what’s entertaining about this drama was seeing how Ji-Sook would get out of this mess and how her relationship will end up.
While Soo-Ae’s acting as Ji-Sook was kind of blunt and uninteresting (attributed to her character), there were many heartfelt moments in the series in which her acting shined. Everyone’s acting was very good in this drama, especially the evil characters.
All in all, if you are in search of an entertaining show with lots of tension and don’t mind an over-the-top storyline, try Mask.
More Information: AsianWiki
This article is purely of my own thoughts and opinions. Your opinions may differ. Any offense caused by my rants and ramblings is unintentional. Thank you for understanding.