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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.

Watch the video

Truth-induced relapse
 

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.

COMMENTS

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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When finding out the truth MK lost his whole life; not only because he nearly died of shock, but because he was losing everything that Aji3 had brought along - normality, love, trust, hope. As a result, he is angry - yes, rightfully so- but more than anything he is terrified. The fear of rejection that kept him away from people for 15y is back with a vengeance. He is afraid that his diseases is back for good and that no-one can accept him in that state.
So he lashes out. His initial reaction is heartbreaking, but very much in character: he’s briefly reverting to his pre-Jia days. However, their time together has changed him and he can no longer be that person.

When he found the necklace on the table, he actually looked disappointed. Like he wished she’d kept it…

More than anything, his violent attempts at pushing her away feel like a test - can you handle the worst of me? He is terrified of her rejecting him so he is pushing her away first - all the while hoping that she'll stay.

Their last confrontation is absolutely brutal. He lies bare his soul in front of her, his hopes, his fears. Love does not go away just because you are angry with that person. He loves her just as much as before, even if it seems that his feelings were one-sided. I think the key point is when she asks her what she is apologising for. “Is it *just* because you pretended to be a robot?” (Paraphrasing the rest) "How about my feelings? You saw me falling in love with you… You felt it too… How could you continue lying after that? I must seem the stupidest of fools in your eyes.” Still, he desperately wants to believe it was real...

Jia's response to all this is perfect. It's the only one that could have possibly worked: I may have given you up when that seemed the only way to keep you alive but now I'll stand by you no matter what. He is hurting this badly, it is only fair that we should endure it as well. He was her knight before, she’ll turn into one for him now (the writer really really loves symmetry, down to a cut left index finger).

It takes the smallest hint that she might have cared as well for him to forgive her. When he ran out of his house - no gloves or baton in sight - he had already given her his all. What follows is just the cherry on the cake.

Some people have complained that MK forgiving Jia was too quick. I’d say that although it was fast, there was nothing easy about it. Actually, I think it was done just right - he’d lost her once already and nearly died from the pain of missing her. With all the facts in hand he can’t but see Ji-ah’s sincerity. Forgiving everybody else on the other hand… that will take more doing. Good thing that when it comes to mending a broken bromance there’s nothing better than a common enemy.

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Also: I really loved the butler's hedgehogs story. Great metaphor. And he is right of course: the most important lesson that MK has to learn is forgiveness. And @teriyaki thanks for the recap!

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Excellent summation of the range of and reasoning behind the emotional reactions we see from Min-kyu and Ji-ah, as well as the Santa Maria team.

The recap made me cry all over again.

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@CHARLIE

Great insight into the psychology behind MK's reactions and responses. 😍 I'm with you on this! 😄

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I realize that I come out of this squarely on MK's side... which is kind of unfair to Jia. But then I look at him broken and alone, and I want to give him the biggest hug ever. And then I am reminded that the lie took even that away from him... Se yep - team MK all the way.

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It's unfair to Jia because we know how much of her behaviour was motivated by the fact she's insanely in love with him. But he doesn't know that. And looking at her actions alone, it's a pretty big betrayal. They made a fool of him and he doesn't know that they weren't laughing at him the whole time. Nobody wants to feel foolish, especially not someone who's been betrayed by everybody he loved.

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Bear in mind, if you give him that big hug you'll kill him. That's always been the paradox at the center of the tale.

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All of what you said is exactly why I don't mind sitting through the angst because it's so beautifully done!
The angst makes sense. It makes you feel for him, it makes sense, and it also shows you what is needed to make him feel better and how there can be a happy ending for all.

And Yoo Seung Ho just makes me want to hug Min-kyu poor beautiful lost boy.

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I binged on this because I am loving Yoo Seung-Ho in My Strange Hero, and wanted to see some of his other work. He has catapulted into the top tier 5 list of favorite Korean actors. I think he may be number one when it comes to creating a sweet, vulnerable, adorably endearing character in a romcom. I love him!

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This episode was hard for me to watch, too, but (is this weird?) I felt like the hedgehog story was the thing that brought it all together. It soothed me in (maybe) the same way it helped Min-kyu. And yes, I definitely think there's more to the butler than meets the eye. Thanks for the great recap <3

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The hedgehog story was great! I might use that one day haha

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That episode ripped my heart apart again and again 😥 these actors are so good at portraying emotions that it really got to me this episode. At the end, I needed to do something happy haha.

I love Jia’s resilience to keep visiting MK despite him being rude to her over and over again. She loves him so much that she’s determined to help him overcome his illness again. She’s amazing!

Sun-hye killed it with her talk with MK! I was so proud of her for that. Also she was (mostly) uninvolved in all the drama that happened so she was able to give a more objective argument against MK. I think along with what Jia was doing, she was a necessary step in showing MK that they did what they did because they care for him and that they want to continue caring for him.

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Also, I’m so curious to find out who Madam X is!!!!

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Obviously this is impossible, but I've briefly suspected Sun Hye to be Madam X simply because Sun Hye is all-knowing.

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She totally reminds me of dear old Bora noona!
#AM1998feels

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Did you know Sun Hye (Lee Min Ji) played Mi Ok in Reply 1988?

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she'll be too young to be Madam X.. at one point i was deluding myself could it be Yoo Chul (hey, I believed there is some lights in him hiding in a deep corner somewhere.. but yeah super unlikely too).. my best best now is Butler Sung..

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Heol! Few days ago I was wondering "doesn't they look alike a bit?" while showering!😁😛 And now it turned out to be true!
I LOVE fun surprises and coincidences like this.

BTW, it's wonderful to see how much she has grown, from playing innocent,shy,cute Mi-ok to all independent,forward Sun-hye!!

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I really really loved YSH's monologue. Usually a long scene of angst like that will annoy me (even in real life), but it felt authentic and not melodramatic at all. Great acting and writing.

I was almost more weepy when Ssanip and Hoktal were chasing Minkyu's car so desperately. Very good all around.

Did anyone else get nervous when Pi was crossing the street back to the van after she faked Baekgyun out? I thought for sure ToD would come whizzing by and take her out.

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Just how I was sure Dimples wasn't a stalker in BTIOFL, I'm sure this writer would never do it to us. I don't feel anything when they're crossing the road which is always a good sign for a drama lol

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OK, maybe it was just that I had read the ToD post before watching this episode.

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I love that we call it a monologue. Because it’s more like a huge angry rant lol. He’s just ranting out his literal heart and somehow it feels like this big Shakespeare character moment. It felt so powerful in that ‘defining moment’ sort of way. It’s actually such a long scene (another strength of this drama where a conversation could be an entire episode and everyone’s still watching with eyes that could burn the screen). But yea, in that scene, I felt the tension piling up that when he finally throws his drink and shatters the glass, it was like a climax to a very exhausting and emotional ride. That scene was everything lol.

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another strength of this drama where a conversation could be an entire episode and everyone’s still watching with eyes that could burn the screen

Yes and it is mostly a credit to the marvelous actors. They immersed us into the story, their characters, that we wanted to hear more of their thoughts and feelings.

We could all argue on the harsh accusations of Min Kyu to Ji Ah but we can understand why all Ji Ah could say is "I'm Sorry"
Ahhhh. I just wanted to give her a big hug at that moment. She must have been blaming herself too much.

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Poor Jia thought that she deserved it. Her worst fears came true when Minkyu discovered their deception, that her major role in it almost killed him. While I wasn't breathing from that scene, I thought it was necessary for MK to let it all out and for Jia to quietly but bravely bear the brunt of his anger. Really top notch performance from both leads.

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I can't ever ever imagine any other actor for either of these roles and more so for that scene. They did everything right in it. The direction was so on point letting the characters really take over the narrative. The music direction was beautiful in initial silence and then the right amount of music as we got to the climax. The writing so powerful with words that... I can't even describe lol. And the acting was just... from the moment Min-kyu stood there casualt leaning on his fridge to the eventual outburst - I can confidently say without an centimetre of a doubt that he's the best actor not only of his generation but of the 20s bracket. His talent is pretty insurmountable (I'll admit he's my second favourite, but his talent is second to no one) And CSB too... for an actress that's been in the drama world for such a short time, she carries the power to suck you right in and not allow you out at all. They're not just a visual match, their talent/abilities just combine to make this perfect couple. I hope they'll do a sageuk one day the level of Princess Man (even a remake? Lol). Because that's just something to behold!

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How I love that although it hurts so bad watching them cry, that I literally felt my heart being stabbed for couple of times, we just can't keep ourselves to crave for more. YES to a sageuk drama with Princess' Man Angst level, that will be epic. Yoo Seung Ho & Chae Soo Bin are on the top of actors of their generation.
Dramagods gave us a match-made in heaven OTP for a RomComMelo and I was very grateful to end the 2017 and start 2018 with them. I have a good feeling for my 2018 kdrama watching. **

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I hate “noble idiocy” and this separation is definitely not idiotic. It is necessary so that Min Kyu can work through his feelings. That is why I love the scene with Sun Hye. She confronts him with the truth: he might lose Jia. Yet, she respects his feelings and gives him the opportunity to see the truth for himself. I love the questions that she asks and the underlying concern that she shows for both Jia and Min Kyu.

The romance is squee-worthy and the writers make me cry almost every episode, but the friendships are what give the show its heart.

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Thank you for this lovely recap!

This episode's Min-kyu mirrored the one after his first kiss, who only just realized he was in a one-sided relationship - because the one he liked was unable of feeling real emotions and all he did was input enough data to get the relationship he wanted.

So the initial feeling of betrayal stemmed from not only being made a complete and utter fool once again in his life, but realizing that he was in an unrequited love all this time. That he was a victim of a con artist, who wasn't even programmed to like him, but cheated him into thinking she liked him.

So his wrath, while scary, was justified. He had no reason to think that the most important connection he made was even remotely true and I was a little angry at Jia for imposing on him as if nothing happened right away.

And I was a little angry at Sun-hye for treating him like a sulking kid when he was a reasonable adult. 'You know she'll meet someone else one day' and MK's pouting face broke my heart even more than his speech. He mustn't have been aware of how time passage works, truly, as expressed by his interactions with Riel.

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And, like, the more I think about it the more I'm impressed by the writer because it's really hard to make me care about a relationship where one character is deceiving the other, especially when the reveal happens without the guilty person confessing willingly. in Seven Day Queen I was actively seething whenever the prince showed up even though I liked his character in general. I was anxious about watching Legend of the Blue Sea so much because the leads had so many goddamn secrets. But there's so much rawness in CSB and YSH's performances that I can't help but empathize with their characters and their reasons. I cry when they cry, I laugh when they laugh and I'm angry when they're angry. And I never question, I just, idk, understand?

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Seriously, I wouldn't be rooting for this romance as hard as I am if it wasn't for how beautifully matched YSH and CSB as actors, their chemistry is incredible. That scene is basically just him yelling at her, but he makes it so raw and heartfelt, I just got sucked right in. In a weird way, it plays like a really angry, hurt love confession to Jia as herself - he's been in love with her all along, and he so badly wants to believe that something of what he had with her as Aji-3 and what he had with her as "Hong-joo" is real.

(And also credit to Chae Soo Bin for being the right actress for this role, and for Aji-3, she's so different I keep forgetting she's also playing the robot)

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"It plays like a really angry, hurt love confession to Jia as herself - he's been in love with her all along" GOD I KNOW sort of like in Pride and Prejudice Darcy's 'how dare you make me have feelings for you I don't get it' proposal, the underlying feelings are right but the words are all wrong. Min-kyu's honest admission that even after the reveal he still waited for her to come against his own will and sanity murdered me. like how can you top that? and then CSB did in the next episode and now I'm dead

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That Darcy comment is so spot on. The feelings were all right and the words so very wrong. Yet the emotions is quite obvious. She knows he loves her, and knows that his anger is because of how much he loves her. So while she was clueless on how to approach him anymore, when he reached out a millimeter, she sprinted to him like a bolt. I love that kind of all-encompassing love. It’s why when Kdramas get it right, they do romance like no other. And INAR is the biggest example of that.

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You just can't be angry at a guy who's hurting because he loves you too much. But because he's so frightened of his love being a one-sided feeling, he doesn't have enough self-control to listen to her. Yet. You can't really be angry at a girl who admitted you're the One Person who made her feel like she's worth anything.
God I wish I was drunk, there are too many feelings in my chest for a sober person!

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It was such a brilliant scene honestly. Because it’s this big grand love confession. In a nutshell, he’s telling her he loves her in so many words. He’s saying that despite the betrayal, deceit and humiliation, he waited for her like a fool. He’s saying that he showed his heart to however many versions she had. And he’s pleading with her to please deny that in every one of those moments, she felt nothing for him.

If I were reading a transcript of this, I’d believe he was confessing his love. But the scene came out in all sorts of complicated ways. He said all of this with an answer made up in his mind. So his anger just kept escalating.

Like you said, how can anyone possibly be mad at a guy who’s saying he’s so in love with you it’s killing him. That every moment you spent together scares him, because he’s so afraid it wasn’t real. That’s some legitimate angst. I can probably worship this scene for the rest of my life. One of the most strongest scenes I’ve ever witnessed. If there was a best scene award, this is my front runner by quite a distance.

OOT: It’s almost above the level of TPM’s barn scene where the girl just hugs the guy despite his literal “I-will-kill-you” threats.

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@vivanesca
I thought you, me and @charlieblue17 had already decided to hit the gin as part of our INAR survivor's club?
Wearing these t-shirts toohttps://www.cafepress.com.au/cp/customize/product2.aspx?number=197899603

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@leetennant I'm dead serious we should make it a thing once I'm done with finals. ilu

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I know, right?! Only this is one up from Darcy because in this case the anger and the 'I don't want to have feelings for you, how dare you!' is not him being a snob, it's because of what she did to him and what he thinks she did.

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@teacakes I mean "you have bewitched me, body and soul" vs "I waited for you like a fool, like a crazy person, without any pride".... you can't possibly make me choose between Darcy and Min-kyu.
(I know the first quote is from Darcy's second proposal but I needed something equally iconic lol)

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Chae Soo Bin indeed is doing really good in these different characters.

Trivial: One thing I notice though is Aji-3’s wide hips. Is it the flare dress? Is CSB’s waist just so tiny that her hips/butt were emphasized? Nothing against it, I actually like her body so much. Just a little out of the norm among actresses, if you get what I mean? I rarely see that shape/figure in most lead actresses.

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I think that's Chae Soo Bin's natural shape, I remember a scene in Sassy Go Go where she's in a fitted tracksuit and her figure was still like that. She does have really amazing proportions, you're right it's not common.

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CSB continues to be outstanding each week. Like you, I often forget that only one actress is playing Jia and Aji3 as she makes both roles so different. Even when she was playing Jia who was pretending to be Aji3, she still injected a lot of nuance that made it different. I am not confused as to which character is onscreen. It's a mark of an intelligent actor and shows the work that she put into understanding and relating with her characters. It's great to see. I love YSH and think he's absolutely phenomenal as an actor (the myriad of emotions that he conveyed in that outburst was just incredible) but many of the scenes that emptied my tear ducts in INAR were triggered by CSB.

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Given that the writing and performances elicit empathy for just about everyone here, is there a possibility that even Mr. Hwang isn't as eeeeeevil as he acts? He was quite nervous in the face of Mr. Martin's veiled threat of "You know me." As in, You know what I'm capable of.

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eh, even if... cool motive, still murder ¯\_(ツ)_/ ¯

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"I was a little angry at Jia for imposing on him as if nothing happened right away"

This I don't agree with. She knows he thinks he's a monster that nobody loves. If she had given him space, it would have just re-enforced that. Like that scene where he goes to touch her and she recoils. We know she's doing it because she's afraid of hurting him but to him it looks like rejection. Leaving him alone is the right thing for most people but not for him and she knows that.

"And I was a little angry at Sun-hye for treating him like a sulking kid when he was a reasonable adult."

This is where I'm with you. I've personally been a bit hit and miss with Sun Hye's meddling even though it's consistent with her character. I was quite angry with her for pushing Min Kyu to admit his feelings for his "robot" when she knew that a) a robot can't reciprocate and b) she wasn't actually a robot at all.

You could argue that if Min Kyu hadn't pursued his feelings so ardently that the fallout wouldn't have been this bad. The month would have ended, Jia would have told him the truth and he wouldn't have felt like such a fool.

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You can't disagree with my feelings!

This is precisely why I'm going to end up an old lady in a small house, all alone except for 10 cockatiels and a bird-loving cat. I just don't get humans and I leave them alone when they act like they want to be alone.

I'm glad Jia has no pride and just tries to fix her mistakes with the stubbornness and subtlety of a battering ram, but preparing food for a person who is back to square one with his trust issues was a bit too naive for me. I'd much rather see her just sitting there waiting to be acknowledged, but that's just my introverted personality speaking probably. I melted when she told him (essentially) that she'll always be there for him.

Regardless, if either of them was less passionate and honest and embarrassing I'd never be this obessed with this drama so I'm not holding any of this against them.

SH is getting on my nerves lately but I'm in love with her confidence and she's very refreshing. She's the kind of friend I'd never be able to keep but desperately need.

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I would not call her naive exactly. She did not know what to do so she went back to their shared history for ideas. He cooked to save her as Aji3, so she is doing the same. I doubt she actually thought he'd be willing to eat her food. But the gesture is meaningful for them. As to showing up every day - that is the one thing that she absolutely did right. The worst thing for him is being alone. She's known that all along, even post reset, when she arm-twisted BG into staying by MKs side. Having someone to shout at is needed to deal with that much anger and she is more than willing to take the brunt of it (@leetennant and co have argued this much better already so I'll stop here).

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"He cooked to save her as Aji3, so she is doing the same." well would you look at that, you've managed to convince me! I'm a member of the church of symmetry, if you say this scene is a callback to another scene, I'm sold. I was so lost as to why she thought this was a good idea, I thought it was a cultural thing. I can safely love every moment of this episode then.
gosh I love dramabeans.

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@vivanesca

Glad when my input enhances someone's viewing experience. And if you like symmetry, IANAR has by far the most I've ever seen in a drama...

One thing to add to my original comment: I thought it was pretty smart of her to come up with that, especially after the extremely "helpful" advice of Dr. Oh - "no idea what to do but you managed to figure it out the first time round so I'm sure you'll think of something". (and the title of most irresponsible doc ever, 2018 edition goes to...)

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I didn't even make the connection! Of course. He cooked to make the scientists sit down and understand him, so it makes sense that she would do the same to get him to feel better and sit down and maybe want to listen to her. That's so smart it went straight over my head, but it makes so much sense.

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@charlieblue17
Firstly, your comment made me laugh because he is a terrible doctor. He should have referred Min Kyu to a psychiatrist a long time ago or at least combined his treatment with therapy. Also, he was the one who thought that lying to his patient was a super idea.

But while I was laughing I suddenly realised that he has been behaving like everybody else in this show when it comes to Min Kyu. He's paralysed by how much he loves him. All his questionable decisions are as motivated by love as the Santa Maria team and Jia's have been.

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I always felt that the doc has been incompetent and mostly useless in his treatment but after your comment above, I feel a tiny bit bad coz of course you are right, his questionable actions probably stemmed from his love for Min-Kyu, and it's true, our actions and judgement can be clouded by our strong emotions

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All cats love birds. ;)

"[Sun Hye is] the kind of friend I'd never be able to keep but desperately need." Why would you never be able to keep her? Genuinely curious.

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you know what I meant, you meanie! no bird-eating in my house with chicken legs!

eh, maybe cause I'm a whiny baby who is constantly in denial about everything and she seems like the kind of girl who calls you out on your bullshit and gets easily exasperated by people who don't make sense. *shrug*

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@vivanesca @liquidsoap (seriously I don't understand how this replying thing works for people who have profiles so I'll use both your handles *grumble grumble*)

Yeah, but people like Sun Hye NEED different-type friends. She'd maybe be constantly exasperated, but maybe secretly she likes to be the tough, realistic one.

Also, I have a cockatiel and when he is bad I threaten to cook him for dinner like a tiny chicken.

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hehe you're doing great, double bat-signal
maybe I was just unlucky with people like her in the past then? idk.
oh god you'd never, cockatiels are the purest creatures in the whole world! they're never bad, just misunderstood! can yours talk or sing human songs?

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@vivanesca @liquidsoap Mine can say exactly one thing, which is a really loud and insistent: TWEET! Years and years of talking to him have never helped him to learn anything else.

Good thing for him he's so pretty. :D

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I'm sure Jia could sense hi emotions, that's why she talked through his door, O'm not afraid of you, one bit.

SH, I give the girl, mad props. The deeper the love the deeper the hurt. Everyone is drowning and MK is the center. By going to him, and yes, he needs company, he let her in. She was trying to move him away from his emotion to look at things from a different perspective. Emotions and pride (even though at first justified can turn into a vicious circle of hate).

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I think both Sunhye and Butler Sung gave Minkyu a strong lesson on perspective. Yes, the Santa Maria team and Jia lied to him but it wasn't all a lie. The Santa Maria genuinely considered him as their friend and brother. Jia not only considered him as her bestfriend but also her "one person" that made her endure it all. MK shut down and closed himself once again (a la the Beast from "Beauty and the Beast"), started living again inside the protective bubble that he created for 15 years, after his discovery of the deception and refused to listen to anyone and relied heavily on his own interpretation of events. Thus, Butler Sung telling him of the hedgehog story and Sunhye asking him astute questions helped MK re-interpret what happened and to consider giving Jia and the Santa Maria team another chance.

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Min Kyu is so clouded by his anger, that he wasn't able to think of those moments that proved Ji Ah loves him back.
That's why I love it when Sun Hye throws to him the questions, “Why do you think Jia kissed you? At what point do you think Jia wanted to tell you she was a person?"

We've given Min Kyu space to let it all out and our poor Ji Ah is so brave to take it head on.
It is about time to give Min Kyu some smack and we have Sun Hye to do the honor.
Because although a bit harsh, everything she said is true if Min Kyu will not help himself and will continue to shut his door.

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Thank you @TeriYaki

If ever a side character ever earned her place as plot-mover, good-advice giver and best of best friends, it's Sun Hye. She has amazingly kept everyone's needs in mind as she minds her store and her own business. She has supported the Santa Maria team in several ways without ever letting on what she knew. She has of course been a solid source of strength for Ji A, especially when Jin Bae was being unbrotherly and even in her tough love talk, she has Min Kyu's good in mind.

It's great to have another show with so many great ladies who are so in charge of themselves, so full of care for others (and each other) and ultimately so clear about the right thing to do. From the little niece and Hong Joo, Sun Hye, Pi and Ji A... not a single female character is a dud.

It's nice to see that the male characters too are blooming and developing well. An all round delightful show! And I'm looking forward to the next recap!!! 😆

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Amen to your whole post!!

Alsocan Aji3 be added as an honorary member to the list of awesome ladies?!! (Especially after the next episode!)

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Tribute to our powerful ladies:
1. Jia, for being ambitious in her dream to help people and never giving up.
2. Pai, for being so headstrong and stubborn and I truly respect that.
3. Ri El, for trying to stand up for herself and being honest. You're a strong independent woman who don't need no man!
4. Sun Hye, for being the most valuable, outspoken bestie you could ask for.
5. Hong Joo, for being the nicest, friendliest, most supportive sister-in-law ever.
6. Dong Hyun, for being adorable! Ah, and that scene where she chats with "that pitiful Ahjussi".
7. Aji3, for saving the memories of Monami and being downright hilarious and awesome time to time.
8. And even Grandma, who ships our main leads. XD

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Yes! All the love for all the strong, amazing ladies in this show!

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LOL! Yes, Aji3 too... before her face becomes that of a handsome man!!! 😂 Love that you've included her.

I really like Ri El too... so true to herself, uncompromising over what is right, so secure that she can walk away from father and friends and retain friendship with Min Kyu, the one she might have been most uncomfortable with, since her father had been tricking him all along and was using him still.

It's amazing to get all these great women characters in one show. It makes up for the multitude of shows where female characters became limp, wimpy, clingy and dumb even though they may have begun as smart and spunky.

Kudos to this show for being consistent in its characterization and respecting the ladies. 😘 😁

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Has anyone in kdramaland ever learned to cook without slicing a finger ??

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hahaha

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This is why I don't cook. It's too dangerous!

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Bwaaah! Reminds me of those late-night infomercials for the food chopper—Aigoo! I can't cut onions!

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Ginsu Knife of Doom?

"But wait! There's more!"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginsu

Actually I think could explain Why Do Dramas Do That, but I'd rather wait for JB & GF to explain it in the sequel to their book.

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In Defence of Cut Fingers

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Well cut fingers do lead to romantic bandaging and that ever sexy blowing on the booboo trope.

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When I first started watching kdrama I was introduced to the always-bewildering:
1. blowing on cuts (why?)
2. falling onto somebody's lips (physically impossible
3. screaming for help instead of calling for an ambulance (this one drives me bananas)
4. overwork nosebleeds (this does not happen)
AND
5. the Awkward Face Smush, often coupled with Kiss Shock Eyes (if anybody's real first kiss was this bad and shocking they'd run in the other direction).

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@LeeT I'm still most baffled by the nosebleeds, and how they leave the knot of tissue stuffed up their nose forever. So gross.

The fall into lips is not a thing in real life, and if you fell into someone's mouth your teeth would smash, hard, and it would hurt.

The shocked kiss eyes. I. don't. get. it.

And who just stands there with their lips barely touching? That is not a kiss, and well, See Hee explained it better than I can.

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@egads
I still couldn't believe Reunited Worlds when they finally had their first kiss and it was barely a peck. And then they kissed again after dating for months and she's ramrod straight with wide eyes. It was so weird. Witch's Romance gets so much credit from me, at least in the beginning, just because the leads made out like normal people.

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@leetennant kisses are one thing, but I'm still amazed by all the bathroom humor. especially considering how important hygiene and pampering is to Koreans. I guess it's similar how in my ridiculously religious country so many folk songs are about sex. here's one of my fav:
"in the barn, in the hay we were wrapped/
he didn't know how to hug me so he got slapped"

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@LeeT, what about the hero running to hug the heroine and the umbrella has to always get dropped and they must both end up wet in the rain? 😂

Or when the heroine trips, she has to always end up with a gash in either the hand, wrist, or knee, anywhere as long as there must be gash of wound. 😂

Or if somebody trips, it always has to be a bad fall. Reflexes do not exist when you have a hero picking you up from the ground. 😂

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@egads, SPOILER ALERT!

[SPOILER REMOVED]

Dead fish kiss has not evolved since 20 years ago.

Criteria: 😂

Lips touching but not moving.

Woman has to blink multiple times, minimum of 2-3 times.

Keep eyes open for the whole duration of the kiss.

Or close eyes in the last minute but never move lips ever.

Would somebody do a [In Defense Of] dead fish kiss? 🤣

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@abcde
Based on kdrama, you would think that couples only fall in love through forced cohabitation and damselling. Seriously, if I have to watch one more badass female lead get damselled just so the male lead can look heroic, I'll swear.

Maybe that's one of the reasons INAR feels so fresh.

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@LeeT,

This thread has a lot of topics for future episodes of In Defense Of. 😄

Dead fish kiss has not evolved since 20 years ago.

Criteria: 😂

Lips touching but not moving.

Woman has to blink multiple times, minimum of 2-3 times.

Keep eyes open for the whole duration of the kiss.

Or close eyes in the last minute but never move lips ever.

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@abcde

Dead Fish Kiss is perfect. It beats Awkward Head Smush. I'll use that from now on.

The ONLY justified use of it I've ever seen was in W where LJS got slapped then kissed out of the blue. In that situation, it completely worked.

I think the reason I hate Dead Fish Kiss so much - aside from no one in real life responding like that - is that it raises consent issues that kdrama has yet to deal with. If she's not kissing you back, that ain't consent.

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@leetennant The funny thing from all your observations from kdrama watching is sometimes, it happens in real life:

1. Blowing on cuts - I do this all the time, not really sure why but probably just to soothe the person I guess...
2. Falling onto somebody's lips - agree with you that it's physically impossible
3. Screaming for help - I've never experienced it but I would think if the person in pain is someone you care about, you tend to lose your sense of judgement for a moment
4. Overwork nosebleeds - this actually happens all the time
5. Awkward Face Smush, Kiss Shock Eyes - this actually happens in real life especially when you don't expect the person to kiss you, at that moment you are shocked to your senses that you freeze, then you run to collect your senses on what just happened...

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@LeeT,

There’s really no chance of kissing back because the hero also stopped moving when their lips touch. 🤦‍♀️😝

So they both end up standing there, lips touching. Never will open their mouth. Must never move because doing so would break the rule of the dramaland. 🤣

Consent is: The heroine will stay in that awkward position until they pull back and acts shy/cutesy.

Non-consent is: The heroine bulges her eyeballs and pulls suddenly back. Wipes or covers lips with the back of her hand. Yells ‘Yah!’ to the kisser. Or run away without saying anything. She does not kick the balls of the unwanted kisser. Because drama rules. 😂

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Let me jump on the end of the bandwagon.
The thing in kdrama land that I have always found strange is that almost always people go to sleep in the bedroom with the lights on. I personally need a dark room to sleep and feel like yelling "hey, please shut off the lights".

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@LeeT The blowing on cuts thing is real, my mother always did it when I was a kid and I think it was probably because the first aid antiseptic commonly used back then burned/stung like fire, and the blowing was supposed to cool the burning feeling - I think. (Seriously, the medicine always hurt worse than the original cut or scrape and I feared it.) Nowadays, just culturally embedded?

4) Overwork nosebleeds are also a cultural concept, not just k-drama.

5) Kiss Shock Eyes/Dead Fish Kiss: This one really bothers me and I think it has to do with notions of purity/chasteness/innocence. The flip side of this is if you close your eyes, you supposedly "want" the kiss/are into it. Which we rarely get in k-drama heroines.

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Plus it seems that learning to cook is only about chopping things (including your finger). Nobody seems to pay any attention to seasoning.

Maybe it's because tasting is less likely to cause injury and therefore doesn't show your dedicating to whatever cause you're cooking for.

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Also, why do we need to have the trope of a character (usually the female lead) who is so bad at cooking that it elicits faces of extreme disgust from the tasters, and yet that same character is completely ignorant of their own incapability? Do they never taste their own cooking as they go or at least before they serve it? And if the food tastes fine to them then there's a bigger problem than bad cooking....impaired ability to taste or smell is more likely.

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Ahhh.... I can answer this one for you. Cooking is a chore for me - I rather fold laundry than cook but cook I must because I want my kids to grow up healthy(~ish) so when I first started cooking, I didn’t even think to taste the food while cooking or before it was served! I just assume it’s gonna be ok coz I follow the recipe until someone pointed out that it’s weird, that I should taste the food see if it’s ok but for me, I just want to get it over and done with. Even now after 3 years of cooking, I have to made conscious effort to taste the food while cooking. Weird, I know. And cut finger, happen occasionally even after 3 years 😢😢... I should just give up cooking

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I feel you Ahjumma! I get cuts from who knows where and how while cooking. I only realize when I see blood or feel the sting. I am not technically clumsy, but I could not be holding a knife because I may end up killing myself without even knowing it. 🤣

No matter how much effort I put in my cooking, I even taste it in progressive stages, the result just tastes terrible! They’re not even edible. I feel horrible for wasting the ingredients and for the husband not being able to eat good home-cooked food. The most decent I could make is fried egg. I really want to cook. I was so sad. I was really trying so hard.

Until we finally decided to cut our losses and live on to-go. Expensive because we have to choose healthier options in good restaurants, but at least we get to eat every bit of the dish we buy. Nothing wasted. And no disappointments in my own cooking. Hahaha

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I am a terrible cook. I made a conscious effort to make food when I first moved out for college, but over the years somehow I got worse and worse at it. I have definitely walked around with bandaids from cooking (or burning) incidents. At this point I have managed to figure out the handful of recipes that I almost cannot mess up and also where to find pre-made flavour mixes so I don't always have to bother with the taste.

When it is for myself, I usually don't care so much how it tastes so I'm just glad when I'm done and I have to eat it anyway. I often don't pre-taste it when I cook. When it is for others, I usually just make them cook instead D;

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@saturtledaisy,

I have tried pre-made flavor mixes and sauces too! But I also managed to mess them up. I could not even figure out what went wrong. I do not know where my brain lies when it comes to cooking.

I remember I did one dish back in college. It was so good, I cooked it over and over again. When I tried that same recipe a few years later, it was terrible. I then realized I’ve become a bad cook.

I have some simple recipes, but they are all comprised of basically just frying things. For soup, I buy the pre-mix powder or just get packed noodles then add some veges and eggs. And then I get too ambitious, I add variety of vegetables and it would end up bland. 🤦‍♀️😭

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Feeding other people every day is a chore I did not enjoy, and let me tell you when I was no longer legally responsible for making sure my children were fed, I put down the pan and made myself some peanut butter toast for dinner. BTW, I am such an indifferent cook, they learned how to out of self defense, and are much better at it than I ever was.

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Those were some eye-opening comments. At least you are more self aware than the drama characters about your cooking.

I'm not a terribly good cook myself (most of my food falls in the range of "ok but not worth making again" or "forgettable") but as long as I have detailed instructions to follow I can produce food I won't fear making other people eat. It might take me double the time to make because I keep having to check the recipe, but it's usually edible. I guess I figured that was true of most people. I guess I was wrong.

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LOL. Poor cooks unite! I'm a bad cook AND baker myself. I screw up even ready made or out of the box recipes. It's a "talent on another level", as my dad and brother call it. When it comes to my cooking and baking, I think I always delude myself into thinking that what I did now is still an improvement from the past. That's why I continue serving it. It just so happen that my family are too sweet, most specially my dad and brother, that they always end up eating whatever I produce. 😅

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I love cooking, mainly because my mum used to be a terrible cook. She would put half-cooked potatoes on the table and say: 'well, the recipe said boil them for 10 mins (or whatever) and that's what I did, so don't complain'. Not only did she not taste the food, she also didn't actually prod it with a fork to see if it was done.
So looking at drama characters learning how to cook by badly chopping reminds me of that childhood trauma. (all I need is to find someone else with that same childhood trauma and we'll be set for live - because drama)

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This conversation is funny to me because a few weeks ago I was inspired by 'I'm Not A Robot' to learn to make rice porridge and I've found my new favorite comfort food.

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Jugglers! Yoon Yi’s cooking is incredibly salty Chi Won couldn’t sleep the night he first tasted it. Hehe. He still eats the food she prepares though, but very reluctantly. She also very ignorant of her skills, thinking it’s totally fineeee hahahaha

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Somebody might do an [In Defense Of] Bad Cooking. 😂

Inclusion:

Bad cook must not taste the food s/he’s cooking.

Bad cook must not realize their cooking is bad.

Bad cook must ignore the disgusted reaction of eater.

Eater must always eat the food. Why? Because drama.

Bad cook must attend a class and become extremely good after 1 session in class. Why? Because fast learner? No! Because drama.

If someone do not realize their cooking is bad, reason mist be they have no sense of taste. Even better, it should always be related to terminal illness. Because angst. 🤣

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😂

I'm basically dying. This is hilarious.

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LOLOL! Got tears in my eyes! I'm so glad I happened to come by and happened to read. You Beanies are crazy, funny... I just gotta share the link to this. 😂

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This is great! @zyx did you just volunteer to write it? I actually think that make a great drama - or a subplot in a family drama - if there was an underlying reason for the bad cooking. When the truth about the cooking comes out, the long-suffering family suddenly feel guilty for having complained about it so much. Because angst!

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As much as I wanna defend bad cooking on a spiritual level, all justification I could come up is to pick into the writer’s perspective. Being the drama’s writer, I would be bound to follow these rules in the dramaland:

1. If I make a hero/ine a good cook, the drama has to be about a struggling chef.

2. If story is not about a struggling chef, hero/ine should always be a bad cook because what more means undying love than losing your kidney? You’d give up your left kidney for me? Let’s get married!

3. If heroine is a daughter-in-law, she must always be a good cook. This is negotiable because good chef daughter-in-law also makes a good door mat for cheating husband and horrible mother-in-law.

4. If daughter-in-law is a bad cook, mother-in-law must meet her in secret in a cafe and shun her and her family. But hero will still profess losing his kidney for her.

5. Viewers must know these rules and they’d be disappointed if they cannot pull out some hair strands out of frustration.

Not following the rules in dramaland would mean I am too progressive in my writing. Viewers will not be able to relate to my writing and I will spoil their tally of who’s got the most cliches per episode.

Please excuse these terrible defense because while writing this, I am still trying to defend fake CGI meteor shower in my head. Heroine might have cut a vein in her hand for the amount of blood on the floor and her bleeding profusely, but hero must wait til meteor shower because reuniting under a cheap, fake CGI is more romantic than running after a bleeding lover. A giant tree is also a great location for divulging the truth and coming clean for who really farted and you covered the smell of your poop with a thousand dollar imported perfume.

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Love your defense @zyx

I would add one more rule: if daughter-in-law is bad cook, mother-in-law has to come to the house at most inopportune moments, carrying boxes of food and open the door without ringing doorbell but knowing the entry-code.

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Goodness! I did not notice Min-kyu's tears of blood when I first watched the scene. I'm glad we have the "Watch the Video" section on recaps now.

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You didn't notice? I was expecting him to cry anyway, which is why I looked out for it (but not expecting blood) Gosh, that tear freaked me out big time

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I was a little distracted while watching the episode, so I did miss that part. Overall, it was a very-well acted moment.

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I noticed it the second time I watched the scene! I panicked for a little bit.

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I wonder why tears of blood though? That had me googling.

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maybe capillaries (blood vessels) burst or something

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I assumed the same (after consulting Google of course), if so then his allergic reaction must feel worse than I had originally thought. I didn't have any idea regarding allergies. That scene would be more painful to watch then (but for some reason I like watching it more too??).

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Even though it was really painful to watch I really liked MK's lash out. He asked all the questions I would have asked if I were in the same situation. And I'm glad he let it out without keeping it in.

The heart lamp is used so so beautifully in the story. It is the perfect way for MK to show JA that he still cared without really saying it, because given what happened and how he lashed out he wouldn't have been able to find the right words to express it.

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The heart lamp is used so so beautifully in the story.

Yes! If I were a screenwriting teacher, I'd use that clip as a great example of showing not telling>.

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That's really the entire point of the heart lamp, isn't it? Of course everyone can contact eachother with a cellphone message. But doesn't it make you feel so much warmer inside when you see that lamp light up, and you know that someone out there is thinking of you?

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Props for you to not only recognize it,but also finding the proper way to describe it. I only had this gut feeling, and didn't recognize until now that it's a "Great example of showing not telling."
I'm a girl who's almost always at a loss of words when it comes to write down my feelings. :-(

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Don't get me started on this show's visual metaphors. You know that's a rabbit hole we won't escape from.

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You mean a _'velveteen'_ rabbit hole don't you?😝

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LeeT you are very welcome to take us through that rabbit hole! I'm.sure we won't regret 😄

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But.. I want to get you started. Hahaha Its because I love your essays. I love reading beautiful essays 😃

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I loved his monologue. He got to honestly express all of his worries to Jia and explain why he was mad. It's not just the lies, but because of the lies he fears that everything he was ever told or he ever felt was fake and that nobody cares at all except for him. Poor thing. It was what he needed to move on - and what we needed to understand what would be necessary to help him heal. All he needs is to understand that people do love him, and that it wasn't all fake.

And Yoo Seung Ho just acted it all out beautifully. My heart, he can crush it with his eyes.

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Yess! I'm obsessed with his eyes. SO. EXPRESSIVE! CSB too does a great job of expressing all the subtle emotions. These two are perfect!

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Ahh yes, the return of Chekhov's Gun :)

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Min-kyu's dialogue in Episode 26 was phenomenal! His pain was so authentic and yet not really focusing on it being her fault, more to explain the depth of his feelings, of his love and the betrayal he felt. Jia also knew instinctively just to listen. They know each other on a deeper level that is intimate. That intimacy wants to protect and respect the other, no matter how painful. She just listened and listened, she knew what he really needed was to be heard, and she meant it when she said sorry. Wow

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His dialogue was so powerful. Again, I applaud YSH (for what may be the millionth time already) for the amazing performance. I had small bursts of fear when he said "You're sorry?" "Why are you crying?" and "GET OUT OF MY LIFE FOREVER!". Argh, chills.

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His monologue was fine but Jia's silence got on my nerves. I really wanted her to fight back loudly, to explain herself. But perhaps that's just because that's what I would have done. I like your interpretation that it was because she knew she just needed to listen in that moment. It's not how I interpreted and felt that moment, but I like your explanation better. It's a less frustrating perspective to take. Thank you for that.

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all the accusations he throws at her, Ji Ah knew (and we knew) that those are not absolutely true. We can argue with him about that but I don't think Ji Ah can, at that moment, especially after hearing it straight from him, after witnessing how much he is in pain.
I think that is why despite I want her to answer him back, I can perfectly understand why all she could say is she's sorry. Searching for the right words must have been hard as speaking it out. My heart really can't take watching Ji Ah slouch with tears pouring heavily from her eyes, I feel like my heart is also ripping along with hers. props to chae soo bin!

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I totally agree!!! It's about him venting his anger, fear, betrayal and Jia letting him because she knows that's what he needs to do. Because all you can do sometimes is just listen and be there. Because if she tries to justify her action or rebut his hurtful words, it will make the situation worse. I know because I have been in his shoes - being so angry that nothing the other person says would make me feel better no matter how true their words were or wrong I may be. And once the anger has been spent, that's when you can think more rationally.

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I hate how Jia wasn't the one who saved him when Min Kyu had specifically taught Aji 3 what to do. I kept screeching at Jia, "Stop crying! Look in his bag for the syringe!" I'm grateful Dr. Oh confessed that he stopped Jia and the Santa Maria team from telling Min Kyu the truth. "Would the joy that Aji 3 was human outweigh the feeling of betrayal?" It makes me wonder if his allergic reaction would've been less severe had Min Kyu let Jin Bae confess over the phone.

Min Kyu's confrontation with Jia was the highlight of today's episode. "Why are you crying? To prove that you're human?" I love how he called her out on their night in the boathouse. Forget pretending to be a robot; she pretended not to know him as he was talking to her about her. That is the ultimate betrayal. This was my problem with She Was Pretty -- how Park Seo Joon never got mad at Hwang Jung Eum for pretending not to know him as he was talking to her about his best friend.

Jia's not scared that he's contagious -- he knows that. She just doesn't want him to get sick from touching her. Still, I wish Min Kyu had accidentally touched her to be able to find out he's not allergic to her. I'm glad Jia returned the necklace only because Min Kyu can now give it to the real Jia.

I wish Sun Hye had asked Min Kyu, "How do you think Jia felt when the man she loves confessed that he loved her?" Even though he had a feeling Aji 3 loved him, no one has straight up told Min Kyu that Jia loves him. Jia does nothing but apologize; she has never confessed since she feels she doesn't deserve to love him after lying to him. Sun Hye is a true friend taking that heart ball for Jia. I kept hoping Jia would take one herself, so every time she touched it, Min Kyu would know she was thinking about him, but this is even better with Min Kyu initiating contact. The heart ball would've looked so pretty had Jia not turned on the light in her room. How did she know where to go?

This show is still so, so good. Thanks a ton for the recap, @TeriYaki!

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"I hate how Jia wasn't the one who saved him when Min Kyu had specifically taught Aji 3 what to do." -- Yeah, I thought this was weird writing, too. I mean, she knows he needs the epi-pen (or whatever it is); maybe she just assumed he wouldn't be carrying one anymore? I don't know. It seems like her first reaction would be to look for the epi-pen or at least ask him if he has one. (And why didn't the doctor yell out at her to look in the bag? Why did it take SO LONG for anyone to get him the medication? Or was that just my drama-watcher angst making time crawl?) Although it wasn't a huge deal for me, I definitely noticed it and it sort of jarred me in the moment.

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I assumed she was probably paralyzed by fear at that moment; the thing she was dreading the most had just happened in front of her, I could practically feel her freeze in terror and her mind shut down while watching him writhe in pain.

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yeah, that makes sense. I think that was eventually what I realized was happening, tbh. (Not to imply that I myself would have reacted any differently. I would have been paralyzed with fear, too!)

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My argument is that she doesn't know he has them. I don't want to say she's too caught up in emotions to think about it, but I'm saying it anyway. It was pure panic and her vision was cloudy. I'm glad Baek Gyun was level-headed enough to act quickly without hesitation. I was watching Pai and thought, "Yes, this is the reaction of someone seeing the outbreak for the first time. Just like Jia."

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Oh yes, Pai's reaction was great! I really like that actress, actually. She's doing such a good job.

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(I'm not here, I'm only skimming, I swear!)

I actually really like that it was BG that did the saving. *He's* invested in MK's wellbeing too, it's not only Jia who cares about him. And it's not essential for Jia to save him that way, when she's saved him in so many others.

(Plus practically speaking, she didn't know he had his needles, whereas BG did AND Dr. Oh had reminded him earlier. Imo, that saving was always meant to be BG's.)

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so now that you mention it, this has me thinking. There is something about the timing that's important here, too. Like, later, we see that she does "save" him (bringing the food, persisting to come see him) -- but this kind of saving needed a different savior at this moment, perhaps. And in a sense, BG may have needed the chance for redemption. He really does bear a lot of the blame for the whole deception--yes, Jia went along with it, but it was his robot, his scheme, etc ultimately.

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Also part of Jia's BSOD in this situation probably comes from knowing he can't be touched, so she's literally caught unawares and stuck with no way to help him.

I love that BG was the one to save him too, he's their little brother now and part of the Santa Maria family and they actually care for him.

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I liked that it was Baek-gyun. I would have been terrified, not knowing if I could touch him but also seeing him dying. My brain would freeze.

And this entire show isn't just about Min-kyu falling in love with Jia, it is also about how he is gaining a little family that has learned to care about him. And about Baek-gyun learning to being more than just a cold and slightly bitter scientist. I love that saving Min-kyu really is a team effort. So many people have learned to love him, and this proves he will never be alone again.

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Yes, I wanted to smack her when she just stood there crying instead of finding the syringes!

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Oh my god, the level of violence (and blood) displayed in these episodes. I worry for myself and my morbid interest because I seem to love repeating unpleasant scenes like at the beginning during Min Kyu's agonizing screams (and that tear of blood, gosh that broke me), his outburst by destroying Jia's hard-labored work and most of all when he screamed and threw his glass, wounding Jia. Being the amazing actor YSH is, I was terrified, but not as much as Jia. Like you said, it makes sense for him to react that way. We were already warned by MK himself early in the series that if there's one thing he cannot tolerate, it's people deceiving him. The roots have gone so deep, that pulling it out is just too painful.

Seems to me like the only person who hasn't deceived him is Butler Sung. Gosh, I love him. I love seeing the scenes of this sweet old man and this lonely orphan boy together. If he has any family left to speak of, I wouldn't hesitate to say that his family is Butler Sung.

This episode makes a total of FIVE episodes (I think) of Min Kyu's angst, and this time it's waaay worse than eps 14-16. Someone just... drop the "com" part of "rom com"... cuz there's just too many pain to handle.

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Butler Sung is the most cheerful fairy godmother butler and I love him.

I usually dislike melo, but it hurts so good in this show. The pain feels necessary - he needs to feel hurt for missing Jia, which is necessary for him to feel even more hurt after he learns they deceived him. And because of who the characters are, I trust that they will get over the pain and not do anything too drastic or irreversible, and I like the growth process Min-kyu is going through. He had to be hurt for a while, but we also get to see him learn more about trust and people.

Min-kyu isn't going to get to leave his mansion just because some robot is his magical cure, but he is going to get to live among humans again because he will learn that he can live on and trust people, knowing they might deceive him, but that doesn't mean they can't also love him, and that that pain doesn't mean the end of the world but they can still be happy together, and that he can deal with that. He will never have to be that scared little boy again.

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he will learn that he can live on and trust people, knowing they might deceive him, but that doesn't mean they can't also love him

Agree. Above all, He has to accept that life is not always about rainbows and butterflies.
It can be associated with the root of his illness. He was betrayed at the crucial moment of his life. When his heart is still innocent and fragile because of the lost of his parents.
Through Santa Maria Team and Ji Ah, he will get to learn what he failed to understand before.

People are both capable of loving and hurting and if you'll continue to shut your heart every time you got hurt, then it will forever be a cycle of solitude. That's why I love Butler Sung's hedgehog story. Will he face the cold alone or is he willing to feel their warmth again despite being hurt? If Min Kyu will understand this, I believe he'll be fully relieved from his allergy. It is not because he trust that these people will not hurt him, but because he trust that them that despite the pain they inflicted, their love for him outweigh everything.

"Isn't that the greatest 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.”
-Sun hye

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this episode was the hardest to watch. we all knew it was coming, we all knew it was due. all thoughout the series, MK has been lied to and deceived with everyone having their own agendas. These are not bad people, I know, in fact they truly cared for him. but the longer the deception went on, we can see mk suffering while sincerely giving his love and trust to those conspiring around him however good their intentions maybe. i feel for mk. that's why his blowing up his lashing out is completely justified. and though that confrontation with jia was harsh, i agree with every sentiment he raised. Jia ignoring him on the train, pushing him out at Geoje island, while we see the cute, persistent and totally adorably in love MK, i was hurting for the guy. Everyone was panicking trying not to get caught in the lie while MK was innocently pursuing Jia with everything he has- cmon'.
Make no mistake, I love the whole Sta Maria team, and i do love Jia to bits. This is a pairing that im dying to see happen already!

that being said, that single scene of the confrontation btwn mk and jia, probably the best scene in all the series. of course i love all the cute moments but that one took the cake. if tears weren't blinding me i wouldve stood up and clapped. i believe i said before that i truly skip dramas like the plague, but boy did ysh did a number on me! that was one amazing monologue and im glad the director gave him all the lines because wow! a lesser actor would deliver that dialogue all throughout in an angry tone, mostly shouting probably. But here, YSH did with all the colors of human emotion-pain, anger, sarcasm, suffering, the desire to hurt as much as he is hurting, pleading...What got me most was when he admitted " i was waiting for you. Like a fool. without pride.i hated myself for waiting for you" I think i felt literal stabbing pains in my heart. How much does he love Jia? That's a very strong testament to it and why it hurt him so much to learn of her deception. The different inflections of his voice as he asks how she was able to do that knowing and feeling his love for her. And finally, in almost pleading voice he asked "were you ever real with me, even for one second?" That killed me right there. I wanted to shake Jia for not answering that one because we know how she feels but he does not. In the end he just wants to know if she somehow feels the same way he does - bottomline. Ill reserve my other comments episode 28 hehe.

While the episode was a pain to watch i keep rewatching that part. YSH shuld win some kind of award for that single scene because man alive, really, who needs a heart anyway.

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I praise YSH for every recap of the series, that I almost bore myself. He deserves so many awards.

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Thats why they should get actors with appropriate age, when they kiss or hurt in love, its believable. That confrontation really hurt, wow anyone could have felt that way at least once.

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Everyone will probably think I'm crazy but this is the best episode of the whole drama for me. Everything made sense, everyone was so in character and the feels hit right at the heart.

I honestly don't think he went too far. There's no "going too far" when literally you've been fooled by everyone you've ever trusted after 15 years of living in isolation. So, no, I don't agree with TeriYaki on this because no matter how angry he got, it would still be justified. The level of deceit here is to him, detrimental to his physical health, not just emotional. I think I'll defend Min-kyu against the world right now lol. But that was justified. In fact, I expected him to be mad longer. But that he loves Jia so much that he actually reached out to her in the end instead of waiting, that itself makes me proud.

What really hit home is the fact that Min-kyu wasn't even as mad at Jia for lying about being a robot as much as he was SO terrified of the idea that she didn't love him back. Min-kyu has told Baek-gyun before too - he feels Aji-3 feels the same way for him. He believed that despite knowing its impossible. But now he knows she was fully capable of loving him, his fears seem so much more legitimate to him. He was probably thinking: What if everything I felt really was one-sided? What if she actually doesn't love me? What is she's scared of me, think I'm contagious, or think I'm a joke? What if everything we shared was fake even if she was a real person? Those are haunting questions and they were quite obviously killing Min-kyu inside.

His anger is really just this insurmountable fear he has of rejection. Because he loves her so much, because he needs her so bad - it makes her possible rejection even more scary. So as defence mechanism, instead of her rejecting him, he's pushing her away all the while hoping she stays. Its so ironic because he's kinda mad that they hid the truth from him, yet he's actually quite afraid of really finding out the truth. Because that truth might be even more impossible to bear. It's like he's testing her, being so harsh to her yet internally begging her to not give up on him. It's so human on so many levels it's simply heartbreaking.

I love how Min-kyu admits that despite feeling like an absolute fool, he waited for her. It really shows his heart, how much she means to him. It's actually messed up on so many levels, but honestly, it's also the more realistic reaction a human can have. A deceit doesn't automatically erase love. He knows she lied to him, but it doesn't mean his heart can just stop loving her.

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