The Crazy X In This Place
Episode 15 of Mr Queen begins with a recap of the crossed finger gesture Bong-Hwan taught the King. This, of course, means lying and now our Queen realizes why. Bong-Hwan plays her part well, weeping and crying while touching the girl. She realizes Dam Hyang is actually still alive and hasn’t been poisoned after all.
Alone and by the lake, Bong-Hwan admits the truth to his Queen. He gave the girl a liquid known simply as Mafeisan. (A quick google calls this a “cannabis boiling powder” and is actually believed to be one of the first anesthetics ever used.)
Anyway, Hong arrives and informs them that the child is safe, as the King mentions the Mother is also going to join her too. And not long after, we see them reunited together again.
Now the attention turns to the ledger, and specifically who Bong-Hwan believes is holding onto it. She narrows it down to either Queen Dowager or Hwa-Jin. Midway through thinking though, Bong-Hwan falls asleep.
In the morning, Bong-Hwan tasks Court Lady Choi to bring her Father to the Palace. Only, it turns out he’s already there. He shows up and together, both of them apologize at exactly the same time. After getting around their pleasantries with boisterous laughing, Bong-Hwan asks outright about the ledger. Well, it’s here he admits that it has gone missing.
In a lovely nod to heist movies and detective thrillers of old, Bong-Hwan goes over a list of different suspects in his head and decides to go after those who have wronged him. With a ferocious, fiery look in his eyes, Bong-Hwan remains determined to get the ledger back.
Bong-Hwan gets dressed in the most beautiful armour and confronts Grand Queen Dowager. In doing so, the Queen presents a dish mirroring that which she was given, with an icy fruit drink full of ice cubes. When Grand Queen Dowager refuses to drink, the Queen steps over and drinks it herself. Crunching the ice cubes, her bold move shows that she’s not one to be pushed around any more.
Next up is Queen Dowager, which sees Bong-Hwan arrive and immediately disrespect her elders, holding a whole stack of incense sticks and burning them recklessly. After throwing the burning sticks on the table, Queen Dowager calls her crazy.
Bong-Hwan scoffs, telling her he’s definitely crazy. In fact, he’s so crazy that she needs to be careful. In fact, he even threatens her and warns that if she touches a strand of her hair, she’ll never see her son again. The best defense is a good offence indeed!
Next up is Hwa-Jin, who Bong-Hwan speak to by the lake. She tells Hwa-Jin she’s slowly turning into a monster and suggests the girl look in the mirror and see how ugly she’s become. As Hwa-Jin slips and looks set to fall in the lake, Bong-Hwan saves her and pulls her back. This, of course, is a direct nod to what happened at the lake that fateful night in the past, as Hwa-Jin didn’t save her.
Back at court, Hwa-Geum quits his role as Minister of War. Reluctantly. Anyway, the meeting starts but Cheoljong immediately flexes his royal muscles and decides he’s going to make an organization specializing in anti-corruption to weed out all the corruption in court. As the ministers begin to grumble and protest, Cheoljong stamps the paper himself, as Byeong-In is made the new Minister of War.
Afterwards, Cheoljong sits with Hong and Prince Youngpyeong, discussing the current situation and deliberating over the best way of dealing with it. Well, Cheoljong goes straight on the offensive. He tasks Youngpyeong with overseeing Ijungchung while Hong is dispatched to three different cities in the South to launch an investigation. Or, as Hong calls it, a business trip leading to a holiday.
Well, after all this Cheoljong and Bong-Hwan join hands and decide to become allies.
Meanwhile, Court Lady Choi arrives at the Royal Kitchen where Man-Bok is trying to find something. However, they both bemoan their subjects and realize, at least temporarily, that they both have a lot in common.
Outside in the palace, Kim Hwan approaches Hong and manages to obtain the truth about why she doesn’t like him. Well, the Prince shows after and takes him away, convincing the Royal not to cry anymore.
Back inside, Shim Ong shows up before Bong-Hwan and she immediately recognizes him as the one who sabotaged her popcorn. After his apologies, Bong-Hwan rewards the man with a government position…as a eunuch. Of course, this is just a ploy to get her revenge and as he’s taken away, she can’t help but smile.
She also begins to turn the tables on her enemies too, as Byeong-In’s brief conversation with her paves way for him to feed back to Grand Queen Dowager that it was actually Hwa-Jin responsible for the deception.
Next up, Cheoljong approaches Hwa-Jin and reveals that Queen Dowager hired someone to plant the body in the well and questions whether it was really O-Wol found there or not.
With the seeds of doubt planted across the Palace, Hwa-Jin finds herself struggling to concentrate on her archery. When Prince Youngpyeong shows and echoes what she’s thinking – that the body wasn’t actually O-Wol – she wonders whether she’s been played by Queen Dowager.
Back in the palace, Bong-Hwan and Cheoljong continue to grow closer together as he suddenly asks whether So-Yong was the one to save him from the well. And just like that, she admits it was.
The Episode Review
Mr Queen returns this week and dives back into the comedic tone that’s been hanging over a lot of this show across the previous episodes.
Last week’s darker detour did well to change things up and remind us of the threats lurking inside the palace. This episode though is all about Bong-Hwan using his smarts and present-day knowledge to get back at his enemies. The idea of splitting this up into three rounds and using old school fighting games as a visual motif is a wonderful touch while the dialogue is crackling throughout.
A particular highlight here has to be the gambling between Choi, Hong and Bong-Hwan. Each have different levels of knowledge over what happened to little Dam Hyang and the reveal that she’s not actually dead is certainly a relief.
In fact, the way the writers have tied this in with Cheoljong crossing his fingers and using modern-day terms is a nice anachronism that helps this show really stand out next to others in its field.
Of course, body swap dramas are nothing new in the medium of TV but Mr Queen has managed to keep things fresh and exciting across the weeks. Blending this in with the idea of food and using Bong-Hwan’s skills as a chef to try and thwart his enemies helps give a slightly unique edge to this too.
So far Mr Queen has done a wonderful job building up to its final act. Now that Bong-Hwan knows the truth about So-Yong, what’s next for our couple? We’ll have to wait and see!