Mr. Queen: Episodes 7-8 Open Thread
Rivalries come to light when the queen’s wellbeing is in danger. But more than jealous confrontations and drink-offs, our queen has bigger problems: she’s becoming more and more the actual queen. Memories and emotions are taking over, and Bong-hwan loses a little bit more of himself by the minute.
EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP
Last week, my notes to self consisted of the following: “More Byung-in, please!” I guess they heard me. The highlight this week was definitely the many confrontations, with varying degrees of comedy and drama, between Cheoljong and Byung-in. Of course, this rivalry would not have hit the fan without So-yong being in mortal danger, which is where we start off this week: the queen has fallen into a vegetative state.
This is a great part of the story because we get a peek into the connection between Bong-hwan’s body in present-day Seoul, and his soul trapped in So-yong’s body. When Bong-hwan’s enemy removes his life support, Bong-hwan codes, and that’s exactly when So-yong collapses into her vegetative state. When Bong-hwan is resuscitated, though, he’s the one in the vegetative state: we hear that familiar voice talking back at the people around him… except that voice is only in his head. Poor Bong-hwan!
This event has big repercussions for Bong-hwan’s soul in So-yong’s body, too. So-yong might make a quick recovery, but a few important things have changed. First, So-yong’s inner monologue is now in her voice, not in Bong-hwan’s. Second, So-yong’s acute sense of smell is causing her past memories to return (gotta love this Proustian angle, right?).
The memories are more than just memories, though — So-yong is really feeling the emotions they conjure up as if they are real… and as if she is actually So-yong, and not Bong-hwan after all. This causes our hero more than a little bit of concern, since he’s even beginning to feel So-yong’s attraction to Cheoljong. There are so many hilarious scenes of Bong-hwan/So-yong trying to fight said attraction, like with the attempt to cast the woman out of his soul with the great, “Get lost, woman!” moment.
Shin hye-sun is as fantastic as ever (she needs awards, stat), but it was nice to see Kim Jung-hyun get a little more space to flex his acting muscles in this week’s episodes. He’s such a fabulous actor, I’ve been secretly feeling a bit sorry for him because this is definitely Shin Hye-sun’s drama. That being said, Cheoljong gets a more meaty role to play this week, and we have the aforementioned confrontations with Byung-in to thank for a lot of that.
While So-yong is ailing (which the court believes is because she’s been poisoned), both Cheoljong and Byung-in rush to her father’s house, where she’s been taken to recover. Cheoljong arrives first, and it’s a multi-pronged visit. He’s obviously concerned for his queen all of a sudden, and even flat-leaves Hwa-jin to rush to her aid. But, he’s also doing his fair share of snooping while at her father’s house. Lastly, the covered-up well in the yard triggers another panic attack for him, and we’re shown flashes of his childhood and the torment he endured. This looks like it’s going to make major plot waves verrry soon!
There’s quite a bit of intrigue and fight this week, but more often than not, these moments of seriousness give way to comedy instead — sometimes a chuckle, sometimes a guffaw (the fight scene turned tango, for instance).
The first face-off between Cheoljong and Byung-in, though, is all serious. Byung-in is newly installed leading the Department of Justice and while he’s dashing in maroon, he’s also banging down doors to protect his beloved So-yong. Now that Cheoljong is showing an interest in So-yong he’s mighty territorial, and his combative, growly moment of fierceness against Byung-in was quite something.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have such a mega-crush on the character of Byung-in that I’m almost surprised how little I care about Cheoljong. When Byung-in gets all heartbroken realizing that he can never be with So-yong, or when he confesses to her (while she’s unconscious) that, “You should have been mine and I should have been yours,” I actually find myself wishing he was the hero for a second. Don’t tell Kim Jung-hyun I said that, though.
These vying suitors have their next face-off at So-yong’s father’s house, where Byung-in and his fighters swoop in again — it’s basically Round 2 of Royal Guards versus Department of Justice. The unbridled disdain between these two is actually fun to watch, from Cheoljong’s sneering comments, to Byung-in’s painful, silent acknowledgement that he really has no standing. Round 2 actually turns into a drink-off, and what a fun scene! So-yong watches them with a dry expression, and the two fling a glass back and forth to see who collapses first. I like very much how Mr. Queen can pull off scenes that are both serious confrontation, and total comedy.
The Cheoljong/Byung-in rivalry escalates dramatically by the end of our episodes this week. Cheoljong is sneaking around at night as usual, fighting Scarface, when So-yong comes out to lend him a hand by way of throwing a chamber pot. Because this is Mr. Queen, of course she hits the king by mistake instead, but the fight breaks up.
Just when Byung-in swoops in yet again to make sure his beloved is safe, Cheoljong pulls the queen in close and kisses her. This ain’t your typical kiss scene, and there’s about half a dozen different things happening in the subtext at this point, so it will be interesting to see where we land next week. Namely, will So-yong kiss back, or will Cheoljong get another pot to the head. Either way, my Byung-in’s heart audibly shattered.
While the side stories are cute and mostly comedic overall, there’s something afoot with Hwa-jin, and there’s nothing comedic about this storyline. We all knew she wasn’t the sweet and docile thing she pretended to be, but we hear about a secret only she and the queen knows… and I’m ready to be clued in. The more scared Hwa-jin seems, the more curious I get.
I’m also a little worried about the real Bong-hwan, as the world of Mr. Queen just gets more and more topsy-turvy the deeper we go. Much like that magical palace lake, who knows how deep it really is? Are we going to lose Bong-hwan once and for all, or are more swaps and switches in store?
Other random observations: Cheoljong looks good in lilac. Byung-in looks good in maroon. So-young looks good with her faux beauty mark. The trampoline-seesaw thing looks dangerous, though.
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