As a drama addict, I’ll be the first to admit there are times when a sweet, fluffy drama is the only thing I want to watch but there are times when something a little more dramatic is what I crave. In a world saturated with melodrama, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which drama I want to have satisfy that craving. My most recent over-the-top melodrama fix came in the form of a highly addicting, 20 episode drama full of ridiculous situations, family turmoil and an incredibly easy-to-love OTP (editor’s note: it means “one true pairing” for those who don’t speak drama code.^^).
Originally airing on SBS from May through the end of July, Mask (가면), is the story of a woman so desperate to save her family from loan sharks she’s willing to become a pawn in the hands of a power-hungry lunatic desperate to take over his in-law’s company.
Byun Ji Sook (Park Soo Ae, 박수애) has never had an easy life but when her family falls prey to a relentless loan shark and his thugs things get infinitely worse. Desperate to free her family from the loan shark, Ji Sook agrees to masquerade as Seo Eun Ha, the deceased daughter of a powerful politician and soon-to-be wife of Choi Min Woo (Joo Ji Hoon, 주지훈), the mentally disturbed son of a ludicrously wealthy family.
Under the instruction of the family’s son-in-law, Min Suk Hoon (Yeon Jung Hoon, 연정훈), Ji Sook slowly transforms into Eun Ha, winning the heart of her new husband in the process. But living as Eun Ha isn’t easy, especially as Ji Sook can’t seem to completely cut herself off from her old life and her family. Caught up in a tangled web of schemes and lies, Ji Sook does all she can to free herself, her family and her husband from the poisonous world around them but freedom comes with a price and earning hers may cost her everything.
It’s not every day you come across a drama that hooks you from the very beginning but Mask (가면) definitely makes my list. From the very first episode I found myself addicted to the crazy of Ji Sook’s world and the more episodes I watched, the stronger my addiction became. Not even a quarter of the way through this one, I was marking off the days on my calendar, desperately counting down the days until the next episode aired. It was just. so. good!
As someone mentioned during my weekly review of this drama, Mask (가면) was essentially melodrama crack; it was that addicting. There was just something about the crazy world Ji Sook found herself in… You knew she was suffering but rather than letting her circumstances defeat her, she found the strength to stand up to her oppressors and win over her cold-hearted yet completely adorable husband in the process.
I think what made Mask (가면) so good was the juxtaposition of dark and light. While Suk Hoon was the very personification of evil, Min Woo was nothing but sweetness and light. Sure, Min Woo started out prickly and mean but a lot of that was due to the constant torment of his family. Once he came to realize he had a friend and ally in his new wife, he lightened up and things between the two progressed nicely. Watching Min Woo and Ji Sook team up against the world was so much fun, mostly because every fiber of your being wanted them to be free from their oppressors.
While I was addicted to this drama for a good 3/4 of it, I will admit that by the end, things took a turn for the insufferable. The crazy antics of Suk Hoon were quickly overshadowed by the insanity of his wife, Choi Mi Yeon (Yoo In Young, 유인영) a feat I would have never imagined possible a handful of episodes before. Because I was so invested in the OTP, I stuck this one out to the end but even I have to admit the last few episodes were painful. Even in an overly dramatic melodrama, there comes a point where enough is enough; sadly Mask (가면) found a way to go well beyond that point, making the ending far less satisfying than it should have been.
Even so, I enjoyed Mask (가면) enough to recommend it as this weekend’s drama to marathon. It may not be overflowing with warm-fuzzies but Min Woo still provides plenty of swoon-worthy moments (the subtleties in his facial expression alone was enough to make me squeal on a regular basis) and Ji Sook is one of the strongest female leads I’ve come across in a while. She’s definitely a character worth loving and she and Min Woo make a fabulous OTP. Suk Hoon, on the other hand, is nothing short of crazy but it’s his pure evilness that makes him great. He’s truly a villain created to be loathed and he does his job so well you can’t but love him and hate him all at the same time.
As always, I want to know what you thought of Mask (가면) so once you watch it (or if you’ve already seen it) let me know what you thought of it by leaving me a comment below!