With a major revelation about the King, the clash between him and the Queen intensifies. Assassination conspiracies are aplenty, and the tone of the show moves from funny to genuinely dangerous.
The King attempts to make his Queen confess
King Cheoljong (Kim Jung-hyun) slips Queen So-yong (Shin Hye-sun) a truth potion to gauge if she knows about his secret plans but ends up making her remember that night with clarity. With this realization comes a barrage of revelations. So-yong reveals that she knows Cheoljong was the one who tried to kill her, but the King realizes she doesn’t know the reason. “You only want to kill me because I’m weak,” So-yong lashes out, stepping on a raw nerve for the King. The effect of her words is such that he begins questioning his justification for killing her. Perhaps for the first time, he wonders if she’s different and gives her a chance to make a choice.
Two Queen Dowagers, two conspiracies
Two warring erstwhile queens in the palace, from two warring clans, conspire against each other. While Grand Queen Dowager (Bae Jong-ok) wants to implicate the King’s concubine Jo Hwa-jin (Seol In-ah) as the person who pushed So-yong into the lake and gets her maid Oh Wol (Kim Ju-yeong) kidnapped, Queen Dowager Jo (Jo Yeon-hee) attempts to save Hwa-jin and tries to blackmail another palace maid into confessing. Either way, traps are laid by both sides.
The Queen’s (mis)adventures lead to a shocking revelation
Queen So-yong continues to suck up to Grand Queen Dowager till the time she can escape, and she does this by cooking for her. In her continued takeover of the royal kitchen, we get some hilarious competitive moments with the current Royal Chef, Man-bok (Kim In-kwon). So-yong continues to win over the people in the palace due to the lack of importance she places on hierarchy. She then moves on to overseeing the grand project of refilling of the lakes. She comes across an important clue that leads her to the possible truth of how the original So-yong ended up in the lake.
Cheoljong makes a brave decision
When the King finds out that Hwa-jin is to be blamed for the attempt on Queen So-yong’s life, he mistakes it as the Queen’s conspiracy to exact revenge. We get further insight into his past—how he saw his entire family beheaded in front of his eyes and had to flee this scene. This time, however, he refuses to run away and announces that he will take the blame. The King’s brother Yeongpyeong (Yoo Min-kyu) races against time to locate Oh Wol. Meanwhile, Hwa-jin reaches Grand Queen Dowager to confess.
The final showdown
Grand Queen Dowager frames both Jo Hwa-jin and Queen Dowager with trying to kill So-yong, citing them being from the same family as reason. Hwa-jin confesses to save the King, and just when she is to be beheaded, the King drops to his knees to confess in her place. Meanwhile, So-yong, who has just realized that the original So-yong probably tried taking her own life, begins admiring the King’s dedication to justice. Under the assumption that the lake will be filled soon and she will return home, So-yong confesses to taking her own life. Unbeknownst to her, the lake-filling process has come to a grinding halt.