Under the Queen’s Umbrella – K-Drama Episode 11 Recap & Review

The Final Test

Episode 11 of Under the Queen’s Umbrella starts with the final examination about to get underway. It’s down to three men and quite who will become Crown Prince is anyone’s guess; Uiseong, Bogeom and Sangseong remain.

The trio are all briefed by the King. He encourages them to choose a question they’d like to ask the Crown Prince candidates if they were King, intent on selecting the best talent. Seongnam brings up Uiseong and how the people are bemoaning that the King is just a puppet, persuading him to include this as part of the examination.

In order to swing things back in the Dowager’s favour, now knowing that Seongnam is in the lead following this material for the exam, she gets Ijojoeongrang (Section Chief of the Ministry of Personnel) involved. Handing over a gift, the intent is clear. If he stands by the Dowager and supports her choice of Crown Prince, then the sons of these section chiefs will be ascended into office when Bogeom becomes Crown Prince.

While this is going on, the State Councilor tries to counteract by enticing officials himself, immediately going for the Minister of Justice. Hwa-Ryeong is well aware of this conflict and has intentionally allowed this to fester. After all, if her enemies are split between Uiseong and Bogeom, it gives Seongnam more chance to ascend.

Uiseong takes the lead with the votes, but word spreads of his awful abuse of servants and as such, begins to fall behind. One of the scholars lets Hwang know as they scramble to work out what to do next. She realizes the only person who can fix this is the Queen Dowager, so the State Councilor and Hwang come crawling back, pleading with the Dowager to help support them and Prince Uiseong.

This puts Dowager in a powerful position, essentially getting to choose between the two Princes, and with the promise of Hwang not ascending to Queen should her son be chosen, it puts even more power in Dowager’s lap.

Dowager seems to make her choice and speaks to Consort Tae and Bogeom, suggesting the latter pull out of the contest. Given Tae made a promise to support Dowager no matter what she asks, she’s horrified to find her morals tested. She could die for defying the Dowager but, as tears fall down her face, she’s defiant in her stand and refuses to let her son lose, pointing out that this is not right and just.

However, Bogeom decides to drop out all the same, the stinging words of Dowager rattling around in his brain. After all, a prince from a low-ranking mother will never become Crown Prince.

Hwa-Ryeong is not happy with the meddling and immediately heads in to see the scholars, questioning their misconduct and morals. She’s not going to incriminate those who have sent the messages out, smuggled in chamber pots and found by the servants, but this is their last chance to keep their integrity in check. She burns the evidence before them and tells the King she’s not found anything, but as a result of Hwa-Ryeong’s actions, all the scholars decide to do the right thing and burn their notes. They’re going to do this properly and not taint the competition.

Speaking of tainting, Consort Tae is demoted to servant and told to clean Hwa-Ryeong’s chamber. Although she does well, Hwa-Ryeong is told to do it again after finishing the entire room. She’s not allowed any help either and it’s back-breaking work. Eventually Hwa-Ryeong speaks to her and points out that her greed has clouded her vision, making it so she couldn’t see that Bogeom was being used and could have been hurt.

Hwa-Ryeong is such a just and fair Queen with great values, and she eventually tells Tae that she looks terrible, with a friendly smile crossing her face.

As it turns out, the Queen spoke to Bogeom prior to this who encouraged her not to hurt Tae too much. Hwa-Ryeong is fair, going on to tell him that he has every right to go for the position of Crown Prince and shouldn’t question his lineage. However, as he’s dropped out now then the position he should go for is one of the King’s trusted aides, and this position is not only valuable but also steeped in prestige. “When things are tough, it is okay to say so.” Hwa-Ryeong says, holding the boy’s hands and encouraging him to open up. As a result of all this, Consort Tae begins smiling again and it brings Bogeom and Tae closer together than before.

Just before the evaluation results are decided, the State Councilor blurts out that there’s a rumour involving Grand Prince Seongnam spreading. Apparently he grew up outside the palace and is not of royal blood. This would mean that Seongnam can’t become Crown Prince and the only solution is to test his blood to get to the bottom of this.

It’s another ruse and one that delays the outcome, with enough time for the officials to enact their plan. It turns out snake blood has been mixed in on the sly by Hwang and the State Councilor, tainting the water that’s used to test the blood. As a result, Hwa-Ryeong has the same water tested for Consort Hwang and the State Councilor, and it proves the same outcome – they’ve botched the competition.

Off the back of this, the King demands that capital punishment be led against anyone who speaks ill of the Princes or questions their lineage. After this scathing speech, Seongnam is declared the winner. Despite that, Uiseong is not backing down.

In confidence, he speaks to Hwang and the State Councilor, telling them he’s intent on bring the King down from his position with whatever means they can.

The Episode Review

Under the Queen’s Umbrella returns this week with another intriguing episode, one that sees the contest finally decided and Seongnam named the winner. It was perhaps predictable that this would occur, but there’s some nice developments all the same, namely that involving the blood test and Consort Tae’s revelation.

Hwa-Ryeong is very much a just Queen and you can see how fair she is from the way she treats the different people who betray her. It would be very easy just to have kicked Consort Tae out completely, but instead Hwa-Ryeong knows they could be super loyal and uses her kindness – just like she did with Consort Ko – to turn things in her favour.

With Uiseong plotting to usurp the throne and Seongnam now ascending to the position of Crown Prince, the door is left wide open for where this one may go next.

Previous Episode

Next Episode

You can read our full season review for Under the Queen’s Umbrella here!

  • Episode Rating

Leave a comment