The Poisoned Prince
Episode 6 of Under The Queen’s Umbrella begins with Hwa-Ryeong consumed by grief. The palace is silent, with everyone mourning the loss of the Crown Prince. However, physician Kwon is not allowed to mourn, instead tortured by the Chief State Councillor, who is convinced that the alternate medicine is the reason why the Crown Prince has passed away.
While he remains silent, forced to endure this torture, in the palace, all the scholars decide they need to appoint another Crown Prince immediately. The King though learns that the investigation into the Crown Prince has been delayed under the pretence that he may well have been poisoned. The State Councillor believes this is the alternate medicine, but doesn’t want that Crown Prince position to remain vacant for long. The King brushes aside their concerns and decides to keep it vacant until he’s confident the cause of death has been established.
Rumours spread through the palace once more, with the physicians discussing poisoning while the Concubines are far more elaborate, pointing to murder.
Due to the circumstances in the palace, Hwa-Ryeong hastens her plans for her sons, deciding to do what she can to teach them how to be part of the court. Given the scrutiny over each of them right now, Hwa-Ryeong holds Gyeseong’s hand and tells them all that they can no longer do what they want anymore. This, is of course, a reference to him dressing up like a woman.
As for Seongnam, he wants to leave the palace, ravaged by grief. However, Hwa-Ryeong encourages him to think of what his brother would want. Given how close their bond has been in the past, it would seem he’d want to continue on.
The Crown Princess is convinced that the court ladies are trying to poison her food and intentionally make her children ill. While some brush it off as hysterical and a consequence of grief, Hwa-Ryeong refuses to indulge this and points out that there could well be foul play. Hwa-Ryeong learns from the King that he’s investigating all of these poisoning claims in secret, wanting to know whether the Crown Prince was actually killed or not. Hwa-Ryeong hopes that’s not the case and goes on to tell the King he no longer needs to check on her at night anymore.
In the morning, Court Lady Shin is questioned by the Chief State Councillor, much to the disdain of Hwa-Ryeong. When she finds out, she’s not exactly happy. Hwa-Ryeong tells the State Councillor that next time she needs to be consulted and in fact, she’s going to handle this herself.
Back inside, Hwa-Ryeon talks to Shin and points out that the State Councillor is doing all this because he wants to create a reason to begin the Taekhyeon. If he finds out about the medicine being used from outside then it would seem like the Crown Prince has been killed and that won’t pose well for anyone – especially the Queen
Now, the Taekhyeon is no simple selection process. It’s a battle of wits and could well cost lives too, especially if Hwa-Ryeong’s conversation with Consort Tae is anything to go by. As we know, she wants Prince Bogeom as the Crown Prince. Hwa-Ryeong reminds her that if she jumps into this rashly, then she may not be protected and Bogeom could be hurt… or worse.
That night, the State Councilor is visited by Consort Hwang. She implores him to stop the investigation. Physician Kwon may mention her name if pushed too far, as it turns out she’s actually involved in this. Hwang wasn’t trying to kill him but wanted to teach the Crown Prince a lesson and depose him so she could enact her own son, Uiseong, as the Crown Prince. Despite losing several episodes back, she’s convinced it’s the wrong move.
It’s a massive reveal and something that puts the State Councillor in a precarious situation. Hwang suggests they use Kwon and blackmail him, given he’s the only one who can touch a royal and clearly, after all this torture, knows how to hold his tongue.
Speaking of which, Hwa-Ryeong learns from Physician Kwon some time later, that he decocted the medicine in the medicine room of the royal clinic. He never left the room and tells her hyeolhogwol is the only reason the Crown Prince could have died. Of course, Hwa-Ryeong is unaware that Consort Hwang and the State Councillor have forced him to hold his tongue.
News of the investigation stopping spreads across the palace but Hwa-Ryeong immediately suspects something up and tells Court Lady Shin to keep an eye on the State Councillor just incase he acts rashly.
There’s tension between the different princes too, and the issues bubbling up with Uiseong hit fever pitch that afternoon. He trades sword blows with his brother and it eventually leads to the latter punished for almost hurting Uiseong badly.
Meanwhile, the Grand Princes begin their training, with ice cold baths and debates about various topics. This is, of course, all Hwa-Ryeong’s doing to try and mould one of them into becoming a proper Crown Prince. She knows the Taekhyeon isn’t an effective means of getting a good Crown Prince.
The Queen Dowager receives news that Hwa-Ryeong has met Deposed Queen Yoon, while Consort Tae works to try and gain support for Prince Bogeom. At the same time as all this, news of the Queen using medicine from the outside reaches the State Councillor and he immediately heads to the Royal Clinic to learn more.
Gritting nowhere, he requests everyone attend the courtyard in the palace, including the King and Queen, as well as Physician Kwon who’s still strapped to the chair, dry blood stained on him.
Slowly but surely, details of the herbs come out and as a result, the State Councillor is absolutely adamant that this is the cause of the Crown Prince’s death. Facing the barrel of the gun, Hwa-Ryeong turns things around and accuses the State Councillor, going on to mention how the previous Crown Prince was also poisoned, trying to tie all of this together. The King has heard enough, and in the wake of all this drama, draws everything to a tenuous conclusion.
In the aftermath of this, the Queen Dowager and Hwa-Ryeong come to blows, trading venomous verbal retorts. She knows Hwa-Ryeong visited the deposed Queen and if she doesn’t admit to everything, she intends to expose her. Hwa-Ryeong is backed into a corner and forced to admit the truth about the medicine.
Before that, she visits the Crown Princess and spends some time with them. However, she notices a sketch of the nursemaid that her grandson, Won Son, has drawn. Upon some gentle questioning, Won Son reveals that he and the nursemaid have been playing a “secret game” which includes her prodding him with a needle.
Checking his arm, Hwa-Ryeong is shocked to find numerous puncture marks and immediately tells him to spit his food out, realizing that the Crown Princess was right. He’s being poisoned.
The Episode Review
So Under The Queen’s Umbrella comes to a really dramatic conclusion, one that confirms that the Queen Dowager and the State Councillor will go to any lengths to usurp Hwa-Ryeong and take her out. Now that the truth about the medicine has been unveiled, it spells bad news for Hwa-Ryeong and her children, as this snake pit looks like its primed full of venomous snakes ready to strike.
The King is certainly caught in the middle of this and is stuck in a precarious position. He can’t exactly go against the scholars completely as he’d lose their support, and he can’t fully bend to the Queen Dowager’s wishes as he knows she’d take full advantage of it and instil the Crown Prince she wants.
Everything here is left hanging in the balance and the ending hints that there are definitely traitors in the midst, and the Crown Princess mentioning the poisoning earlier wasn’t hysterical but in fact, part of this elaborate scheme. Everyone will need to tread lightly now!