Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 14 recap – how do the Queen’s investigations go?

By Nathan Sartain
Published: November 28, 2022 (Last updated: January 26, 2024)
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A high-stakes chapter which builds bucketloads of anticipation for next week’s finale.

We recap the Netflix K-Drama series Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 14, which contains spoilers.

Feeling very much like the main course of yesterday’s appetiser, Under the Queen’s Umbrella episode 14 began to tie things together as we head towards next week’s final two episodes. With all the necessary revelations out in the open, the battle lines are essentially drawn between rebels and royals, with the only thing left to test being some people’s allegiances. Given how well-executed most of this season has been, it’s easy to trust that no matter what happens, the highly ambitious plot will wrap up with flair.

Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 14 recap

We begin with a flashback showing the deposed Queen Yoon telling her son to “survive at any cost.” He does, at first thanks to the help of Master Toji (who allows his son to swap places with the royal to have the latter protected), and then of course later on by assuming the role of Physician Kwon.

In the present, Consort Hwang remains adamant that Prince Uiseong is His Majesty’s firstborn, refusing to give Queen Dowager Cho an inch. The concubine then downs the allegedly poisoned drink in front of her, displaying her steely nerve. Meanwhile, Crown Prince Seongnam lingers on the name of Royal Historian Park Jung-ho upon finding out there are missing records to do with Crown Prince Taein’s death.

When the Queen asks the King to reinvestigate the death of Taein, citing the fact his passing was too similar to that of her eldest son’s as the reason, His Majesty refuses to entertain the request. He believes any proof of murder found would show up his ascension to the throne as being “nothing less” than a rebellion, and wants to ensure those plotting treason and questioning him aren’t given something to work with. Even when the Queen assures she isn’t interested in suspicion, but rather just finding out why her son had to die and who killed him, the King insists there will be no enquiries made.

As the Queen hears of Crown Prince Taein’s death records being tampered with, she theorises that there may still be some remains left of the autopsy in the first draft of the gajangsacho written by Park Jung-ho, the father of Park Gyeong-u. Concurrently, the King is already talking to Gyeong-u, wanting to know whether this book could be the reason why his former close ally left the palace in the first place.

Next, Queen Dowager Cho informs Court Lady Nam that she will let Prince Uiseong live, her intention being for this to cause anxiety and fear for Consort Hwang, who could believe the death of her son is imminent. Regardless, the elder’s current priority is to know who the father of the currently exiled royal is.

In her quarters, the Queen tells Physician Kwon that they will have to end their investigation into Crown Prince Taein’s because of the destroyed death records. Instead, she now wants the reinstated doctor to find her the likely poison that killed her son. Later, Physician Kwon worriedly tells Master Toji the records of Seungjeongwon were damaged, knowing they too need to find the original draft of Crown Prince Taein’s autopsy, which could be in their prospective partner Won-hyeong’s possession.

However, Won-hyeong is currently unwilling to budge over his loyalty to the King, and he tells Prince Uiseong to be careful with his ambitions. Then, the Chief State Councillor finds himself frustrated when he hears that Consort Hwang gave her son permission to join the group plotting a rebellion against His Majesty, so he visits his daughter. Here, he is bluntly told the King isn’t Uiseong’s real father, as well as the fact Queen Dowager Cho knows this, something which could in turn cause danger to all of their lives.

Continuing, the Queen convinces Gyeong-u to uncover his late father’s gajangsacho, noting how vital the information in it could be. Elsewhere, Master Toji and co. meet with Won-hyeong in a bid to have the Chief State Councillor join hands with their group, and we see that the shady court official appears to be piecing together the context of who Physician Kwon may really be. Additionally, a flashback shows us both Seongnam and the Queen are aware the doctor will have had something to do with poisoning the late Crown Prince, in addition to how the King may potentially be the villain’s next target (they also allege Consort Hwang may be being used in all of this).

Next, Won-hyeong begins his alliance with Master Toji’s group of rebels. In return for his personal safety and Prince Uiseong’s position in the palace, the Chief State Councillor shares that the King was present at the death of Crown Prince Taein. Then, when denying he is in possession of the gajangsacho, he relays that it was the “sly” Cho Guk-yeong who killed the deceased heir to the throne, based on the orders of Queen Dowager Cho.

Thanks to a promise of secrecy, the Queen is allowed to view the gajangsacho. It confirms her fears, with Jung-ho’s writing proving Crown Prince Taein’s passing was caused by poisoning, but the document gives Her Majesty food for thought too. Why? Because she finally discovers that the current King may well have been aware of what took place prior to his own fast ascension to the throne. Meanwhile, His Majesty is busy setting fire to unwanted written records.

After Cheong-ha stays calm in the face of Queen Dowager Cho’s bitter words on topics ranging from how the Crown Prince can be replaced for showing any deficiencies, to the rumours of his infertility, the Crown Princess goes to visit the Queen. Here, she insists on imminently setting a date for the consummation of her marriage with Seongnam, both due to her worries about what could happen if speculation continues and because she desires to get closer to her husband.

For the time being though, Cheong-ha is left to gather information on her partner through the Grand Princes, a trio happy to share what they can about their brother. Meanwhile, Queen Dowager Cho continues to try and amplify sensationalist rumours about the newlyweds and becomes intrigued by news of potential controversy involving Grand Prince Muan.

While the Queen gets ready to put to bed the baseless rumours of Crown Prince Seongnam’s infertility and Cheong-ha’s adultery through the appointment of a nursemaid, Court Lady Shin helps Grand Prince Muan avoid being caught with his child by sneaking Cho-wol off away from the inquisitive Court Lady Nam. As we soon see, the new nursemaid is strict with her regimen for the royal consummation, implementing a bizarre “emergency system” to apparently guarantee successful results. Still, in due time the newlyweds do look to have kickstarted their intimacy, even if alcohol was required to assist them.

As the Queen expresses her need to find the poison Physician Kwon used to kill her son, the doctor is told to act cautiously by Master Toji. “Everything will be over if your identity gets exposed,” he says, wanting his group’s scheme to remain intact.

Following on from watching the differing reactions to the news of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess spending the night together, we cut to the newlyweds discussing their lack of sexual intimacy. At first, it’s a playful conversation, based on the idea they didn’t fully sleep together due to their drunkenness, but then Cheong-ha gets upset. “I also do not want to be with someone who dislikes me,” she insecurely states, triggering a tempered response of a mild declaration of love from Seongnam.

Next, Queen Dowager Cho vents her frustrations on the idea that the “lowly” Physician Kwon could be Prince Uiseong’s father. Concurrently, the Queen is testing out potential poisons with the knowledge that the real one could’ve been placed in her sample pile as a tactical effort to eliminate suspicion. Then, Her Majesty is told to hurry to Hyewolgak, where she finds a recently deceased woman with similar wounds to that of her late son. This, in turn, helps her understand the exact poison used on her eldest child; the “salty and bitter water” placed in front of her earlier (gansu).

While Cho Guk-yeong is being killed in the midst of revealing where the gajangsacho is, the Queen heads to the house of the deposed Queen Yoon. There, she coincidentally discovers that the real Yi Ik-hyeon is Physician Kwon, and tells the exiled royal what her son did to the late Crown Prince. Yoon admits she wouldn’t have stopped him even if she knew beforehand, sparking a bitter debate over how many more deaths may be caused.

Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 14 ending

In time, Physician Kwon heads to the location of Crown Prince Taein’s autopsy report yet finds himself caught in the act by the Queen. “You already know why I am standing here before you,” Her Majesty states, before adding that she is now aware Yi Ik-hyeon killed her son. Cynically, Kwon takes this opportunity to stand confidently in front of Hwa-ryeong, bringing an end to the episode.

What did you think of Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 14? Comment below.

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