This episode is even better than the first, as we start to discover the secrets of what exactly what happened on that island. Every answer still raises more questions, and though Bong-hee tries her best to regain her memory, it’s not fast enough to satisfy those in power. But does she really have amnesia, or does she have a reason to pretend not to remember what happened on that island?
EPISODE 2 RECAP
The engine of the plane carrying several celebrities and executives to a Legend Entertainment anniversary concert bursts into flames, and the plane falls out of the sky. It slams into the ocean, and immediately breaks into pieces. Water rushes in and knocks everyone unconscious, and they slowly sink into the ocean.
In her unconscious state, stylist Bong-hee, dressed in diving gear, asks her mother if she can stop diving. She’s surprised when her mother permits it, and tells her to do what she wants with her own life. Mom says that encouragement is all she can give Bong-hee, but that she can always come home, and Bong-hee smiles at her gratefully.
Bong-hee wakes from her reverie underwater, and sees Joon-oh floating nearby. She struggles to the surface to get some air and sees an island within swimming distance. She dives back down and pulls Joon-oh to the surface, hauling him to shore. She realizes he’s not breathing, and does chest compressions until he coughs up water and takes a breath. He reaches up and asks, “Where is everyone?” before passing out again.
Joon-oh wakes later to find himself alone on the beach. He’s weak, but he manages to stand before seeing a pile of snack food and water bottles near the rocks. He grabs a bottle of water and starts to take a drink.
Bong-hee comes back from her foraging and yells at him to stop. Joon-oh doesn’t seem to grasp the full situation and asks her where they are, but Bong-hee is preoccupied and tells him to wait here while she runs off again.
Joon-oh’s eyes suddenly go wide as he finally sees the plane’s still-flaming fuselage washed up on the beach. He gasps in horror as his memories of the crash come rushing back all at once. He does a quick check, and determines that he’s uninjured.
Bong-hee runs away from the beach and soon finds herself on a cliff. She struggles in a different direction, only to find herself facing more water. She stares at the ocean, realizing that they’re not on the mainland, but stranded on an island with miles of ocean stretching out in all directions.
Back in the present, Chairwoman Jo of the special investigation commission watches Bong-hee as she stands alone on a beach. Her right-hand man, INVESTIGATOR OH, reports that the doctors have determined that Bong-hee’s temporary amnesia stems from a bout of meningitis.
But Chairwoman Jo looks skeptical and muses that Bong-hee seems too calm for someone who supposedly experienced a traumatic event. She tells Investigator Oh to do whatever it takes to force Bong-hee’s memories to return, even if it takes medication or hypnosis.
Bong-hee is on the same beach where she first met Joon-oh at his variety show shoot. She remembers that day, running back and forth while he rejected every single outfit, and a new memory comes to her. She and Joon-oh are standing in a forest, filthy and looking the worse for wear. He reaches out to hug her, and she cries.
Another memory, this time of the two of them in the rain. Joon-oh looks at Bong-hee tenderly, and tells her to go. She does, though it looks as if it kills her.
The memories bring Bong-hee to tears, but before they fall, she’s approached by three men in suits. They say that someone wants to see her and begin to pull her along against her will. Investigator Oh comes running, demanding to know who these men are, and while they’re arguing, Bong-hee makes a run for it.
She leads the men on a merry chase along the beach and up to the shore, then through a marketplace where locals are selling produce and seafood. She nearly manages to shake them, but a truck swerves to miss her and barrels through the market, upsetting all the stalls.
Bong-hee falls and sees fish flopping on the pavement, which sends her back to another memory. This time it’s only quick flashes: Bong-hee slapping someone, the infinity necklace, her own voice screaming Joon-oh’s name, both of them tumbling in rough water.
The three suited men run away from the commotion, and there’s an interesting cut to the shady current CEO of Legend Entertainment. CEO Jang is in a car on the phone, and whatever he hears infuriates him enough to throw the phone violently. Heh, at least he has a well-stocked supply of new phones in the glove compartment.
We go back to the deserted beach, where Joon-oh is now flinging pieces of airplane into the ocean and screaming in frustration. He eyeballs the stockpile of food and water, and decides that he’s going to freshen up a bit. He uses an entire bottle of water to wash his face, hair, and even his shoes, then settles in for a hearty snack.
He eats about half of the food before Bong-hee returns and flips out. She wrestles Joon-oh as he tries to shove more food in his mouth, and finally gets his attention by yelling in his face, “This is a deserted island!”
She growls that everyone is dead and this is all the food they have, then shuts down as she organizes what’s left. Joon-oh paces around her demanding answers, then runs off to look for himself. He finds nothing, and goes back to Bong-hee to accuse her of being part of an elaborate prank.
Bong-hee refuses to acknowledge him, even when he screams in her face. The truth of their desperate situation finally hits Joon-oh, and he reels in shock.
Back in the present, Chairwoman Jo watches CEO Jang shedding fake tears at a press conference as he talks about how those lost in the crash were like family. He denies the rumors that Legend Entertainment fabricated the crash as a publicity stunt.
Family and fans of the missing entertainers call for a question-and-answer session with Bong-hee, wanting to know what happened to the other crash victims. They worry that the government might alter her testimony for their own purposes, so they want to hear the truth from Bong-hee’s own mouth.
Chairwoman Jo takes a call from Investigator Oh, who reports that Bong-hee remembers being on a deserted island with Joon-oh. Chairwoman Jo orders Bong-hee brought to headquarters right away.
The mysterious man, whose name we now learn is a prosecutor named YOON TAE-YOUNG (Yang Dong-geun), is confronted about his refusal to take a case. He respectfully tells his superior that he’s working with Prosecutor Jo and promises not to cause trouble.
His superior asks if this is about his sister, and Tae-young takes a deep breath when he’s asked if he thinks she’s still alive. His superior angrily asks what he’ll do if she turns out to be dead, but Tae-young says he’ll do what he has to do, whether she’s dead or alive. He states firmly that it’s his job to make sure the law is never used for the wrong reasons. Aww, I like him.
Bong-hee is questioned by Investigator Oh, and her statements are recorded on camera. She confirms that she remembers that the plane crashed, and only she and Joon-oh survived. In his earpiece, Chairwoman Jo tells Investigator Oh not to believe everything Bong-hee says and to keep asking questions.
Investigator Oh asks Bong-hee how she felt when she realized she was on a deserted island. She touches the infinity necklace as she states softly that she knows he doesn’t believe her, and agrees that it seems strange that part of her memory came back so suddenly.
She says that she knows it’s strange that she survived, just like she knows they think she may be lying. She admits that she doesn’t know what happened to everyone, but promises to tell them everything she remembers as best she can. Bong-hee looks directly into the camera and says that she doesn’t know if the others are still alive, but she begs whoever is listening to go and save them. If they promise that, she swears she’ll do everything she can to remember.
Investigator Oh brings Bong-hee some medicine, saying that it’s for meningitis and may help her regain her memories. Bong-hee takes it and says that the fact that people died tortures her. We see her on the island, watching Joon-oh as he cries, and she offers him a package of cookies. He takes them, but then gives them right back to her.
In the interrogation room, Bong-hee says that at times she felt grateful to be alive, but other days, her drive to live made her feel desperate. Once a ship had shown up on the horizon, and Joon-oh and Bong-hee had tried everything they could to get its attention. Bong-hee had even tried to swim to the ship, but it soon sailed out of sight without ever seeing them.
She and Joon-oh had done what they could to survive, though Joon-oh’s efforts weren’t very helpful. As time goes on, Bong-hee remembers more and more, and she recalls a day when she and Joon-oh finally found a reason to hope.
They had located a rock with the words “Alden is here” scratched on it, with tick marks denoting the twenty-five days the person spent on the island. They had taken this to mean that Alden was rescued after less than a month, and celebrated exuberantly.
Investigator Oh asks if they thought to look for other survivors, and Bong-hee says that they tried, but they didn’t find anyone. Directed by Chairwoman Jo, Investigator Oh asks how Bong-hee survived for four months.
Bong-hee explains that where there are no people, there is also no light.
Again we go back to the island, where Joon-oh is super impressed with Bong-hee’s ability to make rope from tree fibers. They put together a rough shelter, if by “they,” you mean that Bong-hee builds the shelter and Joon-oh pretends to help.
Bong-hee even manages to rig a water tap in some plants, giving them a reliable source of hydration. Ha, it’s a slow drip, and Joon-oh quips cheerfully that they’ll have water to drink next year. He tries to snag some extra food by saying that they’ll probably only be here a few more days, but Bong-hee’s dry “Put it down” stops him in his tracks.
Since Bong-hee’s statements prove to be consistent over several days of questioning, Chairwoman Jo has her team notify China. They learn that there are almost a hundred and fifty islands near where Bong-hee washed ashore, and that ninety-seven of them are uninhabited.
Chairwoman Jo flusters the official when she asks how long it will take to search that many islands. He nervously says that even with adequate funding, it will take at least three months.
Chairwoman Jo sighs that she’s going to be fired, and tells Investigator Oh to make sure that no reporters get near Bong-hee. The public doesn’t know about her memory loss, and if it gets out, there will be big trouble.
Tae-young gets a call from Prosecutor Jo, and he bolts upright when he hears that his sister has been found. Prosecutor Jo tells him that she was found in the same area as Bong-hee, then says that he’s sorry. Oh no — she’s dead, isn’t she?
Bong-hee watches her mother diving for seafood, and remembers more of her time on the island. She brings Joon-hee some food (it’s a pathetically small amount) as he refreshes the “help” sign she made on the beach with palm fronds. Joon-oh asks for more, but she refuses him.
Later he lies in their shelter, gazing longingly at their dwindling food supply. He falls asleep and dreams that he’s on a tropical beach, where an attendant tells him that his barbecue is ready. Joon-oh works his way down the impressive spread of food, stuffing his face and squealing with happiness.
One of the attendants gets a little close with her palm frond, whacking him in the face with it, and he’s startled to realize that it’s Bong-hee. She hollers at him for eating so much, hitting him over and over, and Joon-oh wakes up.
Bong-hee really is screaming at him, because he’s eaten almost all of their food in his sleep. Oh dear. Joon-oh is as horrified as Bong-hee, and he loudly insists that he was dreaming and didn’t mean to eat for real.
Bong-hee really lets him have it, until Joon-oh yells HEY! and reminds her who she’s talking to. He actually threatens to fire her, and Bong-hee shrinks back. Joon-oh admits he ate all the food, so Bong-hee says that they’ll just have to catch some.
She tells Joon-oh to start a fire, then draws on her experience as a diver to jump in the ocean and catch some dinner. Joon-oh fumbles and fails to light the fire, but he’s inspired when Bong-hee drops an armful of mussels next to him and goes back out for fish.
Bong-hee is pretty successful at chucking heavy stones at fish to stun them before flipping them onto the beach. Joon-oh manages to get a spark going, then he freaks out when it flares and stomps it out again. HAHA, he’s killing me.
Bong-hee has to start the fire, and Joon-oh asks how she knows how to do all this. She says she doesn’t know that much, it just seems that way when compared to him. She cooks up the fish and offers one to Joon-oh, but he mutters that he can’t debone fish.
Bong-hee has to do this for him too (since he threatens to fire her again), but the wonderful taste of fish seasoned with hunger makes them forget all about their mutual annoyance. They feast, feeding each other fish and finally getting along.
That night, something wakes Bong-hee, and she shakes Joon-oh awake. They follow the sound into the woods, and come across something moving through the underbrush. It scares them, and Joon-oh grabs a rock just in case, then suddenly the thing lunges out of the brush at them.
Joon-oh screams in terror, and the thing comes even closer and collapses. Joon-oh realizes that it’s Yeol, his old Dreamers bandmate, and rushes to his side. They take Yeol back to their shelter, and work together to fashion a splint for Yeol’s injured arm. Bong-hee notices the care and concern with which Joon-oh nurses Yeol, and smiles a little.
Eventually Yeol rouses and joins Bong-hee by the fire. She’s made him a rudimentary fish porridge, which he nearly chokes on when she asks how he’s not dead. Yeol tells her that he woke up on the beach after the crash, and that he’d waited for a few days, assuming he was the only survivor and thinking a rescue team would find him. Then last night, he saw a light — Bong-hee’s campfire.
Yeol asks if Bong-hee thinks they’ll be rescued, and she excitedly tells him about the “Alden was here” note on the rock. She says she thinks they’ll be rescued like Alden was, but Yeol’s face falls.
Bong-hee asks why he’s upset, and Yeol answers, “I saw him.” When he was alone, he’d come across a very old shelter in the woods with a skeleton sitting inside. Around the skeleton’s neck was a medallion that said No day but today on one side, and J. Alden on the other. Yeol adds that if anyone ever came here, they would have taken Alden’s body.
Joon-oh wakes from his nap and joins them at the fire, and it takes him a minute to notice the stricken look on Bong-hee’s face. He thinks she’s upset that he asked her to catch more fish and threatens to fire her again, and she finally explodes.
“Go ahead and fire me, you bastard,” she growls at him. She yells that he can fire her all he wants when they get off this island, then says it will never happen, because they’re never getting rescued. She attacks Joon-oh, hitting him and pulling his hair, while Yeol tries to separate them.
Yeol finally gets their attention, and points out a light in the distance. Bong-hee thinks it’s someone come to rescue them and runs off, but Yeol tells Joon-oh that it’s probably another survivor. Joon-oh takes a moment to make a torch out of some fabric and a long branch, and gets separated from the others.
We see that the light is caused by someone holding up a cell phone, but the phone’s battery soon dies. It’s discarded and its owner runs through the woods, while Bong-hee and Yeol try search for the source of the light. Yeol suggests they split up, so Bong-hee continues on alone. Before she gets far, she falls into a sinkhole, and Yeol hears her shriek and runs back.
Bong-hee is in trouble, and she struggles to grab onto something before she sinks under the surface of the quicksand. A hand reaches down and grabs her arm, and she looks up in surprise to see Joon-oh, who gripes at her for being careless before pulling her from the muck.
In the present, Investigator Oh asks Bong-hee why she ran towards the light so recklessly. After a long pause, she says that it wasn’t to help any potential survivors, but that she went there to get help. She thought that if there was anyone on the island, their situation would be better than hers.
After pulling Bong-hee from the sinkhole, Joon-oh lowers his torch so she can get warm as they walk (though he nearly sets her on fire, ha). Bong-hee thanks him for saving her, and he says she’d have done the same. Yeol rejoins them and fusses over Bong-hee, and is that a little flash of jealousy I see on Joon-oh’s face?
Investigator Oh pressures Bong-hee to remember the survivor, but instead she sees what looks like two women fighting, then one falling from a high cliff. She tries again to see the survivor’s face, but she has to admit that she can’t remember.
We’re taken back to the island as Yeol, Joon-oh, and Bong-hee turn around to see actress Ji-ah standing behind them. She bursts into tears and collapses to her knees, as Yeol hugs her, relieved. Joon-oh asks Ji-ah if she’s been alone this whole time, and she tells them there’s someone else.
In present-day China, Tae-young visits the morgue where his sister’s body is being held. He’s told that they found her by the ocean, but that she wasn’t killed by the plane crash. In the mortician’s opinion, it looks as if she was murdered.
On the island, Ji-ah takes the others to a secluded area, explaining that the person she’s with has been acting strange. They’re anxious, they barely eat, and they even tried to kill themselves a few days ago.
Back in the present, Tae-young fights back tears as he slowly pulls the sheet from his sister’s face. The two events start to converge on each other as, on the island, the castaways find a person huddled in a tiny ball. Tae-young and Joon-oh both reach out a shaking hand to touch the person’s hair.
The person raises her head, and at the same time, we see the face of Tae-young’s dead sister. In both timelines, it’s the young actress, So-hee.
In the present, Bong-hee undergoes an MRI, as the doctors are concerned that there’s no medical reason for her continued memory loss. Investigator Oh asks if they think she might be pretending not to remember.
What a punch in the gut. I knew that our castaways wouldn’t all get out alive, but I wasn’t prepared for any deaths to be revealed so soon. So-hee is the first casualty of the island that we know of, but we also know that she didn’t die in the plane crash and that her death looks like murder, though we also know that she was suicidal. Aside from the group finding her and Ji-ah, she’s been in a few of Bong-hee’s shorter flashes of memory – I’m pretty sure she’s the person Bong-hee slapped in one recollection. It’s shocking to have a death reveal at this juncture, but the writing is so tight and purposeful, so I’m sure there’s a good narrative reason for it. Seeing as how she’s the sister of a current-time major player, and that there’s some foul play involved in her death, I have a feeling that her brother’s desire for answers will serve to drive some of the plot in the present timeline.
I really appreciate how the show uses parallel scenes to underscore character growth, particularly between Joon-oh and Bong-hee, and I hope we see a lot more of that. For example, we saw the way Joon-oh rejected Bong-hee’s repeated clothing choices in Episode 1, but in Episode 2, he’s grateful for the seafood she brings to him. Also, in the first episode, he topped off a hissy fit by stuffing his face with food, as if he’s never known how it feels to be hungry. But when he tried that with their limited stock of food, Bong-hee gave him a very firm reminder that he’s not the only one he should be thinking about, and that once this food is gone, it’s really gone.
My favorite of these moments was the one where, in the first episode, there’s a scene in which Joon-oh held his hand out as Bong-hee sat in the sand in front of him. She needed his help in that moment, but he was really only selfishly demanding keys. But on the island, the moment when he grasped her hand when she was stuck in the sinkhole used almost the same positioning and camera angles, only this time, Joon-oh was Bong-hee’s savior. Again she needed his help, and he stepped up to the plate. It’s a clever way to show us that Joon-oh is capable of more than it seems, and that Bong-hee can now rely on him to be there when it counts.
Bong-hee also really stepped up in this episode, as she used her survival skills from being a diver to find food, make a shelter, and start a fire. She literally saved Joon-oh’s life several times, first by pulling him from the ocean, then by making sure he had food and shelter. I loved how she stopped cowering in front of Joon-oh and actually took charge several times, and even better is the respect you could see in his eyes as he realized that she’s a lot stronger and smarter than he originally thought. He even deferred to her a few times, obeyed her orders, and listened when she told him how to do something. I like how their relationship is evolving from boss/employee to something more like comrades-in-arms, and based on one of Bong-hee’s memories, it looks like they’ll grow even closer.
On a completely different note, there’s been a lot of speculation about the monotone color scheme of the show since well before it aired, and after seeing two episodes, I think I have a viable theory. The fact that everyone in the crash wears the same colors is too obvious to be coincidence — I mean, nine people all wearing the same beige clothing? I think not. But I’ve noticed that there’s plenty of bright color in the scenes set in the present. Bong-hee wears cheerful yellow, red, blue, and colorful prints in her interviews, and she even washed up on the beach in China in a yellow sweatshirt. It feels as though the bland color palette is, at the very least, there to denote when we’re experiencing Bong-hee’s memories — it’s entirely possible that the castaways weren’t actually wearing all earth tones, but it’s just that Bong-hee doesn’t remember what they were wearing, so we see her memories in sepia tones. But there could also be a deeper meaning for the drastic difference in color schemes between the past and the present, though my theory on that is still too far-fetched at this point to go into. I’ll just say that I think everything that happens in this show happens for a reason, and that absolutely nothing is an accident.