So here we are. The finale. Tamra, you have been an excellent drama. While obviously the (cursed) cut hurt the ending, I still utterly adore you. And utter adoration is really all you can ask.
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
After the big lie to the King, William and Kyu are taken away. Kyu demands of him news of Beo Jin’s safety, close to tears. William reveals that Seo Rin has her (locked up).
Not for long. An intruder breaks into Beo Jin’s room, removing the bag off of her head. And lo and behold, it’s Yan. We knew you’d come through!
The Lady in Red is released from custody and met by the Man in Black. She offers a foreboding piece of wisdom; they should know how stupid it is to follow a crazy King, and they will pay the price.
He puts another dampener on her already dark mood: while he was away, Beo Jin was taken. She just smugly smiles, saying that that’s okay.
Yan takes Beo Jin to Park Yeon’s house, and he is shocked to see them both. He tells them of Kyu’s alleged nefarious plans and manipulation of William, which Beo Jin (holding the cute puppy!) adamantly refuses to accept.
Yan interjects; this was all part of the Lady in Red’s sly plans. There’s no way to free them. Beo Jin is opposed to this and decides that she must go and tell the King the truth. Park Yeon and Yan swiftly tell her that is impossible; she doesn’t work at the palace. In fact, she is a lowly peasant.
But, she can’t just sit around doing nothing. Light bulb! Working at the palace, she says…
Both Kyu and William are now locked up in jail, miserable. Kyu now knows that William lied to the King because of Beo Jin. William apologises and thanks him; it was from him that he learnt that kind of thing. He wonders if she is alive. Kyu cries, plagued with guilt, thinking it was all his fault.
William offers him words of comfort that because of him and Beo Jin, he was happy. Kyu thinks the same of him and Beo Jin too. Was I just daft not to see this bromance coming? Either way, it’s nice to have a sweet resolution in the finale.
Meanwhile, the Lady in Red arrives in Tamra and tries to convince the ‘crazy old man’/past government official, to go along with her plans. He wonders how many people must be hurt, simply for the sake of her foolish revenge.
She throws idealistic dreams about Korea’s future as a prosperous, happy country at him, saying that was his dream, and her father’s. So there’s a subplot here. Kind of odd to introduce it in the finale (I imagine it would be better developed in the long version).
He decides that it is all pointless, while she declares that she’ll never give up.
Back in the capital, the King receives a notice before meeting Kyu and William to hear their testimonies. Listening behind a line of court maids is Beo Jin. Kyu tells him that he is willing to sacrifice his life, but the corrupt officials and advisors that misled the King, who is everything to the citizens, must be stopped. These very same corrupt officials demand his death, but the King agrees to hear what Kyu has to say.
What I want to protect is not my own life. But rather, Chosun. The part of Chosun that your Highness ignored: the southern islands… Where happiness is found. Where people see through their hearts. That place is Tamra, Jeju.
The King clarifies that now he, the prisoner, is trying to teach him, the King. But Kyu continues; in Tamra, there is a group of female divers. He wants the King to protect those women and the island from foreign invasion. While the King doesn’t seem overly pleased, he does see the truth in his words.
But, at that crucial moment, our bumbling Beo Jin’s stomach makes a growl. Turns out, she brought the puppy. As much as I adore the puppy, there is a time and a place. Silly girl! The puppy falls out from under her dress and runs up to the King. He is quite taken with it and picks it up, just as Beo Jin tries to do the same.
Kyu and William both notice her and seem to feel a plethora of emotions. Relief at her being alive, happiness to see her, fear for what will happen to her.
The King, puppy dog in hand, reprimands her, a mere palace maid, for bringing a dog into the palace.
But, she reveals, she isn’t actually a palace maid. She is a diver from Tamra. She bows.
In Tamra, we don’t fight or kill each other. It is a true home for many people like me. In Tamra, Sir Park Kyu was not a nobleman, and the foreigner wasn’t a stranger, they were family. They are good people. I will risk my life on it! Please spare them.
She runs over to William and reveals his Seo Rin branding mark. She reveals that, under the Lady in Red’s orders, to save Beo Jin’s life, he lied to the King.
The King thinks back to the letter he received. It was from Tamra’s resident ‘crazy old man’, as he testifies that all of the allegations against the Prince and Kyu were manufactured by the Seo Rin group. He doesn’t want anyone to suffer because of that.
As the King looks at his advisors, they all squirm. He allows William to tell his story, but the Prime Minister interjects, trying to prevent the truth from coming out. The King wonders what he is so afraid of and orders him to be arrested.
The King considers what to call the puppy dog as Kyu stands up and smiles that 5 million watt smile at Beo Jin, who returns it with one just as bright. Yan walks past, smiling, in government official clothes (um, what?).That wasn’t very hard, was it?
At Kyu’s home, his mother cries over his fate of going into exile. Not as far as Tamra this time, but she didn’t even get to see him go. Kyu, Beo Jin and William hear this from outside and embark on their journey.
Some time seems to have passed as we land back on Tamra. Our two favourite bumbling guards from what seems likes years ago arrive with a large package for the governor. After getting Yi Bang’s help to get it past the guards, they set off to deliver it.
With the large scale port, it seems the Seo Rin group’s plans are going well, an East India Trading Company boat arriving tomorrow night. A Jeju official wonders why the Lady in Red wants to entertain all of the officials, when really the governor is all they need. She responds that until the ship arrives, they never know what will happen. They should wipe away any vestiges of resistance while they can.
Meanwhile, the contents of the massive package are revealed…
Beo Jin, Kyu and William!
Yay! As they all pop out, surrounded by friends and family, cheers erupt. Beo Jin is ecstatic to see her Dad, sister and Mum again. Kyu is greeted by some touchy feely hands (courtesy of Ggeut Boon, haha) but then proceeds to greet Yi Bang and all of the villagers. His hat got crinkled on the way (why is that so cute?). William’s friend from the island, one of the villagers, is very happy to see him.
However, these scenes of jubilation soon come to an end, when discussions turn to the forced labour they are experiencing. Yi Bang reveals that the East India boat will come tomorrow, and the villagers worry that once the ship comes, the island will be their’s.
Kyu, however, tells them that the ship will not come in but he doesn’t reveal why.
Mum tries to rally everyone; if the ship does come, will they just die quietly? Beo Jin joins in: now is truly the time for them to come together! Kyu is incredibly sad throughout this entire scene. Hmmm.
Yan, meanwhile, is on board the ship approaching the island.
The Man in Black brings urgent news to the Lady in Red: the East India Company has declared that they won’t be coming. She decides that if Mohammed won’t come to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mohammed. She decides to load up their ships with their silver. She will also, personally, be going.
Beo Jin and Ggeut Boon, thankfully, have heard this exchange, using their old employee outfits to have access to the compound.
Back on the East India ship, which has anchored a little off shore, the others wonder if it’s okay to wait for them. Yan tells them that they may be in danger if they simply follow the request. These people are betraying their own country, so they can’t trust them yet. He thinks back to Kyu’s words that he is actually Korean. So is he protecting his country by doing this? It seems Kyu’s words had an impact on him, and that is why Kyu was sure the ship wouldn’t come in.
William, along with a bunch of villagers, watch as the Seo Rin employees load up silver onto their ship. This is what Kyu said would happen, and he also told them to stop it. They don masks and enter the port, fighting the men.
Back at HQ, Kyu enters with soldiers.
Kyu’s troops are met by Seo Rin ones as the Lady in Red basically tells Kyu that he will die. The Man in Black instructs for some men to escort her to the ship and the fighting breaks out.
These scenes are that of chaos, as the men fight each other to the death, at the port and the HQ.
On her way out, the Lady in Red meets Beo Jin. Furious, she tells her that Tamra is everything to them. How dare she try and take it away! The soldiers arrive and chase after the Lady in Red. Beo Jin also leaves, following Kyu’s words that they absolutely cannot let the ship with the silver go.
The village women are in fighting mode, strengthened when Ggeut Boon arrives with Kyu’s adamant words about not letting the ship go. They get ready, undoing their dresses.
The Lady in Red makes her way to the boat, and we see fear on her face for the first time as her protectors are beaten. Luckily for her, the Man in Black arrives and ushers her to the ship, closely tailed by Kyu. He, however, has to fight his way through many opponents before reaching her and the ship manages to push off. Beo Jin arrives and, after William saves her life, they try to figure out what to do.
Kyu manages to get to the boat, jumping the distance between it and the port and landing on board. Alone, he tries to fight to stop the boat.
But, turns out he isn’t alone, as the divers are doing just what they are best at: diving. They swim through the water to reach the ship and start attacking its underside with their knives. Those women, my gosh they are tough.
Back on shore, Beo Jin desperately wants to go follow Kyu but William tells her that it is too dangerous. He is forced to rejoin the fight as Beo Jin hides.
On the ship again, Kyu is dangerously outnumbered, fighting the Man in Black along with multiple other assailants. He ends up defeated, swords at his throat and asks the Lady in Red whether this is her revenge of the country. She tells him that it is revenge for her father, and her dream.
This ominous scene is witnessed by Beo Jin from the port, who yells “EXILE!” just as the Man in Black raises his sword. Kyu is struck, falling overboard as all exterior sounds disappear and Beo Jin feels the full force from his injury.
He splashes into the water. Sinking further and further, his blood stains the water.
Beo Jin can’t take it and jumps in the water, to William’s worried protests.
She finally reaches him and, grabbing his hand, starts to pull him up to the surface.
Meanwhile, the Seo Rin ship has finally come close to reaching the East India ship. The Man in Black and Lady in Red are incredibly pleased.
But, our (seemingly gilled) heroes, the divers, manage to finally break the wood of the ship significantly, as it falls apart before their eyes. On board they feel the cracking.
As they realise that the ship is going down Titanic style, the Man in Black advises the Lady in Red to abandon their precious silver to save their lives. She absolutely doesn’t want to. These are their dreams! He tries to convince her to leave, but she decides that she’d rather give up her life than abandon the silver. They grip hands, he, loyal to his master until the very end.
The divers emerge and watch as the ship sinks, celebrating, along with all of the other villagers who witness this.
On the East India ship, Yan is applauded for the idea to keep their distance; otherwise, they would have been caught up in the fighting. Yan smiles over the terrifying divers that the island is home to.
Back on shore, Beo Jin panics with the unconscious Kyu in her care, alone on the beach. She prays for him to be saved and starts administering CPR to him, her hands covered in blood. She begs with him not to die and tries to stop the bleeding.
“I haven’t yet told you that I like you.” As she bangs on his chest, he wakes up, spitting water out of his mouth and calling her a troublemaker once again. He manages to sit up and hugs her.
She, between sobs, tells him not to go anywhere without her anymore.
Oh, tears, why must you come when I am trying to write a recap?!
Sadly, this entire exchange has been seen by a heartbroken William (but, I think the bigger issue here is why he didn’t get help when he saw a dying person).
Sometime later, the villagers welcome a massive ship at their port and they ooh and aah over how HUGE it is. (Ggeut Boon sees it and decides she now wants to be a sailor.)
It seems this is the ship come to take William and Yan away. All the villagers reminisce over their times with him and say their goodbyes. Beo Seol presents him with some coffee she herself made along with a gorgeous sketch book of pictures she drew of him, and Beo Jin. She asks him not to forget Tamra.
Kyu and Yan arrive, and Phillip says his goodbye to Yan. Kyu approaches William and offers him his handshake, remembering that he taught it to him, and William turns it into another type of handshake, one he says is a greeting between good friends.
He tells Kyu that he will write about Tamra, but, no one will believe that his name is Park Kyu (remembering his little ‘Park Kyu-fuck you’ pun). Everyone seems a little confused at this.
Moving on from the misunderstood humour, he asks Kyu to take care of Beo Jin. Kyu tells him to be safe as well, as they hug. The ship sails away and all the villagers yell their final well wishes.
Sailing away, William remembers back to a final conversation with Beo Jin. He assures her that he will never forget Tamra. For him, Tamra is Beo Jin. She promises never to forget him either and says that she will miss him a lot.
“Do you remember? I said I would protect you, since we are friends. I’m sorry that I am protecting you by sending you away.” He wipes away her tears, hoping that this will be the last time she cries.
On the boat, he finally says ‘goodbye’ to Beo Jin, Tamra, and the life that once was. She watches him sail away. Oh, man. I knew it had to happen, but still, their’s was a relationship so sweet and pure that it’s like watching two children have to separate. Really, really sad.
It seems a little bit of time has passed as we see Kyu, working clothes on, doing some household tasks at Beo Jin’s.
A lot has changed for Beo Jin too, who is now working in a government job to do with the tax goods. She wows an officer with her knowledge of all of the goods. (Yes! I love the Tamra gender role reversal that continues right til now, with Beo Jin working and Kyu being domestic. Although, something tells me there is more up Kyu’s sleeve…)
On her way home, she meets Ggeut Boon and some friends, followed by Yi Bang and his guards. They inform them that they are on their way to meet the new governor (hmmm, who could it be…).
A whole group of villagers end up gathering to go and meet the governor, including Beo Jin and her mother. They are all confused as we end up at Beo Jin’s house.
Kyu, domestic goddess that he is, comes out with his work in hand, greeted with a bow from Yi Bang.
The guards usher Beo Jin up to him, closely followed by her family. They greet each other with their favourite nicknames and laugh. She approaches him, this time, on the verge of tears of happiness.
The villagers all cheer, happy to have such an amazing new governor as Beo Jin’s family quietly smiles. Kyu and Beo Jin, smile, only with eyes for each other.
[First of all, thank you so much javabeans and girlfriday for letting me finish these recaps! And thank you everyone who has read my recaps and left me comments!
And before I start, here is an amazing review of Tamra by ockoala on thundie’s prattle, if you want an excellent read that will satisfy your Tamra hunger.]
Onwards with my comments!
Let’s be negative first. It seemed to me as if this episode had a structure a bit like a ‘to resolve’ list:
Issues with the King… check
Issues with the Lady in Red… check
Relationship with Beo Jin and William… check
Relationship with Beo Jin and Kyu… check
However, since all of that was resolved in a strong way, which wasn’t necessarily easy, somehow I don’t feel angry about it. The resolution was neat, but no so neat that it was infuriating or overly simplistic. The characters still had to struggle, feel pain and work hard to get the resolution to where it ended up. Convincing the King (while slightly oversimplified) was not necessarily an easy task; the fight before the destruction of the Seo Rin group and its leaders was both emotional and difficult; the goodbye scene with Beo Jin and William was incredibly sad; and Kyu and Beo Jin have been through enough as a couple already to justify a painless resolution. Plus he almost died this episode.
The Lady in Red finally met her downfall. I like that we got to understand how driven she was, even in her dying moments. The whole father issue was obviously not well developed but I’m cool with that. I always saw her as a fierce, evil, independent woman, and I was happy to leave her like that. With that smug smile wiped off of her face.
While Beo Jin’s family has kind of been ripped off lately, I have adored the thread running through out of her relationships with them. Mum, Dad and Beo Seol are all such sweethearts and there were so many poignant, sweet moments speckled in the drama to prove this.
I started to get sick of William quite some time ago, finding him overly selfish and having a one track mind. However, the way his relationship with Beo Jin was resolved was great; first having the final realisation that it can never be and then both of them thanking and farewelling each other. We can only hope that he returns to England and finds a lovely girl to spend the rest of his life with (I think he actually needs a woman, he’s too insubstantial without one). Here’s hoping she speaks fluent Korean, because he’d be a shocking communicator if he had to speak English.
I am so happy that our lovely Beo Jin is working doing something she is awesome at, and no longer has to feel so inferior about her diving skills. She is confident, happy and adorable in her new life, so all power to her. It is fantastic that, right at the end, we see a little of the odd Tamra gender roles, with her working hard and Kyu being domestic. His job as the governor is significant (and spot on for his character), but he’s not afraid of donning the metaphoric apron every now and again and I like that.
Tamra is the place that meant so much to both of them (a place of growth for Kyu and a true home for Beo Jin) and to them as a couple. As I said above, their relationship was rather easy this episode, but only because of how much pain they have been through because of each other in the past. For them, I wanted and needed a happy and idealistic ending, which is what I got. They love each other, are compatible and adorable, so nothing else matters in this world. I love them both as individuals but they truly do complete each other (however cheesy that sounds) and as a couple, they are perfect.
There’s no doubt the cut hurt Tamra, but let’s forget about that for now! (I am curious, however, as to how different the very last episode was for the long version?)
The acting as a whole was very strong, from the smaller characters (especially Mum) to the three main characters. Hwang Chan Bin was obviously the weakest link but he improved and he fit William to a tee. The real stars, acting wise, are of course Seo Woo and Im Joo Hwan. They are both exceptional, worked exceptionally together (their chemistry was undeniable) and will, I’m sure, have exceptional careers to look forward to. Tamra has proven their acting abilities and strengths (both are incredibly strong all round, but Seo Woo is, in particular, amazing at crying scenes).
Overall, Tamra is an amazing drama that deserved way better ratings than it had. It is beautiful (scenery and music wise Tamra is flawless) and I believe its positives are more than enough to outweigh and cancel out its minor negatives. Tamra is definitely one of my favourites. This show is a gem, and I’m sure you all will agree.
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- Tamra the Island: Episode 2
- Tamra the Island: Episode 1