Under the Queen


Beneath the Queen’s Umbrella: Episodes 11-12

The king has created the get in touch with: it is up to the scholars to pick the new crown prince. Difficulty is, with a entire new host of folks to bribe, it is open season on the scheming front. The dowager queen will not be outdone at her personal game — and our heroine dangers losing every thing.



As dozens of Confucian scholars ponder more than who will be the subsequent Crown Prince, a single locked door proves insufficient against the corruption of the court. The Dowager Queen and the Chief State Councilor are furiously scheming, in opposite directions. The former smuggles a flurry of bribes out on Bogum’s behalf, only to come across that the Chief State Councilor has arrested her minions for corruption. Consort Tae retaliates by leaking information and facts about Uiseong’s assaults against the palace servants. Opinions in the hall fluctuate — while rumors of their secret deliberations flow like water from a leaky teapot.

A single thing’s clear: with Uiseong and Bogum’s supporters at war, something’s got to give. As a result, Consort Hwang and the Chief State Councilor swallow their considerable pride, kneeling just before the Dowager Queen. Will not she join with them after much more? The Dowager Queen hems, haws, and feigns reluctance till Consort Hwang bites the bullet and delivers her what she definitely desires: if Uiseong wins, she’ll forfeit the queenship to her mother-in-law.

The Dowager Queen is all sweetness and lethality when she meets with Bogum and Consort Tae. Bear in mind, she asks, how Consort Tae agreed to do something for her? The two listen, powerless, as the Dowager Queen explains that Bogum was never ever a contender. Not definitely. He was just there to aid her squeeze her allies for favors. Now, it is the finish of the line. Regardless of Consort Tae’s tears, and Bogum’s fierce stoicism, there’s practically nothing they can do. Bogum have to unhook his nametag from the taekhyeon roster.

Hwa-ryeong, of course, was anticipating this — now is her cue to act. Secret notes have been streaming in thick and quickly from the scholars’ hall so far, she’s turned a blind eye, for the sake of the maids who smuggled them. Now, she receives permission from the King to method the hall.

Hwa-ryeong strides silently via the ranks of scholars. At just about every desk, she uncovers a note promising bribery. When she lastly speaks, it is with all the gravitas of a head of state — and the unimpeachable authority of a mother who is not mad… just disappointed. She’d believed they have been far better than this. The scholars watch in agony as she holds the notes aloft — just before dropping them onto a nearby fire. She turns to leave. This flawless efficiency is topped by a single final twist: when she reports back to the King, she claims she located no proof of corruption.

Her self-assurance is not misplaced. Public shaming did the trick. A single by a single, the scholars throw the remaining bribes on the fire. They refuse any much more get in touch with with the outdoors — even meals — till their choice is created.

Later, Hwa-ryeong tackles one more query: how do you resolve a difficulty like Consort Tae? Nicely, 1st of all, you slap her back down to the rank of maid. Consort Tae is ordered to scrub, slop, and toil for hours on finish — a lot of time to ruminate on the consequences of betrayal. But our heroine, ever-merciful, only lets her endure for lengthy sufficient to keep in mind how a lot she definitely, genuinely hates needlework. Later, a lot like Consort Ko, she receives a lesson from the Hwa-ryeong College of Royal Parenting. It is all incredibly properly to want her son to accomplish excellent factors, Hwa-ryeong says — but, Consort Tae’s greed triggered Bogum excellent discomfort. Motherhood is complicated she struggles also. Nevertheless, for all his maturity, Bogum is a kid — and he’s been placing on a brave face for also lengthy. It is time Consort Tae cleaned herself up and comforted him.

Bogum, alone and hurting, can not appear at his mother. Nonetheless, when she hugs him, he lastly lets himself cling to her and cry. Privately, to Court Lady Shin, Hwa-ryeong admits that back when her King fell for her private maid, she cried a handful of tears of her personal. Nevertheless, at the finish of the day, how do you resolve a difficulty like Consort Tae? Accept that she tends to make you smile.

The scholars attain their selection. In a single final bid of desperation, the Chief State Councilor insists that Seongnam’s legitimacy be tested just before the final results are announced. Following all, if — as rumor suggests — he is not the King’s correct son, he couldn’t possibly inherit.

Stiff with rage, Hwa-ryeong submits Seongnam to a paternity test. Having said that, as an alternative of working with the Chief State Councilor’s ridiculously rigged blood test, she proposes her personal strategy. The King has an uncommon protrusion of bone behind his ear — a genetic trait that all his sons should really share. Hwa-ryeong invites the Dowager Queen to prod a series of princely ears: all 4 of her sons, plus Uiseong. The Dowager Queen is forced to confirm that Seongnam does certainly share this trait. Why is she backed into a corner? For the reason that Consort Hwang appears like a cat that is been sprayed with a water bottle. The Dowager Queen remains expressionless, but it is effortless to deduce that Uiseong’s ear is — properly — insufficiently bony.

Hwa-ryeong, on the other hand, has much more to say. It is time to reveal the secret behind Seongnam’s exile. Lengthy ago, the Dowager Queen claimed Seongnam was improperly conceived in the course of the mourning period for the late King. This was a lie — and Hwa-ryeong will be forever ashamed of not standing up for her son. In private, it is all she can do to apologize to Seongnam, understanding that Consort Tae and Consort Ko have been not the only ones who failed their youngsters. Having said that, Seongnam forgives her readily. He knows how a lot she normally cared.

The subsequent day, Hwa-ryeong revisits one more deep regret. The late Crown Prince’s rooms are opened for the 1st time in weeks. Quietly, she touches the hem of his robe. It is time to let go. When she emerges, it is to congratulate her eldest living son… for Seongnam has been announced as the new Crown Prince.

Later, the King has excellent exciting bartering with a single of his personal subjects — simply because, frankly, Gyeong-woo couldn’t give a damn about becoming Minister for Taxation. There’s a single function he does want: Seoyeongwan — chief tutor to the Crown Prince. What’s much more, he’s prepared to operate two jobs to do it. (Rather him than me… ye gods, the marking load alone!) Meanwhile, Uiseong announces he’s leaving the palace — even though, with his mother and grandfather currently brainstorming regicide, it is much more like an evil gap year than something.

Yet another day, one more scheme: the politicians of the palace turn to the matter of the Crown Princess. The query is, can Hwa-ryeong come across Seongnam an eligible bachelorette who is not in the pocket of the Dowager Queen? It is difficult going: snooping about the market place reveals that also several of the palace’s hot young singles are liable to sneer at retail workers — a clear red flag! Quickly, on the other hand, she stumbles on the best candidate… in the unlikely type of a girl causing a ruckus in a public street. Cheong-ha is a hurricane in human type, but she has a heart of gold: Hwa-ryeong watches her defend a divorced lady becoming cheated by a sexist stallholder.

A Joseon proto-feminist soon after her personal heart! Hwa-ryeong ushers Cheong-ha into an earnest chat about loved ones law, and a tiny-identified legal clause by which ladies can shield themselves against divorce. When Cheong-ha declares that she has no interest in marrying the Crown Prince — she’s currently in appreciate with one more man — Hwa-ryeong is ready to give up gracefully. Fortunately, Cheong-ha is also in the incredibly regular habit of carting about a significant portrait of her crush… the Crown Prince. Nevertheless, if she desires to win him, Hwa-ryeong advises, she mustn’t let on that she knows him. Princesses do not roam about with young males on distant islands.

Cheong-ha joyfully flings herself at her father, imploring him to let her be Crown Princess. She’ll be great, she promises! She will not stomp about! She will not chatter in banmal to all and sundry! She will not — oh, oops, he’s in an audience with the Dowager Queen. Ah properly! Turns out, the Dowager Queen has been seeking for precisely an individual of Cheong-ha’s unruly mold — to undermine Seongnam.

Seongnam, for his portion, has been crushing it as Crown Prince. This requires a variety of unofficial duties like verbally jousting with the Dowager Queen, and outsmarting the Chief State Councilor. He’s taken a leaf from Bogum’s book, and keeps a tight grip on any and all facial expressions, aiming for princely serenity even with his mother. Nevertheless, on occasion, he’ll peak at the seashell Cheong-ha gave him as keepsake. If they meet once more, she told him, they can take into consideration it fate.

Enjoy is in the air elsewhere, and Muan’s significantly louder about it. In truth, Gyeseong and Ilyoung have been forced to hear him gush about Cho-wol so several instances that they can recite his passionate speeches along with him. When they 1st met, Cho-wol was determined to remain Muan’s pal, not his lover — but only simply because she knew that this would maintain him in her life. Now that factors have changed involving them, Muan has higher hopes… that are scuppered totally when he discovers that she’s fled.

Meanwhile, a plot brews. Ham-seok, the rebel in chains, is poisoned with ice-cold efficiency by Doctor Kwon. He returns to the fold of Master Toji’s rebellion — just before meeting with Consort Hwang. She desires to know precisely what he made use of to poison the Crown Prince.

Hwa-ryeong is equally determined to find the missing doctor — for the exact same cause. For now, even though, she have to commence the delicate course of action of championing Cheong-ha devoid of cluing in the Dowager Queen. When 3 potential brides are interviewed, Hwa-ryeong throws Cheong-ha a curveball query, creating it appear as if she’s choosing on her. It is about divorce laws — and she’s particular Cheong-ha has the answer. This sells the ruse: when Cheong-ha is chosen, even Seongnam remarks that the Minister of War’s daughter is a pawn of the Dowager Queen. In actuality, Hwa-ryeong saw Minister Yoon and his wife in secret. The latter is disillusioned with the decidedly dodgy Dowager Queen. He’s prepared to take a likelihood on Hwa-ryeong, supplied she appears out for his daughter.

There’s a lengthy, lengthy curriculum ahead of Cheong-ha and Seongnam just before they have a hope of meeting. Seongnam have to memorize volumes’ worth of Confucian sex ed. Cheong-ha have to find out to… step daintily devoid of breaking into a stampede. With the Energy-Walking Queen herself as mentor, she’s in great firm. Hwa-ryeong even delivers her the exact same exam cribsheet she gave her personal youngsters — proof constructive that Cheong-ha is now sheltered below the queen’s umbrella.

The day of the wedding dawns. Seongnam approaches with grim dignity — Cheong-ha, with barely-suppressed delight. It is only now that Seongnam recognizes the girl from the island. Surprise modulates into stern resolve: he’s positive she’s the Dowager Queen’s ally. They are escorted to the bedchamber. Cheong-ha meets his eyes and smiles. Coolly, Seongnam walks out.

Meanwhile, at the palace gate, a lady approaches with a infant in her arms. Cho-wol has returned — and she’s right here to come across the father of the kid.

Hers and Muan’s kid? If so, it’ll be intriguing to see how Hwa-ryeong handles it. Will she place her dollars exactly where her mouth is and defend the vulnerable Cho-wol, or will she select to be a hypocrite for the sake of her sons? What I appreciate about this show is how committed it is to exploring parenting. At instances, it wears its Joseon setting lightly, working with it to colour conflicts involving characters while bringing in slightly much more contemporary debates about parenthood. How do you shield your youngsters from the metaphorical rain? At what point do you let them stroll into the storm? Even the simplest characters in this drama turn into much more complicated the moment the show reminds us they are parents. Minister Yoon is your common political schemer, proper up till his daughter’s welfare comes into play — then, he appears much more human. Watching Consort Tae break down and admit she struggles, only for her to attempt her most effective to be a comforting presence for Bogum, was unbelievably moving.

I appreciate that we’re seeing how Hwa-ryeong handles becoming a mother to adult youngsters, in particular her altering partnership with Seongnam. He’s not the rebellious kid she had to cajole into minding his lessons he’s a political figure in his personal proper — they’re loved ones, but also allies. These tearful smiles they traded when he stated he turned out far better for getting lived outdoors the palace all but broke me. It was a attractive moment of understanding and respect: there was a conspiratorial element that reminded me of her partnership to the late Crown Prince, but it was recognizably its personal dynamic. Sooner rather than later, she’ll face a altering dynamic with Muan, also — and he, like Seongnam, have to find out what adult responsibilities appear like. I appear forward to what subsequent week brings!

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