Seven Day Queen: Episode 15
It’s nice to get a short reprieve from all the life-and-death drama in this drama, even if we’re all fully aware that today’s stop in happytown is only a quick layover on the way to tragedyville. But when the happiness is this happy, it makes me think that maybe it’ll be enough to carry these two through this lifetime.
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EPISODE 15 RECAP
After trading his father’s secret will and the throne for freedom with Chae-kyung, Yeok struts out of the palace like a hero, hand-in-hand with Chae-kyung. Yeonsangun looks as though all the wind has been knocked out of his body as he watches them go.
They only get down the corridor before Yeok grabs Chae-kyung in a hug of relief, and asks if she’s really okay. He tells her never to be in danger again, and she looks up at him, eyes full of love, and promises not to.
Back in the throne room, everyone drops to their knees to bow before Yeonsangun, who just stares soullessly at the will that Yeok casually tossed on the floor on his way out. He walks past it and contains his rage until he’s in the privacy of his own room, where he starts breaking everything in sight.
Nok-soo looks alarmed at the outburst, and though Minister Shin lingers outside the door in worry, she turns him away saying that he has no right to be here.
Yeok goes to face the music and tells his mother everything, and she pounds his chest in anger, asking if he knows what he’s just done. Yeok says, “Yes, I have given up the throne,” but she counters that he’s given up his life as well.
Yeok says that he had become just like his brother, suspecting his family and letting them die just to be king. The queen dowager claims that he wasn’t the one to do those things, but he argues that everyone from his mother to Myung-hye to the Snail Brides—they are all him, and everything they do and even the world that they dream of begins with him.
His voice trembles as he says that he was becoming more and more like his brother, adopting the characteristics that he hates most about him. “If I am no different from him, then why must I push him out and become king? I could not find the reason I had to be king, so I will be satisfied in this life with protecting the person I want to protect,” he says.
The queen dowager cries, “Did you forget that your life is not just your own?!” Yeok counters, “Just because you gave birth to me, just because you saved my life, don’t think you can control my fate.”
He storms out and swallows back his tears before rejoining Chae-kyung, and he asks brightly if she wants to go anywhere. He says he really doesn’t want to return to that house and leads her out.
As they walk down the street together gazing into each other’s eyes, Chae-kyung narrates that their lives had at last become simple and easy, with no suspicion and no secrets between them. “We only had death to fear,” she says.
“…But death comes to everyone,” Yeok adds as he picks up the narration. “Until then, we just prayed for happiness together.”
He leads her to the inn where they first reunited as adults and says that since they can’t go back to their youth, they should at least start over in adulthood and clear up all the misunderstandings between them.
Chae-kyung reminds him that they don’t exactly have great memories at this place, where she had performed memorial rites for him while he was alive and well. Yeok says it wasn’t the memorial that offended him, but the fact that she was with Yeonsangun at the time.
She says apologetically that she didn’t know about all the strife between the brothers, and Yeok says gently that he knows. “That’s why I was able to not hate you, and that’s why I was able to love you,” he says, all casual-like. Chae-kyung’s eyes turn to saucers and she tries to get him to say it again, but Yeok pretends not to know what she’s asking for and walks away grinning. Cheeky.
Myung-hye reels from the news about Yeok and asks Seo-no how he could’ve thrown it all away for some girl. Seo-no argues that for Chae-kyung, he would’ve, as protecting her was the reason Yeok wanted to become king in the first place.
Myung-hye can’t believe Yeok would want to be king for a girl, but Seo-no says that Chae-kyung is the very reason Yeok lives, and he warns Myung-hye against trying anything now.
Chae-kyung’s mother asks anxiously if the danger has passed now that Yeok has given up the throne, but Dad says it might not be so easy for the kids to move to the countryside as they asked, because Yeonsangun seems to love Chae-kyung as a woman, and is fighting a war that only he understands. That scares Mom to death, and she pleads with Dad to send the kids away before anything else can happen to them.
Chae-kyung joins Yeok in their room with clothes that she borrowed from the innkeeper, and he totally tries to sneak a peek at her while she changes. She narrows her eyes at him and makes him turn the other way while he feigns innocence. She says she likes the plain hanbok, calling it comfortable, and he tells her that she looks pretty in anything. Aw.
Yeonsangun stumbles into the queen dowager’s room drunk, and says that they were both blindsided by Yeok today. He muses that Yeok hasn’t changed at all since he was a kid, always surprising them with all the trouble he caused.
He asks, “Should I just give it to him—the throne? Tell Yeok to be king. Then instead I will live as Chae-kyung’s husband and Minister Shin’s son-in-law, and your son.” Augh, break my heart why don’t you.
The queen dowager says it’s too late for that now, and as he lays his head down in her lap, she tells him to be reborn in the next life as her daughter, so that she can braid his hair and make him clothes, and give him lots of love. She almost reaches to out to caress his head as he sleeps… but then she pulls back and calls for the servants to send for the queen.
The queen tucks Yeonsangun in and sits by his bedside, and in his sleepy haze he clutches her hand, trembling violently.
While Chae-kyung prepares a simple dinner in the kitchen, Yeok finds a present he’d bought for her that he’s been carrying around in his pocket for some time. She spies him taking it out and putting it back, and she accuses him of keeping secrets so that he’ll give it up, heh.
He hems and haws and says that it’s really not that much of a present, but he bought it because she had a lot of reasons to be mad at him lately, so he wanted her to stop keeping all that bottled up and “throw them” as she pleased. She wonders what he means by that, and then opens up the little pouch to find a handful of red beans. Hahaha, it’s what she’d thrown at him to ward him off when she thought he was a jerky ghost.
Yeok says it actually hurts to be hit with them, but he’s willing to take it if it’ll make her feel better. That is so cute. She laughs at his idea of a present and then enjoys watching him flinch every time she raises a fistful of beans in the air.
She teases him for being scared, so this time, he catches her arm in midair and then flips her onto her back, landing on top of her. Rawr. A close-up of the scattered beans reveals something shiny in the pouch, which Chae-kyung is much too distracted to notice.
Yeok jokes that he’s not emotionally prepared to be pelted with beans because he’s still scarred from the last time, and Chae-kyung asks if this is his cowardly way of avoiding his due beans. He gets serious and says, “I’ve been very cowardly lately, haven’t I? And you’ve had a hard time because of it.”
She just counters that if he does nothing now, then he’s really cowardly, and shuts her eyes as she tells him to go ahead and do something. He waits a beat and she starts to pout, but then Yeok kisses her gently on the forehead, and then the cheek, and then he moves down to her neck and her eyes flutter closed.
He kisses her tenderly and begins to undress her, and in voiceover, Chae-kyung asks, “Do you love me?” He answers, “How could I not? I love you. I love you. I love you [he uses three different words for “love”] very, very much.”
Yeonsangun wakes from a fitful sleep with Yeok’s voice reciting their father’s will in his head. He demands more liquor to drown out the noise, and when he goes through three more bottles, he calls out for more.
But then he suddenly has a frightening vision of his father, who looms closer and closer as he berates Yeonsangun for disobeying a royal command. In a panic, Yeonsangun scrambles to get his sword and yells at his father to go away, but his father just growls, “Didn’t I say that if you controlled Joseon, it would fall to ruin?!”
Yeonsangun swings his sword wildly, but of course he’s just alone in an empty room, flinging his sword through empty air.
He keeps seeing his father disappear and reappear, and Yeonsangun cries that in the end he just favored Yeok, and that’s the sole reason he wanted Yeok to be king. This time he stabs his father clean through with the blade and demands that he disappear. There’s an awful bone-crunching noise as he drives the sword through his father’s gut…
…And then when Yeonsangun comes to his senses, he looks up and sees that he’s stabbed a eunuch. Aaaaaaah. The eunuch falls to the floor in a bloody heap, and the other servants race inside. Yeonsangun looks stunned at first, but then he seems to snap and he begins to laugh like it’s funny that he just brutally killed a man by mistake. That is seriously disturbing.
In the morning, Yeok walks Chae-kyung home and says that he’s reluctant to part. She points out that they’ll be together all the time from now on, but he says he meant that he doesn’t want to part with his friends. She snarls but then suggests that the guys can move down to the country with them, figuring that the Snail Brides will disband without Yeok.
He promises to come home early, and then has to point out that he can’t leave if she keeps holding onto his hand. I love how long it takes him to actually leave, like they can’t bear to be apart for a couple of hours.
Chae-kyung braces herself before entering their house, and Eunuch Song and the court ladies bow to greet her. In her most authoritative voice, Chae-kyung asks how they dare to stay here when she was kidnapped in the middle of the night, and tells them all to get out.
Eunuch Song doesn’t know what to do and says that they’re here under royal orders, but Chae-kyung points out that she could either accuse them of being complicit in the kidnapping or not doing their jobs to protect her, and orders them to leave quietly now before she takes it up with the palace. They scurry away, and Chae-kyung lets out a sigh of relief.
She goes to her room to find Nanny crying next to her empty bed, and Nanny bawls her eyes out to see Chae-kyung again and hugs her in relief. Nanny asks if they can’t just go back to the country like before, promising not to nag her anymore if they can just leave the city because she can’t handle Chae-kyung being in danger all the time.
Chae-kyung feels terrible for always making Nanny worry and cry, and says that they’ll move back to the countryside just as soon as Yeok wraps up some things here and the king gives his official permission.
Nanny brightens immediately, and then remembers to tell Chae-kyung about Myung-hye. But as soon as she mentions it, Myung-hye’s voice calls out asking to see Chae-kyung. She’s back in her normal clothes, and when they sit down to tea, Myung-hye is startled to learn that Chae-kyung knew who she really was when she first arrived at this house.
Myung-hye asks why she let her in then, and Chae-kyung just asks in a pitying way why Myung-hye lives such a difficult life, and whether what she’s doing is truly right. Myung-hye doesn’t think Chae-kyung is in a position to admonish her, but Chae-kyung quotes the words Myung-hye had said to her in prison about living lowly or living harshly, and says that this time Myung-hye’s actions were low, so much that it feels like a waste to hate her or get angry about it. Buurrrn.
Chae-kyung just coolly says goodbye so that she’ll leave, but then Myung-hye leaves her with one last sucker-punch: “What if it were for oraboni? How low could you get for his sake? Could you throw yourself away? It seems that I am more ardent than you.”
The queen dowager doesn’t seem convinced that Minister Shin knew nothing of the secret will and Chae-kyung’s tattoo, and resents him as always. He tries to focus on getting Yeok and Chae-kyung safely out of the capital, but the queen dowager says it’s a miracle that they walked away with their lives, thinking it unlikely that Yeonsangun will let them leave.
She calls attention to the fact that Yeonsangun seems to have feelings for Chae-kyung as a woman, and not-so-subtly blames Chae-kyung for it, warning Minister Shin to make sure she doesn’t act improperly. Gah, it’s not her fault that the crazy king loves her!
Yeonsangun lies awake looking like a hollow shell, and this time he imagines young Yeok sitting in his room playing his bipa, and then the vision transforms into adult Yeok. Yeonsangun says he should’ve killed him then and throws a bowl into the empty air, and then becomes reinvigorated when he realizes that it’s not too late to kill him now.
Yeok arrives at the pawnshop, and as soon as he comes in, the three boys start silently tearing apart the room and taking down all the plans for the things they’d worked so hard to achieve. They ask what they’re supposed to do about all the people who sacrificed so much for him to be king, and feel betrayed that Yeok didn’t even consult them when he wanted to give up.
Feeling terrible, Yeok gets down on his knees in the middle of the room and sincerely apologizes: “I’m sorry for not being able to keep my promise to become king for all of you. I’m so sorry for running away so irresponsibly.”
And then he adds tearfully, “But the thing I’m truly sorry for is the fact that after doing that, I’m happy. For the first time ever.”
By now all four boys have tears in their eyes, and Yeok admits that it felt so freeing to toss his father’s will away, and that after telling Chae-kyung everything, it finally feels like he’s alive. He says that he realized the truth—that the real reason he was after the throne was to get revenge against his brother. Yeok argues that it can’t be the reason he becomes king, and that he wanted to give Yeonsangun his trust one more time.
Seo-no raises Yeok to his feet and says that he understands how Yeok feels, but that doesn’t mean he’ll follow Yeok’s decision. Seo-no points out that Yeok sees Yeonsangun as his brother first and foremost, and so he understands why Yeok is wavering. But to them, he argues, the king is just a murderer who killed their families and an incompetent king who tyrannizes the people.
Seo-no declares that he won’t quit the Snail Brides, because even if they can’t change the king, they still need influence to keep the king in check. Seo-no tells Yeok to leave, because if he stays, he’ll just put them in more danger.
Myung-hye and her uncle are shocked to hear that Minister Shin infiltrated the Snail Bride headquarters and said nothing, though Deputy Commander Park argues that he won’t stay quiet for long. Myung-hye says that the queen dowager ordered her to use Yeok’s weakness to stop him from moving to the country. Of course she did.
The queen dowager had told Myung-hye that Yeok’s weakness was in wanting to protect his own people, and so they would need to make him realize that the only way to protect those he loves is to become king. Myung-hye suggests fanning the flames of discord between Yeonsangun and Minister Shin, so that Yeok will act on behalf of Chae-kyung’s family. She says that Yeok won’t even be able to dream of living in the countryside after that. Ugh, I hate you.
Deputy Commander Park goes straight for the low-hanging fruit and tells Minister Shin’s biggest anti-fan, Secretary Im, about the night Minister Shin discovered the Snail Bride hideout. Secretary Im immediately tells the king that Minister Shin chose to side with the rebels.
The next thing we know, Yeonsangun has prisoners tied up to boards and uses them as live targets, shooting them with arrows and insisting that his officers wave the flags and announce a bullseye every time he’s killed one. Holy crap.
On his knees, Minister Shin begs for Yeonsangun to stop, but Yeonsangun says he’s fortifying his throne because he never knows when people who have gone against him will try to take the throne from him.
Minister Shin argues that those people don’t have the power or the treasonous intent to do such a thing, and Yeonsangun swings around to aim right at Minister Shin as he says, “But you do.”
Minister Shin insists that he’s loyal, so Yeonsangun tells him to prove it by capturing the Snail Brides and proving that Yeok is their leader. He insists that all he wants is to kill every last one of the Snail Brides, not Yeok, and ignores Minister Shin’s pleas for him to let Yeok go.
Chae-kyung and Nanny happily pack to move, and Chae-kyung shows off the shiny new ring that Yeok gave her. In flashback, we see that she’d discovered her real present in the middle of the night, and had woken him up then and there, insisting that he had to put it on her finger himself. Ha.
Nanny wants to get a better look at it, but Chae-kyung refuses to take it off even for a second. They’re surprised when someone arrives from the palace, but Nanny says excitedly that the king must’ve given them his official permission to leave.
Yeok’s friends help him pack up his stuff, and he lingers for a moment in front of his old crutch. Myung-hye arrives to say that the queen dowager wants to see Yeok before he goes, because the king has granted him permission to leave.
Yeok makes plans to meet them for drinks later that night and heads to the palace. Myung-hye follows him out, and I really don’t like the way she looks back at Seo-no, like she’s sorry for what’s about to happen…
At the same time, Minister Shin prepares a troop of officers to capture the Snail Brides. Myung-hye nervously leads Yeok away, and in flashback we see her uncle declare that it was time they cut off their own tail and let go of the Snail Brides. She’d asked how much of the tail should get cut, and he’d said that Seo-no would do nicely as the sacrificial lamb. As Myung-hye gets farther and farther away from the pawnshop, she begins to look worried.
Chae-kyung arrives to see the king, who stamps his seal on the royal order for Yeok to leave the capital with her. He hands her the scroll himself, and Chae-kyung kneels in gratitude as she accepts it.
Yeonsangun says she made it her wish, so he had no choice but to keep his promise to her. But he warns that she didn’t keep her promise, and therefore will pay the price. He tells her that he gave the royal order for her father to capture the Snail Brides to prove his loyalty.
Minister Shin takes his men to front of the pawnshop compound, while inside the hideout, the boys scramble to pack up all their things. Outside, Secretary Im arrives to check on the investigation and asks if the hideout has been found yet.
Minister Shin lies that he’d have arrested them by now if he’d found that, but Secretary Im catches him in the lie and says that he knows Minister Shin already infiltrated the Snail Bride hideout once before. He says it’s time to choose between his son-in-law and his daughter, and that if he catches Yeok now, Yeonsangun will let his family live.
In the palace, Yeonsangun tells Chae-kyung that if her father returns empty-handed, he’ll have no choice but to punish Minister Shin and his whole family as traitors, and then Chae-kyung won’t be able to leave despite gaining his permission now. That’s twisted. Chae-kyung asks in tears, “Did I make you this way?” and Yeonsangun doesn’t hesitate to reply, “Yes.”
She thinks of happier times when they’d joked and laughed, and the way Yeonsangun had come to her rescue when she was crucified. She asks how he came to have feelings for someone like her when she can’t stay by his side, but he argues that she came now, and that she was already his person the moment she entered his heart, so he can’t very well give her to someone else.
Chae-kyung argues that he already gave her to Yeok when he gave them the royal order to be married, and Yeonsangun says that he regrets it, so he’s going to make it right.
Meanwhile, Yeok notices Myung-hye acting squirrely and finds it suspicious that her hand is smudged with ink. We see that she’d written treasonous flyers and stashed them all over the hideout earlier today, and Yeok knows her well enough to realize that she’s hiding something, and that the boys are in danger. He turns around and breaks into a run.
In the hideout, Seo-no discovers one of Myung-hye’s flyers declaring the intent to overthrow Yeonsangun and make Yeok king.
Outside, Yeok and Myung-hye arrive to find the courtyard overrun with officers, and he whispers at her that if she wants to make this right, she’ll do exactly as he orders.
The boys start to burn the treasonous flyers that they find, but they worry about how many are stashed among their things. Yeok comes through the secret entrance and hurries them out before they get ambushed, but when he stops to read one of the flyers, a sword appears at his throat. Ack, it’s Minister Shin.
At the palace, Yeonsangun tells Chae-kyung that the Snail Brides will already have been captured by now, and she asks what she can do to quell his anger. He says that one day she’ll come to him of her own accord.
Minister Shin lowers his sword and tells Yeok to go. Yeok worries about what’ll happen to Minister Shin, but he urges Yeok to take Chae-kyung and run as far away as he can, saying that this is the last decision he’ll be able to make as Chae-kyung’s father and Yeok’s father-in-law. Nooooo.
He sends Yeok out through the secret passageway just as Secretary Im breaks into the underground hideout. Though Yeok manages to slip away, Secretary Im gets what he wants: Minister Shin caught aiding and abetting a traitor, with written proof that the Snail Brides were planning a coup. Yeok tells the boys to have the Snail Brides scatter and go into hiding, and then he runs to go find Chae-kyung…
But she’s with Yeonsangun, of course, and she’s shocked when Secretary Im leads her father into the room tied up like a criminal. Yeonsangun hears that Minister Shin helped a traitor escape and grows livid as he reads the treasonous flyer.
He declares that he’ll have to take Minister Shin’s life as promised, and then adds, “But Chae-kyung will have to die first.”
Out in the street, Yeok runs to her as fast as his legs will carry him.
Ohmygod, could we not have let them be happy for one full episode?! Why is it so painful to root for this couple? I don’t even know what else Yeok has up his sleeve when he’s already given up the secret will and the throne once to save her. What can he possibly give up this time? Today’s trap actually felt a little too easy and repetitive compared to the heart-pounding climax of the last episode, so I wished that we hadn’t so quickly returned to Chae-kyung and her family being in danger. I was hoping for a quieter hour for more extended character growth without the mayhem. We did mostly get that, with Yeok and Chae-kyung finally getting to feel secret-free and happy together, and with Yeonsangun growing disturbingly more and more unhinged. I just would’ve liked for more time to have passed before Chae-kyung and her father ended up on death’s door again.
The last episode really proved to be a huge turning point for all of our characters, especially for Yeonsangun, who seems to have crossed into a side of himself that’s brutally violent and seemingly bloodthirsty. Though he still has a clear rationale in his own twisted head for everything that he’s doing, I can see how to anyone else, he’s becoming a madman who kills for no reason. The eunuch’s death totally freaked me out, with its horrible sound effects and his incongruous laughter, and I thought how easy a downward spiral it would be for him to drink himself into a stupor every night and kill his father or Yeok or Chae-kyung in his mind while killing innocent servants around him.
On the flip side, becoming a little unhinged has made Yeonsangun more emotionally vulnerable and honest with everyone, which is an interesting side effect of no longer caring to keep up appearances. If only he’d been this honest before he lost all of his people. I just can’t believe he’s already at the if-I-can’t-have-you-no-one-can place, and is ready to kill Chae-kyung just to keep her to himself. That officially makes you a psycho in my book.
Despite being sad that Yeok and his friends parted ways (for all of a minute), I was really proud of Seo-no for sticking to his principles and for finding his own purpose outside of Yeok. He seems to have a clearer understanding of what makes Yeonsangun a bad king, and I just love that he insists on fighting for what he believes in even if he knows it won’t change the world. I thought it was important to see the consequences of Yeok’s choice right away—he sacrificed a great deal when he chose Chae-kyung, not just the throne for himself, but the dreams of everyone around him.
But I’m still glad he did, because it was such a welcome change of pace to have Yeok and Chae-kyung finally on the same page about everything and keeping no secrets from each other. They’ve always been adorable, but before I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop because there were so many secrets they had kept in an effort to protect one another, and I get so nervous about characters finding things out in the most suspicious and inopportune ways (like Myung-hye pretending to a maid when Chae-kyung knew who she was—that stressed me out). But now it’s them against the world, and despite knowing that they’re in for a world of hurt, shifting their dynamic to be a unit makes me think that they can handle just about anything. But… that’s not an open invitation to pelt them with pain, ya hear me?
- 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