[K-DRAMA] Mask (2015)

warning: may contain spoilers

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When one meets her doppelgänger, who will die first?

Plot:

Byun Ji Sook came from an ordinary family who’s chased by loan sharks because of her father’s debts. Her doppelgänger Seo Eun Ha came from a wealthy family and is the fiancee of Choi Min Woo. It was a marriage arranged by their parents as it will be beneficial for their businesses. Although Min Woo is the illegitimate son, he was presumed to be the heir and will take over SJ Group. He lives with his father, stepmother, half-sister Mi Yeon and her husband Min Seok Hoon. No one knew that Seok Hoon is having an affair with Eun Ha and he made plans with her that Min Woo should not become the heir, but his wife should become the heiress so that he and Eun Ha could share his wife’s money. One day, Eun Ha and Min Woo had a meal by the pool at Min Woo’s house, but she drowned in the pool. She was taken to the hospital but fell into coma. It was a mystery as to how she died. Seok Hoon will not let this ruin his plans, so he asked Ji Sook to pretend to be Eun Ha since they were doppelgängers. Initially Ji Sook declined, but due to loan sharks chasing her and her family, and her life was on the verge of death, she had no choice but to accept the offer. Ji Sook took the identity of Seo Eun Ha and married Choi Min Woo. The two started living together, but Seok Hoon always look out for Ji Sook’s every move. She still had to follow his commands or else her family will be put into danger. Will Min Woo eventually find out her wife’s real identity? Can Ji Sook be free from Seok Hoon’s threats? And can Seok Hoon succeed in his plans?

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Opinions:

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I actually watched this drama for Soo Ae. I became a fan of her ever since I watched her in Queen of Ambition, so upon hearing that she will portray dual roles in this drama, I became so excited. Plus it’s a melodrama, so it must actually be good. When I first read about the drama, I thought that she will portray two roles, one good and one bad. It wasn’t actually like that though. At the first episode, it was confusing as I don’t know who’s who, but the succeeding episodes finally made sense. Also during the first few episodes, they were obviously trying to make it funny by adding some funny lines with the maid and the butler, which I found corny. I’m glad that they toned it down during the latter parts. One of the few things that I didn’t liked about the drama was the constant coincidences and absurd situations and decisions. I didn’t quite understand how Seok Hoon had so many time on his hands to be able to follow Ji Sook around and spy on her all the time. It was so coincident that he always happen to be around when Ji Sook is put into tough situations. I also didn’t understand why Ji Sook had to be so submissive to Seok Hoon and had no choice but to follow all his commands. I also found it weird that Min Woo was so helpless all the time. I mean, he’s the son of the CEO and not even the son-in-law. He should have more power than Seok Hoon. I didn’t like how he was portrayed as a weak man. I also don’t know how Ji Sook was able to survive on that cliff wherein the car was about to crash. I also didn’t get Mi Yeon’s decisions. She was thinking irrationally and I thought that she should be sent to the mental hospital, and not Min Woo. So many questions ran into my mind after watching. What more ridiculous situations can the writer think of? Honestly, the writing could’ve been done better and the story could’ve flown better. It was already a good plot with a nice batch of actors. Nonetheless, despite of all these absurdities and truly makjang situations, I surely enjoyed watching this drama full of unexpected surprises.

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Mask. “If you wear a mask, you can never be truly happy”. I guess this was the turning point of the drama wherein Ji Sook decided to fight against Seok Hoon. She will not allow him to let his plan succeed, thus she had to make sacrifices and take off her mask. Her identity will eventually be revealed someday anyway. Mask doesn’t only refer to Ji Sook, but I guess the others have their own “masks” as well. Seok Hoon looks like a good and responsible son-in-law, but who knew that he was the one behind all of these? Mi Yeon seemed like she was happy with her marriage, but deep inside she must have a lot of troubles. All of them were good in hiding and wearing their masks, but I had to give Seok Hoon an award for wearing the “Best Mask”. lol

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Greed and money. We have another drama that has these themes again. When we’re talking about inheritance and rich families, these things just naturally come into mind. This time, we have a character who comes from a poor family. Seok Hoon’s father works for SJ Group, but due to some circumstances, he died and Seok Hoon blamed it on the CEO. He decided to work hard and revenge for his father one day. He finally got into the household by getting married to the CEO’s daughter, Mi Yeon. It’s weird how he said with the money that he’ll have, he will change the world for the better. I mean, with that kind of thinking, you’ll never get the world to change. It’s funny how he was able to control the maids by giving them money, and the police probably through connections, money, and fake evidences. Also, he doesn’t let other feelings or thoughts ruin his plans, but he just had one goal in mind. I can’t help but be reminded of dramas like Secret and Nice Guy who had similar characters like Seok Hoon. They’re all blinded by greed/money/power. They’re willing to do anything to get what they want.

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The chemistry between Min Woo and Ji Sook was so so cute and so unexpected. They didn’t have a lot of happy scenes together and they were always awkward with each other during the start. They even slept separately, but as time passed we can see how they cared for each other. If I can remember correctly, they only have one kissing scene and I barely saw them walking together holding hands. This is obviously a weird couple, but I liked how the writer did the romance parts. They didn’t overdo it and it had the right amount of romance in a melodrama. I was actually craving for more of their scenes together. On the other hand, Seok Hoon and Mi Yeon also looked good together. While the two are married, they were never truly happy. Seok Hoon married Mi Yeon for money, but Mi Yeon loved him wholeheartedly. She listened to all his lies and I find it weird and feel bad for her at the same time.

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Characters:

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Joo Ji Hoon as Choi Min Woo — I knew him by face and as BEG Ga In’s boyfriend. I find him incredibly charming and cute portraying this role. I learned that he also felt embarrassed with his cheesy lines during one interview that he had. He also had his fingers curled! lol Min Woo has OCD so he likes to be clean and orderly all the time. He’s shy to show his affections to Ji Sook, so he secretly watches over her, even after knowing her real identity. I wished that he stayed being an OCD until the last episode, because we weren’t able to see those scenes anymore during the latter parts. I’m just a bit sad that the character was weak and helpless thus he wasn’t able to shine much in this drama. I was thinking that he would have more to offer and show if given more time. Nevertheless, I certainly find the character appealing after watching this drama and how Ji Hoon was able to portray it in a Ji Hoon way. I want to watch Princess Hours and see how he acted in there. I’ll also anticipate his future dramas too!

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Soo Ae as Byun Ji Sook / Seo Eun Ha — Super loved Soo Ae in Queen of Ambition so I expected a lot from her in this drama. She definitely doesn’t disappoint with her dual roles, but somehow got overshadowed by her co-actors. I must say the four leads were all so good. I certainly loved how she can act in a natural way. I was able to distinguish both  characters. Ji Sook was sort of awkward and trying to hide her identity during the start while Eun Ha, coming from a chaebol family, sort of think highly of herself. I also loved her smile and just her beauty. She has a classic Korean beauty and she doesn’t need heavy make-up in order to look beautiful. I heard she’ll be coming back with a rom-com drama on her next project. I’m so excited how she’ll do in a rom-com!

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Yeon Jung Hoon as Min Seok Hoon — I haven’t seen Yeon Jung Hoon in other dramas, but I was familiar with him in his appearance in Running Man and as the husband of Han Ga In. He looks like a nice and caring husband in reality, but I was surprised that he can portray an antagonist role as Min Seok Hoon. I was amazed by his charisma despite being the villain in this drama. Many viewers fell for him instead of the male lead. He really did well in executing the role along with Yoo In Young. I think casting them both was a wonderful combo and they also had chemistry too.

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Yoo In Young as Choi Mi Yeon — I remembered her from the Three Musketeers and her short but striking cameo in You Who Came From the Stars. I must say she did a great job in portraying this villainous role. Her stares and facial expressions were all on point. If I were to face her personally, I think I’ll really get intimidated by her. She also does a good job in having mood swings; there are times when she’s happy and there are times when she’s really mad. I really believe that she has some psychological or mental problems with her illogical thinking. Really loved how Yoo In Young portrayed and brought this character to life. She clearly stole the spotlight and she makes me forget that Soo Ae is the female lead. Her role in Three Musketeers wasn’t really suitable for her. I hope she sticks with this kind of hairstyle and also hope that she takes another villain role again on her next project.

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Ending:

I knew it was going to be a happy ending, but I’m so curious on how Seok Hoon will get caught. Seok Hoon scheduled a press conference for Min Woo and he was going to frame him instead of helping him. Ji Sook showed up and told the truth. Apparently, it was Mi Yeon who told her everything including how she killed Eun Ha. Suk Hoon escaped by trying to go abroad, and changed his mind about leaving alone. He called up Mi Yeon and found out that she committed suicide. He repented for his sins and went to jail. From the way he answered the jail guard, I think he’ll eventually commit suicide too. Mi Yeon really thought illogically until her last moment. With this kind of husband, I would divorce him asap, but she stayed by his side and believed all his lies. I guess this is what ‘love is blind’ truly means. One thing that’s left unanswered though is the relationship of Eun Ha and Ji Sook. Were they really just doppelgängers of each other? I wished they could have elaborated or make it another storyline, because that would make it interesting instead of having no blood relations.

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Final Thoughts:

Melodrama is my favourite genre, but the Mask isn’t my favourite melodrama. There were too many coincidental situations that were unrealistic, but thanks to the actors I enjoyed and appreciated this drama even more because of how they portrayed their respective roles. If the writer had polished and made the story more logical, I think it would have have higher ratings. Nevertheless, it’s a drama that I would recommend if you’re into makjang and melodramas, and especially if you’re fans of the actors.

Rating: 7.5/10

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