Drama Recaps
Tamra the Island: Episode 14
by | November 18, 2010 | 16 Comments

And if we thought last episode was enough angst for us, it seems it isn’t. As Tamra speeds towards the (imposed) finale, there is a lot of ground (and emotions) to cover. Luckily, however, the necessary plot developments aren’t getting in the way of two of this show’s biggest strengths: character and relationships. The characters are still growing and changing, and this episode, some of our relationships begin their journey towards resolution.


Picking up where we left off, Beo Jin is taking care of William, concerned over his health. William only utters one thing “Park Kyu”. He flashbacks to the King’s order for his death and tells her that Kyu did nothing to save him. Oh, no you didn’t boy! You would not be alive in the first place if it weren’t for him! Do you know how sad he was when he realised he couldn’t save you?

Beo Jin pieces it together and realises that Kyu must think he is dead.

The Lady in Red walks in, and Beo Jin is ordered outside. She tells William to take care of himself while she works. The Lady in Red smiles that knowing smirk and approaches William. He is grateful to her for letting him see Beo Jin again. But she shatters his words of thanks: “I wouldn’t kill a slave I payed so much money for.” He has been marked with her company’s symbol, and she is now his master.

She informs him that if he is a good servant boy who obeys his master, she will send him and Beo Jin on a boat back to England. A future with Beo Jin is basically the skeleton key to William’s mind, so he agrees to do anything.

On her way home, Beo Jin runs into Kyu. They exchange loaded looks.

Beo Jin: I told you not to come here anymore. Did you forget? I don’t want to see you ever again.
Kyu: William is dead. That day I came to tell you. There was nothing I could do. So I suffered. And so I’m sorry.
Beo Jin: Why did you do that? Why? Why didn’t you do anything even if you knew William would be killed? Was it because of me? Tell me, was it because of me?

Kyu just silently walks away, Beo Jin left crying- sad, angry and confused.

The next morning, Yan arrives at Park Yeon’s house, asking if another foreigner lives there, his friend. Park Yeon tuts at how late he is coming, considering that William has just been beaten to death on the orders of the King. He laments on what a terrible world this is, while Yan reels from the shock of it.

Upon leaving the house, Yan takes out a contract about bringing William back safely to his mother, remembering all of the money he was offered. He tells the stupid boy to rest in peace, and throws out the contract. Hmmm, I can’t tell whether he is upset over his death, the loss of money or not upset at all…

But Yan’s discarded contract is immediately found by one of the Lady in Red’s minions, who brings it to her. She concludes (it is in English) that it must be a contract, and since he threw it away after learning of William’s death, it must have lost value because he died.

Beo Jin is hard at work when she trips, dropping a box and grabbing onto a wall mounted candlestick for support. But, this candlestick is no ordinary wall decoration, as the wall spins, taking her into a hidden room.

She is shocked to see all of the valuable goods, including herbs and animal skins. But when she finds the abalones, she realises that some of these are the tax goods from Tamra. What are they doing here, she wonders.

While Beo Jin is practically swimming in evidence of wrong doing, Kyu is trying to find exactly that. If only mobile phones existed in these times. Bong Sam enters his room, handing him a letter from Seo Rin merchant group. Kyu orders him out as he reads the letter, inviting him to come to Hong Bin Gak the next day.

That morning, Beo Jin arrives to bring William his food, discovering his new look, all cleaned up and in Korean clothing. She, however, preferred the way that he looked before. She informs him of the secret room holding their tax goods.

He tells her to not tell anyone of the merchant group, or of his survival, especially Kyu. It’s possible that they will be able to leave for England together, but until then she has to keep everything about this group a secret. He asks her to understand that everything he does until then, he has to do.

His damn one-track mind again! He will literally do anything to be with Beo Jin, regardless of what she wants. She may have some reservations, but she seems determined, against her better judgement, to go along with him.

But she hasn’t totally accepted William’s proposal, as she looks through all of the books, finding no records of the goods in the secret room. A minion enters, telling her that they are short-handed in Hong Bin Gak, so she must come and help.

Meanwhile, Kyu is meeting with the Lady in Red. She knows that he and the Crown Prince studied together in Sungkyunkwan (were they friends with Lee Sun Joon and Kim Yoon Shik?), and they are still in close contact. He wants her to get to the point, so she recites her plan to open to ports of Korea, and make it a rich nation. She wishes to achieve this with the help of the Prince and government officials.

Kyu smiles slyly, matching her (annoying) smug smirk, asking if the dead Prime Minister disagreed with her plans. Good call, Kyu. She just smiles, saying that he was a great man. He doesn’t leave it at that however, asking why he was poisoned, then. Her calm façade slips to display a helluva lot of anger, as she tells Kyu that she heard he died of a heart attack. He wouldn’t be accusing her, would he? Kyu is utterly furious, as she regains her smug smile.

In walks Beo Jin and two other servers, and she and Kyu are shocked on seeing each other. This was clearly orchestrated by the Lady in Red, but for what purpose? She excuses herself, and tells Beo Jin to serve him well.

She then goes to meet Shi Hyun, the Prime Minister’s daughter and Kyu’s fiancé. Despite her haughty attitude, the Lady in Red presents her with a wedding gift of rather exquisite jewels. That pleases Shi Hyun.

Back with Kyu and Beo Jin, he asks her how she came to be here. She wonders if she needs permission to be here. He is still concerned; does she even know what they do here? But, as far as she is concerned, what they do is pay her to work, as the largest Korean trading company. She likes it here, no one looks down on her.

Kyu presents her with a request: if she sees anything odd around here, she has to tell him. She thinks back to William’s words not to tell Kyu, especially, anything. Ooh, now she has to choose, but it’s between not only two guys, but also between what she morally thinks is right.

He reminds her that Han Yang is not Jeju: you cannot trust people simply because they treat you nicely. She is confused and torn.

She walks him out, and they both tell the other to leave first (“no, you hang up first!”). Beo Jin goes to leave, but makes a decision to tell him something and whispers in his ear.

The Lady in Red has carefully planned this timing, so she and Shi Hyun are able to witness this. Shi Hyun seems rather distressed about the actions of her future husband. She loves her schemes, this Lady in Red.

On her way home for the night, Beo Jin runs into William, finally out of his room. He asks where she is coming from, and she fesses up that she had to help out at Hong Bin Gak, and she happened to meet the exile there, and so she figured she had better tell him.

William is not happy about this, and decides he has to tell the Lady in Red that Beo Jin discovered the storage and told Kyu. He is worried for Beo Jin’s safety, but the Lady in Red assures him that nothing will happen to her. Silly boy, William! The Lady in Red still feels she is sitting pretty, and smugly smiles (I write that sentence for the four thousandth time).

The next day, Shi Hyun meets up with Madame Park, telling her that she saw Kyu with Beo Jin at the merchant group. She worries that people may misunderstand, though she assures her that she knows better. Madame Park laughs, but that morphs into a death glare.

She goes to meet with Beo Jin, who is rather scared to see her. Silently, Madame Park stands up and slaps her. The pain makes Beo Jin tear up.

“How dare someone of low birth try and seduce my Kyu?” She slaps her again. She is a commoner as low as dirt, there is no way she can look for a man as noble as Kyu. She threatens that if she meets him again, that will be her last day in Han Yang. Beo Jin simply cries, from the physical and emotional pain. She finally answers that she understands. She’ll never meet the young master again. It’s telling that she cries more when saying that than anything else. I do not foresee happy Christmases in this family.

Meanwhile, some officials from the prosecution department demand entry into the Seo Rin Merchant Group, under Kyu’s instruction. One of them manages to locate the secret storage room, but is disappointed to find it empty. He informs Kyu of this, as the Lady in Red smugly gloats over her intelligence.

Still teary from her meeting with monster-in-law, Beo Jin emerges to see Kyu, soon followed by Madame Park herself.

Kyu asks his mother how she could do such a thing. She cites his upcoming marriage as justification, telling him not to forget he is to be betrothed next month. Here’s a tip, Mum, if you think your son is in danger of forgetting his wedding, something ain’t right.

Kyu responds with the best response humanly possible: “Okay, let’s have it that way. But don’t forget, I am only going through with this marriage to protect that girl [Beo Jin]. If you hurt her, the marriage won’t happen.”

Madame Park is shocked at his disobedience and how weak he must be to be seduced by that girl.

Meanwhile, Beo Jin is crying alone, wondering why she had to meet him like that. Commoners, nobles, aren’t they all human? She thinks back to how she told Kyu about the storage room, and his strong reaction to that. Now it seems like she lied to him. She wonders where those goods went.

William walks up to see her, and she covers her red cheek where she was hit. She remembers his ominous words about having to do certain things, and asks whether he told the Lady in Red that she and Kyu knew about the room. He is silent, which is basically an admission that he did. She gets angry at him, but he says that Kyu tried to kill him.

Then Beo Jin responds in a surprising but amazing way.

Beo Jin: He probably had no other choice! He was in front of the King!
William: Beo Jin, if you just trust me, we can leave together. I don’t care about Park Kyu anymore.
Beo Jin: William. Are you sure you’re not misunderstanding? Have you forgotten? The Exile saved your life.
William: The exile also tried to break us up.

It’s at this point William notices her red cheek and asks what happened. Who was it? She starts crying more, and tells him that she just made a mistake, so… but it’s not a big deal. He doesn’t need to worry. Honey, if you’re saying this with tears in your eyes, clearly he does need to worry. He promises to get back at whoever did this to her and asks her not to hide anything from him. The moment is tender, and her face is in his hands; he leans in to kiss her.

After a short time she pulls away, saying she has errands to run. Once she gets out of his sight, she cries even more and apologises to him.

The next day, Kyu meets with Beo Jin’s mother, bringing along some custom alcohol from Jeju, which is hard to come by in Han Yang. She tries to tell him to leave, but they end up drinking and laughing together.

He asks how life in Han Yang is. She replies that it is difficult; she can’t get a job because she is old and a woman. He asks how Beo Jin is, and they exchange a loaded gaze. She tells him that now is not the time. In diving there is a rule never to harvest an unripe clam. When the time is right, and they have matured enough, then they can be harvested.

He tells her that these days, he would rather be living in their storage room. Life was better as an Exile. Beo Jin listens.

The next day, she runs into Shi Hyun. She tells Beo Jin that she has seen her at the Seo Rin Merchant Group before, so she must have good taste. She asks for Beo Jin’s help selecting silk for her wedding with Park Kyu (meanie!). Beo Jin complies, obviously not wanting to, and picks out the first fabric she sees, which is rejected by Shi Hyun. She continues to disregard her choices, throwing them on the floor and standing on them, telling Beo Jin she should pay for them because she was the one with the bad taste to pick them up.

She erupts in a massive hissy fit and throws things around, until Kyu arrives, angrily telling her to stop. He threatens that if she ever lays a finger on Beo Jin again, he won’t forgive her. She puts her tail between her legs immediately, as Kyu takes Beo Jin’s wrist and drags her away.

Kyu is furious. The Beo Jin he knows is so strong willed, she would never let someone talk to her like that! She asks who’s side he is on. That girl is his future wife (she struggles with those words), why would he do something like that in front of her? If he wants to do something for her, he should leave her alone. She goes to leave, hesitating, but eventually runs away. Oh, the angst!

As if we need another conficts between a Park and a Jang, Madame Park arrives at Beo Jin’s house, to visit her mother. Madame Park calls her a peasant and throws a bag of money at her, ordering her back to Jeju. Mama Jang tells her just to leave her house, she doesn’t need to listen to this. At Madame Park’s ‘how dare you’, Mum responds that she is just a lowly commoner diver, so she doesn’t have any manners. Touché.

Madame Park tells her not to even consider trying to make Beo Jin a second wife. Mum is offended, what crap is this? “Just shut up and get out of my house.” Madame Park threatens Beo Jin’s safety, but Mum tells her to just get out; she will not let her threaten her daughter.

Madame Park evidently did not learn how to handle things with conversation, as she goes to slap Mama Jang. But before she can, Beo Jin runs in, asking what she is doing.

Beo Jin: What are you doing? What are you doing to my Mum?… I’ll let you hit me, that much I can stand, but not my mother! What are you? Who are you to do this to my mother? If you have the energy to this, take care of your precious son… I have no interest in your son. So leave us alone. He was the one who came to Tamra, and he was the one who wanted me to live in his house. I had no feeling in it. So, you have no right to act like this to us, to my mother!

Madame Park leaves, warning that if they ever talk to her like this again, they’ll regret it.

Left alone, Beo Jin all but collapses in tears. Her Mum tells her not to pay attention to that lady. They hold hands, both raw after such a confrontation.

Mum brings out food for her, and is greatly concerned over her emotional behaviour, and the fact that she won’t lift her face. Beo Jin says that she feels ashamed to meet her eyes, but Mum sees her cheek, and realises that Madame Park hit her.

She gives Beo Jin advice: if she is going to live in Han Yang, she has to be tough. She can’t be naïve and she can’t let people bring her down. “I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to stand up for yourself, but now I’ve seen that you can. I won’t worry about you anymore.”

Beo Jin feels guilty over the fact that because of her, her mother had to face insults. She is crying openly now, and that causes Mum to cry over her, the first time we’ve seen such an event.

As Kyu walks through town, he thinks of Beo Jin’s words to leave her alone. Immersed in his thoughts, he doesn’t notice the figure in black until he calls his name.

He turns to see Yan and asks what he is doing in Han Yang. He asks whether he came to take William. They discuss his death, and Yan thinks that his sad expressions means he must have had something to do with his death. Kyu raises his hackles, telling him not to talk about what he doesn’t know. In order to save William’s life, Kyu risked his own life. He did all that he could.

But Kyu is still so guilt ridden over this, thinking that he should have done more to protect him, but he wasn’t able to. Yan goes to leave, but Kyu asks what his business in Han Yang really is? Yan reveals that he is working with his company to complete negotiations with the Seo Rin Group.

Kyu asks what they are negotiating; Korea hasn’t approved trading with foreigners. Yan just defiantly leaves.

While at work, Beo Jin sees the Lady in Red arriving with some minions. Only, she recognises one of them from his hunt for Kyu. The Man in Black.


Beo Jin and her mother have a lot of coverage this episode and that makes me happy. The bond between the two of them is lovely to watch, displayed in moments of strength like Beo Jin jumping to her mother’s defence. It seems family loyalty is a core strength in her character, and that entire confrontation scene, plus the quiet scene following, was fantastic to watch. Seo Woo and Kim Mi Kyung have such a lovely, realistic dynamic together. Family relationships are always enjoyable when portrayed well, because they are so relatable.

Beo Jin has finally begun her journey to choosing Kyu, and there’s finally some good conflict in the Beo Jin/William relationship. I found William more and more annoying this episode, mostly because he was treating my Kyu rather badly. The boy needs to grow up and realise that there is more to life than Beo Jin, and she needs to help him get to that point. He’s such a sad character, but rather real. He’s that person that you used to be best friends with, but as you grew up you grew apart. Except he didn’t realise that and he’s still entirely invested in the relationship. It’s sad. Not to say Beo Jin isn’t invested in their relationship, but she certainly is not as invested as him.

As if we hadn’t already figured it out, now we know Shi Hyun is a class A bitch. I cannot think of anyone less worthy to get our lovely Park Kyu as a husband. It’s satisfying seeing her get taken down by a notch, especially by Kyu, so I cannot wait for Kyu to finally cancel their marriage.


16 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Jenju

    That first screen-cap is one of the best ever. I love my Im Joo Hwan smoldering and brooding hehehe.

    Thank you so much for the recap!! I’ve started re-watching the series again because of the recaps!!

    • 1.1 xiaoSxin

      yes i love that look of m Joo Hwan.. so serious.. penetrating gaze..

  2. xiaoSxin

    Thanks nattacatta!! WOw we get back-to-back recaps!!

    The series is ending now..I feel like it is too fast! (then again it is bec it is only 16 eps). Of course, Im Joo Hwan portrayed perfectly the emotions of Park Kyu very well. The complexities of his emotions care felt throughout every scene.

    Just 2 more episodes left to recap, then after that I’ll rewatch my DC DVD of Tamra! ㅋㅋㅋ

  3. Linh

    It doesn’t matter how many times I watch this, I still love it to pieces. And I can’t get over how well Im Joo Hwan portrays Park Kyu in this drama…Love him! Look forward to his new projects. I love the dynamics between Beo Jin and Park Kyu and the chemistry between IJH and Seo Woo.

  4. swui

    I was not too fond of this episode ..becase of William’s misunderstanding…and why Beojin felt the need to accuse Park Kyu of not saving William in front of PK and then defend his action in front of William….

    But I know the angst is necessary for us to get to the good stuff later 😛

  5. Jenn

    Thank you again for your recap. I really really really REALLY appreciate it! Again.. Poor kyu 🙁

  6. Ladymoonstone143

    Thank you so much….I love this drama and looking forward to your recaps…

  7. Rovi

    “…She knows that he and the Crown Prince studied together in Sungkyunkwan (were they friends with Lee Sun Joon and Kim Yoon Shik?)…”

    nattacatta, this would be impossible (if we’re talking about TIME), since “Seonggyungwan Scandal”‘s time period was during Jeongjo’s time (late 18th-cen.; surely his last years, since there was an episode mentioning he had an illness, and was using opium as an analgesic), & “Tamna” during Injo(?)’s time (forgot, but this was after Gwanghaegun’s time, so maybe early 17th-cen.???)…

    Just my 2 cents POV & FYI, no bashing intended…

  8. Blue Lily

    Your recaps inspired me to give Tamra a try, and I LOVE IT! I was totally amazed by the great chemistry between Park Kyu and Beo Jin. Even though I still found some parts of the 21-episode version choppy with rather rough transition, I really liked the development and complexity of Beo Jin and Kyu’s relationship. I loved the way Beo Jin unconsciously believed in and relied on Kyu. Whenever put in dangerous situations, Beo Jin always bravely stood in front of William, or sheltered him like a protective sister (sometimes, like a young mother!), while with Kyu, she always hid herself behind him like a little girl. That’s why one of my favourite scenes in Tamra is when Kyu came to rescue Beo Jin and William from the Village Leader. The moment she saw him, she burst in tears as if the danger had been over.

    Thank you for your great recaps, nattacatta. Remember I’m looking forward to the next recaps, whole-heartly. ^_^

  9. Autumn

    this episode was total makjang, well, as makjang as tamra can get. I thought Beojin completely lost control over her tear ducts in this episode, not sure if it was the editing or the characterisation or the acting, but she was crying in practically EVERY scene. though she did make me proud for standing up against park kyu’s mum, that scene was total awesome-sauce, you go girl.

    William’s naivety started to annoyed me a bit here, though given the nature of his character as well as the surrounding circumstances, it was understandable…but still grated on my nerves…

    thanks for the recaps

  10. 10 microworm

    I must say it will be worthwhile watching the full 21 espisode becoz there are so many good scenes that had been taken out. In the scene where Park Kyu was drinking with Beojin’s mum, mum said something about she was hoping PK will be with BJ when he was banished but on discovering his true identity, she knew it is not possible. Then comes the talk about the clam not ripe, which make more sense.

    • 10.1 wormsoup

      hmm i watched the 16 episode first, then the latter part of the 21 episode. i must say that though some scenes from the 21 really shdn’t have been cut out (spoiler: somebody tall nursing beo jin when she was sick), i actually preferred the subtlety for the drinking session between Park Kyu and Beo Jin in the 16-episode.

      some things need not be spelt out; both BJ’s mum and PK understood what she was saying without her having to spell it out. and that makes it all the more beautiful.

      similarly, i didn’t need to hear beo jin saying that she missed those times he was an Exile to be able to read the nostalgia in her face either..

  11. 11 kahji

    recap of ep5 can not be found. hope you can do something about it.. D:

  12. 12 microworm

    I found this very interesting video clip on Park Kyu becoming the top scholar in Hanyang. I think this is a director’s cut from the DVD. The video clip is hosted on a Chinese website, there will be a few seconds of advertisement, then came the clip. Apparently, the first scene on an old Westerner was supposed to be the opening scene, something about William’s story being published, then came the scene on Park Kyu. It shows how arrogant Park Kyu was before going to Tamna.


    • 12.1 kappy

      Thank you for sharing that. I’ve never seen that. Yes, Park Kyu has come a long way. Love the new and improved version.

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