Tamra the Island: Episode 4
Hello! I’m Gallivanter, the other half of the Nazreal-Gallivanter team. I’m so happy to be given this opportunity to spread the love on my favorite drama from this summer. But, if I’m going to be retrospective, I don’t know that yet.
Episode four starts to get a little more serious. Not a lot, but some as our characters are now familiar with each other, and no longer care about the language barrier. Or is it that the show no longer cares about making jokes about Korean-English? Either way, I’m thankful. Tamra has all the makings for a quality drama; cinematography, acting, writing, the history and plot, but it’s the unnecessarily silly things that hinder Tamra, and I’m hoping episode four is a sign we’re moving away from that.
Episode Four Recap
Park Kyu breaks the water container on suspicion of it being tampered with and walks away, leaving a very confused village guard. He tests a sample of the water, which proves to have something strange in it, and brings it to a pharmacist in town. The pharmacist isn’t sure if it’s a sleeping agent, but says he’ll find out from others. Satisfied with this answer, Kyu leaves.
William and Yan head to the beach, and find a raft. William’s unsure if it’s strong enough to take them all the way to Nagasaki, but Yan says they must try. However, just as they’re about to come out of hiding to steal it, two divers appear, and they must put their plan on hold for the time being.
Kyu comes across the elderly man in the woods, and asks him who he really is. The man, however replies that he wants meat, and gives no further clue to his identity.
Yan and William have apparently decided to build their own raft—because they need to try, and because it gives them something to do. In the midst of carrying branches in the forest, a child, Phillip, spies them. Immediately shocked, he runs away, screaming; Yan and William follow not far behind.
Kyu and the old man hear the commotion when Phillip runs towards them. He is further surprised when Kyu and the elderly man seem to know who the foreigner is, and thus, are not surprised to see him. They begin sorting out how everyone knows each other when they hear other villagers, and all duck down to hide. Kyu and Phillip decide to head to his place to talk, but not before the old man stops Yan to give him some Korean clothing so he blends in more. Remember, even if he looks Korean, he’s still a foreigner.
Phillip’s place is a cave he’s build a wall of moss around so he won’t be found. It turns out he’s in hiding too. William is amazed by the assortment of Japanese and western objects in the cave, while Kyu gets straight to the heart: how does Phillip know about foreigners? He knows about foreigners because he’s actually a sailor; he’s used to seeing foreigners because he travels so much. Kyu is amused with his answer, and we get a rare grin from him.
Continuing with the questioning, Kyu asks him why he’s in Tamra, and Phillip says it’s because he has a fiance’ here. She’s the prettiest girl in all of Sang Bang Gol. If we use our K-drama logic, I think we can figure out who Phillip is engaged to.
Kyu asks where Yan is, and William says that he doesn’t know. No one knows what’s up with Yan. Kyu is understandably confused, since he doesn’t speak English. They head back to Beo Jin’s cave as a group, where Yan is annoyed that William keeps bringing more people into their lives.
Kyu tells Phillip that Yan is a Japanese sailor in a large merchant union, like him. Phillip is curious and wants to know more, but Yan seems nervous. Kyu notices Yan’s expression, but doesn’t say anything. Regaining his composure, Yan tells William to stop wasting his time, and leaves the hideout cave.
Yan is busy looking for something in his bag, outside on the beach, when Kyu walks up and asks him in Korean if he’s looking for his knife. He tells Yan that he knows he can speak Korean (shock!), and to just use the language. Kyu continues, telling Yan about a large group of merchants from China, and asks if there was a Japanese there too. We get the impression that something bad happened, because Yan replies, “that was a long time ago. Now I’m just a Dutch citizen.”
But, Kyu keeps talking, and asks him how his Korean is so good. Yan tells him there was a Korean town in Nagasaki, where he learned a little. Kyu doesn’t think he’s a true castaway, but Yan asks him why anyone would want to come to Korea, where foreigners aren’t allowed, and ports are closed. Yan tries to reassure Kyu, telling him that there is no reason for him and William to stay, and that they will leave soon. Kyu replies that he doesn’t want any trouble, and for them to leave soon. He hands back Yan’s knife and leaves. Yan then examines his knife, and we can see a symbol on it that’s the mark of the Dutch East India Company.
The camera cuts to the woman in red, who wants to know if the Dutch East India Company will partner with hers if they take over Jeju. They trade all over the world, so the scale between her company and theirs is different. She decides that she should meet with the elder, Hong Gu Rak, to gain his permission. Gu Rak comes, and is at first, annoyed by how far he must walk, but once he sees our woman in red, his attitude changes. He enters a room filled with other elders who are being entertained by gisaeng. The woman says that she has no ulterior motive, but Gu Rak wonders why a merchant would do anything that would be a loss. She plays it off as being hurt.
Beo Jin runs into Kyu on the road; she chastises him for not helping her father, and wants to know where he has been. When he doesn’t answer she starts slowly walking, and mumbling about how heavy her load is. Kyu checks her pack (it’s straw sandals), and once he’s satisfied that it’s not heavy, he leaves her behind (ha!).
William, wearing his mask, follows them home. Beo Jin is upset he’s wandered out of the cave, but all William cares about is why Kyu is at her house. She’s about to explain when they hear her mother coming. To keep him hidden, she shoves William in Kyu’s room, much to the delight, I’m sure, of Kyu. Beo Jin’s mother comes, and declares that she’s going to work outside the door for a while.
William, in his limited Korean, asks about his treasure, the chamber pot, but Kyu has no idea what he means. William begins looking for it by himself, and through his disturbing items in Kyu’s room, and Kyu trying to put things back in their proper place, they end up making noise, piquing the curiosity of Beo Jin’s mother. Beo Jin lies, saying that Kyu is just exercising because he has so much “energy.” For that comment, Beo Jin gets hit, but it’s enough to send off her mother once Beo Jin promises to finish her work.
Kyu and William continue their bickering, with Kyu not understanding why William has no courtesy, and William repeating that he wants his treasure. He eventually finds it, but Kyu can’t give it up. They go back and forth with it, until Beo Jin opens the door up, wanting to know what on earth they were doing. William says he came for his treasure, and takes it back once more from Kyu.
Beo Jin’s mother returns, and Kyu is sent out to keep her busy while Beo Jin and William escape (with the treasure). Kyu and Beo Jin’s mother get into an argument over whether or not Beo Jin is in his room, because as she puts it “he has a record.” Offended, Kyu retorts that even he has standards.
William and Beo Jin walk hand-in-hand back to the cave after Beo Jin tells him not to come back to the town. It’s not going to be a problem anymore, because he now has his treasure back.
Ggeut Boon is in an exceptionally good mood when she arrives in the field the next day because Kyu helped barter on her behalf at the market earlier. In fact, she’s dancing. It’s hilarious. She asks Beo Jin if anything happened that night they went diving together. Beo Jin, of course, says nothing happened—which just makes Ggeut Boon dance some more.
Phillip brings presents to Beo Jin’s family in the hope to win them, and her, over. He brings a mirror, which they have never seen before, and lipstick for Beo Jin. She puts it on (sloppily) when Kyu comes out of his room. Phillip recognizes him, and proudly tells him that this is the fiance’ he was talking about before. Kyu is amazed that Beo Jin is the prettiest girl in town, and doesn’t quite believe it. After an awkward moment where Phillip almost tells the family about the foreigner, Kyu excuses himself.
Yi Bang and Chi Yong discover William and Yan’s cave. Their things are scattered about, and Yi Bang immediately wonders if this is where the jin sang poom thieves have been. Chi Yong confers, saying that someone suspicious has spent time here. William and Yan see the group of men searching around their cave, and Yan uses this as an argument as to why they need to leave soon, but William is uncertain.
Yan pushes to leave that night, but William refuses to leave without his real treasure—Beo Jin. Yan argues that escape, and their lives, are the most important thing, but to William, the most important thing is that he doesn’t break his word to her. He unwillingly gets on the raft, and the two of them start out to sea. However, they don’t get far, as their raft soon breaks apart.
Beo Jin brings the clothes she made for William to the cave, but instead of finding them, she runs into Yi Bang. Upon seeing the clothes, he assumes she’s been working for the thieves. If it’s not for the thieves, who are the clothes for? But, of course, Beo Jin does not answer and is arrested.
Yan and William find themselves back on the beach, where Yan angrily starts speaking in Korean. William is surprised that he can speak the language, but Yan tells him that it’s a piece of cake. Ouch.
Kyu is interrupted in his thoughts the next morning by the government men raiding the house. He demands to know what is going on, but because he’s an exhile, they don’t care about him. One of the men explain that Beo Jin was helping the thieves, so they’re looking for evidence. Kyu worriedly asks if she was alone, but he doesn’t receive an answer.
Yi Bang begins interrogating Beo Jin, but save for that she didn’t do it, she says little else. Yi Bang asks who the clothes that he found in the cave belong to, and while she says they are hers, Yi Bang isn’t fooled. They are mens clothing! He threatens her with torture, but Beo Jin is silent.
Because William and Yan cannot return to their cave, they go to Phillip’s. He protests their staying at his place, but once he spies the symbol on Yan’s knife he wises up and calls Yan, hyung.
Kyu goes to the government office to argue with Yi Bang about Beo Jin’s capture. He tells him that while he’s an exile, he still believes in justice, and doing this to Beo Jin is improper; she is innocent. Yi Bang says smugly that if she is innocent, she will be let go, and if she is not, she will be punished.
The village women show up at Beo Jin’s house to heckle her family, lead by Ggeut Boon’s mother. She uses Beo Jin’s dislike (and laziness) of diving as the reason for disappearing—naturally, she’s been helping the thieves. She even goes as far as to say that there should be a change of diving captain. Beo Jin’s mother yells back, “do whatever you want!” The other village woman look concerned, but they don’t disagree.
Kyu returns from the government office, and listens to Beo Jin’s mother as she questions him about her daughter. It’s quite touching, actually. Kyu thinks so too, and is a little verklempt during her speech.
“How is Beo Jin? I guess she can’t be doing too well in prison. Last time, maybe she was having a hard time. She asked, ‘why didn’t you give birth to a cow instead?’ A curious and fun-loving girl like her must feel like living on Tamra Island is like being incarcerated in hell. It’s not that I don’t know what she’s feeling right now, but what can we do? Diving endlessly in the sea is our destiny as divers. If you can’t accept that, you can’t live in Tamra.”
She snaps back to reality, and asks Kyu for his advice. Even if he’s an exile, he’s still from Han Yang, and is well read. She asks him for a favor (this is the first time we really see Beo Jin’s mother and Kyu act as equals). He doesn’t respond, so Beo Jin’s mother walks away, saying that she’ll ask the village elder.
It’s only after she leaves that Kyu thinks of something, and tells Beo Jin’s little sister to run an errand for him. Her little sister heads down to to the government office, and whispers something into one of the guards ears. The guard runs to town, where Kyu is waiting with food and drinks. The guard tells Kyu that Beo Jin still hasn’t said anything, and even though everyone knows she’s not the kind of girl who would hide thieves, they can’t do anything. They don’t know who Beo Jin was hiding.
Kyu asks what will happen, and the guard explains that if she doesn’t say something by 5pm, she will be beaten. The guard lets it be known that there’s covert police in the town, and Kyu thinks back to Chi Yong, who he saw in the village earlier on.
Beo Jin’s sister tells Phillip where she has gone, and he can’t believe the news. There’s no way she would do that. He runs off, to go see her, but on the way, Kyu catches him. Because the foreigners are gone, there’s no way to exonerate Beo Jin.
William travels to the village (again!), but before any one can see him, the elderly man finds him, and takes him to see what Koreans think foreigners are. It’s a misshapen carving of a face, and the old man explains that here, William is a dangerous person.
The village carver returns from the bathroom, and spies the blonde wig that the old man is wearing. He shouts “monster” and runs down to town. He finds Kyu and Phillip, and brings them back to show them the “monster,” which is, of course, the elderly man in the wig.
The scene cuts to the divers, where we can see that all is not well while Beo Jin’s mother is gone. One of the divers became sick when she surfaced too quickly, and several of the women lament the change in leadership.
Phillip asks Kyu why the government thinks Beo Jin has been hiding the thieves. He answers that it’s because they found mens clothing in the cave. Phillip corrects him saying that no, those were his clothes; he gave them to William. A light goes off in Kyu’s brain, he grabs Phillip, and they run away.
Beo Jin is lying on a table, tied down. She’s given one last chance to tell the truth, before she will be beaten. However, she says nothing, and the officer orders 30 hits. Just before the man strikes her, Kyu and Phillip run in, and order the beating to be stopped. Kyu pushes Phillip forward, and says that he has something to say.
Which leads to the next scene, where Phillip is getting herbs rubbed into his butt. He, like a good kid, took the blame. Beo Jin is grateful, and whispers her thanks. Phillip takes this to mean he will be accepted as a son-in-law to the family, and tells the village women who’ve dropped by as such.
The women have brought food for Beo Jin as an apology of sorts, and one woman makes note of how sad Kyu will be to hear that Phillip and Beo Jin will marry. They all thought Beo Jin would marry Kyu. Beo Jin tries to deny everything, but once Kyu steps out of his room, the women erupt into giggles.
He leaves the house, and Beo Jin follows after him (causing more giggles). Her present to William, traditional clothing, is in her hands. She asks him several times where William is, and his only response is that he should have let her get beaten. She’s taking the foreigner situation too lightly. Beo Jin asks him if he is, perchance, jealous. Kyu responds harshly, telling her that she’s been incarcerated for too long, and that there’s no way a commoner like her could be with him, and that she has no class. Me thinks he doth protest too much!
Beo Jin doesn’t understand why Kyu would care so much about class here. He’s an exile, and thus, the same as her. She does manage to work out that William and Yan must be at Phillip’s cave, and goes off to find him.
Ggeut Boon’s mother comes to the house with fruit to apologize. Beo Jin’s mother offers food and drink in response. She asks her friend if it was fun being captain. Ggeut Boon’s mother replies, a little embarrassed, yeah. They laugh and make up.
Beo Jin finds William in Phillip’s hut tied up, so he cannot leave. He feels guilty for getting Beo Jin in trouble, but she says that it’s no problem. She got free food, and didn’t have to work, so prison was great. She presents the clothing to William, who is thrilled, and we can see Kyu standing outside, watching the scene. His gaze remains steady, but we can see jealousy in his eyes.
For me, this is the episode where everything changed. Like I said above, there were less silly moments, but still a little too much toilet humor for my taste. I’m not terribly interested in the jin sang poom mystery (yet), but it doesn’t matter. The cinematography, the acting, and the characters themselves are what have drawn me in.
The best scene in this episode has to be the one between Kyu and Beo Jin’s mother. It’s so understated, and yet, you really felt for both of them. Kyu is torn between his budding feelings for Beo Jin, his gratitude to Beo Jin’s family for keeping him, and the desire to uphold the law, while Beo Jin’s mother knows that there isn’t anything she can do to help her daughter. They’ve gone from dislike, to understanding and respecting each other. As tough as Beo Jin’s mother is, she wasn’t above asking for his help. Even as an exile, he has more power than she, a common diver, does.
I also love that the drama is trying to show similarities between the past and the present—especially with the character interactions. It really helps the fusion aspect of the show. It doesn’t always work (see the embarrassing f-word incident in episode three), but when it does it makes me step back and go, “oh, I guess we’re not so different after all.” One example would be the argument between Beo Jin’s and Ggeut Boon’s mothers. They’re best friends, but Ggeut Boon’s mother is jealous. So, she started a petty fight. It happens.
William is still sweet, but it’s a little annoying how fast he’s picking up Korean. Yeah, yeah, it’s a drama—I should get over it. But STILL. If we all knew that we could learn near-perfect Korean by being stranded on Jeju for a couple of weeks, it would have saved many of us a lot of time and money.
At this point, the person to watch for is Im Ju Hwan. I’ve mentioned it twice earlier, but the scene with Beo Jin’s mother killed me. His look at the end of the episode was also soul-crushing. Kyu tries so hard to be refined, but he can’t hide everything. He does himself in with the eyes. You know what it is? He’s got the Mr. Darcy eyes, and something tells me we’re going to be seeing a lot more of the Mr. Darcy eyes the further we get in Tamra.
- Tamra the Island: Episode 3
- Tamra will get a full director’s cut DVD
- The business of kdrama extensions and cuts
- Tamra will air complete version overseas, not at home
- Fans are spitting mad at Tamra’s curtailment
- Tamra gets shortened to 16 episodes
- My Name Is: Seo Woo
- Western actors becoming more visible on Korean TV
- Tamra the Island: Episode 2
- Tamra the Island: Episode 1
- Tamra cast members refute dating rumors