In the second episode of Mr. Queen, Jang Bong-hwan aka the new Queen Kim So-yong (Shin Hye-sun) lands herself in increasingly bizarre and hilarious situations while attempting to understand court politics. We also get insight into King Cheoljong, who is not as dumb as he pretends to be.
The new Queen’s official first meetings
It is Jang Bong-hwan aka Kim So-yong’s first day as Queen, and quite a lot of first meetings are in order. First, she meets the King’s concubine and first love Jo Hwa-jin (Seol In-ah), who is simultaneously kind, innocent, and seems like she’s holding dangerous secrets close. Then comes another hilarious and NC-17 meeting with Grand Queen Dowager (Bae Jong-ok) and Queen Dowager (Oh Ah-yeon). And finally, the Queen makes her appearance at the royal court. Here, as she attempts to understand the power structures and dynamics based on her modern-day knowledge of history, the viewers too get an interesting history lesson, all the while being knocked off our seats by Shin Hye-sun’s funny antics.
The King and Queen’s no-touch rule
Even as King Cheoljong (Kim Jung-hyun) and Queen Kim So-yong continue to clash, there is a hilarious attempt by the latter to avoid sleeping with the King. I won’t lie, it is kind of hilarious to watch a former playboy like Jang Bong-hwan attempt to protect his honor while in a woman’s body. It takes a while for Kim So-yong to figure out the King’s true intentions. They reach a consensus, but not minus a few hilarious complications – one, the fact that Jang Bong-hwan as the Queen cannot stop flirting with the King’s concubine, and two, that despite no intentions to sleep with the King, Kim So-yong has to agree to conceive an heir in order to escape.
Etiquette classes, flashbacks, and secrets
Despite the Grand Queen Dowager being pleased that the Queen is on her side, she recognizes that something is off about her and orders etiquette classes. Cue Kim So-yong attempting to learn how to talk, walk, and eat like the perfect Joseon Queen, and failing miserably, much to the ire of Court Lady Choi (Cha Chung-hwa). The entire sequence is a laugh riot, except at the end when a flashback from So-yong’s original life comes back to Jang Bong-hwan – and he realizes that she was in love with Cheoljong, who had nothing but contempt for her. Wow, now this is a twist and a good pining angle. Additionally, the King’s first love Jo Hwa-jin turns out not to be as innocent as everyone around her believes.
The Queen lets loose at a Gisaeng-house
Jang Bong-hwan attempts to understand what Kim So-yong was like and discovers that one of her nicknames was ‘the Witch of Royal Villa’. Despite the limitations of her life as Queen, Kim So-yong/Jang Bong-hwan is not one to be cowed down. She dresses up as a man and leaves the palace, only to end up having fun with beautiful gisaengs. This is truly one of the most spectacular and baffling scenes in a sageuk ever – watching a Queen bemoan the loss of her ‘dragon’ and be covered in kisses by other women.
The two-faced King Cheoljong
Unbeknownst to the Queen, King Cheoljong is at the same gisaeng-house, plotting revolution. Yes, you heard that right. Not only is his entire dumb-and-lecherous persona an act, he actually harbors immensely noble aspirations to save his country from corruption, complete with a secret army and stuff. Now, this is some Bruce Wayne realness! He plans to take down the corrupt Kim Jwa-geum (Kim Tae-woo), but his son Kim Byeong-in (Na In-woo) appears as cunning as his father. The episode ends on a cliffhanger as Cheoljong chases So-yong with a sword after she sees him in the gisaeng-house.
Both the comedy and the political thrill in this show are ramping up amazingly and I cannot, cannot wait for each new episode!