Episode 20 of Mr Queen begins with Jwa-Geun searching the food transport. Thankfully, it happens to be a different one to the cart Bong-Hwan and Cheoljong are hiding out in. With the ceremony due to start in the afternoon, the pair exchange a kiss and head inside the palace.
After a brief greeting with the head eunuch, fighting breaks out in the courtyard before the horns blow, signifying the start of the enthronement ceremony. Grand Queen Dowager and Jwa-Geun prepare to play their part. Only, they suddenly come undone when they find the royal seal has been taken.
The one to take it? None other than Kim Hwan! It turns out Bong-Hwan tasked him with this after revealing himself as Lee Saeng-Min. He, in turn, hands it over to Hong and Prince Youngpyeong who have patched up their differences from the previous episode.
The Donghak believers rally together, with Man-Bok, Choi and the others all lending their strength to the fight. While they do, Jwa-Geun and Grand Queen Dowager call all the soldiers back into the inner-most part of the palace. That’s just as well too, given Bong-Hwan and Cheoljong are preparing themselves to reach the main chamber… only Jwa-Geun has a secret weapon up his sleeve.
That weapon comes in the form of Sal-Soo who crouches on the rooftop with his gun. He shots Cheoljong but Bong-Hwan gets in the way and takes the shot. As he fires again, this time it strikes Cheoljong. Prince Youngpyeong suddenly shows up and manages to shoot Sal-Soo. In the midst of all this commotion, Bong-Hwan suddenly returns to his real body and awakens from his coma.
Bong-Hwan charges out the hospital, evading his captors, and straight into the bookstore to check up details on the Joseon Dynasty. Only, when he checks it doesn’t say Cheoljong, it says Cheoljo.
And now we jump back to what happened in the courtyard. Cheoljong is alive, as is So-Yong who inexplicably returns to her body. Jwa-Geun heads out though and begins fighting with Cheoljong. The King finally wins, splitting Jwa-Geun’s blade and slicing his crown right from atop his head.
He refuses to give Jwa-Geun the pleasure of death though, instead forcing the minister to live in humiliation at his failed plot. And if that wasn’t decisive enough, Sal-Soo is killed.
While the King heads in to take the throne for himself, the Queen loses consciousness from a lack of blood. Big question marks remain over whether the Queen will be okay but thankfully she pulls through, as does the baby.
On the back of this, the Grand Queen Dowager is moved to the West Palace. Only, the court ladies on the other side of the door refuse to let her go, informing them that the Queen has arrived. And just like that, a graceful So-Yong shows up and confronts the Grand Queen Dowager. She has the pleasure of telling her personally that she’s to be confined to the Hall until she’s moved to the West Palace.
As So-Yong leaves the room, echoes of Bong-Hwan’s personality seem to have been imprinted on the Queen as she curses in amusement.
Queen Dowager is exiled to the West Palace too and although she tries to weasel her way out of things, it’s to no avail. All the corrupt politicians, thanks in part to the letter of treason, are imprisoned for 3 years. Cheoljong calls them all thieves and has them walk shamelessly through the village, including Jwa-Geun.
Time passes and So-Yong finally softens and grows into her role. She’s no longer consumed by doubts and thoughts of death, and as she heads back to the site it all began, she sees the scratches on the rock from Bong-Hwan.
So-Yong’s Father arrives and greets his daughter, which is an opportune time given the baby starts to kick. With everything looking positive, Court Lady Choi arrives to see Man-Bok in his kitchen. He embraces her and smiles warmly.
On the subject of endings, Kim-Hwan applies to become a delegate for the foreign ministry. He and Hong share some banter, while Prince Youngpyeong meets Hwa-Jin again.
Cheoljong decides to give power out to the people, but after his meeting believes he’s missing something. Touching the Queen’s dictionary he heartbreakingly mentions that she’s different now.
As we jump back to the present, Bong-Hwan looks in amusement at the portrait on the back of the Joseon book, which happens to be the same expression Cheoljong pulled in court that day.
Ans now we’re back with Bong-Hwan. It turns out time has been rewritten here on the back of what’s happened in the Joseon era. He’s not actually being tailed by the police to arrest him. They’re keeping tabs on him to try and protect the man after he ended up as a whistleblower.
It turns out he actually fixed the CCTV cameras back at work and gave the footage of the thief to the media for free. As Bong-Hwan looks out at the streets, relaying a positive message about trying to enact change, his story comes to a close.
The Episode Review
Mr Queen was always going to be a difficult drama to wrap up in a satisfying way and to be honest, the show does leave on a rather bittersweet and hollow note. One of the big problems here comes from Bong-Hwan and Cheoljong’s interactions which were unfortunately ended abruptly without any time to say goodbye.
Cheoljong touching the Queen’s Dictionary and realizing that something is missing seems to be a hint toward him knowing, perhaps subconsciously, that the Queen was a slightly different person all along.
In a way, it is a bit of a shame he couldn’t stay in the Joseon Period, and from a purely personal note I would have liked it if we had an entire episode of So-Yong adopting Bong-Hwan’s body and living out his life as a way of balancing the power dynamic.
Here, it seems like So-Yong was somehow aware of Bong-Hwan being in her body but ultimately powerless to stop him…which is pretty terrifying when you think about it. To make matters worse, after Bong-Hwan has done all the heavy lifting and won over the King, So-Yong slides on in and takes all the glory.
Shin Hye Sun deserves a lot of credit for this drama though and she manages to perfectly adopt both roles – and perhaps three roles if you count the So-Yong/Bong-Hwan hybrid at the end. The fact that she somehow has less chemistry with Cheoljong after Bong-Hwan returns to his real body is testament in itself.
And speaking of which, what happened there? Why did the pair switch bodies? And how? And why Bong-Hwan specifically? None of this was really explained, and I guess some of it would have been okay if we at least received some form of a goodbye for Bong-Hwan. Or seeing him embracing this So-Yong persona and playing out her life, with So-Yong jumping to the future and adopting Bong-Hwan’s body.
Still, despite all that Mr Queen has been a thoroughly enjoyable watch that just stumbles at the last hurdle. It’s still a good show though, with lots of laughs, romance and compelling drama, but the ending is going to be a polarizing one for many people.
What did you think of the ending? Are you in the love or hate camp? Let us know in the comments below!