Hancinemas Drama Review Ruler Master Of The Mask Episodes 7 8

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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.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 19-20

This time around the genre roulette falls on palace intrigue. Unfortunately this is a bad genre to focus on temporarily, because palace intrigues are only interesting as a slow burn, watching various characters come up with complicated plots to humiliate each other. Here, no character has a clearlly enough defined goal for their role in the palace intrigue to be terribly interesting. At one point derisive laughter substitutes for the far more satisfying subtle humiliation that really makes a palace intrigue stand out.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Ruler: Master of the Mask" Episodes 21-22

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.