The Fate Of The Realm
Episode 5 of Under The Queen’s Umbrella begins with news of the Crown Prince’s health spreading through the palace. The King is shocked when he finds out he’s suffering from Hyeolheogwol. He demands the Prince be examined again but the physicians point out that further examination could cause him more harm, given it’s in the advanced stages. With a history of hemophobia and the words of Master Toji still echoing in her mind, Hwa-Ryeong tells them not to do this.
The King suddenly bursts into action. He demands the palace guards imprison Physician Kwon and escort Hwa-Ryeong back to her chambers. She’s been suspended from all palace activities and isn’t allowed to see the Crown Prince either. And that includes her sons, who try in vain to get through.
The Queen Dowager arrives and tells them to leave, but Sangseon is defiant, refusing to turn a blind eye. This is a common occurrence between the two, as we see from a brief flashback from the Dowager telling him to do as much.
Meanwhile, the Queen works tirelessly, as she’s tasked with transcribing Confucius texts and Dodeokgyeong as punishment for her actions. Court Lady Shin suggests she pace herself and slow down, given she’s been given 5 days. Of course, she doesn’t listen, and manages to transcribe the whole lot, immediately calling in the Royal Eunuch and demanding to know if the Crown Prince is still alive – he is.
The Crown Prince hasn’t regained consciousness just yet though, but Hwa-Ryeong urges the Royal Eunuch not to leave the Crown Prince along with anyone, especially Physician Cho, as his life hangs in the balance.
Chief State Councillor Hwang continues to scheme, deciding they should have the patriotic scholars submit petitions to the King. In doing so, it would make them stronger united together… and with the Queen Dowager overseeing everything of course.
Now, all of these guys have come together in a bid to depose the Crown Prince and send him into exile. Of course, the papers are signed anonymously. Inside the palace, the different scholars speak up one by one… until the Chief State Councillor suddenly stops them all and claims they need to wait. The King also declines the actions immediately.
Outside, the Chief State Councillor smiles at Minister Yoon, telling him that he rejected it immediately to try and throw the King off the scent of who’s working against him. Furthermore, this may have seen him instate one of his other sons to take over, especially if he sensed the Crown Prince was in danger. For now, they’re going to bide their time and wait.
Prince Bogeom is well aware of the scheming going on and speaks to the King that afternoon, telling him not to fall for the Scholars and their dastardly schemes, and to remain vigilant.
Seongnam shows up to see Hwa-Ryeong that night in secret and learns that the alternate medicine may have actually been working. It’s not the cause of the blood after all. Physician Kwon confirms as much, and promises to stay quiet regarding the medicine brought from the outside. Unfortunately, he’s not alone and when Seongsan leaves, the Queen Dowager uses her men to blindfold and demand answers from Kwon, who goes on to reveal he’s working for the Queen.
Despite this, Hwa-yeong uses her contacts to bring in the alternate medicine for the Crown Prince, working with various individuals from different areas of the palace, trading medicine and messages. It seems the bleeding has stopped but the Crown Prince is still unconscious.
Hwa-Ryeong realizes she needs to get out of her chamber, and she does so by getting dressed up in a disguise and heading there alone. She pretends to be a court maid and given most haven’t seen her face and are more interested in other things, she can sneak in and out of different areas. Well, she would have, had it not been for all the ministers outside the King’s quarters, bowing and chanting for the Crown Prince to be deposed.
Hwa-Ryeong sneaks away and sets up a meeting with the deposed Queen Yoon, asking for evidence to support her beliefs that Crown Prince Taein was murdered. Yoon is convinced this is the case and points out that the puppet master was none other than the Queen Dowager.
The Taekhyeon conducted during the previous reign was suggested by the court officials, who cornered the King, but clearly done under the guise of Queen Dowager’s orders. And now, Queen Dowager shows up to see the King in the wake of the deposition and tells him to accept their request. “You will not be able to stop them,” The Dowager says, going on to question the King’s lineage. Without their support, he won’t have the throne and he could actually lose everything, given he’s a son of a concubine.
With everything hanging in the balance, Hwa-Ryeong shows up in her normal gear and confronts each of the different ministers, questioning what they’re doing and wondering whether this is actually just or not. She points out the contradiction of wanting the best for the Kingdom but also undermining the lineage and throwing the realm into chaos. “What is it you are truly after?” She demands, as Chief State Councillor steps up and asks the same thing of her.
Things escalate and look set to explode, until the King tells them all that any plans to kill the Crown Prince and overthrow him will be classed as treason, especially with the Crown Prince struggling and still alive. This breaks up the scholars’ coup, at least for now.
Just like that, Hwa-Ryeong learns that the Crown Prince has awoken, just for a moment. Hwa-Ryeong rushes to his chamber… but it’s too late. The Crown Prince has passed away. Hwa-Ryeong is shocked, and she remembers her son’s words, telling her to remains strong and look after her sons.
The Episode Review
Oh dear, things do not look good now. With the Crown Prince having passed away, it leaves many questions hanging over the throne, including the future of the realm and quite who will take over the Crown Prince. We already know that the Queen Dowager is working to usurp his place at the top, but now that the Crown Prince has died, she’ll likely double her efforts to squeeze out the King’s power.
Seeing Hwa-Ryeong using her steely determination and power through this episode is great to see and reinforces what a strong character she is through all of it. However, we haven’t seen a whole lot of her other sons, which is a bit disappointing. There’s plenty more time for that to change though so we’ll have to wait and see.
Of course, if you’ve seen previous historical dramas then you know the score by now! We can expect plenty more scheming and drama in the episodes ahead, but for now episode 6 promises to be quite the cracker.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|