Mask Girl Season 1 Review – Showing some cracks

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: August 18, 2023 (Last updated: August 28, 2023)
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Mask Girl Season 1 Review - Showing some cracks


Mask Girl has some nifty ideas, and some not so nifty ones, so the overall effect is engaging but often misguided.

This review of the Netflix K-Drama series Mask Girl Season 1 does not contain spoilers.

Every show is derivative of many other shows, but the Netflix K-Drama Mask Girl wears its influences on its sleeve – or its face, I guess. The striking production design and social undercurrents of Squid Game? Check. Revenge as a key theme like The Glory? Check. Online influencing and double lives like Celebrity? Check, check, and check.

To be fair, this is selling Mask Girl a little short. Sure, it’s comprised of familiar elements, but it puts them together in a highly competent way, delivering a dark, semi-anthological murder mystery that only really suffers from being more fascinated with its own plotting than convincing us to actually care.

Mask Girl Season 1 review and plot summary

Mask Girl is fundamentally about revenge, but really on a broad level; retribution against a cold and unfeeling world, with a formal shiftiness that suggests the last thing that defines a person is what they look like or who they appear to be.

The amorphous protagonist here is Kim Mo-mi, a woman who has suffered endlessly for her physical appearance and languishes in a dull accounting job instead of the fame and fortune she had once envisaged for herself. A double life as a masked cam girl, though, with a sizeable fanbase and a mysterious hidden identity, provides an escape for Mo-mi… until it provides something else entirely.

Around this central idea Mask Girl plays with various interlocking subplots and formal quirks, toying with perspective and genre to great effect, especially in the early going, before character connections become more tenuous and twists start piling up for seemingly no reason other than the sake of it. Each of the seven episodes unfurls from the perspective of another character tangential to Mo-mi, which doesn’t always work with the pacing, but at least keeps things feeling relatively fresh.

The structure does give the show arguably more appeal as a collection of self-contained experiences than a coherent whole, though. While every episode is thematically unified – and it must be said that the experimental horror of late-2000s internet culture instead of the more commonplace contemporary influencer rubbish is a particular highlight throughout – it also threatens to tip into silliness now and again, especially thanks to a contrived plot device in which cosmetic surgeries excuse multiple actors playing the same roles.

Is Mask Girl good or bad?

Mask Girl is an undeniably engaging and experimental thriller that sandwiches moments of near-genius with self-defeating flourishes and a tendency to distract from its core ideas with increasingly elaborate misdirection.

Despite being so obviously influenced by so many other shows, though, it does come together into something strikingly original at times, even if that novelty ends up being more temporary than first appearances suggest.

Is Mask Girl worth watching?

There’s a lot to like here, so it’s easy to recommend for a seasoned K-Drama or even thriller viewer, but be warned that mileage may vary and it certainly won’t be for everyone.

What did you think of the K-Drama Mask Girl Season 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

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Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Reviews
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