"Empress Qi" is throwing everything it has at us, but it fails to be truly compelling. There are tears, and death, and convoluted political plots, but none of those things carry any weight. The buildup towards the events in this episode was sorely lacking and made the biggest reveal seem anticlimactic.
This drama has struggled with uneven development since the beginning. Seung-nyang and Wang Yoo's romance was choppily pieced together. The same can be said for Yon Feisu's strange relationship with Wang Yoo. While her romantic feelings were made obvious, his connection to her seemed to end with business. That is, until the show kills Yon Feisu off (in a scene that was absurdly forced and overly dramatic) and has Wang Yoo weep platonic tears for a woman he never seemed to care about before.
Then there is the sorely underused Empress Hudu who bided her time for five years only to impulsively ruin everything in a badly planned murder attempt on Maha