The Cliff Edge
Episode 18 of Mr Queen begins with Bong-Hwan being reassured that the King will be back soon. For now though, the King has bigger problems to deal with in the form of Byeong-In. Their fight last episode spills over to the edge of a cliff, where Cheoljong makes a bold decision and jumps into the water below before Byeong-In can hit the killing blow.
With no word over whether the King is alive or not, things do not look good for Bong-Hwan back at the palace.
Following his fight, Byeong-In returns but struggles to disguise his bloodied shoulder. When Bong-Hwan asks about it, he brushes it off as a simple wound dealt in training. Bong-Hwan is not so sure. He brushes off Byeong-In’s suggestion that he not be alone right now and vows to protect her unborn child.
In the wake of the King leaving, Grand Queen Dowager completely changes the Royal Court, promoting some of her loyal minions into positions of power and forcing Prince Youngpyeong to return to his commissioner work.
News of Cheoljong’s fall reaches Bong-Hwan in the middle of an embroidery lesson, as Court Lady Choi comes rushing in and breaks the news that the King has left this world.
Bong-Hwan is distraught and continues to cry as Head Eunuch calls out for the King to return. Prince Youngpyeong believes this is Bong-Hwan’s doing and grabs the Queen at sword-point. Holding her captive, Hong and Choi plead for Bong-Hwan’s life while Byeong-In arrives and claims the Believers were the ones who killed the King. Eventually he drops his sword as Youngpyeong is arrested.
When he leaves, Bong-Hwan accuses Byeong-In of being responsible for hurting the King as he spins his side of the story. Byeong-In tells her that someone inside the palace was feeding information to the Believers, specifically the timings surrounding when the King entered and left the palace.
As he tells Bong-Hwan that their clan is the only one that can protect him now, Bong-Hwan thinks back over the bloodied shoulder he saw Beong-In sporting before. Could this be connected?
Well, it’s five days before a new King is due to be throned and a shameless Byeong-In gathers all the ministers together. He wants to celebrate the King’s death and also declares a state of emergency. They’re going to restrict entry into the palace and anyone looking suspicious will be detained. That way, they can rid themselves of the Believers once and for all.
When Bong-Hwan catches wind of what’s happening, he tries to formulate a plan. With Youngpyeong and Director Hong both imprisoned – and Byeong-In using a decoy body to fool everyone – Bong-Hwan realizes the King may yet still be alive. Time is short though, especially with less than a week to get him back. When Hwa-Jin shows up to pay her respects, Bong-Hwan tells her that the King is still alive.
While the King works, Byeong-In continues to stir and scheme, forcing the two clans to coexist and agree to the issues befalling the throne.
That evening, Bong-Hwan sneaks out the palace with a bow and arrow. He intends to leave the palace and find the King. Only, Byeong-In shows up and tells him to stay safe and head back inside.
Bong-Hwan scoffs at his suggestion, telling the man that the King is still alive and she’s going to bring him back. After firing several warning shots, Bong-Hwan accidentally hits Byeong-In before leaving the palace. On the way out though, he runs into Lady Choi and Hong who claim they’re going to be punished for abandoning her. This, of course, is not true but it’s enough to convince Bong-Hwan to let them ride along.
Jwa-Geum stirs from the depths, deciding to assist the Grand Queen Dowager from the shadows. He mentions the letter of treason and how the Queen has left the palace. He goes on to claim the King could still be alive, prompting Grand Queen Dowager to order them to be disposed of.
Cheoljoing awakens in the tent of a herb gatherer. He found the King out in the woods and saved him. His saviour then went on to burn all the royal robes to hide the King’s identity, knowing that soldiers were out in the open looking for him.
That evening, Cheoljong bides his time and begins searching around, finding a note hidden in one of the cabinets. As the man who saved him approaches, he holds an axe up to the King’s head.
When Byeong-In leaves the palace looking for the Queen, word of this reaches Youngpyeong and Hong when Kim Gwan approaches and checks up on them inside their cell. They then realize the Queen isn’t working with her own clan.
Out in the woods, things take a turn for the worst. Byeong-In finds the Queen and chases after her through the woods. Court Lady Choi tries to buy her some time, hanging back but being knocked down to the ground.
Hong races off to distract the guards but it’s too late; Bong-Hwan finds himself at the mercy of Byeong-In. As he runs away, this brings him to the exact same place the King fell to his doom. Holding the Queen up by the throat, Bong-Hwan begins to fade. Byeong-In asks outright exactly who he is and what he’s done with So-Yong, as the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
With the King gone, chaos grips the palace as Mr Queen delivers an episode full of tension and drama. While there’s still some comedy here, for the most part this chapter is all about turning the tide of battle as the Andong Kim Clan begin to rise up and seize power for themselves.
The inclusion of a countdown, with the enthronement looming, helps to add toward this drama too with the entire episode framing Byeong-In as the puppet doing the bidding of those in charge whilst trying to seize more power for himself.
This dynamic works quite well and him figuring out the truth about Bong-Hwan (even if it’s fragmented and not wholly accurate) is a nice inclusion to help build up his character.
So far the show has done an excellent job with its tone and this week’s slice of drama absolutely nails the more serious and urgent issues that have been bubbling up in the palace for several weeks now. This may arguably be the best chapter yet of Mr Queen, leaving the door wide open for the final two episodes.