This episode sure focuses on the take-over side of the plot, and I love that it doesn’t bother me. It is still fun, interesting and vibrant. And therein lay Tamra’s charm.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
As William jumps over the fence, Yi Bang stares, shocked at this sudden turn of events. Beo Jin begs him not to take him, which he disregards, saying he will punish all three of them equally. Kyu steps in as he is about to approach them all: “I have something to tell you.”
He pulls out a medallion from inside his robes, representing his status as a secret royal inspector. Dun dun dun! Intense stares all round.
Beo Jin takes William and brings him back to the Town Elder’s guard, who returns him to his room.
Yi Bang apologises to Kyu for not recognising his rank earlier, but Kyu tells him that he suspected him as well, so they are even. Yi Bang is pleased with this turn of events, as is Kyu; now they both have a partner in crime… or crime prevention. Yi Bang asks about the foreigner but Kyu tells him to forget about it for now, as he will take William with him when he returns to the capital.
Yi Bang asks about Beo Jin, and Kyu, pre-emptively, starts explaining that they are not actually in a relationship; it was only to hide his identity. But he was actually asking whether she knows his identity, to Kyu’s embarrassment. Yeah, we all know you like her.
On his way home, Kyu meets Beo Jin, who has waited for him, trying to find out what happened. Entering their home, they meet her parents, and her Dad questions why they were together so late at night, and why her face is so unhappy. But Mum, having already decided she will permit them to date, quickly stops that and shuffles inside with Dad, giving a bit of advice on her way in: “make sure to talk it through.” Ha!
Beo Jin confronts Kyu about why Yi Bang let William go, and why he is coming home so late; was he talking to him this whole time? Kyu unsuccessfully tries to change the subject, asking about William, but Beo Jin diverts the conversation back to him (heh- they seem like such a couple here). She asks if he is a real exile and he responds: “Are there fake exiles? That’s weird.” Oh, Kyu!
But she again pulls the conversation back on course. Why did he come to Tamra? Is he planning to just take care of some business and then leave? It’s interesting that she seems upset at this idea- like she is upset that if it was his choice to come here and it is his choice to leave then that means it is less important to him. He says that she is wrong, and then tells her not to tell anyone what happened, as it will just put William in danger. She would never put William in danger, so she is adorably obedient, putting her fingers to her lips.
But of course, this triggers a memory of the kiss/silencing device hybrid and she awkwardly asks who would shut someone up like that. He responds even more awkwardly, saying he didn’t want to do it; he just did it on impulse to stop her causing a problem. She walks off, still touching her lips, confused at what the kiss made her feel, leaving him smiling at her adorableness (you’re not the only one, Kyu) and the memory.
Elsewhere on the island, Yi Bang is getting chewed out for going to the Elder’s without permission, and is stripped of his position temporarily.
As Kyu is out, he feels someone following him (sharp) so he asks them (Beo Jin) to come out. She tries to act as if it was a coincidence meeting him here, even after she comes out when he asks her to.
She tells him that after reflection, something is definitely weird, and demands the truth. Something odd is obviously happening with Yi Bang. She tells him the truth, so why won’t he tell her anything? After saying that there is nothing to tell, he walks off, although he hesitates slightly. She yells after him, “Exile, that’s not very nice!” So. Cute.
The Lady in Red (but –gasp- she is blue this time) is in Japan. After breaking loads of china, she addresses the Japanese man angrily, telling him that he should do business with them, because Korea has the best china. He accepts after seeing her attempts to break more china and presents her with silver. She notes that in business you have to take risks in order to make profits.
She hears that the Dutch East India Company, who they are working with, is going to abandon her company for another. They tell her that this isn’t true when they meet up. But she is suspicious so she warns them: if they betray her, their company will never set foot on Tamra Island, contrary to their dreams to use it as a trading post.
She’s got suspicions up the wazoo, this lady, and her related suspicions about the Elder are not allayed; she thinks he is the one they are trading with. She wants to keep an eye on him. She also wants to keep an eye on Kyu, who she is just suspicious of in general.
Yan walks in after her and tells the company in terrible, terrible Dutch (I don’t speak it, but it seemed pretty bad to me) that they wouldn’t lose anything by having two different sources.
Now, in case we hadn’t yet figured out who the company is trading with, we see the Elder, basking in the happiness of his success. The next step is to get weapons from the company (clearly he has never heard of non-violent protest), and he will realise his dream of Tamra being an independent state.
As Beo Jin visits William, he gives her a teddy bear he has sculpted, which is actually really adorable. The Elder comes and sees them, noticing the unique smell of coffee William is brewing. He suggests they brew some for the villagers. This means that he can wander the village today- high five!
While Kyu is out and about, as he helps someone with their load, Mum looks on proudly at the progress he has made. This is their last set of tax goods for the year, so they are all quite excited. The Elder turns up and invites them all to come for food he has prepared. Yi Bang peeks around the corner, locking eyes with Kyu over the Elder’s suspicious behaviour.
The villagers approach Beo Jin and William making coffee and decide to try it. It tastes bitter, so they assume is must be medicine. They then proceed to drink loads and loads of coffee in order to gain these medicinal benefits.
The Elder is gathering with some villagers, including Mum, Dad and Kyu. He notes that they have worked extra hard, but also communicates how much he dislikes the taxes. Before they were taxed by the mainland, life was more plentiful. It would be better if Tamra were just Tamra, not bothered by the country.
Kyu disagrees; Tamra is still a part of Korea, and these goods help better their country. And if the goods hadn’t been stolen, it wouldn’t be as hard for the villagers. Touché, Kyu. The Elder just retorts that his thinking as a scholar differs from their’s.
It seems a plan is in the works as Yi Bang approaches his guards and asks if everything is ready. Meanwhile, some suspicious looking men prepare their horses and ride into the forest.
The villagers are all raving about how energised they feel after drinking coffee. They probably shouldn’t be drinking so much in one sitting but hey, we’ve all been there, coffee tastes good. Kyu walks up and Beo Jin gives him a cup. He sticks out his tongue at the bitterness (cute!). Beo Jin’s little sister tells him to put honey in it (little voice of reason), as Ggeut Boon walks up asking for an extra large cup with lots of honey.
William tells her that if she drinks too much, it will be difficult to sleep at night. She laughs; she should drink a lot then. I don’t know what her nightly activities are that she needs to stay awake for but okay. Kyu, understandably, retreats from her advances.
It is a cheerful day for all in the village as a village man sees the teddy bear William carved and is highly impressed, inviting him to be an artist for the village. Meanwhile, Mum walks up to Beo Jin and rejects a cup of coffee, telling her to save some for Kyu. But she calls him Scholar Park. Beo Jin is rather confused by this, and by her Mum’s matchmaking attempts in general.
Over in evil plotting realm, some nefarious activity is transpiring, with Yi Bang’s guards carting the tax goods through the forest. They are approached by the suspicious men in navy, who claim to be police, convincing the guards to allow them to take the goods. Silly guards. And silly Yi Bang- does he STILL trust these men?
But then, as we see Yi Bang watching, there is a flashback to a conversation between him and Kyu. This is the last set of goods, so the thieves will surely take action. They need to investigate thoroughly. A plan is clearly in the works. Okay, I apologise to the guards. They are not so silly.
While Yi Bang is following these thieves, Kyu is following the Elder. And Beo Jin is following Kyu (with a leaf to cover her face!). So much following!
Yi Bang zeroes in on his target and arrives at their stolen goods village, shocked at its magnitude. He lurks at the top of a hill, watching.
The other two followers have found their targets also, Kyu hiding, watching the Elder and his guard. Beo Jin approaches him, asking why he is here. And, bless her, she cannot keep her voice lower than a shout. If you keep it up, he’s going to have to kiss you again, honey. Hey, I get it, if I were in that position I would probably be yelling at the top of my lungs.
But, anyway… She tells him that she only followed him because Mum told her to, not because she has any feelings for him or anything. The lady doth protest too much methinks. He tells her just to go back but she makes a loud sound, attracting the attention of the guard. Luckily, he doesn’t find them.
Beo Jin is frustrated by her lack of knowledge; why is he poking around and putting his nose in everything? Who is he really? As the Elder leaves, he tells her not to visit the Elder’s house. She asks why, and he responds that he doesn’t want anything to happen to her. Awwwwww.
He asks her to swear, hands on her shoulders, but she, all the while fazed by her budding attraction to him, says that she doesn’t understand, but no matter what, she will visit William. As she leaves, she tells him to be careful too. Unfortunately, this rather untimely conversation has meant that Kyu has lost the trail.
The Elder, seemingly untracked, has arrived at his fort (training centre? Hide-out?) and sees smoke on the top of the hill. He instructs his guard to go and check it out.
Turns out it is Yi Bang, who, as a random soldier approaches him (the guard is shirking his duties, it seems) is unarmed and on the ground. The man wields his sword, seemingly about to kill him… then Kyu arrives and knocks him down instead. He dons the man’s uniform, learning that they took the tax goods here. It seems it is an abandoned old blacksmith’s village. Kyu instructs Yi Bang to return to their village and get ready; he will stay here and investigate.
The Elder, meanwhile, is very pleased with himself for the success; with the help of the Japanese foreigner and the Dutch East India Company, they are only a few steps away from total domination. You can almost see the spirit fingers. He instructs the guard to check the goods then take them for inspection.
But, as he looks at the goods, all he finds are empty shells and blocks of wood. Foiled! Kyu and Yi Bang replaced the goods so they could find their hideout and investigate. Not so smart now, are we? You’d think he would have directed his men to simply look at the goods first. But clearly, he is so over-confident that he didn’t feel that was necessary.
The Elder is furious, demanding he check on the guard he enlisted to investigate the smoke. They go to investigate, and they find the guard tied up, in white robes. They then start to search the forest; he can’t have gone far.
Yi Bang, meanwhile, is running through the forest, attempting to find his way back. White robes really suck when running through dark forest and soon the horses (and men) are on his tail.
But we cut away to Beo Jin and William talking (holding hands), him asking how close she is to Kyu. She immediately gets defensive, saying he is just some unpleasant guy who lives in their storage room. He tells her that he wishes he could live there, the Elder’s house is nice, but she isn’t there.
She freezes, and pulls her hand away from his, asking if he doesn’t get embarrassed saying things like that. But he says that this is just how he feels. What is there to be embarrassed about?
She is a little pleased, but changes the subject, showing him some kind of water feature. He notes that it is similar to something they have in England and she responds in a nice way; that even though people may look different, they think similar thoughts.
But unfortunately, Yi Bang runs past that same feature and is cornered by the men. Beo Jin and William bear witness as they wound him, and the main guard arrives. Yi Bang tells him that they are only damaging their nation by what they are doing, but the guard pulls out his sword and kills him. No! Yi Bang!
Beo Jin, in her tragic inability to keep her mouth shut, makes a noise at this, and the guard sees her and William. Oh, crap. They try to run away, the men pursuing them. As the guard casually walks past their previous hiding place, in no hurry whatsoever to pursue them (So. Damn. Arrogant.), he finds the knife William gave to Beo Jin and picks it up.
As they are running, Beo Jin falls, and tells William to run away and leave her. He is hesitant, although it looks like he is considering it. But before he gets a chance to take action, the guards surround them. One of the men raises a sword over Beo Jin, but William jumps on top of her, taking the wound to his back. The main guard walks up, and is about to strike again, but the Elder arrives and puts an end to it.
If they kill the foreigner, the contract will be void. They will wait until the Japanese foreigner (Yan) returns, but in the meantime, they will be useful. He orders for them to be locked up.
The next morning, a village man uses the water as a bathroom, and, noticing Yi Bang’s body, he runs off, declaring his death. The guards prepare to take the body, crying all the while. Meanwhile, Kyu has returned, after witnessing some target practice and investigating the goings on at the fort. He dashes to Yi Bang’s side and feels his pulse.
As the body is taken away, he tells the two guards that he is still breathing (yes! I so did not want him to die). They need to find a doctor to stop the bleeding. Meanwhile, they should spread the rumour that he is dead.
The villagers show up, shocked at his death, throwing around theories and following the body’s journey. Mum walks up to Kyu, asking if he was with Beo Jin. He doesn’t know why she would ask that until she says that she told her to stay with Kyu. This is important in two ways; it shows Mum trusts Kyu and it gives Kyu a reason to feel guilty and nervous.
He arrives at the water feature and sees the abandoned bear. Poor boy, as if his life weren’t complicated enough.
Beo Jin and William are locked up, and he is feeling the effects of his wound. Beo Jin begs the guard to let them go; she always thought he was a good person. He tells her that she’ll thank him later, if she’s still alive then. I generally don’t think people feel particularly grateful after someone has put their lives in danger but whatever…
Beo Jin is incredibly upset, unable to help William, who is on the verge of unconsciousness, as she is tied up.
Kyu walks into the main chief’s house, demanding to speak to him. He throws Kyu out, so he is about to show him his magic inspector badge, but sees the Elder’s guard come from his room. This stops him in his tracks. Clearly these two are in cahoots. Who can be trusted now? As the guard is walking past, he drops Beo Jin’s knife, noticed by Kyu. Showdown, please.
Yan has returned with a contract and news that once he and William go to Nagasaki, the company will send their ship, carrying weapons and everything else. The Elder asks what happens if he lets them go, and the ship does not arrive. He demands that he be given the goods first then he will let William go. But Yan wants to see William first, which the Elder agrees to.
Back at home, Beo Jin obviously hasn’t returned and Mum is worried, after seeing her with the foreigner. Little does she know the extent of the trouble she is in.
Kyu instructs the guards to give a letter to the high government officer, saying he will meet them if they show him his medallion. They scream.
Beo Jin and William have both woken up, and he assures her that he is okay; it isn’t as bad as it seems. He tells her not to worry, because they’ll escape soon. He screams for help in English (dude, if any language were pertinent in your prison in Jeju Island, I think it would be Korean). She tells him that they are deep in the forest, so there is no use. Reflecting on their situation and how the Elder is behind it all, she retells Kyu’s instructions to stay near home and not go to the Elder’s house. It seems he knew everything.
This encourages William; he is sure Kyu will come to save them if he knows what has happened. Beo Jin agrees. And for a while, this hope sustains them as they attempt to wear down their ropes.
Kyu is back at the fort, this time opting for a fuller disguise in the form of a pornstache and weird goatee thing (apparently, stick-on moustaches were readily available back then). He listens to the Elder’s instruction that tonight is the night; they cannot wait for the Lady in Red’s company anymore. He informs them of his suspicions that Kyu is an official, but they oughtn’t worry; he will be killed tonight. Will he just? I’m going to take a wild stab and say he will live to see the sunrise tomorrow.
The main guard instructs different groups to organise weapons and keep watch. Finally, he gets to Kyu and one other man, instructing them to take the foreigner to the storage on the south side. It is only after Kyu leaves that the guard does a double take (although this is not enough to make him chase after him).
William manages to get his rope undone, and hastens to untie Beo Jin. They see two guards approaching, so they hide. As the door is opened, Kyu injures (kills?) the other guard and enters the room himself.
Unfortunately, William and Beo Jin have prepared, as William knocks him down on entry and Beo Jin throws a mat over him and starts hitting him. He pulls the mat off, and pulls off his pornstache. They are both shocked, and Beo Jin cries in relief to see him.
The takeover storyline in Tamra is rather straight forward, so I don’t have much to say about it. In this episode it sort of graduates from the plotting and scheming phase and some action really occurs in terms of combating it. I have said this before and I’ll say it again, the pace is so well done in this show.
Also, I love that, despite all of these conspiracies and fighting, Tamra is essentially a human drama. These other elements are important, and I enjoy them, but they are more of a stage for the other things. The characters grow, as do the relationships, and at the close of every episode, not only has the scheming developed, something has changed in most characters too. It makes this show addictive, lovable and a treat to watch. Not to mention how much I love the adorable characters and relationships themselves.