It feels like ages since I last reviewed a really dramatic drama so I figured it was about time I gave it another go. At first I had no idea which drama to choose but I’ve had several friends talking about Mask and had another recommend I review it so I decided to give this one a chance and… Whew! I’m so glad I did! These first two episodes have me hooked so… Are you ready to join me in a new review? I hope so because there’s much to discuss and I don’t really want to sit here talking to myself. (I’m not the best conversationalist.)
Where many dramas take the first two episodes to slowly introduce you to the main characters and gently ease you into the story, Mask takes a totally different approach, throwing you right into the thick of things right off the bat. I don’t think I’ve been so quickly caught up in a story since Doctor Stranger first aired and I’m perfectly okay with the way Mask has captured my attention. Both the story and the characters are so very intriguing, I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen to them any more than I can help wondering where this story is going to lead. There’s so much potential here for things to go either epicly right or insanely wrong and I love that I’ve been left wondering which path this drama is going to take.
With a hero who seems to teeter on the verge of insanity and a heroine whose life is no longer her own, there’s enough between these two alone to drive this story to some very interesting places. Choi Min Woo (Joo Ji Hoon) is one very troubled soul. In the public’s eye, he tries his hardest to be a calm, cool and collected individual, one worthy of being the heir to an incredibly successful company and an apparently massive fortune. On the inside, Choi Min Woo is an absolute mess. Suffering from a whole slew of problems, ranging from mysophobia to straight up hallucinations to (quite possibly) fits of murderous rage, Choi Min Woo is a complex character, to say the least. Having watched his mother die in an attempt to save him as a child, it’s not hard to see why Min Woo is as messed up as he is but I do have some questions regarding this incident in his past, the biggest one being, why were he and his mother out in the forest that day? Who were they running from? What were they trying to escape? It’s obvious they were being pursued, but by whom and why? I’m sure these questions will be answered all in due time but I’m not feeling particularly patient at the moment. I want my questions answered now! (Okay, I’ll stop being a petulant child. If I have to.)
While it may be easy to chalk all of Min Woo’s ailments up to this one traumatic moment in his childhood, I think the real issues at hand run much deeper. Min Woo is the son of his father’s mistress and as such, you can pretty much bet his childhood wasn’t a happy one. Song Seol Hee (Park Joon Geum) seems to be the epitome of the bitter wife and you can bet your sweet bippy she’s made it her mission in life to torment Min Woo in every subtle way that she can. Because let’s face it, if you’re the wife of a gazillionaire, you’re going to be a miserable, bitter, old woman whose only pleasure in life is found in wine and tormenting your husband’s illegitimate children. It’s just one of those Dramaverse laws and Song Seol Hee seems to take on this role with a very sick sense of pleasure. She’s incredibly patronizing and almost sickeningly sweet but at the same time she never fails to throw those little jabs in at just the right moment and… Ugh! Is it too early to say I hate her?
The problem is, the rest of this twisted family isn’t much better. It seems that every single member of Min Woo’s family is out to get him. His father, Choi Doo Hyun (Jun Gook Hwan), is doing what rich, horrible father’s in dramas do. He’s blaming his son for his mental illness, seeing him as weak and incapable, while at the same time putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on him to pull his act together, put on a good face in front of the company board, and prove to the world that he is the worthy and rightful heir to the family fortune. To be honest, guys like Choi Doo Hyun make me sick. They have no real love for their children, they simply see them as pawns to be used in their sick game of business and fortune and I hate that more than anything. Perhaps if Doo Hyun took a real interest in his family and their well-being, he wouldn’t have an alcoholic daughter (Yoo In Young), a cold-hearted, power-hungry monster of a son-in-law and a mentally unstable son. Then again, if Doo Hyun actually cared about his family, he wouldn’t have had a mistress in the first place and we wouldn’t have Min Woo so I guess I can’t be too hard on the guy. Still, Choi Doo Hyun is on my list of awful people, as is the rest of Min Woo’s family and his winner of a fiance, Byeon Ji Sook (Park Soo Ae). (And yeah, that was said in complete sarcasm.)
The best thing I can say about Byeon Ji Sook is that she’s not destined to be long on this Earth. I know, that’s probably a bit harsh but c’mon! This woman was marrying Min Woo for his position and power and it wasn’t even because her family wanted to gain something from the match. Nope, it was because the man she “loves” was pushing her into the marriage. Why? Because Min Seok Hoon (Yun Jung Hoon) is the most evil, conniving, twisted individual ever and his whole goal in pushing this marriage was to control Min Woo via Ji Sook. (Now how’s that for love?) The problem with this plan, obviously, is Ji Sook’s drowning. I’m pretty sure Seok Hoon wasn’t planning on his mistress drowning at the hands of Min Woo. Though (pardon the rabbit trail here) does anyone else have a hard time believing Min Woo is actually a murderer? I feel like he’s more of a victim than a criminal. Perhaps his family is setting him up, making him believe he’s the culprit when in reality, they’re the ones to blame? Just a question I had to throw out there, I’ll go back to Min Seok Hoon’s evil plans now…
While Ji Sook’s imminent death has put a damper on Seok Hoon’s plans, it doesn’t take him long to find Seo Eun Ha and it takes even less time for him to convince her to join him in his plot to take over the world. (Okay, not the world, just the Choi Family fortune.) Poor Eun Ha is a tragic victim of circumstance. As the daughter of a down-and-out family who’s recently found themselves on the bad side of a loan shark, she’s destined to become a victim of the loan shark’s malice and we all knew it was only a matter of time before the sharks came after her. I find it sad that out of her family, she’s the only one that seems to have any sort of sense. If her father, Byeon Dae Sung (Jung Dong Hwan) had any sense, he wouldn’t have gotten involved with the loan shark in the first place, nor would he have tried to commit suicide in a desperate attempt to save his family from the shark’s relentless pursuit. If her mother, Kang Ok Soon (Yang Mi Kyung) had any sense, she would have done everything in her power to keep her husband from going to the sharks in the first place. And if her brother, Byeon Ji Hyeok (Hoya), had any sense, he wouldn’t even consider bank robbery a viable solution to the family problems. Seriously! What is this family thinking!?! At the same time, desperate times do call for desperate measures, which is why Eun Ha finds herself agreeing to Seok Hoon’s madness. Taking on the role of a dead heiress isn’t going to be easy, nor is putting her family through the pain of her death, but I think Eun Ha is up to the challenge and she may even come to find that this new role has its advantages. And no, I’m not thinking in terms of money here, I’m thinking in terms of companionship, friendship and maybe even love. We all know Min Woo needs to be loved more than anything and I think Eun Ha is the perfect candidate for the job. I have a feeling she’s going to be able to bring him healing in ways that fishy shrink never could.
So tell me, what did you think of these first two episodes of Mask? Did they hook you as quickly as they hooked me? Are you as interested in this twisted world of money, power and crazy people as I am? Do you think Min Woo has any hope of overcoming his past and his illnesses? Will Eun Ha be able to survive in this new cutthroat world she’s about to enter? Will she and Min Woo find a way to come together in the face of so much adversity? Do you think Eun Ha will really be able to leave her family behind for good? Will Seok Hoon be able to control Eun Ha like he would have controlled Ji Sook? Do you have any predictions you’d like to make or is it still too early for that? You know I always love hearing from you so be sure to let me know what you’re thinking by leaving me a comment below!