In these past two weeks of “I-LAND,” we learn about a new grading system, see some shuffling of trainees, and watch as they take on new tests. Here are some of the bigger developments that went down in episodes 2 and 3:

Warning: Major spoilers ahead! 

We first head in to the second episode by getting some new information via Namgoong Min, the show’s narrator. There will be four tests in total, and the final 12 will be voted in by I-Landers, Producers, and viewers (also called Global choice). What’s interesting is that they also mention that the final 12 can “go to the next level that will determine the final debut group.” So if there’s a “next level,” does that mean the final 12 aren’t guaranteed to debut, or just that they won’t debut right after?

The vote out (a.k.a the flurry of betrayals)

The 16 trainees that were voted into I-LAND in episode 1 now have two hours to decide which four they are going to vote out. We see a whole edit of Seon going around trying to build relationships with the other trainees, likely in hopes to keep himself safe. And as was hinted in the first episode, while Ta-ki and Ni-ki seem to be very close with each other, Ni-ki actually votes him out. Ni-ki does tell Ta-ki of his intentions beforehand, suggesting that he could use more training, which I do agree with. And really, Ta-ki is so adorably enamored with Ni-ki that he’d probably go along with whatever Ni-ki suggests.

Fun fact: Ni-ki and Ta-ki are both ’05-liners! Surprise!

The other “backstab” comes in the pair of EJ and Daniel, who performed together in the entrance test. EJ votes Daniel out, but—plot twist—EJ is the one who is sent to the Ground instead. Feeling sad for him, Daniel goes to comfort and hug EJ, not knowing he had just experienced some anime-level betrayal!

In the end, the four that were voted out were Sunoo (10 votes), Sungchul (9 votes), Ta-ki (9 votes), and EJ (6 votes).

The 12 I-Landers hanging around for the first test. 

The introduction of a new system

We are introduced to a new system that emphasizes the collective destiny. The average score obtained from the I-Landers’ performance will affect the number of dropouts. (If the average is above 96, no I-Landers will be voted out; if they score under 70, six will be voted out). This is a pretty interesting system, and I like that there is some unknown factor in play which makes for great reality television! It also brings the theme of individual vs. team into play, and the trainees will constantly have to weigh their own interests against the teams interest.

As for the empty spots left behind by the booted I-Landers, Grounders will be chosen to fill those spots. And who does the choosing? The Producers and Directors (ie. Rain et al., not the producers and directors of the show). As mentioned in my first impressions article, I wasn’t completely in favor of how they did their first voting, arguing that it wasn’t the fairest due to herd mentality and so on. This new system in place though, I couldn’t be more happy with. By having I-Landers in charge of voting people out of I-LAND and having the Producers and Directors in charge of choosing Grounders to fill in the spots, this means that neither group of people will have power monopoly. This can hopefully avoid a lot of potential issues, such as cliques within the trainees and biases within the adults.

First test: Signal song

For the first test, the I-Landers are to perform to the show’s signal song (the theme song), titled “Into the I-LAND.” The I-Landers choose the parts themselves, and they recommend Heeseung for the center part. Also notably, Jay constantly raises his hand, wanting to get chosen for the parts, but the trainees keep voting for the other guy. In the confessional, Jay admits that he feels resentful and humiliated, and I can’t blame him. It must really hurt to keep putting yourself out there, only to be shot down time and time again. He has a mini-outburst, but continues to raise his hand right after, so that’s pretty resilient of him.

After the parts are divided, Heeseung leads the dance practice, but the other I-Landers notice that he changes some of the moves at his own whim. This rubs some of them the wrong way, and the camera even catches a few of them making fun of Heeseung’s dancing behind his back. Eventually, the I-Landers sit down to have a conversation, and Heeseung offers to give up the center part, which then goes to Ni-ki. During the mid-point check with Rain however, he notes that Ni-ki needs to work harder on his singing, and the viewers are left wondering whether the group switches out the center again.

I could tell it was Rain from his curly-haired silhouette! 

Discovering another side of Hanbin

Before we get to the results of the first test, can we just shine a spotlight on Hanbin? He was responsible for much of the hilarity in the second episode, accidentally mispronouncing the lyrics and changing them from “holding onto a hand” to “cutting off a hand”! That sure escalated quickly!

Also, Hanbin has some chaebol male lead potential in him! Just look at how he comforts Jaebeom, after Jaebeom fails to finish recording his video tryout. LOL!

The no-look-head-grab! 

First test results and vote out

In the end, Ni-ki remains in center position, but his pitch is still unstable. Geonu sounds good, especially considering his parts are mostly in the higher register. Also, Jake‘s mic falls off at the most inopportune time, causing him to miss out on his only line.