Hancinemas Drama Review Ruler Master Of The Mask Episodes 27 28

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 9-10

I used to think that Dae-mok was smart, but his plan for maintaining power after murdering the royal family is...disappointing. And also accidentally hilarious. The other Seon does not look, sound, or act like the real Prince Seon. He couldn't fool Dae-mok for a single scene even when the unexpected help of a false witness. Yet apparently, the other Seon is now the lynchpin upon which all of Dae-mok's evil schemes rest.

The actual ambitions of Dae-mok's evil schemes are a tad inconsistent. He had a good thing going with the water price gouging scheme. Water is something everyone needs, but very few people know about the capital costs necessary to procure it. Rather than just continue with that, Dae-mok uses his victory to unnecessarily antagonize the peasantry. At which point Ga-eun comes up with an equally silly and improbable plan to escape, which of course works. Although this is mostly because Dae-mok straight up forgets that the peasants exist for five years.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 11-12

The opening swordfight gives the impression that "Ruler: Master of the Mask" has decided to be an action swashbuckler about Prince Seon fighting for justice against a corrupt regime. Instead, we get a story arc about international trade with Japan. When I saw that Prince Seon had a whole gang of confederates I was sure he was going to, I don't know, steal the tax money or something. But no, he just approaches Hwa-goon to ask for a loan.

That's what Hwa-goon has been up to the last five years. She's a merchant now. It's unclear whether she still works with Dae-mok. My guess is not, because her idea to become the Queen is a lot more viable now that Prince Seon has been replaced by a compliant puppet. Mostly. The other Seon has a brief angry scene where he gets morally indignant about legislation that hits a little close to home.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 13-14

It took me a minute to remember why, exactly, Prince Seon and Hwa-goon were skulking about in the middle of the night trying to steal something. That's because this whole subplot is nestled inside another subplot, the one about the merchant expedition, and even that quickly manages to turn into another subplot as Cheong-eun runs into Moo-ha (played by Bae Yoo-ram), an old ally with an exceptionally good memory. A pity that's about his only useful skill.

Meanwhile, Ga-eun decides to take revenge on the king through a really stupid plan that comes right out of a video game and of course works because the palace guards are not terribly competent. We already knew that, of course, considering that Dae-mok's private army can apparently waltz in there whenever they please, kill whoever they want, and face no ill consequences. Anyway, the other Seon reacts to this situation by agonizing over whether or not he should take his mask off.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 15-16

Through a complicated bit of sleight of hand, Prince Seon and friends manage to achieve an important victory over Dae-mok. Because they got his...stuff, that Dae-mok was going to use to do...things. Normally I try not to overthink inherently meaningless MacGuffin devices, but the stakes in "Ruler: Master of the Mask" are so poorly defined I can only even figure out that Prince Seon's team won because of their smug victory expressions.

A great deal more emphasis is placed on Ga-eun, and that is not good. While Hwa-goon has been making a name for herself as a highly competent, ruthless, and honorable international businesswoman, Ga-eun's place in the plot has been reduced to that of a mere love interest. The emotions in her dramatic schemes come entirely over conflict regarding who she is going to marry and when, and for what ill-defined long term political purpose.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 17-18

So apparently Hwa-goon has been on the outs with Dae-mok for the past five years. But to save Prince Seon, Hwa-goon is willing to make the sneaky sacrifice of joining Dae-mok's cult. This is why I like Hwa-goon. She's smart. The real reason Hwa-goon wants back into the organization is to protect Prince Seon from the inside, but phrased this way, Dae-mok is led to believe that this is actually a compromise on her part, and remains unaware of Hwa-goon's bigger plan.

Meanwhile, Ga-eun doesn't even seem to know who Dae-mok is. The more I see of Ga-eun the less I want to see of her. It's just, she's so incredibly clueless about everything. Up until now I was willing to chalk up her prosopagnosia to dramatic license, but then in episode eighteen Dae-mok's ability to recognize Prince Seon is a serious plot point, when he saw far less of Prince Seon than Ga-eun ever did. Ga-eun is incredibly useless.