I’m Not a Robot: Episodes 27-28
I love everything about this show. So often, romance and resolutions are delivered to us in broad sweeps, but I always love most the ones that are told in the tiny micro-strokes where every word, look, and breath matters. Though there’s still trouble on the horizon for our friends, the end is in sight, and I fully expect it to be everything we ever wanted.
Episode 27: “I really need you”
At Sun-hye’s coffee shop, Aji-3 stands suddenly on hearing news about the meteor shower that night. She tells Sun-hye that she has to go there to keep a promise with her friend, but Sun-hye thinks her friend will be meeting someone else. “Who?” Aji-3 asks.
Min-kyu touches his heart lamp on. Across town, Jia bolts up when her one lights up, and rushes out into a taxi. Min-kyu can’t find her when he reaches the hilltop, but just as he gives up, they come face-to-face with each other, Jia’s eyes shining with desperate hope.
He asks her, a little sharply, what she wanted to say. She doesn’t know where to start, so he suggests the beginning: “From the day you entered my house.” But Jia tells him that that wasn’t their beginning. “The first time you met me was not as a robot, but as a person,” she reveals.
Ssan-ip helps a limping Hok-tal into a chair at Sun-hye’s, having failed to catch up to Min-kyu. “Will we be able to see Brother even once to apologize to him properly?” Ssan-ip asks, choked up. Comforting him, Hok-tal replies that it’s really up to Min-kyu.
Min-kyu’s flabbergasted to learn that Jia was President Jo. “But I talked to you so many times, how would I not kno—” he starts, but then remembers details like how fauxbot Jia inexplicably knew that his unopened package contained his necklace. It all seems terribly obvious to him in hindsight.
“Do you… remember now?” Jia asks cautiously. He recalls that he was on the phone to President Jo while Aji-3 was being delivered, and she explains that she talked to him from inside the box—thus her total shock when she saw him moments later.
Min-kyu just can’t get his head around it, and says half to himself that Baek-gyun told him it was Friend Mode. “But you believed that,” Jia says apologetically, explaining that he’d made it up to cover her mistakes. She admits that she was amazed that he bought it, and he cringes in embarrassment.
“What about the fart?” he accuses suddenly, remembering that occasion. She hangs her head. Oh my god, I’m laughing so much, I think I’m going to die. “You must have thought I was so dumb,” he says bleakly.
“You… believe me now, right?” she asks. “I can’t believe myself for believing you were a robot,” he moans, dropping to a bench. She agrees, but he cuts her off. “That’s it! No further!” he warns through gritted teeth. Too much honesty? Hee.
Pi returns to Sun-hye’s café after signing a lease for a new warehouse, and tells the others that they’ll move in as soon as Aji-3’s been sent to Martin. The thought of parting from their robot saddens the three scientists.
Jia confesses one more thing: that she stole from Min-kyu. “What are you, an onion?!” he asks, astonished that new stuff just keeps coming out. She quickly explains that it was the beef he’d already thrown away. “It looked delicious,” she explains.
His face softens and he starts to laugh. Aww. But when Jia laughs too, he scowls. He softens again, wondering how she endured it all that time when he was eating and she couldn’t. Smiling, she says she really, really loved his food on the island.
She has nothing else to confess, but Min-kyu has one last question: “Who’s Hong-joo?” HA.
Elsewhere, as Jin-bae and Baek-gyun stake out Jang Doo-sam, Baek-gyun asks why Jin-bae’s not angry with him. Jin-bae says that a lawyer sees both sides, and so he sees that although they started off wrongly, they became sincere over time.
But a person’s sincerity proves itself in crisis, he tells Baek-gyun, “Thus, the key to solving this situation isn’t only in Kim Min-kyu’s hands.” He advises that they each take responsibility as far as their sincerity takes them.
Min-kyu asks Jia what her first impression of him was. “A totally obnoxious jerk,” Jia replies candidly, “And then… a crazy psycho.” He’s struck speechless when she asks how a man who has a hierarchy among his electrical appliances could possibly look normal to her.
But at some point, she says, she began to feel for him, and the things he said began to sound more sad than strange.
“And so, the more I saw you and the more I got to know you, the more my heart ached. I began to wish for your happiness, and I wanted to do everything I could to make you so,” she says softly.
Holding her gaze, Min-kyu tells her to sit by him because he can’t hear her (yeah, right). She leaves her bench for his, and he says, “Tell me again, from the beginning.”
Director Yeh tells Ri-el that according to her wishes, he’s cancelled her marriage to Min-kyu—Yoo-chul suits her much better, he says, especially since he’s about to take over Min-kyu’s position.
Speaking of the devils, Chairman Hwang and Yoo-chul join them for dinner, the chairman chortling that she should really be calling him “Father-in-law” now. Ugh. Stunned, Ri-el excuses herself. Yoo-chul follows her out and she turns on him.
“You’re just like them,” she says, though he insists that he had no idea about this, either. “I can’t believe your words anymore,” Ri-el tells him. Turning heel, she leaves Yoo-chul alone in the hallway.
Min-kyu asks Jia if he ever made her heart flutter. Smiling shyly, she eventually admits that her heart fluttered every morning she went to meet him. Remembering how joyful he’d been after she saved him, she says she realized how earnest his wish was for her to recognize him no matter how he appeared.
She tells him how happy she was whenever he patted her head, though she hated it at first. He reaches out to her now, but stops short of touching her. Pulling up her hood, Jia takes his hand in her gloved one and brings it to rest on her covered head.
Pi asks Sun-hye why she doesn’t have a boyfriend, and Sun-hye explains that all the men she’s dated shone like stars at first, but then turned out to be rocks. Busy darning his trousers, Hok-tal says in his laconic way that humans are apparently made of stardust to begin with: “If there are stars inside me, why look for them elsewhere?”
“Shall we date?” Sun-hye finally proposes. Hok-tal agrees even before he knows what he’s saying, but then he stares at her in shock, and Pi stares in awe.
Jia tells Min-kyu how sorry she was that she couldn’t say anything to him on the day of the reset. “You had a really hard time, didn’t you?” Min-kyu asks. She assures him that she was able to bear it. Oh, Jia.
She recounts how afraid she was that he would discover her secret the night in the boathouse. “But because I could see your face, because I could hear your voice, I was so happy,” she says, “I should have told you the truth even then. I’m truly sorry.”
At that, Min-kyu draws in close to Jia, almost kissing her, but he stops a mere breath away. She opens her eyes to see him pull back and refuse to meet her eyes. Saying nothing, she pulls up his hood. After wrapping him up securely, she snuggles up to him and says, “The thing I want to say the most to you, I’ll say it now.”
But Min-kyu stops her, saying he wants to keep that last gift unopened. Stepping away, he thanks her for turning their time together into beautiful memories. “Just with those memories, I think I can live out the rest of my life well,” he tells her.
Explaining that he might never be able to touch her again, he says he can’t drag her into the life he’s had to live for the last fifteen years. He regrets that he can’t watch the meteor shower with her, since that would be one memory too painful, “So our memories together… end here.”
“Goodbye, Aji-3. Goodbye, Jo Jia,” he says. But he’s only taken a few steps when Jia tells him to stop right there.
“The person who gave me the love I always yearned for was you,” she cries out. “And so the person I missed each and every day… that was you. It’s not that I’m someone you need. I’m the one who needs you, so much. Because you’re the person I’ve been looking for all this time, that one person I’ve been waiting for.”
He turns slowly back to her, and she at last tells him what she’s wanted to say to him since the day of the reset: “I love you.”
Min-kyu lets out a deep breath. In a few strides, he closes the distance between them, and this time, there’s no hesitation as he takes her face between his hands and kisses her.
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The one person I’ve been waiting for my whole life
His wrist monitor remains calm, and when they both see that he’s totally fine, they bubble up with happy laughter.
They miss the meteor shower, which disappoints Jia because she wanted to make a wish. Smiling at her, Min-kyu says his wish just came true. “What was it?” Ji asks playfully, and he wraps her up in his arms in reply. Oh you adorable eskimos, finally.
Episode 28: “Just a product owned by a man”
Ssan-ip wakes up and asks what he missed. You missed everything, Ssan-ip! Pi tells him to go back to sleep. Meanwhile, Hok-tal and Sun-hye enjoy a sort-of date just outside, and she confirms that today is their day one.
Jia’s fallen asleep in Min-kyu’s car for their trip back in the morning. Smiling at their twined hands, he goes to get them coffee. He doesn’t think anything of it when his hand brushes the barista’s, but his wrist monitor starts beeping dangerously on his way back.
To his shock, his allergy rises, and he looks over to Jia, still sleeping in the car… and the numbers start to fall. She wakes at his return, and they beam at each other in happiness.
He finally drops her off home (after circling the block five times, lol) but is unwilling to part with her so soon, and thus ensues the world’s most adorable round of, “You go first”/”No, you!” Once inside, Jia throws herself onto her bed in a fit of giggling squee, to the astonishment of her sister-in-law and niece.
Chairman Hwang and Yoo-chul meet with Martin. Chairman Hwang promises Aji-3’s delivery the following day and the foreigner sneers threateningly that they’re lucky—people don’t get away with breaking promises to him.
Baek-gyun finally catches Jang Doo-sam, and they relocate to the van to talk. Baek-gyun tells him how they’re about to lose all their work—late Chairman Park’s dream—to Martin, and pleads with Jang to help them.
Jang reveals that Daeyang’s Chairman Park’s death was no accident. A flashback shows Jang in hospital where Chairman Hwang paid him off after the incident. “You didn’t see anything,” he’d told Jang, adding that only his silence would keep him and his family alive.
Jang has a recording, but he tells them that he needs time to think.
Elsewhere, Yoo-chul confronts Director Yoon and asks him if his father killed Chairman Park. Yoon tries to change the subject to Min-kyu’s impending dismissal, but Yoo-chul is concerned that Min-kyu will find Jang Doo-sam first.
Min-kyu tries to muster up the courage to call Jin-bae, but flails over how he treated him in the past. “Why did you live like that, Kim Min-kyu?” he wails. He finds out that Jin-bae’s on his way to court to file the lawsuits against Jia and the Santa Maria team.
Min-kyu anxiously tells him to drop them—yes, all of them—and tells Jin-bae to come see him right now… and then rephrases it to a respectful request to please visit him. Hahahaha.
After he hangs up, a little shellshocked, he wonders, “Ah… what’s this? This strange feeling I’m experiencing for the first time in my life?” Sweet child, it’s the loving caress of humble pie.
Dr. Oh tells Min-kyu that he may not experience a total cure—his condition will likely depend on his emotional state. He also advises Min-kyu take care since, worryingly, his current medicines aren’t working very well anymore.
The doc also asks if he’s going to reconcile with the Santa Maria team too, observing that they were truly worried for him.
Jin-bae arrives and Min-kyu awkwardly invites him to sit. Jin-bae perches nervously on the edge of a chair until Min-kyu begs him to just sit normally. Nervous himself, Min-kyu tells Jin-bae that he did nothing wrong and so he won’t be accepting his resignation.
“I trust you,” he says. Jin-bae urges him not to, saying that people change. “Still, I’ll trust you,” Min-kyu affirms. When Jin-bae mentions Jia, Min-kyu blurts out that he likes her, very much, and asks whether that would be a problem in the relationship between them.
“Not right now,” a dazed Jin-bae replies. They get to business then, and Jin-bae updates him on the Martin situation, and reports that they weren’t able to convince Jang Doo-sam.
The Santa Maria team gathers around Aji-3 for their final goodbyes, and tell her she’ll be happy with her new master. The robot computes their sad faces and observes that they’re telling her a lie to make her happy.
Martin’s henchman, a guy called Dr. Casey, arrives to collect Aji-3. He leers at the robot, looking forward to taking her apart. “Don’t even think about touching her before signing the contract,” Baek-gyun warns angrily.
Min-kyu finally reads the team’s handwritten affidavits, starting with Ssan-ip’s. Addressed to “brother,” Ssan-ip writes that Jia was innocent and blames himself for clinging to her. Just then, Butler Sung calls out to him that there’s a hubbub at the barn.
By the time he reaches it, Aji-3 is gone. Distraught, he asks Baek-gyun how he could let go of his life’s work so easily. Min-kyu cries out that he should have found any other way—what happened to all the nerve and daring with which they deceived him?
They apologize, and Pi says he knows why they did it. Min-kyu grows increasingly upset, and Baek-gyun cuts in harshly. He says Min-kyu has no idea what it’s like to be skewered by a vicious media.
“It’s being forever branded. No matter how sincerely you speak, nobody listens,” Baek-gyun says passionately, “We don’t want to see the rest of your life ruined like that.”
Min-kyu stares at him, full of emotion. There’s no sting left when he chokes out, “Did anyone ask you to do that?”
Dr. Casey reports to Martin that Aji-3’s learning ability is spectacular. Dr. Casey tells her she’ll be a military robot, and the world’s most dangerous weapon. What? NO!
“Am I not supposed to live with humans?” Aji-3 asks in flawless English. “You’re just a product, owned by a man,” Dr. Casey says. “This man,” smirks Martin, indicating himself.
Yoo-chul comes to take the robot back until the signing tomorrow. Dr. Casey wants to take out the GPS first so she can’t be tracked. I hate that they refer to her as “it.”
Min-kyu calls Jia and she answers sleepily. Cradling Pretty the Plushie (AKA his Jia-avatar), he laughs a little over how she really was President Jo, and guesses that must be why talking to her felt so familiar. They make plans to meet later, as Min-kyu has something to do first.
He meets Baek-gyun with an unspoken question. Baek-gyun explains that Jia was his first love, but they broke up suddenly. In giving Aji-3 Jia’s face, he had tried to find the answer why.
“I found the answer, and I came to understand Jia. More importantly, I came to know myself better. Like this, a chapter of my life has come to a close,” he says, mustering a smile. With true affection, he tells Min-kyu that he and Jia are really lovely together.
He wanted to tell Min-kyu the truth sooner, too, but kept losing the opportunity. “It seems that with one moment of hesitation, the decisive moments pass by,” he says ruefully.
Min-kyu tells him he cancelled the lawsuit, and promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to prevent losing Aji-3. “It’s not because I’ve forgiven you,” he says. “It’s for the sake of KM Group.” Nobody believes you, Min-kyu!
Min-kyu visits Chairman Hwang with the offer to step down from his position. In exchange, he asks him to sell Santa Maria to him. Chairman Hwang smirks that with his condition, Min-kyu’s on the way out anyway.
Afterwards, Yoo-chul asks Min-kyu why on earth he’s trying to bail out the people who backstabbed him, when he can’t even forgive Yoo-chul for something that happened fifteen years ago.
Min-kyu replies that they’re worth it: “Listen well, Yoo-chul. For my sake, those people gave up everything they had. You and your father would never understand that.”
He meets Director Yeh next, and asks for his support against the sale of the robotics team at the board meeting tomorrow. “Ri-el will soon be marrying Yoo-chul. That’s my answer,” says the director coldly.
Director Yeh then informs Ri-el that her marriage with Yoo-chul will take place once the contract with Martin is signed. She can’t believe the way he’s treating her, and is downright disturbed by his about-face to Min-kyu.
Elsewhere, a reporter receives an article draft with a headline dubbing someone mentally ill for mistaking a human for a robot. He expects it to be a sensation, and tells the sender he’s ready to release it at any time.
While Min-kyu drives, his phone pings with a reply from Madame X about reinvestigating Chairman Park’s death. Oo, tell me the tables are about to turn.
The next morning, Dr. Casey unlocks Aji-3’s box, and roars in shock to find it empty. YES! I KNEW IT!!
Aji-3 walks down a busy street, taking in her surroundings. “Let’s go home,” she says.
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Let’s go home
What a great ending. I had a feeling we were about to see Aji-3 come into her own, and man do I love it. It’s been foreshadowed for a few weeks that Aji-3 had a mind of her own, and while on the one hand, it scares me a little, on the other, I think we’ve gotten enough inklings that there’s more “humanity” in her than we ever suspected, which makes her the perfect foil for these human-trash villains. That’s also why the Santa Maria team’s goodbyes to her are particularly poignant, because for all that she’s a robot, they see her as a friend and one of their own.
I admit that at first I hated Min-kyu for lashing out at Jia last episode, but I get that he said all those jagged things to hurt her because he was hurt (and forgiving is hard). It’s not okay, but it’s very human of him. It’s bad enough to be sliced open like that to Jia and the team, with all his deepest, most painful secrets and feelings on public display, but add to that his worst enemies? That’s not a simple violation, it’s a really terrible one. As much as I hurt for Jia, I could understand where his anger came from, even though she unfairly bore the brunt of it.
I did get mad all over again when he didn’t let her speak when she asked to that time, but I’m just so happy about how this writer addresses these imbalances and transgressions. Min-kyu redeems himself by asking her this episode, in an implicit acknowledgement of his earlier refusal. And so finally, it’s Jia’s turn to unwind all the words she’s held in. I find it so sweet and wrenching that Min-kyu has to draw them out of her, one candid confession at a time.
His determination to listen to the bitter end, while entertaining, is also deeply touching, because here is a truth about Min-kyu: He’s always shown openness to being told otherwise, and easily takes the advice of others (even if few dare to give it). While he might not necessarily be a good listener, he really thinks about what people say to him and comes to sound conclusions. I strongly dispute the opinion that he’s not smart: What he lacks is experience, not intelligence, and that’s usually what’s at the root of his mistakes, including mistaking a human for a robot (though that was compounded by a really unusual set of circumstances).
As for Jia, fill this space with happy sighs for our brilliant, take-no-prisoners girl. I was grinning like a loon when she revealed herself as President Jo, and I knew it was really, irrevocably game over when he called her to sit next to him—that’s the moment his forgiveness is complete. What worked best about Jia’s catalogue of confessions is that each one acts to bring their relationship further into balance. All this time, Jia’s had full knowledge of his feelings, but has herself been a closed book. Every word she gives him salves something in his wounded, hungry heart, and I find her confessions nothing less than an exquisite verbal love letter.
What I love—what I find most remarkable about the way this show is written, and that this week’s episodes prove more than ever—is that it never glosses over its conflicts or issues. Even when things have become impossibly snarled, it looks them straight in the eye and sets to untangling them in a sensitive, human way that is all raw emotional realism, even in this most unrealistic of scenarios. I did question whether the couple’s reconciliation came too quickly, and while that may be true, it certainly didn’t come easily.
There are two main reasons it was possible so quickly. First, remember Min-kyu’s certainty that the robot had feelings for him, too? Even when he thought she was a robot, he instinctively felt the truth of Jia’s feelings, and I think that’s held true throughout this crisis, despite his harsh accusations. All it took (apart from the real talk from Sun-hye) to send him running to her was a moment’s solid evidence. The second reason is my favorite though. I was so ready to flip when Min-kyu went all noble fool on her, but our Jia did not let that fly for a second. On the one hand, you’ve got Min-kyu who’s just delivered this dramatic, poetic farewell that is genuinely painful, and then it’s immediately undercut by Jia saying, no you freaking don’t. If that’s not the best of tragicomedy, I don’t know what is.
But what I really, really love about how that moment ended is that he pretty much decided to kiss her even if it killed him, and that’s not a metaphor. It was literally the hill he chose to die on. I wasn’t surprised at the mild return of his allergy later (I think Min-kyu expected to be cured after he was able to kiss and touch Jia without reaction), which seems like a realistic outcome to me. I think the kiss was possible in the first place because his trust in Jia was so completely restored. I’m just excited that Min-kyu’s growing so much emotionally, and discovering that there’s much more available to him in the world of feeling than toughness and vulnerability, or trust and mistrust. After living in a black-and-white world for so long, he’s now being forced to admit nuance.
What’s stuck to me throughout writing this recap, though, are Jin-bae’s words to go as far as your sincerity takes you, because we see every character acting in that way. Min-kyu finally feels the truth of the Santa Maria team’s feelings not just in the scale of their sacrifice, but in their defence of it. It’s because of that that he’s able to put everything he has on the line for them. I love that we’re finally able to understand why the breach between Min-kyu and Yoo-chul was never healed, and it’s so simple: Yoo-chul never said sorry. He expects to be understood and forgiven, he excuses himself for having been too young to understand, but he never makes an explicit apology even now, which is a sharp contrast to Jia and the Santa Maria team. All of them sincerely apologized, and all of them went out of their way to make it up to him—as far as their sincerity took them, which was basically all the way.
With what that last mail from Madame X hints, I have a good feeling about next week. Now that all the important relationships have found their resolution, I fully expect to see some heart-exploding teamwork where Min-kyu is saved, Aji-3 is saved, Santa Maria is saved, Pi asks Baek-gyun out, and everyone lives happily ever after in Min-kyu’s enormous house. Now excuse me while I go sing “Morning Has Broken” until I go hoarse.
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