A Small Sacrifice
Episode 14 of Mr Queen begins with a closer look at that scene with Hong from the previous night. It turns out Hong wasn’t actually in the room after all, it was actually Cheoljong. Prior to that moment, Cheoljong learned the Queen was the one who essentially saved the banquet. This confuses matters for him further as the King deliberates over exactly why the Queen tried to help.
With a spy inside Grand Queen Dowager’s living quarters, the watery message we saw last episode actually reads “Queen in danger”, which Prince Youngpyeong read and quickly destroyed to prevent being caught.
After a passionate night with Cheoljong, Bong-Hwan awakens and realizes that it was the King he kissed the previous night and not Hong. She suddenly bolts upright and wants to know everything they did together. Only, when he begins his story he suddenly runs away, confronting Hong and eventually learning that he did, in fact, sleep with the King.
Bong-Hwan is beside himself with shock, running away and wondering just why he doesn’t feel dirty or bad about what happened. Well, the King continues to try and chase his Queen around the palace and eventually gives up, unbeknownst to him that Bong-Hwan is actually hiding out behind the screen in the very room he’s in. Eventually though, Cheoljong heads to the council meeting.
Meanwhile, an erratic Queen Dowager decides to have her fortune read and find a new fortune teller after hers was taken away. The monk she sees confirms that a woman inside the palace is going to die. He suggests she make an offering to buddha to help. On the way out, Queen Dowager speaks to Hwa-Jin who admits she could just die without the King there. Is she the prophesied woman due to die?
A crying Kim Hwan visits Special Director Hong and informs him that lady Hong declined him. However, Director Hong is in the middle of drawing a composite sketch but his stick figure isn’t exactly going to help catch the eunuch any time soon.
In court, Grand Queen Dowager officially withdraws her regency and leaves unceremoniously out the back. Only, on the way her court lady accidentally steps on her dress. Thankfully she rights herself enough to walk out with her head held high. Back in her palace, Grand Queen Dowager contemplates whether to get some food brought to her or not.
Meanwhile, Cheoljong and Bong-Hwan realize that they’re the ones sending messages to each other. Bong-Hwan also finds out that Cheoljong orchestrated the attack himself in a bid to oust those trying to go after him – namely the Grand Queen Dowager and Jwa-Geum.
It’s here where Cheoljong turns to Bong-Hwan and declares his love for the Queen. Given she’s not the real So-Yong, Bong-Hwan eventually walks away and rejects him.
Jwa-Geum may be down but he most certainly is not out. With his closest advisors gathered, he decides to enact the Bi Byeon Sa (Border Defense Council) as a last resort to oust the King. With a stack of coins, he pays off Court Lady Han to travel with poisoned ice over honeycomb to the meeting between Bong-Hwan and Grand Queen Dowager.
Cheoljong senses his enemies scheming and preparing to rally against him once more. He speaks to each of his Royal guards, who are all battered and bruised from their torturous ordeal, and thanks each of them personally. He hugs them and tells each of the men they need to leave the palace now. When they do, the King’s spy, the blind court lady serving Grand Queen Dowager, arrives.
The aforementioned meeting between Bong-Hwan and Grand Queen Dowage goes ahead as Bong-Hwan marvels at the ice. However, just before she drinks the little girl Dam-Hyang comes rushing in to inform the Queen of some important information. With Jwa-Geum watching, she hesitates to reveal the truth and instead throws a rock at the dish to knock the liquid out.
Unfortunately her actions see her thrown in prison. The rock throwing is just what Grand Queen Dowager and her brother need to enact their plan of action. As they walk off together, Cheoljong reveals to Bong-Hwan that her drink was poisoned. The reason? The pair found the ledger inside Daejojeon.
Bong-Hwan holds Cheoljong’s hand and pleads with him to try and save the young child. While they do, Prince Youngpyeong confronts Court Lady Han and asks her exactly what she’s doing. Given the composite sketch he found in town, he confronts her and demands to know what secrets she holds.
Meanwhile, Byeong-In prepares to deal with the young child but Bong-Hwan won’t allow it. The Queen is torn over what to do and eventually promises Dam-Hyang that she’ll release her as soon as she can. After promising to save her, she walks away.
Unfortunately the court make their decision and the young child is killed (off-screen mind you), as Bong-Hwan is shocked when she sees the young child.
Our Queen is beside herself with rage and wants to go after the Grand Queen Dowager and the court. When Cheoljong calls her death a “small sacrifice”, Bong-Hwan immediately loses his temper and confronts him. As he walks away however, Cheoljong happens to have his fingers crossed which, of course, is the symbol for a lie. He doesn’t believe what he’s saying and is clearly biding his time to strike again.
The Episode Review
Mr Queen storms out the gates with another really good episode, this time ending on a shocking note that looks set to push Bong-Hwan into helping Cheoljong and taking down the hierarchical powers of Grand Queen Dowager and Jwa-Geum.
So far Mr Queen has been a really compelling blend of historical drama and comedy, with this latest episode bringing back some of the comedy missing in episode 13 while keeping things suitably dark and intense.
In faCt, this tonal blend between light and dark has been perfectly crafted throughout the show, especially these latter episodes which leave the door open for more to come.
With 20 episodes in total, there’s certainly more story to come and the ending hints that things are about to take a turn for the crazy. Roll on next week!