For once I got to see a melodrama with a rich family cast not going all war with excessive evil plots to claim the rein of a company, but doing it within the members as what I perceived the rich and famous should have done in reality. “Mask” having dysfunctional characters will entice you by how much it deconstructed the main leads’ motivations, frailties and hair-pulling moments on what they are willing to give because of greed, vengeance and sacrificial love.
Swerving from the musty weep fest trademark of melodrama, “Mask” raised its fight club banner through lies, devious plots, and ruthless counter attacks for reasons of being blindly in love and the thirst to achieve a payback.
The story evolved around a family who accepted a new daughter-in-law (Byun Ji Sook) to strengthen their wealth with her government connection through her politician father not knowing that she was hired by the son-in-law (Min Seok Hoon) when his ex-lover, (Seo Eun Ha) died in an accident. In a freak coincidence Ji Sook happened to be a doppelganger of Eun Ha whose fate was the exact opposite of the latter’s grandiose elite life. Seok Hoon offered Ji Sook to play on the con to marry Min Woo and guided her intently on her cover. But soon enough she developed pure feelings toward Min Woo and worked on reversing her life that has been mostly controlled by other people and her misfortunes.
We have a solid cast who rose up to the occasion and gave meaningful portrayals to the very best of the wicked side and better versions of their characters. What drew me most about “Mask” is the impeccable showing of the four main leads linked by painful love, betrayal and blood ties. The supporting leads’ love story though not hitting a poignant and meaningful commitment in the end was messy and created a lingering impact of that definitive question on how much can someone go in the name of love. I like how Ji Sook transitioned her image from a total push-over to a woman who knows her worth. Her character as a focal point of the story pushed the problem in a coherent challenge where the surrounding people balanced out the struggle between the good and the evil.
I enjoyed the theatrics and the melodrama clichés because “Mask” in its entirety was not sporadically sketched and was focused to the penultimate closure. I like it when dramas are overbearing because there’s an established premise to support it, and that was the case for “Mask”. I got affected on the heavy scenes, but they did not overwhelm me with exhausting episode weep runs.
If you want a serious kdrama watch, then this will fill your craving. The romance, the intrigue, the annoyance, the power plays were well-conceived and executed leaving a sense of fulfilment if you will sit on it for a binge. I even prepared myself with some tissue rolls for the tear party because it was Su Ae and Joo Ji Hoon, but I was put at the edge of my seat because I was cheering earnestly for Ji Sook and how she found her niche and defied her old self to emancipate herself in the villain’s grip and be with the man she loved without secrets and lies.