Under the Queen’s Umbrella – K-Drama Episode 16 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

The Final Choice

Episode 16 of Under the Queen’s Umbrella begins with calls for deposed Queen Yoon to be given capital punishment. Given Ik-Hyeon plotted treason by posing as the Royal Physician, it puts her mum in the firing line, with the scholars adamant that she must be punished no matter what.

What is Yoon’s favour?

Hwa-Ryeong speaks to Yoon outside, far away from the palace. She tells Yoon that her plan has failed, given Kwon is dead. “I do not care, for I no longer have a reason to live.” She says sadly. However, when Hwa-Ryeong points out that Prince Uiseong is still alive and that gives her something to hold onto.

Yoon remembers the debt Hwa-Ryeong owes and reveals it now. She’s to keep Prince Uiseong alive no matter what. That’s her favour and in doing so, would see their debt cleared.

Unfortunately that’s easier said than done when the Queen Dowager wants him dead. After turning the whole family against one another, she has her way with the King too. As we know, Dowager killing Crown Prince Taein allowed the King to ascend illegitimately and so he needs to tread lightly. So does he have anything he can use? Well… yes.

The Gajangsacho (the first draft of secret affairs and personal remarks) is still on the table to use. This includes the circumstances of poisoning and Seongnam suggests using this. However, the Queen Dowager has her own plans. She knows the Gajangsacho could be used and as such, decides to go for her alternate plan, pointing out the “weaknesses” of the Queen’s children.

What happens with Muan? Is he kicked out the palace?

We saw some of this come to the foreground last episode, and it seems to be hinting at the potential poisoning for Cheong-Ha. The physician seems to confirm as much when he returns, telling her that Cheong-Ha has miscarried and there’s no way she’ll be able to conceive again.

Unfortunately more trouble lurks when Dowager’s maid spies Muan with Cho-Wol and their child. She rushes back to the Dowager, who inevitably brings them all before the King. Muan immediately steps up and decides he wants to protect his family and will even step down as grand prince or marry Cho-Wol if need be. Both options are shut down by Dowager. For now, the King decides to mull over what to do with them.

Royal Physician Song arrives when Muan is told to leave and immediately points out that he had been ordered to poison Cheong-Ha… or has he? Hwa-Ryeong questions why he hasn’t been using the ingredients Dowager gave. Well, he refused to compromise his own position and let a child die. Furthermore, Cheong-Ha’s child is absolutely fine without any complications, according to the physician. Dowager is outed but she’s still brazen in her approach and will do whatever she can to cling to power.

Hwa-Ryeong confronts her in confidence and the pair end up at a stand-off, with both refusing to budge and wanting to protect their loved ones in their own way. Hwa-Ryeong enlists Royal Physician Yoo to testify on her behalf. Hwa-Ryeong points this out to the king and offers him words of encouragement. She knows what he’s sacrificed and done to become King but knows that he’s held his place on the throne and he’s been a sage king.

Does the King do the right thing?

Hwa-Ryeong shows him the autopsy report and decides that it’s up to him to decide how to proceed forward. She believes though that those who have been wronged should be reinstated and history should be recorded correctly. Specifically, how Crown Prince Taein and their late Crown Prince were both poisoned. And the King decides to do just that, in doing so punishing his own mother.

The King is done. He wants to put an end to this misery and refuses to look the other way. He doesn’t want to see any more people sacrificed. Dowager, of course, ends up playing the emotional blackmail card, asking whether he can really punish his own mother. “Yes. I must do it as King.” He says, finally embracing his role. As he leaves, Dowager sheds bitter tears, as it seems her reign of dominance is coming to an end.

As a result of this, the King gathers all the subjects and informs them about the gansu poisoning. He reveals everything, including the true version of events and how Sang-Uk has testified to these version of events. Despite all the scholars asking him to reconsider, he refuses, wanting to do what’s right regardless of how hard that may be.

While this is going on, Seongnam heads off to go and see Sang-Uk, asking him about the medicine. “Be it medicine or power, everything should be used to save people.” He says. As he walks away, Sang-Uk’s honour remains intact. Seongnam has finally done enough and has also honoured his brother’s memory. Hwa-Ryeong has also done enough and takes a long, dreamy look to the heavens.

Does the Dowager pay for her sins?

Meanwhile, the King appoints Park Gyeong-U as the head of the Office of Sillok, with instructions to add an appendix to the sillok of the late King. He’s also reinstated the deposed Queen Yoon, mother of Crown Prince Taein of course, to her rightful royal status. The Queen Dowager is confined to her quarters for now, and everyone is banned from seeing her, so she’s basically deposed now. However, Dowager takes the cowardly way out and commits suicide.

Everyone shows up to pay their respects, including Hwa-Ryeong who knows how wicked she is but hopes that she’s now freed from her violent and cunning deeds now that she’s passed away.

We then cut forward 3 months later. Seongnam and Cheong-Ha are finally looking like they’re on the same page, reigniting the joy and wonder they had together earlier in the season at the island. In fact, now Seongnam is actually holding her hand!

Meanwhile, Uiseong is back living with Consort Hwang outside the palace walls, Hwa-Ryeong shows up to see him and continues to keep an eye from afar, keeping Yoon’s promise to watch over him. She doesn’t trust him but has made a promise to make sure he’s okay. Hwa-Ryeong also tells him not to abandon Hwang. Yoon though is another that’s suffered and she unfortunately ends up eating alone.

What happens to the other Princes? What does Gyeseong decide to do?

The tone suddenly whiplashes though as we jump across to joyous celebrations. Muan is happy with A-Ra’s progress and believes the little princess is going to be super intelligent and clever. Prince Simso also has happy news, as he’s actually expecting a child of his own!

That night, Cheong-Ha and Seongnam end up seeing a shooting star and both make a wish. The Crown Prince brings her close and kisses his Princess, revealing that actually he does remember what happened between them that night but stayed quiet all the same.

Grand Prince Gyeseong decides he wants to leave the palace and explore more of the world. The day she took him beyond the palace walls and saw himself in his portrait was the happiest day and he wants to experience more. Hwa-Ryeong has trouble letting go but her son holds her hands. As a result of this decision, all the Princes bid their farewells to their brother. Although Ilyoung suggests he come back once a year, his look very clearly hints that he’s not going to do that.

How does Under the Queen’s Umbrella end?

Skipping forward in time, Hwa-Ryeong receives a whole bunch of pictures, presumably from Gyeseong. However, she’s caught off-guard by Ilyoung who’s trying to fly off the roof again with his kite! Of course, she ends up running after him.

As the episode closes out, we cut to Hwa-Ryeong outside the palace with rain lashing down. Seongnam arrives with an umbrella and keeps her shielded, symbolically hinting that she’s there to protect her now and ready to take the step forward to protecting the Kingdom.


The Episode Review

There aren’t many Korean dramas that warrant a re-watch so soon after finishing but I’d have to say, Under the Queen’s Umbrella is definitely up there. It’s quite surprising that this is writer Park Ba-Ra’s first drama and that’s definitely a name to watch out for going forward!

This period drama has been well written across the board, with plenty of intriguing characters and excellent acting from start to finish. What’s particularly good here though is how well written Hwa-Ryeong is as a character. She’s strong, virtuous and incredibly fair. She’s also stern when she needs to be but simultaneously level-headed in everything she does. And of course, she always does what needs to be done to protect her children.

Dowager also deserves some mention here, and she’s played to perfection by Kim Hae-Sook, who masterfully grows into the role the longer this series progresses.

This has definitely been one of the better dramas this year and an absolute must-watch for period drama fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one is in the running for some Baeksang awards next year!

Previous Episode

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

  • Episode Rating
    (4)
4

6 thoughts on “Under the Queen’s Umbrella – K-Drama Episode 16 Recap, Review & Ending Explained”

  1. I Love Korea Drama, but this one was one of my favorite… I did got confused with the narration saying First Junior Consort Cho was crowed as the Queen, but since his Majesty passed away the next day and the Queen step down for her position after one day. when Queen Dowager was show that committed suicide… not sure with Majesty passed away and who was crowed as the Queen for one day???

  2. I Love Korea Drama, but this one was one of my favorite… I did got confused with the narration saying First Junior Consort Cho was crowed as the Queen, but since his Majesty passed away the next day and the Queen step down for her position after one day. when Queen Dowager was show that committed suicide… not sure with Majesty passed away and who was crowed as the Queen for one day???

  3. This was an excellent drama! It kept me wanting for more. The stories and characters were believable from tears to joy. A truly great production. Please season 2? Hugs from Texas

  4. I really enjoyed this drama as well. It definitely lends itself to another series. Watching the children grow,as well as the outcasted prince and his mom. I don’t trust him!

  5. I absolutely love this show I want more I hope there is going to be a sequel it sure leads up to one its an got an amazing story already lined up for it please consider it!!!!!!

Leave a comment