The Gunpowder Plot
Episode 12 of Mr Queen picks up right where that dramatic cliffhanger left off last time. The King and Byeong-In fight, with the former besting Byeong-In. While the man is on his knees, Cheoljong warns that he should remember his place and walks away.
At the same time out in the woods, Hwa-Jin’s arrow narrowly misses the Queen. Bong-Hwan is incredulous and claims she didn’t kill O-Wol when Hwa-Jin confronts the Queen.
Hwa-Jin refuses to believe her, prompting Bong-Hwan to shrug and tell the girl she only kills what she needs for dinner. As Bong-Hwean walks away, Hwa-Jin strikes her with a red-painted arrow to the head. It’s a warning shot for sure, one that reinforces that Hwa-Jin could have hit her at any moment.
Well, back at the palace the Queen wins the hunting game after her stunt in the woods. Queen Sunwon eyes the Queen suspiciously as Bong-Hwan claims his prize. With the Banquet continuing on to that evening, Bong-Hwan is warned by Lady Choi to watch out for poison that very evening. Many people have died in the past from this very same technique and the same could happen here too.
Bong-Hwan decides to put his skills to good use (his Bong-Hwan skills, not the Queen’s) and heads off to investigate the food stores with Hong Yeon. Unfortunately things are worse than they feared. With the water presumably poisoned, all the chefs double over with stomach problems while the Royal Chef is nowhere to be found.
Meanwhile, Lady Choi heads back into town but the trinket owner recognizes her and encourages the woman to head inside. She resists… only to be faced with a shirtless man dumping water over himself. Oh, the temptations!
Anyway, Choi manages to control herself and walks straight into the path of the man (Han Shim Ong) she intended to follow. When he ambushes her and holds a knife up to the woman’s throat, Choi has to think fast. She manages to squeeze her way out of this situation though by having him sign her kaleidoscope.
Meanwhile, Queen Sunwon makes her move and hands over the confidential ledger to Right State Councilor Jo Man-Hong. She tells him that when the banquet is at its peak, he needs to work and bring out the ledger.
As he walks away, Kim Hwan intends to send a romantic message across to Hong Yeon. He tells the little girl with him to hand it over and points at Hong Yeon. Only… Man-Hong gets in the way and she instead gives him the note. Within that, it reads “I will wait for you at the pavilion.”
Of course, this is supposed to be a romantic gesture for Hong-Yeon but Man-Hong shows up and hears Hwan’s romantic confession. Realizing it was delivered to the wrong person, he despairs.
Back in the Royal Kitchen, Bong-Hwan dons his chef attire and a new disguise, calling herself Lee Saeng Mang. The chefs are obviously not buying this at all. After inspecting the ingredients, Bong-Hwan realizes he can whip something up with more eggs.
The Banquet goes ahead as scheduled, with Bong-Hwan saving them all by rustling up some dishes with the ingredients. That dish happens to be skewered grilled potato crisps. (They sell these around Europe too; in Prague they had these in street stalls and they are absolutely delicious)
Anyway, the Queen brings in several Court Ladies and chefs to help, peeling potatoes and serving this up with a new name – Yongsu Potato. Cheoljong plays this up at the Banquet and all the ministers hungrily eat and enjoy the food. Cheoljong tells them the theme of this meal is harmony.
The next dish comes out in the form of a burger. Only, Bong-Hwan calls it “Mac Dunaldu.” Mac of barley, Du for bean, Nal for fattening and Du for belly. Of course, this is a double entendre as it also refers to McDonalds too. Well, the second dish is just as delicious for the others too.
With the meal in full swing, Queen Sunwon makes her move. While he does, Cheoljong has the desserts brought forward which happen to be “Fortune Jellies” on sticks.
The meal is complete but it’s a tiring ordeal and one that sees Man-Bok and Bong-Hwan relaxing after creating this meal. However, Court Lady Choi rocks up and reveals what she’s found out about Han Shim Ong. She’s taken a look at the family register and she’s pretty confident that he’s bought the name he’s currently adopting.
Unfortunately Man-Bok gives Choi the poisoned water and she doubles over and passes out. Man-Bok brings her to the physician and is clearly worried about her. Only, she suddenly turns and rushes out the room.
The Queen returns to the Royal Banquet and the others comment that they can smell oil. However, they quickly forget this as Cheoljong steps up and decides to enact a new rule for the palace.
They will be reducing the number of dishes during dinner as well as enforcing a ban on drinking inside too. Kim Jwa-Geun suddenly steps forward and reveals that he has bad news. With all his Royal guards captured, Cheoljong watches in horror as they’re brought out in front of everyone. Jwa-Geun continues on and claims they’re criminals and from bad families.
Cheoljong loses his temper but it’s no good. He’s forced into submitting and that means having his Royal guards punished. Likening this to the dream he had about being a puppet, he begrudgingly leaves the matter in Jwa-Geun’s hands.
With tears falling down his cheeks, Cheoljong walks past everyone and begins praying. Only, when he does the area suddenly blows up from ignited gunpowder and leaves him a bloodied mess on the ground.
Bong-Hwan is shocked and tries to comfort the King but he’s held back by the others.
The Episode Review
Well, that was a dramatic end to the episode! Mr Queen has suddenly turned up the heat this week and delivered a really solid episode, full of drama, tension and humour. The Mac Dunaldu burger is a stroke of genius and well done to whoever wrote that joke, it was easily the funniest moment of the hour!
Meanwhile, the Queen saves the day with the banquet after it looked certain that things were going to turn out badly. Although the meal went ahead as scheduled, it’s ultimately what happened next that’s going to be the big talking point.
The assassination attempt on the King is certainly a warning not to cross the Grand Queen Dowager and the other ministers conspiring against him.
With Bong-Hwan caught in the middle of this, there’s an element of The Crowned Clown at work here as Bong-Hwan tries to dodge the many knives at his back.
The subplot involving Lady Choi continues to intrigue though and I hope she ends up with Man-Bok by the end. They make a cute couple and it’s obvious that he cares for her – even if he won’t admit it.
With Sal-Soo still inside the palace, it seems likely that he’s the one responsible for planting the gunpowder while Han is the one who poisoned the food. That’s just a hunch though so we’ll have to wait and see if that holds any weight.
The preview for next week looks very dramatic though and it seems this new level of intensity is going to continue from here on. Bring it on!