In a sudden turn of events, Queen Kim So-yong (Shin Hye-sun) becomes sick. We see how much King Cheoljong (Kim Jung-hyun) has come to like her. Amidst all this, the web of conspiracies within the palace gets murkier.
Jang Bong-hwan briefly returns to his body
We finally learn where Jang Bong-hwan’s (Choi Jin-hyuk) original body has been all this time—in the hospital. When a murder attempt is made on Bong-hwan, Queen So-yong collapses in Joseon. At the same time, Queen Dowager Jo’s shaman announces that the Queen’s body is possessed and plans an exorcism. Bong-hwan’s spirit comes back to his own body, but despite him being able to see and hear everything, modern day doctors pronounce him to be in a vegetative state. Over in Joseon, Cheoljong rushes to So-yong’s side. The royal physician diagnoses that the Queen is in a state of respiratory arrest and Cheoljong orders that the Queen be saved at any cost.
Hwa-jin joins hands with Queen Dowager Jo
Cheoljong refuses to leave So-yong’s side as she recovers, forgetting his night of consummation with Hwa-jin (Seol In-ah). Incensed, Hwa-jin approaches Queen Dowager Jo (Jo Yeon-hee) to take down the Queen and reveals a crucial secret about the King. Kim Byeong-in’s (Na In-woo) investigation leads him to the King’s brother and guard, Prince Yeongpyeong (Yoo Min-kyu). On Kim Jwa-geun’s (Kim Tae-woo) command, he leads his men to interrupt Queen Dowager Jo’s exorcism ritual and blame her for the Queen’s condition. Just when Grand Queen Dowager (Bae Jong-ok) is about to punish Queen Dowager Jo, she reveals the King’s secret.
In his concern for the Queen, King Cheoljong’s mask slips off
Byeong-in offers to investigate the King. While Queen So-yong is unconscious, Cheoljong misses her chatter and urges her to wake up. Byeong-in visits the Queen’s chamber to whisk her away to safety while refusing to share her whereabouts with the King. This results in a clash, with Byeong-in ordering his men to draw swords on the King. Insulted and concerned, Cheoljong asserts his authority. “She is my woman,” he says, “if you lay even a finger on her, I will slash your throat with this sword. I am the King of this country. Stand down.” It is difficult to say who won, because the King’s mask of being naive and clueless has now slipped away.
Aftermath of the Cheoljong-Byeong-in clash
The King sends So-yong away to her family home to recover. Prince Yeongpyeong notices the King’s obvious concern for her. Kim Hwan (Yoo Young-jae) gets caught up in a misadventure. Cheoljong realizes that Byeong-in is openly threatening him and instructs Prince Yeongpyeong to speed up their field training, the implications of which are not made clear. Byeong-in tries to kiss So-yong while she’s unconscious in her family home but backs off at the last moment. Grand Queen Dowager and Kim Jwa-geun express concerns about So-yong’s ability to give birth to the royal heir. Jwa-geun reveals that he has several alternative candidates to take over as Queen, should So-yong fail. It is revealed that despite the former King being Grand Queen Dowager’s own grandchild, she killed him because he tried to take on her.
The Queen regains consciousness
After an entire episode of being unconscious, So-yong finally wakes up. Her father insists on addressing her as “Your Majesty,” but So-yong just wants to be treated like a regular person and daughter. She relaxes at her father’s house by eating her fill and dolling up. Suddenly, one day, a memory from her childhood comes back—that of turning to books after her mother’s death, as a way to avoid feeling bad about causing her death. Bong-hwan’s spirit is shocked at remembering So-yong’s memories. Meanwhile, Cheoljong is rounding up corrupt government officials. Two names stand out—the Queen’s father Kim Moon-geun (Jeon Bae-soo) and Kim Jwa-geun. The episode ends with King Cheoljong transforming into a justice warrior.