Mr. Queen: Episodes 5-6 Open Thread
Things are not going well for our hero. As expected, returning to his body and his present-day life is not as easy as jumping back into the mysterious lake. With a growing number of political enemies, competition in the court, and a king that’s starting to take an interest in his queen, our hero’s endurance (and ingenuity) is put to the test.
EPISODES 5-6 WEECAP
Will Bong-hwan’s cockiness prove to be his biggest flaw or his biggest asset while trapped in Joseon? We might not know the answer to that question yet, but it surely brings about a lot of action for our queen — and mayhem in the court.
In fact, the stand-off we ended on last week is a perfect example of that. Our hero admits that he can’t stand people “looking cooler than him,” which cues the dramatic confession of the attempted lake suicide (and a pretty hysterical use of 2NE1’s iconic “I Am the Best.”) It’s pretty funny how Bong-hwan is constantly trying to one-up everyone around him, and while he’s trapped as the queen, he’ll do whatever that means, even mock fainting to copy Hwa-jin.
The contrast the drama builds between Bong-hwan’s inner monologue and intentions, and his actions in queen So-yong’s body, continue to be the highlight of this drama. Shin Hye-sun is so hands-down fantastic here (I still can’t get over the body language!), that it’s almost impossible to see So-yong as an actual queen.
But, every now and then, there’s a moment when it’s easy to see what the narrative might look like if So-yong was actually So-yong, and there’s two favorite scenes this week that did that nicely.
The first is the stand-off at the courtyard, where Cheoljong has picked up the fainted Hwa-jin and is about to carry her to safety. Byung-in (heart!) is all about the rivalry here, and he picks up (fake) fainted So-yong in the same fashion. The heroes glare at each other with the heroines swooned in their arms. It’s both a quintessential romantic moment, and a crazy bit of satire, since we all know the truth about So-yong.
The second scene that I thought portrayed the same dichotomy quite well was So-yong’s rain dance. In terms of the plot this is important because a) rain means the lake fills up and Bong-hwan thinks he can head home; and b) Cheoljong is watching her from a distance, and it’s all too clear he’s starting to pay attention to his crazy queen.
But, beyond the plot, this scene also holds our dichotomy of Joseon romance and body swap comedy. When we see this rain dance from Cheoljong’s perspective, he sees his queen dancing gracefully to some moving and elegant music. However, when we see the scene from So-yong’s perspective, she’s twerking it out to Black Pink’s “Ddu Du Ddu Du.” Contrast = comedy! And it’s this multi-layeredness and contrasting storytelling that keeps Mr. Queen moving forward.
The plot might move slow, but we did learn some important things this week. First, the full (and magically deep) lake doesn’t hold the key to Bong-hwan’s return to real life. A deep dive and near drowning doesn’t trigger a thing — well, unless we are talking about Cheoljong and his sudden interest in preserving the queen’s life.
Cheoljong’s new-found interest in So-yong, and his idea that she’s not an enemy after all, is surely going to play out in some interesting ways later on. As for me, I’m ready for him to learn what “no touch” really means. I’m also starting to think that this drama would benefit from So-yong telling him the truth about the body swap — but I think I’m just itching for some “buddy cop” moments between these two. Surely if they join forces they can get stuff done.
With the lake an epic fail, So-yong tries to ingratiate herself to the queen dowager, hoping some shamanism will help her unravel the mystery and get things set to rights. This is another fail for So-yong/Bong-hwan, but a gain for the queen dowager (who’s long been on the opposite side of the battle with Hwa-jin).
The queen dowager secretly engages her shaman, and the woman has herself quite the moment, declaring there is an “evil soul” in the body of the queen. The scene escalates to a super high pitch, and when the shaman is doing her thing, we get flashes of a hospital bed and monitor. Ah, so that’s where Bong-hwan currently is! We’re led to believe that his life is in danger — because at that exact moment, we see So-yong in the kitchen fall into a dead faint.
Yes, this is what I’m talking about! I am all about these parallel universe cross-over elements, and I hope we get to explore more of the connection (or is that disconnect?) between Bong-hwan’s body and soul. There’s lots more drama to come, and I actually like that I don’t know which direction Mr. Queen is going to take — we’ve gotten some hints, but it’s still very much under wraps. I’m secretly hoping for Choi Jin-hyuk to show up in Joseon somehow… is that asking too much?
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