Mask Girl – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Kim Mo-mi

Episode 1 of Mask Girl starts with a flashback into Kim Mo-mi’s life. Mo-mi grew up performing on stage and wanted to be a celebrity or a dancer all her life. Growing up, Mo-mi came to be called ugly during her teenage years and despite her dancing and singing skills, she could not bring the same excitement as other more desirable performers brought.

One day, Mo-mi’s mother told her that she needed to have a different goal in life as being a performer would not actually work out for her. Mo-mi is disheartened by her mother’s comment and grows up to be what is considered ugly in South Korea. At 27, Mo-mi is now an office worker and still has dreams to perform on stage.

Mo-mi moonlights as a broadcast jockey aka KBJ who performs provocatively during a live stream for her fans that pay her money. Mo-mi’s KBJ name is Mask Girl. One regular day, Mo-mi and her friend Sang-sun go to work as normal. There, the two women notice that a new pretty-looking employee named A-reum is trying to win the favours of the men at the office by making them coffee.

The men make comments about A-reum’s beauty in comparison to Sang-sun and Mo-mi’s. The two women chat about it on their work chat and vent their frustrations about the men with each other. Their boss, Mr Park, is someone that Mo-mi desires.

Mo-mi thinks that Mr Park is not like other men and does not differentiate between people based on their looks. Mo-mi harbours a one-sided crush on him and admits she could never be caught confessing to him because he is married. Back at home, Mo-mi looks up ways to change her looks with plastic surgery before her live stream.

Mo-mi continues to dance for her fans and takes fan requests from those that pay well. The fans start asking questions about Mo-mi’s face but she misdirects the conversation. The following day, Mr Park yells at Mo-mi for getting an accounting audit wrong and she is embarrassed.

Later that night, Mo-mi’s entire team is out having drinks when the men make comments about A-reum’s beauty. Mr Park avoids taking the drink from A-reum but eventually gives in when Sang-sun starts an argument about sexual harassment. The group then moves on to discuss adult broadcasting services and Mo-mi is shocked when one of her colleagues claims that he’s a fan of Mask Girl.

After drinks, the group decides to go out for a second round but Mr Park and Mo-mi bail. Mo-mi asks the boss to drop her off near the train station, and in the car Mr Park gets a call from his wife. He lies to his wife and does not tell her that he’s in a car with a woman. Mo-mi takes this the wrong way and assumes that Mr Park has feelings for him.

On her nightly livestream, Mo-mi asks her fans about the incident and blocks all of them who make negative comments about Mr Park’s behaviour. She tells her fans that she’s sure her boss has feelings for her and is keeping it a secret from his wife.

The next day, Mr Park yells at A-reum for doing a poor job at work and asks her to finish the report before going home. Mo-mi and A-reum are the last two employees to go home and Mo-mi starts to leave the office premises but notice that she has left her ID card on her desk.

She goes back to the office and finds Mr Park and A-reum having sex and is heartbroken. She rushes back home and gets drunk. She starts a livestream in a drunk state and ends up getting nude on camera. Mo-mi is banned from the account immediately and wakes up in a hangover, shocked by her actions.

Mo-mi goes to work and decides to make A-reum pay for ruining her life. She tells the gossipmongers of the office that Mr Park and A-reum had an affair. The news spreads like wildfire around the office and in total Chinese whisper style, the employees discuss how A-reum was allegedly pregnant with Mr Park’s child.

Mr Park and A-reum are called in by HR and given a warning about their relationship. Mr Park starts skipping work and Mo-mi is concerned. One night, Mo-mi runs into Mr Park on the street and finds that he was drunk and creating a scene on the street. She takes him to a motel room and decides to put him to bed.

While undressing him, Mo-mi pretends to be having sex with him but nothing really happens between them. The next morning, Mr Park wakes up and sneaks out of the motel. Mo-mi gets to work later that day and learns that Mr Park has quit his job.

That morning, Mo-mi gets an email from an unknown sender and the email contains a nude photo of her dressed as Mask Girl from her live stream. Mi-mi is shocked after seeing the mail and gets worried about the fact that her identity has been revealed. On the train back home, she accuses a man of touching her butt.

Mo-mi drags the man to the police station and bashes him for touching her. She alleges that the man was trying to threaten her with the email but the cops find it hard to believe. She tries texting Mr Park to discuss what happened that night but the man refuses to chat with her.

Desperate to talk to someone, Mo-mi uses the private chat function to talk to one of her subscribers. The episode ends with Mo-mi talking to a fan named Once Upon A Prince who is kind to her. The guy is none other than Mo-mi’s co-worker, Ju Oh-nam.

The Episode Review

This show is really interesting and I am looking forward to seeing how the thriller aspect of this one unfolds because so far, this seems like a regular K-drama. You could say this one looks like a darker version of shows like True Beauty and My ID is Gangnam Beauty.

Knowing how much importance South Koreans put on physical beauty is something that should be discussed further. It is sad how many people have to resort to plastic surgery and end up losing their lives in order to look a certain type in order to be appreciated.

This show is touching upon sensitive topics like adult broadcasting, plastic surgery, beauty standards, and workplace sexual harassment and this new wave of K-dramas addressing prevalent social issues in order to garner more attention towards them, is certainly an intriguing and welcome direction for the industry to move toward.


Next Episode

Expect a full-season review later this weekend!


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