Now that I’ve finished the drama, I’m thinking back to when and what had taken me off the fence and kept me fully on board the Tamra ride. It must have started when William was recounting his story of how he landed on Tamra through the use of drawings and animations. I thought the bit was creative and unique, with a touch of whimsy. It gave me the feeling that this drama was charming and different, but in a good way, than other shows that I’ve watched, and so I wanted to stay tune in to see more of what it had to offer. And once I began to care for its main characters, I was fully invested emotionally in the show.
Talking about characters, I can say that I like all the Tamra villagers, with the obvious exceptions of the villains, because although the Tamra villagers aren’t painted perfectly, they are all good people; even if their actions might appear petty and small-minded, the intention was never to inflict real harm. For example, when Keut Boon realized that she could have caused Beo Jin her life by giving Beo Jin the drink laced with a laxative, we saw how she felt badly about it and even tried to stop her mother from blaming Beo Jin for causing them to lose the competition against a neighboring village.
Beo Jin’s family is also lovable as well. Although Mama Jang may not always agree with Beo Jin, her love for her daughter is unconditional. Papa Jang has limited scenes in the show but his presence is felt, as are his support and understanding of Beo Jin’s wishes. And Beo Sul, love her! This girl is not only adorable but also wise beyond her years and has mad artistic talent.
On the Main Trio
Seo Woo really surprised me with her winning performance of Beo Jin. Even her overacting didn’t annoy me, and that’s saying a lot.
Hwang Chan Bin (Pierre Deporte) really impressed me with his fluency in Korean. As William, was he endearing? Yes, not initially but eventually, his character did grow on me. Is he a good actor? No.
If it wasn’t obvious from all my, um, dramatic reactions, I like the Park Kyu character. A lot. Suffice to say, Im Ju Hwan did a solid job of portraying Park Kyu and really changed my opinion of him as an actor. Like, hey, he’s not boring and wooden anymore but is actually charismatic and engaging! So, by association, I’ve developed quite a bit of affection for Im Ju Hwan as well, and that affection will lead me to check out Hyunhaetan Marriage War. Now, I also look forward to What’s Up, whereas before, I could care less.
I mentioned previously that I didn’t enjoy the latter third of the show as much as the first two-thirds. However, in retrospect, I do think that some angst was necessary for overall storyline progression. The show was winding down to the finish line and in order to resolve certain plot points, I expected it to throw in the angst and up the dramatic tension and suspense. However, like I mentioned previously, the part that irked me the most was Beo Jin’s character inconsistency. For example, what the heck happened to Beo Jin’s spunk and sass in the first couple of episodes in Hanyang? Where did they all go? I was seriously screaming at the screen, “what the heck, Beo Jin? Don’t let her step all over you. Stand up for yourself!” If it weren’t for that aspect, I wouldn’t have been so bothered with the shift in tone. Luckily, the personality change was temporary and Beo Jin returned to her lovable, spunky self with backbone fully intact.
On a visual level, Tamra is freaking gorgeous. Amazing cinematography. And the soundtrack is beautiful, one of my all-time favorite soundtracks.
This is one of my favorite songs from the OST.
Loveland by UJoo – Tamra the Island OST
Lastly, while I was thrilled to be able to watch the director cut’s version of Tamra instead of the shortened version that aired, I was also peeved that such a wonderful show like Tamra was butchered and edited down way late in the game just because it didn’t deliver the numbers that its network wanted. *shakes fist* Have some r-e-s-p-e-c-t for the arts, please.
Tamra’s cast and crew, thank you for this lovely show. I had a blast!