The Season finale of The I-Land begins with Chase awakening to the psychiatrist telling Chase she’s been exonerated for her crimes, thanks in part to her husband’s confession. Her husband, of course, being Cooper. Bonnie and Clyde were rogue agents messing with the game and for now, she’s off Death Row and a free woman. As the Warden approaches her cell, he’s warned against antagonizing Chase.
Despite being weary about leaving, Chase agrees to follow the guards, where she learns her last name was Chase and that her actual name is Gabriela. As she discusses her feelings toward the simulation, she’s brought before the Warden who tries to nonchalantly wave away his behaviour earlier before telling her there’s nothing for her out in the real world. He admits to trying to sabotage the program because of how horrible the rest of the inmates are and it’s here he tries to make a bargain with her, telling her not to mention him or the sabotage. However, she offers a counter-deal – to break Cooper free of the experiment too so she can tell him how she feels.
Bonnie and Clyde are faced with jail-time but despite being told they could give up an official in exchange for going free, the Warden watches them like a hawk and they refuse to play ball, telling them it was their own plan.
Meanwhile Chase is debriefed whilst being asked more about the gun and the number 39. It turns out 39 is the number of steps from the end of the cell block to the electric chair. It’s a sadistic reveal and it prompts Chase to bite back against the morality of the entire experiment. The Warden chirps up at this point and agrees with her, only to see them recess as the talk turns to that of Bonnie and Clyde and their possible boss.
As they take a short break, the Warden manages to take Chase away, but the psychiatrist catches him in the act. With him now investigated for the murders inside the game, Chase tells them the truth about the Warden, who openly admits what he did and that the cannibal was “a pretty great idea”. Breaking down the veil around them, the Warden tells Chase that Dr. Wyss is hiding the truth from her, which prompts her to ask the psychiatrist outright what it means later on after the tense encounter. As it happens, everything around them is true except for her own appearance, which happens to be a lie.
As she’s injected with something in the back of her head, Chase’s appearance changes to an older and visibly aged version of herself. She’s been in prison 25 years and her younger persona is simply an avatar. When you arrive on the island, you do so the year you were imprisoned. As she deliberates over this shocking reveal, it’s worth pointing out that an innocent woman spent 25 years in prison.
We now see Chase as her true self, taken outside where she finds the world has changed completely. As she heads out the prison, she finds a futuristic world in the distance. A lot sure has changed in 25 years unless the series itself took place some time in the future. Meanwhile, the Warden awakens on the island to find K.C .and Cooper, who welcome him to One-Land.
The I-Land has been a series of two halves. On the one hand, I’ve quite enjoyed the story and the mystery has played out nicely, leaving plenty of questions answered and a relatively satisfying ending in its wake. Having said that, the acting has been questionable to say the least and the series itself has lacked any sort of empathetic characters to really get behind. Even this late on, when Chase sees herself as the old woman she is, there’s not much in the way of emotional depth from someone whose just found out she’s been in prison for 25 years for something she didn’t do.
If there is a second season, I’d like to see Chase hiring a lawyer and suing the prison, possibly with the weight of the government on her back following the experimental procedures. The series has certainly had its ups and downs but depending on how well (or badly) this is received by the audience will probably determine whether this is renewed for a second season. In a way, The I-Land proves that you just cannot emulate LOST’s success, no matter how much you try to differentiate yourself from a similar premise. The ending is okay, as are the explanations around the island itself, but there’s just not enough to help this shake off LOST’s illustrious shadow.