A Recap of I-Land Episode 9: The Chemistry Test & A Fun Off Day
I-Land Part 2 is trudging right along as it aired its 9th episode on August 28th, 11 PM KST.
This is the first episode that the trainees begin to go down in numbers, currently, 11 are remaining. With Geonu being eliminated last week, the start of this episode is bittersweet. All the I-Landers must be relieved to have passed the test, but feel horrible about a friend they have trained with for the past couple months leaving them for good.
As a reminder of the results of the BTS Test from last week, the top seven trainees picked by the producers were Heeseung, Jungwon, Sunghoon, K, Sunoo, Jay, and Jake, in that order. These seven will be able to wear the badges that signifies that they are the ones that would be secured for the debut team. And honestly, the points between each of the boys are a close match, Niki narrowly missed out on 7th place by one point.
Once the boys have returned back to their I-Land, they go towards their dorms according to their new rankings. Since Heeseung, Jungwon, and Sunghoon were placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, they are given the chance to move into the luxurious purple room with all the goodies and amenities only the top players have access to.
However, once entering the room, a new surprise had been waiting for Heeseung, Jungwon, and Sunghoon. Written on the screen, it had said that ranks 1, 2, and 3 will be able to have a day of freedom. This was something I lowkey have been waiting for. These boys are mostly stuck within the building, although nearly perfect. This would be a great way to see the boys out of this idol-driven environment and see more of a casual side from them!
As the next morning greets the I-Lander, the announcement for the next test comes up, the Chemistry Test. From we learn, the boys will be given two original songs, ‘Flicker’ and ‘Dive Into You.’
‘Flicker’ has a theme of connection. It is meant that while there are differences between the fans and the I-Landers, they are still connected at heart. The song has a more smooth and sexy vibe that could help showcase a new side of the trainees. Teamwork seems to play a big role for its choreography. Not one person could be out of place or it would ruin the performance. For this song, it will have only five people.
For ‘Dive Into You,’ it also is based on connection. However, this song focuses more on one’s confidence and how working together seamlessly could make yourself stronger. This hip-hop heavy song is more fast-paced and shows off more of a swagger in its powerful performance. It will perfectly show off the tenacity and passion the boys embodies with the song. This song will have six people performing it.
As Heeseung was ranked first from the last test, he has the benefit of choosing the song he wants, as well as pick the members for his team. As Heeseung as known as the ace of I-Land, the rest of the boys showed how much they would love to be in a team with him. Jay, K, and Jake specifically voiced their desire to be on the same team as Heeseung. In the end, the ‘Flicker’ team consisted of Heeseung, Sunghoon, Jungwon, Jake, and K. Which then left Jay, Sunoo, Daniel, Taki, Niki, and Hanbin to be part of the ‘Dive Into You’ team.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for ‘Dive Into You’ as they all were visibly upset from not being chosen. (‘Dive Into You’ team also failed to get the bigger practice room due to losing a game of rock, paper, scissors.) However, the burning desire to win as the team that wasn’t picked only motivated them to do even better. Jay, who has lead Ground in Part 1, appointed himself as a leader for the team, much to everyone’s relief. Jay went ahead and helped assigned parts for his members based on each of their strengths.
From this scene, I was more than impressed by Jay’s leadership. He was more than upset when he wasn’t chosen to be in ‘Flicker.’ We have seen his journey throughout I-Land and watched him crumble down while thinking he wasn’t good enough to be there. It hurt me greatly to see that he thinks of himself that poorly. However, this episode proved that he has grown in that short amount of time and he wasn’t going to give up the fight. So, in my opinion, Jay was the perfect fit for ‘Dive Into You,’ he basically symbolizes the song.
As ‘Dive Into You’ was able to easily figure out their parts, ‘Flicker’ was another story. While the group of five was trying to pick out parts, it was clear from the get-go that K and Heeseung were butting heads as they both lead the group. The two of them wanted part 2 of the song, but K went ahead to recommend Heeseung as part 1. Heeseung noted in his individual interview that he was conscious of K’s comments and couldn’t bring himself to voice his opinions as K was much older in age and straightforward. While he did desire part 2, Heeseung agreed to take part 1.
It was a very tough scene to watch as someone who personally likes K and his stage presence. With the way the scene plays out, it just seems that K was pushing his thoughts upon his younger members as he noted which parts fit with each of them. It’s hard to say on what to feel since the decision-making for parts was the same as ‘Dive Into You.’ Yet, ‘Flicker’ looked to be walking on egg shells, afraid to bring up their opinions to the oldest I-Lander. They were clearly uncomfortable with how it all played out.
During their practice on the choreography, the atmosphere continued to be thick for the ‘Flicker’ team. K had his firm beliefs on the dance moves, and took charge of leading their rehearsals. The boys were quiet to his stubbornness and they couldn’t bring up their own thoughts on the dance. For a test that focuses on chemistry, it looked futile for this team while the discomfort overpowered their practices.
I-Land gives us a nice break from the boys’ preparations for the test and shows us the free day won by Heeseung, Jungwon, and Sunghoon.
The trio started their day by visiting a dog cafe. Heeseung noted that he really loves dogs and felt that visiting the cafe was healing for him. The boys adorably commented on how some of the dogs reminded them of some of their members; K being a tall, long-snouted dog, Jake as a golden retriever, and jokingly, Jay as a cute but serious dachshund. Coincidentally, one of the dog’s names ended up being one of their producer’s names, Doobu.
The next part of their agenda was playing a VR game, and this scene was gold as we see the usual princely Sunghoon become a scared, hyperactive player. I laughed along with Heeseung and Jungwon, as Sunghoon bounced around playing the VR shooting game. He has flung off the headset multiple times out of fright and even collapsed on the floor in exhaustion from the intense game. It was a refreshing side of Sunghoon that will probably won’t see again from the show.
After the game, the three boys go-ahead to the ice rink to skate. From that, we could all expect what was about to come. We see Sunghoon in action on the ice and he was able to show off his amazing skating skills as if he had been doing it the day before. With all the twists, spins, and perfect balance, Sunghoon proved that he was still a professional on the ice.
Watch his amazing skating from this day (and more) from this behind-the-scenes video!
To wrap up their fun-filled day, Heeseung, Jungwon, and Sunghoon go ahead and shop for some gifts for their fellow I-Landers. Not only do we get to see the great time the three had, but also the loyalty and love they clearly have for the other trainees. The scene finished off with a loving moment as the boys thank the three for the gifts.
The warmth comes to an abrupt end while the scene transitions back into the I-Landers’ practice for the Chemistry Test. The ‘Flicker’ unit comes into the dilemma while vocal trainer Kim Sung Eun comes in for a surprise evaluation on their vocals. The five haven’t been able to memorize the lyrics to the song just yet as they have been focusing more on perfecting their choreography due to K’s leading.
It has finally come to the point that ‘Flicker’ team needed to have a talk about the issue in hand. The group finally let their thoughts be known that they find it hard talking to K about their opinions since K was the oldest and would look upset if any of them took a different direction. Their discussion about their true feelings leads to the usually-strong K breaking down into tears.
This was a moment that I really sympathized with K. He had no clue about what was happening behind-the-scenes to their practices and only wanted to lead so they can have great results for their stage. It was a reality check he needed, and it made me feel relieved that the other four boys were able to open up to him like this. This was a talk that was desperately needed to fix their broken team dynamic. Heeseung had a good point as he said that, “while being a leader is a hard position to be in, it shouldn’t jeopardize the team.”
It was heartwarming to see the ‘Flicker’ team finally heal from this and move on with a stronger mindset.
D-Day for Chemistry Test performances has arrived. This test is different from the last as it is now based on global voting. Along with the global voting, the producers get to pick one trainee as their number one choice from this test. The chosen I-Lander will get the benefit of doubling the number of votes gained within the next 24 hours.
The ‘Flicker’ team was up first to the stage.
Here’s the full version of the sexy and charismatic ‘Flicker.’
I had to agree with Bang Si Hyuk when he said this was an Avengers team. It was nothing but praises for the unit, specifically for Jake.
This whole episode, it showed how much Jake worried about being the weakest one in their team. He had practiced on his own time to keep up with the others, and it definitely worked out in his favor. Son Sung Deuk stated that while the others are higher ranked, Jake didn’t fall behind. Bang Si Hyuk also noted that his singing had been stable in this stage, which is on par with his dancing and his facial expressions. Producer Pdogg wrapped up their evaluation by mentioning how impressed he was with Jungwon’s fierce performance despite being so young.
It was then ‘Dive Into You’ team’s turn to perform. Their individual greetings are also worth noting since they were absolutely cute while introducing themselves.
Here’s the full version of the powerful and intense ‘Dive Into You.’
Despite the great performance, Bang Si Hyuk was a bit disappointed in Taki and Daniel’s attack on the song. He really wanted the two to outdone themselves to show they could fulfill that, but failed to. Sunoo also didn’t meet the expectations of the producers and directors as they pointed out how his facial expressions didn’t match well with the song.
On the other hand, Niki was praised for his improvements and his strong dancing and Jay proved himself to be a great leader by giving the team the energy and leading the performance with lots of power.
With both of the stages done, the anticipation for the producer’s ranked one choice arises.
Much to the I-Landers’ surprise (and mine), Jake was the producers’ rank 1.
The episode ends and the viewers will see who will be the second trainee eliminated in the next episode. The global voting for the test had ended midnight of August 29th, so the fate of I-Land has already been sealed. We will have to wait for the upcoming Friday to see the results.
What are your thoughts about Episode 9? Who do you think will make it in the next top 7? Don’t forget to watch the upcoming episode on September 4th, 11 PM KST. You would not want to miss this episode! (Hint: Seventeen).