Three Princes Remain
Episode 10 of Under The Queen’s Umbrella begins with Hwa-Ryeong questioning Hwang over her involvement with Physician Kwon. She brings up how her stomach ulcer was treated and tests the waters of her loyalty, retorting how she wants to try and find him. Hwang apparently hasn’t heard from him lately either, so Hwa-Ryeong tasks her Court Ladies to find out if there’s a connection between Kwon and the Chief State Councillor.
She’s interrupted though by Grand Prince Muan. It turs out he’s been wooed by a lovely Courtesan called Cho-Wol whom he’s in bed with.
When he awakens and heads back to the palace, Hwa-Ryeong is livid and immediately confronts her son. She demands to know what he’s doing and eventually forces him into the quarters, telling him he’s not going to be Crown Prince.
Well, that’s a relief for Muan but not for Hwa-Ryeong. When her son asks to take Cho-Wol as his concubine it’s the last straw and she immediately sends him away and confronts the woman in question.
Cho-Wol seems pretty sincere, and refuses to take back her love for him, which apparently is genuine. She reminds Hwa-Ryeong of the lessons she once told of class and stature being immaterial but Hwa-Ryeong shrugs that off, claiming that she should be resented, well aware of her hypocrisy but remaining stead-fast in her fierce loyalty and love for her children. This is why she’s taking a firm stance.
Flashbacks give further weight to this, as we see Hwa-Ryeong standing up for the downtrodden before a nobleman who’s claiming that a woman (Cho-Wol) – who is physically hurt and with cuts all over her – apparently wasn’t raped. Hwa-Ryeong sees straight through this facade and once her position is revealed, everyone drops to their knees, with the nobleman admitting all of his crimes. Cho-Wol, as a result, lived a good life.
Park Gyeong-U certainly has more than a few secrets up his sleeves. From pretending to be blind a few episodes back to a potential coup involving money laundering, the Princes decide to join their energies together, reading through all the documents and realizing what it all means.
It turns out the defrauded money that Gyeong-U has been taking has been used in a positive manner. He used the funds to pay off the villagers’ debts to Uichang, the Righteous Granaries. On this day, the village has finally paid off the grains they took out from Uichang.
The additional three-tenths that Gyeong-U took is right there, creating a cooperative community and allowing Manwol Island to thrive, even with the difficult ocean quahog business.
Having found all of this out, the Princes deduce that Gyeong-U works for the people, rather than the King, so he can continue to do great work. He chuckles knowingly and decides to go with them. Funnily enough, he actually knew the pair would be coming, having received word from the King ahead of time and requested to judge them both fairly.
Meanwhile, Monk Haehim shows off the royal edict he has on his possession. With little other choice, he accepts Uiseong’s proposal… but on one condition. He wants Uiseong to kill the other inspector he came with. That’s a bold move and something that immediately sends alarm bells ringing for Consort Hwang and the Chief State Councillor.
As a result, Hwang decides to reveal the big secret about Gyeseong, intent on trying to drag the queen down along with the Grand Prince, and allowing her Prince to rise. Part of this plan involves stopping Gyeseong, knocking him out and catching him alive.
With Gyeseong caught and hung from a tree, Hwang’s plan here is to make it look like a suicide off the back of the King finding out about his “terrible secret.”
Consort Ko though is reluctant about handing it over, especially after Hwa-Ryeong’s words of comfort to her last time. When she eventually shows off the scroll, Hwa-Ryeong suddenly shows and asks the Consort to hand it over. Hwang immediately brings up Gyeseong’s “horrible secret”.
The King is given the scroll before any of this escalates, and he unravels it. Within, it shows… a random portrait. Hwang is shocked, and even more so when a wonderful archer manages to shoot the rope down and save Gyeseong from a horrific fate.
As a result, Hwang is punished by Hwa-Ryeong, Ko comes through for Hwa-Ryeong after revealing ahead of time about the portrait and switching it over. Her quick thinking has essentially saved Gyeseong’s life, who’s back at the palace and recovering. His composite sketch is also back, but when he awakens, Hwa-Ryeong points out that lots of people know his secret and he needs to keep this hidden.
Gyeseong though only cares about informing the King of the upcoming rebellion that Seo Ham-Deok plans to start. The thing is, the King already knows and Ham-Deok has actually been arrested, following Uiseong outing his secret about the rebellion.
At the same time, Seongnam and Chang-Ho talk, with the latter admitting that she really likes him The pair glance longingly into one another’s eyes, watching the sunrise together. She hopes he will think of her in the future, as the escort sets off back for the royal palace.
It’s a good time to reveal who’s actually left in the Taekhyeon. Given how many started this journey, we’re down to three princes. Uiseong, Bogeom and Seongnam. Hwa-Ryeong is proud of her boys but the contest is not done yet, there’s still a chance that Seongnam can come through. Fingers crossed! They’re all up for the final evaluation.
However, it’s not all smiles and laughter with the consorts, as Hwang is demoted down to the lowest rank and forced to swallow her pride.
The final evaluation is not going to take place at the palace though. Instead, it’s going to be made by the confucian scholars of Sungkyunkwan. The governors are not happy but the King is clever, having left it to the juniors on purpose and turned the Chief State Councillor to his side too, given the attempt on Seongnam’s life that he knows about.
This way, the scholars won’t be corrupt or bought out by those in power and the final evaluation can be judged evenly and fairly. Who will come out on top? We’ll have to wait and see!
The Episode Review
The Taekhyeon is just starting to heat up now and the final evaluation is upon us. This episode has done a great job bringing everything to the foreground and now we’re down to the final 3 men remaining.
It would seem that Seongnam is going to come out of this on top, and potentially with his future princess, Cheong-Ha. This would certainly give them two a reason for spending so much time together and opens up a lot of possibilities for the future.
Meanwhile, the show manages to continue delivering with its various moments and subplots, with Gyeseong’s secret thankfully staying that way thanks to Ko turning across to Hwa-Ryeong’s side. The redemptive arc for her has been great to watch and it really does show that kindness is just as effective – if not more effective – than outright violence and wickedness.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella has been a really solid watch this year and although there are a lot of moving parts, the drama is undoubtedly still just as exciting as it was. Roll on the next chapter!