Seven Day Queen: Episode 12
The way he looks at her slays me, like he can’t imagine how anyone could be so cute. There’s a lot of love to go around today, some of it happy, some of it tragic, and some of it downright swoony. If only we could bottle up the good parts and save it for the storm that lies ahead.
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EPISODE 12 RECAP
The wedding day is here and the groom has finally made it. As they bow, Chae-kyung peeks over at Yeok with a little smile, but then she sees the trail of blood flowing out from under his sleeve. She’s filled with dread remembering Yeonsangun’s warning that she’d begin to suspect Yeok, and she begins to cry.
Yeonsangun watches the ceremony with a dark expression, but then he begins to feel the pain from the arrow he just took in the shoulder and winces. The queen dowager takes note.
Down below, Yeok finally notices his bloody hand and hurries to wipe and keep it covered. He glances at his brother, and it’s unclear whether he was quick enough to hide the blood.
While the wedding goes on, we catch up with Seo-no, who had split off on his own as Yeok went to rescue the others. He arrives at a cabin deep in the woods, not noticing that Scarface is behind him. Secretary Im had sent Scarface to watch him from the start, since he knew that Seo-no would rush to secure his father.
That’s exactly what Seo-no does, as he hurries inside to reunite with his father, who lights up to see him. Dad doesn’t seem well, and moments after hugging Seo-no happily, he coughs up blood.
After the ceremony, Yeok sits down with his father-in-law, who says that despite the families arranging this marriage, he hopes that it will be an ordinary marriage, and not an arranged one. Yeok understands, and Minister Shin reminds him that Chae-kyung’s fate is in his hands now, and begs him to live only as his son-in-law and Chae-kyung’s husband and the king’s brother. Eep, that’s not how he’s going to live at all!
At the same time, Chae-kyung gets grilled by her new mother-in-law, who finds it amusing how Yeok and Chae-kyung seem to have gone round and round only to end up back together. Chae-kyung says that all things eventually end up on the right road, which is why she believes that she and Yeok are fated to be.
Chae-kyung promises not to make the same mistake twice, knowing that the queen dowager still dislikes her because she let Yeok take the blame for their jailbreak five years ago. The queen dowager asks her to take Yeok’s side and live as his wife from now on, and not her father’s daughter.
She gets a break from the interrogation when doctors arrive to examine her, and she runs out of the room when she spots Yeok passing by. He wonders to himself why those men stopped their attack back in the field, and realizes that they knew it was Yeok and his friends out there.
He’s about to run off when Chae-kyung calls out to him, so he says he needs to take care of something and will see her at home later. Dude, it’s your wedding day! Nanny says as much, and then wonders if he’s got a second household stashed somewhere, earning her a stern look from Chae-kyung.
Yeok meets his team at the hideout and shares his worry that Seo-no and his father might be in danger. But Seo-no walks in soon after and says that he met his father and no one seemed to be tailing him. The problem is, he left for a brief moment to go get some water, and when he returned, Dad was gone and only a letter was left behind.
Dad hikes his way down the mountain with Scarface behind him the whole way. He stops at the stream, which is when they whack him in the head and carry him off quietly.
Back at the palace, Nok-soo treats Yeonsangun’s shoulder, which he covers up when the queen dowager is announced. She’s brought her medical kit because she noticed he was injured at the wedding, acting the part of a doting mother.
Yeonsangun smirks and says he merely got injured hunting: “I thought it was a helpless elk, but it turned out to be a wolf.” She tries to contain her nerves as she asks if he caught the wolf, and he says he hasn’t, but he will very soon. He vows to skin it and offer it up to her, and she visibly trembles. When she reaches up to his cheek though, he pulls away and tells her to stop acting like a mother, and she doesn’t press the issue.
Later, the queen dowager wonders how much the king knows, and Deputy Commander Park guesses that he doesn’t know about the will yet. See, this is why you guys are always ten steps behind! Why do you underestimate the evil genius?
Chae-kyung paces her room and declares that she’s really only getting married the once, exhausted from the day’s events. Nanny sees her suffering and unties her headdress, muttering the whole time that it doesn’t really matter if the husband unties it himself, even though she’d like to break his legs, ha.
Chae-kyung is shocked when Yeonsangun shows up unannounced. He says he forgot to give her medicines, which seems like the flimsiest excuse ever.
Yeonsangun says she’ll need them because Yeok seems to get injured often, and Chae-kyung notes that Yeonsangun is injured too. She asks if they fought, and he scoffs when she calls them brothers. Then he asks slyly, “Was Yeok injured?” Gack.
Chae-kyung hesitates a beat, and then says with a bright smile that she hasn’t even seen Yeok properly since the wedding. She changes the subject to ask why he came all this way, and Yeonsangun reminds her that she’s supposed to be his spy. She says that she’ll need time to gain Yeok’s trust, but Yeonsangun counters that it’s his trust she should be trying to gain.
He tells her about going to the pawnshop the other day, and how Yeok seems to have appeared from nowhere. Yeonsangun says that there’s something suspicious about that place, and asks Chae-kyung if she isn’t curious what Yeok is up to.
Yeok makes plans to search for Seo-no’s father, and his friends finally urge him to go home since it’s his wedding night. The boys suggest that he buy flowers on the way and not end up in the doghouse the first day, and Seo-no sincerely congratulates him on his marriage.
Yeok must not be a complete dolt, because he tiptoes home with flowers in hand, and creeps quietly into his bedroom. He jumps out of his skin when Chae-kyung lights a candle, calm as can be. Before he can get a word in, she says matter-of-factly that the flowers must be her apology present for being late, and she plucks them out of his hands emotionlessly.
He stammers that it’s too bad she’s already changed, because he wanted to do all those traditional customs like undressing her wedding clothes. She asks since when they follow traditions, and he says things are different now that they’re married. Chae-kyung deadpans, “Oh, so you were late because we’re married.” Lol, this is a losing battle. Just say you’re sorry!
He says “our Chae-kyung” knows how to tease, and she counters that she’s nothing compared to “our prince.” She says that the king stopped by, and one look at the basket of medicine alarms him. She asks with her back turned to him if he’s perhaps been injured, and Yeok blurts no while instinctively grabbing his arm. Hurt at his obvious lie, Chae-kyung slams the basket shut and angrily stomps out to bring him dinner. Yeok sits down to treat his wound, wondering if she noticed. Ya think?
Thankfully Chae-kyung refuses to just leave things as they are, and she stomps right back into the room and silently takes his arm to treat it for him. He fumbles to come up with a ridiculous excuse, saying that it’s the same old wound from when they were chased into the cave.
She says in a hollow voice, “Sure,” not believing him for a second. But she says that if that’s what he says, she’ll believe him, “Because having trust is something I can choose to do. I’m just going to trust the heart and the words of the person I want to trust.”
Her voice starts to shake as she says that the one thing she can’t control is whether he gets hurt, so she asks him to please not come home injured if he can help it. “It isn’t for you, but for me—because it hurts me more,” she says. He tenderly takes her hand and then opens his arms wide to hug her, which finally gets her to smile. But as he leans forward, Nanny announces dinner and Yeok scrambles to sit back up.
Seo-no takes out the letter his father left behind along with new clothes for him. In the letter, Dad apologizes for having to leave again and tells Seo-no to stay by Yeok’s side and not be shaken, proud of how strong Seo-no grew up to be. Seo-no sighs to himself that Dad could’ve stuck around for one meal together, at least.
Myung-hye returns to the hideout, and Seo-no asks if she came back for his father’s letter, insisting defensively that it’s just a letter and not about the will. She doesn’t argue and says with sympathy that she’s sure his father is well, and that he shouldn’t worry.
Yeok excitedly digs into his first home-cooked meal from his wife, while Chae-kyung pettily moves the meat and fish farther away so that he can’t reach them, heh. He asks if she’s getting revenge for his tardiness, which she denies innocently.
Judging from his reaction, she’s not the best cook, but bless his heart, he doesn’t say a word about it. Chae-kyung tells him how her father always said that home-cooked meals tasted good because of her mother’s heart for her family, regardless of cooking skill. She hopes that Yeok will think the same, that the food tastes good because it’s filled with her love.
He agrees wholeheartedly to always eat his meals at home from now on, because no one else will think of him more than she does. Chae-kyung happily begins to feed him, though I still detect some revengey feelings, as she fixates on making him eat dreaded beans. He dutifully opens his mouth and swallows them down.
Nanny chuckles as she listens in from outside, and she catches Eunuch Song eavesdropping too. He actually seems to be smiling (I have a feeling that he’s secretly rooting for the lovebirds), but she chases him away so that he can’t spy.
Yeonsangun arrives at a secret compound, where Secretary Im and his men have Seo-no’s father tied up to a post, looking pretty battered. Yeonsangun picks up a hot iron and says it’s unfortunate that they didn’t meet five years ago, because he might’ve wanted to hear what the man had to say.
“But today… it happens to be today that I met you,” he says with a scary glint in his eye. Augh, I really hate it when you torture other people because you’re mad at Chae-kyung. He sticks the burning iron onto the man’s chest, screaming through the smoke and searing flesh for the location of the will. You know it’s bad when evil Secretary Im winces at the torture.
Chae-kyung brings Yeok’s bedding in and says that she’s going to make his bed and then go to her room, which is way on the other side of their giant house. He’s flabbergasted that she intends to use separate bedrooms already when it’s their wedding night.
She says that his mother insisted on it because the doctors said she had to drink some tonics first (likely to help aid pregnancy), and they were instructed not to sleep together until a date was designated. Chae-kyung adds that they would’ve slept in separate beds tonight anyway, clearly still miffed at him.
Yeok is not onboard with this plan at all, and starts arguing that she’s going to regret it later in the night, when she’s kicking her covers with her feet. Chae-kyung: “Don’t you think it’s better than kicking you with my feet?”
He literally chases her around the bed, calling her Chae-kyung and then “wife,” and then finally plops down in bed fully clothed. She says he has to get undressed first, and he wags his foot at her, like he’s daring her to come do it. She rolls her eyes and says that she heard men turn into babies when they marry, and Yeok counters, “Shouldn’t wives stay with their husbands once they’re married?”
She tells him to do as he pleases and heads out, and he panics and leaps up to grab her hand. He looks up at her with his best puppy eyes and says, “Let’s stay together.” She seems to melt a little at that.
Someone sneaks into a room and lies down, and HAHA, it’s Nanny dressed as Chae-kyung. She sleeps in Chae-kyung’s bed knowing that the spies are keeping watch, and hopes that Chae-kyung will sleep in Yeok’s room. Best nanny ever.
Meanwhile, Chae-kyung sits nervously on the edge of Yeok’s bed, and he asks how long she’s going to stay like that. She says she’ll stay here until he falls asleep, so he just scoots closer and stares up at her expectantly.
She gets so nervous that she decides to go to her own room after all, but Yeok pulls her into his arms. Wide-eyed, Chae-kyung argues that he promised that they’d just stay together and that’s all.
Yeok smiles and points out that he never said otherwise, and snuggles close as he says goodnight. She stares at his sleeping face and begins to smile, and thinks back to her answer about suspecting Yeok—that she was merely waiting for him, because learning the truth late doesn’t always make it a lie.
She sneaks out of the room after he’s fallen asleep, and only then does she let herself cry, wondering how and why he got injured.
The torture goes on for so long that Secretary Im urges Yeonsangun to stop, otherwise Seo-no’s father will die before telling them anything. Yeonsangun finally resorts to threatening Seo-no if he doesn’t talk, and Dad pleads for his son to be spared, saying that he will tell them everything.
Yeonsangun laughs and says bitterly that this is a father—someone who would do anything to save his son’s life. “So why was my father so cruel?” he asks, “Why did my father leave behind a will that would kill me?! WHY?!”
Seo-no’s father says it was for the sake of Joseon, because the late king believed that a king couldn’t lead a nation and its people alone, and needed to be supported by his officials to be a good ruler. He says that it was a decision the late king made not as a father, but as the king of a nation.
That only angers Yeonsangun more, and he raises the burning iron and screeeams for the will. Seo-no’s father cries that it’s written on a woman’s body, and that’s all he knows. He suggests that they search all of the women who were around the late king.
Yeonsangun takes him at his word, but says that no one else must know about this, and picks up a sword. He tells Seo-no’s father to go now, and stabs him with a terrifying smile on his face. Seo-no’s father says with his dying breath, “This is why your majesty cannot be king.”
On his way out, Yeonsangun looks up at the sky thinking of his father and how much he adored little Yeok. The sounds of peasant families around him in the village grate on his nerves, especially the happy children and their fathers reuniting at the end of the day. He suddenly declares that he will have to do some hunting here, and orders for this whole village to be wiped out and turned into his hunting grounds. Yikes.
The next day in court, Yeonsangun seems out of sorts, paying more attention to threads in his sleeve than to his ministers, who report that there are complaints about the vice minister of war extorting expensive seafood from fishermen.
The vice minister says that the seafood was meant for the king, but Yeonsangun says he doesn’t remember liking those foods and asks dispassionately what the punishment is for that crime. He lets the vice minister choose whether he’d like to be flogged or exiled, and the vice minister is reduced to begging on his knees, and in the end he chooses exile. The air in the room grows ice cold, and Yeonsangun cancels today’s court, clutching his wounded shoulder in pain.
Minister Shin asks the official who led the push to impeach the vice minister of war how they learned of his illegal activities in such detail. The man says that they investigated a tip from the Snail Brides, who go around town putting up flyers of various officials’ corrupt activities.
As he says this, we see Yeok marking the vice minister of war off of his rebellion board, and the Snail Brides sneaking through town to put up new flyers and pass out more rice. The official tells Minister Shin that the people believe anything that the Snail Brides say, because in times of famine, it was the Snail Brides who saved them and not the king.
Secretary Im saunters up to offer the tidbit that the Snail Brides’ activity just so happens to coincide with Yeok’s return. Minister Shin shuts down his line of questioning immediately and tells him not to cloud the king’s judgment any longer.
But with his sister, the queen, Minister Shin shares his honest worry, and the queen fears what it’ll mean if Yeok is really a part of the Snail Brides. Minister Shin urges her to remain strong and promises to look into the Snail Brides himself.
Chae-kyung contemplates the key that Yeonsangun left her to use when she comes to report on Yeok’s activities. He’d ordered her find out what he does at the pawnshop and come straightaway to tell him.
Nanny slaps Chae-kyung on the back and croons, “You did it!” But Chae-kyung says that she and Yeok won’t be sharing a bed until the queen dowager gives the okay, which Nanny thinks is absurd, insisting that if you’re married you just do it. High-five, Nanny.
Chae-kyung laughs, and Nanny decides that she’s not trying hard enough, and begins to coach her on how to seduce Yeok with sexy bedroom eyes and alcohol. I’m pretty sure Yeok’s not the one who needs convincing.
Chae-kyung asks what happens next, and Nanny hilariously says the next step is to get him drunk and ask who his first love was and how many women he’s been with before her. That sparks an idea and Chae-kyung asks for all the liquor in the house, preferably the strong stuff that’ll get him drunk quickly. Nanny: “All of it? If he drinks all of it, he’ll pass out and you can’t even do anything!” Hee.
The boys tense up when there’s a knock on the pawnshop door and scramble to hide their documents before Seo-no opens the door. But it’s just Chae-kyung, who comes armed with giant jugs of liquor to meet her husband’s friends.
The boys greet her eagerly and tease them into calling each other husband and wife like a proper married couple, and Yeok is adorably smiley the minute she tests out the word “husband.” She proceeds to get them rip-roaring drunk, and Yeok quietly asks if she came here to nag and make a point about him staying out late.
Chae-kyung says she came to cheer him on because he works so hard, and then makes sure to toast so that everyone keeps drinking. She thinks to herself that she’s only going to take a quick look around, so that she can tell the king without reservation that there’s nothing fishy here.
Yeonsangun drinks with Nok-soo and asks if they’re together right now, meaning Chae-kyung and Yeok. He supposes that they are since they’re married now. He adds that their unhappiness has begun as well, since being married means they will endlessly suspect and grow to hate one another. Well that’s a sunny outlook.
In flashback, we see that Yeonsangun had been brought to his mother as a young boy late one night, when she had been pacing outside the king’s chambers nervously. She told him that he was having nightmares and bloody noses, which the boy knew wasn’t true. But his mother had insisted on it and stormed into the room, interrupting the king while he was with Yeok’s mother, who was then a concubine.
The queen had demanded attention for their sick son, crying that the king wouldn’t see her if she didn’t charge in here like this, and Yeok’s mother had come over to them to see if Yeonsangun was okay. The queen jealously yanked her son away and told the concubine that it wasn’t her place to be there.
In the present, Yeonsangun says he hated and was embarrassed by his mother, who used him as an excuse to make her way into the king’s bedchambers. “But I know now,” he says as a tear trickles down his face, “that my mother was just a person. A person who wanted to be loved by the person she loved. Before being Joseon’s queen, she was a woman who wanted to live as one man’s wife.”
He adds, “So I have grown curious—do I want to live as a king, or do I want to live as one woman’s man?”
Secretary Im arrives with a group of court ladies who served the late king, and Nok-soo orders them all to get undressed. Yeonsangun stumbles drunkenly past the row of women and stops in front of one. He raises her chin and says she looks a little like her.
Alarmed, Nok-soo reminds him of what they’re looking for, but he ignores her and asks the woman to stay. He kicks everyone else out, including Nok-soo, and then pulls the court lady close to him and lays his head on her lap.
Chae-kyung gets to the bottom of her liquor, and everyone is passed out except for Yeok. He just stares at her adoringly while she pretends to be drunk and she announces that she’ll go home to get more.
He sits her down and goes out instead, though he just goes to the nearby inn to buy more liquor. On the way back, he stops in the street to look at some hairpins for Chae-kyung.
Chae-kyung makes sure that the boys are asleep and then starts poking around the pawnshop, but as she looks around, her conscience starts to bug her and she asks herself what the heck she’s doing, rooting around like a thief when she swore to trust Yeok.
That’s when she looks up to find Yeok standing in the doorway, having seen and heard her talking to herself.
He walks over to her slowly… and then wraps his arms around her. Ohthankgod.
He lets out a long sigh, and she asks tearfully if they can’t just go live in the countryside together. He surprises her by agreeing readily, and she cries into his chest in relief as he hugs her tightly.
Myung-hye arrives at the pawnshop sometime later and sees a suspicious straw mat covered in blood in the courtyard. She carefully peels back the mat and shrieks to uncover a dead body—oh no, it’s Seo-no’s father.
The boys rush out at the sound, and Seo-no breaks down at the sight of his father’s bloody, broken body. Waaaah, there is no moving to the countryside, is there?
Yeok lies awake thinking of the night that Seo-no’s father came to see him. He’d said that the late king’s will was meant to be given to Yeok when he came of age, in the hopes that it would give him strength.
As we see Chae-kyung take a bath, Seo-no’s father says in voiceover that the location of the will was inscribed on a woman’s body. He’d added, “And that woman…” We don’t hear him finish the thought, though the close-up on Chae-kyung’s tattoo is clue enough who that woman is.
Yeok is speechless when Chae-kyung enters his room and declares shyly that she’ll sleep in here tonight. “We’ll just keep it a secret from the queen dowager,” she says cutely.
She crosses the room and leans onto his chest, and Yeok can barely breathe as he tentatively reaches out to embrace her. But just as he does, Seok-hee calls out for him from the yard. Augh, you have the worst timing!
Seok-hee runs up in tears and Yeok whispers for him to speak quietly because there are people listening here. Seok-hee tells him that Seo-no’s father was killed and his body dumped outside the pawnshop, and Yeok starts to race out before remembering Chae-kyung.
He runs back to tell her that something happened at the pawnshop and that he’ll be right back, and Chae-kyung hurriedly puts on a smile in front of the servants. She sits up to wait for him all night, and wakes up alone in the same spot the next morning.
Yeok and his friends bury Seo-no’s father, and accompany Seo-no as he bows in mourning. He cries thinking of their brief reunion and how happy he was to be given new clothes, insisting that they were perfect when Dad had been surprised at how he’d grown.
Chae-kyung goes to the pawnshop in search of Yeok, and goes pale when she sees bloodstains on the staircase. The door is locked, so she grabs a hammer and busts her way inside, and gasps to find more blood on the floor, in a trail leading all the way to a wall.
She puts her hand where a bloody handprint remains, and the false wall opens up to the hideout. As she looks around, Yeonsangun’s warning rings in her ears—that Yeok’s will and determination would be a sign of treasonous intent.
Yeok puts a hand on Seo-no’s shoulder and kneels beside him, apologizing for not being able to protect his father to the end. Seo-no says through his tears, “Then become king as soon as possible. As king you can protect the remaining people.” He begs for Yeok to stop letting people die unfairly like his father did.
In the hideout, Chae-kyung spots the one thing she shouldn’t—Yeok’s rebellion chart. She draws back the curtains, and the one glaring name at the very top, Lee Yung [Yeonsangun], makes it clear what this is. She draws in a sharp breath, and then loses her footing when she sees her father’s name there as well.
She clamps a hand over her mouth to contain her sobs, and she shakes as she thinks back to Yeok’s warning before they were married, that it would be her last chance to back out.
Yeah I bet she would’ve thought twice about marrying you if she’d known! I don’t think knowing the truth is going to change her love, but I do wonder if she would’ve run away if she had the chance to weigh her family against Yeok’s ambition to be king. Because he’s now put her in the position of throwing everyone she loves in a 50-50 gamble between life and death. There is no neutral safe zone for her and her parents, so they must either choose Yeok or Yeonsangun, and will face certain death if they choose badly. Worse yet is if they split their choice, which means tragedy for one and all no matter which way you slice it. It’s no wonder he tried to protect her from knowing this, though it certainly doesn’t change the fact that they’re all in danger anyway from the moment the wedding vows were made.
Plotwise, I welcome the cold, hard dose of reality for Chae-kyung. I love her innocence and her blind trust in Yeok, but I was beginning to worry that she’d unknowingly put them all at risk by jumping through hoops to play spy and prove his loyalty to the king. I don’t know how she’s going to keep fooling Yeonsangun now that she knows the truth though, because I don’t know if she’s shrewd enough to bluff in front of him. Yeok is the only one with the balls to do that, and even he can’t fool his brother completely. Maybe Yeonsangun’s love for her will be the only thing to keep her safe, which isn’t exactly a comforting thought.
I have to say, I love the way Yeonsangun’s descent is happening by degrees. I find it so believable, the way his core temperament is the same, but he’s just less and less predictable and therefore more dangerous. I shivered when he suddenly switched gears from looking for a tattooed court lady to wanting one to stay with him because she resembled Chae-kyung (or maybe even his mother—he never says who the resemblance is to). And I was shocked when he had an entire village razed to the ground because he was so twisted up with jealousy over Seo-no and everyone else having a real father’s love. It just makes you wonder if Yeonsangun was always going to be a tyrant, or if he was just a self-fulfilling prophecy because his father said he wasn’t fit to rule. I guess we’ll never know, but I love that his show makes me wonder about it.
It broke my heart when Chae-kyung asked Yeok to move to the countryside with her, because I knew the instant he said yes that it made me too happy for it to come true. And now with Seo-no asking him to become king to protect his people, how could Yeok run off with Chae-kyung and choose his own happiness? He can’t, and I know that, and it kills me.
I was just so relieved when Yeok caught her spying and hugged her, because I feared his reaction to her suspicious behavior. But this couple consistently defies that frustrating habit that drama characters have of feeding distrust with more suspicion. They’re walking through a minefield of misunderstandings daily, and yet they continue to trust each other more than any logical person should. They actually trust impulsively, and I can see why everyone else around them thinks they’re always being too rash to believe in one another. But that’s the quality that makes the drama the complete opposite of frustrating, because at every turn where someone else might cry and doubt and wait to be told the truth someday, Chae-kyung bullies her way past Yeok’s excuses and chooses to believe him, lies and all, and Yeok chooses to hug her and feel responsible for making her spy on him. They’re not normal, that’s for sure, but would we have it any other way?
- Seven Day Queen: Episode 1
- Premiere Watch: My Sassy Girl, Seven Day Queen, Best Hit, Duel
- Arranged marriages and love at first sight for the Seven Day Queen
- Queen for a week, heartbreak to last a lifetime
- Seven Day Queen’s young lovers realize their tragic fates
- Elegant tears and waking forbidden hearts in Seven Day Queen
- Thwarted kisses and rom-com hijinks in Seven Day Queen
- Blood, thorns, and tears in first teaser for Seven Day Queen
- Seven Day Queen team puts in their first four hours at script read