Episode 16 of Mr Queen begins with Bong-Hwan and Cheoljong discussing the well incident. As he begins divulging what happened, Bong-Hwan suddenly helps himself to some ramen noodles. Smiling, Cheoljong drops what he’s saying and looks over his book of military tactics from the Ming dynasty.
He intends to make a powerful army and needs to read up on all he can. Interestingly, he mentions flashes of his doomed future he’s been dreaming of too. However, Cheoljong is doing his best to defy destiny.
Bong-Hwan is going to align himself with the King to make sure his future is a bright one, reminding him that he can se the future. And just like that, Bong-Hwan changes the subject to the Republic Of Korea.
As they both begin sleeping, she rationalizes with herself before drifting off, claiming she’s doing all this for her own benefit. After all, if she can change the future then Mr Han won’t be after him anymore.
The Queen is interrupted though by her Father collapsing. As Bong-Hwan hurries off to check on him, he apologizes as he encourages his Father to turn away from corruption and instead, build his reputation back up among the residents in town. That includes giving away all his wealth and materialistic possessions.
Thankfully, her Father also remembers So-Yong’s childhood book, which he’s written up again just for him. Within that, details of the Left State Minister are revealed along with the Chief State Minister’s tax meddling. Both military and economic corruption is rife here, prompting Cheoljong to use him to gain crucial intel in order to incriminate these men.
However, Cheoljong is called away from this meeting by a royal conference; a royal conference that Bong-hwan decides to attend dressed as a eunuch.
As she stands silently and listens, the ministers rally against him as they mention believers rising up and how they’ve “taken care of the source”. Unhappy with this, Cheoljong decides to punish the troublemakers… and the governors and ministers who agreed this without his consent.
Jwa-Geum meets Sal-Soo in secret and continues to scheme while Byeong-In is covered in petals for becoming the youngest Minister Of War. Well, he’s too hung up on Cheoljong and the Queen to properly celebrate, as he contemplates who loves whom and what to do about it.
Grand Queen Dowager speaks to Byeong-In about the love letters between the King and Queen, struggling to keep it together. She notices this too and eyes him suspiciously.
Hong arrives at a restaurant and speaks informally to those inside. As he brandishes his secret investigator badge, they laugh it off and believe he’s a fake. That is, until Hong brandishes a gun and demands answers.
Meanwhile, the Queen gathers up the ministers before her and encourages them to eat the dish she’s cooked up. After deceiving them all with alcohol instead of tea, her harsh lesson is followed up by venomous discourse, calling the ministers evil and a plague on the land. She demands they stop conspiring together.
With the ministers all turned against her, Byeong-In arrives while she’s discussing books and asks her to explain her actions. Well, Bong-Hwan mentions how he’s on a different path and has no feelings for him. Of course, he’s very much in love with So-Yong.
Holding out his hand, she instead turns away and rejects his advances. Walking away, Byeong-In drowns his sorrows in alcohol, commenting to himself how he doesn’t have a future.
The royal subjects make their way back to the palace where Cheoljong does his best to try and make Bong-Hwan laugh. It doesn’t seem to work though, despite going cross-eyed and acting like a servant. Eventually Bong-Hwan forces a chuckle out of her, prompting him to look on proudly.
As the attention turns to swords, Bong-Hwan mentions how he’s an expert with blades. Outside the palace, he encourages Jwa-Geum to brandish his blade and fight. Only…his blade has been completely snapped off, which he realizes as he unsheathes the sword.
This is all a lesson to show that the Queen is no going to be stopped and should not be underestimated. As she walks away, a smile crosses Jae-Geum’s face. Is this a hint that he’s impressed by her display?
Hwa-Jin meets the King next, but their meeting is brief as the Prince turns up and questions what they were talking about. Speaking of which, Cheoljong and Bong-Hwan continue their lessons into the changing face of the Korean dynasty. Specifically, they discuss Jigme Jhesar, the King of Bhutan.
In the morning, Bong-Hwan dresses as a male and begins teaching Hong important military tactics. Prince Youngpyeong is weary of her influence but Cheoljong reminds him that she declared war on her own clan so she’s trustworthy.
Hwa-Jin arrives in the palace and asks to speak to Cheoljong privately. She comments how his look has changed over these passing weeks and that he doesn’t trust her.
It’s here Hwa-Jin outright mentions taking the book and handing it over to the Queen Dowager. Cheoljong is understandably shocked by this betrayal as Hwa-Jin tries in vain to explain her actions. It’s no good though, and Hwa-Jin is forced to leave.
After reading her books, Bong-Hwan heads off to see Cheoljong. He hands back So-Yong’s book, with a newly scribed name for her. He apologizes for not recognizing her as the two continue to grow closer together.
At the royal kitchen, Man-Bok concocts a special medicinal liquid. As Bong-Hwan shows up, she learns that he’s making pear blossom wine. Determined to find out how he makes this, Man-Bok teaches an eager Bong-Hwan the steps….and then tells the Queen they need to wait 20 days for it to ripen.
Meanwhile, Prince Youngpyeong arrives to arrest the Left State Minister. With the position vacant, he appoints So-Yong’s Father, Min Joo Jin, to fill the space. There’s a unanimous vote against this but Bong-Hwan doesn’t listen. He stamps the authority nonetheless.
That evening, Byeong-In notices secret writing inside So-Yong’s book which seems to hint toward So-Yong being one of the Believers. This prompts Byeong-In to gather the ministers and “clean up”. They’re going to change the records and return the royal offerings back where they came from. The punishment for being spotted through this is death too, so no pressure then!
Byeong-In is a real thorn in the King’s side and Cheoljong continues to deliberates over the best way of dealing with him.
Meanwhile, Man Bok and Court Lady Choi continue to meet within the thick bamboo where they bemoan the Queen together and how angry she makes them.
As they curse to the heavens, both reach out and touch each other, growing closer in their discontent. Unfortunately all their shouting means they’ve lost their voice as they attend the royal kitchen for the pear blossom wine tasting.
Cheoljong and Bong-Hwan grow closer together that afternoon, with the former showing the book he’s transcribed of his time teaching Hong. Just before he leans in to kiss her, Bong-Hwan starts feeling queasy. When the physician arrives, he reveals the delightful news that the Queen is pregnant!
The Episode Review
Mr Queen bows out this week’s double bill with a bombshell cliffhanger ending. With So-Yong pregnant, presumably from the one night where Bong-Hwan blacked out with the King, this drama has taken another unexpected turn as we inch ever-closer to the end of this drama.
With political scheming rife inside the palace, Cheoljong and Bong-Hwan teaming up to remove the corrupt politicians is definitely a nice touch.
It’s also good to see him teaching Cheoljong about the current establishment, which in a way feels quite reminisce of those moments in The King: Eternal Monarch where the King jumped through time to see how the monarchy had changed over the years.
The characters in this drama are great though and once again, props to Shin Hye-Sun for her acting. I really hope she wins some awards for this portrayal as she plays a male perfectly.
Everything here, from the way she sits and talks through to the language she uses, perfectly exemplifies this character.
Mr Queen continues to delight and by the end I hope Court Lady Choi and Man-Bok wind up together. Their brief segments are comedy gold and they have great chemistry on screen too.
With the Queen now pregnant, what will happen to Bong-Hwan? Will the real So-Yong return to her body? And what will Bong-Hwan’s fate be?
Mr Queen leaves these questions wide open for next week as another strong chapter leaves the door wide open for the remaining 4 episodes.