I’m Not a Robot: Episodes 25-26
The truth about Jia and the Santa Maria team triggers a devastating setback for Min-kyu, both physically and emotionally. No one is left unscathed in the aftermath and it’s heartbreaking to witness so much misery, but that’s because there was so much love in the first place. Is it possible for Min-kyu to give Jia and his friends another chance, or will he decide to protect himself by turning his back on everyone?
EPISODE 25: “Have you been lying all along?”
Min-kyu’s joy at the sight of Jia is short-lived when he sees the necklace hanging from her neck. Realization dawns on Min-kyu’s face and when Jia tries to explain, he pushes her away. He’s about to throw up from the shock but the sound of his beeping monitor alerts him to a more serious problem.
Min-kyu stares at Jia as an angry rash spreads to his face, his breathing labored. He falls to the ground where his agonized screams mingle with Jia’s hysterical cries just as Baek-gyun and Pi show up. Baek-gyun prepares a syringe and plunges it into Min-kyu’s thigh while Pi stands by, shocked at the sight of Min-kyu’s blood-tinged tears.
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Butler Sung runs to the gate of Min-kyu’s estate as a pair of ambulances approach, followed by Baek-gyun’s van. A distraught Jia continues to cry while Baek-gyun and Pi ride in silence, overwhelmed with worry.
Covered by protective suits, Dr. Oh heads a team that works to stabilize Min-kyu as soon as he arrives. Baek-gyun and Pi hold Jia back while Min-kyu’s gurney is wheeled away. Dr Oh rapidly prescribes treatment as Min-kyu is placed in his bed and once he’s stabilized, it’s clear that Min-kyu is still in grave danger.
In the morning, Jia and the Santa Maria stand in vigil outside of Min-kyu’s house when Jin-bae arrives. Inside, Dr. Oh monitors a sleeping Min-kyu who dreams of his days with Jia as Aji-3. Min-kyu experiences another reaction when he dreams of the necklace around Jia’s neck, but Dr. Oh treats him immediately and his vital signs return to normal.
Chairman Hwang meets with the Santa Maria team at KM and outlines how a mental illness diagnosis, based on his fixation over a robot, would ruin Min-kyu. He shows Baek-gyun a news release, “Kim Min-kyu hid a rare disease and embezzled a large sum of money,” but offers to bury it if he waives all rights to Aji-3. Baek-gyun signs the agreement as Chairman Hwang warns him not to alter Aji-3 in any way.
While Dr. Oh sleeps nearby, a tear escapes from Min-kyu’s eye and he wakes up. Another figure clad in a protective suit dozes in the dining room but stands up when Min-kyu staggers out. It’s a very worried Jia, whose question, “Are you okay,” is answered with a glare. When a weak Min-kyu falls down, she wants to help him but Dr. Oh runs out to tend to his patient.
Jin-bae is with the Santa Maria team when Dr. Oh stops by the barn to announce that Min-kyu finally regained consciousness. They get permission to visit as long as there is no contact but are warned that Min-kyu is still very weak.
Jin-bae visits Min-kyu, under the watchful eye of Dr. Oh, to deliver handwritten letters from Jia and the Santa Maria team that explain when and how the fraud began. Without reading a word, Min-kyu orders, “Sue all of them.”
Jin-bae warns that a lawsuit could cost Min-kyu his position and asks him to read his report before he makes a decision. Min-kyu becomes furious when he learns that video of him exists in Aji-3’s deep learning file and Jin-bae explains that since the team viewed the videos without consent, he has grounds for a lawsuit.
Jin-bae informs Min-kyu that Baek-gyun turned Aji-3 over to Chairman Hwang without compensation to reclaim the video that he stole and to prevent news of his illness from reaching the media. A lawsuit would reveal everything that Baek-gyun worked to suppress, plus Min-kyu would lose his position at KM Financial. Min-kyu still wants to sue the team, along with the woman who posed as a robot.
Jin-bae agrees to start the lawsuit and then presents his letter of resignation. His reason is in the letter and a curious Min-kyu reads it immediately and laughs when he learns that the woman who posed as Aji-3 is Jin-bae’s sister. Jin-bae tries to apologize but Min-kyu throws him out and tells him to order the Santa Maria team off of his property right away.
A waiting Butler Sung invites Jin-bae for tea when he walks out of the house. Butler Sung wants to know, “You aren’t running away, are you?” At Jin-bae’s surprised reaction Butler Sung explains, “…the late chairman would say this to me whenever things got a little rough. ‘You mustn’t run away when someone’s having a hard time.'”
Dr. Oh confesses to Min-kyu that he ordered Jia and the team not to tell him the truth because he feared a fatal reaction. Min-kyu tearfully asks, “What does that have to do with me now,” and buries himself in his bed.
As Dr. Oh walks away, Min-kyu asks when he stopped them from telling the truth and learns it was the day before the reset. Dr. Oh wonders, “If they had told you back then, what do you think would have happened? Do you think your happiness about Aji-3 being human would have overpowered the feeling of betrayal?” Min-kyu’s answer is to send Dr. Oh away.
When Jin-bae returns to the barn, Baek-gyun inquires hopefully, “Did Kim Min-kyu ask for me?” (Awww.) Jin-bae shakes his head and then dutifully delivers Min-kyu’s message — that they are to leave his property immediately. Baek-gyun accepts their eviction stoically and orders the team to pack their things, including Aji-3, but they have nowhere to go.
Dr. Oh drives away but has to stop when Jia blocks the driveway. She pleads with Dr. Oh to tell her how she can cure Min-kyu again but he humbly admits, “I think the answer’s with you, not me. You were the one who made the miracle happen, so if you think of a way, I have a feeling that could be the answer.”
Min-kyu sits in front of the heart lamps and finds the necklace that Jia left behind.
At home, Hong-joo drags Jia out of her room to eat but the sight of the food gives her an idea. Hong-joo and Dong-hyun are surprised when Jia puts on a shower cap, mask and gloves and asks her sister-in-law, “Teach me how to cook.”
The Santa Maria team sits in Sun-hye’s coffee shop with Aji-3 in tow. Sun-hye allows them to use her coffee shop during the day while they look for a new lab location.
Pi explains that they can’t go abroad because of the lawsuit and when Sun-hye guesses that Min-kyu is behind it, she proclaims, “The deeper the love, the deeper the wound. I guess Kim Min-kyu liked you more than you thought.”
Chairman Hwang laughs in triumph as he shows Director Yeh photographic evidence of Min-kyu’s illness. He suggests that they entrust the future of KM Financial to Yoo-chul and Ri-el and offers to give her the shares that he bought with borrowed names once the engagement is announced.
When Director Yeh asks about Min-kyu, Chairman Hwang explains that they can get rid of him whenever they want. He asks Director Yeh to keep Min-kyu’s illness a secret so that Yoo-chul and Ri-el can be happy.
It’s just after noon when Min-kyu hears someone in his house. He finds a masked and gloved Jia busily setting out containers of food in the dining room. Min-kyu ignores her and shuffles to the kitchen while she haltingly explains that she took the necessary precautions to prepare him food. As Jia speaks, he sees the blood soaked bandage that covers the cut on her finger.
Min-kyu doesn’t say a word as he approaches with a trash can and throws everything away. He stumbles as he walks away, which hurts Min-kyu’s pride even more, but eventually he makes it to his room. Outside, the gate closes behind Jia, who resolves, “He’s just trying to take a firm stand. So I need to be firm, too, until the very end.”
Pi is surprised when Baek-gyun parks outside of her school since their plan was to look for a new lab space. He tells her to accept the teaching position that is still available because not only is his career over, but so is Santa Maria. Baek-gyun assures Pi that she’ll be a good professor and that he’ll see to it that Hok-tal and Ssan-ip end up in good labs.
Pi reminds Baek-gyun how much they believe in him and is convinced that they can start over. Baek-gyun confesses that he’s lost his confidence and he asks Pi to take the teaching position to put his mind can be at ease.
Pi exits the van and Baek-gyun watches as she disappears into the school, only to reappear seconds later. They stare at each other for a few seconds and when Pi climbs into the van, Baek-gyun can only say, “Shall we go?”
Min-kyu returns to his dining room to surveys the contents of the trash where he remembers Jia’s cut finger. Back at her house, Jia cooks more food for Min-kyu, which he ignores when it’s spread out on his table.
When he catches her setting out more food another day, Min-kyu finally confronts Jia, “Why do you keep coming back when I completely ignore you?” Min-kyu assumes that she wants to convince him to drop his lawsuit but she insists that’s not true. Min-kyu doesn’t think Jia grasps what she’s done and he reaches for her hand but she shrinks away. He convinced that she’s worried that he’s contagious or just scared of him and even though she protests, he sweeps all of her food to the floor and shouts, “Get lost.”
Min-kyu throws himself onto his bed in anger while Jia shouts from outside his door, “I’m sorry. However, I’m not scared of you at all. No matter what you say to me or do, I’ll be back. Tomorrow, the day after. I’ll come back to see you every day.”
EPISODE 26: “Jia knows him best”
Baek-gyun and Pi visit a building that can be converted to a lab and living quarters. Over dinner, they agree that the building’s rent is its most attractive feature and Pi places a straw in Baek-gyun’s drink like she always does.
Baek-gyun stares at the straw and Pi asks, “You were scared yesterday because you thought I’d really leave, right?” Baek-gyun tries to deny it but finally admits, “…my heart suddenly froze.”
Pleased, Pi smiles but when Baek-gyun calls it weird, they return to their meal. Baek-gyun wonders if Min-kyu is all right and Pi advises, “Leave him to Jia. The person who knows him best is Jia.”
Jia’s parting words keep Min-kyu awake so he goes for a walk and ends up at the barn. Even though all of Santa Maria’s equipment is still there, it feels empty without the team or Aji-3. Min-kyu leaves and runs into Butler Sung as he tends an outdoor fire.
Min-kyu warms his hands and when he’s invited to move closer, he replies, “I’m happy with this distance.” Butler Sung asks, “Is that young lady coming tomorrow, too,” but Min-kyu urges him to stop allowing her in. Min-kyu then asks, “Did you lie to me about anything, by any chance? If you did, please tell me the truth.”
Butler Sung argues that lies are part of the human experience and launches into a story about hedgehogs. He explains that some were cold and huddled for warmth, only to scatter when they were pricked by each other’s spikes. When they got cold again, they huddled together, so Butler Sung concludes, “I guess enduring the pain of each other’s spikes was more bearable than being cold by themselves…”
The next day, Jia rides her scooter to Min-kyu’s but falls and hurts her hand when a child runs into the street. Min-kyu waits all day for her to appear and finally concludes, “She lied again.”
Min-kyu pours himself a drink and finally reads Jia’s handwritten letter. When he finishes it, Min-kyu slams down his glass and looks over at the heart lamps.
It’s nighttime by the time a taxi drops Jia off at Min-kyu’s house, sporting a bandaged hand. Min-kyu looks drunk as he watches her set everything out and when she claims that her food goes well with alcohol, Min-kyu interrupts to demand, “Am I your friend? Who said you could drop the formalities?”
As Jia leaves, Min-kyu calls out, “Were you the creator of these heart balls,” and she realizes that he read her letter. He knows that she used her role as Aji-3’s stand-in to get him to reopen the competition finals and laughs that now he understands why he saw all those ads, petitions and the protest demonstration.
Jia wants a chance to explain but Min-kyu tells her, “No…what else am I supposed to hear from you?” He thinks it shameless that she comes to his house after everything that she’s done and insults her, “…you’re not much of a human, is that why you made a great robot.” Jia quietly tells him, “I’m sorry.”
After an uncomfortable pause, Min-kyu confesses that before he read Jia’s letter, he waited for her, like a fool. Min-kyu’s bitterly admits, “I really hate myself for waiting for you like that.”
Min-kyu is sorry that Jia didn’t disappear while he still believed that she was a robot, livid that she allowed her lies to be discovered. She hid the truth even when Min-kyu wished that she was human and he imagines how everyone enjoyed watching him make a fool of himself the day that he reset her.
They’re both crying by the time Min-kyu points out that Jia pretended not to know him on the train and ignored him at the restaurant. Min-kyu is visibly embarrassed when he thinks of all the stories that he shared when they were locked in the warehouse.
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Were you real with me for even a second?
Min-kyu’s pain reaches its peak when he wonders, “Was there a single second when you were sincere with me?” Jia hangs her head as tears run down her face but Min-kyu isn’t moved and explains, “All the moments we’ve shared disgust me now. I want to erase all of it. I want all of it to disappear! So screw off!”
When Min-kyu orders Jia to stay out of his life forever, he throws his glass at the closest display case and shards of glass fly everywhere. Blood drips from a large cut on Jia’s hand as Min-kyu falls onto his couch. Jia numbly walks away, seemingly unaware of the gash on her hand, while Min-kyu sobs alone.
At KM Financial, Jin-bae has been relegated to a desk by the elevator where he has to use his briefcase as a partition to get any privacy. An email from Madame X alerts him that the driver for the late president of Daeyang, Jang Doo-sam, has been located.
Jin-bae meets with Baek-gyun to explain that Jang Doo-sam has evidence that would destroy Chairman Hwang and save Min-kyu as well as the Santa Maria team and Aji-3. Luckily, he’s just been located.
Min-kyu shuffles into his kitchen and notices a heart-shaped post-it on a bag that Jia left behind. (Ack, that liquor bottle it practically empty!) Curious, he reads her note, “These are my favorite comic books. Read them when you’re bored. They’re so good that time will fly by.”
The next day, Sun-hye pays a visit to Min-kyu and stops when she sees the broken glass and blood on the floor. Sun-hye confesses that her visit isn’t a friendly one, “I’m here to give you the gift of life and then steal it away. So once I leave, you’ll feel really pained inside. I guarantee it.”
Min-kyu tells her that he’s short on patience, so Sun-hye gets down to business — the Santa Maria team will move out once they find a suitable place and Jia will soon leave for Australia. When Min-kyu replies that he’s not interested, Sun-hye argues if that was true he wouldn’t have let her in.
Sun-hye’s gift is actually a warning. She shares that Ssan-ip and Hok-tal think of him all the time and Jia hurt both her hands to prepare food just for him. But Min-kyu’s chapter in their lives is about to end because they have no choice but to forget him.
Sun-hye outlines how the others will move on with their lives, “…Jo Jia will probably meet another man who’s not you..Wow!” Sun-hye poses some questions for Min-kyu, “Why do you think Jia kissed you? At what point do you think Jia wanted to tell you she was a person? When a man told her he loved her while thinking she was a robot what do you think Jia thought?
Min-kyu maintains his silence so Sun-hye continues, “Aren’t the answers to these questions the gift of life? It can’t be seen with our eyes. It can only be sensed with our heart, which makes this gift more beautiful.” Min-kyu looks pensive as Sun-hye cautions, “You might lose this gift forever, Kim Min-kyu.”
Sun-hye has one of the heart lamps when she stops at Jia’s house and she leaves it behind when Hong-joo explains that Jia went to visit her father.
While Min-kyu drives his car, he recalls Dr. Oh’s question, “Do you think your happiness about Aji-3 being human would have overpowered the feeling of betrayal?” He stops outside of Sun-hye’s coffee shop and tells himself that he was crazy to go there.
As Min-kyu pulls away, he sees the Santa Maria team down the street and is haunted by Sun-hye’s prediction that he’ll be excluded from their memories. Ssan-ip recognizes Min-kyu’s car and he and Hok-tal run after him as he drives off. From his rear-view mirror, Min-kyu sees Hok-tal trip and fall but ignores the repeated calls of, “Brother!”
At the columbarium, Jia greets her father and places a photo of herself in her crazy wig and glasses inside his niche. She tells him, “Thanks to you, I regained my strength and did a good job.” Jia shares that the man that she likes appreciated her umbrellas and heart lamps but sadly confesses that she hurt him, badly. She looks so broken when she admits, “But I still miss him. What should I do?”
When Min-kyu gets home, he sees Jia’s umbrella in the back seat. He drags it inside and sets it next to the remaining heart lamp where Sun-hye left a note, “I’ll give the other one to Jo Jia.”
Min-kyu turns on his television but when he sees a report on the meteor shower that is expected that night, he shuts it off. Angrily, he grabs the umbrella and is about to shove it into his yellow locker when he realizes that there are two of them.
Min-kyu pushes the button on the clear umbrella and it changes to a light blue with stars, a partner to the dark blue one he already had. He has a thought and runs to his office to look up Jia’s application for the KM contest and sees that her portfolio includes the transparent umbrellas.
Min-kyu recalls that during the night in the warehouse, Jia confided that she feared she was useless. He then thinks of the look on Jia’s face when he gushed that he wanted to meet the genius who came up with the idea for the umbrellas. In the warehouse, Jia explained that someone convinced her that she had purpose and shouldn’t give up.
Min-kyu remembers Jia’s kiss under that umbrella and he finally realizes that she was talking about him. When he sees her heart-shaped book display, he runs to the heart lamp and touches it. An exhausted Jia returns to her room and falls on her bed just as the heart lamp that Sun-hye left behind lights up.
Min-kyu drives to the viewing site for the meteor shower and when he arrives he looks around expectantly. Disappointed, he realizes that he may have pushed Jia away for good but when he turns to leave, she’s right in front of him.
Ugh, that was such a difficult episode to get through, with Min-kyu’s agonizing allergic reaction followed by a recovery that left him a shell of his former self. And such a bitter, lonely, angry shell at that. Min-kyu’s sense of betrayal was so deep that he lashed out at those who hurt him, decisively and viciously. Tired of watching Jia and the Santa Maria team suffer, Sun-hye finally takes matters into her own hands and delivers a message of tough love to the wounded Min-kyu and paints a picture of the lonely future that awaits him. Her wisdom and calm reason, coupled with some very astute questions (not to mention a well-placed heart lamp), leads to that much needed glimmer of hope that ended this week’s hour.
Butler Sung’s increased prominence in the story at this stage must somehow be linked to the Madame X mystery. He’s obviously so much more than a butler, but who exactly is he? He’s an interesting combination of friend, father figure and groundskeeper for the lonely orphan who grew up under his care. Now it’s time for his charge to take his rightful place in his fathers’ company, but Min-kyu isn’t in the best position to make that a reality. Even though Chairman Hwang has set quite the trap for Min-kyu, I’m going to guess that Ri-el can’t be counted on to participate in a plot to hurt him. We’ll see.
At first, I thought that Min-kyu’s reaction was a bit extreme, but his rage revealed how deeply his friends’ betrayal hurt him. Min-kyu agonized over his love for a robot who was human all along, a dilemma that he could have avoided had he known the truth. Even though Dr. Oh confessed that he ordered Jia and the team to kept the truth from Min-kyu, it doesn’t change the fact that they hid the truth from him long before that. Add to that the realization that the charade began for selfish reasons, to keep Aji-3’s damage a secret and to give Jia a chance to convince Min-kyu to proceed with the final round of the KM competition. They deserve Min-kyu’s wrath and they know it, which is why they don’t fight back or make excuses, and why Baek-gyun gave up Aji-3 without a fight.
As justified as Min-kyu’s anger may be, that confrontation between him and Jia was so harsh that I wondered how there could be any hope for them after he told her to stay out of his life. She flew to her father’s side, where Jia looked like a lost, little girl. She was so close to her breaking point and needed the inspiration from that one person she could always count on. Her sadness was palpable and I want to go on record and say that Chae Soo-bin has delivered a powerful performance in this role. She and Yoo Seung-ho broke my heart as Min-kyu unleashed his rage on Jia and brought them dangerously close to that point of no return.
What Min-kyu hasn’t figured out yet is that love is really about forgiveness because Butler Sung is right, humans lie and disappoint one another constantly. If there’s no room for forgiveness, Min-kyu risks being alone forever, which is the only way to guarantee that he won’t get hurt. But as Sun-hye pointed out, that leaves Min-kyu nothing but a memory as the ones who once cared for him move on. Min-kyu has a choice to make, start over again with Jia, Jin-bae, Baek-gyun and the team, or turn his back on them forever. What isn’t clear is if there’s still a chance for them to reconnect, or has Min-kyu gone too far?
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