ahjummamshies, your K-Drama drunkard is back! While currently obsessing with Produce 101 (ehem, please vote for NU’EST), I will earnestly try my best to bring to you the beauty that is Ruler: Master of the Mask. Rating-wise, the drama is living up to its hype. The pilot episode took the 1st place in the Wed-Thurs time slot with 9.7% rating.
Now let’s get down to business! First off, let’s meet the characters.
The Good, The Bad and The Cuties
King Lee Yun (Kim Myung-soo)
– If you want to finger-point anyone for all the misfortunes in the story, blame this man. All the drama started with his desire to become king.
King Lee Yun joined Pyunsoo-hwe, a secret organization of architects that grew extremely powerful after the establishment of Joseon Dynasty, in order to gain the crown. His highness vowed his allegiance to the influential group in exchange of them putting him in the throne. Of course, we all know that this type of deal is like having a pact with the devil and comes with a hefty price.
Master Dae-mok (Ho Joon-ho)
– The cunning and power-hungry leader of the Pyunsoo-hwe. With members of the group serving as government officials and ministers, this man seems to be the most powerful person in the kingdom, even more influential than the king himself.
Using the newly-born prince, Master Dae-mok successfuly blackmailed King Yeongjo into establishing and giving him the full control over the Bureau of Water Supply. If my hunch serves me right, he worked with the queen to poison the baby prince during the naming ceremony.
Crown Prince Lee Sun (Yoo Seung-ho)
– The son of King Yeongjo and Lady So-hee. The Pyunsoo-hwe is targeting him to be their member in order to continue their control over the nation. To protect him, the king decided to hide his identity by making him wear a mask and ordered to kill anyone who sees his face.
In the first episode, it was shown how the prince has a soft heart when he pitied his poor subjects and felt guilty that people died after seeing his face.
Han Ga-eun (
Me, the real me Kim So-hyun)
– Aside from having medicinal skills and a kind heart to the needy, nothing much is revealed about our pretty leading lady in the first episode. I guess she is the daughter of the Sungkyunkwan master cum medicine expert that the crown prince is looking for.
Commoner Lee Sun (Infinite’s L)
– Yep, he’s poor, and nope, I don’t believe it haha. He works under the Bureau of Water Supply and might be the cutest delivery boy in Joseon history. Having the same name as the crown prince, I believe it will bring him trouble in future episodes, especially after the king made the Pyunsoo-hwe believe that he is hiding a boy named Lee Sun outside of the castle.
Commoner Lee Sun is a hot-headed pretty boy, the perfect description for a second lead. I have high hopes for L in this drama, please don’t let me down oppa ♡♡
Kim Hwa-gun (Yoon So-hee)
– The spunky granddaughter of Master Dae-mok who seems to be a pick of the queen as the next crown princess. Kim Hwa-gun was smitten by the crown prince after ilegally entering his greenhouse and seeing his face.
Story: Poppies are Evil
The drama started with the picturesque view of poppies and young girls harvesting them. A bedazzling and bright scene that is a complete opposite of what the flowers are used for.
The Pyunsoo-hwe uses the flowers to store poison. After taking the poppy pill during the initiation, all members of the group, including the king, need to drink it every night in order to continue living. Once you stopped taking the pill, the poison will spread to your body and will kill you. I failed to find out if poppy flowers really have that ability but it’s interesting to know that poppies are indeed poisonous.
The Beauty Inside the Mask
– The pilot episode clearly showed the innocence and determination of the Crown Prince. He’s having a hard time believing his father that he wears a mask because of a disease (Same, I’m having a hard time convincing my self either. I guess the leprosy thing can be the answer but the prince is obviously a wide reader and not stupid so he’ll know whether he’s a leper or not).
He’s been researching medical records about his said sickness but can’t find anything so instead of preparing for the water ritual, he disguised himself and went to town to find the master/medical expert who might have examined him when he was a baby.
He caused a ruckus at the town when he complained how expensive the water was after letting a poor boy take a sip in front of bureau workers. This is his first encounter with the commoner Lee Sun and also with Ga-eun, whom he bumped into while escaping the bureau officials.
Crown Prince’s poison mark – after taking the antidote, the physician said that the scar will turn red everytime the prince is poisoned. I guess this mark will play a big part in future episodes as there will be a sign if someone is trying to kill our masked lead. Also, the doctor noted that Prince Lee Sun is immuned to any type of poison, wow.
The Azalea bonsai – the Pyunsoo-hwe used this to disguise their letters to the king, the latter got really worked up when he saw his son holding the bamboo canister from the Azalea bonsai. Maybe Prince Lee Sun will learn about the deceitful group and his father’s secret through the hidden letters.
Family drama – Hwa-gun will obviously cause a family drama after falling for the prince and lying to her grandfather about not seeing the handsome masked man’s face.
Sorry, gramps is not convinced.
Pyunsoo-hwe mark – during the initiation the members are pricked in their neck thrice to create a mark of three circles. Hwa-gun pricked the prince once, I believe the one circle mark on his neck will be significant as the story progresses.
Pyunso-hwe requirement – according to Master Dae-mok the group needs to know the name and the face of a person before he can be a member. They already know the prince’s name but are clueless of how he looks like. Pyunsoo-hwe will surely pull all their strings to unmask him.
Remember this place? Sure does look familiar, right? Ruler: Master of the Mask used the same location as Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.
Have you seen this guy in hanbok before? That’s him in Goblin! Actor Kim Byung-chul portrayed the ancient ghost in Gong Yoo’s drama. Guess he’ll play another important character in Ruler: Master of the Mask. Once a bad guy, always a bad guy huh? Hahaha.
Catch me on the next episode to find out if sparks flied during the first meeting of the Crown Prince and Ga-eun.
~ Tipsy Ahjumma
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2 thoughts on “K-Drama Reaction: Ruler: Master of the Mask | Episodes 1-2”
Oooohhh… I like your comparisons to other dramas due to background sceneries and characters. Those are pretty neat information. What I know about poppies they are used as opium drugs back in China. Hence it’s supposed to be addicting depending on the dosage. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this article btw.
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oooh kamsahamnida unni 🙂 looking for the same actors and sets in K-Dramas subconsciously became a habit of mine after more than a decade of watching oppas, glad you appreciate it! ❤
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