Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1 episode 1 recap & review

Under The Queen’s Umbrella is a Korean drama series that follows the Queen of Joseon who aims to ensure that her unruly sons become worthy heirs to the throne. Episode 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

Recap

Queen Im Hwa-Ryeong is having a tough time keeping the grand princes in line. While her oldest son, the crown prince is a shining example of royalty, her other four sons fall short of those expectations.

The King is dealing with a plague in the Seochon region and while many of the advisers suggest cutting off the village completely, the king chooses a more humane alternative to set up a relief camp nearby and ensure the quarantine is maintained.

The queen, the concubines and all the princes are gathering for a visit of the king. Once again, the queen’s sons aren’t the most punctual or impressive of the lot and the king’s mother, the Queen Dowager, brings up the issue with the queen.

The queen and the Queen Dowager butt heads over the way the grand princes conduct themselves but the queen stands up against her mother-in-law and brings up her oldest who is the most impressive.

All the princes study the basics at Jonghak while the crown prince learns from the best tutors at Sigangwon. The queen decides to visit the crown prince at Sigangwon.

Meanwhile, the Queen Dowager catches the grand princes picking a fight with Prince Ui Seong, the son of First Junior Consort Hwang. They hit him because he said some inflammatory words against the queen and they stood up for their mother.

However, because they have to be setting an example and chose to get violent first, the Queen Dowager punishes them by making them kneel on the ground till the 23rd hour while Consort Hwang left with Ui Seong.

Consort Hwang punishes her son for his harsh words and tells him that only once he surpasses the crown prince will he have the right to say whatever he wants, even if he is the king’s firstborn son.

As the queen and the crown prince are walking along, the crown prince suddenly collapses. The queen rushes to his side and the physician is called in immediately.

The physician tells the queen that he’s quite certain the crown prince is suffering from ‘hyeolheogwol’ which is a disease caused by blood deficiency and fatigue. The queen finds out that the crown prince has kept this condition hidden for close to a year.

The physician brings up the fact that the former crown prince Taein died of the same disease so the royal physician Cho Guk-yeong would have some experience in treating it and he’s observed it before.

The queen decides to visit the king to ask him if Guk-yeong can have a look at the crown prince but she is stopped outside and told that he’s retired for the night. She sees a pair of women’s slippers and realizes that the king has taken a mate for the night.

When she gets back to her quarters, she finds the Queen Dowager waiting for her. The Queen Dowager tells her that her sons are being punished for their discretions and she must reign them in.

The queen tries to keep the crown prince’s condition a secret for as long as she can. The princes learn the lesson of relations and sexual intercourse at Jonghak the next day.

The king meets with his mother and she brings up his decision to send the crown prince’s cohort to China. She has an idea that she begins to implement. The queen is informed that the king plans to choose one of the princes as the next cohort and she informs the consorts.

The cohort will get to study with the crown prince at Sigangwon and all the concubines are keen to have their sons apply, except Consort Hwang. She’s weary of this announcement and is very calculating with her decisions.

All the concubines reach out to the Queen Dowager to find out how her son was able to become king when she was a concubine herself. She uses this opportunity to ensure the concubines are loyal to her by offering up her secrets to them individually.

The queen learns that Guk-yeong has been sent away by the Queen Dowager and that it was also her decision to choose a prince as the new cohort. The queen is worried about what her mother-in-law is up to and returns to the crown prince’s quarters.

The Queen Dowager is waiting there and she warns the queen that this is not a great situation to be in and her other sons are not worthy enough to take their brother’s place. She says that she cares more about the future of the nation than her own grandson.

The queen asks Senior Court Lady Shin about the crown prince Taein and how his death lead to the former queen being deposed and paved the way for the current Queen Dowager. Lady Shin says that all she can share is the fact that the Queen Dowager will do anything for her son.

The queen is left with very few options and visits the former Queen Yoon, who is in hiding. She drops to her knees before Yoon is desperation, asking for advice on how to protect the future of her sons.

Review

  • The costumes and sets are absolutely wonderful to observe. The series is bound to provide a comprehensive look at the cultural history of Korea and the royal practices of the time.
  • The tone of the episode is confusing at times and doesn’t always match with the background score. It is clearly a comedy-drama, yet the two are occasionally mixed to offer awkward moments in the episode.
  • There is additional information provided on screen when certain terms of significance are mentioned, which means that the series aims to educate the viewers as well.
Under the Queen's Umbrella
Under the Queen's Umbrella season 1 episode 1 recap & review 1

Director: Kim Hyung-sik

Date Created: 2022-10-15 19:30

Editor's Rating:
3

Also Read: Shantaram season 1 episodes 1, 2, and 3 recap & review