The entirity of episode twenty-one consists of a stupid plan that once again manages to throw Prince Seon into mortal danger his allies are the wiser. This storyline does, sort of, achieve its purpose of making Ga-eun do something helpful for once. Although really, I'd have been a lot more impressed if she had sniffed out the plot and taken action before the absolute last minute. Aside from the general incomprehensibility of the scheme, Ga-eun was in a perfect position to see what was going on.
Hancinemas Drama Review Ruler Master Of The Mask Episodes 13 14176 Articles
When Queen Mother Joongjeon's true role in the overall plot was revealed last episode, I was hoping that we would see some guiding principles toward a long term goal. Instead, Queen Mother Joongjeon's schemes become increasingly bizarre. Even Dae-mok is standing off at the sidelines, a little bewildered but ultimately fairly indifferent as to her actions. There's no obvious way anything Queen Mother Joongjeon is doing could hurt Dae-mok, after all.
For that matter it's not really clear how Queen Mother Joongjeon's actions are much of an inhibition on Prince Seon's long term goals either. Queen Mother Joongjeon is just setting up complicated situations by which Prince Seon and the other Seon can tragically pine over Ga-eun. This is accomplished by putting one, two, or all three of them in mortal danger at random, cue the sad scene music.
In a peculiar plot twist, it turns out that Queen Mother Joongjeon is not, in fact, completely crazy, and there was an actual coherent plan behind last episode's mass poisoning. Although even after the specifics are explained the plan still doesn't make very much sense. Why, it's almost as if the mass poisoning was a screenwriting device specifically contrived to end episode twenty-four on a shocking cliffhanger.
The preview for these two episodes was also equally misleading, and that, I think, is the main part of "Ruler: Master of the Mask" that really annoys me. All of the plot twists in this drama are a function of unnecessarily vague exposition. Nobody in the production team seems to think it's all that important to actually explain anything, even when the actual perspective characters are already aware of all this and it's only we, the viewers, who are arbitrarily kept in the dark.
A lot of my confusion with "Ruler: Master of the Mask" comes from how I keep assuming stuff is happening off-screen. I thought that, at some point, Ga-eun learned of Prince Seon's true identity since at this point literally every other single character in the drama already knows. Apparently not. I also figured that the other Seon had already drank the antidote on account of how he's not visibly sick anymore. Again, apparently not.
These two plot points are brought up solely to destroy Prince Seon's existing plan. Not that this was ever much of a plan in the first place, since Dae-mok didn't really seem to care about it and indeed, has managed to work it into his larger conspiracy. Considering how bad Prince Seon is at all this cloak and dagger stuff I'm left wondering whether the general's offer to destroy Dae-mok with the army is still open.
Prince Seon has finally achieved a goal in that he has destroyed Dae-mok's slave labor / poison production / prison / mass grave facility. Well, technically Hwa-goon destroyed it, Prince Seon just released the slaves. Another task where he was failing before Hwa-goon showed up. Alas, by assisting Prince Seon in such an explicit manner, Hwa-goon has finally crossed the line from ambiguity to Dae-mok's clear enemy. And in a Prince Seon inspired moment of incompetence, she makes no effort to escape before Dae-mok shows up.