Calm Before The Storm
Episode 19 of Mr Queen begins with Bong-Hwan admitting to Byeong-In that he’s not the real Queen. He also confirms he’s been inside So-Yong’s body since the day he was saved from the lake. This changes everything, as Byeong-In changes tact and decides to team up with Bong-Hwan, if only to save So-Yong.
Holding the Queen by the hand, Byeong-In fights off his own soldiers who realize he’s turned on them. Only, in the woods our mask-wearing assassin arrives and stats fighting Byeong-In. Given the scar across his face, it’s fair to assume this is Sal-Soo.
The two fight, with Sal-Soo eventually plunging a knife deep in the side of Byeong-In. Wincing, he grabs the Queen and takes off. He’s clearly in a bad way though and they stop to catch a breath.
Byeong-In hands over a letter plotting treason, something to help protect herself against the Palace assassins. He tells her to count to 10 and hide, knowing his time is coming to a close, as Bong-Hwan realizes this too. Promising to save So-Yong, Bong-Hwan charges off into the woods. As he does, Byeong-In learns the crushing truth that Sal-Soo was sent by Byeong-In’s own father.
Bong-Hwan counts to 10 and turns. Sal-Soo stabs Byeong-In and kills him, as the Queen is forced to hide out in the woods.
As day turns to night, Bong-Hwan checks the letter of treason and wonders just what to do with it. Despairing, he cries to the heavens and curses his luck. And just like that, Cheoljong shows up and finds the Queen.
She weeps in his arms, claiming Hong, Choi and Byeong-In all died because of him. Well, according to him only the former has passed away as Bong-Hwan is reunited with his court ladies. It turns out the sword slash barely grazed Choi, thanks in part to some quick thinking and kicking dirt in the swordman’s face.
While the Queen recovers, Sal-Soo returns to the palace and feeds back what happened in the woods. The Donghak Believers arrived and ambushed Byeong-In’s men. However, Sal-Soo saw the King among them, which Jwa-Geun then learns and realizes too.
Hwa-Jin starts putting up posters around town confirming that the King isn’t actually dead, framing the clan that have tried to usurp him. Among those who see is Bong-Hwan’s Father, who reads the note and deliberates over what to do next.
Later that evening, Man-Bok sadly sits by his cooking, over-boiling the food. There, he reminisces on a memory involving Court Lady Choi.
She returned to the Royal kitchen before she left, admitting to Man Bok that she loves him. She encouraged him to share his loneliness with her, eventually walking away. Back in the present, Man-Bok decides to retire as the royal chef.
Meanwhile, Hwa-Jin’s bill sees numerous players in court discussing quite what this means and who could have written it. While they all suspect Byeong-In, no one is savvy enough to realize that it’s actually Hwa-Jin.
Out in the frozen forest, Bong-Hwan and Cheoljong meet the leader of the Donghak Believers. After understanding more of their hierarchy (the oldest is the boss, then if they pass away, the next eldest takes their place) the group formulate a plot to sneak back into the palace. It’s here Cheoljong announces the grim news that Jwa-Geun has returned with a vengeance.
Thankfully they have their trump card – the letter of treason. Within this, the note lists a whole stack of corrupt politicians in the court. The only thing they need to do is somehow get back to the palace. Only, this hits a snag when the royal chef suddenly shows up with the Donghak believers. He also spies Court Lady Choi too, and after a rather embarrassing tumble in the snow, decides to join their ranks.
Back at the palace, the enthronement ceremony is coming up and Grand Queen Dowager is pretty indifferent to Byeong-In’s death However, when she learns that the King and Queen are both alive, she immediately sits upright and wonders who could have betrayed them.
Jwa-Geun suspects it could be her court lady, who Grand Queen Dowager believers is blind and deaf. After a close call, the spy manages to get away unscathed. Well, for a while anyway. Jwa-Geun eventually realizes the truth and kills the court lady while she’s outside leaving her usual water-based notes.
Outside, our rebels continue to work on their plan to break back into the palace without being seen. Before that though, they honour Byeong-In’s memory and lay him to rest properly. It’s the calm before the storm in a way, as all our rebels sit under the stars and eat potatoes next to the dancing fire.
The only two left outside in the end happen to be Bong-Hwan and Cheoljong. Bong-Hwan tells the King he’ll lose but he’s still all-in and fighting by his side.
The big day arrives and all of our characters prepare for the enthronement Ceremony. Jwa-Geun too readies himself, preparing to seize control of the throne himself, using the makeshift puppet King.
Thankfully the real King and Queen are en-route, hijacking their transport and stowing away together. They make it past the guards but Jwa-Geun is ready for them. With a gun brought in from England, he tasks Sal-Soo with shooting the King if he shows up.
Jwa-Geun checks on the transport and begins searching inside. As he plunges a sword deep into the wood…the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
The penultimate episode to Mr Queen feels like the proverbial calm before the storm. It’s clear that there’s a lot of action that’s going to consume the finale and with the King and Queen en-route to the palace again, it’s only a matter of time before they’re caught out. Has Jwa-Geun spotted them? Or have the duo managed to evade capture?
A lot of the drama this episode feels relatively subdued, especially after that breathless opening 10 minutes or so, with very little in the way of comedy. In a way this makes sense, especially given the gravitas of the situation Bong-Hwan finds himself in, while the preview for tomorrow’s episode promises to explode into chaos.
Quite what will happen next though remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure – Mr Queen looks set to go out with a bang!