A fantastic episode that adds both gripping intensities and unabated intrigue to proceedings.
We recap the Netflix K-Drama series Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 8, which contains spoilers.
Continuing the momentum afforded by yesterday’s episode, Under the Queen’s Umbrella ups the ante further here at the halfway mark of the season. With the Queen (Kim Hye-soo) now firmly in control of the taekhyeon situation, it seems like Queen Dowager Cho (Kim Hae-sook), and her allies, have all been taken down a necessary peg. In the same vein, Grand Prince Seongnam is being developed near flawlessly, and it’s exciting to watch his journey unfold towards a potential appointment as his brother’s successor.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 8 recap
As palace gossip runs rife, with topics ranging from the unconventional methods of the taekhyeon contest, to the Queen’s position being at stake, people pick sides between the princes competing to become heir to the throne. Meanwhile, the forest race continues, with those who successfully hit a target with arrows five times at the culmination of their sprint able to continue to the next round. Grand Prince Seongnam notably excels here, using his late brother’s advice to ensure he progresses in the competition. Following that, the remaining competitors are to find certain men, give them the royal edict, and transport them in a palanquin within four days. Elsewhere, Won-hyeong and co. discuss their grievances in the King’s taekhyeon methods.
Next, His Majesty heads to a place he cannot be found to escape the controversy he has caused. On the way, he and the Queen reflect on his “daring” time in youth as the Crown Prince, which appears to be reflected now in his current reign over the palace. The King praises Hwa-ryeong for her reliability, but appears sombre by the remembrance of his former close associate, Park Gyeong-u, who turned his back on him previously. “That is why I wanted to give the Crown Prince a chance to personally invite a talent who will be their subject,” he continues, wanting his heir to have someone trustworthy by their side. Then, His Majesty assures the Queen he is prepared for the potential safety-threatening intensity of the ongoing taekhyeon.
In the midst of a look at some of the remaining competitors’ characteristics – Prince Bogeom is considered meticulous for his selectiveness when it comes to a horse, Prince Uiseong cunning for his methods – the “brazen” Grand Prince Muan is told he will not become the Crown Prince by a face reader. However, he is informed he will continue his romantic luck, and will soon meet two women, one of which is his “fate.” He doesn’t quite find said person yet, though does come across Cheong-ha, holding her composite sketch of Grand Prince Seongnam.
Disregarding adversity, the “incomprehensible” Grand Prince Seongnam takes a wild horse on his quest to progress in the competition, confident he can befriend it. Concurrently, Consort Hwang passes along something for Prince Uiseong, while Consort Tae receives information on Park Gyeong-u for Bogeom, who is now backed by some high-ranking officials thanks to Queen Dowager Cho.
Remaining calm about everything, the Queen tells Court Lady Shin that she will not “play by the rules only to face defeat,” and explains her faith in her well-trained son, Grand Prince Seongnam. It does, of course, help that Hwa-ryeong is in tune enough to nip the ongoing cheating by concubines in the bud, though. In fact, Her Majesty is so dramatic, she gathers all her adversaries together for an embroidery session in the name of their children’s “peace,” knowing it will cause worry, and temporarily prevent the use of underhanded tactics.
Greeted by his mother (Consort Ko was absent from embroidering), Prince Simso is gifted intelligence on Seo Ham-deok, along with advice on how to arrive at Mount Gyeryong earlier than everyone else. It’s against the rules, yet the “timid” royal looks to have no choice but to follow the wishes of his parent. Elsewhere, the Queen asks to have her workers report to her when Consort Ko arrives, and leaves the other concubines stuck completing their embroidery, where they are pettily discussing their respective son’s chances of becoming the Crown Prince.
As Prince Hodong and Grand Prince Ilyoung skive off the competition to head to Haeseo, Grand Prince Seongnam finds himself saved by guards when a team of bandits knock him off his horse, then attempt to harm him further. Following that, we watch as those vying to become the next Crown Prince continue their determined travels towards Mount Gyeryong. However, it’s not all smooth sailing, and Prince Simso’s horse soon refuses to move, leaving him vulnerable enough to be robbed without defence. Meanwhile, Grand Prince Muan is upset upon hearing that Cho-wol wishes to become a courtesan.
When Consort Ko arrives at the embroidery meeting, she quickly puts up an excuse that her lateness is down to visiting her ill father. Additionally, the Queen is pulled out of the room by one of her Court Ladies, and Consort Hwang continues her unsubtle implications of frustration over currently being unable to finish what she started with her son.
While Prince Bogeom looks to find Park Gyeong-u on an island, the King and Queen are told about the attack on Grand Prince Seongnam executed by Yi Eok-geun’s group. Naturally, Hwa-ryeong knows this must run deeper, vocalising the fact the ambush couldn’t have been “done by some bandits.” Concurrently, Seongnam ignores safety warnings when travelling so he can retain a chance of progressing in the taekhyeon.
With Grand Prince Seongnam secretly watching in the background, Prince Bogeom fails to convince Gyeong-u to become Minister of Taxation. Elsewhere, the royal officials rue the potential new appointments to the kingdom, wanting to stop His Majesty from allowing those who turned their backs on the palace back into the fray. Yet there is some debate amongst the high-ranked men over Seo Ham-deok potentially be permitted to return, partly because it’s needed for Prince Uiseong to ascend to the throne.
During a heated conversation, the King tells Won-hyeong he will reveal the truth about Grand Prince Seongnam’s attacker. It evokes a bitter response, that this should not be left a mystery, “unlike the death of Crown Prince Taein,” causing His Majesty to be forced into reflection on what he saw happen that fateful night. Still, Won-hyeong insists he is not threatening the King, just rather expressing his worry that any investigations may be seen as royal influence being exerted over the taekhyeon. Later, the Queen is unconvinced by this, so takes matters into her own hands, picking up the leftover evidence to start her own enquires into who was behind the attack on her son.
Next, Grand Prince Seongnam makes himself known to Gyeong-u, who remains adamant he will not be convinced into returning to the palace. He refutes claims he was against His Majesty because he was the son of a concubine, instead insisting he is rejecting the royal command due to his blindness. As such, Grand Prince Seongnam issues a challenge. If he can prove Gyeong-u can still see, the prospective Minister of Taxation must give the royal three day’s worth of time. But if he fails, he will leave the island alongside Bogeom.
By daring to jump off a cliff, Seongnam proves Gyeong-u can see, though is ultimately left by Bogeom to find his own way back up from the precarious branch he hangs from despite the help he has technically just given him. Elsewhere, the Queen spots the suspiciously swollen neck of the deceased Yi Eok-geun in her investigations, which is revealed to have occurred because a composite of her son containing instructions to “kill at all costs” had absorbed water while stored there.
Returning to the concubines with the arrow, the Queen explains what happened to Grand Prince Seongnam, and notes the worried look on Consort Hwang’s face. Then, without saying a confrontational word, she dismisses the consorts, who are all now speculating on the ongoing investigation. That night, Hwa-ryeong tells her allies that she showed the evidence to the concubines knowing it will cause a reaction, as they will now want to know how much she is aware of, hence the misinformation also given about the capturing of Eok-geun’s men. “The first one to leave the palace will lead you to the suspect,” she adds, before elaborating that such a lead will also allow for the rest of the bandits to actually be captured.
As Won-hyeong worries over who might’ve intervened in his plan to have the bandits “act as robbers” towards Grand Prince Seongnam, believing he may now take the blame, he orders a look into the missing subleader. This is fed back to the Queen, who decides to use Won-hyeong’s men as “hunting dogs,” all with the intention of finding out first how the high-ranking official ended up falling out with the bandits.
After Seongnam and Bogeom’s dysfunctions are highlighted, we move to the next day. There, the two Crown Prince candidates live amongst the islanders, and a surprisingly present Cheong-ha gets a chance to reconvene with her crush. Rushing to Grand Prince Seongnam, the happy daughter of Soo-gwang offers a warm embrace, as a narration informs us she plans on eventually marrying the royal.
While Consort Hwang is assured of Won-hyeong’s pursuit of the bandits, the concubine persists with worrying. Claiming she is unable to rest until Her Majesty has been dragged down, Hwang is aware Hwa-ryeong still holds power. Elsewhere, the subleader of Eok-geun’s men flees from his chasers, only to be swiftly captured by the Queen’s men. “If I were going to spare you, I would not have found you,” Her Majesty says of his subsequent pleas, effectively persuading him to part with information about what happened in Mount Gangun to preserve his life.
Relaying the day’s events, the subleader tries to say he is only aware of the planned robbery, not the bid to have Grand Prince Seongnam killed. This is because, allegedly, the bandits were “raided” by another group and had fled. However, the Queen calls his bluff, threatening the criminal’s life to the point he admits to a visit from a “woman” who changed the request from thieving, to murder.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 8 ending
Hearing that peony was smelt on the visitor, the Queen’s head flashes around, as she knows this points towards Queen Dowager Cho being guilty. So, she rushes to visit the elder, pseudo-apologizing to her while gifting a poisonous plant. “Whether this turns into medicine or poison is up to you,” Hwa-ryeong bluntly states, warning that if the Grand Princes are hurt again, she will “decoct this cuckoo pint myself” to give to her. Presenting evidence of the order Cho gave through her Court Lady to have Seongnam killed, Her Majesty simply says she is giving the Queen Dowager a chance to ask for forgiveness.
“Those bandits are in my hands. Therefore, you must stop here,” the Queen informs Cho, ready to expose the elder if she does anything else going forward. With all this in mind, and Hwa-ryeong looking like she has the upper hand, Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 8 ends.
What did you think of Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 8? Comment below.