Episode 4 of Under The Queen’s Umbrella picks up with Grand Prince Seongnam checking out the smoky remnants of Gyeseong’s hidden house. He realizes something is untoward but that’s not all. He also bursts into the chambers and finds the Crown Prince is sickly and receiving treatment.
Hwa-Ryeong shows up and points out that she has plans to signify the King what’s happening but right now, it’s imperative they keep this a secret The Crown Prince is suffering from Hyeolheogwol, which is something that Crown Prince Taein also had in the past.
Unfortunately, the records have all been destroyed and the Crown Prince could die if they don’t cure this effectively. If Hwa-Ryeong makes the wrong move here, especially arousing suspicions inside the palace, it could spell disaster for their family.
Gyeseong makes his decision to drop out of the exams and feeds that back to his brother later on. The pair sit and drink together, with Gyeseong playfully telling Seongnam not to pry on the secret he holds with their mother.
As for Grand Prince Seongnam, he heads into town in order to find a physician to treat this horrible disease. It’ll cost a lot, but he has more than enough silver to do the job. However, he’s not the only one out on the prowl. That tricksy old government minister is out too and this puts Hwa-Ryeong in a difficult position.
With the King pushing for the Crown Prince to be seen to by Royal Physician Cho, it could well give away the truth about the Hyeolheogwol before they’ve found someone to treat him.
In the wake of all this drama, the second exam approaches. The King suggests they change this so it’s conducted through a debate. That way, the total score will be calculated through aggregate scores. This obviously angers half the ministers, especially those who are corrupt – like the Chief State Councillor – as it means it’ll be harder to get their chose Cohort in.
Speaking of which, the Chief State Councillor speaks to the Queen Dowager and brings up the rumours about the Crown Prince being sick. In fact, he wants her help in getting Prince Uiseong selected as the Cohort. He asks the Queen Dowager to help him as he helped her 20 years back.
Bae Do-Hun is an expert at writing exams and he’s hired to help Prince Bogeom. However, Bogeom rejects the help, wanting to do this the correct way and not cheat his way to success. So naturally, with Prince Gyeseong withdrawing, Hwa-Ryeong shows up to support Seongnam the next day.
The thing is, Uiseong is obviously getting an unfair amount of support from the palace, and with the debate solely on sickly diseases and stopping the spread of plagues, each of the trio give their two-cents, bringing up the pros and cons of dealing with this.
After, Seongnam heads back to the village where he learns a physician has been found…but he can’t see him. In fact, no one can. He’s kept inside a heavily guarded area so Seongnam sneaks in under a cart of hay and proceeds to search for the doctor who can help his brother. The guy’s name is Master Toji, and he’s easy to recognize by the scar across his cheek.
Seongnam sticks around and helps the physician out, where he learns crucial details about what’s happening with his brother. Although the Crown Prince isn’t bleeding a lot now, as a child it took a long time for him to stop bleeding.
As a result, Master Toji informs him that acupuncture is the worst treatment they could give him. In fact, he could actually die. Toji informs Seongnam to pass on to the physicians that they need to wait until the acupuncture spots are clear before proceeding. He also hands over a list of herbs that can help with this, and points him in the direction of the dispensary.
After handing over all the money he has, Seongnam sneaks under the makeshift boards running through the village and blends in with the locals. Well, I say blend in, he basically runs back! Unfortunately, he’s been hoodwinked by Master Toji, with those in the dispensary confirming that he needs to pay for the medicine there. Thankfully, one of the Consorts helps him out and offers up some collateral. Of course, this is all part of her plan as she wants to see Seongnam again.
After sneaking out all day, Hwa-Ryeong is ready for her sons as they sneak back into the palace after-hours following a pretty eventful day of partying and playing. Hwa-Ryeong punishes them, pointing out how dangerous it is out there, even if they failed the exam.
The youngest, Prince Simso admits that this was the most enjoyable day he’s ever had and as a result, they’re let off lightly by their mother, who simply tells them to go to bed.
Seongnam returns to the palace with his list of herbs and instructions from Master Toji. Unfortunately, both the physician and Hwa-Ryeong refuse to pursue this, worried abut the repercussions. When the Crown Prince awakens and overhears, he asks to test this experimental treatment, even if it’s just for a while. As a result, Hwa-Ryeong caves and decides to test the medicine after all.
Meanwhile, all the government officials make their decisions and vote, with Prince Bogeon – not Prince Uiseong – selected as Consort. The Chief State Councillor is absolutely livid with that result. He heads back to see the Queen Dowager, who nonchalantly claims she told the officials to evaluate fairly and choose the best person for the job.
The Queen Dowager goes on to tell him that he needs to bide his time and have some patience, wanting to keep him in check and teach him a lesson. Before things can really escalate, Hwa-Ryeong shows up.
The Chief State Councillor slithers away, leaving the pair to talk. “Has the Crown Prince got better?” She asks. Hwa-Ryeong is cagey and doesn’t reveal much, although the Dowager claims that she wants the Prince to be healthy. If he’s not ready by the Crown Princess’ delivery then she’ll be forced to “take action.” Of course, if his serious condition is outed then it could cause chaos for their family too and Hwa-Ryeong knows that. Dowager could put all of them to death, especially for keeping this from the King’s knowledge.
But for now, all hope rests on this unconventional treatment for the Crown Prince, while the Crown Princess goes into labour and gives birth. It’s a waiting game though, and one that comes out in Hwa-Ryeong’s favour. The treatment works, the Crown Prince arrives to see the King and the Princess, showing himself to be more healthy than he has been in weeks.
However, big problems arise the next day. The Crown Prince suddenly starts bleeding from the mouth and collapses. Hwa-Ryeong holds him, throwing the entire palace into disarray.
The Episode Review
Well, well, well, the Crown Prince may have got better from that alternate medicine, but it would appear that it’s had dire consequences in the form of him collapsing and bleeding from the mouth. Now, it may not be fatal and could just be another symptom, or in a more sinister theory, it could be that the Queen Dowager has decided to poison the Crown Prince.
Either way though, the corruption this time is ramped up while we see far less of Gyeseong and much more of Seongnam instead. This helps to give the show a nice change of pace and allows us to see how Hwa-Ryeong deals with her other sons.
The ending is going to be a big talking point and it leaves the door wide open for where the rest of the season may go. This situation with the Crown Prince has been bubbling up for a while but now it could reach fever pitch. Roll on next week!
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|