Mr. Queen Episode 3: The Queen takes over the royal kitchen

Despite several controversies and a public apology by the production team, Mr. Queen is going strong as far as ratings and audience reception are involved. This week, former Blue House Chef Jang Bong-hwan, aka the new Queen of Joseon (Shin Hye-sun), brings her culinary talents to the royal kitchen while also warding off several conspiracies.

A tense sword fight and a narrow escape

Under the impression that his Queen is spying on him, King Cheoljong (Kim Jung-hyun) chases after her and points a sword at her throat. What greets him instead is the Queen’s completely baffling reaction and an intense sword fight with Kim Byeong-in (Na In-woo), the stepson of Kim Jwa-geum, who seems to have recognized So-yong and is worried for her. The King barely escapes.

Kim Byeong-in’s forbidden love

There always had to be one arc of a tragic, one-sided love in every sageuk, and this one is no different. Kim Byeong-in seems pretty concerned for So-yong’s life, and we learn that it isn’t entirely out of brotherly feelings for his cousin. We flash back to the night So-yong fell in the lake and learn that she had escaped the palace because she felt suffocated, but had nowhere to go. Kim Byeong-in had found and sheltered her, and when So-yong admitted to feeling scared, he had confessed his love, promised to never forget her, and kissed her.

The Queen enters the royal kitchen

After drinking heavily at the gisaeng-house the night before, the Queen is desperate to get rid of her hangover and misses ramen from the modern world. Unimpressed by the royal cook’s attempts to recreate it, the Queen/Bong-hwan finally enters the royal kitchen and cooks ramen in the Joseon era. Of course, since the spirit inside the Queen—Jang Bong-hwan—used to be a chef, the ramen is so good that even the head royal chef is amazed. This sequence brings us some amazing humor like the Queen burping in the King’s face and later when she competes with the royal chef, a hilarious reference to the movie Extreme Job.

A threat to the Queen’s Life

After her meeting with Kim Byeong-in, the Queen realizes that there is a threat to her life within the palace. While Byeong-in vows to protect her, the Queen fully intends to protect herself. Now aware that there is no one within the palace she can trust, we see the Queen become wary of concubine Jo Hwa-jin (Seol In-ah), who is suspected of pushing her into the lake; Hong Yeon (Chae Seo-eun), who is her maid from childhood; and most importantly, the King himself. On the other hand, the King redoubles his efforts to get the Queen to confess how she heard that night at the gisaeng-house and sleeps in her quarters.

Jang Bong-hwan gets his wish

Jang Bong-hwan/So-yong decides to use her strength to her advantage—which is cooking. She stays up all night, constructs a makeshift oven in Joseon much to the perplexity of everyone else, and uses French cooking techniques to cook a delicious meal for Grand Queen Dowager (Bae Jong-ok), who is obsessed with staying young. The meal impresses Grand Queen Dowager so much that the Queen grants her wish—for the lakes in the palaces to be filled with water, so she can escape.

It’s officially Queen vs. King

Throughout the episode, the King and the Queen continue to clash as Cheoljong attempts to gauge how much she knows about his secret identity and So-yong tries figuring out what the King is after. Later on, it is the Cheoljong himself who ends up reminding So-yong of the night she saw him at the gisaeng-house. Now that the Queen has remembered who attempted to kill her, it seems like their clash will be all guns blazing!

Indoor Enthusiast

Indoor Enthusiast (Esha) is usually found going on rants about how Ji Hae-soo from It's Okay That's Love and Sung Bora from Reply 1988 are the best heroines to grace our screens. Thrillers like Secret Forest and rom-coms with sprinklings of feminism à la Because This Life Is My First hold a special place in her heart. She can be reached at [email protected]