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Seven Day Queen: Episode 11

I’m scared, but happy, but scared! Why can’t this show ever let me just bask in a happy moment without reminding me of the ominous portents and precarious lies? There is always a quid pro quo in this drama, so when we’re rewarded with some honesty and love, you can be sure that there will be hell to pay. Is this normal that I should have to pay with angst and tears to get a few drops of happiness, or is this show just messing with me because it can?

 

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

The king rails at Chae-kyung, angry with himself for having sent her to another man. He declares that he must have her, and with Yeok looking on from a short distance, he grabs her forcefully for a kiss.

But at the very last second, he holds back… their lips just inches apart. He seems to be warring with himself, and finally he resists and pulls away. Oh phew. But, but… can Yeok tell from where he’s standing that they didn’t kiss?! This is very important!

Chae-kyung doesn’t even have a chance to recover from the shock before Yeonsangun throws her for a whole new loop—he commands her to become his spy. He tells her to report every detail about Yeok, especially the moment he shows ambition, because that will be a sign of his treasonous intent.

Yeonsangun admits that this is why he permitted their marriage, so that she could be closest to Yeok and become the king’s eyes and ears. He takes out a small dagger and says that the moment could come when she must kill Yeok with this knife, and asks if she will still do it.

Tears spring from her eyes, and Yeok watches from the bridge, stricken. Chae-kyung steels herself and says, “Yes, I will do it. But I will not accept this knife, because I will not have use for it. The reason I am marrying is to dispel the suspicion between brothers, and to prove the prince’s loyalty.”

Yeok seems to have heard their conversation, because his eyes fill with tears. He’s alarmed when he sees his mother approach behind him, and Yeok rushes to her side to guide her away from Chae-kyung and the king.

Yeonsangun asks angrily if Chae-kyung’s faith in Yeok is so unwavering that she dares to act this way in front of him, not even fearing death. He asks what she’ll do if her faith is proven wrong, and she replies that she will accept the knife if that happens, and will accept the punishment for her misplaced trust. Yeonsangun shakes with anger at her words.

The queen dowager is shocked when Yeok tells her that the pawnshop was discovered, and that he wants to rush the revolt. She reminds him that he was the one who insisted on winning over the people before taking the throne, but Yeok says that was his selfish desire.

He realized that while he was worrying about that, people who trusted him were put in danger and being tested. He plans to meet with key figures for the rebellion right after his wedding, and the queen dowager says she will find his father’s will because it’s the fastest way to the throne. This time he doesn’t argue.

Yeonsangun stews over Chae-kyung’s declaration of faith in Yeok, and says to himself that he will await that day eagerly when she admits that she was wrong about Yeok, because it will come very soon.

Yeok looks weary when he returns to the pawnshop, and he says to himself, “I will fool you more thoroughly now… because if you know the truth, you will suffer. You will be in danger.”

At the same time, Chae-kyung vows to herself that she will protect Yeok whatever it takes.

In court the next morning, the ministers who were robbed come forward to say that everything was mysteriously returned to them in the middle of the night, and they begin to wonder if the Snail Brides were responsible for returning their things.

This is the first that Yeonsangun is hearing about the Snail Brides, and the ministers tell him that someone began leaving rice for struggling families during times of famine, and that some rumors say the Snail Bride is one man, while others say it’s many. Secretary Im declares that the Snail Brides must be investigated.

Privately, Yeonsangun laughs and calls Yeok’s actions cute and small, though Secretary Im doesn’t share his point of view. He argues that as the Snail Bride, Yeok is gaining public sentiment and now even currying favor with court officials, which only paves the road for him to take the throne. Yeonsangun counters, “Who says I’m going to give up my throne?” He says that if the fight has begun he should at least play along, and asks where the Snail Brides are based.

Yeok and Seo-no look over plans for a new hideout, but Yeok thinks that moving bases now will only draw more suspicion. Seo-no wonders if they should add another door out of here, and they hear the pawnshop door opens upstairs. Yeok wonders why the boys aren’t greeting the visitor.

That’s because they’re quaking in fear at the sudden arrival of Yeonsangun, who just casually looks around the pawnshop and asks how long they’ve been in business. Gwang-oh and Seok-hee flail and fumble over their words, while Yeonsangun carefully looks through every corner of the shop.

Then to make matters worse, Myung-hye and her uncle burst in and ask the boys where Yeok is, worried after Secretary Im’s visit last night. The boys try to warn them by making faces (Seok-hee uses his tongue to point in the king’s direction, ha), but it’s too late and Yeonsangun steps out to greet them with a sly smile.

Deputy Commander Park is shocked, but Yeonsangun says he already suspected that Park would be behind the pawnshop. He is interested in Myung-hye though, and guesses that she’s his niece, calling her the daughter of a criminal who was exiled. He asks if she’s helping Yeok thinking that once he gains power, she can reclaim her family’s status.

Myung-hye swears that that’s not the case at all, and that she just happened to save Yeok’s life and became his friend. Yeonsangun’s eyes close in on her like prey as he points out that Myung-hye must be the one who faked his death. Crap. She realizes her slip and everyone drops to their knees as she begs for her life.

Yeonsangun enjoys making her squirm and lifts her chin as he notes that the queen dowager must adore her for saving her precious son’s life, not believing for a second that Myung-hye didn’t tell her that Yeok was alive until now.

He chuckles to discover that Yeok has a woman, scoffing that he acted like he couldn’t live without Chae-kyung. He says that Myung-hye must be upset about him marrying someone else, and she lies that she’s not.

Yeonsangun saunters out just as casually as he came and tells his armed guards outside to stay behind and report on every single person who comes and goes.

Once the coast is clear, everyone rushes into the hideout and Deputy Commander Park apologizes. Yeok shouts that because of his rash decisions, the pawnshop will now be monitored and targeted around the clock. He orders Deputy Commander Park not to make a single move with the Snail Brides without his consent.

The boys worry that they’ll need to move headquarters, but Yeok tells them that it’ll only draw more suspicion to do that. The plan is to make another door out of their basement hideout, and to look into a neighboring property so that they can build an underground tunnel between them.

Chae-kyung excitedly picks out dishes in the marketplace for her newlywed home, only to be vetoed by her mother at every turn. Chae-kyung pouts at Mom’s lavish, expensive choices, preferring the homely dishes.

She makes faces at Nanny while Mom buys item after item until their servants are loaded up with heavy trunks, but Nanny tells her that Mom is doing this because she wants to, and is trying to match the queen dowager’s tastes.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commander Park brings Minister Shin the fortune reading for Yeok and Chae-kyung’s union, explaining that the queen dowager asked him for the favor. Minister Shin asks how Deputy Commander Park became so loyal to the queen dowager, and Park says that it was a dying request from the late king that he look after her and Yeok.

Minister Shin asks if that loyalty to the late king extends to the present king as well, and Deputy Commander Park turns the question around to ask why Minister Shin didn’t tell the king that Yeok was alive when he first suspected it. Minister Shin says he was simply taking a backseat because it involved his daughter, and that he eventually realized that Chae-kyung and Yeok were fated to be.

Yeok is spotted by the king’s guard as he leaves the pawnshop, though he doesn’t seem to notice. Gwang-oh comes after him to pass along a map, saying that the king left this for him and asked him to meet there.

When Yeok arrives at the location, Chae-kyung steps out of a palanquin accompanied by the king’s head eunuch. She beams when she sees Yeok, and he takes her hand to lead her inside.

They enter a large courtyard with a sprawling home lined with an army of eunuchs and court ladies. Yeonsangun is waiting for them, and he silently notes the way they arrive holding hands before they break apart. He declares that the home is a wedding gift from him, complete with the servants. Ohhhh, you clever man.

Yeok eyes everything warily and Chae-kyung says it’s much too grand for them and asks the king to take it back. But Yeonsangun insists that the prince and Minister Shin’s daughter shouldn’t live in a shabby home. Chae-kyung looks to Yeok, and he nods silently to let her know that they can accept the house.

Yeok tears through the house, and behind every new door he finds a court lady or a eunuch standing by. Yikes. They might as well be living in the palace, with all these watchful eyes.

The head eunuch of the household is a familiar face—the one from the king’s staff who had worried about keeping Yeok waiting when he first returned. Yeok says gruffly that they ought to know each other’s names by now, and he introduces himself as Eunuch Song. Yeok scoffs to himself at the idea that this is a gift.

Yeonsangun tells Chae-kyung that he’ll be getting daily reports from Eunuch Song, and he’ll be checking to make sure that her reports line up exactly with his. Yeesh. She’s shocked to realize that he means for her to check in daily, and he confirms that he’ll find a place where she can enter the palace quietly.

She asks how long she’ll have to do this before he’ll trust Yeok, and Yeonsangun answers, “Until death.” He doesn’t specify whose death he means—hers, his, or Yeok’s. She asks if something happened between them that she doesn’t know, arguing that Yeonsangun wouldn’t be this cruel to them otherwise. But he snaps at her not to act like she knows him, or Yeok for that matter.

He pointedly asks if she knows that a woman saved Yeok’s life, and when he sees her stunned reaction, Yeonsangun smirks and says that past or present, Chae-kyung is the one who should be pitied in all this.

Yeonsangun receives the report from his spies that they saw Yeok leave the pawnshop, but they never saw him enter. He muses that they either have another entrance, or dug a rat hole inside.

Knowing all this, Yeonsangun sits down to have a drink with Yeok and suggests finding something other than the pawnshop to keep him busy, noting that it doesn’t seem to make him much money. Yeok says it’s not the money he does it for, and Yeonsangun asks if he hides out there with his friends and plays the leader of their gang.

Yeok readily accepts that the king suspects him, calling it the fate of his position, just as it is the king’s fate to be suspicious. Yeonsangun says he’s become quite cowardly, and Yeok forces a smile and says he must be living well then, because he is the grand prince of Joseon, who must do nothing. Yeonsangun agrees and adds the thinly veiled threat that the more cowardly he becomes, the safer his loved ones will be, calling Yeok’s cowardice his own form of courage.

As he leaves, Yeonsangun says to himself that Yeok’s mask is growing stronger by the day, though he figures it’s a good thing since Chae-kyung will only feel more betrayal when she finally unmasks him.

Yeok and Chae-kyung go for a walk, and he tells her to bring a few servants she can trust since a new house full of palace servants will feel strange to her. She sighs that it’s starting to feel real now, and she tells Yeok that this is his last chance to confess anything to her before marriage, warning him that all can be forgiven now, but once they’re married all bets are off.

He grows serious as he says the same back to her, that this is her last chance. He says that if she’s frightened or has any regrets, she should back out now: “Run away from me. I’m saying this for you.”

Chae-kyung asks tearfully how he could say that to her. She argues that once they’re married, he’ll be the only person she can trust in the whole world, and that at a time like this he should be saying that he loves her over and over and holding her. “Do you not love me?” she cries. If you leave her hanging right now, I will kick you!

He argues, “If I could say it in words, I would’ve said it a hundred, a thousand times! What power do words have?” She says that words are where it begins, and that by saying things aloud and then acting on them again and again—that becomes married life and love.

He stands there silently like a dumb rock, so she stomps off and wipes her tears alone. She thinks of Yeonsangun calling her pitiable, but she answers in her thoughts that Yeok isn’t fooling her—she’s just waiting for him.

Yeok cranes his neck to try and see what she’s doing, though the second she turns back around, he scrambles to act cool again. Pff.

He actually starts running away, and Chae-kyung has to chase him down to say that she’s going to give him a pass. She says that he’s someone who says more with his eyes than with his words, so she’s willing to not get her feelings hurt when he doesn’t express his love. “I’ll just teach you as we live together,” she declares with a giant smile.

He can’t help but smile back at her adorable face, and she holds his hand for the rest of the walk home.

As he heads out, Yeok mulls over Chae-kyung’s warning that this was his last chance to come clean with her, and he thinks to himself, “But lies are the only weapon I have to protect you with. I’m sorry.”

Yeok and his boys all crawl into the tiny confessional booth together, complaining of the tight quarters. They need to be extra careful though, and Yeok says that while everyone’s attention is focused on his wedding, they need to dig into the Minister of War, who is the next most corrupt official after Secretary Im.

He’s known for taking bribes and for being a regular at the gibang, and Seok-hee and Gwang-oh immediately rush out to the gibang to do their “work.” Yeok asks if Seo-no wants to go too, but Seo-no says that he has another appointment.

Scarface goes around asking villagers for information on Seo-no’s father, and finds a farmer who names Seo-no as the man’s son, confirming his suspicions. Nok-soo worries that Yeok could have found the late king’s will already if his companion is the historian’s son, but Secretary Im argues that they wouldn’t be hiding out and working as Snail Brides if they had the will.

Yeok’s wedding to Chae-kyung is the talk of the town, and Seo-no’s father overhears people talking about it at an inn, where they say that the palace has been in an uproar ever since the prince came back from the dead. He listens quietly and then packs up his things and heads out, just as Seo-no arrives. Dad’s face is hidden underneath a hat, and they don’t seem to notice each other as they walk by.

Yeok paces in his hideout and mulls over Chae-kyung’s complaints that he doesn’t express his love, but he thinks to himself that he wants to save that for when it’s real—when there are no lies between them anymore. He promises to tell her ten thousand times then, and looks back and forth between his chart of key figures in his rebellion and Chae-kyung’s promise ring.

There’s a knock upstairs at the pawnshop door, and Yeok opens it cautiously to find… Seo-no’s father, who bows and asks if he remembers him. Well that was easy.

It turns out that Seo-no’s appointment is a drinking date with Myung-hye, though he spends most of the time being berated by her for being impudent. He doesn’t even argue, and just pours her drinks while she rants over not being the one to marry Yeok.

She blames Seo-no for making her think that respecting Yeok’s choices was the impressive thing to do, and he surprises her by saying sincerely that she IS impressive, and that risking her life and living for someone else is no easy thing. She points out that he does it, and Seo-no says that he has a debt to repay even if the cost is his life.

Myung-hye says he can repay that debt now by telling her where his father is, but Seo-no says he doesn’t know and gets up to leave if that’s why she called him here. But she grabs his wrist and asks him not to go, warning him that Yeok’s wedding is tomorrow and she doesn’t know what she’ll do.

So Seo-no stays with her, and she wakes up in the middle of the night to find herself sleeping on his lap. Flustered, she tiptoes around him, and is shocked to discover a letter wedged in the door from Seo-no’s father, asking to meet to discuss the will. She takes the letter and sneaks out.

Chae-kyung stares at her wedding clothes, deep in thought. There’s a knock at her door and Yeok’s voice whispers her name, so she hurriedly yanks him inside, afraid he’ll be caught. He says that they’re getting married tomorrow, so he wanted to give her a promise token since he only received one and never gave one in return.

She smiles at that and tells him to hurry up and give it before someone sees him, and then she closes her eyes and puckers up. HA. I love her.

He stares at her for a long beat, amused, and she gets embarrassed for jumping to conclusions and rambles about how she has a needlessly good memory, clearly thinking of the first time he intended to give her a kiss in exchange for her ring.

That’s when he pulls her into his arms and starts untying his hat (wow, that’s crazy hot, like he means business), and says that he gave her fair warning this time, so she has until the count of ten to change her mind. Then he says, “Ten,” LOL.

But before he can make a move, she wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him first. She laughs, but he stares at her intently and then pulls her close for a real kiss. Yowza.

When Yeok returns to his room, he looks at his princely robes and smiles as he thinks of tomorrow’s wedding, and Chae-kyung does the same as she stares at her wedding dress.

They’re not the only ones who can’t sleep that night—Yeonsangun sits up in the same position all night, and notes bitterly that the sun rose so soon.

The queen dowager is pleased to hear that the late king’s historian has sought them out regarding the will. Yeonsangun interrupts her conversation with Deputy Commander Park to ask if the queen dowager doesn’t want to stop this marriage, pointing out that Myung-hye is a better match for him, worried that the queen dowager is planning to use Chae-kyung and then throw her away.

The queen dowager says that Myung-hye is like a sister to Yeok, but she admits that she wanted the union as well. It was Yeok who wouldn’t listen, and insisted that it had to be Chae-kyung, and that he had to keep his promise to her. She says that the two of them can’t seem to live without each other, so there was no winning against her son.

That only seems to make Yeonsangun more bitter, but he says it’s settled then and they’ll hold the wedding as planned, since Yeok is marrying Chae-kyung for love and will not be shaken no matter how he is tested. He says that Yeok will be fine, but his tone is ominous.

The bride and groom get washed and dressed bright and early in the morning, and Chae-kyung is so excited that she can hardly contain herself. Holy crap, Yeok looks so much like his younger self in his prince’s robes.

Seo-no accompanies him to go meet his bride, and Yeok says he has a present for Seo-no after the wedding. On the way, Yeok addresses Chae-kyung in his thoughts: “From now on no matter what anyone says, you are my person. Everything I do is to protect you.”

Chae-kyung takes out the twig binyeo that Yeok gave her, anticipating his arrival (which is when her hair gets put up). She thinks, “You are now my husband for life. Let’s live as friends for the rest of our lives.”

Gwang-oh is about to close up shop for the wedding when a man comes by wanting to sell information. It’s the farmer that Scarface was talking to, and Gwang-oh is alarmed to learn that he told Scarface Seo-no’s name, and that they were looking for his father.

At the same time, Myung-hye takes Seok-hee and the other Snail Brides into the woods to sneak up on Seo-no’s father, and he worries about how angry Yeok will be when he finds out. She insists that they can do this on their own, and that all they have to do is keep Seo-no’s father safe.

Gwang-oh runs to intercept Yeok and Seo-no just as they arrive outside Chae-kyung’s house, and he says that Myung-hye and Seok-hee might be walking into a trap set by Secretary Im. Yeok confirms that it’s definitely a trap, because Seo-no’s father is with him. Well, crud.

Then to make a bad thing worse, Yeonsangun joins Secretary Im, wanting to see for himself the moment when Yeok walks into the trap in search of the will. Oh nooooooo, don’t come here, Yeok!

But of course, that’s exactly where he’s headed. The three boys race to save their friends on horseback, and Yeok has already changed out of his wedding clothes…

Meanwhile, the wedding party is gathered and the guests start growing antsy as everyone arrives except the groom. The parents grow anxious, and the queen dowager finally worries that something happened to Yeok and sends Deputy Commander Park to send soldiers to find him.

Chae-kyung frets as Nanny paces her room, when the king’s head eunuch arrives to deliver a wedding present to her. She opens the box and is terrified to find the dagger that she had refused to accept.

Myung-hye’s scout reports that no one was inside the house, and Yeok and Gwang-oh arrive to warn their friends that they’re walking into a trap. It’s too late though—Yeonsangun has spotted them in the distance, though they’re too far to see each other’s faces. He raises his bow and arrow, and from across the field, Yeok does the same.

Yeonsangun must guess that it’s Yeok, because he says that he won’t kill him, since that will be Chae-kyung’s job now that he’s proven her faith wrong. They both fire at each other, and Yeok gets sliced in the arm, while Yeonsangun gets slashed in the cheek. Yeok’s companion fires off a second arrow that lands right in Yeonsangun’s shoulder.

The king’s men launch an attack and Yeok’s side retreats, but the king motions for them to halt, declaring that he’s gained everything he needs already. He looks up at the sky and muses that Yeok will be very late to his wedding.

Chae-kyung shakes as she opens the letter accompanying the dagger, which tells her that she will begin to suspect Yeok very soon, because he is lying to her.

Yeok makes it to the pawnshop and stumbles over to change back into his wedding clothes, but Myung-hye grabs them first and refuses to hand them over. She says that Secretary Im has caught them going after the will and will try to kill Yeok. She urges him not to go to the wedding.

Yeok takes his clothes out of Myung-hye’s hands and says, “I have to go. Chae-kyung is waiting… Chae-kyung is waiting…” and rushes out the door.

Just as Chae-kyung pulls out the dagger with trembling hands, Nanny bursts in to say that Yeok has finally arrived, and she breathes a sigh of relief.

Yeok apologizes to the parents for being late, and soon after Yeonsangun arrives as well, sporting a mean scar on his left cheek, right where Yeok shot him with an arrow. The brothers stare each other down in the courtyard as they each think, Was it you?

Inside, Chae-kyung smiles as her hair gets pinned up, and she vows to herself that she will trust Yeok no matter what anyone says.

The wedding begins and both Yeok and Yeonsangun watch Chae-kyung being led out with pensive faces. The bride and groom bow to one another, which is the first time that Chae-kyung gets a chance to peek up at Yeok.

She looks over at him with a hopeful smile, but that’s when she sees blood spilling out onto his hand in a bright red stream, ominously leading right down to her promise ring on his finger.

Her eyes brim with tears as Yeonsangun’s words come back to her—that she will soon begin to suspect Yeok because he is lying to her.

 
COMMENTS

He is lying, I knooow, but he loves her! Augh, I hate that Chae-kyung could be doubting him in the very moment that they’re about to be married, but I should have known that the show would never give us a drama-free wedding, not with Yeonsangun fighting tooth and nail to make sure that Chae-kyung’s faith is shaken to its very foundation. Why does he have to be so smart and so dastardly? It makes for such a fantastic rivalry (not to mention a zippy plot) to have such a genius conniving mastermind ten steps ahead of our protagonists, but sometimes I just want there to be one day when everyone isn’t in the palm of the king’s hand. How can anyone outsmart him? It seems impossible to race him on level ground when he’s such a master manipulator who seems to be dictating the path as you go, plus he’s paranoid on top of everything, which means he never lets his guard down.

I was awed (in a frightened way) when he thought repeatedly to make Chae-kyung the one to unmask Yeok and ultimately betray him. He isn’t satisfied with beating Yeok and just taking his life—that would be too easy, and Yeonsangun clearly likes his games. He seems to relish the idea that Chae-kyung will bring about Yeok’s downfall herself, and I think in his twisted mind he thinks she will come to see Yeok the way he does and stop loving him, and be grateful to the one who opened her eyes to the truth. He doesn’t see at all that they simply love each other without reason, which wouldn’t change if they got caught up in a rebellion—it would only turn tragic, not go away.

Despite not understanding that sort of unchanging love, I have a feeling that Yeonsangun wouldn’t want just the shell of Chae-kyung either, because if he were that emotionless, he would’ve kissed her forcibly. He seems to still want the real thing—her true heart, and her absolute faith—something I think she would give him as family, if he would only stop demanding more and trying to threaten her into being loyal. He is so frustratingly his own worst enemy, but we already knew that. He’s just proving it time and again, in new and unsettling ways.

I see why Yeok lies to protect Chae-kyung, because this isn’t about her trust or her loyalty—this is treason and the cost is her life, and he would rather die or let her think the worst of him than to put her in harm’s way for his sake. We’ve seen it once before with him, and this is the kind of noble sacrifice that makes perfect sense and doesn’t require all sorts of logic leaps to get me on the bandwagon. Of all the reasons to lie to the one you love, this is pretty much it. I’m with you. I just fear that it doesn’t matter what she technically knows and doesn’t know, because she’s now in danger anyway as his wife and as the king’s spy. Even Yeok knows that she agreed to be a spy in order to protect him, but that means that she’s taking on a personal responsibility and will have to make a choice someday between lying for him or saving herself. And we all know what feisty, courageous Chae-kyung would choose to do. Maybe there is no winning against their fate, and the most I can hope for is that the love they share in the time they have remaining is beautiful and true. And hatless.

 
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