“If you wear a mask, you’ll never be happy.”
Nothing much truer. SIGH, I am so sad. After two months, this amazing drama has finally ended. I have kept the last two episodes for a few days before watching them. This is why you haven’t heard about me since the last review. Of course, it will contain SPOILERS about the last episode.
What can I say?
Besides for “Falling for Innocence”, I believe “Mask” is the only kdrama of 2015 that satisfied me in every nook and cranny. For so long since I watched “Hotel King” last year, I have searched for a drama like this: an intricated plot full of misunderstandings and con artists and manipulation. I have no idea why, but I love these traits on a kdrama because I love psychological stories. I also like makjang, and this had plenty of it.
Mask had a nice plot, intriguing characters, lies, posers, bad habits, good people… and maks, of course. The title refers to the masks we all have to put on our faces in order to live our life sometimes. It reminds me of two books I love about this argument, “The Late Mattia Pascal” and “One, Nobody, One Hundred” by Italian writer Luigi Pirandello. The mask is not only a resort for some, but also a way to start anew and put your past life behind. The masks help us hide our true emotions, help us pretend, but could we be able to live like that for the rest our lives? Can we lock up our true self in order to live in a way we don’t want but that we follow solely to get something or for the fear of showing ourselves? Mask analyzes all of this.
Mask has some stereotypical characters as the main four leads: Byun Ji Sook, a woman who wants to reach the top but she is probably too honest to do so and lies to herself that she likes her life. Choi Min Woo, a man who has everything from life but he doesn’t seem happy about it. Min Seok Hoon, a greedy man who has a face for every person he meets. Choi Mi Yeon, who has everything too, but her money can’t buy her love and affection of her husband.
MW/JS are the example of people who find very hard to lie to their loved ones and people in general. They are generous, open-minded (well MW wasn’t at first), and protect the ones they care about. For them, especially for JS, it was difficult and tough to wear a mask. She couldn’t let her real identity exposed, above all after SH made her believe she could be arrested for killing a thug. Soo Ae acted this part well and was able to show us Ji Sook’s emotions through her eyes. Even when her character was happy, she showed us a tint of sadness in her eyes. She could express the hardness of keeping it all in and distance from family. She and Joo Ji Hoon had great chemistry.
SH/MY are the ones who would do anything possible in order to cover up what they feel. Seok Hoon manipulated people and proofs of his murderous acts, lied to people and to his own wife telling that he loved her. He was too confident of the character he had created for himself, that he didn’t expect his brother-in-law and JS to stab him in the back in the same way he did to them several times. He was focused all on himself, and probably not even the real Seo Eun Ha saw who was the true Seok Hoon. Yeon Jung Hoon was superb in this role because he was fascinating but scary at the same time!!! I knew he had limits as well, and it just showed in the very end when he realized what he had done. I think Mi Yeon’s suicide woke him up from the castle of ambition and confidence in himself the he had built, and destroyed it. With his plans in ashes, he lost himself and who he thought he was because of the mask he was wearing, and I find it IC that he has only one thought in mind after all of this. He had lost several chances in his life to move on from his revenge, but he tossed them away. I was sad when Mi Yeon, who acted like the perfect wife but drowned her fears and sadness in alchol, was on the cliff. The second I saw her there, I knew it. I was sure she would jump. Mi Yeon was so confusing and at the same time, she knew what she wanted. Among all of the contradictions she showed, she desired one thing more than anything. She just wanted to be loved. She loved her husband, she loved her brother, and in some twisted ways, I am sure she also liked Ji Sook because it wasn’t her the one who had a secret relationship with her husband. Still, after his refusal to runaway together and the confession that he did all for revenge and he never loved her, she couldn’t accept moving on, because no matter how twisted it was, her husband SH was her anchor. She was aware he was telling her lies, but she lived for those lies. She needed him to tell her ‘I Love You’ and she could go on another day despite it was not real. That big lie was what kept her together all along. After all she has done to protect him and he kept on lying and lying to her, her mask broke and she finally allowed herself to decide what she thought she needed, even though it was death. Sigh, so sad. I am very sorry for her, despite I hated her at times. She didn’t deserve to die like this. Her only consolation as a character, could be that before she died, Seok Hoon realized that he cared for her when he read her letter, and he also brought her pic along with him in jail. Great acting from Yoo In Young too. This couple was really interesting and I could feel the raw emotions between them. I guess their image as a couple can be resumed well in one of their first scenes together of the first episode where they kiss each other and have a wild rendezvous. If they would have just ignited the passion, the fire wouldn’t have burnt them to ashes.
The lives of these four people in Mask intervened, and the plans of the ambitious people obviously clashed with the ones of those who just want to be happy and find their place in the world. The manipulation and the wisdom was just perfect in my opinion, and it all ended in a way I expected it to, or almost. This show has been unpredictable for most of the time, and kept me on the edge of my seat for a whole hour every week. The way things tied up was a bit fast, but it is better fast than getting nothing. I think they tried to resolve all of the issues before the last-minute of the drama, and I found them alright even tho perhaps I wanted to know more about some stories. For example, Seok Hoon’s revenge. Yes, he does tell his story to Mi Yeon, but I wanted a bit more of that. Sure, I was surprised (and not surprised) when he met his father a couple of episodes ago, and I also did tell you how I thought he wanted to break into the Choi family to get at Min Woo’s father, but maybe if there was more of that back story… anyway, it is just a small thing. Oh, and I also didn’t get one thing. After the flash forward of four years where we see Ji Sook has married Min Woo again, they already had their daughter? Because in the last scene with her, the girl is already 5-6 years old… ah, dunno! Perhaps the cut of the scene was another time jump and JS and MW are in their forties when they are with their child. We’ll never know! lol.
I found the ending of each character quite fit. Min Woo got his truth about the death of his mom, Ji Sook served her years in jail (how many for identity theft?) and they lived happily ever after in the end. I loved that they kept in touch while she was away, and he tried to get better at cooking to be the perfect hubby when she would come back. Seok Hoon was also longing to reach Mi Yeon in heaven, hell, or whatever, when he was in jail. That was his moment of “catharsis”, like every respectable evil character.
Suggested for: Melodrama lovers, Makjang lovers, Psychological drama lovers