We’ve come to the end of part one for Island and we’re left feeling like Season Two should be airing next week! Our story does not come to a conclusion, but gives us lots of questions and makes us want a lot more of certain story threads. Here’s hoping February 24th comes soon.
Moping in the hills
The end of episode four was a really nice cliffhanger. Did Van really stab Mi Ho and give into his lust demon? Nope! He protected her by putting his arm in front of the knife and stabbing himself instead. Johan was testing him to see how human Van really is. Van runs away and doesn’t think he can be trusted around Mi Ho anymore. Mi Ho seems stunned by this latest development but goes back to her daily routine, except Priest Johan is her bodyguard now. The kids at school are all a-twitter about the hottie priest, and we don’t fault them in the least.
Drama Geek: Mi Ho is constantly jumping back and forth between this scary supernatural world and trying to restore her image as a responsible company owner. She cares about the girl she saved and they had a really nice ending to the girl’s story. I am left feeling several times in these two episodes that Mi Ho should jump ship to this other drama and she’d be a lot more useful.
The Maknae: Van stabbed his own arm! Have to admit, I didn’t see that coming, but it was a stellar sacrificial move, and an excellent way to move around his past mistakes. Priest Johan and his supernatural sword seem like a good substitute bodyguard while Van gets his head straight.
Kmuse: I like when we get Mi Ho connecting personally with people. It really works for me and I appreciate that she followed Van up into the hills. Sadly, when she is just being CEO Mi Ho, I get bored. Is it too much to ask for her to have more personality than a nice damsel in distress?
The best character development in the drama
It turns out Hottie Priest has a sad past. He was adopted by foreign parents along with his older brother, but all they wanted was an organ match for their sick child. The older brother’s organ didn’t seem to work, so they took Johan’s and then dumped him in the desert somewhere. That is where a priest finds him, and how he ended up on his current path. Johan is searching for his older brother now that he’s back in Korea. Mi Ho finds out about this and puts her chaebol money to work finding him.
Drama Geek: Like I said last week, Johan is a huge bright spot for me, and this added depth to his character was a welcome surprise. He surprised me again with how much he’s matured as an actor.
The Maknae: These two episodes definitely grounded Johan and humanized him. Before he seemed nearly supernatural himself, his sunny nature and tremendous fighting skills making him almost unreal. Learning his backstory and seeing him connect with his long-lost brother was touching, and watching them their matching organ donor scars was a little funny.
Kmuse: If you had told me that I would be most invested in Johan’s character above any of the others, I would have called you crazy. With two of my actor biases in this drama, I did not expect the random extra character to be the one I focused on. That said, he is doing an AMAZING job in this role and his acting has improved greatly from that of a token pretty boy.
While all of this is going on, Mi Ho’s teacher bestie is putting the finishing touches on her wedding that is only a week away. Mi Ho is the dutiful bridesmaid and tries on her dress and attends the wedding shower. The friends are all super cute, and it makes me wish this was a different drama about an heiress finding out she loves teaching in Jeju Island and brings along her cute dongsaeng priest to help out at school.
The fiancé goes to deliver cute thank you presents to Mi Ho’s house, but doesn’t exactly make it. Hottie Goong Tan (yes, we have lots of hotties in this drama) intercepts him before he arrives and uses him as bait to bring Van out to play. Mi Ho is devastated when she sees her friend’s soon to be husband skewered to death.
Drama Geek: I was screaming internally the entire time she was on the phone talking about the fiancé coming to her house. She has lust demons tracking her down at every turn and she’s okay with him coming out on the desolate road to her house. Not smart of her at all. It was so sad seeing her friend at the funeral.
The Maknae: This setup was a little obvious and heavy-handed — I was feeling sorry for the fiancé before he even left the café, since he was clearly red-shirt character.
Kmuse: Can we not have a tiny bit of common sense in our heroine? She jaunts about like she hasn’t almost been killed multiple times, she doesn’t think to protect her friends in any way, and she just accepts any random thing that comes along without question. I love how pretty Da Hee is in this drama, but so far she is not much more than a pretty object being shifted about. I am hoping their story gets better in part 2 because I am really disappointed so far.
Unfortunately for our cutie priest, the very hot white-haired half lust demon we’ve all been waiting for found his brother first, and now the brother is going around killing people trying to get back the organ that was taken from him. When Johan finds his brother, he doesn’t know this, because his brother seems to be more like the other two half demons and can hide the demon within. He takes him back to the cliff mansion and when Johan is asleep, his brother goes to attack Mi Ho.
Van shows up just as the brother tries to penetrate the protective shield around Mi Ho (she’s showering and bawling her head off so it’s probably good he couldn’t get in. That would be a different kind of horror show). Van fights the brother and then is confronted by Goong Tan again. He tells him he needs to decide which side he’s on. He knows Mi Ho’s former incarnation planned to kill all the demons, including them, so why would it be different this time?
Drama Geek: Just like Mi Ho and Van, these two are fun to watch when they’re allowed to be on screen together. Sung Joon is NOT getting enough screen time but he is killing it in every scene he’s in. Very intense but also very reasonable too.
The Maknae: It’s about time our antagonist made himself known! Given their sketchy origins, it’s no wonder that Goong Tan has decided to take power for himself instead of defeating the demons, and his ultimatum to Van sounds like an argument they’ve been having for centuries.
Kmuse: Once again, the pacing is driving my nuts. But I am so glad to finally see Sung Joon on screen and he is killing it. He might be on my “favorite bad guys with sexy hair” list. I also like the tragic story between the two brothers. His being a demon gives it that extra layer of anguish that is so satisfying.
Mi Ho tries to figure things out
Bloody and badly beaten, Van retreats to his part of the island where Mi Ho finds him. He finally tells her the truth of her identity. She doesn’t remember, but she says no matter what, they need to stick together and protect each other. She seeks out someone who can tell her more about her past life and finds Grandma Baek Joo. She lets her know that once her past self is awakened, she can reestablish the barrier that keeps the demons locked up and help fix Van. She doesn’t know how Mi Ho can awaken herself, but she tells her she needs to do it quickly.
Drama Geek: I kept reminding myself that we’re only on episode 6 of this drama and that the hero of the story finding out their superpower and destiny to save the world isn’t really that late in the pacing of the show. I was happy that she took the mantle up pretty fast and seemed to be determined to help however she could once she heard the truth.
The Maknae: I really liked what our resident wise old woman said to Mi Ho about discovering her powers: “If you take the shell off the chick, the chick dies.” Mi Ho has already experienced her powers once, and she’s smart enough to work out what she needs to do and when she needs to do it. But she’s got to be the one to break the shell.
Kmuse: I just want it to happen faster. I need our heroine to be proactive and question everything going forward.
Exorcisms gone wrong
Johan goes to confront his brother about all the murders and asks how long it’s been going on. His brother doesn’t remember anything about when he becomes a demon and agrees to allow Johan to try to cast the demon out. Johan tries his hardest, but cannot free his brother from the evil inside. First he seeks out Van’s help with no luck, then goes to find Mi Ho. She agrees to try but doesn’t seem to have much hope.
Sadly for this drama watcher, Mi Ho cannot awaken her inner goddess (or whatever it is she’s supposed to be) and the full demon comes out, leaving nothing left of Johan’s brother. Johan tries to protect Mi Ho, but the demon shoves his claws into Johan’s chest and throws him aside. Van shows up and battles with the demon for a little while, but he’s weakened by all of the fighting he’s done and it gets away from him. Mi Ho is pinned to the bed, about to get one of her organs ripped out, when Johan strikes with his blue glowing sword from behind. The demon leaves and Johan’s brother cries that he was so close. He almost had the liver that would stop his pain and suffering. He asks that Johan call his name one more time, and after a quiet “hyung,” Johan pulls the sword out and his brother falls to the ground. Van comes in and finishes him off, leaving behind the stone fragment like the other lust demons.
Drama Geek: Oh my gosh, I have so much to say about this story arc, but the biggest thing for me is it happened way too quickly. The two actors did a FABULOUS job at showing us the connection they had in the few scenes they were together, and then the anguish of Johan knowing there was nothing more he could do and having to kill his brother after looking for him for ten years. Can we do a prequel and have these two meet somehow before all this happens?
The Maknae: I’m calling it — that sword’s name is totally Faith, because Faith saved Mi Ho. Anyway, the brothers’ brief arc is going to be transformative for Father Johan, and I’m highly invested in his story. Mi Ho’s on the edge of figuring out what she can do, and Van might find some peace when this is all over. At the very least, hopefully people will stop beating him up on a regular basis.
Kmuse: I loved this story arc and how amazing both of the brothers sucked me into their tragic story. Johan has quickly become the shining star in this drama. The tears in their eyes as the brother dies gutted me.
Goong Tan arrives in some type of underground bunker filled with people. He takes his throne and Yeom Ji (Baek Joo’s granddaughter) asks where he’s been before calling him Uncle.
The Maknae: Well, THAT was unexpected. I laughed when the throne showed up, because of COURSE Goong Tan has a throne.
Kmuse: I might have rolled my eyes.
Drama Geek: Um… Writer-nim, I think the network forgot to tell you that they were cutting your drama into two seasons. This did not feel like the end of a season, but more like a cliffhanger to lead you into next week’s episodes. If the team needed more time to do proper justice to all the CGI I am totally on board with giving them that time. This is not the type of show you want them to run out of money and have it flop in that department toward the end. I also need the show to bring Mi Ho into the fold and give her more to do. In any story, if you’ve created The Chosen One, they better have something more to do than suddenly become the savior of the world at the last minute. My overall opinion of the first half of this show is we have a ton of great threads that aren’t being allowed to really interact and deepen the story.
The Maknae: I do have to wonder if making this series in partnership with Amazon Prime meant getting more money (because special effects are EXPENSIVE), but being at the mercy of their marketing plans. Splitting the season like this makes an invested audience continue watching past their 30-day free trial, and leaving things on a cliffhanger? Yeah, I’m invested. I’m also thinking that Island will work better as a binge watch — the story will be more cohesive that way — so I’m keeping that in mind and trying to reserve judgement until the second season airs.
Kmuse: I have really liked the side stories of the tree demon and then the tragic brother situation. They highlighted what is missing with Van and Mi Ho’s story arcs…there is just no depth. Sure, they have a history, but I am in no way invested in their history and don’t have a lot of feelings about their present. At least season 2 starts in just a few weeks. It is more a pause than a wait for a whole new season, which is nice.
Until the next possession,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi