Queenmaker – K-drama Episode 5 Recap & Review

Political Games

Episode 5 of Queenmaker begins with the live debate going forward, with Seo Min-jung pissed and immediately going on the attack against both Kyung-sook and Do-hee. Whilst Kyung-sook is the person seeking injustice, Min-jung brings up how Do-hee is the exact opposite and is likened to a “rotten tree” that she’s climbing to ascend up the political ladder.

Kyung-sook more than holds her own, pointing out that Do-hee is courageous for turning away from that line of work. Not only that, but she also goes on the attack. Kyung-sook brings up the chemical plant not being demolished and relocated despite residents asking for this to happen. Min-jung is turning away from the wishes of the people, but as she tries to deflect it away, Kyung-sook keeps going and talks her into a corner, admitting that she will demolish the plant if reelected, which puts her in a bad spot with the chairwoman currently funding their campaign, on the basis of keeping this plant operational.

A guy called Soo-ho shows up at the debate too, just in time, as the Q&A part of the night goes ahead. The question is planted to go against Seo, including the ethical boundaries of politicians and where she thinks the line is drawn. She clearly recognizes the guy and it catches her off-guard completely. Why? Well, it turns out this handsome man is someone whom she had an affair with. She also illegally used corporate funding to get him a violin that cost an absolute fortune.

Seo is not happy and lashes out at Ma Joong-seok, Do-hee’s ex-husband, who has clearly underestimated his wife. With her on the ropes, the group take a recess, where Do-hee speaks to Kyung-sook and decides they should burn the place down and go in completely unscripted.

Do-hee knows that the moderator is completely in Min-jung’s pocket, given the break periods scheduled, but a question about unifying the two groups to make sure there’s a female Mayor for the first time, catches them off-guard. Kyung-sook is all for it and pushes Seo to follow suit but she does not.

As a result, Kyung-sook ditches her corset and decides to stand up as her authentic self this time. Min-jung has no comeback to her ploy to become a righteous leader and root corruption out of the different parties and as such, it’s a resounding win for Kyung-sook. It also seemingly shatters Seo’s prospects of winning the next election too.

Kyung-sook’s corset stunt and being her own authentic self strikes a chord with Do-hee, who agrees to let the woman call the shots with some of the decision making here. The pair share a toast at the top of the rooftop as the real fight looks set to begin,

Yoon sees all of this take place and decides that it’s not a bad thing for them but something that allows them to have fun with the elections and really lean into winning this with everything they have. Part of that comes from Jae-min being his usual charismatic self, giving a big speech about the Green Party he’s operating under.

In front of the press, Chae-ryoung steals the limelight from him and decides to tell everyone that she’s not d0ing well right now and she’s currently got over malignant tumors and is subject to heightened stress. All of this makes Jae-min look like the caring husband to stay by her side, and as he kisses her, the crowd starts cheering. Yoon is happy with Jae-min’s improvised kiss and the family celebrate that night. Chae-ryoung though, promises her husband that this is the last time she’s ever doing anything like this again.

Down in the parking lot, Min-jung speaks to Do-hee as she shows up. The party leader threatens Do-hee and even tries to slap her in the face, but Do-hee brings up Chairwoman Cheon and her part to play in all this. Min-jung attempts, in vain, to try and get help as she rushes off with her tail between her legs, but the Chairwoman refuses, telling Min-jung that she needs to show what she’s made of and do this alone.

Kyung-sook shows up at Sangah Market, where all the angry residents are still working. None of them want anything to do with her, and in fact she’s even sprayed with water too. The residents all begin throwing lettuce at her but her son shows and tries to protect her.

When Kyung-sook chases after her son, he points out how she’s never been there for him when he needed her. He never had a mum that was righteous and stood up for him, only for the greater cause, and subsequently missed plenty of moments precious to him. And unfortunately, now that she’s turned into a villain in these people’s eyes, she’s lost a lot more than she initially thought.

Yoon watches in his car from afar, pointing out that this is what happens when you go up against your own people. They’ll turn on you in a dime the minute something goes wrong. While this is going on, Do-hee does her research on the Leah Company and what part this has to play when it comes to the redevelopment plans for Chairwoman Son’s big skyscraper, called The Heaven of Asia.

Chairwoman Son talks a big game and she knows that this building is far too lavish for the poor to afford but that glimmer of hope is enough to entice the masses to follow the Pied Piper, even to their own doom. And in this case, the Pied Piper is Jae-min, pretending to be the people’s champ.

Do-hee is not about to let this go lying down, and she brings in a new player to the game – Cho-rong. She’s a reporter that immediately points out that The Leah Company is a multinational organization based in the Virgin Islands that has control over the redevelopment plans. She throws serious shade over Eunsung’s fake plans to redevelop, calling into question why a foreign corporation, which has no roots in Korea, is in charge of this. Who’s behind Leah Company? And why?

To counter this, Chairwoman Son decides that the Deputy Mayor needs to throw himself under the bus, and in doing so the district will go down slightly in land value. The Chairwoman will then step in and give a slight rent deduction to continue playing the part of fake heroes.

Chairwoman Son is so confident that nothing will go awry, that she doesn’t see Do-hee come in and completely destroy everything. In fact, he announces before everyone that the Leah Company is on hold with its permits until the new Mayor comes in and then they will decide the future of the redevelopment. This was Do-hee’s plans all along, using blackmail material against Eunsung. If the redevelopment at Sangah District ends, they’ll be losing 2.8 billion won per day. If an investigation is held, it could cause huge problems financially for them too, and Chairwoman Son is livid.

Son shows up to see Do-hee and as the pair stare one another down, this tense showdown comes to a close.

The Episode Review

Queenmaker is really starting to crank up the heat now with an episode that doubles down on the politics, but also on the drama between Eunsung and Do-hee. The latter has very clearly got a knack for building public figures and portraying them in the most positive light possible. Kyung-sook is a force to be reckoned with, but then so too is Jae-min.

It’s clear that this battle is about to take a turn for the ugly, as Son’s redevelopment plans go up in smoke and everything is left precariously hanging in the balance. There are shades of Penthouse, Eve and even Vincenzo coming into play now and you can really see the influences throughout these different episodes.

Queenmaker has plenty of dramatic beats and that cliffhanger ending will inevitably entice you on to watch the next one!

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