My Absolute Boyfriend: Episodes 3-4
This episode is entirely made of cute, as our heroine and her new robot boyfriend get to know each other a bit better. As with any new relationship, it’s not without its misunderstandings and missteps, but even though we know that one half of the pair is “only” a construct, it somehow feels very real anyway.
EPISODES 3-4 RECAP
Thinking that her new stunt dummy is remarkably lifelike, Da-da touches Zero-Nine’s face. He topples forward, and they land on the sofa in an accidental kiss. Da-da jumps up, grossed out to have kissed a lifeless dummy, unaware that the kiss activated Zero-Nine’s dating protocols.
All the lights go on, and Da-da whirls around to see Zero-Nine grinning at her. He greets her with a happy, “Hello, my girlfriend,” then approaches her while she begs him not to come closer. He gently brushes her hair aside to look at the bandage on her forehead, and Da-da screams and runs out of the room.
She comes back with Kyu-ri and Yoo-jin, her assistants, but Zero-Nine is gone. Da-da swears that the new dummy was moving and even talked to her, and that it felt real when she kissed it (they both cringe at that). Yoo-jin thinks that Da-da ordered an empty box, and Kyu-ri teases Da-da for being so frustrated that she did something inappropriate with a dummy, HA.
They have to start work, but with their dummy gone, Da-da pretends to be the dead body they need for the scene. She ruins the scene by coughing, earning another lecture from the angry PD. Wang-joon, the lead actor and Da-da’s ex-boyfriend as of last night, pretends to be tired and says he’d like to stop filming for the day.
Everyone has plans after work, and Da-da feels lonely, unable to even tell anyone that she and Wang-joon broke up since nobody knew they were dating. She heads back to her studio, but she’s so distracted that she doesn’t see Zero-Nine jump in front of her van until it’s too late.
She hits him hard and he goes flying. Da-da thinks she’s killed someone when she doesn’t hear a heartbeat, convinced now that what she saw earlier was a person in a dummy crate. She drags Zero-Nine to her van to take him to a hospital, but he wakes up during the drive and shoots her a saucy smile and wink in the rear-view mirror.
Da-da freaks out and starts swerving all over the road, plowing into a construction barrier and knocking herself unconscious. She wakes up later in the hospital, where she’s told that her boyfriend is waiting to see her.
Da-da hears Wang-joon’s voice begging the doctors to save her, but it’s only the waiting room TV playing one of his movies. A tap on her shoulder reveals Zero-Nine, still wearing the weird gold robe he pilfered from the set. He’s unharmed, so Da-da asks what kind of person survives being hit by a van and a car crash. Zero-Nine says matter-of-factly, ” I’m not a person.”
Before he can explain, the doctor comes to check on Da-da and tells her that she’s lucky her boyfriend carried her to the hospital. Da-da says that this guy isn’t her boyfriend, while at the same time, Zero-Nine chimes in, “That’s right, she’s my girlfriend.”
Da-da insists that she just met this guy today, but the doctor continues treating Zero-Nine as her guardian and says she can go home. A woman in the waiting room confirms that they’re not really dating (awww, Zero-Nine’s face) and asks for Zero-Nine’s number, but he takes Da-da’s hand and states gallantly that she’s the only woman for him.
Da-da asks why he keeps saying that, and Zero-Nine reminds her that she kissed him. She asks if he’s trying to get her to pay for the accident, but he gets on one knee and says he’ll take full responsibility. The entire waiting room swoons, but Da-da squints at Zero-Nine suspiciously and tells him to stop speaking to her in banmal.
After being discharged, Da-da walks towards home, concluding that the weird guy who hid in a dummy box and calls her his girlfriend after one accidental kiss must be a looney. Zero-Nine trails after her, calling her “girlfriend” and asking if he did something wrong. Da-da jumps in a taxi, forbidding Zero-Nine to follow her, and he lets her go with a worried frown on his face.
When Da-da gets out of her taxi, Zero-Nine is right beside her, adorably worried about her. Da-da tries to run and Zero-Nine catches her by the wrist, but he lets go as soon as she tells him to. He refuses to leave her alone, though, saying that he goes wherever his girlfriend goes, even to the ends of the earth. Really freaked out now, Da-da runs for it.
Bo-won is trying to track down Zero-Nine, wishing he’d had time to come up with a better plan. Meanwhile, Da-da ends up in a construction area trying to get her unresponsive phone to work. She trips and knocks a bucket full of rebar over, but miraculously, nothing hits her — because Zero-Nine has found her and is shielding her with his own body.
He’s more worried about Da-da than himself, despite the length of rebar protruding from his chest, and Da-da asks in a shaky voice, “What… are you?” Bo-won finally locates Zero-Nine and calls out to him, but there’s no recognition on the android’s face.
We’re treated to a lengthy scene of actor Wang-joon working out and showering, then being lectured by manager Yeo-woong when he turns up his nose at the protein shake she made to prepare him for an upcoming photo shoot. She’s found the cake that Da-da left behind, featuring figures of Wang-joon as all of the characters he’s played, but Wang-joon tells her that he broke up with Da-da.
Yeo-woong is genuinely upset at Wang-joon for dumping Da-da after she spent her best years waiting for him. But Wang-joon snarls that he’s only human, and that he’s a different person than he was seven years ago. Yeo-woong asks incredulously if he’s seeing someone else, and he storms off in a huff, telling her to throw the cake away.
Da-da takes Zero-Nine back to her studio and gingerly inspects the hole that runs all the way through his chest as Bo-won explains that he’s a very high-tech robotic dating companion. Da-da connects the dots and figures out that this is why Zero-Nine thinks she’s his girlfriend after they kissed.
She cringes as Bo-won describes how they integrated the best features of the most attractive men in Korea, and programmed the robot to love only one woman. She’s having trouble believing in such an advanced robot, but she watches as Bo-won uses his elite technology to repair Zero-Nine.
The repair also restores Zero-Nine’s memory of Bo-won himself, and he’s thrilled to see his friend and creator. But he refuses to leave with him, his programming to be loyal to the woman who woke him up overriding everything else. Bo-won asks Da-da personal questions like he’s sizing up a future daughter-in-law, but she just tells him to take “that thing” and leave.
Bo-won says he can’t, and that Da-da has to take responsibility for Zero-Nine since she kissed him. Da-da yelps that Zero-Nine kissed her, but Bo-won sneers that a shut-down robot can’t kiss anyone. He explains that she’s activated Zero-Nine’s one-week demo, and that during that time, Zero-Nine won’t leave her side.
Bo-won says that an adult takes responsibility for acting on their desires, and Da-da fires back, “I wouldn’t feel this bad if I had at least fulfilled my desires!” LOL. She offers to pay for Zero-Nine to be reprogrammed, but when she hears the cost (hundreds of billions of won, eek), she pales. Bo-won tells Da-da to just keep Zero-Nine for a week, and when the demo is over, he’ll reset Zero-Nine and take him away.
This whole time, Zero-Nine has been sitting quietly, but he finally speaks up. He grows angry with Bo-won for making his girlfriend upset, and threatens to destroy him. Da-da finally agrees, looking very pained but resigned, to keep Zero-Nine for just one week.
Bo-won warns her that she can’t let anyone discover that Zero-Nine is a robot, because he’s part of Kronos Heaven’s secret project. He leaves a huge suitcase with Da-da, saying that it’s Zero-Nine’s user manual, and promises to return in one week.
Da-da follows him out to ask if it’s safe to be alone with Zero-Nine. He only warns her not to fall in love with Zero-Nine, because she’ll just end up with a broken heart when the week is over. Da-da informs him that she works with lifelike dummies all day, so she’s fully aware that Zero-Nine isn’t a real person and will never fall for him. HA, famous last words.
She goes back inside, where she tells Zero-Nine not to move. But he sees that she’s scraped her knee and crouches to inspect her injury. Da-da turns down his offer to heal her, and Zero-Nine asks, “Girlfriend, can you not hear my heart?” She says she’s just holding a burden that was dumped on her, but Zero-Nine says he wants to give her real love, even if it’s only for a week.
Da-da asks if he even knows what real love is, since he doesn’t seem to know that there’s no such thing. She says that even if it exists, she no longer believes in it. She tells Zero-Nine, “Stop talking nonsense about love, stay silent like any other household electronics, and disappear. I beg you.”
She goes upstairs, leaving Zero-Nine alone to analyze her living situation. He notes that she lives alone in a remote area, and uses the first story of her home as a workshop. From old articles on the wall, he deduces that this studio has been here for a long time. He wanders up to her living area, where the state of filth and disarray makes him suspect dementia, hee.
In her room, Da-da succumbs to curiosity and checks out Zero-Nine’s user manual. Inside the case is one of the clear slates Bo-won was using, which activates into a sort of tablet when touched. A voice tells the robot’s new owner to kiss it and it will become their new romantic boyfriend, and warns that if it kisses someone else, it may begin to recognize that person as it’s lover.
Da-da grows suspicious when Zero-Nine has been quiet for too long, so she creeps out of her room to see what he’s up to. He says he’s gathering data on her, like her personality, environment, and tastes, holding up one of her bras triumphantly. Grabbing it from him, Da-da tells him to knock it off since he won’t be here long.
While she’s at it, she orders him to stop calling her “girlfriend,” so he asks haltingly if she’s into being called “Master” instead, hee. Da-da backs down, telling him to call her whatever he wants. He asks if he can ask a favor of her and she says no, but he looks so downcast and his little lip wobbles, so Da-da asks what it is.
With another sunny grin, Zero-Nine asks for a real name. Since Bo-won called him “Zero-Nine” in English, his serial number, Da-da suggests Young-gu, which is “09” in Korean. He tries out the name, repeating it several times, then decides that it sounds smart and he likes it very much. Young-gu it is.
After telling Young-gu to keep his knees closed while wearing that short robe (hee), Da-da notices that her old record player is missing. Young-gu says he threw it away because it was broken, along with some other things from her storage room. Da-da rushes outside to rescue her things, and she yells at Young-gu for throwing away her stuff without permission.
Confused, he says that old and broken things are useless and should be thrown away. Da-da just picks up her record player and heads back inside, snapping at Young-gu that if useless things should be thrown away, then he should stay right where he is – with the trash.
After carefully wiping off her record player and putting it back on her shelf, Da-da starts to worry that she was too harsh on Young-gu, knowing that he didn’t upset her on purpose. She realizes that she’ll probably be expected to pay up if she loses him.
Outside, Young-gu watches a passing couple arguing – they broke up and the woman is dating someone else, but the man won’t give up on her. Young-gu stops the woman when she hits the man with her purse, calmly listing his physical responses and telling the woman that the man genuinely loves her. He says that throwing away something useless isn’t love, having just learned that from Da-da.
The woman screams at Young-gu, so he says he’s protecting the man from being hurt by her. She shoves him and kicks his shin, but she only hurts her foot, and the man explodes at Young-gu. By the time Da-da goes looking for Young-gu, the argument has drawn a crowd and the police, and the couple both lie that Young-gu randomly attacked them out of nowhere.
Young-gu protests that he was trying to help the man protect his love. The cops ask for his ID but he doesn’t have any, so the cops reluctantly say they’ll have to take him to the station. He sees Da-da hiding in the crowd and called out to her, but Da-da says she doesn’t know him, and awww, Young-gu looks like a kicked puppy.
But Da-da recalls Bo-won saying that she’ll have to pay ten times the repair cost if anyone discovers that Young-gu is a robot. She asks Young-gu if he really hit the woman, and he says honestly that the only time he’d hurt anyone is when he’s protecting her.
The woman wants to file a complaint, but Da-da points to a nearby car with a black box camera and says they can find out for sure who’s in the wrong. Suddenly the man tells the truth — that Young-gu tried to help him, and that the woman hit and kicked Young-gu. He leads the woman away, limping badly. Young-gu calls after them, “Love doesn’t change! Love is everlasting!” Awww, he’s so adorably earnest.
On the walk home, Da-da fusses at Young-gu for wandering off and getting into trouble. Young-gu apologizes for throwing away her things, saying that he understands now that you shouldn’t throw something away just because it’s worn out. Da-da tells Young-gu that the record player was her late father’s favorite possession — something precious not because of its worth, but because of the memory it holds.
Young-gu pleads with her not to be sad, because he won’t die like humans do, and will stay by her side forever. Da-da replies that that’s scary, not comforting. Young-gu asks happily if she came back for him because she was worried, and Da-da admits that she was worried — for her money.
She suddenly notices that Young-gu’s clothes (or lack thereof) are attracting some attention, especially since they’re standing outside a “love hotel.” She tells Young-gu to cover himself, so he puts his hands over his face, ha. They sneak into a costume storage building, and when Da-da tells Young-gu to hide, he moves in close.
Da-da’s professional eye notices how lifelike Young-gu is, and she wonders what he’s made of. Young-gu invites her to touch if she’s curious, and puts her hand right inside his robe, but Da-da reels back in horror and asks if he’s broken.
While looking for the old costumes slated to be thrown out, to find Young-gu something decent to wear, they hear a guard come in and hide in the clothes racks. Young-gu is more interested in being close to Da-da than worried about being caught, and he’s thrilled that she accidentally leaned on him while they were hiding.
It’s dark, so Young-gu picks up a couple of discarded lightbulbs and is able to turn them on just by holding them. Da-da gets up and finally finds the discard clothing, and tells Young-gu that the clothes are the perfect example of something being old and worn, but not worthy of being discarded.
Before they find anything for Young-gu to wear, he discovers that they’re locked in. Young-gu rips the doorknob right off the door, setting off the security alarm, so Da-da grabs the nearest box of clothes and they make their escape.
In a nearby park, Bo-won gets a message from Director Go, saying that what he’s doing is putting Zero-Nine at risk. He reminds Bo-won that they have one week to turn Zero-Nine over to Diana, his true owner, or it’s the end for both of them.
LOL, the box of clothes Da-da and Young-gu stole is mostly sageuk costumes, and one very tight wrestling outfit that I swear Young-gu enjoys teasing Da-da with. She sighs that these clothes are better than running around naked, and Young-gu says that he’s looking forward to spending the next week with her.
Da-da says there’s not much to look forward to since she’s returning him at the end of the week, but Young-gu says he’s still happy, because he gets to love her for a whole week. Da-da scoffs at his use of the word “love” and wanders off to her room, muttering that if love were so easy, people wouldn’t cry over it.
Young-gu follows her, scaring the wits out of her when he asks if she’s going to bed. Da-da tells him to leave, but he whirls her around and into his arms, giving her his best bedroom eyes as he asks, ‘What do you think I’m here for?” Well, RAWR to you, sir.
He asks the flustered Da-da if she’s going to bed alone, and she nods shakily. Young-gu nuzzles her and purrs, “Take a bath with me,” and all poor Da-da can do is whimper.
Well, that escalated quickly — I was not expecting our robot to take things to the sexy place so soon! But I’m very glad that the show isn’t pretending that grown adults are virginal pillars of purity, especially since Da-da dated Wang-joon for seven years… you can’t convince me that they weren’t physically intimate. I appreciate that Young-gu’s programming to “love” his owner isn’t just about giving her a lot of attention, but Love in every sense of the word (as previous remakes have made quite clear). And I’m very much enjoying Yeo Jin-gu’s smolder, which he hasn’t had much chance to flex as of yet, but which I find very convincing.
Young-gu is definitely naïve and misses a lot of nuance when it comes to human conversation and interaction, but somehow, his love for and attraction to Da-da comes across as completely sincere, even when Da-da knows he’s only programmed that way. And there lies the conundrum… is it really love, if the one in love has no choice but to love? Da-da is in an interesting position between a man who loves her but doesn’t want to, and a being who isn’t really a man, but whose love looks and feels so real. I can’t say that in her shoes, I wouldn’t be mightily tempted by the one whose love and devotion are so open and evident, even if I knew it was only programming.
The biggest problem is that Young-gu doesn’t get to choose who he loves. He will love whoever kisses him, which is why sending him to Diana is so dangerous. I’m so curious to know more about her, and why she’s abusing these love androids in an attempt to prove their loyalty to her no matter what she does to them. Clearly she’s deeply, emotionally disturbed, if she’s spending billions of won just to make an inanimate object prove it loves her. Hopefully we’ll get to know her a bit in the upcoming episodes, and learn what makes her tick.
As much as I’m down for the stubborn robot “you’re my girlfriend” hijinks, it was a realistic breath of fresh air to see someone in a drama have an appropriately violent freak-out when faced with a guy who follows her around and won’t take “back off” for an answer. Sometimes it feels like drama characters accept bizarre circumstances a little too easily, especially when the guy is exceptionally good-looking. So I found Da-da’s reaction to this strange man who won’t stop calling her his girlfriend very relatable — because seriously, even a guy who looks as good as Young-gu is creepy when he’s popping up over your shoulder everywhere you go and insisting that you’re his girlfriend just because you fell on a couch together.
As cute as this show is, I can already sense some dark foreshadowing, such as when Young-gu said that “old and broken things are useless and should be thrown away.” I hope that this newest incarnation changes the ending from former versions, one of which I didn’t see but another that I know had a very sweet but also sad ending (no spoilers, but it was seven years ago!). But I can already feel that line coming back to haunt Young-gu, and I’m dreading something happening to him and Da-da having to face the dilemma of whether he can be salvaged. I’m already attached to the cute robot with the cheerful disposition and the ray-of-sunshine smile… please don’t let anything happen to him! Hopefully, the repeated “just because something is old and worn out doesn’t mean it’s useless” line is a positive clue.
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