I’m Not a Robot: Episodes 19-20
Though the heartbreak is far from over, Min-kyu and Jia make an effort to move on with their lives. They have work to do, people to see, and new opportunities to grasp. But the bond they created has left a serious scar on their hearts, and it’s going to take a lot of distractions to get it off their minds.
EPISODE 19: “I will recognize you at first sight…”
We rewind a bit, just after Dr. Oh’s horrifying discovery of patient Johnny’s death. Jia and the Santa Maria team carry dark expressions as they realize what they must do. Aji-3 identifies their expressions as “sadness,” to which Jia explains that they have to lie to their friend. Aji-3 responds that lying is bad and that this friend will misunderstand, ultimately causing Jia more sadness.
“No,” Jia says with a small smile. “I’ll be happy. As long as that friend lives well.” She turns to Baek-gyun and asks that he allow her to go to work one last time. With that, she gears up in her body armor and dress, with Pi fitting her wig for the last time. Pi says that she’s sorry, and Jia notes that she’s dropping her speech now that they’re parting ways.
Min-kyu finds Jia waiting for him in the house, and despite the solemn atmosphere, they smile at each other. Min-kyu orders her into Friend Mode, and he’s happy to hear her greet him warmly.
He apologizes for being so mean to her before and suggests that they go out for some air. He sets a timer on his watch for three hours, saying they’ll have to get back before her battery runs out.
Their first stop is Min-kyu’s old elementary school, where they watch some of the kids play outside. Min-kyu thinks back to his last day in school, when his classmates had bumped into him, only to jump back with disgust at the sight of his allergic reaction.
Min-kyu says that he knows she didn’t believe him, but he truly had this allergy. And thanks to her, he continues, he was cured.
He then leads her elsewhere, and as they cross the street, he reveals that when he’d gone out yesterday, everyone looked like trees to him. It was almost like he was walking through the forest; they didn’t seem so scary anymore.
He says that that was the moment he’d decided he wouldn’t return to the way he lived in the past. Jia looks up at him and pats him on the head, calling him lovable. He smiles and gives her a good pat on the head as well, saying, “You’re more lovable.” Dawww.
It starts to snow, making Min-kyu and Jia’s faces light up. Min-kyu then takes off his jacket and wraps it around Jia so she won’t shut down from the cold. She jokingly asks if he’s just worried he’ll have to carry her if she shuts down, and he doesn’t deny it, heh.
They reach their next stop, the library, and Jia picks up a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. She tells Min-kyu it’s a story about a toy rabbit that wishes to be real, and Min-kyu asks if that wish comes true. She says that it does, but the rabbit’s owner is unable to recognize it when they meet again.
I would recognize you at first sight
Min-kyu deflates at that, but he reassures her (and himself) that if Jia were ever to become human, he would recognize her right away. The smiles return to their faces, though they immediately disappear when Min-kyu’s watch goes off.
They return to the mansion and face each other one last time. Min-kyu tells her that the things he showed her today are parts of the everyday life she gave back to him after 15 years. He thanks her for being so many things to him, including his friend and his cure, and apologizes again.
Jia struggles to hold back her tears as she expresses how thankful and sorry she is too. She only hopes that he can be happy. Min-kyu stares at her, and as a tear falls, he closes the distance between them and leans in to kiss her.
However, he stops when his watch goes off again. With a heavy sigh, he steps back and orders Jia to go into Operation Mode. He says that he’s going to reset her, accepting her warning that all data will be erased. Still struggling to keep her composure, Jia instructs him to press the button on her neck.
To Jia’s surprise, Min-kyu removes the necklace from his neck and fastens it around hers. He then embraces her and hits the button before inputting his final message: “I love you.” As Jia starts the countdown to the reset, Min-kyu succumbs to his tears and holds her tighter. Once she reaches “One,” she finally lets a tear fall.
Back in the lab, the real Aji-3 reports that Min-kyu’s folder has been deleted.
That night, Min-kyu and Jia cry themselves to sleep in their respective homes. Jia cries so much that she falls ill the following morning; she’s taken to the hospital due to severe dehydration, and there we see that she is still wearing Min-kyu’s necklace.
Meanwhile, Min-kyu wakes up and reflexively calls for Aji-3 before stopping himself. (Just when I thought my heart couldn’t break any more.) Everything around him just triggers memories of Jia, so he packs up all of her stuff, including the sign he’d made for her room.
He then readies for work, telling himself that he should heed Jia’s words and be happy. He forces a smile and takes off, leaving his baton and gloves behind.
He arrives to KM Financial, looking eager to start anew, when he overhears some employees badmouthing him. He makes his presence known, making everyone around him jump. As he goes on his way, every employee hilariously flees, shocked to see him unannounced.
He finds Jin-bae—who’s just as shocked—eating his lunch alone and sits down to join him. Jin-bae explains that no one eats with him since he works for Min-kyu (ouch). Min-kyu doesn’t take it to heart; instead, he asks that Jin-bae send some documents to his office.
Outside the building, the bumbling duo Brains and Curly are still fretting over how they’re going to get paid after all the work they’ve done. Brains believes they’ll have to get the money from KM Financial’s CEO.
Min-kyu and Jin-bae have been looking over all of the documents regarding Santa Maria, when Jin-bae hesitantly asks if the Aji-3 test has finished. Min-kyu avoids the question and changes the subject to Jang Doo-sam.
Just then, Min-kyu receives a message from Madame X about Chairman Hwang’s accumulation of shares. He tells Jin-bae that Chairman Hwang will be holding a board of directors meeting soon, most likely to dismiss Min-kyu. They’ll have to dismiss the chairman before that happens, and since they can’t get in contact with Jang Doo-sam, a Plan B is in order.
The two spend days looking over all the documents, with Jin-bae having to send Min-kyu home after staying past 1 a.m.
When Min-kyu gets home, he’s confused to see that all the lights are already on. He runs inside, taken aback to see the Santa Maria team in the kitchen, preparing porridge for him. (Oh, this is just the sweetest thing.) The team plops the bowl of food in front of him, but after one bite, Min-kyu whines that it doesn’t taste good. Baek-gyun tries to snatch the bowl back, but Min-kyu insists he’ll still eat it since they worked so hard.
Baek-gyun watches him eat, thinking back to his goodbye with Jia. He’d told her that the team would be leaving as well, and that’d truly worried her. “Then, he’ll be alone again,” she’d said. “You made him depend on Santa Maria. You made him trust you. Then, take responsibility. Protect him, support him, and help him endure everything. Don’t make him lonely.”
With Jia’s favor in mind, Baek-gyun suggests they play a game. Min-kyu just looks at the team, thinking they’re crazy for wanting to play at 2 a.m.
Cut to: Baek-gyun leading a game of Red Light, Green Light. Okay, I was wrong. This is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.
Min-kyu questions why they’re doing this so late at night, but soon, he’s enjoying himself. He’s even excited when it’s his turn to lead, but when he whirls around, he imagines Jia as Aji-3 standing there instead of the Santa Maria team.
Seeing Jia there seems to seep all of the joy from his face, which Baek-gyun can’t help but notice. Min-kyu carries on with the game, but by the end of the night, he’s clearly emotionally drained.
With the team now gone, Min-kyu readies for bed. He has trouble falling asleep when he gets an idea. He gets up, and after some contemplation, he calls his one other friend—President Jo/Jia.
Still in her hospital bed, Jia picks up the phone without looking at the ID. But as soon as she hears and recognizes Min-kyu’s voice, the emotions come flooding back and she’s in tears.
EPISODE 20: “You’re gone… I can never find you again”
Min-kyu is calling Jia to propose another purchase, only to stop when Jia doesn’t respond. She tries her best to steady her voice, asking if she’s just supposed to entertain him when he’s bored.
Min-kyu actually smiles and says that he’ll be a regular customer, so she should take care of him. Jia says that he should call a friend if he’s bored, to which he responds, “My best friend went somewhere far away.”
That provokes another round of tears for Jia, and she struggles to speak as she lies that she’s going somewhere far away too.
Min-kyu panics, asking who he’s supposed to talk to then, and Jia simply tells him that she isn’t a proxy buyer anymore and that he shouldn’t call again. Before he can answer, she quickly hangs up so she can sob freely. Just outside, Baek-gyun stands by her door and silently listens to her cry.
Back at the mansion, Min-kyu sighs after his failed attempt for a distraction and looks up at his heart-shaped book display. He decides to head over to Butler Sung’s part of the estate, and he asks that they switch bedrooms for tonight since he can’t fall asleep. Butler Sung sweetly tucks him in and even lights a candle, saying Min-kyu’s father would do the same when he had trouble sleeping.
The next day, Jia tells Hong-joo and Dong-hyun that she’ll be going on a working holiday in Australia to gain some experience and new ideas. They wish she wouldn’t go like this, but Jia insists that it’ll only be for a year. For the time being, she’ll hold a part-time job to pay for the plane ticket.
However, when Jia tries to leave, her scooter won’t start. And like clockwork, Baek-gyun appears with a toolbox. He says that her scooter appeared in his dream and that it asked for his god-like hands to come and fix it, lol. Jia looks at him incredulously, but lets him do his work.
Once the scooter is up and running again, Jia turns serious and tells him not to come back again. Baek-gyun merely smiles and says that he’s taking responsibility for what he’s done, just like she said. With that, they part ways.
Min-kyu is driving to work, a warning from Jin-bae weighing on his mind: As expected, Chairman Hwang is holding a meeting to suggest Min-gyu’s dismissal. A voice then tells him to lighten up a bit, and he turns to see Aji-3 sitting right next to him. But this imaginary Aji-3 only frustrates him more, so he tells her to disappear.
He stops at a light, and just off to the side is Jia selling some knitted hats at a stand. He turns to look in her direction, but a few customers block his view of her. Without another thought, he drives off.
Jia makes a sale after a couple finds one hat pretty. When the couple leaves, Jia imagines Min-kyu step up to the stand and tell her, “You’re prettier,” with a smile. She looks up at him lovingly until the figure disappears and is replaced with another customer. The customer notes how sad she looks and offers to make a huge purchase. And when Jia isn’t looking, the customer smiles at someone watching from afar: Baek-gyun. Well, aren’t you a sweetheart.
Baek-gyun returns to the lab and tells the real Aji-3 that he’ll be making her into a handsome man soon. Aji-3 thanks him and asks that he make her a “super totally amazing man.” The team looks at the robot curiously, and Baek-gyun realizes that she sounds a lot like Min-kyu. Pi confirms that all of Min-kyu’s files were deleted, making Baek-gyun wonder how Aji-3 picked up that vocabulary.
In KM Financial, Chairman Hwang informs Yoo-chul that Min-kyu is sure to be dismissed after the meeting he’s planned. And after that, he’ll make sure Yoo-chul is made chairman. However, Yoo-chul is far from pleased; he tells his father that he intended to take care of this himself.
Chairman Hwang says that Yoo-chul should just accept the help gratefully—he can even get Ri-el for him. Yoo-chul blows up, yelling at Chairman Hwang to just stop, before storming out.
But Yoo-chul hangs back to eavesdrop, just long enough to hear Chairman Hwang say that they must deal with Jang Doo-sam before he mentions the death of Chairman Park Sung-jin. More importantly, they can’t let him run into Min-kyu.
As we speak, Min-kyu is sitting in a café, waiting for Jang Doo-sam to show up. Across the room, Jang Doo-sam is watching him. He calls Min-kyu to make sure he came alone, but he panics when he spots a shady man enter the café. He hastily says that he’ll have to rethink their talk before hanging up and making a quick escape.
With Plan A out the window, Min-kyu and Jin-bae agree that going with a Plan B is their only option. Min-kyu sends a message to Madame X just as he receives a text from Ri-el, reminding him that they have an appointment.
Jia takes up a job delivering packages, content with the fact that the hard work keeps her mind off of things. She’s dropping off a package at a wedding dress shop when she turns and recognizes Min-kyu sitting in the showroom. She immediately shields her face, but her hands fall to her sides as she realizes who Min-kyu is waiting for.
Ri-el comes out of the dressing room, sporting an extravagant wedding dress. She asks Min-kyu if she likes this one better than the previous one, and he distractedly answers that they’re all pretty.
As Ri-el pouts that that’s a rather half-hearted answer, Jia urges the shop clerk to sign for the package quickly so she can leave. She hightails it out of there before Min-kyu can take notice of her.
Ri-el returns to her dressing room, looking more glum than usual. She imagines what it would be like if Yoo-chul were here, knowing he would say something like, “I like the third one. Because your neckline is pretty.” Damn, I’m feeling for everyone today.
On her way back from work, Jia’s eyes glisten with tears as she quietly tells herself that Min-kyu looks good these days. “Good for you,” she says. “It turned out well.”
Soon, the meeting Chairman Hwang organized arrives. They call Min-kyu in to discuss his dismissal, and it looks like the chairman has quite a few people on his side. As the chairman and Ri-el’s father debate over Min-kyu’s position, Min-kyu glances over to Yoo-chul, who’s avoiding his gaze completely.
Min-kyu interrupts the discussion to ask who would take his place, and Chairman Hwang answers that it would, of course, be Yoo-chul. At that, Min-kyu smirks—the way he sees it, Yoo-chul is the one who will be dismissed. He says that within Daeyang Shipbuilding, there is a team called Santa Maria.
And that’s when the Santa Maria team comes strutting into KM Financial (looking totally badass). Jin-bae lets Baek-gyun and his team in, and Min-kyu introduces them as the very team that created the world’s first android robot.
Baek-gyun leads the group’s presentation and concludes the meeting. Later, Jin-bae informs Min-kyu that a few of Chairman Hwang’s followers have switched to their side. On top of that, they’re now considering Yoo-chul’s dismissal rather than Min-kyu’s.
Min-kyu doesn’t exactly seem happy, though; he thinks back to the conclusion of the meeting, when Yoo-chul claimed full responsibility of Daeyang Shipbuilding’s sale and resigned.
Everyone had filed out of the room, leaving Min-kyu alone with Yoo-chul. Yoo-chul had sarcastically praised him for dismissing him so easily, only to grow serious when he said, “But still, until the end, I tried my best not to let go of your hand.” Min-kyu had said, “No, you already let go of my hand, Yoo-chul-ah. Fifteen years ago, on that day.” They both recall the day Yoo-chul had urged Min-kyu to sign the papers that would release him of his assets.
Yoo-chul argued that he was just a kid at the time, but Min-kyu stated that Yoo-chul knew exactly what those forms meant and pretended not to this entire time. When Yoo-chul didn’t deny it, Min-kyu told him to continue playing dumb; after all, Chairman Hwang was his opponent. Yoo-chul had fumed, offended that Min-kyu didn’t even consider him worthy enough to be his opponent too.
Still fuming with anger, Yoo-chul cries out and destroys his nameplate. Ri-el hears about Yoo-chul’s dismissal from her father and rushes to his office, stopping at the door when she sees the mess he’s caused.
Elsewhere, Jia is working at a restaurant as another part-time job when it starts to snow. She looks up at the sky and holds out her hand, while Min-kyu does the exact same thing as he drives back from work.
Before going home, he stops by the library again to read The Velveteen Rabbit. He reads: “The next spring, the boy became healthy again and played in the forest. However, one rabbit kept looking at the boy. The boy mumbled, ‘Amazing. That rabbit looks exactly like the one I lost.’”
Min-kyu sighs, the weight of the story hitting him hard, and begins to cry.
Min-kyu returns home to find a package waiting for him. He opens it up and pulls out a note from Jia, saying she’s fulfilling her promise of sending her invention, along with the two heart lamps.
Wanting to try another test, he sets the two lamps apart and places a hand on the one in front of him. When the second lamp lights up, his imaginary Aji-3 appears before it yet again.
He stares at her, his eyes full of so much love and pain, until she inevitably disappears again. Then, all he can do is clutch his own heart and cry. However, a text from Baek-gyun makes his blood run cold—Baek-gyun is changing Aji-3’s face tonight. Min-kyu leaves the mansion, still in his house slippers, and makes a run for the lab.
Baek-gyun observes the new face, not yet attached to Aji-3. He remembers Pi saying they need more time to perfect it, but he figures it’s best for Min-kyu if they attach it now. Even Aji-3 agrees that he should fix his mistakes quickly. Baek-gyun smiles and reminds her that no matter what face she has, she is still Aji-3.
He then punches in the code to activate the switch. Just as the machine moves in to detach Aji-3’s face, Min-kyu bursts through the door and shouts, “No!”
Min-kyu begs Baek-gyun to leave Aji-3 the way she is—he wants to find her again. He says that he never should’ve reset her and that he’ll do whatever it takes to revive the Aji-3 he trained. Baek-gyun looks at him with pity, saying he should just give up.
“I want to see her,” Min-kyu says, desperate. “I want to meet her again. I miss her so much.” Baek-gyun just stares at Min-kyu as he cries, seeing that there’s no changing his mind.
The next thing we know, Min-kyu has the real Aji-3 in his mansion and is eager to regain her memories. He teases her with the cat mask, ecstatic to see that she has a similar reaction to the first time.
But he soon realizes that she doesn’t have the same reaction to everything. As a final test, he asks what she would do if he tried to sell her, and the robot responds matter-of-factly that he should reset her before selling her.
Eventually, Min-kyu sees that it might be a lost cause. He wonders what he has to do to get the old Aji-3 back. Aji-3 points out that Min-kyu isn’t his old self either, so there’s no way they could ever meet again that way. “Because the inputs are different,” she concludes. He looks up at her, all hope from before lost.
Some time later, Min-kyu arrives to the train station for a business trip. He takes note of a news broadcast about a meteor shower before boarding his train. A few steps behind him, Jia takes note of the news broadcast as well.
Min-kyu finds his row of seats empty, though there’s a (very familiar) suitcase already placed in the overhead bin. He gets up from his seat to make a phone call, and when he gets back, the suitcase’s owner is in her seat.
Min-kyu’s eyes widen to see Jia sitting right across from him (finally looking like herself!!). Jia turns to see him too, and they both stare at each other in complete shock.
Of all the trains in all the world
Best to get the negatives out of the way: Min-kyu and Jia were this close to running into each other so many times that it started driving me crazy. And if there’s one thing this drama succeeds at, it’s definitely driving me crazy. I liked the twist with Dr. Oh’s other patient, Johnny, especially since everyone’s fear of Min-kyu going into shock makes total sense within this world.
But after the constant clawing and gnashing these two episodes did to these characters’ hearts, I feel that the longer they keep Jia’s lie a secret, the more the shock of the reveal is sure to be. Knowing Min-kyu, the shock—and all the feelings of anger and betrayal that come with it—would only be temporary. Eventually, the relief would kick in. He’d be so happy to realize that the one person he so wanted to be real actually is real. But like Jia, I worry that the shock really could be fatal. His condition was clearly driven by a lot of hurt and anxiety, and this one lie could push him over the edge.
On top of that, these episodes didn’t give us, or the characters, much room to breathe. Min-kyu and Jia would get distracted with work, but the moment they stopped working, the hurt and loneliness would find them again. They’re moving on with their lives, as they should, but it’s clear that the pain their separation caused them will never go away. No matter how strong Min-kyu is, he was bound to break. And that’s what made his plea to Baek-gyun at the end so devastating. He can have his work, he can have his friends, but at the end of the day, he just wants the girl he loves back.
Still, no matter how much these episodes tore at my heart, they found some way to stitch it back together. The Santa Maria team was there for Min-kyu during his difficult time, and not just because Jia asked them to. They’ve become great friends, and the team doesn’t seem to like seeing Min-kyu so upset just as much as Jia. By resetting Jia, Min-kyu believes that he’s the only one who has to deal with the heartache. If only he knew Santa Maria hurts for this couple too. If only he knew that his precious Aji-3 was dealing with the same heartache.
Despite all the doom and gloom this reset has caused, it is a reset for a reason. It’s a new beginning. The chance to start anew. The old Min-kyu and the old Aji-3 may be gone, but with this encounter on the train, the new Min-kyu and the new Jia are given a chance of their own. I just hope they’re both willing to take it.
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