The Queen’s Umbrella: Episodes five-six
With the Crown Prince deathly ill, there’s nowhere to hide: our heroine have to face the consequences prior to the King. But, her fears are steadily coming accurate, as a succession crisis looms, and the consorts and court officials start scheming in double time.
EPISODES five-six WEECAP
With the Crown Prince choking on blood, subtlety requires a swan dive. The King’s face is a stone wall as he promises punishment for these who hid his son’s illness — like his queen. Hwa-ryeong is torn from her dying son’s side. Confined to her space, she is forced to transcribe scholarly texts in penance — a job to which she applies herself with haste, furiously scribbling via the evening in the hopes of seeing her son once more. Elsewhere, news of the Crown Prince’s ailment tears its way via the palace. No 1 knows something for definite. His siblings are barred from his side. All his desperate mother can glean is that he is conscious — barely.
By way of the wall, Hwa-ryeong and Seongnam whisper. Has the Crown Prince coughed up blood prior to? No. Cause could recommend it was the illicit herbs Seongnam brought him that prompted the reaction. Nevertheless, Hwa-ryeong is particular this cannot be the case: her son was recovering till lately. 1 thing’s for certain — this is 1 secret that could spell their death. ROYAL Doctor KWON (Kim Jae-bum), who administered the medicine, is holding up admirably below each knifepoint and the Dowager Queen’s steely glare. Nonetheless, hiding facts in the palace is like attempting to juggle water. Sooner or later, some thing is bound to spill.
Seongnam, unsatisfied with his mother’s assurances, steals his way back to Seochon. Right here, his sword meets Master Toji’s throat. He demands the truth: was the medicine tampered with? Master Toji recovers uncannily rapid from finding out that his patient was the heir to the throne. On the other hand, in spite of some cryptic muttering — what goes about comes about hardly strikes 1 as a patriotic sentiment — he insists the herbs have been harmless.
If Master Toji is on level, then some thing else poisoned the Crown Prince. There’s only 1 resolution: Hwa-ryeong have to mobilize. Fortunately, she’s a shrewder political operator than her enemies understand. Making use of her vast network of palace allies, she guarantees that the Crown Prince remains below continual watch. On the other hand, passively waiting for news is hardly her style. The circumstance demands audacity. And what could be a bolder move than walking straight out of the palace? Shedding her finery and bowing her head, she emerges from confinement disguised as a court lady.
Elsewhere, the court officials converge like vultures prior to carrion. With the Crown Prince deathly ill, lots of are clamoring for his deposition, followed by a taekhyeon: that is, a test of merit amongst the princes to identify who deserves the throne. It is the technique by which the existing king ascended. Won-hyeong, the Chief State Councilor, sounds out the Minister of War, YOON SOO-GWANG (Jang Hyun-sung), on his thoughts with regards to the Crown Prince. Deposition, yea or nay? In the hopes of swaying him to “yea,” he’ll dangle a juicy piece of bait: whoever requires more than as Crown Prince will marry the minister’s daughter. At this suggestion, Soo-gwang is like putty in his hands. Following all, his daughter, the incorrigible YOON CHEONG-HA is, by all accounts, a matchmaker’s worst nightmare.
She’s also a delightful difficulty magnet. Outdoors the palace, Cheong-ha glimpses Hwa-ryeong sneaking to a meeting. Fortunately, she requires her for a noble lady in pursuit of her lover, and is far also gleeful at the prospect to query it. Tiny does she know, it is sadder and much more urgent: Hwa-ryeong’s secret rendezvous is with the deposed Queen Yoon. If she was expecting sympathy, she’s sorely disappointed Queen Yoon betrays absolutely nothing but grim satisfaction at the believed of the Crown Prince dying. What is it, if not retribution for her personal dead youngsters?
It is mighty suspicious, opines Hwa-ryeong. Divine retribution seldom appears like a poisoning plot. Queen Yoon reluctantly agrees: in exchange for a future favor, she’ll spill all. The Crown Prince’s illness is a comparable story to Prince Taein’s death, but not identical. Prince Taein never ever coughed up blood clots. Rather, he had unexplained wounds on his physique. As for the culprit? She confessed to Queen Yoon’s face. The Dowager Queen killed her son — protected in the expertise that no 1 could prove it.
Now, just as they did a generation ago, the court officials sit in the conventional posture of all bureaucrats with a bone to choose: kneeling in neat, implacable rows, chanting in dolorous unison. They demand that the Crown Prince be deposed. That a taekhyeon be held to identify his replacement. The King, silent on his throne, in a space devoid of the politicians who place him there, ponders his subsequent move. Right here, the Dowager Queen finds him. She urges him to be decisive. He can’t let an ill youngster sway him.
In the finish, an individual else is decisive in his stead. Hwa-ryeong comes energy-walking via the courtyard in a blaze of glorious fury. With all the righteous indignation of a stateswoman royally peeved, she proceeds to tear each and every official to rhetorical shreds. The Crown Prince has accomplished absolutely nothing incorrect, she declares. If there is fault, it lies with them, for failing to safeguard him. As for the Chief State Councilor? She’ll inform him exactly where he can stick his taekhyeon. Her husband, emerging from his kingly sulk, arrives in time to back her up: her words, he declares, are his.
Just before issues can go additional, on the other hand, they’re interrupted by a messenger. The Crown Prince is asking for Hwa-ryeong. Back when he was very first sick, he asked her to be powerful — to safeguard these he loved, and know he’d be with her, even as he became the wind. It had broken her heart. She had refused to guarantee. Not but not when it meant accepting his death. Now, when Hwa-ryeong rushes to his bedside to cradle his face 1 final time, her son is currently gone. It is also late to guarantee. But she promises anyway.
Hardly has the Crown Prince’s physique cooled prior to the court officials clamor for a taekhyeon. None could be smugger than the Dowager Queen, who listens to her grandchildren (sans, of course, the Grand Princes) spout scholarly principles with pride. Meanwhile, an ugly rumor breaks out across the palace: the Crown Prince was poisoned by his personal mother. The King, on the other hand, is unswayed he has newfound faith in his wife. Each mourn with each other, with out blame.
Nevertheless, their positions are not equal. While the King may possibly lock himself up in his grief, refusing to speak of an heir, Hwa-ryeong does not have the luxury of silence. The time has come, she tells her youngsters. They can’t — right here, she grips Gyeseong’s hand — continue to reside as they did prior to. 1 of them have to triumph at the taekhyeon. On the other hand, her greatest hope, Seongnam, is the most wounded. Crushed by his brother’s death, he contemplates operating away. His brother risked every little thing to bring him to the palace. What’s the point now he’s gone? But he’ll never ever return to these days in Seochon, exactly where he and the Crown Prince have been content with each other.
The poisoning rumors are critical as a death sentence for the Crown Princess, MIN HWI-BIN (Han Dong-hee). Get in touch with it paranoia, or basically prescience — either way, she’s convinced that her son, WON SON (Seo Woo-jin), is in danger. She seeks sanctuary with her mother-in-law, fleeing to her rooms, exactly where Hwa-ryeong keeps a protective eye on each grandchildren. Meanwhile, her youngsters threat life and limb — nicely, okay, momentary discomfort — in taekhyeon preparation, as they are subjected to terrifying issues like ice baths and academic conversation. Hwa-ryeong and Court Lady Shin exchange amused glances: the youngsters are closer than ever.
Other individuals sense chance. The Chief State Councilor requires malicious joy in subjecting Doctor Kwon to interrogation — an particularly brutal move, taking into consideration the poor guy’s been stabbed as soon as currently and kept shtum. On the other hand, he bites off much more than he can chew when he tries to imprison Court Lady Shin. Incandescent with rage, Hwa-ryeong bares her teeth at her tormentor. If he desires facts, he can query her personally. She’d just really like to see him attempt.
To nobody’s surprise much more than the Won-hyeong’s, it is Consort Hwang who puts an finish to his pleasant tiny energy trip. Turns out, Group Treason is not rather the unified front they’d like to be Consort Hwang is some thing of a loose cannon. She begs Won-hyeong to place an finish to his investigation, confessing that she was the 1 to poison the Crown Prince. But, appear, it was only a little poisoning! She hadn’t intended to kill him! In addition, she had an impressively torture-resistant accomplice. You got it: Doctor Kwon.
With all these schemes afoot, it is tiny wonder that some are feeling left behind. Consort Tae is increasingly miffed that no 1 appears to believe her son could hack it as an heir. It requires the worldly Particular COURT LADY PARK (Lee So-hee) and a handful of teacups as visual aids to clarify that with out noble backing, Bogum’s possibilities are slim. As a former maid with out a machiavellian bone in her physique, Consort Tae cannot afford to go toe to toe with the likes of Consort Hwang. But oh, if only she could! Then, perhaps her son will forgive her for her humble origins.
Superior issue she’s got a secret weapon. Yesterday, she overheard the truth that Hwa-ryeong gave the Crown Prince medicine from outdoors the palace. Armed with this nugget of facts — and some possibly overly ambitious guidance from Particular Court Lady Park — she orchestrates a tete-a-tete with the Minister of War. She’ll give him proof of the queen’s misdeeds… but only if he lends Bogum his assistance.
Meanwhile, the Chief State Councilor is nonetheless partaking in the most preferred court pastime — i.e. rampant scheming — only a tiny much more subtly, and with a lot much more violence. To wit: he lines up all the witnesses to Doctor Kwon’s therapy of the Crown Prince, instantly stabs one… and coaches the other folks on what to say. This accomplished, he initiates a public trial. The Crown Prince was treated with medicine of dubious origins. This, his (trembling) witnesses can attest. The query is, who gave Doctor Kwon the order?
Hwa-ryeong is flawlessly scathing. She had no motive to kill her son. She cannot say the exact same for the Chief State Councilor. But yes, her son was poisoned — specifically like Prince Taein prior to him.
Following the trial, incensed, the Dowager Queen rounds on Hwa-ryeong. How dare she dredge up the previous like this? But oh, Hwa-ryeong dares. Proper right here, proper now, she’s no longer afraid of her murderous mother-in-law. For the second time, Hwa-ryeong all but snarls as they get proper up in every single other’s faces — but the Dowager Queen gets the final word. She has an unexpected weapon in her arsenal of political blackmail: she knows Hwa-ryeong has been meeting with Queen Yoon. She will not hesitate to destroy her.
Back in her rooms, Hwa-ryeong pastes on a smile and tries to coax her grandson into consuming. On the other hand, it does not take lengthy for issues to strain and crack. Hwa-ryeong sifts via the tiny Grand Heir’s drawings — only to pause at 1. It is of him and his nursemaid. Apparently, they’re playing their “secret game.”
Secret game? Hwa-ryeong squints at the image. 1 adult figure is holding a needle to the smaller sized figure’s leg. Positive adequate — Son has a series of pockmark scars on his thigh. Shrieking in horror, Hwa-ryeong springs to action, shaking the youngster and commanding him to spit out the meals that he has lengthy considering the fact that swallowed. Behind them, the silver spoon blackens — a certain sign of poison.
How the plot thickens, people! With scheme upon scheme no matter which way you turn, this is some higher-high-quality palace plotting, and I am right here for it. Kim Hye-soo is a hurricane in human kind: I was blown away much more occasions than I can count. While I adore it when Hwa-ryeong throws her authority, what definitely sticks out for me are these moments of tenderness with her youngsters — whether or not she’s fiercely shielding them from oncoming danger, or lovingly subjecting them to horrible baths. Political energy, maternal really like, and agency are all bound up in 1 with this character — never ever as soon as do the writers recommend there’s any contradiction in between her identity as mother and her indomitable will as a stateswoman. Neither overshadows the other, and nor do the two clash. It is extremely refreshing to see.
One more issue I take pleasure in about this drama is how it is steadily exploring every single female character as a political actor, with genuine strengths and weaknesses. Hwa-ryeong is brave, whip-wise, and capable, but she underestimates the duplicity of other folks — it strikes me that she’s nonetheless in shock, getting realized how a lot danger she’s in. She never ever saw it coming. She nonetheless hasn’t rather discovered to count on the worst. Consort Hwang is a would-be kingmaker, but she’s prone to impulsiveness: it may possibly come back to haunt her if she alienates her highly effective allies. Particular Court Lady Park appears a lot much more savvy than the naive Consort Tae — but then, how a lot of that is hubris? How a lot can any of them predict the lengths to which the other folks will go? I cannot wait to see how this tangled internet unravels.
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