Detention (2020) – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

Who Am I?

Episode 2 of Detention begins with Yun’s teacher, Ms Chao, phoning Yun’s home and exhibiting concerns about Yun’s behaviour at school. After packing up her things, she begins to leave the building but finds herself drawn toward the Hancui Building. It’s unknown exactly why but she shows up and believes students are lurking around.

A door creaks, prompting Yun to investigate but finding nothing. Now that scene from before, with Chao grabbed and pulled inside the closet, is given more context. While caught inside, ominous banging outside sees her thrust back through time to the earlier time period of martial law in episode 1. As officers open the door, the teacher is thrown back to the present. She clutches her legs in agony as sickening crunches signify her bones being broken and severed.

The next day, Inspector Pai is there to pick up the conduct left behind by an incapacitated Chao. Only, when she’s wheeled across on a stretcher, Yun locks eyes with her and remembers moments from the previous night involving Fang’s ghost asking for help.

Yun’s mother questions whether she’s still seeing strange things but she lies, telling her not for a long time. On the back of this, the Principal and Inspector Pai discuss the current situation at school and how things are bleeding out again. Needing to stop this before it’s too late, they contemplate bringing the Cheng family in to perform the ritual. Pai meanwhile, wants to whip Class 2-1 into shape instead.

A new teacher called Shen Hua arrives in Ms Chao’s stead and he’s a very different flavour compared to what they’ve had before. Relaxed and determined to teach the kids to push beyond the parameters laid before them, she makes Yun stand and remove her Devil tag.

He promises the Devil tags will be gone and things seem to be looking up for them. The students can only sit and watch in awe at this completely different style of teaching.

Yun however, continues to struggle to keep her grip on reality. She even sees flashes of a student taunting and telling her “you’re a ghost.” After class , Yun heads up to see Wen, believing she can trust him given they both witnessed Li’s death.

It’s clear that Yun is having a hard time, so Wen invites her along with a group of fellow students to Hancui Building again. He hands over a slip of paper and, with the time nearing, they head into the building while trying to keep their emotions in check. Wen whispers reassurance to Yun and tells her that this night, he’s the one moving the game pieces.

With candles lit, the students join in a circle and begin calling for the spirits to show up before them with a makeshift Ouija board. As the pencil moves and calls out for help, Yun suddenly begins convulsing  on the floor while the pencil on the table begins circling frantically around a word.

Yun awakens to find herself in a strange world where flashes of the past bleed through. We see Yun at home with her Mother and Father, happy and laughing while eating dinner. As the camera pans over the picture on the wall, the students manage to awaken Yun as she returns to reality.

Wen is relieved and asks whether she wants to go to the Temple to be certain she’s safe. Yun refuses, telling him she’ll be fine as she heads home where Shen Hua happens to be. He hands over a plant called a Rui, which wards off evil spirits, as a gift. This brings back more flashes to the past where a similar incident occurred in Yun’s past too. The letter on the plant has a nice message telling her they’ll read poems at school together.

Wen meanwhile, organizes the students and teachers together to perform this ghostly ritual. With his Father there to supervise, they begin reciting the words and blowing horns while Yun heads off to the Hancui Building. There, she begins seeing various images of marching students and spirits.

Breathing heavily, she bursts into a classroom and shuts the door behind her. The piano begins playing by itself as spots of blood appear before her. Unfortunately the ritual isn’t completed and as Wen and his Father feed this back to the Principal, they promise not to repeat that mistake again.

After her horrific encounter at school, Yun heads back home and makes breakfast for her Mother before writing her essay; a beautiful poem about two halves of someone. On the back of this, she’s then invited along to the poetry club. Things have changed for Yun and as she looks in the mirror later that day she stares back at the image of Fang who smiles warmly at her while watching over her shoulder.

The Episode Review

After establishing the tone and atmosphere last episode, Detention really leans into its ghostly ideas as more flashbacks to the past are revealed. The marching students, the hiding in the closet and the various commanding officers barking orders all feed back into those dark moments in Taiwan’s past. This works really well to give more meaning to what’s happening, although it’s still unclear exactly how this feeds into Yun’s ability to see ghosts.

Still, the various scenes are well shot and although a couple of character actions are a little contrived (why was Chao so late at school and head off to Hancui alone?)  for the most part the show works well to really heighten the horror and tension that bleeds through this one.

With a shorter episode this time, the cliffhanger at the end seems to hint toward Fang doing her best to try and possess Yun while she fights it off. This is still just a theory though so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

For now though, Detention starts off on a pretty good note and it’ll be interesting to see what direction the show takes next.


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