I’m Not a Robot: Episodes 29-30
Aji-3 proves that she’s more that just a robot as her deep learning enables her to interact with all types of people. No one crosses her path without making a very powerful connection and the Santa Maria team is overwhelmed by the power of her friendship. Meanwhile, Min-kyu and Jia settle into a comfortable coexistence, and along with the Santa Maria team, they face an unknown but exhilarating future.
EPISODE 29: “Aji-3 disappeared?”
A familiar little robot greets Min-kyu when he gets home but he doesn’t look happy to see the Santa Maria team in his kitchen with Jia. The team notices him and Baek-gyun explains, “We will be moving out tomorrow. We won’t be seeing each other again, so I suggested we eat together one last time.”
The team is disappointed when Min-kyu asks them to be sure clean up before they leave and retreats to his bedroom. He’s angry how easily Baek-gyun blurted out that they’ll never see each other again.
Once everybody is seated, Jia breaks the ice when she points out that this time she can eat with them. She offers Min-kyu a dish that she made at home and when he pronounces it good, the other men dig in and immediately regret it.
Min-kyu takes another bite and when Jia asks if it’s good, he grunts in agreement but adds, “I’ll do the cooking from now on.” Everyone laughs and Ssan-ip asks about Min-kyu’s condition and learns that he’s improving.
Hok-tal recalls the time that Min-kyu invited them for dinner, which Baek-gyun knows nothing about it since he wasn’t there and Min-kyu pretends not to remember. Hok-tal shares that Min-kyu didn’t know their names so he referred to them by number. Baek-gyun marvels how far Min-kyu has come since then.
Hok-tal explains to Min-kyu that they decided to give him Beetle. Ssan-ip adds that they never gave him anything and thought the little robot would make a good friend. Baek-gyun admits that Beetle isn’t Aji-3, but hopes that it will be good company.
The mood becomes serious when Ssan-ip tells Min-kyu, “I’m really sorry. When we leave, I hope you forget all bad memories and remember only the good memories.” When Min-kyu says nothing, Jia takes his hand and he finally speaks, “What am I supposed to do if that breaks…throw it away at a junk shop?”
The team is aghast at the thought and when Hok-tal suggests that it’s time for them to go, Min-kyu tells them, “Just stay here.” When Min-kyu complains, “Why are you trying to go outside when it’s this cold? Just stay here at my house,” everyone smiles. The emotionally charged atmosphere is suddenly festive and Beetle has hearts in his eyes.
Left alone in her box, Aji-3 stares out the opening while Martin’s words that she’s to become the world’s most dangerous weapon are at odds with what the Santa Maria team taught her — that she’s to live with humans as a friend and become like family.
Hok-tal and Ssan-ip are sound asleep when Min-kyu tucks them into his bed and he notices the tears in Ssan-ip’s eyes as he mutters, “I’m sorry, Aji-3.” Min-kyu finds Jia asleep on the couch and sits down to gaze at her. He sees her bandaged hands and tenderly kisses the gash that she received during his angry outburst. When he brushes the hair from her face, she wakes up and sees that he’s sad.
Min-kyu claims that he’s happy but Jia points to his head and instructs, “Remember how I look and feel right now. It upsets me when you lie to me.” Min-kyu admits that he’s sad because the Santa Maria team lost Aji-3.
Jia opens her arms wide and Min-kyu finds refuge for his heavy heart. She tells him, “I know very well that you tried everything you could today to protect Aji-3.” Min-kyu holds her tightly as she promises, “Wherever you may be, I’ll always be by your side.” Jia pats his back and assures Min-kyu, “You did well.”
Baek-gyun finds Pi in the barn, crying in front of Aji-3’s empty charging station. She apologizes when she sees Baek-gyun, but he consoles her as the two of them stare at Aji-3’s empty chair and mourn her loss.
Min-kyu pulls away from Jia to announce his intention to fight for Aji-3 until the contract is signed and Jia happily replies, “That’s more like you.” Min-kyu checks his phone and sees another email from Madame X about the reinvestigation into Chairman Park’s death and excitedly exclaims that he just found a way to recover Aji-3.
Min-kyu grins at Jia as she drives and when a taxi cuts in front of them, she instinctively throws out a protective arm. He looks happy with her gesture and she wonders, “Did you get butterflies?” When they arrive at a restaurant Min-kyu kisses her cheek before he leaves.
Inside, Min-kyu finds a woman who was sent by Madame X. (The same woman that Butler Sung was seen with in Episode 21. Hmmmm.)
Madame X’s go-between informs Min-kyu that Martin is wanted by Interpol for a long list of crimes such as murder and fraud, but they’ve never been able to make a solid case against him. The woman notes that Jang Doo-sam will enter Interpol’s witness protection program if he turns over his evidence.
During the night, our bumbling detectives park outside of Min-kyu’s estate where Curly pledges to stay until he sees her.
The next day, Min-kyu and Jin-bae wait to meet Jang Doo-sam at a coffee shop, unsure if he’ll show up. Surprised to see Jia in Min-kyu’s car, Jin-bae asks when she became his driver but Min-kyu fidgets uncomfortably. He’s rescued when Jang Doo-sam shows up and Jin-bae suddenly has to explain Interpol’s plan to him.
Min-kyu delivers a heartfelt message to Jang Doo-sam that he understands what he’s gone through to stay alive, “You can’t trust anyone. You can’t be sure if you’re with someone who’ll help or not. You don’t want to live like that, but you know of no other way.” Min-kyu pledges to help him find a better way to live.
Min-kyu’s appeal works because Jin-bae hand delivers the recording to a police detective and begs, “Can you do it before 2 p.m.?”
It’s tense in the lab as the Santa Maria team waits for news. Baek-gyun gets a call and everyone looks relieved when he asks, “You did it?”
Jia weaves expertly through traffic as Min-kyu finishes his call to Baek-gyun, “Now, the problem is getting there before the signing ceremony…I’ll call you as soon as I find Aji-3.”
Before Chairman Hwang and Martin can sign the contract, Min-kyu barges in and ends all ties with Martin’s company. Chairman Hwang reminds Min-kyu, “It’s all over,” only to be told, “You’re right. It’s all over. For you.” Chairman Hwang is arrested for the murder of Daeyang’s Chairman Park and the police ask to question Martin as a witness.
Martin’s men refuse and as he walks out, he and Min-kyu exchange glares. As he’s led away, Chairman Hwang pauses to threaten Min-kyu, “Things will get worse,” but Min-kyu replies evenly, “No. This is it.” When he looks at Jia, she gives him an enthusiastic thumbs up and Min-kyu responds with a thumbs up of his own until Jin-bae delivers a look of disapproval.
We finally catch up to the end of the previous hour when Dr. Casey discovers that Aji-3 is gone and bellows in anger.
Still in KM’s board room, a stunned Director Yoon hears from one of his men that Aji-3 is missing. When he demands to know, “Where did Aji-3 go,” Min-kyu overhears him and informs Baek-gyun that their robot is gone.
Alone in the city, Aji-3 tells herself to go home but without her GPS, she has no idea where that is.
Martin returns to his hotel room and rants that he’s worried since he confessed to the murder of Chairman Park in front of Aji-3. Dr. Casey’s solution is to have her memory completely erased.
Aji-3 attracts attention as she wanders through the city in her thin, pink dress. She recalls Min-kyu’s description that it felt as if he was in a forest when he found himself surrounded by people for the first time and she wants to touch them, just like he did, but they keep their distance.
Hok-tal and Ssan-ip see CCTV footage that shows Aji-3 left the building on her own. They call Baek-gyun and Pi, who figure that she can’t be far. Min-kyu and Jia drive slowly as they scan the sidewalks while Director Yoon’s man does the same thing.
Aji-3 sits on a bench that’s occupied by a disheveled man. He tells her it’s cramped and sends her away but Aji-3 tells him it’s designed for three people. When he insists it’s too cramped for him, she scoots over a few inches.
The man asks, “Aren’t you scared of me?” but Aji-3 assures him,”No matter how you look, you are all humans to me.” When he asks her to hold his hand, she ignores that it’s dirty and tells him, “You have a beautiful hand.” She takes the man’s hand but he pulls it away.
The man asks Aji-3 where she’s headed and she tells him she’s going home to her friends and family, the place where she can recharge herself. The man encourages Aji-3 to go home so that she doesn’t end up like him and when she asks what that means, he confesses, “There is no one waiting for me. No one is interested in me either.” Aji-3 tells him, “I am interested in you. What kind of person are you?”
The man doesn’t know how to answer, so he rummages in his jacket and pulls out a stack of cards. He hands her one and tells her, “Take this to pay for the bus…Get going. Your family must be worried.”
Chairman Hwang refuses to cooperate so the detective plays Jang Doo-sam’s recording, but it doesn’t change his mind. Yoo-chul and Director Yoon meet with Martin, who orders them to recover Aji-3 or destroy her so that no one else can have her. To make sure that they cooperate, Martin warns Yoo-chul, “I know that Hwang acquired those shares illegally. I was the one who gave him the money to do it. Which means, if you don’t do what I tell you to do, your father will be the one to get hurt.”
Once they’re alone in the car, Yoo-chul asks if his father murdered Chairman Park. Director Yoon admits that Martin killed him but there’s no way to prove it, so Chairman Hwang ignored the crime to get money for the stock purchases. Director Yoon wants Martin to leave the country and Chairman Hwang to get acquitted, but they need Director Yeh’s help.
When Min-kyu worries that they may not find Aji-3 before Martin’s men, Jia shares that she thinks Aji-3 is on her way home.
Director Yoon’s man sees Aji-3 just as she enters an electronics store. She uses a display computer to find the bus that will take her to Min-kyu’s house and is gone by the time Director Yoon’s man shows up. He sees her search results and runs out.
Aji-3 boards her bus where a weary woman sits next to her and falls asleep. Her head drops onto Aji-3’s shoulder and she pats the woman’s arm and tells her, “You tried really hard.” Her next companion is a little girl who can’t manage to get a straw into her drink. Aji-3 helps her and then pats the girl’s head and tells her, “You’re pretty.”
Jin-bae waits for news of Aji-3 at CCTV central and informs Baek-gyun when he learns that she’s on a bus. Aji-3 gets off the bus and walks away just as a very disappointed Curly drives by and complains that he didn’t get to see her.
When Curly sees Aji-3 on the sidewalk, he turns around and stops the van next to her. He and Brains jump out to ask where she’s going and when she tells them, “Home,” they offer her a ride. As soon as she’s in their van, cars with Dr. Casey and Director Yoon’s men box them in.
Surrounded, Curly and Brains panic, but promise Aji-3 that they’ll protect her. They calm down when she gently grasps their hands.
EPISODE 30: “Goodbye, Aji-3”
Curly and Brains brace themselves as Director Yoon’s men prepare to break the van’s windows, but the police arrive just in time. Baek-gyun and Pi pull up just when Hok-tal and Ssan-ip arrive in a taxi and the worried team is reunited with Aji-3. She looks into their worried faces as Baek-gyun announces, “Let’s go home.”
Curly asks Brains if he thinks Aji-3 will remember him and when he’s told, “She’s a robot, so she’ll remember you forever,” he confesses, “I’m happy.” The two men drive away with contented smiles on their faces.
Back in the lab, Aji-3 shares that she met lots of people and Baek-gyun instructs her to make a backup file of her day. When Jia asks if she’s happy to be home, Aji-3 answers, “I need to be charged.”
Hok-tal insists that they check to make sure that Aji-3 is all right and tells her one of his corny jokes, which she remembers perfectly. Everyone laughs as Aji-3 takes in the team’s happy faces.
Exhausted from the day’s events, Min-kyu and Jia collapse on his couch. Min-kyu laughs to himself and when Jia asks why, he admits that he’s happy because Aji-3 is back with the Santa Maria team and Jia is with him.
Min-kyu settles his head onto Jia’s lap and compliments her driving, so she offers to help if he needs anything else. Min-kyu becomes serious and urges Jia, “Do whatever you want. Make what you want to make. I want to be the first one to see it.”
Jia reminds Min-kyu, “You’re still not safe to go outside by yourself, so I’ll…” but he stops her. They stare at each other a little too deeply and Jia suddenly shoves Pretty One into Min-kyu’s hands and tells him to spend time with her because she has to leave.
When Min-kyu asks why Jia can’t stay with him, she explains that it’s his place so he asks, “Can’t it be your place as well?” They laugh over the question until Min-kyu decides that he’s hungry and begs cutely for Jia to cook for him. (Best aegyo, ever.)
Jia prepares a familiar looking version of kimbap and explains that she first made it when she was young. Min-kyu remembers Dong-hyun’s story about her aunt’s rice balls and puts two and two together.
Jia offers Min-kyu a taste of her dish but he laughs happily over his discovery, which he insists is a secret. Min-kyu does confess, “I just found out who my guardian angel was,” and pulls Jia in for a (very) passionate kiss.
Director Yoon visits Chairman Hwang in prison to divulge that Yoo-chul knows about his association with Martin, but assures him that he doesn’t know everything. Chairman Hwang asks Director Yoon to work together with with Director Yeh to get him acquitted.
Director Yoon’s meeting with Director Yeh doesn’t go well, so he offers a gift from Chairman Hwang, all the shares from the borrowed accounts now belong to Ri-el. He explains that Chairman Hwang wants him to become the new director, but first Min-kyu must be dismissed. Director Yeh knows that Min-kyu would always pose a threat to his position and wants to use his illness to ruin him.
Director Yeh looks up at a disappointed Ri-el, who overheard his comments. He follows her and explains, “One’s misfortune sometimes becomes another person’s opportunity. What you need at a time like that is the courage to go with it.” Ri-el can’t believe that her father thinks she’d be happy but he assures her, “Everything passes.”
Yoo-chul sits alone in his car and consoles himself with the fact that at least his father didn’t kill someone. He gets a call from Ri-el, who tells him that Min-kyu has a terrible illness that their fathers plan to exploit.
Yoo-chul turns his father’s office upside down and when he forces a locked drawer open, he find a USB. It contains footage of Min-kyu gasping for breath during a severe allergic reaction and is accompanied by a document that proves Ri-el was telling the truth.
Pi does some shopping and ends up in a salon to have her hair straightened. Meanwhile, Baek-gyun is at work in the barn and opens one of Aji-3’s files and smiles.
At her coffee shop, Sun-hye gives Hok-tal a tarot card lesson and gifts him with the “lover” card. He accepts it and they share a meaningful look, only to be interrupted by Ssan-ip, “I’m right here. Respect my existence.” He complains that he regrets that he fell asleep back then and when Hok-tal looks happily at his “lover” card, Ssan-ip announces that he’s lonely.
When Pi walks into the shop, Sun-hye and Ssan-ip compliment her new look but Hok-tal doesn’t recognize her. Pi’s personality hasn’t changed and Hok-tal recoils in shock when he realizes that it’s her.
Ssan-ip wonders if ash blue hair would improve his mood and asks Hok-tal to join him. He glances at Sun-hye, who discreetly shakes her head, and turns down Ssan-ip’s suggestion. That makes Ssan-ip even more unhappy because Hok-tal used to do whatever he wanted.
Ssan-ip guesses that Sun-hye has something to do with the change in Hok-tal and is annoyed when they shrug off his accusation. He begs them to be nice to him, especially on a day like this, and when Hok-tal asks if it’s a special day, Ssan-ip huffily replies, “Fine, don’t do anything. I’ll just get angry if you do something.”
When Baek-gyun joins them, Ssan-ip and Hok-tal touch their hair to signal that there’s something different about Pi. Their gestures become more exaggerated when Baek-gyun doesn’t notice a thing until he guesses that they have itchy scalps. (Oh my gosh, this is so funny!) Sun-hye looks at him in disbelief and comments dryly, “You’re made for each other.”
Baek-gyun sends Ssan-ip out of town to buy some parts and then he and Pi walk around by themselves. He mentions that Pi looks different and decides that her eyes are bigger. Pi admits that she’s not wearing her glasses but then Baek-gyun realizes that her hair is different too. Pi confesses that she had it straightened and asks if it looks weird but Baek-gyun tells her, “No, it doesn’t look weird,” and she smiles at his almost compliment.
Min-kyu reports to Dr. Oh that he’s ventured out on his own without Jia. His test results are good and Dr. Oh is confident that he’ll be able to handle everyday life, but Min-kyu jokes that’s impossible. When Min-kyu hangs up there’s a new email from Madame X about the emergency board meeting to discuss his dismissal.
Ssan-ip returns to the barn and finds it empty so he ends up at Min-kyu’s darkened house and wonders where everyone went. He mutters, “They’re all so mean. How could they? It’s my birthday.” As soon as he complains, “No one cares,” Min-kyu pops out with a flashlight pointed at his face.
Ssan-ip jumps back in fear as Min-kyu wishes him, “Happy birthday,” and soon everyone is singing as the girls carry out his cake. Ssan-ip chides them for the childish surprise party but dissolves into tears of happiness. Before he blows out his candles he yells out his wish, “Let’s all live together.”
Everyone sits down to eat, with Ssan-ip at the head of the table. Min-kyu presents his gift and Ssan-ip is surprised to find it’s citron bread. Jia and Min-kyu explain that they heard Ssan-ip cries whenever he eats that bread and sure enough, as soon as he takes a nibble, he’s blubbering again.
Baek-gyun asks if he should make Ssan-ip cry even more and produces a USB with video of Aji-3’s outing. Soon, everyone is absorbed by Aji-3’s interactions during her outing and the video ends when the relieved Santa Maria team is reunited with her.
Everyone is speechless with wonder as Baek-gyun concludes that Aji-3 exceeded their expectations. He announces, “It’s heartbreaking, but as promised, I think it’s time to change Aji-3’s face…and delete every video, including the private ones, she took of Min-kyu and Jia.” Baek-gyun pledges to use what they learned from Aji-3 on their next robot and invites everyone to say goodbye to her.
The camera focuses on Aji-3 as each member of the Santa Maria team delivers a message. Baek-gyun promises that her learned patterns will live forever while Pi apologizes for sending her to Martin. Hok-tal vows to tell their next robot about Aji-3 so that she doesn’t disappear. Ssan-ip confides that he knows he was her favorite and promises, “I will remember you, Aji-3.” Everybody whispers, “Goodbye, Aji-3,” as we see her for the last time. (Now I’m blubbering like Ssan-ip.)
Min-kyu delivers a USB with video of Martin’s confession to Madame X’s go-between and she assures him that Interpol will protect Jang Doo-sam.
Director Yoon has reporters on standby and Director Yeh instructs him to leak the evidence of Min-kyu’s condition after the emergency meeting.
Min-kyu drives alone while the board meeting convenes with Director Yeh, Yoo-chul and Ri-el in attendance.
Min-kyu pauses in front of a set of doors to compose himself. He grabs the handle with his gloved hand and with Jin-bae by his side, he faces a roomful of reporters and photographers to announce, “I’m KM Financial’s director Kim Min-kyu. I suffer from an allergy to humans.”
Wow, wow and WOW! This hour may very well become one of my all time favorites. Min-kyu repaired his relationship with the Santa Maria team right off the bat and I finally felt like I could breathe again. What followed was some of the most meaningful dialog that I’ve heard in a long time because it explored what makes us human and how every encounter can have tremendous impact. That message has been out there all along due to Min-kyu’s debilitating condition, but the idea is brought to fruition as Aji-3 interacts with people all by herself. She illustrates how words and actions matter deeply, even when they seem small and insignificant. That’s powerful stuff, especially coming from a romantic comedy.
The bumbling detectives delivered an emotional punch that surprised me. I expected them to mistakenly kidnap Jia instead of Aji-3 at some point but I never imagined that they would become Aji-3’s top fans. Curly was forever changed by his encounter with Aji-3 and even Brains was happier because he met her. It was such a good use of minor characters who became more than comic relief in the end.
If we look back at the main characters’ lives from the beginning until now, the transformation is stunning and parallels what Aji-3’s deep learning exercises accomplished. Each character existed in some degree of isolation and as they’ve struggled to open their hearts to each other, they’ve been transformed into better versions of themselves. Min-kyu still pouts, Pi is still bossy, Ssan-ip cries over citron bread etc., but they’ve learned to connect on a deeper level and that’s clear when they see the video of Aji-3’s solo outing. What impresses them is that she connects with people one by one, wholly in the present and focused on the one person in front of her. To some degree, Min-kyu, Jia, Sun-hye and the Santa Maria team have learned that as well, so Aji-3’s experiences resonate with them.
What makes it possible for Aji-3 to connect with others is a firm understanding of what she was created for, to be a friend to humans and become like family. That kind of clarity also touches every character and brings their lives into focus. Ri-el realizes that she’s nothing like her father and hopefully Yoo-chul will come to the same conclusion. The way that Jia, Baek-gyun and the Santa Maria team betrayed Min-kyu taught them how important trust is between people and in the end they’re as changed by Min-kyu as he is by them. Aji-3 encapsulates all of their personal growth thanks to Jia, whose assignment to help a robot learn about relationships taught her so much.
Sometimes, the penultimate hours are my favorite in a drama and that could happen with I’m Not a Robot. There were cute exchanges between Min-kyu and Jia, not to mention that incredible kiss, the reunion of Aji-3 with the Santa Maria team, heartfelt goodbyes and the capture of the bad guys. All of that and there’s still another hour to spend with such endearing characters. I’m beyond thrilled with the consistency of the writing and the performances and I will never forget the amazing chemistry between Yoo Seung-ho and Chae Soo-bin. Jia’s words suit this drama perfectly, “You did well.”
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