This is a snowy gloomy image of dying pink roses against dark rocks used to signify the somber tone in episode 17 and 18 of "Mr. Queen"
Ravi Pinisetti

“If you loved her so much, shouldn’t you have figured out the changes that occurred to Kim So Yong?”

Mr. Queen is starting to become more stressful to watch. Every happy moment is quickly followed by panic and anxiety. We should be celebrating Kim So Yong/  Jang Bong Hwan’s (Shin Hye Sun), pregnancy but instead the last couple of episodes have made the viewing experience so tense. I just want to know what will happen dammit.

Screenwriters Park Kye Ok and Choi Ah Il keep tricking us with a bit of lightness, like when So Yong was becoming used to the idea of motherhood and pregnancy, but then, they briskly followed with heartbreak and sorrow. Evidently, the bonding between King Cheoljong (Kim Jung Hyun) and So Yong in the last few episodes, ends up being a source of pain for her.

For one, the grand queen dowager (Bae Jong Ok) and queen dowager (Jo Sun Joo) used the couple’s pregnancy announcement to illicit threats. But all hope was not lost. At last, Consort Eui (Seol In Ah) wielded her power in favor of Cheoljong’s dream because she finally realized what her jealousy was doing to her.

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Then the real trouble began to fester. The queen dowager spun rumors: first, that So Yong and Cheoljong never slept together, then later, that So Yong slept with her own family member, Kim Byung In. Consort Eui was convinced that people would believe that she was the source of the gossip so she asked to be deposed from the palace to save their reputation. In the end, she learns that her efforts led to no means.

It seems everyone is hoping to ruin So Yong including the grand queen dowager who saw an opportunity in her humiliation. She realized that Kim Byung In was in love with So Yong so she used that information against him to get her regency reinstated with the ruse of an uprising that only Cheoljong could solve. The ultimatum for Cheoljong was to either maintain his empire, sacrificing So Yong and their unborn child, or to vacate his position to protect her honor and ensure that she would be secure within her own clan. So, Cheoljong rode to his death in favor of love. As he’d known would be the case, Kim Byung In determined to kill him and yet, he’s able save himself just in time … or so we think.

During the entirety of this drama, So Yong is fast asleep so when she wakes up, she is traumatized. In fact, during most of episode 18 of Mr. Queen, she is distraught from his absence and is made burdened with news of his disappearance/presumed death. But as always, politics continue.

The grand queen dowager is back and ready to protect her throne. To secure her power, she restores much of the problematic people in her clan to their former stations and then entreats Kim Byung In to imprison anyone associated with Cheoljong, including his brother and closest friend.

This is finally the catalyst needed for So Yong to begin to understand what is happening, that her husband is alive, and that there is a scheme to remove him and her from their positions. The stakes are high as they have ever been so, So Yong has nothing else she can do except save Cheoljong herself. To do this, she first confirms that he is alive by inspecting his supposed lifeless body to confirm her suspicions . Then she asks deposed Consort Eui for help of some sort and then entreats her court ladies in a journey outside the palace in search of Cheoljong.

In the meantime, Kim Byung In secures a letter of confession from both clans to protect against their betrayal and ensure that, should his scheme to remove Cheoljong fails, everyone would go down together. To their chagrin, it forces their lives into his hands.

In any case, true to the tone of Mr. Queen, outside the palace is dangerous, not just because of Cheoljong’s impending doom, but because of the ongoing investigation among insurgents hoping to restore some form of societal balance between the elites and commoners. Also, there’s the fact that while So Yong was trying to escape from her room without notice, she caught the attention of an obsessive Kim Byung In who pleaded with her to trust in him, only for Bong Hwan to say that he’s not So Yong.

“If you loved her so much, shouldn’t you have figured out the changes that occurred to Kim So Yong?” he asks Kim Byung In. “Look at me. Am I really the woman you longed for all this time? I’m a completely different person inside, but you had no idea,” he tells him.

Bong Hwan is successful. Byung In is hurt and so brutally rejected, when the grand queen dowager requests for both So Yong and Cheoljong’s head, he volunteers for the task.

Still, later on in Mr. Queen, it’s confirmed that So Yong/ Bong Hwan’s efforts aren’t in vain since King Cheoljong is well, and in the company of an honest (ish) man. The problem is, So Yong /Bong Hwan’s life is in danger while Cheoljong remains in hiding. (Even her court ladies are scarified for her efforts to save him. ) Actually, Kim Byung In tracks her down and chokes her in a fit of rage as she is teetered against the edge of a cliff. The episode closes with him finally questioning So Yong’s identity as he asks, “who are you? What on earth have you done to So Yong?

Now, here are some predictions based off of the preview for the next episode of Mr. Queen. Kim Byung In will help Cheoljong to his letter, containing all the courts confession of treason, after aligning himself with So Yong /Bong Hwan, to get the real So Yong back. They will obviously have to stop the enthronement ceremony. Then the real So Yong will return to her body, have her baby, and live happily ever after. But you never know, there might be a terrible twist at the end, like the revelation that Bong Hwan was dreaming during his comatose state and that this was all just in his imagination.

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