Political Scheming Intensifies
Episode 4 of Mr Queen begins with Bong-Hwan doing well to deflect the King’s pressing questions. Unfortunately, he misses the King spiking her drink.
Thankfully, Bong-Hwan figures it out before it’s too late and encourages the King to drink instead. He does so but the King suddenly leans forward and kisses the Queen. Bong-Hwan pushes him off of course but home truths come spilling out nonetheless. Cheoljong realizes she doesn’t know the full extent of the story though and eventually leaves with many questions still floating around his troubled mind.
In his chamber, Youngpyeong speaks to Cheoljong who confirms what the Queen has said and contemplates what to do about her. They’re not alone though, Queen Sunwon decides they need to create a criminal and that seemingly comes in the form of a masked man snatching up a court lady called O-Wol in the middle of the night.
With a bag over her head, O-Wol pleads for her life as this man brandishes a sword and demands answers. O-Wol happens to be the same court lady claiming to know what happened at the lake.
Determined to get answers, the two thugs accompanying him begin loading her knees up with cinderblocks. As he leaves in the morning, this man is dressed as a eunuch and seems to work inside the palace. A nasty scar across his cheek though makes him a little easier to point out in the palace. Anyway, he meets Jwa-Geun and reveals that he’ll soon make O-Wol talk.
Soon after, the Grand Queen Dowager speaks to Kim Jwa-Geun about the royal villa and the plan they’ve concocted together. There’s more scheming though, especially when the King learns that Byeong-In is on the King’s case, using a torn piece of his fabric to light the way forward and find the culprit he fought out several nights ago.
The Grand Queen Dowager calls Bong-Hwan to her chambers and puts her in charge of selecting Royal concubines for the King. What was initially a possible 81 (which excites Bong-Hwan) is dropped down to 3. This hilariously receives a sigh of disappointment which quickly rises in tone with the Grand Queen Dowager looks at her suspiciously.
As Bong-Hwan soon learns though, the reason for this comes off the back of Jo Hwa-Jin scheming and allegedly being involved in the Queen’s drowning. For now though, Bong-Hwan decides to play along and commands his royal escort to run faster so he can feel the breeze on his face.
The Queen makes it into the Royal Kitchen where the other ladies watch as she helps cook. She uses a rare ingredient called tarak but stops briefly when the same young girl from the previous episode shows up. Her name is Dam-Hwang and Bong-Hwan gives her encouraging words and even helps feed her too. After naming her dog, they also name the royal chef a “fool” and “boomer.”
Back to cooking; Bong-Hwan delivers a dish of creamed potatoes which the Queen Dowager happily gulps down, savoring every bite. However, she’s not happy with the presentation which gets Bong-Hwan thinking. She races back and remains determined to build a food palanquin. Only, they obviously don’t know what this means.
Afterwards, the Queen is made a luxurious drink while she supervises the workers down by the lake. Bong-Hwan asks for that very same beverage to be made for everyone else too. This sends Court Lady Choi back to the Royal Chef who busies himself with concocting this refreshing drink for everyone.
Out in the woods, Kim Hwan hides from the workers at the lake and watches what they’re doing. He’s approached by Hong-Yeon who happens to have a beverage for him too. When she hands it over, a love song starts playing in a hilarious segment. While Hong-Yeon walks away, she too becomes infatuated after bumping into Hong.
With O-Wol missing, the Queen Sunwon learns that one of the court ladies is missing. He’s not alone either; Youngpyeong also finds out and feeds back to Cheoljong exactly what’s going on. Hwa-Jin approaches after speaking to Sun-Won too and contemplates whether to place himself in the firing line and take the blame for trying to kill the Queen.
At the same time, Youngpyeong remains determined to find O-Wol no matter what. If that fails, then the King will step in and try to prevent anyone else from dying.
Youngpyeong rallies the troops and tells the other guards to be extremely careful while they head out on search of O-Wol. Brandishing masks, the men work swiftly and silently while Hwa-Jin waits outside the Grand Queen Dowager’s courtyard, determined to keep Cheoljong safe and awaiting whatever fate may wait for her.
Down by the lake, Bong-Hwan does some needlework but upon looking through the basket alongside him, he finds something that looks suspiciously like a Will. He also learns the Queen lost her appetite in the days before the lake and was sighing a lot. All of this, he deduces, may well be signs that the Queen actually commited suicide.
This is backed up by Hwa-Jin’s confession to the Grand Queen Dowager too, who hears from Hwa-Jin that she was with the Queen that night and she willingly fell in the lake. Only, the Dowager has a plan of her own.
She brandishes a letter allegedly corroborated from O-Wol, confirming that the Queen Dowager is involved in a big scheme with Hwa-Jin.
With all hope lost, Cheoljong shows up and tries to talk the Grand Queen Dowager out of her plan. However, it’s no good as Hwa-Jin takes the blame for what’s happened. Just as she’s about to meet her demise, Youngpyeong and the other soldiers manage to find O-Wol and save her from her captors.
Believing she’s heading back that very night (she isn’t, the well has dried up meaning there’s no more water), Bong-Hwan steps up and admits in front of the Grand Queen Dowager that she tried to take her own life. She asks for everyone else to be let go without punishment, while awaiting whatever her fate may be.
The Episode Review
With more political scheming this time around and an intriguing revelation involving the Queen (did she really commit suicide?) Mr Queen continues to mix its comedy nicely with the drama and mystery inside the palace.
The tone to this Korean drama has just shifted slightly into more melodramatic waters and to be honest, this actually suits the show nicely. There’s a lovely balance between the two tones, with the love song montage arguably the funniest moment of the whole episode.
Alongside that, the series does a great job keeping the pace moving steadily, allowing enough screen time for each of the characters to have their own individual moments and sub-plot arcs.
Given how many people there are inside the palace though, it can sometimes be a little confusing to figure out who everyone is and what their connections are to one another. Still, it’s a minor gripe as the show remains engaging throughout.
The preview for next week seems to hint that we’ll be getting more definitive answers too and given what we’ve seen so far, Mr Queen could turn out to be one of the bigger shows in 2021.