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Under the Queen’s Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Our heroine walks her toughest political tightrope act yet as she balances solving her eldest son’s murder with hiding her middle son’s illegitimate child. Meanwhile, sedition brews, and the threat of regicide looms…

 

EPISODES 13-14 WEECAP

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14 Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Hwa-ryeong faces Cho-wol, straight-backed and stern. The baby is indeed Muan’s. Cho-wol wants to leave her in the palace — soon, before she begins to recognize her mother’s face. If it means a better life for her daughter, she’s prepared never to see her again.

Muan hardly knows what hit him. One moment, he’s summoned by his furious mother. The next, he’s holding… an adorable infant child? To his credit, he’s prepared to raise her as his own. To his detriment, he hasn’t the slightest clue how to do it. Hwa-ryeong leaves him desperately cuddling his crying child, frantically pondering the issue of diapers, and — much to my concern — apparently forgetting that babies need to eat. Still, he’s committed. After a long night during which neither baby nor father have much fun or sleep, Hwa-ryeong takes pity, swooping in with grandmotherly wisdom to show him how it’s done. Smiling, she and Muan bond over tales of Muan’s fussy babyhood.

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Meanwhile, Seongnam has his own domestic woes. It’s tough when a) you abandoned your wife on your wedding night, b) somehow, the entire palace knows, and c) your grandmother is asking pointed questions about your sex life. However, Cheong-ha is quick to lie on his behalf before the Dowager Queen. Granted, the poor boy’s got trust issues for days, but it’s beginning to occur to him she might not be a spy. Cheong-ha, blissfully unaware that her allegiances are being doubted, seeks clarification from Hwa-ryeong with her usual frankness. Seongnam is aware of how the whole, erm, birds-and-the-bees thing works, right? …Right?

This remains to be seen, as Seongnam’s got more than marital duties on his mind. The King wants to put his new Crown Prince in charge of straightening out Uichang, a social reformation scheme that has fallen to corruption. Predictably, the Chief State Councilor has a thing or two to say about that: those two things being “but, Your Majesty,” and, “over my dead body.” He’s shocked to find that his usual yes-men aren’t piping up in support. The political tide is turning; they’re siding with the King.

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14 Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Afterwards, Seongnam has a long-overdue talk with his mother. Didn’t he know, says Hwa-ryeong, that Cheong-ha is completely in love with him? No, he did not — because, well, did I mention the trust issues? There’s more, though: Seongnam has made an urgent discovery. Thumbing through the late Crown Prince’s textbooks, he found a torn-off page from his medical journal. It’s a chilling read. The Crown Prince, horribly aware of his own body failing him, records how the pain and bleeding intensified every time he was given acupuncture. Hwa-ryeong’s old suspicions resurface: without a doubt, her son was murdered.

Elsewhere, a resentful Uiseong attends a clandestine meeting — with Physician Kwon and Master Toji. They’re here to convince him of the unthinkable. Uiseong’s already killed one innocent civilian. What’s to stop him from going further? From killing, for instance… a king? Uiseong is outraged, until he learns that Physician Kwon murdered the last Crown Prince — on his mother’s order.

Meanwhile, Muan bursts into Hwa-ryeong’s rooms with a feverish baby in his arms. Hwa-ryeong lovingly reassures him that this isn’t his fault: it’s just colic. Still, Court Lady Shin ought to fetch the child’s wet nurse. Overwhelmed, Muan looks up to see — Cho-wol. It turns out, Hwa-ryeong wasn’t willing to let a mother abandon her child, even for the best of reasons. Not after Seongnam. Instead, she devised a scheme to disguise Cho-wol as a court lady, and was pleasantly surprised by her son’s shouldering of responsibility. One day soon, the couple will be able to live in the open with Princess Ah-ra, their child.

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Hwa-ryeong has been busy — she’s summoned someone else to the palace. Namely, Physician Kwon. Allegedly, he’s to be her ally in solving the case of her son’s murder. It’s a tense political standoff that boils down to this: she knows that he knows that she knows he poisoned the Crown Prince. He knows that she knows that he knows that she’s only inviting him back to find proof.

Confused yet? Wait till we start examining the secret documents. Hwa-ryeong discovers a prescription written for Prince Taein’s hyeolheogwol by Royal Physician Yoo. It’s the same as Master Toji’s prescription for the Crown Prince. Once again, Master Toji finds himself at the wrong end of a sword and Seongnam’s glare. He shows him the autopsy report of the late Crown Prince — and Master Toji confirms that it’s identical to Prince Taein’s. How does he know? Master Toji is Physician Yoo. Seongnam pretends to trust him — but he knows that Seongnam knows that there’s something fishy going on.

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14 Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

During all this wheeling and dealing, the Dowager Queen — our Schemer in Chief — has been biding her time since learning that Uiseong isn’t the King’s son. Now, we rejoin her, along with First — sorry, Fourth Junior Schemer Hwang, who has brought her pine needle tea, served with a sickly smile. It’s poison, right? It’s transparently poison. The Dowager Queen lifts the cup and lets it smash against the table, commenting dryly that she clearly must have found out something she shouldn’t have. Except — Consort Hwang drinks long and deep from her own glass. Against all odds, it isn’t poison after all. It doesn’t need to be. After all, Consort Hwang is secure in the knowledge that Uiseong is of royal blood… he’s the firstborn son of His Majesty.

On a secret road outside the palace, with tears in his eyes, Physician Kwon approaches a woman from whom he’s been parted for years. It’s Queen Yoon… his mother.

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Years in the past, two boys face one another on a quiet road. They stand beside Master Toji and the deposed Queen Yoon. One is Prince Ik-hyeon, only living son of the queen. The other is Seung-seon, Master Toji’s son. Seung-seon steels himself through his father’s goodbye and Ik-hyeon’s thanks. He will willingly follow Queen Yoon to preserve the life of her heir. Ik-hyeon takes one last look at his mother. They have already said their farewells. As he moves to follow Master Toji, it becomes clear that he has a limp identical to Physician Kwon’s.

In the present, Hwa-ryeong petitions her own King to re-open the investigation into Taein’s death. The King insists this is impossible: if Taein was poisoned, then his own legitimacy as monarch will be called into question. Nonetheless, he holds a private audience with his new minister, Gyeong-woo. All official records regarding Taein’s death were destroyed. However, Gyeong-woo is the son of Official Historian Park Jung-ho, who died shortly after recounting those events — and whose first draft notes, the King suspects, are in his son’s possession.

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14 Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Hwa-ryeong has reached the same conclusion. Reluctantly, Gyeong-woo agrees to let her see the notes — but not without warning that it will pit her against an enemy she cannot match. She must swear to keep its contents secret. Hwa-ryeong learns that after conducting Taein’s autopsy, ROYAL PHYSICIAN CHO GUK-YEONG (Kim Jung-ho) concluded the prince was poisoned. Unexpectedly, the King demanded that all records of this be purged. He then spoke with his other son — who would later become King. Hwa-ryeong reels back in shock. Her husband was complicit in Taein’s death. Now, in the present, the King burns what he believes to be the last copy of Historian Park’s notes.

Elsewhere, a plot continues to brew. Uiseong, now thoroughly wedded to Team Regicide, engineers a meeting between the Chief State Councilor, Master Toji, and — well, it seems cheap to call him Physician Kwon now, doesn’t it? — Ik-hyeon. The Chief State Councilor is more than a little aghast to see Master Toji — or rather, Physician Yoo — alive. Don’t you just hate that awkward moment when you run into someone you thought you assassinated years ago? Still, at this point, it’s water under the bridge: there are more pressing murders to attend to. Knowing the illegitimate Uiseong needs allies — and knowing his daughter trusts the man he knew as Physician Kwon — the Chief State Councilor agrees to help Ik-hyeon claw his way back to power.

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14 Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Meanwhile, Seongnam and Cheong-ha find themselves at the business end of a billion scurrilous rumors, spearheaded by the Dowager Queen. Chief among them is the downright dangerous claim that Seongnam is infertile. Hwa-ryeong leaps into action. She enlists the help of the formidable NURSEMAID (Park Hyo-joo), a woman who, in another life, would have made a killing as a Cosmo columnist. The royal couple are given a veritable A to Z of Joseon marital remedies. Essence of eel! Squats! Scented baths! Lights, camera, action!

Never has one man’s sex life been subjected to quite so much choreography. As the night of consummation approaches, it’s no wonder Seongnam is standoffish. Cheong-ha, ever the pragmatist, suggests they drown out the awkwardness with a couple of drinks. One drink turns into another, which turns into a blur… Waking with his arm uncomfortably wedged beneath his wife’s shoulders, Seongnam cudgels his brains to remember what happened last night. Did they sleep together? According to Hwa-ryeong and his entire extended family (awkward), they totally did. According to Cheong-ha — only in the literal sense. They’d kissed, but she hadn’t taken advantage while they were drunk. She did take a peek while he was naked — which, honestly, isn’t as cute as the show seems to think. Still, Cheong-ha is determined that when they sleep together, it’ll be because they both want to.

Meanwhile, Hwa-ryeong embarks on her latest gambit: asking Ik-hyeon to deduce which poison was used to kill the Crown Prince. Ik-hyeon cleverly shows her the actual poison he used, on the basis that she’ll know he’d never do that — not realizing that she knows that he’s double-bluffing. (Still keeping up?) Eventually, Hwa-ryeong learns that the poison used was gansu, a salt solution that causes the victim to scratch their own skin in agony.

Aghast, Hwa-ryeong runs to find Queen Yoon — before realization hits. The man staying with Queen Yoon, whom she had assumed was the last living son, has a faked limp. When Physician Kwon left the palace, he mentioned wanted to look after his old mother — despite allegedly being an orphan. When Hwa-ryeong confronts Queen Yoon, she doesn’t deny that the real Ik-hyeon is none other than Physician Kwon. She is glad that her son, robbed of his birthright, will see justice done.

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14 Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Ik-hyeon’s revenge doesn’t stop with the Crown Prince. Now, he pays a visit to Physician Cho, Taein’s killer. As Physician Cho begins to splutter and choke, clawing at his skin, Ik-hyeon explains he’d studied medicine in order to kill him with the same poison used on his brother. However, if Physician Cho tells him where he’s hidden Taein’s autopsy report… he might just give him the antidote. Physician Cho hastens to comply. Unfortunately for him, the primary lesson this drama teaches us is to never accept a mysterious potion from Physician Kwon. The antidote is, of course, more gansu. Physician Cho dies screaming.

Ik-hyeon scrambles to find the autopsy report, hidden under a floorboard in the library. Of course, he’s too late. As his fingers clutch at nothing, he looks up to see that Hwa-ryeong is already here.

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

Beanies, I’m delighted: twisty political plotting and theatrical tales of vengeance are what I live for. I’ll admit, I find Ik-hyeon super compelling — in another drama, he’d be the perfect hero of a revenge tragedy. I love how devious he is beneath all that calm! I love his boundless capacity for lying through his teeth! Plus, the reveal was genuinely splendid; it struck the perfect balance between deftly-foreshadowed and difficult to guess. It’s always fun when the political past comes to haunt the present, and this is done super satisfyingly with the King’s complicity in Taein’s death.

There’s some chunky conflict coming up, with Hwa-ryeong unable to trust her husband — especially as she’s been leaning on his support these past few episodes. Over the drama, our heroine has been backed into a series of impossible corners; it feels pleasantly inevitable that her final challenge will involve going toe to toe with the throne itself. All along, the Dowager Queen was being bigged up as the final boss, but of course the real struggle is bound up in unjust power structures and the palace’s history of violence. This drama has a wonderful way of allowing us to relish in Hwa-ryeong’s victories, whilst sustaining the tension up until the very end. I’m raring to go for next week!

Under the Queen's Umbrella: Episodes 13-14

 
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I am really looking forward on how this will be resolved next week without compromising the character of Hwa Ryeong. She has not resorted to the deeds done by her adversaries as of yet. Will she resort to the same tactics? Or will she have an ingenious solution to protect her children and her people. Obviously there will be sacrifices but to what extent.
I agree that Ik Hyeon may be a hero on another drama. But in this drama he did the unthinkable on the Queen's beloved son so she will stop at nothing to give justice to those who did him wrong.
I wonder if its possible for the DQ and Queen be allies against the "rebels". I think its unlikely but it will be interesting if they did.

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Ha, I loved how Cheong-ha decided that Seung-nam left because he hadn’t received proper sex education and told her MIL to get on that.

I knew Physician Kwon was really Queen Yoon’s remaining son. I would totally be on their side because the QD did commit treason and the King was complicit, but I can’t support Ik-hyeon killing the Crown Prince, not just killing him but slowly torturing him, and Uiseong shouldn’t be anywhere near the throne. Hopefully, the Queen can sort this mess out.

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This show keeps growing on me - every week I love it more and I am 100% in for the final. My random favourite thing - the chief state councillor losing support and beginning to look really vulnerable. With other dramas set in the Joseon period, I get quite tired of this character being invincible and having to wait till ep15/16 for him to get his come-uppance through some dramatic twist. I love the fact that this CSC is slowly coming undone, and that the allegiances he considered solid are disappearing like the mist. It feels more "real" (I have absolutely no idea if that is true!) and it makes it so much more interesting as we wait to see who next will rise for their moment in the sun.

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Does this week's episodes remind you of Bloody Heart? Just as it was in Bloody Heart, this week had us journeying with Queen Im as it unfolded that her husband was complicit in the death of the late late CP.

I didn't see Kwon coming at all. I was bought away with his sincerity when Le he was treating the just deceased CP and became wary after his alliance with Consort Hwang was revealed. But the son of Deposed Queen Yoon? I can't even think about it clearly. And how else will you effect punishment on your half brother if not by being the father of the King's supposed first child. It'll be the death of the King, and a worse death for the Queen Dowager. The prince she so wants and desires to put on the throne is the grandson of her greatest opponent and reminder of what she could never become - a Queen. I can't wait to relish the look on the Queen Dowager's face when that information hits her.

I really don't know what to think of Deposed Queen Yoon. Her warfare should be directed at the Queen Dowager, not the Queen. Of course she can't hurt the now King but I don't know, hurting the Crown Prince, wishing her exact fate on Queen Im would only be repeating the history she experienced. Would she be satisfied if she dragged the current Queen down from her position when she knows that it's the very agenda of the Queen Dowager. Like, how will you be working towards the goal of your greatest foe just because you want her son to feel what you felt. I get the motherly instincts kicking in coupled with her need for mama revenge, but I do not want to call thier entire tirade and plans foolish because - A dear life was lost.

The power play this week is grand. All the moves are just on point. I like the central integration of Queen Im into the plot. Her tiki-taka with her opponents, whoever they are a fun to watch.

Cheong-ha waiting for Seongnam to open himself to her with his senses in full attention whilst stealing a sneak peek in his drunken state, color me impressed with her strength of character once again, and her quirky mischievousness.

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I don't think Queen Yoon was originally aware of her son's plans.

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I agree. I think they did the son switch to protect him and keep him alive, but it's unclear if she knew what he was planning as he became an adult.

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This drama is one of the few shows which get off on the right foot and become better episode by episode. Every week I fond myself waiting with bated breath for Saturday to come. I really can't imagine we have only one week left.
As for Yeongwon (Physician Kwon), while I feel sorry for him as he suffered a big deal in the past: His elder brother was murdered and then his mother was deposed and they were kicked out of the palace. As if that wasn't enough, the rest of his brothers were killed and he was the only one surviving. Even the reason why the queen dowager spared his life was cruel. She wanted deposed queen Yoon to live in fear and anxiety for her remaining son's life without being able to kill herself. Nonetheless, that doesn't justify Yeongwon killing the crown prince who was really innocent. He didn't just poison the crown prince but he inserted the needle deeply enough to damage the crown prince's organs and cause internal bleeding. I can't forget how the crown prince looked immensely in pain while getting acupuncture. The king, lord Hwang and the queen dowager are the real criminals whom he should take revenge on. I really hope they get the punishment they deserve as their crimes are colossal.
I don't support Yeongwon becoming the next king as his crimes made him lose his right. His mother and he were innocent victims who turned into criminals down the way.
As for how the queen dealt with Muan's problem, I really respect and admire what she did. She knew firsthand that Cho-wol would regret it all her life if she abandoned her child and it won't be easy to get back together so the queen gave her a chance to watch over her child. For Muan, she left him to sink or swim without giving him any help but after she saw that he tried hard, she lent him a hand. After watchimg over him for a few days and seeing how worried he was about his daughter's health, she got him reunited with Cho-wol, promising to let them live with their daughter after the dust settles.

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This week were the best episodes for this show, and while the double double bluff were confusing ( had to rewind some parts), it is nevertheless a compelling watch. Ik-hyeon and deposed queen may have had the justification for revenge, but he crossed the line by killing the Crown Prince and I suspect by even attempting to murder the son of the CP. It was never revealed who compelled the nanny to start hurting the poor child but it seems to imply that she is part of that group.

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I wonder how they are unable to separate their fight clearly. Their enemy isn't who is the Queen but the Queen Dowager who never became Queen. Especially when they saw that the mother of this Crown Prince is nowhere near the footsteps of the Queen Dowager. She's not even in cahoots with the Queen Dowager. If it was Consort Hwang in the Queen's place then I wouldn't complain since her hands isn't clean at all.

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Another great set of episodes! Love how the twisty pieces of the mystery all came together and came back to Physician Kwon. I didn't think he was Prince Ik Hyeon. I thought he was part of a rebellion as a citizen supporter of the Crown Prince Taein and Master Toji was the one in charge.

This time, the audience knew the truth before the Queen did. At least when it came to the King's dark secret. Even though I was aware, I was still on edge, anticipating her reaction and the consequences. Glad she was sharp throughout her investigation and moved swiftly. The tension built up well towards the end of EP 14. Ahhhh. I thought Ik Hyeon was gonna push the shelves onto Hwa Ryeong. The drama did not drag out his reveal.

Enjoyed the funny and cute scenes of Crown Prince and Crown Princess so much! It was lovely to see her ask his brothers for help too!!

Chief State Councilor losing support from the other ministers was a wee bit satisfying. I like that within the group of corrupt characters, there are varying levels of villainy. LOL. Chief State Councilor had to pause and be like, hold up, I can't join the rebels. The people I tried to kill, yada yada. But, ultimately his hands were tied.

The baby part of the story was wrapped up nicely and neatly, which was fine. Don't want this part to bring about a scandal to the royal family. There's plenty of other issues going on.

Don’t you just hate that awkward moment when you run into someone you thought you assassinated years ago?

HAHAHA

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Yes, I chuckled at that awkward me moment phrase!!! I enjoy your recaps @alathe :)

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Ummm awkward moment meeting someone you thought you'd assassinated, not awkward me, though I sound awkward with this typo!! 😄

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Let’s face it though given Muan’s status as a privileged male in a rigidly hierarchical and gendered society, if he continued to be a prince and even if Cho-wol hadn’t become a court lady, there would be women servants who would raise the child and not him. He is just not going to disown her. Speaking of court ladies, I read a very interesting scholarly article last year at the height of The Red Sleeve hype which noted that many court ladies were slaves/children of slaves. This was an important factor in why they would acquiesce to never being able to marry someone else and have a family of their own as their previous disenfranchised lives were beyond horrendous. And, a horrible presumed fact about King Jeongjo. As much as he professed to love and respect Seong Deokim, the future Seong Uibin and didn’t kill her (yes, it was a distinct possibility) because she rejected him twice, the historical record apparently shows that in frustration or because he was insulted, he ordered the killing of a servant of her family. If this is true, it was a horrendous act of brutality.

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The Dowager Queen sneered and looked down on Physician Kwon being the father of Uiseong so it's gonna be juicy when she finds out his real identity. Can't wait to see her face haha.

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Crown Prince is handsome but now we're at the end of the drama, I want him to express himself. He's a good son, he changed to become the Crown Prince to save his family but he went in this wedding without any curiosity and now, it's his wife who's suffering his incapacity to communicate.

It's interesting to see Kwon O-Gyeong using Queen Im Hwa-Ryeong to get his revenge. It was pretty smart.

The King is a good King but sadly the roots of his enthronement are rotten because of his mother. His son paid the price.

The Queen Dowager made so many people suffering because of her greed and Consort Hwang is no different. She used her son, lied to him...

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This drama is riveting and I'm loving every bit of it. but I have a few areas confusing me in these last 2 episodes.

First, is the queen investigating her son's death or prince Taen's death? It's pretty clear that our queen's son did not die by Gansu ( as the other victims die immediately after taking the solution, whilst our late crown prince died a rather slow and painful death). Also if she is investigating Prince Taen's death, how would that help prove her Son's murder?

I'm loving the political intrigue and the fact that our queen is very smart and proactive. And I don't know if I should like or hate the king. Lol, this writer is good.

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She was investigating both. She found similar clues and connections so then she had to look into the past.

I think the use of gansu was slower in her son's death. Gansu was a liquid substance used as a disinfectant for his skin disease that he had on and off. He got the poison on his body instead of ingesting it.

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Sageuk of the year anyone? This is probably it for me.

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While other people enjoy the story written over here....I really enjoy the choice of words alathe chooses.....U have earned a FAN

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