Seven Day Queen: Episode 14
I’m sort of amazed that it’s Episode 14 and this show has yet to disappoint me. The romance moves me more week by week, the stakes are as high as they come, and our characters are refreshingly bold and proactive no matter how dire the circumstances seem. I don’t want to jinx it, but do you suppose that it might just stay awesome all the way to the end? I mean, I had my hopes, but now I’m starting to actually believe it…
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EPISODE 14 RECAP
The second Chae-kyung recognizes Myung-hye as the woman who kissed Yeok, she begins to wonder who she is and whether she’s here for the secret will, and more importantly, what she means to Yeok. But she accepts Myung-hye into the household as a maid anyway, albeit with a grim expression.
Yeok comes looking for Chae-kyung when he hears that his mother came by, and he’s startled to see Myung-hye in his house, greeting him like they’re strangers. Chae-kyung introduces her as a new servant, all the while giving Yeok the hairy eyeball. Dude, she’s testing you. Say something!
Yeok is too stunned to say anything, so after the tense introduction, he grabs Chae-kyung by the wrist and leads her away from the house, intent on finding someplace where they can rest at ease.
Chae-kyung pulls away and complains that he’s hurting her, and he realizes he’s been holding onto her with a death grip and stammers an apology, seemingly for more than just the wrist-grab.
The queen dowager tells Minister Shin that she’s decided to honor her late husband’s wish for Yeok and Chae-kyung to be together, and that from now on she’s going to do everything she can to help them be happy. To that end, she claims, she’s set the date for them to sleep together.
She says that with a child, they will truly be inseparable, so that if something happens to one of them, it will happen to the other. That sounds an awful lot like a threat. Minister Shin counters with a warning of his own—that neither of them should cause harm to the other.
Yeok brings Chae-kyung to her parents’ house and tells her to stay here for the day. She doesn’t want to and asks if this is supposed to be for her benefit, but Yeok says it’s really for him, because he would feel better knowing that she’s here while he takes care of some things.
Chae-kyung hesitates out in the courtyard, not knowing what to tell her parents about why she’s here, but her mother runs out to greet her happily. Aw, I missed that carefree smile on Chae-kyung’s face.
The ministers gather in court and gossip about someone being killed yesterday, but no one will dare go to the king to find out who died lest he kill the messenger too. Yeonsangun arrives and says he only came today to give out a prize.
He turns to the vice minister of the interior and says he so enjoyed the minister’s recent writings about the king’s late-night hunts that he’s decided to give him a new title, and demotes him to a low-ranking civil military office.
Yeonsangun tells the minister to accept whatever he’s given by his king—that way, he’ll keep his life. Everyone files out silently in fear, but Minister Shin stays behind and offers to go speak to the king on the minister’s behalf. The others tell him to stay out of it, fearful that Minister Shin will end up getting demoted too.
The corrupt vice minister of war interrupts to say gleefully that the king allowed him free use of the military to hunt down the Snail Brides who tried to get him exiled, and the principled vice minister of the interior exclaims that the military is meant for national defense, not personal revenge. Minister Shin discreetly offers to lead the military investigation, which the vice minister of war is happy to hand over to him.
At the pawnshop confessional booth, a man says that there’s a new pawnshop in town that functions exactly like this one by offering rice in exchange for information, but only about one thing: Snail Brides. Damn, that’s smart. And then we see that information get passed along to Minister Shin.
Minister Shin looks ragged when he arrives home, but he lights up the instant he sees Chae-kyung, and they sit down to a warm, happy family dinner together. Mom chatters away incessantly, and Dad just smiles and points out that their daughter can’t eat because Mom is asking so many questions.
Yeok goes to see his mother too, but he’s there to put up a fight. He demands that she get Myung-hye out of his house this instant, but the queen dowager argues that he should be protecting his friends and his people.
She points out that Yeonsangun claimed Chae-kyung and her father as his people, but Yeok argues vehemently that Yeonsangun is wrong about that: “Chae-kyung is MY wife and MY family!” The queen dowager thinks she can’t be trusted, but Yeok says he’ll bear the consequences of trusting her, and tells his mother to leave Chae-kyung alone.
Chae-kyung’s head is swimming with thoughts of Yeok and Yeonsangun fighting, and her mother assumes she’s anxious to be apart from her husband because they’re newlyweds. Chae-kyung can’t stand the idea that Yeok might be in their house alone, and she darts up to run home.
Yeok isn’t there, but Myung-hye puts on a bright act in front of Chae-kyung and Nanny sends her to go fill the bathtub. Myung-hye uses that as her chance to let two men inside the front gate, and then she brings flower petals and tries to stay while Chae-kyung bathes.
But Nanny orders her out, so Myung-hye reluctantly walks out and tries to peep into the bathhouse through a crack in the wall.
Yeok comes home just in time to catch Myung-hye spying, and he drags her around the back to plead with her to get out. He says he’s already spoken to his mother, and demands that she leave. She claims that she’s not doing this because she wants to, and says tearfully that he has no idea what she endured to protect him, thinking of Yeonsangun’s interrogation.
Yeok says he knows how much she does for him, which is why he’s not outing her identity, but she argues that he’s doing that for himself. He admits it and begs her to go. Man, I almost feel sorry for her. Almost.
And then… Chae-kyung comes around the corner to listen in. Ack! Myung-hye says that Chae-kyung might have the secret will tattooed on her, but both women are shocked when they realize that Yeok already knew. In flashback, we see that Seo-no’s father had told Yeok exactly where that secret will tattoo was.
Chae-kyung walks away, uneasy on her feet, while Myung-hye argues that if Yeok doesn’t comply now, Chae-kyung will be in even more danger. She makes it clear that there are other people forcefully checking women’s bodies for tattoos.
That terrifies him and he tells her not to dare, but she warns him that it’ll be his fault if her uncle and the queen dowager resort to other methods to get the will from Chae-kyung. Myung-hye says that leaving it to her is the best way to keep Chae-kyung safe, promising to only watch her. Is that why you needed two burly hit men? I think not!
Once alone, Yeok fumes and wonders what on earth he’s doing to Chae-kyung, while Chae-kyung storms back to her bath and climbs into the tub fully dressed.
Nok-soo tells Yeonsangun about the queen dowager suddenly setting the date for Yeok and Chae-kyung to sleep together, which is the last thing Yeonsangun wants to hear. But then she shares her suspicion that Chae-kyung might have something to do with the secret will.
Myung-hye drugs Chae-kyung’s tea and sets a table in her room, and then she and her hit men take posts all over the room and lie in wait.
Chae-kyung comes out from her bath and is immediately wary of Yeok standing outside waiting for her, but he swears that he wasn’t trying to peek or anything.
He insists that they have to keep up appearances because the servants are watching, and picks her up to carry her to his room. Thankfully that means that Myung-hye’s plan is thwarted, because Chae-kyung never arrives in her room.
Yeok tells Chae-kyung to get some sleep, regretting that she didn’t stay at her parents’ house tonight to get some rest. He’s about to leave her alone when she says they’re supposed to sleep together per his mother’s orders, but he tells her they can wait.
“Aren’t you in a hurry? For the secret will?” she asks, her face stony. He goes rigid as she asks if he’s going to keep pretending not to know, and then she turns her back to him and begins to take off her clothes.
Yeok realizes that she’s known all this time, and he averts his gaze. But she tells him to look and asks in a shaky voice if this is what he wanted from her. He finally turns to look at her, and then his heart sinks to see two fresh burn scars where her tattoo used to be.
In flashback, we see Chae-kyung shaking with a towel between her teeth as Nanny took a scalding iron to her flesh, both of them crying uncontrollably. Yeok thinks, “She knew, and she was carrying that bitter fate all alone. While I was pretending not to know so that she wouldn’t be hurt, she was in pain alone.”
He swallows back his tears and asks Chae-kyung how long she’s known, and she asks if that’s important right now. She says she can’t endure any longer, pretending not to know, not to suspect, not to be shaken. She cries that she must’ve been naïve to think that her love and her trust could change his mind.
“Even if you had approached me with ulterior motives, thinking that you would change, that you would have been shaken tens of thousands of times, that ultimately my sincerity would win… that was foolish of me, wasn’t it?” she says in tears.
He calls her name but she growls at him not to call her that, and he’s taken aback by her coldness. But then she adds, “When you call my name, my heart melts. I am fooled.” She says she tells herself again and again not to be fooled by him, but then she finds herself hoping against her better judgment that she misunderstood somehow.
She asks Yeok point-blank, “Who are you? Why did you come to me?” She cries that he has so many things to explain to her, but Yeok can’t say a word. He just walks around to look again at her back, and as he reaches out to touch her scar, he breaks down in tears.
He falls to his knees and cries, “I’m sorry, Chae-kyung-ah. I was wrong.” He says in between sobs that they’ll go live in the countryside like she wanted, but she turns to him and says the saddest thing of all is that now she can’t trust his words. She tells him to ask her for the secret will instead, but that just makes him wail harder.
Outside, Myung-hye finds two pairs of shoes lined up outside Yeok’s bedroom and cries.
Yeonsangun scoffs that the queen dowager is planning to use Chae-kyung and throw her away, and yet Chae-kyung still foolishly chose Yeok over him. Nok-soo urges him to get to her first, before the secret will falls into Yeok’s hands.
Chae-kyung returns to her bedroom and sinks to the floor, crying all over again as she thinks of Yeok’s promise to run away with her.
Deputy Commander Park doesn’t waste an opportunity and goes to meet the former vice minister of the interior who was just demoted in the hopes of luring another supporter for the rebellion.
The Snail Brides go out for another rice run that night, and they don’t seem to notice that Minister Shin has gone undercover as one of them. He blends right into the group easily with a mask on his face, and then when policemen show up in the streets, they even lead Minister Shin right to their secret tunnel entrance into the pawnshop hideout. Worst security ever.
In the hideout, Yeok contemplates the rebellion chart and thinks back to earlier, when Chae-kyung had asked him why she should give him the secret will. She’d asked him for a reason why he should be king.
The boys return, and it’s not until Minister Shin is standing in the middle of the room staring at Yeok and the rebellion chart that they realize what a stupid mistake they’ve made. They draw their swords but Yeok tells them to back down, and Minister Shin says he came alone… for now.
Minister Shin says it wasn’t hard to trace the Snail Brides’ activity and to lie in wait to join them, and he urges Yeok to stop. Yeok doesn’t back down and says that their work won’t end as long as the king’s tyranny continues, and Minister Shin argues that his true motive isn’t heroism, knowing that he’s doing this for the throne.
Chae-kyung looks sadly at the twig binyeo that Yeok gave her as a wedding gift and thinks back to their happier days, and how she’d asked Yeok earlier that night if he had to be king, if he couldn’t just live as a prince.
Minister Shin supposes that Yeok will continue to be reckless despite being discovered tonight. He says that there will always be places to hide, but that there’s only one place to rest his heart. He warns them that the Snail Brides will be targeted very soon, and gives Yeok an ultimatum: break up his crew and go live with Chae-kyung in the country, or leave her. Minister Shin says he won’t allow his daughter to be the wife of a traitor.
When Minister Shin turns to go, the Snail Brides surround him with swords, and Yeok shouts at them to withdraw. They argue that trusting Chae-kyung is different from trusting Minister Shin, but Yeok declares that his father-in-law would never let innocent people die, and that he’ll take responsibility for this. He commands them to back off, and they let him go.
Minister Shin is far less imposing in the privacy of home, where he shakes in fear from what he’s just discovered. Someone arrives to see him from the palace, which further worries him.
Yeok sits deep in thought over Minister Shin’s words about the one place to rest his heart, and remembers Chae-kyung declaring that it’s her choice to trust him. The boys return and worry that they can’t just let Minister Shin go like that, but all Yeok says is, “Why didn’t anyone ask me why I had to be king?”
They answer readily that Yeonsangun has lost his heart for the people and become a tyrant who’ll stop at nothing to keep absolute power. When Yeok is king, they argue, all citizens will become his people and he will protect them, because Yeok is someone who always protects his people. Yeok lets out a heavy sigh and asks, “But what if I can’t protect the person I cherish most?”
As he thinks of all the danger Chae-kyung doesn’t even know she’s facing, someone breaks into her bedroom and gags her, and they carry her off in a palanquin.
Yeok tells his friends that he’s rewarded Chae-kyung’s trust by putting her in that hell of a house, and to make things worse his mother has sicced Myung-hye on her. That prompts Seo-no to wonder if sending Myung-hye to prison was the queen dowager’s doing as well, and Yeok demands to know what he’s talking about. Seo-no says she was there in Chae-kyung’s prison cell to watch and make sure she didn’t talk, but Yeok knows better and says that’s not all she went there to do.
He storms out furiously, only to find Chae-kyung’s bedroom empty in the wake of her kidnapping. He grabs Eunuch Song by the collar and screams at him to talk, and Eunuch Song squeaks out that it was a royal order given by Secretary Im.
Myung-hye comes to the pawnshop looking for Yeok because Chae-kyung has gone missing, but Seo-no is there to confront her instead, and he asks with disappointment in his voice if she really faked her identity to get close to Chae-kyung and went to prison to kill her.
He says he told Yeok everything, and asks if she was planning to kill Chae-kyung in a pinch this time too. She turns away from him before her tears spill out, and Seo-no says he pities her. Well that makes one of us.
Minister Shin arrives at the palace, where Secretary Im warns him gleefully to choose his words wisely in front of the king because his neck is on the chopping block. Yeonsangun asks how long Minister Shin has been deceiving him, already convinced that he’s been consorting with the queen dowager against him.
Yeonsangun accuses him of knowing Yeok was alive before he did, and asks if he knows what Yeok is planning. On his knees, Minister Shin admits to suspecting that Yeok was alive, but insists that he never meant to deceive the king.
Yeonsangun’s tone turns icy as he asks if Chae-kyung has a tattoo on her body, and says that if the location of his father’s secret will is tattooed there, it means that Minister and Shin and his father have been plotting to make Yeok king for twenty years.
Minister Shin swears it isn’t true, but Yeonsangun says he can’t trust him anymore. On cue, Secretary Im says he’s brought someone here to put their doubts to rest once and for all, and Nok-soo leads Chae-kyung into the room. Outside the palace, Yeok races to get to her.
Chae-kyung asks Yeonsangun if getting rid of the secret will is what will put his mind at ease, and he says that it will make his position secure and nip Yeok’s ambition in the bud. Minister Shin argues that his daughter knows nothing, but Yeonsangun says that’s what they’re here to prove. He turns away and his voice gets uneven as he orders Chae-kyung to be undressed.
Chae-kyung resists and fights Nok-soo off, and Minister Shin tries to go to her, but is blocked by armed guards. Chae-kyung snaps at Nok-soo to back off and not lay a hand on her, but Yeonsangun tells her to continue.
Finally Chae-kyung declares defiantly that she’ll do it herself if the king must see with his own eyes before he’ll let her go. She begins to undress, when Yeok throws open the doors and screams, “What are you doing?!”
The guards turn to him, but he disarms one swiftly and takes his sword, and stands in front of Chae-kyung protectively. He turns to her and says quietly that everything will be okay now, and she worries about what he’ll do.
He gives her a silent nod of reassurance and squeezes her arm, and then declares that he’s brought his brother a farewell gift. Yeok reminds him that his wife asked for permission to go live in the countryside, and Yeonsangun says sarcastically, “But you have to become king!”
Yeok fires back, “I’m different from you. I will not hurt the person I love to become king.” Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Yeonsangun’s lip quivers in fury and he comes down from the throne to cut Yeok down with his sword. But before he can reach him, Yeok unfurls a scroll in his hand. Omo! It’s the will!
He holds it out in front of him like a shield and declares it the command of the late king, and everyone’s jaws drop to the floor. Yeok reads it aloud, and it says that when Yeok comes of age, Yeonsangun is to relinquish the throne and support him.
Yeonsangun laughs bitterly up at his father in the sky and then snarls that he’s going to kill them all. Minister Shin blocks him, and Yeonsangun turns to Chae-kyung with pained eyes to ask if she really gave the will to Yeok and not him.
He sounds like a little boy as he asks Minister Shin if he really intends to make Yeok king, but Minister Shin firmly declares his loyalty to Yeonsangun, as always.
Even Secretary Im stops Yeonsangun from going on a murderous rampage, saying that all they have to do is cover this up, but Yeok says that won’t be necessary. “I only need to take what’s mine,” he says, and repeats that he and Chae-kyung will go live in the country.
Shock comes over Yeonsangun, and Yeok says that heaven must really choose the king, because Chae-kyung did have the secret will, which he says was the last chance that heaven bestowed upon Yeonsangun, and proof that heaven still had hope for him—hope that the people would stop waiting for the faceless Snail Brides to rescue them, and that the king would rule righteously. He says that it’s Chae-kyung who wants that more than anyone.
We flash back to the moment Chae-kyung had shown Yeok her tattoo. She handed him the secret will, and then asked if he couldn’t give his brother one more chance to rule well. She made him promise that until he could give her a reason why he must become king, he wouldn’t use the will to take the throne.
He’d asked why she was giving it to him then, and she said that because he was risking his life, she wanted him to use the will as the ultimate shield when he needed it.
In the present, Yeok says that’s why he’s planning to give Yeonsangun one more chance. He declares in a booming voice, “I, Grand Prince Jinseong Lee Yeok, accept the late king’s will and accede to the throne.” Wait, what?
Everyone panics at the sudden twist, but then he concludes, “…And now I abdicate the throne to my brother.” I think my heart attack just had a heart attack.
Yeok shouts at the historian to make sure he got all that, and the historian blurts, “Yes, your majesty!” addressing Yeok as king. Eep! Yeonsangun looks at the historian like he wants to rip his tongue out. The brush is shaking so badly in his hand, I don’t know how he’s going to write any of this down.
Yeok tells Yeonsangun that this is his answer, and then leads Chae-kyung away.
But Yeonsangun refuses to let them leave and breaks their hands apart and puts a sword to Yeok’s throat. He says he won’t permit it, but Yeok just calmly says, “Kill me. Even if you do, you won’t get what you want. Even as a ghost, I will be with Chae-kyung.” Damn.
Yeonsangun looks over at Chae-kyung and sees the way she’s looking at Yeok, tears in her eyes but overflowing with love. His hand goes limp and he lets the sword fall.
Yeok takes Chae-kyung’s hand and they march out.
Wow, that was some great stuff. I swooned about five times in that one scene, mostly because I was so shocked by Yeok’s move to sacrifice the throne for his love. I just didn’t expect it, knowing that he does have to become king someday, so despite wishing all this time that he would be the kind of man to choose love over everything, I thought he couldn’t. But this is really the best of both worlds, because maybe down the line there will be a different choice to make, but right now in this moment, he gets to be the romantic hero and lay down everything to be with Chae-kyung. I mean, is there anything better than a hero who would trade his kingdom for the woman he loves?
He’s got some impeccable timing too, because I was so mad that he didn’t speak up to defend himself when Chae-kyung was asking him to assuage her worst fears, but this twist more than made up for it. Despite all the doubt that Myung-hye brought between them, I was so glad that Chae-kyung chose to confront Yeok directly, brave and direct as she always is. The scene where she shows him her tattoo was a nice parallel to the one where he showed her his scars, and it highlighted the lovely way that they take on each other’s pain by thinking of what they had endured to get each scar on their bodies.
It seemed so fitting that she would just give Yeok the will and let him decide his own fate, the way she’d taken charge of her own life and burned the damned tattoo right off of her skin. At every turn, Chae-kyung always finds a way to actively make a choice rather than be a victim of circumstance, refusing to even be stripped bare in front of everyone when she could choose to do it herself—outwardly the same, but ultimately so different.
I know that in the end Yeok won’t be able to turn his back on the people and that Yeonsangun won’t take this final chance for what he should, but now Yeok has earned Chae-kyung’s trust the proper way, and maybe someday she’ll be the one asking him to be king. It’s sad that Yeonsangun won’t bear out her trust in him as a ruler, and I fear that losing her now is what will break him completely, but I was cheering when Yeok opened Yeonsangun’s eyes to the fact that nothing he could do would separate the two lovers, not even death.
Naturally this makes me terrified that now Yeonsangun will make it his sole mission in life to separate them even if it costs him the throne, because he’s a scorched earth kind of a fellow and not likely to just accept Chae-kyung’s happiness with Yeok. Sadly he’s even come to distrust the only person who loves him unconditionally—Minister Shin—who actually seems to love him more than his own father did, and truly believes in his capacity to be a good king. It’s truly tragic that fear of betrayal, not even actual betrayal, is enough to undo every good relationship in his life.
But what Yeok proved today is that he makes good on other people’s trust in him, while Yeonsangun drives away those who are most loyal to him. And that isn’t fate or circumstance or anything else—it’s just their true character, and the difference between a king who loses all his people trying to keep his power, and a man who would throw away all his power to keep his people.
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- Premiere Watch: My Sassy Girl, Seven Day Queen, Best Hit, Duel
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- Queen for a week, heartbreak to last a lifetime
- Seven Day Queen’s young lovers realize their tragic fates
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- Seven Day Queen team puts in their first four hours at script read