The Queen Selection
Episode 11 of The Forbidden Marriage begins with the King rushing to So-rang and kissing her. In a flashback, we see that while she thought he had forgotten her, he only had eyes for her throughout the bride selection process. She tears up and apologizes. He reveals that he knew she was sincere despite her lies and all he wanted was for her to be alive.
Meanwhile, Shin-won schemes with Hwa-yoon and her father to catch the kidnappers. She goes as far as to offer herself as bait and is sure that Shin-won will save her. He is flustered but agrees. That night, her father makes a show of leaving with all the servants which the queen killer Sang-ju notices.
He and his men head inside and kidnap Hwa-yoon but it turns out to be Shin-won disguised as her. He and his guards easily defeat the kidnappers. He arrests them and asks Sul-rok to bring him the painting of the man who supposedly killed the queen and sees that it is Sang-ju.
The next day, Lady Seo and Hyun-hee flex as if she has already been made queen. They wonder about Hwa-yoon’s abduction and Seo tells her she has a backup plan. While heading to court, Hyun-hee clashes with So-rang and Hwa-yoon as they call her out for cheating.
The Grand Queen Mother hosts tea for the ladies and So-rang notices that Hyeon-hee’s cup is different from the rest. She warns Hwa-yoon who doesn’t drink. Another girl who drinks the tea is poisoned. Hwa-yoon pretends that her cup is replaced with Hyun-hee’s who starts panicking. Hwa-yoon tells the Grand Queen Mother that it seems Hyun-hee knew about the poison and the matriarch is suspicious.
Shin-won tells the King about Sang-ju being the queen killer and he is angry. He tells Minister Cho to interrogate Sang-ju and the latter wonders why.
At the selection, the Grand Queen Mother selects the interim top three girls and Hyun-hee is in first place. But she also asks the girls to grade each other which changes the score and Hwa-yoon ends up in first place. She also confirms that the tea was poisoned and asks the maids to put out their hands. So-rang who had previously checked the tea for Hwa-yoon’s sake develops rashes. The Grand Queen Mother does not believe her reasoning and arrests her.
The King hears of So-rang’s arrest and runs to her. The guards warn him of going against his grandmother’s wishes and he is upset. He asks what happened and she recounts her meeting with the Grand Queen Mother. She had warned her of Hyun-hee and had told her that she knows that the Grand Queen Mother knows who the culprits are. The King wants to free So-rang but she tells him to trust her as she knows the Dowager will make the right decision.
Minister Cho unwillingly interrogates Sang-ju who stays silent. The King tells Sang-ju that if he did indeed kill his wife then Minister Cho will have to kill him and his family. Sang-ju reveals while he was the mastermind behind the kidnappings and even the Crown Princess’ killer, he was protecting those who ordered him. Minister Cho tries to calm the King who is furious but the latter looks at him and promises to find the real culprit.
The next day, Shin-won meets with So-rang and promises her that he has been looking into the bribery. He assures her that he will free her and at that moment Court Lady Won returns. So-rang hugs her and asks if she found her family. Won remembers finding her husband who has now remarried her sister and are raising her son. So-rang wonders if her love too will end up with her sister. Won promises to help her take down Hyun-hee.
Won testifies that she never bribed the court ladies who call her a liar. She notices one young court lady, Seol-ah crying and asks her to tell her the truth. Seol-ah confesses that someone else bribed them. Having done her work, Won meets Head Eunuch Se-jang. He is happy to see her and they smile.
So-rang is freed on the basis of Won’s testimony and she runs to the King who is waiting for her at their love nest. Meanwhile, Cho and Lady Seo are angry that Sang-ju betrayed them. He also reveals that he was the one who planned the marriage ban and now it is time to make Hyun-hee queen so that they can cover up their tracks.
At Aedaldang, the villagers ask Gwang Yi who will make it in the final round of the selection. He guesses Hwa-yoon and Hyeon-seon and they don’t believe him. He promotes Aedaldang’s marriage compatibility business for when the marriage ban lifts and they get excited. Hae-young worries about So-rang and Gwang Yi tells her to let her live her fate.
Meanwhile, the protestors consisting of the fools, Painter Jeong and his readers wonder how they can make sure the selection is a success and the marriage ban is lifted. They decide to get all the readers to protest at the palace during the final round. At the prison, Cho’s guard goes to kill Sang-ju and sees he is missing. He tells Cho while someone suspicious kidnaps So-rang. Se-jang tells the King that they have a witness who saw So-rang.
The next day, the readers protest on the street to lift the marriage ban. Hae-young and Gwang Yi are curious and join them. Lady Seo laughs at the commotion while she heads to meet the Grand Queen Mother with her husband. But she is stopped as the Dowager talks to the Minister alone. The Grand Queen Mother hints that she knows Lady Seo is meeting with the selection committee behind her back. She asks him about his second daughter and he is flustered.
Hwa-yoon and Hyeon-hee make it to the final round and the last test is for them to answer why they should be the mother of the country. Hwa-yoon says she doesn’t have a reason and won’t mind if the woman named Hyeon-seon becomes the queen. Outside, the protest gets louder and the Grand Queen Mother is excited to tell them the result. The King approaches her and tells her he will join her even though he doesn’t know who the winner is.
He invites the protestors into the palace and tells them about the murders which is why he couldn’t lift the ban. The Grand Queen Mother arrives and announces that Hyeon-seon is the winner. As Hyun-hee steps forward, So-rang appears and goes to the Grand Queen Mother.
The Episode Review
Feels odd to see So-rang being all righteous like willingly being locked up so she can help the Grand Queen Mother find the culprits. But we do get our audacious heroine back as she boldly announces her true identity when the Grand Queen Mother announces Hyeon-seon as the queen.
We do hope to get some sort of resolution as the Grand Queen Mother has constantly been suspicious of Hyun-hee and Lady Seo. And for her to finally not step up and say anything in the next episode would be uncharacteristic of her.
With only one episode left, it seems the finale will be quite action-packed as we have tons of loose ends that need tying up such as Sang-ju’s disappearance, Lady Seo and Cho’s revenge, Shin-won’s happiness along with So-rang and the King’s marriage.
With Hwa-yoon pretty much stealing the spotlight in episode 11 of The Forbidden Marriage, we do hope we get a season 2 that follows her arc from the webtoon or at least a finale that does her character justice.
You can read our full season review for The Forbidden Marriage here!