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.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
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.
- Tamra the Island: Episode 12
- Tamra the Island: Episode 11
- Tamra the Island: Episode 10
- Tamra the Island: Episode 9
- Tamra the Island: Episode 8
- Tamra the Island: Episode 7
- Tamra the Island: Episode 6
- Tamra the Island: Episode 5
- Tamra the Island: Episode 4
- Tamra the Island: Episode 3
- Tamra the Island: Episode 2
- Tamra the Island: Episode 1