Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 9 recap – how does Queen Dowager Cho continue to influence the Crown Prince selection?

November 13, 2022
Nathan Sartain 0
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV


An installment filled with depth that adds some extra layers to the ongoing fight for control in the palace.

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An installment filled with depth that adds some extra layers to the ongoing fight for control in the palace.

This recap of the Netflix K-Drama series Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 9 contains spoilers.

In today’s episode, Under the Queen’s Umbrella did a commendable job of developing some of the wider ensemble. Consort Tae began to be seen as more confidently ambitious than before, Prince Simso as a nervous son seemingly unable to meet expectations, and Consort Ko as a stubbornly strict mother. There wasn’t too much movement in the wider plot, but with plenty of teases given for future instalments, there was still plenty to enjoy here.

Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 9 recap

We begin with Grand Prince Gyeseong’s search for Seo Ham-deok, one which appears to lead him to a man going by Monk Haeham. He’ll have to be quick on the case however, as Prince Uiseong already has wind that this person with an alleged “taste for money” could be within the market area. Elsewhere, a bitter Queen Dowager Cho (Kim Hae-sook) vows to do anything required to ensure the next Crown Prince is not one of the Queen’s children.

As the King hears the truth about the attack on Grand Prince Seongnam, he instantly wants to begin an investigation on those who defied his authority. Yet Hwa-ryeong would rather the situation stay private, not wishing for it to affect the taekhyeon. Ergo, the Queen (Kim Hye-soo) simply states she will punish everyone involved should something of this ilk happen again.

Later, the King confronts the Queen Dowager about her actions, but wavers when hearing of the cuckoo pint offered to the elder by Hwa-ryeong. Falling for his mother’s tricks, His Majesty ends up looking like he has doubts of Cho’s involvement on the hit on Grand Prince Seongnam. Nevertheless, the King does seem mildly aware of the situation when scolding the Queen, ruing Her Majesty’s gifting of a way out to the Queen Dowager.

In the midst of another tense interaction between the Queen and Queen Dowager Cho, this time over the act the elder put on in pretending she was sick, a reminder is given. “I decide who becomes the Crown Prince,” the King’s mother bluntly states, entirely handwaving the idea that her power has weakened in the wake of the incident involving Grand Prince Seongnam. Outside, the Queen vocalises the fact something must be going on with the Queen Dowager for her to be this confident, and hears that Consort Tae has been visiting the elder, implying Prince Bogeom is being groomed to become the King’s heir. Still, Her Majesty doesn’t want to rule Prince Uiseong out of the equation, so wants to find out the “true intention” of her adversary.

Next in Under the Queen’s Umbrella episode 9, the Queen grills Consort Tae. At first, it’s to establish her guilt over having court officials deliver information to Prince Bogeom during the taekhyeon, then to see whether the lively concubine believes her son has what it takes to be the next Crown Prince. Following that, the Queen doesn’t take too kindly to suggestions she can maintain her position if Bogeom becomes the King’s heir (she is only determined for a Grand Prince to ascend to the throne), so sends Tae to Queen Dowager Cho under the guise of the elder being unwell.

As Grand Prince Seongnam and Prince Bogeom curiously observe Park Gyeong-u at a trading port (it’s revealed the exiled man gets paid commission for other people to sell their goods), Won-hyeong worries that the “intercepted” subleader of bandits may end up saying something he isn’t meant to, before receiving a visit from the Queen. Here, Her Majesty brings forth the subleader to expose the Chief State Councillor, knocking him into a vulnerable state. A defensive Won-hyeong subsequently allows the Queen to inform him that Queen Dowager Cho is responsible for him being framed for the attempted murder of Grand Prince Seongnam. “I am afraid there will come a time for you and I to work together,” the Queen then says, after planting a thought in the Chief State Councillor’s mind that his former ally may now be backing Prince Bogeom, not Uiseong.

Once Uiseong observes the aggressive Monk Haeham, he tasks his men with pursuing the victim of the brute’s latest threat, a man who nearly had his throat slit for exposing the former Seo Ham-deok as an adulterer. Meanwhile, Grand Prince Gyeseong does his own research on the person he’s looking for, finding military strategies stashed inside what should be a Buddhist text, and a ground plan of the Eastern Palaces.

In her visit to Queen Dowager Cho, Consort Tae begins to get swept up in the suggestion she “has what it takes to be a Queen,” while an irritated Won-hyeong and Consort Hwang wait outside. Elsewhere, Grand Prince Ilyoung and Prince Hodong officially drop out of the taekhyeon following their joint journey for enjoyment, and Consort Ko becomes flustered when informed Prince Simso has not reached Mount Gyeryong.

While receiving jewellery from the Queen Dowager, Consort Tae is told “one cannot become the Crown Prince without an elaborate plan and the meticulous execution of it,” with the amount of information possessed by a royal’s mother important too. So, the elder imparts a private message to her new comrade, who now appears outwardly confident in front of the previously smug Consort Hwang.

In their unusually prickly meeting, Consort Hwang, Won-hyeong, and Queen Dowager Cho are all candid. The King’s mother says she wants the concubine in front of her to become Queen, but also admits to having no issue with Bogeom taking on the role of Crown Prince. As such, Cho warns that she still decides who the next heir is, cynically advising her two guests to follow orders so they can be rewarded. However this only riles Won-hyeong up, causing the “tea ceremony” to be swiftly adjourned when he rebukes the Queen Dowager’s greed. Concurrently, Her Majesty expresses the “importance of survival” to Minister Yoon, then requests he remains neutral between Queen Dowager Cho and Won-hyeong going forward to avoid future complications.

During their battle of wits started by Park Gyeong-u, Grand Prince Seongnam holds doubt Bogeom refuses to entertain regarding their target’s profiteering from auctions. Following that, Prince Bogeom appears jealous when Seongnam holds the ship up for Cheong-a, who has kindly gifted her crush with counting sticks. Later, Gyeong-u overhears the eventual recipient of this present exclaim she will teach sanhak at the village school when she is older, and appears touched.

Next in Under the Queen’s Umbrella episode 9, we see Consort Tae has played her part in spreading a palace rumour, one instigated by the cunning Queen Dowager Cho. The elder knows the concubine becomes “consumed by ambition,” so exposed it for her benefit by manipulating the taekhyeon. Meanwhile, a starving, scruffy Prince Simso is unable to return to the palace as the stubborn Consort Ko refuses to show sympathy, and forces her son back into competing to become the next Crown Prince.

After rescuing Cho-wol from a brazen man in the courtesan house, Grand Prince Muan admits to liking her “as a woman,” which kickstarts a warm interaction between the two that highlights their growing bond. Elsewhere, Court Lady Shin takes the worn out Prince Simso to the Queen’s quarters, where he finally eats again. Her Majesty questions why the royal is holding tightly onto his norigae during this feast, and hears through a shaken voice that it’s because it’s the first gift he’s had given to him by his mother. Then, Consort Ko arrives, throwing over the tray of food in disgust. What follows is an argument between the Queen and the concubine, one which sees the latter truly annoyed that her son, despite his poor health, was brought to where he was, and did not continue in the taekhyeon.

When facing Prince Simso, Consort Ko labels him a disgrace, before telling her son it “would’ve been better if you’d died.” “I regret giving birth to you. You useless imbecile,” the concubine continues, dismissing how shaken her child is prior to storming off. Later we do see Ko’s own personal upset, which manifests into her stealing the drawing of Prince Gyeseong in women’s clothing, and gifting the item to Consort Hwang, along with the context that the Queen and Queen Dowager Cho are aware of the Grand Prince’s true identity. In exchange for the present, all the mother of Prince Simso wants is for Hwa-ryeong to “weep tears of blood.”

Concerned, the Queen heads inside to see if Prince Simso is ok when hearing his tray has not been returned post-breakfast, only to end up massively shocked. It turns out the royal had attempted suicide, triggering a panicked attempt to restore the boy to consciousness. Fortunately, Simso’s pulse does soon return, while the Queen is quick to ensure no rumours spread about what went on. At that point, the waiting, distraught Consort Ko enters, wanting to stay by the side of her son until he wakes up.

However, Hwa-ryeong wishes for Ko to leave, believing Simso would be devastated if he knew his mother was aware of his suicide attempt. Naturally, the consort is agitated in her response, yet that emotion shifts back to sheer upset when the Queen presents the norigae Simso was grasping during his hanging. “You did make a grave mistake, but you already received the heaviest punishment,” Her Majesty says, wishing for Ko to avoid being “too hard” on herself in the face of what unfolded. As we see from the aftermath, the once cynical concubine looks to be reflecting on her actions.

In due time, Prince Simso wakes up, and the Queen invites him to drink with her. Here, she shares a life lesson about being “full of holes” in the same way as as a gyeyeongbae, but still holding the ability to live a good life through being happy. For example, Hwa-ryeong wants Simso to realise he chose not to be the next Crown Prince, which is not a negative, as forcing himself to do something he didn’t desire would be shameful instead. “When you want to do something, you should give it a try. When you are unhappy, you should resist,” the Queen continues, instructing the royal to give himself “room to breathe.” Afterwards, Simso officially drops out of the taekhyeon and looks content, even in the face of the rebuilding he and his mother must do.

As Prince Gyeseong tracks the map he found, he stumbles on something unexpected, but we do not become privy to what it is yet. For now, he requests an audience with Monk Haeham to give him the royal command, exposing the secretive military strategies and ground plans the man formerly known as Seo Ham-deok keeps. Suddenly though, the Monk is arrested for the murder of Choi Gil-myeong, a shocking ordeal which only Prince Uiseong halts, thanks to his ordering of a reconsideration.

The ending

In prison, Prince Uiseong visits Monk Haeham, telling the former Seo Ham-deok he has fallen into his trap (it was the son of Consort Hwang who murdered Gil-myeong). As such, the only option now is for the royal edict to be accepted, and Haeham to follow Uiseong back to the palace, otherwise he will face the death penalty. Elsewhere, Gyeseong heads to the secretive location he discovered on the ground plans, and comes across a hidden armoury, pointing to potential treason.

Finally, with a note passed to Consort Hwang assuring her of his imminent return to the palace, Physician Kwon heads to Monk Haeham alongside Master Toji. Then, we cut back to the Queen, whose surprised expression upon hearing that Consort Hwang was responsible for Kwon’s treatment of the deceased Crown Prince brings an end to the episode.

What did you think of Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 9? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

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