I-LAND: Episode Seven Recap

Episode One Recap // Episode Two Recap // Episode Three Recap // Episode Four Recap // Episode Five Recap // Episode Six Recap

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:

12 Hanbin
11 Geonu
10 Taki
9 Niki
8 Jake
7 Jungwon
6 Jay
5 K
4 Sunghoon
3 Heeseung
2 Daniel
1 Sunoo

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
Fake Love

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.


12 thoughts on “I-LAND: Episode Seven Recap

  1. *didn’t mean to make the comment this long, but apparently I have a lot to say*

    I’ve also been rooting for Sunoo from the get-go. I think the producers did a good job showing his personality right from the very first episode, so he’s always stood out more than a lot of the other less memorable candidates. I think he also had that “underdog” thing going for him, since he was voted out of I-LAND twice by his peers, despite having high scores.

    I was happy at first that he was #1, but it seems like a lot of the original I-LANDers were bitter about the rankings, especially K, who is talented but always seems to be salty about something or another (maybe it’s just my impression of him or the edits that make him seem this way). I’m hoping his #1 position won’t sour his relationship too much with people who don’t think he deserves it. He got a bit gloat-y near the end of the episode when he was like “nobody touch my #1 perks!” I get it — he’s obviously allowed to be happy in his unexpectedly high ranking — but I winced a little bit at the reactions of the other people in his room.

    As far as the voting goes, for the first week of voting, everyone was voting for 6 people per day out of all of the candidates (back when I was complaining that we were voting without even having seen the performances). Then, after the next episode, there was an additional 36 hours of voting for just the 16 grounders after the Safe 6 had been decided. These votes were worth 3x as much as the other days.

    As it turns out, that first week of voting is what determined the rankings in Ep 7, although this was never explained until Ep 7 aired. Everybody just thought (well, at least I did) we were voting for the “Final” 12 I-LANDers. Would have been nice to know about that in advance, but whatever.

    I was a bit surprised at Daniel being #2 as well. I remember bits and pieces of what he’s done (like the vocal sub-unit from the ground), but nothing impressive enough to outshine Heeseung. I’m thinking that because he’s American, maybe a strong American fanbase boosted the voting? Also, I never once voted for Heeseung, because I knew he would be a shoe-in for the Final 12. I assume that many other people may have voted similarly, which probably skewed the ranking system a bit. We’ll see how it shifts when the producers have their say.


    • On Heeseung. He’s been training for over 3 years and has acquired knowledge on vocal and dance (like, most people would have graduated from university!) He entered the show after having meticulously polished every aspects of his skills and his person. At the moment it’s only human if he’s stunned that number 1 goes to someone who hasn’t even thought of, say, details like acquiring blindingly white teeth.

      While Sunoo is just being himself. Always has been. He laughs, cries, and worries, but no matter what happens he’s a ball of sunshine who makes viewers happy without even trying.

      Let’s hope they’ll soon work it out together.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi Nick,

    You remember Sunoo and Geonu because these two can actually sing. Daniel is the tall kid Sunoo sang Save Me with during the sing-out contest — you said they impressed you more than the Butterfly singers.

    Ranking was decided by votes from ONLY the first seven days when ALL i-landers and grounders both received votes (eg Sunoo received 1M+). After they announced the 6 surviving i-landers, only grounders received votes (eg. Sunoo’s total became 2.6M+)

    Methinks debut kids should be seven who sing better than the least 5. But don’t kick the least 5 — that’s too cruel — mnet should turn them to supporting dancers (like Rain used supporting dancers.)

    On jealousy. Some kids who look down on grounders can’t accept being outvoted and outshined by grounders. They refuse to acknowledge that Sunoo and Daniel had actually received high marks from the producers when jealous kids kicked them to the ground. One day they will learn that being in the same group with very popular kids will guarantee ticket sales and so their group’s success.


  3. This is once again a public service. I barely got through the short video of BTS turning around in the egg, and getting the metal name tags stuck on the chairs.

    But I gotta say
    Jake is Jay and K put together.

    bah dum bump.


  4. I’m sure this ep felt bloated to non-ARMYs, but we all know who they were catering it towards. Surely you can understand why they’d squeeze in as much BTS content as possible, haha. I’m sure their ratings for this episode were through the roof.

    Based on comments J-Hope made about the individual trainees, he certainly found time to watch a couple of episodes, which I think is nice of him lol. It was obvious that none of the other members had done so and I don’t think they were really pretending or painting them as “superfans” either. They’re having a comeback very soon, they’re busy.

    Regarding Daniel, I really fell for him in Part 1 when the kids got their individual scores back after the first mission. iirc, Daniel actually had the highest score of all the ILANDers (at least one of the highest). He was thrilled, but made the announcement in a talking head segment that he was DEFINITELY going to keep his cool and not let anyone know about his score. Cut to a montage of him jumping all over his hyungs and bouncing around the room haha. I just found that adorable and it was enough to make me campaign for him on its own, but he’s also quite talented.

    Sunoo was one of the kids who performed “Crown” in the first episode which I know you love, and from the jump his facial expressions have been great. He brings a nice bright energy to the stage that some of the other trainees were missing.

    I was also quite confused and am now somewhat frustrated with the voting system here. I think it simply doesn’t make sense to count the votes to save the grounders alongside the votes for the already-safe ILANDers; of course global favorites like Sunoo will come out on top, and not even a powerhouse like Heeseung can compete with a week of votes that count 3x as much.

    That being said, K’s attitude was also starting to bug me. I’m keeping in mind that this is a TV show and it could simply be a classic MNET bad edit, but I was sad to see him apparently literally shaking his head when Sunoo and Daniel ranked so high. I think K is a great asset to the team so I hope he has some bonding moments with the ex-GROUND trainees or something to secure his spot in the final 7, otherwise I can see him quickly falling out of favor with the public.

    I think (I hope!) that Heeseung, Sunghoon, and possibly Sunoo are shoe-ins for the endgame. I also really want to see Jay there. The rest is pretty open-ended I think. It has to do, of course, not just with raw talent but with the ability to be good at being on television…. I don’t think K is very good at being on television.


    • I’m pretty sure they only counted the first week of voting and excluded the final 36 hours where people just voted to save the Grounders. So it excluded the votes that were weighted 3x as much, and was “fair” in the producers’ eyes since people were voting for everybody equally, even though people didn’t know what they were voting for exactly.

      I can kind of understand why people like Heeseung and K would be bothered by Daniel and Sunoo ranking above them. They were both in I-LAND pretty much from the get-go and have been fairly comfortable there the whole time, so they probably feel like they “deserve” higher rankings than those people who went back and forth from the ground to I-LAND. And it’s fine to think that to yourself, but once you start telling that to the viewers (K, I’m looking at you) it really comes off like you think you’re better than everybody else or that you’re looking down on other people. They also need to think about the fact that the viewers are probably influenced a lot by personality (perhaps even more so than vocal or dancing skills), so they should be trying to highlight their own strengths rather than complaining about other people.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I-landers kicked out Sunoo from i-land only for him to take the #1 spot. I love happy endings. And I hate how K reacted (does he think he’s the 8th member of BTS or what? He acted like he deserved #1 more than everyone in the show).
    Also, shoutout to Hanbin who’s slowly starting to climb despite having 2 seconds of screentime each episode.
    The online votes are most likely rigged like in Produce101, but I’m voting Sunoo and Hanbin anyways so I can help to show the producers how popular they are among public

    Liked by 1 person

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