Episode 17 of Mr Queen begins with an enraged Bong-Hwan kicking everyone out of her room. Cheoljong is confused though, while Bong-Hwan curses the heavens (and his counterpart So-Yong) that he’s pregnant.
News of this pregnancy also reaches the Grand Queen Dowager too, who’s immediately shocked at the reveal. Lord Kim by comparison, brightens upon hearing he’s going to have a grandchild.
Meanwhile, Hwa-Jin confronts the Queen Dowager, admitting that she knows the body is a fake. Queen Dowager smirks, telling her she was just trying to open her eyes. Hwa-Jin is furious though and walks away, telling her never to try and control her again. Instead, Hwa-Jin approaches the Right State Councillor Jo Man-Hong and propositions him with securing the future of Joseon.
Despite wallowing in her own grief, Court Lady Choi tells Bong-Hwan he needs to announce the pregnancy to the internal court. Well, it’s too late for that as the Grand Queen Dowager appears with the Queen Dowager.
Both of them warn her that she needs to be careful for the sake of the child. If anything happens to the kid then she will be held to account. Unfortunately her morning sickness strikes and Bong-Hwan vomits inside an urn.
After, Court Lady Choi rules with an iron fist over Bong-Hwan forcing him to undergo parental training. Bong-Hwan is not happy and even worse, becomes enraged when he finds out Court Lady Choi has drunk all of his pear blossom wine.
As the court lady stumbles her way out the kitchen, Bong-Hwan rides off with Cheoljong on his horse to the Royal Villa. There, the pair begin to grow closer together and hold hands. That is, until Cheoljong mentions words from the Queen’s Dictionary, including “roar”.
While they talk, Bong-Hwan realizes that the birth of this child, and his (or her) ascension to the throne would mean he could wield absolute power. Bong-Hwan immediately sets to work with her parental training, but not before writing some diary entries to her unborn child.
Meanwhile, Jwa-Geun regroups and sets his sights on Byeong-In, seeing him as an easy target after being rejected by the Queen. He tells him he looks haggard, convincing Byeong-In to stay at home that evening.
Across the palace, Prince Youngpyeong watches the flames dancing in a campfire. A soldier arrives and Youngpyeong hands over a wrapped up blanket. He tells the man that it won’t be easy to make soldiers and implores him to be careful.
In the morning rumours spread across the palace around the pregnancy being a fake. When Cheoljong finds out, he tells Bong-Hwan he needs to get rid of these… prompting them to quash the rumour by giving everyone in the palace a good show. They pose provocatively together, with Cheoljong even throwing in a few cries for good measure!
Meanwhile, Queen Dowager continues to try and sway Hwa-Jin, convincing her to join with her. Instead, Hwa-Jin remains determined to make sure Queen Dowager doesn’t trample on the King’s dreams, calling her out and claiming the woman is just a shadow and insignificant.
Bong-Hwan begins to spread rumours of her own, telling the concubines that the King is a man of stamina. As she says the words, Bong-Hwan contemplates whether he’s the one that started spreading these rumours in the present about the King.
However, he’s interrupted by Hwa-Jin who decides to form an alliance with him to oust their rival clan. Next, Hwa-Jin visits Cheoljong and asks him for permission to leave the palace. Cheoljong eventually agrees, begrudgingly, to grant this request.
As Hwa-Jin leaves, Prince Youngpyeong hurries after her as she admits the truth. She knows that Youngpyeong has feelings for her and apologizes to the man for using those to get what she wanted. He claims to have willingly allowed himself to be used, as tears well up in his eyes.
Overcome by emotion, Youngpyeong heads back and fights with Cheoljong out in the courtyard. Cheoljong admits that he’s distressed as the Prince eventually turns and walks away.
Queen Dowager continues to scheme though, instead spinning a brand new rumour that the child is actually Byeong-In’s and not Cheoljong’s. When the Grand Queen Dowager is told this, she drums her fingers and comments how it’s an interesting development.
In fact, things take a turn for the worst when she tasks Byeong-In with bringing the Queen’s head to him. If he can do that, he will avoid punishment. This, predictably, causes Byeong-In to grow conflicted over what to do.
Meanwhile, the King runs into Byeong-In who admits he’s seen the secret markings about the believers. As Cheoljong threatens him with a knife, Byeong-In admits that the Kim family are targeting the Queen, doing so with the rumour about their sordid affair. The only way to stop this is to suppress the protects, and that means killing the cult and punishing the Donghak believers.
Determined to follow through with this, Cheoljong leaves the Queen’s care to the Grand Queen Dowager while he gets dressed up, ready to quell the uprising himself. If Cheoljong doesn’t go now then millions could die.
As he rides out, Bong-Hwan tries to stop him from going but it’s no good. Cheoljong walks right into a trap, as Byeong-In arrives with his men and starts fighting with the King out in the woods.
Their fight is intense, steel clashes with steel and blood is spilled on both sides of the conflict. As the camera pans around, the episode ends with these two men locked in combat. Who will come out on top?
The Episode Review
Mr Queen is really starting to heat up now and deliver some seriously intense drama. With Cheoljong gone from the palace, having walked willingly into a trap with Byeong-In, Bong-Hwan is left all alone with Grand Queen Dowager.
Predictably, she’s opportunistically seized the throne for herself and this could cause problems going forward. Rumours run rampant too, with the Queen walking a tightrope of tension that threatens to break at any moment. If that happens, Bong-Hwan will fall into the viper’s nest and I can’t see how he’ll get out of that one unscathed.
The issues inside the palace are really starting to get interesting though, with Hwa-Jin receiving a fitting send-off after finding out the truth about O-Wol. With the woman out the picture, the attention now turns to both the Queen Dowager and Grand Queen Dowager who need to be stopped before it’s too late.
We’ll have to wait and see how this one develops but for now, Mr Queen bows out with another very good episode.