What a great episode. We move from climax to climax, with few breaks in between. People fight, people die, leadership changes, parties are had, boats sail away and there is a whole lot of crying along the way. So strap in.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Episode 9 kicks off with Beo Jin and William’s relief at Kyu finding them. She is in a fit of tears as he asks if she is all right. She cries that she knew he would come and he reassures her that everything is all right. He hugs her, watched by William.
Yan is impatiently waiting for William as our three heroes walk through the camp, trying to escape. Beo Jin is distracted by the tax goods from her village, saying that they must report it. The divers have worked ridiculously hard to gather these goods. She can never keep her eye on the prize this girl. More pressing at this moment, one would think, would be getting out alive. But it does show her love for their village.
As they get out of the fort, Kyu instructs them to run away through the forest. Although Beo Jin is reluctant to leave him behind, they escape unscathed.
The guard starts to build suspicions, hearing they haven’t yet brought the foreigner, and flashing back to that familiar looking guy with a pornstache. As he goes to inspect, he finds the prison empty. Oh, crap. Escape now, Kyu!
Kyu is looking through documents, and eventually finds one with the Lady in Red’s stamp on it. As he discovers this Beo Jin and William are still basically within spitting distance, and the alarm sounds in the village: the foreigner has disappeared. They mobilise the horses and soldiers for a search. This gives Yan a chance to try and escape, and he begins a brawl.
At that moment, the guard notices Kyu, and sets the soldiers on him, starting another fight. Both Yan and Kyu are fairly skilled sword fighters, and they join forces in their attempts, beating most of their opponents.
Unfortunately, things aren’t going so well for Beo Jin and William, who are cornered by the horses and soldiers after tripping over.
Back at camp, Yan and Kyu are taking on basically the whole group of men, their skills (including a few slow motion jumps) unmatched until they come up against the Elder’s main guard. Both of them fight him, and manage to disarm him, swords at his neck. This spurs on the rest of the guards to circle around them, swords directed inwards. It’s like a sick version of a-ring-a-ring-a-rosie, except instead of the black plague, they have swords.
In this tense moment, there is pathetic cry of ‘exile’, and Kyu looks up to see a crying Beo Jin on the ground, captured with William. His resolve falters; there is no way he would ever put her in danger. So he drops his sword, to her surprise and gratefulness.
This forces Yan to drop his sword angrily, and the two of them are hunched on the ground, surrounded by swords. I think Yan would have dropped it anyway, because for all that can be said of him, he seems to actually have an interest in William’s safety. Whether the motivations behind this are friendship based or based on some other reason, I am not sure.
The Elder arrives, and tells them not to expect to leave here alive. He orders all for all four of them to be killed. Just as the blades are raised, we see a flaming arrow land in the centre and hear a yell; the undercover Royal Inspector is coming.
There is a sense of confusion, as Kyu smiles at seeing Yi Bang’s two main guards, pulling out Kyu’s medallion.
A shower of flaming arrows descends, along with a large group of men. The fighting restarts, now with fairly evenly matched sides. Yan and Kyu join in the fight, and Beo Jin and William huddle to try and remain safe. She faints, so he piggybacks her out of the middle of the fighting.
The Elder begins to walk away, followed by his guard. Kyu picks up a bow and arrow to shoot the guard, but hesitates, giving him a chance to escape. I assume this is meant to show his humanitarian side. A few minutes ago, we saw him perform a violent neck twist (crack? Break?) on a random guard, that may or may not have killed him, as well as sword fight many others, so I’m not really buying it. I guess the main guard was unarmed and fleeing, so I’ll take that ‘don’t shoot someone’s back’ explanation.
As the fight ends, the numerous casualties are laid down, including the main guard. It’s okay that many human lives were lost, apparently, as long as Kyu didn’t kill the guard (although I am sure he killed others). Me? A pacifist? Never.
It seems the good guys have won, Kyu ordering the Elder to apologise (what, and then sit in the corner until little lunch?). He answers that he only wanted Tamra to restore its glory and to escape from the country that had abandoned and exploited it. Kyu says that this twisted goal just ended up bringing the people of Tamra more exploitation.
It seems the night’s activities have not been dramatic enough, with the Man in Black hiding a while off, poised to shoot Kyu on the Lady in Red’s orders, having found out he was an inspector, sent to investigate the stolen goods.
Kyu pulls out the agreement with the stamp on it, asking what it is. The Elder, saddened at his failure, tells him that Tamra is under the control of a child, and that is proof.
He is about to reveal who the leader of that group is… but the Lady in Red has also told her minion that once a person speaks of them their silence must be assured. A bullet hits him in the chest.
The Lady in Red hears that the Man in Black has achieved her goals. She is relieved; the Elder’s juvenile dream had put their company at risk.
Back on Tamra, a notice is up: the tax goods have been stolen lately, but the thief was caught- the Elder. The villagers are shocked and upset.
Things are a-changing on Tamra, with Kyu reprimanding the leaders of the island; they neglected the people of Tamra for their own benefit. The chief is fired. One of them implores him to tell the government of the hardships faced by people from Tamra. Kyu agrees; if these people were looked after properly, none of this would have happened. He promises to report this to the country’s leaders. But he will also report to the government the failings of these officials.
As he leaves, he praises the two guards’ efforts on bringing the police on time. He then sees a very ill looking Yi Bang.
They sit down together to speak, and Yi Bang is grateful to Kyu for saving his life. Kyu says that without his help, he never would have succeeded. He informs him that he will be returning to the capital soon, and he can help him get a job there. But Yi Bang wants the opportunity to make things right for the people of Tamra. Kyu is pleased at this, and approves him governing the island.
He pulls out the bullet that killed the Elder. Since they used a gun to silence him, they must not be any normal gang. He is confused as to why the Elder would have that agreement at all. The stamp is the key to this problem.
William’s wound is being bandaged (by a doctor who is frightened of him) in his new room at the provincial government house, and it turns out it wasn’t too serious. As the doctor leaves, the guards on William’s room stare at him, so William closes the doors. Poor William, since arriving on Tamra it’s been bad fortune after bad fortune.
Beo Jin is also being treated, but her injuries seem to be mental. She is having nightmares; saying “don’t kill him”. Mum is furious; why did she go there? Dad defends her, and says that everything is okay now; the exile… the Royal Inspector saved her. Little sister agrees.
As Kyu rides through town the guards make a big fuss over him, and all the women of the village are even more flirtatious and curious now they know his true identity. They all scream when he looks at them, and Kyu is amused.
Beo Jin’s family are also treating Kyu differently, coming out to sit with him, apologising about his inferior room. But Kyu says that he had no issues staying here. He gives Mum a small bag of money for the village. He owes so much to them all. He thanks her for everything. As he is about to leave, she asks if he has time tomorrow for a gathering. He agrees, to the delight of the village women.
As he is about to leave, he asks how Beo Jin is doing, and she tells him that she had a high fever and worked herself into delusions. Beo Jin opens the door as he is leaving, and they sit together to have a conversation (Mum trying to listen outside).
She starts to call him exile, but changes that to Lord. He tells her that she can address him normally. And then… she asks what will happen to William, will he be killed if he goes to the capital? Kyu’s disappointment is painfully clear, and he asks if she only wants to talk about William. And I ask how long it will be before I start crying. I’m betting about ten seconds.
She hesitates, as he says that he is leaving for the capital soon; they’ll never see each other again. Is she sure she only wants to talk about William? She tells him that he is leaving to a good place, in safety, but William might be killed. He looks like he is on the verge of tears, and tells her he isn’t bringing William intending to kill him. But he must follow orders and laws no matter what.
He goes to leave and she grabs him, crying, calling him Lord, and begging him to save William. He is tense and upset; this is their last time seeing each other, but all she talks about is the foreigner. With a somewhat bitter “take care of yourself”, he leaves, both of them in tears. Oh god, Im Joo hwan and Seo Woo, why are you so amazing? Scenes with the two of them always manage to make cry.
Beo Jin cries alone, perhaps regretting their final conversation, perhaps still distressed about William. Probably a combination of both.
Kyu arrives at William’s room, and sits with him. He tells him to stop starving himself and eat; the journey to the capital is long. But, he could just leave now, not put himself in more danger by going to the capital. This is the last opportunity Kyu can give him. William, with his one-track mind, just asks if he can leave with Beo Jin. Kyu, with barely veiled anger, answers that she is not allowed to leave Tamra; he has to leave alone.
But William can’t go anywhere without Beo Jin. Kyu says that he won’t be with Beo Jin in the capital anyway. But William answers that if he leaves here willingly without Beo Jin, he will regret it forever.
The next day, Beo Jin arrives at William’s, attempting to visit him. The guard won’t let her, so she passes a package over that she wants to give to William. William opens it, and finds straw shoes, a scroll note, telling him to wait for her; she will bring him back. Sweet.
The old man/Lord is visited by Kyu, who has come to say goodbye, now knowing his true identity. The old man notes that now he has gotten used to Tamra, he is leaving. Kyu asks how he found out all of the things he told him. He responds that as you get old, you learn things. He asks if he likes Tamra and Kyu answers that it is a beautiful place. He then speaks of how when he was young, he wanted to escape the stifling government world and travel the real world. What a lovely scene, both in scenery and content.
Kyu arrives at the gathering, everyone makes a fuss over him, especially Ggeut Boon who cries that she should go to the mainland with him; she’ll even swim after him if she can’t come on the boat! Mum comes out and puts an end to this.
Later in the night, Mum is rather drunk, saying that when Kyu arrived she wondered if he was even a human. Kyu gives her a challenging look, to which she responds by kneeling apologetically. He smiles, and takes his leave. They all gather around and present him with gifts. Dad and another villager present him with a hat they have made, saying that although they cannot wear them, the hats made in Tamra are the best. (Ggeut Boon takes his old hat and wears it.)
Little sister tells him to remember their village, and he walks past all the crying villagers. As he reaches Mum he is crying.
“How can I forget this place?” He bows and walks out to his horse.
They sing as his look lingers on them, before he rides away.
Beo Jin is out, dejectedly walking around. Kyu sees her, but rides on. He eventually meets Yan on his journey, who requests him to let William go. Kyu answers that he said he wouldn’t leave without Beo Jin. Yan is about to leave when a thought occurs to him; Kyu could have come to the Elder’s base with the police initially- why did he go alone? Yan infers that it must be because of that girl. Kyu denies this, but he tells him not to try and pretend; he can see it clearly.
Now it is our final day on Tamra. As William is led out, a man from the village, the one who had complimented the bear he sculpted, runs up, distressed that he is leaving. The guards push him away. Kyu walks past and there is a short moment where he and William stand still, avoiding looking at each other. They then leave, Yan watching.
Beo Jin wants to go and see them off, but Mum tries to stop her; it will only hurt her. Beo Jin is worried that she will never see him again, this is the last time. Mum tells her to live as if she had never met either of them. But Beo Jin answers that she can’t do that, her heart remembers everything. Mum tries to stop her from leaving again, but Dad steps in, and lets her go.
The mood is sombre as Yi Bang says goodbye to Kyu, the latter offering him help if he ever needs it.
Beo Jin runs up and gets the attention of Kyu and William. William tries to see her, but the guards stop him. The guards won’t let her through, but Kyu instructs them to, after she says that she has something to say.
Kyu seems hopeful that this means she will finally say some kind of proper goodbye to him. There is a beat where it seems she will say something… but she just tells him to do anything to save William, no matter what his orders are. The disappointment is clear on Kyu’s face (how many times does she need to reject him?!) as she goes on to talk about how William is a good person.
This disappointment turns to a façade of anger, as he reprimands her; how dare a lowly diver talk about his Majesty. Beo Jin is shocked and upset, and Kyu seems to have flickers of regret, before he turns away.
She is pulled back by the guards, yelling for William. He runs to see her from the boat. Both are crying, and she tells him not to worry; she’ll find him for sure. He needs to eat well and take care of himself. He too tells her not to worry; he is okay. He is happy that he got to meet her here. The guards pull William back inside the boat. Both of them are crying and Kyu is on the verge of tears also.
As he is sailing away, he thinks to himself, “I have to forget. Everything. I have to forget everything about her.”
Man, I really do not think my love for this show can be put into words. It just hits all the right notes and watching the episodes always leaves me feeling satisfied, even sad ones like this. That final scene was excellent, and I am impressed by Hwang Chan Bin. He has improved so much since the beginning. I think one of two things can happen when a weaker actor is put with strong actors. Either the weak actor is made to look terrible in their shadows, or the greatness of the other actors translates to a connection with the weaker ones, and they are made to look better.
I think the latter occurs in this case. His character suits him and he actually puts effort into the role, as opposed to a weak actor who seems just apathetic about it all. Going up against Im Joo Hwan and Seo Woo is quite a feat, but in that final scene he still made me cry and wasn’t a glaring weak link in the chain. I don’t think I even need to mention my love for the other two, who are consistently amazing throughout this drama.