Island – K-Drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Episode 1 of Island opens with a couple visiting Jeju Island in order to take pre-wedding photos along with their photographer. The photographer tells them about the Dol Hareubang legend. Dol Hareubangs are large rock statues found on Jeju Island and are considered to be gods offering both protection and fertility. 

These statues were placed outside of gates for protection against demons travelling between realities. Just as the photographer is setting up his camera, the bride touches the nose of one of the statues in order for her to bear a son. Something sinister happens and the statue begins to crack and bleed. 

Both Dol Hareubang statues turn to dust and the couple is shocked. A demon enters the two. We also see a creepy insect crawling towards the photographer who wonders where the couple have gone. The photographer stomps on the insect and as soon as he turns around, the groom tries to kill him. 

Both the bride and the groom are now turned into monsters who have weird antlers growing off their body. Before the groom can kill the photographer however, a man attacks him with a magical sword from a distance. This man is Ban. 

At the same time, two Spanish priests notice a bloodstain on one of the monuments in the church and one asks the other to call Giovanni. Meanwhile, in the same church, Fr Giovanni is exorcising a woman with headphones on. The woman is possessed and tries to instigate Giovanni in a man’s voice calling him Chan-hyeok. 

The priest avoids the demon possessing the woman and speaks to her in Spanish promising to free her. He places a crucifix on her and smears the woman with holy water in an attempt to exorcise her. The priest intervenes in the exorcism and asks Giovanni to follow him. 

Giovanni gives his headphones to the priest and completes the exorcism on the woman with the other priest watching.  Giovanni meets the senior priest who tells him about the legend on the monument. The priest informs that the bloodstain was a sign that the demon world is endangering human life. 

He tells Giovanni that the monster killed the woman who was the island’s saviour and that the monster is still alive in human form. He asks Giovanni to go to the island and help the saviour who has been reincarnated as a woman another time. Giovanni agrees and leaves to go back to the island and look for the woman.

Wo Min-ho is the Chairman of the Daehan Group and takes the opportunity to mention Daehan Hotels during a minor argument with one of the press reporters who was at her art exhibition. When the reporter asks about the funds used for purchasing 100s of paintings, Min-ho claims that they were going to be used at the hotel which the reporter himself frequents.

Following that Min-ho is having dinner when her aunt, the owner of Daehan Hotel shows up. Her aunt argues with Min-ho about the ownership of the hotels. Min-ho shuts the woman down by stating that most of the shares of the hotel were owned by her father. She also claims that she is the only successor of CEO Won Tae-han and had every right to do what she pleased with her father’s hotel. Her aunt is pissed as she leaves. 

Later that night, Min-ho’s car is involved in an accident and the thugs from the car that caused it try to embarrass Min-ho’s secretary. Min-ho asks her secretary to apologise but they continue to argue with him. Min-ho ends up beating the man up while his friend takes a video of the incident and flees. 

The next morning, the video of Min-ho goes viral causing various negative news reports about her to be published online. Min-ho wonders if her aunt was behind all this but the woman argues that she wasn’t the one who caused this. She asks Min-ho to talk to CEO Won who was waiting for her.

Inside her father’s cabin, she tries to talk to CEO Won about the incident but the old man blames Min-ho for the company stocks falling. Her uncle, Butler Jang suggests that Min-ho should spend some time on the down low and hideout due to the scandal. Min-ho is against this and storms out of the room. She calls her secretary and asks him to look for the two men that caused the ruckus.

Butler Jang also tries to talk to Min-ho about the incident and asks her to go back to Jeju Island, the place where she used to study when she was younger. Min-ho reluctantly agrees to go back to Tamra High School. Even at the Jeju Airport, reporters follow her around trying to get photos of the businesswoman and Min-ho flees away using the private exit to the airport while her secretary stops the reporters.

As soon as she steps feet on Jeju Island, she senses something eerily sinister and so does a woman in the field, somewhere far away. Min-ho is in the parking lot trying to look for her car when she notices someone in a bride’s gown. It is the bride who was possessed by the demon and she stops eating the human in order to start chasing Min-ho.

After an intense chase between her and the monster, Min-ho distracts the demon off by unlocking her car and running in the opposite direction in an open tempo. The monster bride pokes a hole into the tempo and tries entering it but Ban rushes through and fights off the monster. 

Min-ho is shocked when she sees him but Ban rescues her after killing the monster bride. Min-ho suddenly feels the eerie sensation again and passes out. She woke up in her bed wondering who the man in the black suit was. Her secretary tells Min-ho that the tempo was destroyed and that did not catch any man in a black suit. Min-ho is impressed with the place that she is living in which looks like a fortress.

The next day, the same woman who felt the eerie sensation as soon as Min-ho stepped inside Jeju Island is talking to Ban. She asks Ban about Min-ho, claiming that she was the child who looked like “her”. Ban tells the woman that Min-ho had not recognised him and the woman assumes that “she” has not awoken yet. Ban claims that the lust demon had targeted Min-ho and the woman asks Ban to take the next step by welcoming Min-ho. 

A flashback takes the episode years back in time to Ancient Jeju when a younger Ban was the only child who survived by a demon massacre while his entire family was killed. Back then, Leader Jongryeong had taken Ban under his wing and raised him into becoming a demon slayer that killed the lust demon who was brutally killing humans.

Ban and the other surviving children were taught about the evil-spirited demon – the lust demon. Leader Jongryeong stabbed the demon monster with a sword and then used the same sword to inject some of its blood inside the kids. 

Out of all the children that were used for this experiment, Ban and Gong-tan became the only two that survived. They were trained not to live as humans anymore but as half-demons who were trained to become demon slayers. A young girl named Wonjeong had seen Ban being tortured as a child when he was forced into becoming a demon slayer.

Back in the present day, Min-ho visits Tamra High School and talks to the principal about helping out the school financially. She asks to meet the teachers but they are distant towards her due to her public reputation. One of the professors suggest that Min-ho should take up the position of the school’s guidance counsellor who had recently retired. 

Min-ho is more than happy to take up the responsibility despite not knowing anything about it. Min-ho goes to the counselling room and as it turns out, the professor who recommended Min-ho for the job is her childhood friend, Su-jin. The two friends catch up and Min-ho leaves to go back home after a while. 

She is pissed when she reads a news article about her aunt taking over her position of being Daehan Group’s Chairman now that she was on a break. She calls her dad about it but he asks her to go with it without making a scene. Min-ho states that she will let it pass until she is in Jeju and asks to go to the cafe to meet her friend, Su-jin. Min-ho gets a call from her informant who sends her some photos of Secretary Kang with her aunt.

She is shocked to learn that her aunt is the one who tried to malign her reputation with Secretary Kang’s help. Min-ho tells him that she was very disappointed in him because she treated him like he was her family. Secretary Kang further hurts Min-ho by saying that he was always against her. He warns Min-ho, stating that she should watch her back for what the future holds for her.

Min-ho leaves him with the car and asks to use it as his severance pay. She starts walking away in the other direction as she starts crying. Just then, a lust demon possesses Secretary Kang. Min-ho calls Butler Jang asking for a car to be sent to her location but the network seems too poor to connect.

Min-ho spots Secretary Kang and is initially relieved but suddenly realises that he is possessed. He knocks him out with a flying kick and starts running in the opposite direction. The monster follows and grabs her. Min-ho yells and Ban appears all of a sudden as he snaps the monster’s arm with his sword.

The Episode Review

We started watching this show for Cha Eunwoo but undoubtedly we’re going to stay for Lee Da-hee. I am sure we will have more Fr Giovanni (Cha Eunwoo) scenes in the episode to come and this one exorcism scene was really a treat to the eye. However, with that being said, I am pretty certain he will have to clash with Ban who is half demon himself.

I love the origin story of Ban and the show does a stellar job of establishing what happened to him in the first episode itself. We also learn that there was a girl named Wonjeong who cared for Ban but it cannot be determined if the woman herself was Min-ho or the “her” who was mentioned in Ban’s conversation with the villager.

With only six episodes of the show releasing in the first season, we can’t help but look forward to our weekly dose of two horror episodes every Friday. Regardless, despite the low number of episodes, fans will always be down for anything that includes Eunwoo, and this one looks like a tasty treat to get stuck into!

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You can read our full season review for Island here!


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