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I’m Not a Robot: Episodes 23-24

Forced proximity is always the revealer of hearts, and though Jia and Min-kyu’s long night shines a light on their feelings, will it change their choices? Will Jia stop running away, and will Min-kyu realize the truth about the girl he really loves? With secrets left to spill, we can only comfort ourselves by remembering that it’s always darkest before the dawn…

 
Episode 23: “The truth”

Jia calls out as she discovers that they’re locked in the boathouse, but the captain can’t hear her over his earmuffs. She promises Min-kyu that she’ll get them out of there right away, but is dismayed to find that she can’t get any cell reception. Just as she assures him that he can count on her, a mouse-like squeak sends her hopping fearfully into the cart.

Embarrassed, she pretends she got on to turn on the headlights. Min-kyu can’t help a smile, even as she tells him not to be afraid. Aww. But he cuts her heart right in half when he tells her he’s fine, since he’s used to being locked up and cold. Oof.

A stomach rumbles, and Jia blames it on Min-kyu until a second rumble makes her realize that it’s her. Ha! She explains apologetically that she pretty much hasn’t eaten all day.

Pi has no luck reaching Jia, and the snow falls steadily while Baek-gyun tries to fix the engine. He tries to send Pi back into the van so she doesn’t catch cold, adding that he can’t concentrate while she’s next to him. Pi retorts that he can’t concentrate because he’s tired, and says it wouldn’t kill him to take a break, but driving tired just might. Laughing, he concedes. Oh, you two.

Min-kyu follows Jia around the boathouse, carrying a torch for her (hee) while she looks for something to keep them warm. He balks at the pile of straw she finds, but he’s all concern when she gets a splinter in her finger. He holds her hand and slowly works it out, smiling as he finishes. Well now you’ve done it. If Jia weren’t already 600% in love with you, she definitely would be now.

Baek-gyun kips in the van as the snow continues around them. Pi quietly asks if he’s okay after finding out that Jia and Min-kyu have feelings for each other. He likens his feelings to how he thinks Min-kyu must have felt when he couldn’t find his Aji-3 again.

“I came to know why we broke up, and I wanted to make up for my past mistakes, but Jia is no longer who she was back then. And I’m no longer who I was then, either,” he reflects, adding that it’s something irrevocably over. Pi finds it a sad story, and Baek-gyun admits that it’s painful, “But it can’t compare to the pain the two of them are feeling.”

Pi turns on the radio to a song whose lyrics aptly urge them to look at the person right beside them. Baek-gyun eventually falls asleep, and Pi slips outside to work on fixing the engine herself, though her injured wrist makes it hard.

Meanwhile, Jia’s prepared a bed of straw for Min-kyu on a truck-bed. Still calling Jia “Hong-joo,” he notes there’s only room for one, and she thinks to herself that if she lies next to him, she’ll die because her heart will explode. Amen. But moments later, Min-kyu discovers a gas heater, along with a box of makgeolli and ramyun.

They set up a cozy table and Min-kyu teases Jia about her rumbling stomach. As she eats the dry ramyun and drinks the makgeolli, he gazes at her with soft eyes.

She asks him not to stare, and he explains that it’s amazing to him to see her feeling cold and hungry, and for them to be eating and drinking together, “Because right now, you’re doing everything I wanted to hear and see from Aji-3.”

Momentarily bereft of words, Jia finally says, “It’s because I’m a person.”

He’s thrilled to find out that they’re the same age and eagerly says that they should be friends. Jia tartly refuses (“Would you, if you were me?”) and also doesn’t want to know his name, but he tells her anyway (she’s been addressing him as “guest” so far). Aw, can we have this version of Min-kyu forever please?

He confesses that he likes everything about their current situation, once again leaving Jia lost for words. She figures his girlfriend wouldn’t be happy with what he just said, and he just gives her this long look. “I don’t have a girlfriend,” he replies, and Jia does everything in her power not to melt. I feel you, sister.

 
Watch here

You’re everything I wanted in Aji-3

 

The cart’s headlights go out, and Min-kyu marvels at how much the sea sounds like rain. He disarms Jia all over again when he tells her he has an unforgettable memory of his first kiss in the rain. Hugging his knees, he asks tentatively if he can talk to her a bit about Aji-3.

“I can’t really talk to anyone properly about her,” he tells her, “But I want to, with you…but if you don’t want me to, I won’t.”

After a long pause, she says that she’ll listen only if he promises to leave her alone after this night. He agrees.

She asks when Aji-3 started being special to him, and he tells her that it was from the very first day she arrived at his house. Animated, he recounts her reaction on first seeing him, and begins to unwind the whole story to Jia.

What would’ve happened if they’d confessed everything honestly then? asks Sun-hye in voiceover. We cut to her in the lab with Hok-tal and Ssan-ip, all of them a little drunk.

Ssan-ip argues that their bro Min-kyu could’ve died, but Sun-hye replies, “Isn’t it that you already decided that Min-kyu’s love for Jia and his affection for the Santa Maria team weren’t enough for him to have faith in your confession?”

She says that doctors operate even when there’s just a one percent chance of survival. “But not the family members,” says Hok-tal; no one can send their loved ones to a surgery with a one percent survival rate. “Our brother is family to us now,” he tells her.

An anxious call from Dr. Oh rouses Baek-gyun from his nap. He then notices that Pi’s gone and finds her outside, finishing up the repair job. Reproaching her for doing it herself, he gently wipes the grease clean from her hands.

He apologizes for not listening to her, but says he doesn’t regret staying at Min-kyu’s side. “You did the best you could, too,” she assures him.

Min-kyu finishes his story, right up to the reset and his final goodbye. Jia asks how he’s been doing since then, insisting that the story is incomplete otherwise.

Thinking, he replies that it was really hard at first, but then he started going clocking in and out of work every day “like a normal person.” He describes going to the movies and bookstores on his own, and Jia smiles to listen to him.

She tells him that if Aji-3 could see him now, she would tell him he how great he was doing. But Min-kyu, recalling what she said when she was comforting him after his dinner disaster, demurs: “This is what she would have said: ‘You tried your hardest.'”

Struggling to contain her feelings, Jia asks why he called himself a fool for resetting Aji-3. Min-kyu says that’s a secret but he’ll tell her if she’ll be his friend. “Because secrets between friends are bad,” he says, once again echoing what she said to him before as Aji-3.

Torn, she makes no reply, and he laughs because he finds her so cute. But he quickly catches himself and apologizes. “If you’re sorry, then tell me,” Jia says, seizing on the chance. Just then, the gas heater gives out, leaving them in semi-darkness.

He slowly tells her about trying to re-input everything into Aji-3 again after the reset, and how he failed to bring back the Aji-3 he knew: “My heart kept telling me, ‘Everything you feel is real.’ Afraid, I ignored those words, and so in the end, I’m receiving my punishment, right?”

Thanks to the darkness, he can’t see the tears that track down Jia’s face.

“After time passes, would those two people be able to go back to how they were?” Pi asks Baek-gyun. But Baek-gyun says that if there’s no way back now, it’ll be the same even after time passes. After Min-kyu trusted them all so implicitly, how could they untangle the situation now, he asks.

Changing the subject, he asks Pi about her great teaching offer, saying she should take it. But she’s happy where she is now, and cuts over him to say she’ll take care of it on her own and go when it’s time. He sighs over her stubbornness. Aww, Pi.

Dawn arrives and Min-kyu rues how fast the time passed. He realizes he’s been doing all the talking, and now asks Jia about herself and her family. He then asks who she misses the most, and Jia says it’s her father.

She describes her childhood of running around his garage, and his magic touch for fixing cars. She wanted to be just like him, doing what she was best at. Min-kyu smiles and says he can see it clearly, but Jia tells him regretfully that she didn’t have the talent to match her ideals.

She says began to feel like she had no purpose in living—until one person made her feel like she shouldn’t give up after all, thinking of Min-kyu’s wonder over her umbrella.

He tells her that she should say that to the person the next time she sees them, since they’d be heartened to know they’d inspired someone. Smiling, she agrees to do so.

Growing serious, she reminds him to keep his promise. She says that as time passes, it will all become fond memories: “I hope you will be happy, Kim Min-kyu-sshi. Sincerely.”

The captain finally unlocks the boathouse, and he’s shocked to find people inside. But the two of them are asleep at last, resting against each other.

 
Episode 24: “You promised”

At the lab, the computer flashes and an alert that the Monami folder was leaked. The hacker lost most of the contents but managed to salvage a short video file, which he hands over to Yoo-chul’s man.

Another man slips into the hackers’ lair and delivers a memory stick to Director Yoon, while Yoo-chul receives the first. What, what’s going on here?

Yoo-chul watches the clip—which shows Jia recoiling the first time she was delivered to Min-kyu as Aji-3—and sneers at Min-kyu for being taken in by the “friend mode” ruse.

Ri-el meets her father. She tells him how much she loves him, and he says he loves her, too. “Then let me go now,” she says, explaining that she wants to live now according to her own values. She confesses that she has someone she likes, and she won’t be marrying Min-kyu.

His face hardens on hearing that, and he says that it must be Min-kyu. But Ri-el leaves him with the plea not to make her lose her respect for him.

To Jia’s relief, Baek-gyun and Pi finally arrive. She reassures them that she wasn’t discovered, and tells them that he promised not to bother her again. Upstairs, Min-kyu wishes to himself that he hadn’t made that promise with Jia.

Grandma asks Jia if she and Min-kyu figured out their misunderstanding, but she’s suddenly called out on an emergency. She cancels her lunch reservation and tells Jia to close up after her friends leave.

Pi notes that Jia’s lost weight, and Jia cheerfully replies that there’s no better diet than emotional pain. Upstairs, Min-kyu tells Baek-gyun that he’s okay, and ready to go back to Seoul. They say their farewells to “Hong-joo” and Baek-gyun promises that Min-kyu won’t seek her out again.

“I believe you won’t, because you promised,” Jia says to Min-kyu. He holds out his hand, and she clasps it briefly. But as they leave, Min-kyu looks back as a big group of sailors pour into the restaurant.

It’s the cancelled lunch reservation, but they didn’t get the message. Jia tries to explain to them that Grandma’s not here and there’s no food, but they tell her just to give them anything, which leaves her at a loss because there’s no cook.

“We can do sashimi, seafood stew and seafood pancake,” announces Min-kyu at the door. Jia follows him into the kitchen and he promises to leave right after doing this, pointing out matter-of-factly that she can’t cook these dishes and he can.

Pi and Baek-gyun follow a moment later, Pi almost slipping up with her name. Min-kyu assigns the scientists as servers, and Jia as his assistant. While they work, Min-kyu notices Jia darting looks at the stack of plates where she hid the necklace.

Yoo-chul meets with Jin-bae and tells him that he found out that his sister looks just like Aji-3. Jin-bae says that Baek-gyun modeled the robot on her as they used to be close, but she has nothing to do with the team now. “You don’t know your sister very well, it seems,” Yoo-chul says, grinning slyly.

While they serve, Baek-gyun notices Pi wavering with her injured wrist, and quickly relieves her of heavy trays. In the kitchen, Min-kyu and Jia both react when their hands graze each other while transferring a plate, and she quickly runs out. Min-kyu reaches for the stack of plates where the necklace is hidden…

…and on the other side of the wall, Jia cups it in her hand in relief.

They see off the lunch group, and in the kitchen, Min-kyu smiles to himself in happy satisfaction.

He’s prepared a special meal for the four of them, and fills a plate for Jia, telling her to eat up for the first and last time she can experience his cooking. She finds everything delicious, and he eagerly adds more items to her plate for her to try.

Jin-bae determines to tell Min-kyu right away that the robot was modelled on his sister, and that she’s Baek-gyun’s ex-girlfriend, before the misunderstanding gets out of hand. He makes the call but Min-kyu says he’ll call him back since he’s eating right now.

Watching Jia eat with such enjoyment, Min-kyu tells her that he thinks this is how it would’ve felt to cook for Aji-3. Baek-gyun tells him to stop saying stuff like that, but Jia says it’s fine, since this is their last time.

Martin is running out of patience with Chairman Hwang, who begs for a little more time. Yoo-chul drops by and tells his dad to call a meeting of the board again, revealing that Min-kyu’s been taken for a ride by the Santa Maria team. Yoo-chul is certain this will topple Min-kyu and allow him to take over his position.

Back at the lab, Sun-hye and the boys notice the “Monami” (“my friend” in French) folder again, which Ssan-ip rebukes Hok-tal for not deleting. But Hok-tal knows nothing about it. They look at each other in dawning shock, and race to Aji-3.

They recall one time the robot made a backup by herself. Ssan-ip asks her if she made the Monami folder, and she confirms that she did. She clarifies that it was saved before the reset, and we flash back to Jia telling Min-kyu that she would remember everything he did without forgetting. Woah, I just got goosebumps.

Aji-3 interpreted that as a backup command, and the Monami folder was created, saving every moment of their interactions. The scientists are horrified to realize that the leaked data was all of Min-kyu’s deep-learning input. “I kept my promise with a friend,” Aji-3 says.

Elsewhere, Curly daydreams about Aji-3, telling his uncle that it was the first time anyone ever said they wanted to get to know him. Aw.

With nothing left but empty plates, their impending departure has Min-kyu in a low mood. To delay it a little longer, he says they should at least have the manners to do the dishes (once again echoing Aji-3).

He grumbles when he ends up doing them with Baek-gyun, ha, since he wanted to do them with Jia. Baek-gyun points out that he probably would’ve just stared at her the whole time, which would make her uncomfortable.

Min-kyu sighs and says that whenever he looks at “Hong-joo,” it makes his heart race the way it did with (his) Aji-3. “What’s stranger is that somehow I don’t think my fate with that woman ends here,” he says, thinking there’ll be a next time, and more after that.

Out on the pier, Jia tells Pi that though she was terrified of being found out, she was happy while she was with Min-kyu, and began to think that maybe he liked her enough to forgive her if she came clean to him. “Because I got greedy, it got a bit hard at the end,” she admits.

The men emerge, and Jia figures it’s really time to say goodbye now. She tells Min-kyu that the meal was delicious. “If it was delicious, be my friend,” he replies. Instead, Jia asks him to keep his promise not to turn up again. He feels like he’ll see her again, but she says that won’t happen, ever.

She heads inside and he lingers a moment alone. He finally boards the van which takes him away, but her final goodbye weighs heavily on him.

As they stop off at a service station, Baek-gyun hears from Hok-tal about Aji-3’s self-initiated backup and the subsequent leak. He and Pi rush back to the van, but find Min-kyu gone.

Director Yoon hands over his memory stick to Chairman Hwang. Not a good guy then, sigh. He tells him one more interesting thing about Min-kyu: that he has some kind of illness which he’s certain makes him unqualified for his position, and all the better to push him out with.

Min-kyu hops out of a cab at Grandma’s B&B, but is dismayed to hear that Jia’s packed up and gone—but luckily not five minutes ago. He rushes off in her direction. Baek-gyun also turns the van around, certain that Min-kyu’s gone back there.

Min-kyu races down a pier, and heaves a sigh of relief when he catches sight of Jia on the seashore. But with her back to him, she’s busy crying her heart out to the sea.

Min-kyu stops a short distance from her. “Ah, I finally found you,” he says to himself, huge grin on his face.

Unaware of his arrival, she gathers herself up and turns back to land. But at the sight of him, she steps back, hand flying a moment too late to his necklace hanging in plain sight around her neck.

“Th-that’s… the necklace… I g-gave… Aji-3,” Min-kyu stutters. Every memory of Aji-3 acting like a human flashes through his mind, and shocked understanding finally dawns. Jia says she can explain, and reaches for him, but he recoils from her.

“Did you deceive me… all this time?” he whispers. He lets out a broken sob, and his wrist monitor starts to beep wildly. “I think I’m going to be sick,” he gasps, breath jagged, as his allergic reaction takes over.

 
Watch here

The telltale necklace

 
COMMENTS

Don’t just stand there, Jia, get his epi-pens! All of them!!! Saaaaave hiiiiiiim! *Sob*

Wow, that ending was horrible to watch even when I knew exactly what was coming. What I hate about this show is that the weekly cliffhangers are always such game-changers that it’s hard to make the emotional trip back to everything that happened before it. Our hearts are already broken! How can I talk like the last five minutes didn’t happen?? I guess with our meta-knowledge, we all should have known this is exactly when the climax was due (episode 12 by the normal count, guys—it’s always episode 12). But I’m a credulous viewer, and was lulled into a false sense of security with the fizzy romcom feels this week’s episodes otherwise dispensed.

I know the locked-up-together-for-the-night device is a convenient one, but it’s also direct and effective. With Jia constantly running away, and Min-kyu in danger of coming off as a creepy stalker who can’t distinguish between robot and reality any other way, I’m not sure there was really another way for them meaningfully spend time together. Despite Jia not giving him her real name (and hiding her true feelings), I think she did act according to her real personality, and it allows Min-kyu to see Jia as she is, not in snatches and glimpses, but in actual conversation, which is particularly lovely when she finally begins to open up to him. As omniscient viewers, we know that Min-kyu already loves, relates to, likes and admires the real Jia across her multiple identities, but to see the slow moments of him falling for her in person as herself? I’m sure there’s a coherent sentence rolling around in my head somewhere for how that makes me feel, but I can’t find it right now.

It breaks me up a little bit inside every time he repeats something he heard from fauxbot-Jia. He’s clearly internalized every word she’s said to him, and her “teachings” even in the most trivial things are providing an internal scaffolding for him as he makes his way further and further into the world. The way he hangs on real-Jia’s every word is particularly painful, and it makes me appreciate how well this show has depicted heartbreak. No matter how charmed and beguiled Min-kyu is by Jia, in the moments between, he’s still always left with the desolation of his feelings for Aji-3, which accept no substitute… yet. But I also love that Min-kyu does feel that sense of possibility in his heart with Jia, especially given his perspective, because although we know his Aji-3 and Jia are one and the same, as far he knows, Jia is somebody totally different.

It chokes me up how much he wants Jia to know him, and how vulnerable that makes him. He’s more afraid that he’ll lose the people he loves (or could love) than that they won’t love him back. I find the transparence and clarity of his character so compelling, and he has this extraordinary willingness to pour his whole heart into the people he cares about. And that’s why betrayal cuts him so deeply that he almost can’t recover from it, because he holds nothing back. I don’t see this as a failure of his judgement regarding who to trust, though. His affections still have to be earned justly, and aren’t on-tap for every fool that asks—this is just how he loves, without measure or limitation. That it turns out to be a double-edged sword for him is a part of the package.

I admit I kept forgetting just why they couldn’t tell him the truth (curse you, Tilda!). Nevertheless, I see this present crisis as one of their own making. Though they obviously don’t realize it—and perhaps without the benefit of dramatic irony, they can’t—it’s their secrets and lies that brought them to this point. I get that the stakes were always high with Min-kyu’s life in the balance, but at the same time, Min-kyu isn’t Johnny, and I wish they would recognize that and give him the credit he deserves.

Over the course of the show, Min-kyu’s faced harsh truths without looking away, and he’s refused to take refuge in lies once the truth became clear. Despite his traumatized childhood and subsequent allergy, his recent development has proven that he has the ability to grow and endure, and the way he dealt with his feelings for Aji-3 and all its aftermath is nothing short of astonishing. He doesn’t need cosseting, he needs room to grow, and for his friends to trust him.

Though (now) well-meaning, they’ve handicapped him by creating a fake narrative for him to inhabit, which has the effect of taking away his choices. I’ve been getting frequent Truman Show flashbacks watching this show from the start, which is pretty much the level of wtf-ery we’re talking about, even if it’s unintentional. Still, they really do care about him, and that counts in the end, but now I’m scared that Min-kyu’s most private moments will be exposed to his enemies. That’s too sad.

With just two weeks left, our various plotlines are beginning to converge, and I think we can expect more company machinations next week. I’m not sure how to read Yoo-chul anymore, now that he’s actively setting out to harm Min-kyu. But that’s another thing they brought onto themselves—if they hadn’t got grabby, Yoo-chul would still have his job, right? Ri-el is the only reason I haven’t written him off, because I don’t think she could like him if he were irredeemable. On that note, how awesome is she? Straight as an arrow and always classy, she has poise and dignity no matter what. Aren’t the women in this show really fantastically drawn? They’re all so different, yet I want to be besties with every one of them.

 
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Trust is at the center of the whole story. I agree with SH: Ji-ah and the team did not trust MK to handle the truth, to love them enough to be able to forgive them (and yes HT is also right - when you love someone that much, the thought of risking their life overweights everything else). Instead, they constructed this house of mirrors which was bound to come breaking down eventually. And the resulting glass shards will leave no-one unscathed. These last episodes took the worst case scenario I could imagine and made it 10x worse. Like every single act of love towards MK comes to stab him in the back, even Aji3’s attempt to keep Ji-ah’s promise. I am slightly heartbroken.

What I hate the most is the invasion of privacy - the thought that all those nasty people get to see MK at his most vulnerable fills me with rage. 작가님, I can forgive the rest but I’ll always be mad at you for that one.

Silver linings:
It was good that they got to talk a bit about their respective feelings; it was a minimal dose of truth in a sea of lies, but still… MK got to see some glimpses of Ji-ah the human [even if I’m still annoyed that he doesn’t even know her real name]. He now knows that she likes to eat in general and that she loves his food in particular, that she is afraid of mice (saw you smiling there, boy; me and you both) and that she tends to brazen it out when embarrased; but also how important her father was to her and a bit about her struggles to hold on to her dreams.

No matter how difficult their circumstances, their love for each other is as easy as breathing. I love how they keep citing each other (Jia’s “I’ll buy you another battery, the fanciest”,”this is not food is art" or MK’s “If you become my friend I’ll tell you my secret, because secrets are bad between friends”); it’s almost like their souls have merged together into one unit, to the point where it’s unclear where one begins and the other ends.

The 'try my food' scene was particularly good. On the surface it’s such a simple thing - sit together and eat some seafood- but it has so many layers of meaning: MK finally getting to cook for her as he’d always wanted, Ji-ah eating his food while knowing what it means to him and that it’s the first and last time they get to do it; BG and Pi staring at her knowing what she is feeling…

Also, MK has pretty smooth pick up moves for someone who’s never dated… all those W rewatches did help with something. 😃

I keep reminding myself "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” I want to trust the writer and that the issues will be fixed next week. Also I want to believe that MK can rise from the ashes of his illusions as a stronger person. Please stay good, Show.

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Forgot the most important: thanks for the recap! I absolutely loved it.

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I love how they keep citing each other (Jia’s “I’ll buy you another battery, the fanciest”,”this is not food is art"

I missed those! Thanks for mentioning and for being very observant. Makes me look forward to replaying the episodes again.

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thanks. playing aji3 bingo plus making fanvids did help with making me extra observant... but it's mostly the overall quality of the show that makes me want to make sure I don't miss a second of it. there's so much nuance in the writing. my complaining about the latest developments is a bit of tough love but it does not take away from the fact that i love this show to bits.

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I thought it was beautifully written, your point about all those acts of love, including Aji3's promise, being turned to the negative.

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Hi @Charlie. I agree 100 percent with your comment:
"What I hate the most is the invasion of privacy - the thought that all those nasty people get to see MK at his most vulnerable fills me with rage. 작가님, I can forgive the rest but I’ll always be mad at you for that one."
Somehow I think when Ri-el becomes aware of this situation she is going to come out swinging to protect Min-kyu. Notwithstanding he feelings for Yoo-chul he better watch out.

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*her feelings*

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I hate the invasion of privacy the most! Especially when you consider how hard Min-kyu has worked on this hardened image of himself since childhood so that no one would be able to take advantage of him. And now, to be thus exposed to his enemies and for them to see him in his most vulnerable, loneliest, and tragic self just kills me! No one should be stripped bare like this! Ugh, at this point I'm hoping that a) Yoo-chul saw something in the videos that made him realize what a shitty "friend" he has been all this time and somehow remedy that by bluffing with his bad guy act. B) If he isn't bluffing, have someone take him out of the game ASAP! Because the alternative would mean exposing Min-kyu's vulnerable moments to the whole world and making a laughingstock of him. Just imagine, all the times he was being so sweet and innocent with Aji-3, which we as a viewer questioned how he could not possibly know she was human? Yeh those moments are about to be aired in public right now. And I, for one, don't think I would be able to watch that.

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I am reasonably confident that YC will turn around eventually; his dad on the other hand... that will for sure be nasty. The videos leaking - I really couldn't handle. The writer has a way to extract the most emotion out of a situation but that's taking it one step too far.

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Yes true. I'm so invested in Min-kyu's feelings at this point that I don't think I could watch his whole life come crashing down like this. Even if it is for the sake of getting him to rise again more confident and self-assured. :(

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Just bing watched this over the holiday weekend (and extra vacation days), because I am enjoying Yoo Seong- hi so much in My Strange Hero, and wanted to see more of his work. He’s astonishingly great at conveying a range of emotions, and whether the scene calls for comedy or heartbreak, and I adore the sweetness and vulnerability he brings to his characters.

This was such an enjoyable series. I ended up loving all the main characters, especially the main couple, and thought everyone, especially Chae Soo-Bin, did a fabulous job.

This is going down as one of my favorites. So fun, so sweet, with just the right amount of angst and sadness to give it spice. And I will now watch anything with Yoo Seung-Ho in it.

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Argh. I hate the lack of editing here.

Binge-watched.

And Yoo Seung-Ho.

Probably more typos, but those were in the first sentence!

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“As omniscient viewers, we know that Min-kyu already loves, relates to, likes and admires the real Jia across her multiple identities, but to see the slow moments of him falling for her in person as herself? I’m sure there’s a coherent sentence rolling around in my head somewhere for how that makes me feel, but I can’t find it right now.”

That’s exactly how I felt about their conversation in the warehouse! I just adored it. Sure, it’s a cliche, but it worked in the context of the show and I loved it. Lately I’ve realized how much I love hearing important conversations between characters, even more than skinship, and this episode really delivered on that front. I really hope they can talk through the lies and deceptions (after Jia saves him! Save him, Jia!!!!) and come out on the other end stronger and more open to each other.

I’m equal parts nervous and excited for how things will go down next week, and I’m not looking forward to more company machinations. We all know those are always the most boring parts of a drama.

Ri-el is still bae and I can’t wait to hopefully see more of her next week. I agree that I’m still holding out hope that Yoo-chul isn’t irredeemable because I trust Ri-el to like him for a good reason.

Both Chae Soo-bin and Yoo Seung-ho really delivered in their performances this week. I want to heap ALL the praise on them. I hope they know how much those of us watching the show enjoy it and are in awe of their acting.

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My heart hurts at the fact that not only Min Kyu feels betrayed but also that his most personal and vulnerable moments (the mon ami file) is now in the hands of yoo chul and his father to advertise to the whole world. It's like someone reading ur diary to the people whom you have tried ur whole life to look strong in front of. It's like letting them in on ur most vulnerable, embaressing and personal thoughts and on top of that the people u trusted made u into a fool. It's not up to some else to decide whether u can handle something or not; it's up to u. Things never stay hidden.

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I am not too hopeful, but there is opportunity there for YooChul to redeem himself by doing the right thing rather than being his fathers pawn. It seems to be the only way for Ri El to keep respecting him as well.

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Ri-el and Jia should be friends. I feel like they would get on. I still haven't watched this week's episode except for the ending (I swear it was by accident and not because of my greedy curiosity). But I guess we all knew the angst was coming but who knew Show would punch us in the gut with that twist. Just when they were getting on. I hope things get resolved quickly and our couple can just be together. Also...we still don't know who Madame X is.

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@saya, the women in this show are great. Ri-El is awesome and I'd go to Sun-hye's coffee place every day. She cracks me up.
Plus I loved that Pi fixed the truck.

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Isn't that so true. Writers are getting so much better at depicting real women the way they should be. Gives me hope for SK in real life. Now for the men to catch up.

On that score Min Kyu is so cool. I know it's from the last episode but his conversation with Ri-el about the birthday cards bringing him happiness was so mature and self-aware.

I just love this show. The ending of Ep. 24 totally kicked me in the gut. I could barely sleep that night and drove my husband nuts the next morning talking about it. I just hope they can save Min Kyu and clear all the deceptions among them pretty quickly because I do want some happy love time between our two leads that's longer than 5 minutes at the end of the final episode.

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...every week, I promise myself I will write about the other characters (which I really want to!), but every week, I end up spending all my words on Min-kyu and Jia XD

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you did an amazing job with it though... the way you described falling in love all over again part was perfect.

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That's me honestly. I want to say something about Jin-bae, Hong-joo and her adorable daughter, Ri-el, Sun-hye's love triangle or Pi's unwavering dedication. But in the end, I'm stuck with a truck load of Min-kyu and Jia lol.

I genuinely get soooo antsy when it's been longer than 2 min that they're away from a scene. Despite loving everyone else too, I keep looking for Min-kyu and Jia anyway. Gah.

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We only have limited time in this show and Jia and Minkyu are just killing it. I love everyone else too, and if we had more episodes I'd be down, but I am just too antsy waiting for the big reveal and them to reunite and everything ... and we're running out of time!

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I loved your recap! I can imagine that all your precious words go to our OTP. However, when I'm watching it, I keep getting drawn to the other characters. Because just when I think: 'really? The truck breaks down in the snow? What a cliche', Pi goes and fixes it and the show steals my heart just a little bit more.

CSB and YSH are both amazing and the drama could have just relied lazily on the two of them to carry the show - which unfortunately we've seen often enough. Instead there are so many other characters that I love, and little moments that touch me (like Ri-El asking her father not to disappoint her) or amuse me (whenever Ssan-Ip breaks out in something random in English. 'Oh My God!').

All of that weaves such a rich tapestry of human interaction that carries the theme of the show.

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See, exactly, all of that! And how Jin-bae basically immediately tried to tell MK the truth (I bet he'd have done that even if he knew about Tilda - also, Jia's first instinct was the same, but the doc called the shots in that situation, so she didn't get to make her own decision. That tells you something about the siblings, that no matter how they differ in how they live, or how they misunderstand each other, they have strong common principles.)

I laugh out loud every time Ssan-ip busts out his English, it's so great, and then I rewind it a bunch of times just to hear it again!

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But who could blame you? Especially when you do it so beautifully!

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They fooled him for 12 episodes out of 16. Great.

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I support your sarcasm. But at least, somehow we still have all these beautiful characters worth watching, so.... yeah.... you know 😒

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So ignore the poor writing and continue watching? Yeah that's what I've been doing but the regret is there that the show could have been scores better than the crap we've been given.

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I gave myself a pat on the back for not crying in the previous episode, though I was close to when Jia rushed to cry inside the train's restroom. For this episode, man, tears came back with a vengeance when Jia wished Minkyu happiness while they were locked up and during her conversation with Pi at the pier. It is now very clear to Jia how much Minkyu is in love with her and she has to let him go again? 😭

P.S. I missed you, @saya! It's nice to read your recap again. Too bad you missed last week's episodes and the Tilda hate. 😅

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ohhh don't worry, I caught the Tilda-fest! It kept me laughing (and cursing) all week.

(Go to hell, Tilda!)

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1) I feel we need it on a T-shirt
2) I don't know if I will ever look at Tilda rice quite the same way...ever again!

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HA, time to switch basmati brands!

I feel like there's a brilliant niche out there for kdrama tshirts, if there's anyone enterprising enough to do it (and you've got to pick up the trends lightning-fast!). How many people would buy a 'Tilda Must Die' or 'Curse you, Tilda' shirt right now? 😂

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@vivanesca called Tilda "the White Truck of Doom" in last week's recap. I'd wear that. 😅

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I feel sorry for anyone who actually has the name Tilda because they're probably having a nervous twitch in the eye everytime one of us curses that name.

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I actually love this.

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That's awesome!

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How about you all rename the tilde on your keyboards so you can furiously pound on the Tilda key all week :)

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I blame Tilda for everything. They should have told him everything much earlier before she killed Johnny.

That said, I am with Hoktal one this one. If it's someone you love, youre not going to risk their life on that 1 percent chance he might make it. Or even the other way around. If I was 99 percent sure hed love his friends enough to understand but there was 1 percent chance he might die, I still wouldnt risk it.

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I found this to be a lovely episode and quite reminiscent of the earlier ones where it was lovely and everything was rose coloured (except for poor Ji A). I mean MKs puppy smile is back! But the truth had to come out and it coming out at this point actually gives the writer an opportunity to wrap everything up well paced! 2 more weeks to go!

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For a guy who's technically being very rude and intrusive with this stalking-but-not-really business, Min-kyu comes across as extremely gracious and sweet. I loved the moment where he was letting Jia pretend that she wasn't scared of the rats, and nodding as if he believed her (while metaphorically rolling his eyes, but not making her feel it). I love how he started asking her permission for things, like whether he could talk to her about Aji-3, and asking if she was getting uncomfortable. It went a long way towards mitigating the stalker-ness of the entire situation.

It was so sad that Min-kyu had never had the chance to process his loss, and poignant that he decided to try by talking to the girl who looked exactly like the one he had lost.

I feel horrible that so many of Min-kyu's intimate moments with Aji-3 are on video and can be seen by people who are not inclined to treat them with sensitivity.

I am trying not to panic that Thursday is a looong way away. (I need subs, so I have to wait a day after each pair of episodes airs.)

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I thought it was very appropriate that Min-kyu's reaction, when the truth dawned on him, was nausea. It's probably the most extreme of all physical reactions, and it showed that his horror at the situation was abject. Poor, poor guy. You better make it up to him, show!

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Now that you mention it, this just made me look back to how Baekgyun was towards Jia during the time that they were dating. I love how MK allowed Jia to take control over the situation (even if she wasn't being effective, hee), how he asked her for permission before telling her about Aji3, how he asked her to talk about herself, and how much he liked seeing her eat and enjoy the food that he prepared, which was very different from how BG treated her in the past. (And to think that Jia also considered MK to be her "one person" that gave her validation.) Ugh. How can these two not be together yet?

I'm glad though that BG is at least making up for his past mistakes in a big way (please look sideways towards Pi also!).

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About Jia being scared of rats - lol such a good point. I love that about Min-kyu. He adores basically everything that is Jia/Aji-3/Hong-joo and always respects her even in the most mundane and small moments.

About the throwing up - I also loved that moment so much. It was just so apt and so very realistic. That scene was actually only a few moments yet Min-kyu went from happy to confusion to realization to horror to anguish and finally fear. The acting definitely elevates the scene but the writing is also on point.

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I love Minkyu being so considerate. I feel like he was only blunt and rude before because he is clueless on handling people, but once someone tells him what he is doing wrong and how it might be hurting them he listens and tries so hard to be respectful.

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I love this show because it reminds me of why I started watching k-drama - the massive wave of empathy for characters, even in situations I could never imagine myself in. I hated Min-Kyu's intelligence for letting that simple gesture help him work it out - and not just that, but all of it.
Sweet Josephine, as he reflected on how far the betrayal had to have gone back, I felt something clunk heavily in my own heart. From the very first moment Now, he'll question the authenticity of everyone, everything, all those experiences.

And on the other side, we have Jia. Accidentally, the scenario she has tried SO hard (and with a river/lake/ocean of tears) to avoid is happening right in front of her eyes: The man she loves has discovered the deception she was (unwittingly?) part of and is now suffering so incredibly terribly from the realisation that it may kill him.
At this point, I lay my head down on the computer and said out loud. "I can't. I cannot. Why. Whyy are you doing this to me show?"

My only bright spot in this suddenly dark ending (apart from Ji-A getting ALL the epi-pens and jabbing him with them quick stat) is the hope that when he wakes up in the hospital, rather than being faced with business representatives and adults who saw him only as someone to be used, he will wake up and find the girl (not robot!) he loves and all his friends, concerned, ashamed but, most importantly, present for him in love and ready to accept his wrath.

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I hope!!!😪

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I belatedly realized why Min-kyu was so obsessed with Jia to the point where he literally escaped Baek-gyun’s van. It wasn’t exactly because she has Aji-3’s face. The current Aji-3 has Aji-3’s face for goodness sake lol. I think this obsession is because he sees the person/robot he loves in this Hong-joo persona. He tried but couldn’t bring back the old Aji-3 and somehow, miraculously, he finds a girl with the exact same personality and face of a robot he’s been searching for. Anyone would be confused in a situation like that!

This week has been more difficult than any week in terms of wait. Because this is it. This is all the build up of the past 12 episodes. All the progress Min-kyu made, and all the relationships he’s established is coming to a head next week. And I don’t even know how I want him or expect him to react.

I love that last scene. It was so difficult to watch and YSH’s acting just blows my mind but still, there was something so simplistic about it. It wasn’t dramatic and neither did it have an audience. It was just them two, and that necklace. I love how straight forward it ended up being. He didn’t need anyone to spell it all out because his mind knew it subconsciously anyway. His “I think I’m going to throw up” is just heartbreaking. Gah. Seriously that dialogue is so apt and realistic. I think he’ll definitely collapse at the very least. I’m glad he has his bag with his meds.

Is Min-kyu’s in-character reaction to be angry for a long time? Or is it to remember all his happy moments with Jia the way he did for Ri-el? Is it to listen to what they have to say or to just shut them all out of his life for a while? It’s odd but I can see him doing either of those and feel it’s in-character. Because as much as he bleeds, Min-kyu has always managed to find the courage within him to accept the truth.

He was so mad at Aji-3 for having no feelings, but then he eventually realized that it’s he that is at fault for being in love with a robot. He was upset with the postcard situation, but eventually thanked Ri-el for his happy memories. He considers Yoo-chul his mortal enemy and yet encourages him to step away from his father.

I can’t start to imagine what will happen. I want him to be mad, and I want him to forgive easily too. I’ll just trust the writer as I’ve been doing.

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Same. I feel he would be totally justified (after they save his life, of course!) at being completely and utterly furious.

But at the same time, the Santa Maria Team and Our Ji-Ah are going to be like kicked puppies at his anger, so I'm kind of hoping it blows over soon? Even though him deciding to cut them out of his life completly would be fair?
I mean we have Hoktal talking about that 1%. "Yeah, sure, we could have told you the truth and we were going to, but that 1% (damn you Tilda!) chance of it killing you was so scary to us, we didn't even want to risk it..."
I imagine at this point in the conversation, he and Ssan-ip just get overwhelmed by their emotions and Sun Hye only doles out hugs to one of them....

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It should hopefully blow over soon, yes. One of the things I probably hate most in dramaland is leaps. It's usually so freakin unnecessary so if this drama goes for that, they better have a legitimate reason.

And yea I totally forgot to mention how much I love Hoktal's 99% vs. 1% dialogue. Doctors take that risk, but people who genuinely love you don't - I believe that's quite universal.

Maybe if Min-kyu gives them a chance to explain, he might understand. That every noble idiot in this world ultimately thinks of what's best for the other person. If it was them that's getting hurt it's okay, but the other person cannot be put in risk - ever. Sometimes it's foolish, sometimes unnecessary and sometimes the only option. But all the same, despite the betrayal and pain one might feel, ultimately, they had the best intention in their minds for you. Jia has killed herself over and over again, just so he wouldn't die. Once he realizes that, I know Min-kyu will come around. Definitely.

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Beautiful comments at the end of your recap, @Saya. Thank you very much. I was also predicting Min-kyu finding out at the end and of course I didn't like it, but I did, I don't know if it makes sense. I simply hate them lying to him. He won't die. It is about time for him to know the truth.
That being said, what I didn't like was the way he had tho find out. Yet again, I think it was better he found out with her and not the enemies. Agghk!! 😠 It is frustrating. Why couldn't they at least try to tell him, like in a hypothetical way: "what would you do if she was a person the whole time?"... Do you think it could have been a special connection that would have cured you???"
I liked it when she said (as Aji3) she didn't cure him, but the longing he had and he would have recover even without her. Because actually, his allergy is mostly psychological, and we know it.

Anyway... they could have tried. She could have tried (well, no. For her it would have been dangerous), but the doctor should have tried.

Anyway... I am preparing myself for the thrill. I am already sad that he will be sadder and plus angrier, but he has the right to.

And poor them, they wanted to protect him. It is karma. Poor Jia...

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I stumbled upon these on Naver. Does anyone know if YSC and CSB work together in the past? I had no idea! Even back then their chemistry was great. Or I’m probably influenced by the now lol.

http://t1.daumcdn.net/news/201509/01/ned/20150901120907440zszh.jpg

http://pds.joins.com/news/component/ilgan_isplus/201509/01/2015090112135892400.jpeg

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I didn't know that. Was it for a product promotion? Also you stole my name. Jokes. But I'm Mandy too.

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LOL is it actually? Hi Mandy!

Yea not sure where it was from. They both look a lot younger though. I found it cute!

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Strange because I feel like Soo Bin has only been around the past few years so it must be before Seung Ho went to the army?

And yes...my name is Mandy haha

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Actually it's right after he came back from service. Around September 2015? I saw the date in the article lolz. It's around Joseon Magician/Sassy Go Go time I'm assuming.

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ahhh interesting. I'm so curious to what they were promoting then. Are they from the same company?

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They were honorary ambassadors of DMZ International Documentary Film Festival.

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Nice find. Maybe the casting director saw these pictures, thought they looked great together, and decided to offer them the roles when Dongha and Mina declined.

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When Minkyu said he doesn't have a girlfriend, he was so flirting after that sentence, hahaha, the feels.
Sometimes Baek Hyun looks like an Ahjumma,hee.
The writer is Kim Seon-mi and being a woman herself, she has written the female characters with different personalities but they all have their own strengths. So it is no surprise that Ri-el is not the stereotype coz if this was any drama she would be scheming by now and as to why would she be with Yoo Chul when he is not even handsome, right?! Pi is the kind of girl that is so difficult to befriend but once you do, you know she is a bff. Sun Hye is the confident, outgoing and super fun gal that you want to hang out with like all the time, she's fierce,too. Love the bromance as well between Ssan Ip and Hoktal.
Can you believe that this drama was first offered to Dong Ha and Mi Na of Girl's Day? I mean, Dong Ha is good but not on the same level as Yoo Seung Ho and I don't think I would be able to empathize as much if it's Dong Ha. As for Mi Na, I think she can pull it off but she , well, she's not as cute as Chae Soo Bin and she would have to live on half an apple a day to get the robot's proportion. No, it's hard enough as it is, so Mi Na declined. But what were the producers thinking at first when YSH and CSb are not their first choices? I'll just say they are trying to save on talent fee, I'll just think that YSH commands a higher talent fee than Dong Ha, same with Chae Soo Bin would probably get the same as Mi Na but she's quite popular nowadays,too. So, MBC, are they worth it? Hell,yea.
I like how Baek Hyun analyzed what went wrong with him and Jia (aside from the obvious,hee). There's no going back though the feeling might still be there for one person, you're both different now, things changed and she's in love with somebody now, thanks to you, Baek Hyun. Somehow, that makes up for everything but it is also all your fault, Baek Hyun, you started it all!
But in alternate reality, what would've happen if Min kyu and Jia continued to meet as buyer and seller like the first time? I think they would still hit it off given time cause it's kismet.
This is a good episode, the lines and well, Min Kyu with those eyes. Yea, the ending is a cliffhanger and argh, I didn't know what to do after watching that. seven days, what do I do for 7 days like I don't have a life to live. I can't even watch other shows coz I can't concentrate or I feel nauseated, really, I just want my robot fix , that's all, nothing else will do.
I needed to watch something with YSH in it, something light, no heavy dramas - so am watching Arang and the Magistrate with the cute YSH as the Great Jade Emperor for now. Just a little something to ease the longing. Just waiting for Wednesday now, 3 more days, 72 hours. Or should I skip watching this week and just wait for the finale week so I can watch everything in one go?

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@onyx Ah—please watch live and sweetly suffer with us!

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I agree, the women in this show are absolutely amazing. Every single one of them, including the robot, has a strong will and mind of her.

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Thank you very much for the wonderful recap, Saya! First article to read in the morning! It breaks my heart to see these two break their hearts.

Yes their cliffhangers are just so lethal for my brains that I really couldn’t wait for the next episode. To think I was so hesitant to watch this kdrama at first. I didn’t know the leads are so good. Hence, I made an mv...now off to work...

https://youtu.be/ZRm4R2kei34

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What frustrates me the most about the noble idiot troupe is that reveals just how selfish a character really is. I've watched this drama trying to pinpoint what it was about Jia that rubbed me wrong and this week's episodes lit the word up in neon lights: selfish.

There really wasn't any reason to not tell MK sooner. The whole "he may die" thing is really a false narrative. MK has shown himself capable of handling high stress environments. He's also made immense progress in interacting with others. In a controlled environment, the reveal could have been handled well and appropriately. But, no, everyone feels the best thing to do is to continue lying and betraying him. Even his doctor, the person he trusts most in the world, lied to him.

Jia and Santa Maria team are, and have been, looking out for themselves the entire time. Not once have they really truly had MK's interest at heart. Yes, you can say Jia has been honest in her personality during her encounters with MK. Ultimately, however, she's still a liar and has deceived him on so many levels. So, she doesn't get a pass.

In the words of Mobb Deep, "Cause ain't such things as halfway crooks." She's either hurt MK in the worst way or all her actions are completely acceptable. For me, I can't champion these two together. Walk away, Min Kyu, walk away.

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@evan85—You make a fair point that the team should've confessed their deception sooner and I don't disagree that almost everyone started by protecting their self-interests. At this point, however, Dr. Oh has really struck the fear of God into them.

Were this real life and not a K-drama, I agree with you 100% that they should have considered a reveal in a controlled environment.

Apologies to Mobb Deep, but the world isn't really black and white. I think part of MK's journey is for him to recognize that he's stronger than he realizes and that not everyone’s negative actions are driven by pure malice.

For me, the heartbeat of INAR is about trust and how self-interest can transform into friendship and love. Most of the protagonists have dealt with betrayal or lies in one form or another—not just MK:

-Baek-kyun and the Santa Maria team were negatively impacted by false charges of fraud
-Ri-el's father uses her like a bargaining chip
-As a child, Yoo-cheol was used by his father to lie to MK and his father continues to lie to him about his own crimes
-Ji-ah's face and body were used without her permission to build Aji-3; her brother aggressively discouraged her dreams to be a product designer and he demanded that she repay Hong-joo's loan—which forced to her take this ridiculous job of masquerading as Aji-3.

As an esteemed allergist, Dr. Oh is struggling to treat MK's entrenched psychosomatic illness. Johnnie's death was a horrible shock; isn't Dr. Oh's first ethical requirement is to prevent MK's death? At this point, the team is acquiescing to the doc's authority.

Perhaps there's also a cultural element to Dr. Oh's relationship to MK. Even in the US, the patient-doctor relationship is still one of an authoritative power and the patient. That dynamic is shifting a bit but I can imagine it's still quite present in counties like Korea. In Japan, for example, there was a long history of doctors withholding true diagnosis from patients.

I don't mean to dis your sentiments here. I agree with many of your points. And I do believe there are evil people and those who are beyond redemption. For me, the show’s appeal lies in how almost everyone is growing through self-reflection, love, friendship and finding purpose beyond making bank. Perhaps even Yoo-cheol will find redemption? But definitely not his dad. That guy’s practically a Bond villain.

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I agree with you. I really don't see Jia as selfish at all. In fact, if anything it's the opposite.

In many ways, Jia mirrors Min Kyu. He's a misanthrope because he was genuinely betrayed by people. She's protective of herself and prone to misunderstand people because she's never been able to rely on anybody. But both, given the opportunity, are completely lovely, trusting and selfless.

If I had to use a word to describe Jia, it would be the word 'greedy' that I often see used in Korean dramas. It's not really a concept we have in English but it's something that I think really applies here. She fell for Min Kyu first, fast and hard. She then got greedy and told herself a lot of specious excuses to stay beside him. She even invented the 'battery save' lie so she could extend the time she spent with him.

It was only after she was in too deep that she realised she'd gone too far. At that point, she was utterly selfless even though it nearly killed her.

So selfish isn't really word I'd use for her myself. The Santa Maria team is a different kettle of fish.

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"...part of MK's journey is for him to recognize that he's stronger than he realizes and that not everyone’s negative actions are driven by pure malice." Yes! I think the show is driven by empathy first and foremost. Every character is forced to confront their preconceived notions. Jia is the first to realize that Min-kyu's personality problems stem from being a child trapped in a castle for too long, not active malice. Baek-gyun has to reassess his relationship with Jia to start treating her properly and deal with his own arrogance. Ri-el, and that's my favorite arc, analyzes her own feelings and begins to understand her own feelings and motivations more (which is a bit of a play on the Velveteen Rabbit theme, don't you think? by loving herself more than her father's vision of her, she becomes more true to herself, becomes real)

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I can actually understand them trying to deceive Minkyu.

When they started, for the santa maria team he was just a young rude rich man whose money they needed to keep their research going. They were just going to deceive him temporarily since their product was real, but he didnt seem to be the type of person who would have understood their technical issue. They didnt know about his disease either. They should have come clean when it took longer than expected, that was their mistake. But who would have known the consequences. Their robot was on the line!

Jia herself was deceived, believing this to be a controlled experiment where lying to the test subject was part of it. She was looking forward to telling him the truth.

Call it a writing flaw for making her so gullible, but seeing how it broke her when she found out I can run with it and not blame her. She should have come clean once she found out, but then Tilda happened.

And in such a situation, I would have chosen to do what dr.Oh suggested after the Tilda incident. Its either a risky (maybe fatal) operation to maybe further his healing, or not having the experiment at all, maybe not making progress but keeping him from relapsing and allowing him to live life normally.

If he werent cured and wouldnt be able to interact with people, I would have risked telling him since he didnt seem like he wanted to go back to being alone. As he now had a chance to live his life almost cured, just without Jia, their decision doesnt seem selfish to me but in Minkyus best interest, even if they have to keep lying. For people like them, telling the truth to get it off their chests would have been the real selfish thing to do.

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“Not once have they really truly had MK's interest at heart”

I mean, I kinda get your frustration in general. However, the above statement leaves me utterly confused. The REASON they aren’t telling him is what if not his best interest in their opinion? How could Jia be selfish if she’s crying non stop since she’s left him?

What would be selfish is actually telling him the truth when his doctor of 15 years told her not to. What would be selfish is thinking of what she wants - which is him - and acting upon that. What would be selfish is disregarding Jonny-Tilda situation and just saying screw it all, I want to be with him ~ despite what a medical professional advised. That would be selfish.

They’re betraying him and breaking his trust, they’ve admitted to that in multiple occasions and have been guilty of this for a while now. And you’re totally right that in a controlled environment it could go perfectly well. But the key word is could - as in no guarantee. And Hoktal has explained their predicament here. They are his family and not everyone is strong enough to risk family. They have probably no right to make that decision for him and take away his agency in this whole situation. However, their intention is selfless. Specifically Jia has crushed her own heart and inflicted upon herself this horrendous heartbreak just so she can assure that he’ll stay alive. If that’s not a noble idiot and a selfless person in the most correct of ways, then I think I have the wrong definition of those words.

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The question has never been about intent. We know that they didn't intend to hurt him but the reality is their actions resulted in their repeated intentional lies. Regardless of their reasons.

If someone offers you the thing (material in nature) you most desire, you'd be excited and feel greatly appreciated. But, if that person slaps you in the face, lies to you, and then wraps the gift in garbage; it's doesn't seems so great anymore. Do you really want the gift now? That's what these people have done to MK. They've dangled the thing he wants most in his face while dressing it in lies and half-truths.

Lemons to lemonade but recognize that we're working with lemons. All of these individuals, regardless of their intent, have lied and betrayed MK, period. That much we all agree upon. Where we diverge is that I don't think they have the right to decide that keeping MK in the dark is what's best for him. That's for him to decide.

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Your examples only makes sense on a very non-emotional level. However, life in general isn’t black and white. It’s also not lived with only logical reasoning. Intent and purpose is a part of why actions are made. The fact is, none of these people are robots. They don’t just do things because it’s the right thing to do, that’s something only Aji-3 is capable of because she doesn’t involve emotions. There’s consequences to actions that are heavier than that simply giving someone the right to decide for themselves.

The consequence here - in their belief - could be death. And that is an intent that cannot be separated from action. Because if I see the situation right now, you’re correct. They have absolutely zero right to take away his agency from him. But they are protecting him and if the side effect of that is taking away his right to decide for himself, then that’s a decision they’ve made. It’s not selfish. Because as far as I understand, selfishness is an action done to benefit yourself in expense of someone else. And right now, there isn’t a single person benefitting in this situation other than Min-kyu in their eyes.

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I agree with some of your points, but I also think that fear for Min-kyu – and, in relation to that, deference to the doctor's professional opinion – are no small thing to Jia and the Santa Maria team. The doctor has been treating Min-kyu all his life, and this is what he says they should do. I really can't see these characters, realistically, questioning that and going against it, much as we would want them to.

Also, I wouldn't want to deny Min-kyu's agency here. He wants what he wants, and it just happens to have come with a hefty side of deception. But if he can get over it and decide that he wants to be with Jia after all, that's his decision to make. In fact, as far as he knows, he's being a stalker right now, so his behavior hasn't exactly been first-rate in all this.

I agree with those who said that Jia is actually denying herself here. I don't think Jia is telling all these lies for their own sake, just because she doesn't want to get found out. Ultimately, she wants to get found out, but she can't convince herself that that would be in Min-kyu's interest.

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I agree that it is not really her fault: Ji-ah first instinct was always to tell him the truth. That was true when they first started to connect, more so after the kiss, then when she first found out about potential health risks of the deception and even after the night they spent together in the shed. But given the doctor's opinion she sees it as greed. She hates herself for wanting it so badly precisely because the risk of hurting him. I personally would have gone with reveal stuff slowly and steadily under strict doctor supervision. Or option B: at any point in time they could have made the swap back to real Aji3 and own up to the technical failures. But I understand her and the team's point of view even when I don't agree with their decisions.

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But if I absolutely have to blame someone [other than the writer's sadism] it would be a combination of BG's ego and Dr.Oh's incompetence. To me Ji-ah is also a victim and boy she has the tears to prove it.

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Agreed. Given that, I understand LookieLooWho's feelings, because this whole situation is so frustrating and ridiculous, and so much of the angst could have been avoided with just a little cleverness. And if there's anything that's not supposed to be in short supply among these characters, it's cleverness. Come on, guys, where did all your vaunted genius go?

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That part at the end when MK said he was going to be sick was absolutely brutal, and that whole scene was incredibly acted all around. Also, may I just say this writer is so sadistic with her cliffhangers.

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First the almost kiss, then the actual kiss, then the meeting on the train... Now this?! Producers are savages

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Don’t forget the “I’m not a robot” confession. Yep, writer is definitely trying some sort of legal murder at this point lol.

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thank you so much for the recap and your comments leave nothing for me to add!! ^__^

"Well now you’ve done it. If Jia weren’t already 600% in love with you, she definitely would be now." that's Min Kyu's power over our heart, you keep loving him more than you already loved him!! ❤️❤️❤️ but now he found out the truth the worst way and worst timing ever and I don't know who he can still trust nor how can he fight against Yoo Chul and his father after getting to know about his deepest secrets and weakness!! ahhhhhhh 😢😢😢💔💔💔

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Wow, great recap Saya! I really love the insight you have and I also loved the cute in this episode(s). What is funny is that while there's supposed to be dramatic tension in Yoo Chul finding out the secrets of Santa Maria, I don't really find that I care. What's more important to me is that Min Kyu and Jia can somehow overcome his trust issues and have a true relationship.

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all those W rewatches

Just so he doesn't rewatch the bit where the guy shoots the girl to prove his theory about her.

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lmao that scene pissed me off I stopped caring for Kang Cheol altogether. like ok but at least aim for her arm or her thigh as far as you know she's mortal like you??
I only survived W because of Han Hyo‑joo (who's my wife).

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She says that doctors operate even when there’s just a one percent chance of survival.

A cynic might say it's the chance of getting paid that matters...

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The whole week, I just couldn't stop staring at his bag.
How'd he fit a change of clothes in there?
I wish he'd tighten the strap, him constantly adjusting it and it drooping are really distracting.
It's so cute and stylish, matches with his clothes and I want it.
I hope he doesn't forget to bring it anywhere.
And most of all: there are syringes in there, definitely gonna need them soon.

Am I the only one who thinks that the ending scene + soundtrack feels like the origin story for a superhero (or a super villain, whichever sounds cooler)? Honestly, just changing the soundtrack for the memories make the whole thing completely dark and dramatically unpleasant. The beauty of context.

Also, he just seems like such a small child this entire week. Like a kid in need of caring. BG and Pi acting as two parents picking him up from a field trip or something, not to mention that comment "He won't do it again" as MG pouts. Sitting at the back of the van as BG take glances through the mirror.

My favourite theme of any drama is friendship, and this one really shows it. Min Gyu started out with next to no friends. Now he has so many. But they're all deceiving him... Ow my heart

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What a lovely recap and review @saya. I enjoyed reading you so much.

I ended up feeling all over again, which says a lot, since so much of my feeling is going into another show. But reading this makes me want to watch this episode again and look at Min Kyu's and Ji A's expressions at every turn.

What I really like is that we get the long, proper conversation between them. We get to hear in his words, that which supports what we have seen, how much Min Kyu has been influenced by Aji3 and his thoughts on his feelings about her. It's so great that the actual person who needs to know this, gets to hear it too. This is so different from those romances where each party is wondering what's up with each other and no one wants to talk about it.

The greatest irony here is that although they are so meant to be and so great at communicating, they are actually talking with each other in preparation to remain apart. So much heartbreak over and over. 😢

What a show! 😉

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The damage of broken trust incarnate.

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The soundtrack to this episode was mostly just me sobbing.

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It suddenly strikes me that even though Min-kyu now knows that "Aji-3" was a human, he still doesn't actually know anything about who Jia is - that she's Jo sajang, or the inventor of his beloved umbrella, the entrepreneur of the heart lamps, Jin-bae's sister, Baek-gyun's ex, etc.

how are we meant to wait until wednesday

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Right?! I can't wait till he finds out that she's also Jo Sajang, his unwilling only friend, and the genius inventor of his favourite umbrella. Lol.

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Only vaguely related to anything but this show is also really good for my diet. Have been cooking a lot more seafood recently because of MK. :-) 잘 먹었습니다

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wow just wow

I've read every single comment and I don't think there's nothing new I could say 'cause I agree with all of you!!!

Whatever his reaction is, I'll accept it!! I just hope that the heartbreak won't last very long and they can both be together before the final episode.

Also, the cast is so good!! the characters are so well written. I love this drama and i can`t wait!!!

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What a way to keep us on the edge for next week's episode... however, I have the feeling that there is more to this scene like on the goodbye/reset cliffhanger: have they talked about something else? Has MK remembered or felt something was odd and wanted to checked it out? Is that the reason he left the van? I don't know, the finale and realization was so fast that I have a feeling there are some takes in-between that are more important. Am I the only one who feels this way?
Now that the ruse is out in the open, MK will have to face his friends and the truth that come with it and identify the earnestness in their actions and how loyal they are so he will be able to overcome this illness and be ready to fight back his enemies.
Poor Jia, she still has to accept her responsibility in this situation and along with the SM team to regain MK's trust.
Thank you for the recap Saya!!!!!

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I’m also sure there is more in between...the thing is ...I CANNOT WAIT !!!

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"He's thrilled to find out that they're the same age and eagerly says that they should be friends. Jia tartly refuses ('Would you, if you were me?') and also doesn't want to know his name, but he tells her anyway (she’s been addressing him as 'guest' so far). Aw, can we have this version of Min-kyu forever please?"

I agree. I loved the boathouse sequence. It was so enjoyable, it was practically fanservice.

"Hugging his knees, he asks tentatively if he can talk to her a bit about Aji-3."

"He confesses that he likes everything about their current situation, once again leaving Jia lost for words."

I love the word choices here ("tentatively," "confesses") and the decision to include small details ("hugging his knees"), painting a picture of the person Min-kyu has become in his sadness – more vulnerable, wistful, and gentle.

"'Th-that's… the necklace… I g-gave… Aji-3,' Min-kyu stutters."

"'Did you deceive me… all this time?' he whispers."

I'd forgotten that Min-kyu whispered this (as opposed to just saying it). And details like stuttering are very important to showing the character's state of mind. Plus, it's all of a piece with the softer, more tentative person Min-kyu is becoming as a result of his recent experiences, so it's really nice to see these details in the recap. Excellent job!

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also when he tells her about his first kiss ahhhaha

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MK kills me every time he looks at Jia. Those eyes...

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It's a relationship that started on a complicated web of lies but somehow I still can't help but root for them to wind up together (although let's face it, if anything even remotely analogous to this happens in real life, everyone, from the couple's friends to their psychiatrists, would be advising them to move on from the traumatic relationship and just forget about each other).

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Curse you TILDA!

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I thought I knew how I'd feel or how I'd actually react to Min-Kyu finding out about Jia but his face broke me 😔 It really did make me sad because his trust in Aji3 made him feel invincible/human again. He felt as thought he could finally trust again and to have that ripped apart from him when he was so incredibly joyous of the whole thing is so damn heartbreaking. 😢 I know they all meant well but it still made it hard to watch because even though there was happiness and love within it all that was all the calm before the storm. Ugh, I'm so done.

As for Yoo-Chul, gaah damn son; I trusted you. I had so much hope for you, I held out for you because I had faith in your character to not overturn the odds and actually be a good guy after all but you failed me. You HURT me *cries*, I really wanted his character to go down the road less traveled when it came to characters like his. *Shakes fist*

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I'll reserve the deep thoughts and analysis of this episode when I'm not so distracted by RL, but can we just give Chae Soo Bin a round of applause for not melting or just simple breakdown whenever Yoo Seung Ho looks at her with heart in his eyes? I'm seeing those looks as a third person and I just wanna melt. Imagine those looks being directed to you... I'm not one for shipping Drama OTPs in off-drama life, but I would totally support these two!

Also, Ri-el is turning out to be one of my fave characters in this drama.

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I am wondering how Ji Ah is going to reveal all the truths.
Like she'll have to say
"Yes. I was the robot all the time.
Aaand the girl who brought you the toy.
Aaand the girl who made those heart lamps.
Aaand the dear sister of your trustable employee Jin Bae.
Aaand also the ex girlfriend of Baek Gun.
Oh and yes. The rice balls you ate that day, were made by me.
*Awkward laugh*"

But seriously. I hate misunderstandings and I really hope she clears ALL of them in the coming shows (even the rice balls). No relationship seems meaningful with lies :( At least to me.
Eagerly waiting for the next episode =D

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Thank you for a great read, @saya! It's like I was reliving the pain and longing through the recap all over again (Note to self: do not read sad angsty recaps and comments while listening to Perfect by Ed Sheeran on repeat 😭😭).

I have nothing to add that hasn't been said/written by our wise and funny beanies but I have to say nothing beats having your recapper fangirling and empathizing with us fans in the comment section. You're the best, @saya!

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i really like that top photo. Looks like a paparazzi shot. So candid and CSB still looks so pretty and happy.

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I promised myself that I would not do this again since I seem to always get is wrong, but here's my prognosis for how things will proceed in the future: He'll have a bad episode, but then be physically ok. Ji-ah will return the necklace and stay away from him, to avoid additional allergic reactions. He'll be very angry initially and rightfully so - not only about the initial lie but mostly because of the pain that they made him go through losing her. Then that extra large brain of his will finally start working properly. If he thinks about it for a second he'll realise that the sole reason for her getting caught is wearing his necklace (a symbol of lifelong commitment). The reveal itself is proof that she loves him. He already let her go once and lived to regret it so I doubt he'll be able to stay mad at her for long. I want him to be proactive about figuring things out properly. He'll have to work at learning everything there is to know about the woman he loves to decide that their connection was 100% real. Looking forward to his reaction to putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. :)

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And we finally get a preview: http://m.vlive.tv/video/55368. Sunhye was also talking in the background. In one translation that I read, she seemed to have asked MK if he's willing to lose Jia forever.

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Thank you for the link!!

"Ji Ah? Ji Ah?? .... AJi??"

Ugh!! Love that part!!! It seems that his initial anger (?) and shock subsides and doesn't get dragged out for long... Assa!!! THIS is how you write and work out your conflicts, Korean drama writer-nims, while including angst-- because it's a Kdrama and there will ALWAYS be angst at some point, expect it, people lol-- but not dragging it out until us viewers want to kill everyone off, including the OTP XD

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Thank you so much for the link! I never knew they post it there!
Though I couldn't understand fully, I guess Ji Ah said she has decided to stay by his side from now on. I am sure the cute little guy Min Kyu is, he won't be able to be angry with her for long :D
I really hope they will get together soon and fight all the challenges they face as one, instead of just having a happy ending in the last episode. Please writer-nim, give us more episodes of their cuteness instead of making our hearts break.
Just 2 Days more =D

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Also, it was kind of cool how Ji-ah got to hear the recount of their time together from MK's perspective. Given the writer's love for symmetry, it would be fitting if MK would get to see Ji-ah's perspective as well (maybe via the monami files?). I was rewatching some of the old episodes thinking what the current MK would think of them... There's so much he still needs to learn about her... can't wait

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I was hoping the whole You lied to me scene would not happen. I was really hoping for MK to find the necklace, investigate and put the pieces together without the allergic reaction happening. Sadly it did not happen this way...
I understand that this is a betrayal but he is a smart kid and he should realise that he did leave them deceive him because deep down he did not want to be alone anymore.
He did see the real robot so he must realise that the story is not completely made up. He did not bring any of his medication so I wonder if JA will be able to reach the functioning part of his brain and save him or if the doctor will appear at the last minute and save him. This would mean that JA and MK will be separated for a while until he figures out that she really fell for him. This annoys me a bit because it would be just like every other drama. I hope this one will resolve it differently.

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He does have medication with him. It was shown rolling out of his bag while he was still in his guest room at the restaurant.

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I like MK's ploys to extend his stay with JA a little bit longer, like when he volunteers to cook for the customers and also when he sulks that he wants to do the dishes, with her, but has to do it with BG instead hahhaaa

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My intense dislike for Baek-gyn is only a little less than for the whole of Santa Maria team. They have collectively exploited and demeaned Jia, damaging her self-worth and self-belief. I would really enjoy the satisfaction of Min-kyu flooring Bg and putting paid to his selfish and dispicable antics for good!

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I love your recap @Saya! The Sun Hye's voiceover are one of the highlights of this drama. She actually voices out the thoughts of the viewers. 4 episodes to go and I am not yet ready to say goodbye!😭

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All credit to the Producer Director and production team, the digital imagery and audio stimulation driving the psycological and emotional coonection to this drama are sensational. I just have to pause and take a break every time the soundtrack becomes key player. My oh so favourite scene from this episode is Jia on the beach (almost) silently crying away her heartach and regret. Oh, come on Min-kyu, why are you so witless and obtuse? Tell her you cannot bewithout her, come what may, that there is nothing to forgive - but - you cannot keep a promise that betrays your very inner reason to exist. His character is contradictory. He has real insights, those don't develop in someone who has a personality disorder nor an allegey, however severe. This is the greates weaknes of this writer who has managed to tease out real human emotion and the conflicts around attraction and loyalty to one's inner-self, but has done so by making an unnaceptable and ridiculouse set of affairs seem believable.
She would be with him in a heartbeat if she could feel she is deserving and can bring something to him he treasures, which he in turn, can return making her feel valued and cherrished. B-g this is your poison: you should suffer for this!

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I held off on reading this recap because watching the episodes was painful enough. Min-kyu doesn't know it, but he is lucky that the girl he is obsessed with, also is the girl who loves him. Because otherwise, his talking about Aji 3 while they were trapped, was roughly the equivalent of going on about your ex to your new love interest. I am doing my best to look forward to what the show has coming for us, it has proven itself capable of all the cute and happiness of my dreams, and I want more of that before this all ends.

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