Drama Recaps
Tamra the Island: Episode 13
by | November 17, 2010 | 23 Comments

Hello angst. From the opening argument to the final tear, there is a lot of tension (and plot development) in episode 13. After our lovely reprieve in the previous episode, things for our characters are getting kind of awful. But Tamra does angst so amazingly well that I still love this episode.


We kick off with the Crown Prince complimenting the Lady in Red’s humanitarian actions. She basically offloads a bucket of bull about having a responsibility to help the poor. The Prince is suitably impressed with her and not against her proposal of opening the ports to foreign trade, all to increase the wealth of the people, of course.

Kyu chimes in at this moment, offering his opinion that this is not the best course of action. Immense preparation is necessary so that the foreign trade doesn’t disable the local economy. While this persuades the Prince, the Lady in Red and the Prime Minister (her ally) are unimpressed.

Beo Jin, meanwhile, is disgruntled over the fact that her maid has to stay outside her room all night. She thinks how the ocean used to make her feel stuffy. But there is a certain nostalgia in her voice and face as she says this, and thinks of William. She is motivated into action and excuses herself to go to the bathroom (coercing her maid to stay with the promise of stories about whales dancing).

But as she is running out to try and find William, she runs into Kyu:

Kyu: What are you doing? Are you going to keep disappointing me?
Beo Jin: Let me go.
Kyu: What more can I do to make you listen? Don’t act so thoughtlessly!
Beo Jin: How dare you lock me up?
Kyu: Let’s go back.
Beo Jin: Please, let me go.
Kyu: If I let you go, we’ll die. William and you, me too, we’ll all die. If you want to go so much, then go.
Beo Jin: Why are people doing this to us? Is it wrong to be born a commoner? Is it wrong to look different? I don’t like your house. Why is your family trying to manipulate me the way they want? If it wasn’t for you, Exile, William and I could have left. Why did you appear and ruin my life? Why?!

As Beo Jin cries, Kyu silently walks off. Before he is out of earshot, Beo Jin struggles to speak: “I… don’t like you.” That stops him in his tracks. And his heart breaks over her for the seven million and second time (along with mine).

But something else awful has resulted from this scene: knowledge in the wrong hands. This entire conversation has been witnessed by none other than the Lady in Red. Uh oh.

Kyu and Beo Jin return home (separately but at the same time), to his Mother’s disapproving glares. Beo Jin simply walks off, but Kyu makes a surprising (and heartbreaking) declaration: he will marry the new Prime Minister’s daughter, Hong Shi Hyun. His Mother is overjoyed, until he tells her that he has a condition.

Next thing, three slightly unwashed women with odd accents arrive in Han Yang, surveying their surroundings with suspicion. That’s right, it’s Beo Jin’s Mum, Ggeut Boon and her mother. I would not stare at them if I were you, townspeople.

They arrive at Kyu’s and are shocked at its size, Ggeut Boon rejoicing in the fact that she will become lady of this house. Haha. Bong Sam acts as if he has seen a ghost (or three), rejecting them and becoming all ‘woe is me’ over the hard time Beo Jin has given Kyu. Until Mum reveals that Kyu is the one that sent for them to come. The three women converge on the house, yelling for Beo Jin. I LOVE her Mum.

Upon hearing all of the commotion, both Madame Park and Beo Jin come running out, with polar opposite reactions. Madame Park demands to know the cause of all the commotion while Beo Jin runs up to her mother, hugging her.

Unfortunately, however, both mothers’ moods take a turn for the worse, as Mama Jang reprimands Beo Jin for coming here to escape diving and Mama Park realises, due to her mother’s shabby clothes and mention of diving, that Beo Jin is, in fact, not of noble background.

She is shocked; she thought their family was Dae Sang Goon. Ggeut Boon’s mother explains that Mama Jang is Dae Sang Goon… the best diver in all of Tamra. Hilariously, all three women smugly gesture to Mama Jang, as if she is the most amazing person Madame Park will ever meet.

Evidently, this is not the case, as she furiously realises they are of low birth. She comes close to fainting, and wonders what got into these awful people. If Beo Jin wasn’t pregnant she would…

Beo Jin attempts to erase that accusation as Mum looks at her with shock and anger. She tries to deny it, but is somewhat tripping over her words, as both mothers demand the truth. Beo Jin finally reveals that she couldn’t contradict her belief she was pregnant, because otherwise she would probably be kicked out.

Madame Park demands for all of them to be kicked out immediately, and the servants try to surround them and take them out. The four women fight back and Beo Jin’s mother takes a stand; if they are leaving, they will walk out. Is this how guests are treated at noble’s house? She tells Beo Jin they will leave this rotting house now. This angers Madame Park even more, and she commands their departure.

As the women walk along in the village, Beo Jin and her mother silently hold hands while Ggeut Boon and her mother gossip (within earshot) about how she imprudently stayed with them, and how Kyu could never like her.

Beo Jin begs her mother to allow her to stay here. But a man walks up and asks for her attention, as he presents a carriage. The lady inside opens it up, and it is Shi Hyun, Kyu’s future wife. The Lady in Red has gotten to her, with the excuse that she will be able to show her loyalties to Kyu (her father, the Prime Minister, is the Lady in Red’s main government ally).

Beo Jin is surprised to see her there, as they are led to inspect a house. While Ggeut Boon and her mother complain about the small rooms, Beo Jin and her mother stand still, not wanting her to buy them a house. Regardless, Shi Hyun buys it. Mum is concerned; nothing in life is free. But she states that since they took care of Kyu, she should do something for them… as his fiancé. All of the women are shocked, Beo Jin somewhat saddened, as she walks off smugly.

Kyu arrives home to news of the day’s occurrences, and is annoyed that it was such a commotion. He asks where they went.

And so he comes upon their new house, Beo Jin quickly closing her door and hiding. However, he smiles at Beo Jin’s mother and she runs up to greet him, asking why such a busy man would come. He came to apologise on behalf of his mother. But she starts spurting nonsense on how, as people of low birth, they should not be apologised to by him. But she thanks him for his care of Beo Jin until now, assuming that his call for her to come here was inspired by his wanting Beo Jin to leave.

She’ll make sure she doesn’t bother him anymore. Kyu tries to contradict this but fails, ending up just turning and leaving, without saying goodbye. Beo Jin hears all of this and watches as he leaves, his silence more significant to her than any of the words spoken. She is pouty, but somewhat resigned that this is how it has to be.

The next morning, Mum awakes to see Beo Jin hard at work cooking, back in her peasant clothes. She serves it to all the women, and, while Ggeut Boon and her mother dig in, Mum sits without eating. Beo Jin encourages her to eat, and, as she does, she tells her about all of the jobs she can get here in Han Yang. Her Mum tells her to stay here and try to live in Han Yang. But the moment she says she is tired, they’ll return to Tamra.

Beo Jin is incredibly pleased, and swiftly goes to the markets. As she walks up to a fish stand, she successfully makes the fish sound delicious and sells some. The man tells her that he won’t give her a job, but when she proposes opening her own fish stall, he suggests she goes to Seo Rin Merchant Group and gives her a coin.

As she is working hard that night, making some kind of drink, Kyu walks past the gate to her house and sees her, thinking back first to their happy times in Han Yang, then her anger at him from earlier. He walks off, despite my fervent requests for him to talk to her.

We get a quick glimpse of William for the first time in a while, telling his (somewhat creepy) puppet of Beo Jin to wait a little longer. It’s kind of sad how insignificant he has become, because of his government imposed limitations.

Beo Jin continues hanging around in the marketplace, this time selling the barley drinks she made, as well as travel mugs for them, negotiating the price very well.

Yan, meanwhile, meets with the Lady in Red, who instructs him to bring guns and bullets for them. He asks why the leader of a strong foreign trading group would need that; are they planning to open the ports by force?

Back at Beo Jin’s, she is met with a visitor asking if she is the one making the barley wine for the store in town. The head of the Seo Rin Group wants to meet her.

Ggeut Boon comes along, but is stopped and taken away by one of the guards to go to a beauty salon.

Inside, Beo Jin meets with the Lady in Red, who asks about her life on Jeju Island, complimenting how strong willed she is. Beo Jin is pleased with the compliments. But, the Lady in Red goes on to say, success is not a given in Han Yang. She has to start working hard.

Cut to Ggeut Boon being used as an example at a gathering of women… of how acupuncture can make an ugly girl pretty.

Beo Jin is now dressed in her new work outfit, and is being put to the test with the merchant group. She tells the man that she is literate, so she is assigned to check a large bunch of orders. As he walks out, the man wonders why someone good in sales is assigned to the warehouse.

On his way into work, Kyu is met by William, who informs him that today he will show for the King, and if the play brings him joy, he will be able to meet Beo Jin. Kyu, jealous wet blanket that he is, advises William not to be so relieved as he doesn’t know whether or not the King will like it. As he goes to walk off, William attempts to give him letters for Beo Jin, but Kyu just angrily leaves.

William’s puppet show begins with his narration and violin playing, telling the story of noble king and his son, accidently slipping into Jeju dialect once or twice. Turns out, he is telling ‘Hamlet’, and since everyone dies in it, including two Kings and a Prince, perhaps it is not the wisest choice to show to a King and noblemen. ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ would probably have been better suited.

As he establishes Claudius killing King Hamlet, all the audience look uncomfortable and displeased. The play seems to be mocking the King, say some nobles in the audience. The King starts darting his eyes around the room, and his son looks uncomfortable.

Finally, William bursts from behind his curtain with a fake sword, reciting “to be or not to be.” The King rises furiously. How dare he mock the King? William quickly loses his acting persona and becomes afraid, as the nobles ask for his execution and the King orders a decapitation.

Kyu swiftly kneels in front of him, telling the King he brought the foreigner here; he should be the one to prosecute him. But the King is furious; Kyu asked for his life to be saved before. But now, he will be killed. William is taken away and Kyu is left kneeling, crying.

Later, Kyu walks past the room they are whipping and torturing William in, and he looks near dead.

The Prime Minister meets with the Lady in Red again, as she asks about the progress of the marriage between his family and Kyu’s. If the two families are joined in marriage, the Lady in Red tells him, he will have power over the whole world.

She asks after the foreigner, and is told her will be prosecuted soon. She wonders if he can get the foreigner to work for her; the knowledge of a Westerner would be invaluable.

It seems the Prime Minister agrees, bringing along a team of men to declare William dead, and then take the ‘corpse’. Kyu runs up to William’s room too late, to find it empty, and asks where he is. He is told that the body was taken away. But, ‘the body’ means he is dead….

He demands to look at the body, but is stopped by guards and officials.

Later that night, he drinks away his pain, and cries into his drink, eventually overturning the table. Poor boy.

Beo Jin, meanwhile, blissfully ignorant, finds Kyu asleep near her house. She wakes him, and asks why he drank so much. He’s acting weird, so she asks what is wrong. He tells her that it is nothing and goes to walk away, before stopping and telling her that William is… He can’t finish. She worries and asks if something happened to him, is he is hurt, what, eventually working herself up into tears.

He just turns around and kisses her (!?!?). At first, she struggles against him but eventually she gives in. Once they break apart, she tells him to stop playing games with her and runs inside. Oh, man.

As we all knew, William is not actually dead, as the Lady in Red arrives to see him woken with a steaming hot poker, branding him. Really, when did a cold bucket of water go out of style?

Kyu wakes up with a gnarly hangover, and is told by Bong Sam that all night he sleep-talked about Beo Jin. He thinks back to the kiss.

That morning, things aren’t all happy for Beo Jin either, as she is taken in to a room at the Merchant Group Headquarters. William is there. She is told that he was sold from the slave market and is asked to take care of him. She is distressed at his bloody clothes and lack of consciousness, trying to wake him up. He eventually opens his eyes and recognises her, struggling to remain conscious, as she sobs.


A lot certainly happened this episode, and it does feel a little rushed. It is still wildly enjoyable, of course, but it is sad that not everyone can see this show the way it was originally intended.

The kiss finally happened, and I’m not too sure how I feel about it. It was certainly a good kiss, but Kyu’s motivations worry me a little, as does the fact he was drunk and basically forced himself on her. I don’t know if he was just upset and needed comfort, or if, in his heightened emotional state of that day, he finally succumbed to his feelings. I just hate that it happened as a consequence of other (terrible) things, not just a standalone ‘I love you so much I can’t resist anymore’ type kiss. I wonder if the way it is done is slightly less concerning in the twenty-one episode version?

William got a rather heightened role here, finally he is not just playing with dolls and pining over Beo Jin. Although he is incredibly daft at times, and I have been known to dislike his frustrating one-track mind, I think he and Beo Jin do need to spend time together and their relationship has to be resolved. I am so not looking forward to their final goodbye.


23 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. beppu10

    Whoa, I’ve been waiting this for ages…thanks so much!
    BTW, I’m planning to buy the Director’s Cut DVD but YA Entertainment only has the Region 1 version (and I hail from Region 3)…does anybody know where I can purchase a Region 3 version? please share…thanks!!!

  2. Del

    omo, that kiss…

  3. Oppa

    I think the Director’s cut 21 Episode version definitely gives more credibility to the forced kiss.

    You have to remember there is over 5 hours missing from the 16 Episode version, which is alot of series / character development.

    I agree though it wasnt a very romantic approach, I think Park Kyu being drunk and inexperienced with women gives more realism to his awkward forced kiss.

  4. Kender

    This episode just cemented my opinion that William is an idiot. Because really, who in their right mind would choose Hamlet as a play for royalty whose temperament you don’t know perfectly? William would’ve deserved death for being a moron. Darwin would agree, I’m sure.

    I don’t remember any specific differences between this ep and the DC version at the moment, but I found The Kiss pretty moving actually. Kyu is so distraught — knowing what William’s death will do to Beojin, angry with himself for having been unable to save his life, blaming himself for hurting Beojin and wishing that he didn’t have to be the bearer of bad news — that he’s not thinking clearly. I think The Kiss is a combination of him seeking comfort in her and wanting to be close to her one last time before she finds out about William’s death and comes to hate him. Poor Beojin doesn’t know any of this, so she’s just confused and hurt that he’s doing this to her.

    I cried for Kyu, I really did. But then again I cried for him in nearly every episode. GOD, never has a primary lead’s heart been so trampled on in such a beautifully poignant way. ㅠ_ㅠ

    • 4.1 xiaoSxin

      true. true.. and true!!!!!

      OMG this ep just broke my heart. Kyu’s pain, I felt it. I don’t want to see him in pain. Especially not because of William the Idiot.

    • 4.2 Christy

      I just…..have to agree.

  5. lessaofpern

    My poor Kyu, she trampled your heart yet again. 🙁

    Notice, they always show white people to be such fools in Korean dramas. William deserves the DUMB ASS AWARD. Performing Hamlet in front of a King that is not all there upstairs, what was he thinking. What was the other white dude thinking? Why didn’t he stop him. That really bugged me. Throughout all of the rehearsals to prepare for the play, not a single soul steps forward and warns ILLIAM? I think they are all sick of him and this was their plan to get rid of him 😀

    Thanks nuttacutta for the wonderful recap 😀 Hey! You are not Desi are you? In my language natta catta means a lively person, who is full of fun and mischief. 😀 ( What a good description of you ) 😀

  6. Freehee

    Somebody give me the 21 episodes version! Your racaps make me want to re-watch this drama all over again!
    Thanks nattacatta!

  7. swui

    I didn’t like how the kiss came about too..it was like “huh”? It is so out of the blue that I don’t really know what it meant …as for BeoJin I thought she stopped struggling because she wasn’t strong enough to fight him off…not that she felt something….but Kender’s explanations enlightened me a little about the kiss…though I’m still not that convinced.

    I wish they had a kissing scene where it’s uhm more…voluntary?

    Btw, William, Hamlet? Really? Did you leave your brains behind in England?

  8. xiaoSxin

    Thanks for the recap!!

    I actually love how the kiss happened. Kyu was distraught because he knows that Beo Jin will be hurt if he finds out that William is dead. Until the very end, Kyu is protecting Beo Jin from getting hurt. It’s very unselfish of Kyu and his love is just moving (I do not understand how Beo Jin does not realize this, she is dumb and blinded by 1st love).

    Kyu finds it difficult (even in his drunken state) the reason why he is upset and drunk, but in that kiss, he poured out all his emotions to her. He knows he is the one that needs to tell her about William’s death, so this kiss is his only chance of letting Beo Jin know of how he feels at that very moment.

    Anger, sadness, frustration, grief, forgiveness hope and love.

    • 8.1 xiaoSxin

      i actually watched the 21 ep DC version. which is darn better than 16.

  9. hermes173

    When I first watched the series and saw the kiss, I was like…’???Where did that come from? I thought he is trying to break the awful news to her? Why is he kissing her like there’s no tomorrow instead???’

    Then I saw how hot the kiss was and so I told my logic, ‘Never mind, go to sleep and just let me enjoy this.’ Hehe.

    • 9.1 swui

      I like that. Logic took a nap while the kiss happened..LOL

  10. 10 Jenn

    This episode was really heart wretching to read especially with Beo Jin rejecting Kyu and William being tortured.

    Thank you for your recap. 🙂

  11. 11 Taber

    Wow, I didn’t think the kiss would be such a big topic, I for one thought it was appropriate for the purpose. It wasn’t about a great love but about KYU and what he is going through due to William death. Beo Jin feeling wasn’t a factor for him the scene belong to KYU. It wasn’t suppose to be romantic or mutual because at this time KYU is only thinking of himself, his pain and how this going to effect Beo which again how that going to effect him. I think he just wanted to forget everything and want her for once to forget William and think of him, not so much sexually but mentally.

    I think she stop struggle because she felt something in that kiss, I think she felt KYU fear and desperation. Fear of the pain he knows William death has cause and desperate not to lose her because of it.

    I think that kiss was right on point for the meaning behind it. Every kiss in a drama not going to be some starting point of a great love, but it have to have meaning and that meaning don’t always have to be about love,it could be about comfort.

    When my husband come home after taking some time by himself to deal with his brother death, the only thing I thought off when he walk thru that door was to embrace him, no it wasn’t something I thought of it was a automatic response to his presence. I wrap my arms around his neck like an octopus and buried my tear stain face in his neck and keep telling him that it going to be okay… when I pull away the pain in his eyes hit like a sledge hammer, I cup his face in my hands I kiss him each time I linger longer and longer. I just wanted to absorb the pain he was in, the kiss was no way sexually but a passage to connect when words wouldn’t register. This kiss is similar to my own experience, I think that was KYU way of finding strength to deal with the pain Beo Jin going through due to Willam death.

    • 11.1 hermes173

      I like the way you phrase it:

      ‘the kiss was…a passage to connect when words couldn’t register’

      ~ If interpreted this way, the kiss make does make sense.

      As for Beojin’s response, I also don’t think she stopped struggling because she felt something in return. It’s more likely that she didn’t have the physical and mental strength to fight back anymore so she stopped struggling.

  12. 12 leonardswench

    Loved and hated this episode in equal measures. Hated the entire plotting of William’s character here, it was so INANE, historically inaccurate, and …. not worthy of the greater body of work. It’s definitely a weak link in the series.

    Loved the kiss. Watched it several times, thought about every line, every movement, came to the conclusion that Kyu was sharing a (potentially) last intimacy with Beo Jin to connect with her on any level since he’s about to destroy her innocence in a new way. As a man, at that moment, he holds a power over her which he does not want to possess. Circumstances, however, have thrust him into that position, and regardless of any past promises or feelings or actions, what matters is that right now he failed to protect William, it will hurt Beo Jin forever, and that he believes he’ll never get another chance to show his love, to be intimate with her, maybe even to ever be in her presence. That kiss seemed to say to me, “I want to press myself into your soul and leave an outline.”

    Now we all know that William survived, but Kyu didn’t, and his is a kiss of desperation on autopilot: when the brain can no longer think, reason, logic or talk its way out of a situation and instinct takes over to propel action. Beo Jin’s reaction: I see it quite differently than most, I think. I think she’s stunned and confused at the level of intimacy and depth of that kiss, and she stops struggling because she realizes that the kiss is not about her, it’s about what Kyu is going through and what he’s trying to communicate to her. She’s confused about what that is, but I definitely get that Beo Jin feels the power of that kiss and not from a romantic or sexual viewpoint.

    I do realize I’m filtering that scene from a past experience of mine: my gorgeous boss grabbed me out of the hallway one day into the dark room and proceeded to wrap himself around me and squeeze the living tar out of me while sobbing his heart out for nearly an hour. I was only 19, but very well aware that something mighty had happened in his world to produce that kind of reaction. It wasn’t about me, at all, I was the physical body that he could use to 1) not feel alone in the world at that moment of tremendous crisis and 2) a safe woman to unleash his physical manifestations of emotional distress onto. I had been at work less than five minutes when this happened, and when others knocked on the door, I just said quietly that we were processing pictures and could not come out for a time. We walked straight out of the dark room and down the hall to the respective bathrooms, him to wash his face and straighten his tie and me to dry my shoulder with the hand dryer. When I got done, he was waiting with my purse and we just left the office and went to lunch (all before 9:30!!). His wife had served divorce papers on him that morning at 7:00 a.m. (if you are a process server, sorry, but your timing REALLY sucks usually). We had a long, unproductive lunch, long unproductive day … there’s just no words for a time when a man is so deeply in love with his wife/woman and she’s rejected him completely.

    I said all that to say that the first time I watched this scene, it didn’t hit me what I was seeing, but it stirred in me powerfully. On the rewatches, it came back to me, “This is what happened to Kevin ….. ” and that the repeated rejection of Kyu by Beo Jin looks to now be inevitably permanent with the death of William “at Kyu’s hands”, Kyu supposedly having the power to stop the death.

    I love when dramas reflect life and vice versa, sometimes giving us meanings and explanations of long-ago events that failed to get our understanding at the time. I wish I could retroactively go back and squeeze the tar out of Kevin right back, although, in hindsight, I’m not unhappy with my behavior that day, I just wish there was even one thing I could have said to make it okay, and you know what, there’s not, not even, “I love you.” If Beo Jin had said that to Kyu at that moment, even he would not be able to accept it because the dam in his world had flooded his soul to max.

    • 12.1 Stephanie

      This is why I wish I can read every single comment on dramabeans.

    • 12.2 Zee

      Wow…I never think into these dramas that deeply, but I definitely feel the emotions

  13. 13 lessaofpern

    That kiss seemed to say to me, “I want to press myself into your soul and leave an outline.” That was exactly what I saw too. It was painful to watch. (there acting was incredible for that scene) There are moments in time where words are not enough and you need psychical comfort. Especially when you are totally devastated and you have lost total control over your world. We all have moments like this in our lives, so scenes like this we can connect with and be moved by them.

  14. 14 dinna

    I just like the kiss… so unbearable..

  15. 15 Kyu

    Kyu kissed her because he can’t stand anymore. Beo-jin *always* used to say the words makes his heart break about William in front of Kyu. I can understand him enough.

  16. 16 Zee

    “…in his heightened emotional state of that day, he finally succumbed to his feelings” <—I think it was this one.

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