Note: There may be some spoilers ahead but I’ll try minimize it.
I have to say, the drama caught my eye from its teaser. I’m not a great fan of makjang but when it’s done right like Secret (starring Ji Sung and Hwang Jung Eum, both which hit it off charts again in Kill Me, Heal Me), I’m hooked. To no surprise, Mask is written by the same writer and they secured a strong cast which made it even more compelling to watch.
As a brief intro. Byun Ji Sook (Su Ae) comes from a poor family ridden with debts. After an event which lead to rich Seo Eun Ha’s death, Min Suk Woo (Yeon Jung Hoon) brings in Ji Sook to replace Eun Ha as her doppleganger. Eun Ha was due to marry Choi Min Woo (Jung Ji Hoon), some chaebol heir with OCD as part of some inter-chaebol marriage arrangement. Little does he know that his real fiance has died and that she has been replaced while Ji Sook tries to navigate her way in the chaebol world and keeps herself afloat.
From the plot, it is slightly similar to Bride of the Century (starring Lee Hong Ki and Yang Jin Sung) minus the ghost and comedy. Mask has both its feet in makjang territory, you’ll enjoy this if you are a makjang fan because there ain’t room for comedy.
I’ve watched about 8 episodes of Mask of now and I can say it’s intense. It’s like a whirlwind trying to see Ji Sook try to catch her footing in a world she is unfamiliar with and wants nothing to do with. She is faced with dilemma of leaving her family behind although she tries again and again to help them in secret which makes her vulnerable to exposure. I do admit my frustrations at watching her sometimes, she is so vulnerable at the beginning. I wanted to scream, get your head in the game! But I didn’t have to, Suk Woo was doing it for us. Gradually though, we can see her getting stronger in front of Suk Woo although she still finds herself trapped when faced with her past.
It’s even more Intense to see Suk Woo try to cover up Ji Sook’s real identity and remove all obstacles from her way. Initially, I have to say, Suk Woo is the one that is so riveting to watch. He made me suffer from second-lead syndrome for a second back then. From lying to threatening, this man does it so effortlessly and it’s so interesting to see his next step. How will you solve this crisis now, Suk Woo? His character became even more intense (the intensity and the number of times I need to describe it so), when he becomes this jealous, obsessive man over Ji Sook. All this glaring and smirking work is only possible with Yeon Jung Hoon filling in the shoes.
Choi Min Woo did not initially catch my eye compared to Suk Woo really. He was just stuck in a childhood trauma of losing his mother and pity the boy, he didn’t know whether he was crazy or not. Of course it’s hard not to convince yourself that you are crazy when everyone else was feeding him lies and telling him that he is hallucinating. However, the latest episodes have allowed Min Woo to step up his game as main lead again and I can safely say I’m back on track in his ship. Which, I don’t really understand because with some thinking, he is just the same jealous and obsessive man as well when it comes to his wife. Sorry, Suk Won. You need to do better than threatening and going out of bounds. Maybe show some genuine care?
A side character that I felt wasn’t compelling intially is Choi Mi Yeon (Yu In Yong). Some will remember her from My Love who Came from the Star. She is Suk Won’s wife and Min Woo’s older sister who stays home all day, sipping wine from a straw. She loves her husband but she knows that her husband is not all that he seems thus openly questions his lies at times. She is jealous and obsessive but it’s safe to say that she doesn’t win over her husband in the same matter because she lacks ambition. Her dislike of Ji Sook is apparent but she does not hate her to a dangerous level. Like her brother, she is often told how delusional she is. Although she is right about the schemes, her alcohol track record doesn’t make her words legit to most people. In the latest episode 8, I find her character more active and it’s entertaining to watch really.
I’m hoping that the drama will keep bringing in surprises and suspense because I’m totally invested now. Let’s just hope this hot mess stays simmering. Burrnnnnnnnnnn………….