Part One: BTS have entered the compound
We open with a recap of the first part of the series, and honestly if you hadn’t watched any of the episodes until now, I think this is all you would need to get going at this point. It just doesn’t feel like much has happened on the show.
BTS have come to visit the I-LAND, looking confused as hell as they walk into the series’ iconic fantasy egg. I wonder if they even know where they are, given how busy their schedules are.
The guys wander around the set, and the editors try their best to convince us that they’re “avid viewers” of the show. I’m not sure that pointing at a flag and saying “oh, it’s a flag!”, means that you’re an I-LAND fan. I think it just means you know what a flag is.
BTS head into the practice room and reminisce about their days as trainees. I don’t keep up with the group like I did during their first few years, but it’s really crazy to think how much they’ve grown and changed since that time.
This extended tour of the I-LAND set also sets up some of the changes as we enter “part two.” Apparently, like many survival series, most everything will be determined by the trainees’ ranks. Their rooms are assigned based on the rank, their chairs are assigned based on the rank. I wouldn’t be surprised if their meals are decided based on the rank!
However, this segment quickly devolved into filler. Episode Seven is already bloated, running 20 minutes longer than a normal episode. It’s nice to see BTS, but I think this whole tour could’ve been cut in half.
Part Two: The Entrance Ceremony (Pt.1)
We suffer through some more recap, and some gloating about the voting numbers. When it comes to survival series, it’s these moments that I usually fast-forward through, or at the very least check my email or twitter or something.
From this point on, it seems that the producers and global futures voters will be in charge of deciding I-LAND’s outcome. But, let’s be honest, I’m sure the producers had a pretty big role in part one as well.
First up, we see the top six I-LANDers that will be moving onto part two of this series. We already knew this from last week, right? Honestly, I can’t remember.
He’s a competitive figure skater who decided he wanted to become an idol. That’s a pretty good backstory, if you ask me.
He’s a 17-year-old kid with a dream and lots of worries about that dream. He’s close to his grandmother and she supports him.
He’s a long-term Big Hit training, and one of the standout characters during part one of I-LAND. He got a lot of screen time, and a lot of comments about being the series’ ace. His inclusion here is not surprising at all. Interestingly, he got the most votes from several countries in the Middle East.
Jay just wants to be cool. He’s another memorable personality from part one of I-LAND. I feel like I’ve given him a lot of crap in my recaps, but the fact that I can remember him at all is probably a good thing.
Jake is from Australia and loves sports. He can play the violin, and has a lot of friends. He’s having a hard time adjusting to life in Korea, apart from the friends he had back home. Unsurprisingly, he got the most votes from Australia.
K is from Japan, and has become known for his dancing in part one of I-LAND. BTS are an inspiration to him. I don’t think it was too surprising to see him make it to the next stage.
These six I-LANDers head to the compound first, safe as the top six vote getters from producers and global voters. Now, we’ll see who the six top-voted Grounders will be.
Part Three: The Entrance Ceremony (Pt.2)
They’re announcing these out of order, so he was actually third place among the Grounders. But, that still accounted for over 2 million votes, which is pretty impressive. I’m honestly glad to see him make it to the second round. I feel he’s gotten a bad edit so far, but has a level of charisma that’s missing from a lot of the other trainees. Also, I think this is the first time I’ve seen him really smile in the entire show!
He’s in second place, with over 2.5 million votes. I honestly don’t remember anything about him, and I’m kind of shocked to see that he’s only 15 years old. Good for him!
I’m surprised they announced first place at this moment, and didn’t save it till the end, but he received over 2.6 million votes. I’m a little surprised by this result, but quite happy. I can’t really remember exactly why I like him, though I know that he was one of the trainees I was supporting since the beginning. Isn’t that funny, to be supporting somebody, but unable to remember why? You’d think writing these recaps every week would give me a better memory for the series itself. Either way, I’m glad he’s in.
Fourth place was nearly 2 million votes. Geonu is another of those names that I know I’ve liked since the beginning, but can’t really remember why. If I recall correctly, he impressed me in episode one or two. This doesn’t seem like an unexpected result.
Fifth Place garnered 1.7 million votes. Honestly, I have never really understood the appeal of Taki, but I do notice that his name is always the one that’s trending on Twitter on Fridays when I-LAND airs. So, obviously he has a big fan base. I like his quirkiness, but haven’t really seen anything beyond that that makes me think he be an amazing choice for this group.
Sixth place got just over 1 million votes, which is a big drop from fifth place. I wonder how close the runners-up were? As usual, they called a couple names up as candidates for this last spot, making the elimination even more cruel.
I’ve got to say, I was really rooting for EJ. The fact that he wasn’t even called as one of the candidates makes me kind of sad, since his personality seemed to be one of the brighter moments of an otherwise boring part one. But, it’s not like I voted anyway. You don’t get to complain if you don’t vote, and there’s my sneaky public service announcement for America’s upcoming election. I bet you didn’t expect to hear that in the middle of an I-LAND recap!
Anyway, congratulations to Hanbin. I had a feeling his global popularity was pretty sizable, even though he hasn’t received much spotlight on the show.
Part Four: The fine print (and another ranking)
It’s quickly revealed that only seven of these trainees will actually debut in I-LAND’s final group. So, best not to get attached now. Though if you are, voting has apparently started already.
At this point, I-LAND becomes a much more typical survival show. Ranks will be given individually, and the lowest will be eliminated. The judging will be a mix between the producers and the global votes, depending on the round. There are fancy little badges to determine who will be in the group, and that will change depending on the round. Blah blah blah blah blah. Lots of rules, most of which I’m not all that interested in.
And, just in case you can’t get enough of rankings, we have the top 12 as it stands right now:
I’m a little confused about how these votes work, since they seem to be different than the ones that got the guys into the top 12. But, I probably just wasn’t paying attention closely enough. On a side note, the debut badges are actually kind of cool. They’re certainly a lot slicker than the lame cubes from a JYP’s Nizi Project, which always seemed like they were about to fall out of their cheap pendant carrier.
Also, congratulations to Sunoo for being ranked number one! I’m happy for him. Daniel, on the other hand, was a real surprise for me. Am I just totally forgetting some awesome thing he did in part one? I honestly can’t remember him at all. Help me out!
Part Five: The BTS Mission
The first test of part two will be performed in three different units. The winning unit will be safe from elimination. One I-LANDer will be eliminated this round.
And, this being a Big Hit series, the mission is all about BTS. BTS introduce the test themselves, much to the adoration of the I-LANDers.
They then reveal the three different songs that the trainees will be covering, and explain the main points to keep in mind with each one. They also talk more about I-LAND’s set, which I found quite funny. I guess since the production spent so much money on this compound, they need to show it off every chance they get.
The three songs for this mission are:
I Need U
Part Six: A surprise dance battle
I kept waiting for BTS to emerge from that egg and surprise the I-LANDers, but I guess they filmed their part on a different day or time. Instead the guys were surprised by a couple of trainers, one of which is the infamous Bae Yoon Jung of Produce 101 fame. She’s a great presence on any show, and always strikes fear into the heart of the trainees.
In this case, we now enter a mini challenge dance battle. It’s nice to see the guys having a bit of fun. It was also a better display of their skills and personality than most of the actual missions have been.
Taki ends up winning this mini challenge, which means he’s the first leader for the unit mission and gets to pick his team. Or to be more specific, he can either pick his team or the song he wants to perform. He chose the former, and ended up with a strong unit but a difficult song (Fake Love). Is this song really hard? I get that it has high notes, but the other two tracks also strike me as pretty difficult.
Part Seven: Gifts and concerns (and BTS)
This episode ends with BTS giving gifts to each trainee, based on concerns that the guys wrote during their training. This is the kind of “getting to know you” material that was missing in part one of I-LAND, though it also made this episode feel overly long. The producers really need to find a balance between competition and behind the scenes material that is both effective and keeps the show at about an hour each week. Otherwise, things end up dragging.
It felt a little strange to have this whole segment done remotely, but then again, I suppose that’s how the entire world is working right now. Also, it’s becoming clear that Sunoo is the one to beat on this show. Between his amiable personality and health revelations here, he’s quite easy to empathize with. It’ll be interesting to see how he does when stacked against some of the more seasoned competitors.