Episode 14 of Under the Queen’s Umbrella begins with us in the past, as Kwon bows before his mother. Kwon is actually Ik-Hyeon, and Yoon tells him to survive at any cost. With Master Toji (Yoo Sang-Uk) keeping this a secret too, the boy is swapped places with Seong-Seon, who’s told to serve the Queen well, as he’s switched with Kwon, who limps away with Sang-Uk. Seong-Seon settles right in to this facade, adopting the limp.
Back in the present, Hwang is forced to reveal the truth she’s been hiding over who Uiseong’s father actually is. She also drinks the tea too, proving it’s not poisoned and going on to reveal Uiseong is actually the Queen’s firstborn child.
This gives the Dowager a fair amount of ammo to work with. She’s intent on keeping Uiseong alive though, knowing that Queen Yoon has experienced losing a child before and intends to use this to her advantage. However, this also makes her more determined than ever to find who his father is.
Meanwhile, Hwa-Ryeong manages to convince the King to have Taein’s death re-examined again, more confident than ever that this was murder. He points out that this is dangerous and questions why she’s raising suspicions. Despite being on the throne for 20 years, it’s a precarious position to be in and the slightest sign of weakness will see his enemies pounce on it. As a result, the King outright rejects her suggestion.
Given the Dowager is well aware that Uiseong’s parentage is being called into question, it puts them all in danger. The Chief State Councilor is startled to find himself face to face with Sang-Uk soon after. Some quick, scathing retorts are thrown across the table before Uiseong gets things back on track. Also on their side is Physician Kwon, whom we know has been playing both sides but shows his true colours here as part of this usurping squad.
Seongnam and Hwa-Ryeong know this and believe they’re going to use Consort Hwang as a pawn to poison the King and take him out the equation.
The whole reason they’re recruiting the Chief State Councilor so hard here is so they can get their hands on the original autopsy report for Crown Prince Taein. As we know, this is the last bit of evidence that could be used against them. The Councilor doesn’t have it though and quickly tells the others that Cho Guk-yeong is the one who killed Taein on orders from the Queen Dowager.
Hwa-Ryeong manages to see the gajangsacho, which confirms that the cause of death was murder and, specifically, poison. The lacerations across his chest hint that this is where he was scratching at his chest to try and dispel the toxins inside his body.
However, it has been under orders from the current King to keep this a secret and not investigate further. It dawns on Hwa-Ryeong that His Majesty was aware that Crown Prince Taein was poisoned to death, and he actually burned the evidence too.
Cheong-Ha finds herself under pressure to make sure she consummates her marriage to Seongnam and as a result, it causes her to start doubting her own abilities. Cheong-Ha immediately heads round the palace, determined to learn more about her husband. She speaks to Seongnam’s brothers, who all cheer her on and claim to be by her side.
Queen Dowager knows exactly what she’s doing and has Dowager’s personal court maid on the prowl across the Palace. Dowager tells her to keep an eye on Muan’s quarters, concocting a rumour in the meantime that Cheong-Ha is sleeping with Muan because Seongnam has something wrong with his reproductive organs.
Hwa-Ryeong is shocked when she finds out and works double time to cut that out. In fact, all the court ladies are tasked with keeping an eye on the Crown Prince and Princess, making sure they do what they can to make the pair consummate the marriage. That comes from special brews, over-intensive needs being met and special medicinal baths too.
That night, the room is all prepped for them both, complete with wedding drinks and food to try and break the tension. Cheong-Ha tells her husband she wants them to be comfortable with one another like they were on the island, and both end up drinking a shot of soju. And then another. And another. And so much that they both pass out.
In the morning, Cheong-Ha confirms that they didn’t actually have sex, they just slept next to one another. She thought about taking the next step but wanted it to be special and something they both wanted. When Cheong-Ha asks why he dislikes her, he points out he doesn’t… and then hurries away.
However, something clearly has changed though, as Seongnam finds himself thinking about his night with Cheong-Ha, with little flashes involving him leaning in for a kiss and potentially being on top of her. Did they actually have sex?
Meanwhile, Hwa-Ryeong is dead-set on finding the poison that Kwon used, believing that the acupuncture could have been the real cause for the internal bleeding and coughing. Bringing Kwon in, he reveals the poison used against the Crown Prince in a bid to try and shake any suspicions leveled against him.
Hwa-Ryeong is a tough cookie herself and realizes that the poison happens to be Gansu, the exact thing used to “disinfect” the wounds on the Crown Prince and what happens to be in the medical records. With everything hanging in the balance, Kwon (Ik-Hyeon) poisons Phsyician Cho, desperate to get his hands on the autopsy report and using an antidote as a way of enticing him into action..
Hwa-Ryeong hurries up to Yoon’s place, where she quickly realizes that the young children were switched. As a result, the truth is finally unveiled as Kwon is revealed to be Grand Prince Yeongwon, and the younger brother of Taein. He poisoned the current Crown Prince using the same method and all of this stems from a deep-rooted hatred for the Queen Dowager.
Hwa-Ryeong makes it to the record before Kwon, confronting the man as he begins snooping around for the autopsy report. With the facade gone, she calls him Yi Ik-Hyeon and scathingly points out that she’s found the killer of her son. So what happens now? With the pair at a standstill, the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
So Under the Queen’s Umbrella comes to a shocking conclusion this week, leaving everything hanging in the balance for the final two chapters of this turbulent historical drama. So far, the show has done a great job weaving its conspiratorial plot and these later episodes have really honed in on the court drama to great effect.
However, a couple of elements in this K-drama haven’t quite clicked, namely that of the supporting characters who haven’t been handled that well, alongside the main thrust of the court intrigue. Players like Prince Bogum, Simso, most of the Consorts and even Grand Prince Gyeseong and Ilyoung have shown up for flickers of drama but then disappeared just as quickly.
Despite that though, everything is really hitting fever pitch in this drama, and next week’s finale should be a cracker!