Are You Human Too: Episodes 19-20
This episode gives us a lot to think about, as the people around Nam Shin-III start to wonder what it means to be human. Does it mean having emotions? Does having a computer instead of a brain mean that he’s not “real?” To some, Nam Shin-III is a tool to be used then thrown away, while others feel that he has value just because he’s himself. But the most important person — Nam Shin-III himself — still doesn’t know if he’s a person, and it will be up to him not only to come to that conclusion himself, but to convince the unbelievers.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Jong-gil and Toady trick So-bong into showing up in Ro-ra’s office, where Snake attacks her and forces her to his car. He shoves her into the trunk and she panics, holding onto her mother’s locket and thinking about how she pushed Nam Shin-III away yet again. She wonders why he looked at her so sadly, and why she’s thinking of him now.
Just as the wedding is about to start, Nam Shin-III notices that Ro-ra isn’t at her seat. He pulls her phone from her purse and retrieves the deleted text Toady sent to So-bong asking her to go to Ro-ra’s office. He removes the battery pack that allows Ro-ra to control him remotely, and follows So-bong’s phone signal to the parking garage, where he stops Snake’s car with his bare hands and slams it into a concrete pillar.
From inside the trunk, So-bong despairs, assuming that Nam Shin-III won’t rescue her because she told him to leave again. She cringes when the trunk opens, but it’s Nam Shin-III, there to save her after all. He gives her that big, happy smile, and she bursts into tears.
Right there, Nam Shin-III takes her into his arms to hug her tears away. He tells her, “I’m here now. I’m soy I’m so late.”
Snake sees Nam Shin-III sitting on the back of his car and makes a run for it. So-bong notices that he’s taking the car’s black box recorder with him. Seeing the damage to the car, she woies that Nam Shin-III is on film displaying decidedly non-human strength. She’s hurt her ankle, so she tells Nam Shin-III to catch Snake, but he’s more woied about her injury. Still, he’s no match for her pleading, so he obeys her wishes.
Snake jumps into a taxi and calls Toady to tell him that there’s no way “Shin” is human. Nam Shin-III goes after him on a motorcycle, and Snake panics and gets out of the taxi, running right into traffic in his eagerness to flee. Toady waits for Snake nearby in his car, so he has a front-row seat when Snake is hit by a van.
Toady watches as Nam Shin-III stops and calls for an ambulance then crouches next to Snake, then Toady slowly drives away. Badly injured, Snake croaks to Nam Shin-III, “What kind of bastard are you?” but he dies without an answer. Nam Shin-III reaches out to gently close his eyes, then takes the black box camera from his hand before leaving.
“Shin’s” absence has caused the wedding to be canceled, and Chairman Nam makes an announcement that it will be postponed. He apologizes to Ye-na for his grandson’s bad behavior, but she says that she’s waited this long, so the actual wedding date doesn’t matter.
Jong-gil eyes her curiously, obviously having expected her to be much more upset. He grows even more suspicious when Ye-na tells that she won’t say anything stupid to him and that she’ll always be on Shin’s side. Ye-na tells her dad that by “anything stupid” she meant like refusing to marry Shin, but he doesn’t look convinced.
When Nam Shin-III gets back to the office building, So-bong is waiting for him near Snake’s car. They leave on his motorcycle, and So-bong worries that Snake will tell someone that Nam Shin-III took the black box camera, but Nam Shin-III tells her that he can’t say anything anymore. She asks if he threatened Snake, but he doesn’t answer.
Ro-ra and Young-hoon assume that Nam Shin-III and So-bong are together when they can’t reach either of them. Ro-ra is also upset that Nam Shin-III removed his manual control device, but David reassures her that he’s not capable of developing his own wants. HA, little you know…
Young-hoon is glad that they’ve avoided the wedding that would have tied them to Jong-gil. Nam Shin-III walks in unexpectedly, and Ro-ra asks why he took off his manual control device. He says apologetically that he couldn’t obey her this time, and confirms that he was with So-bong after she was attacked because of him.
Ro-ra asks if he’s really the son she created, and Nam Shin-III asks, “Am I not your son if I don’t act like the human Nam Shin? Can a robot not be your real son?” Oof.
He hacks images of Snake onto the television, from their first meeting back in the Czech Republic, telling the group that he’s Jong-gil’s man and that he died in an accident. Ro-ra reels at the proof that Jong-gil tried to kill Shin, but Young-hoon says it’s not enough and wants to monitor Jong-gil. He thanks Nam Shin-III for obtaining such important information.
The doctor interrupts, so Ro-ra goes to Shin’s side, and Nam Shin-III tells David that he’s going to the hospital to see So-bong. After he’s gone, the doctor tells them that he thinks they should stop the ultrasound treatment on Shin, because it’s not going to work, and may even be making Shin worse.
Toady tells Jong-gil about Snake’s call just before his death, where he said “Shin” was recorded on the black box and wasn’t human. He wonders if “Shin” knows that he was the same man who tried to kill him in the Czech Republic, and whether he took the black box to look for a connection to Jong-gil. Jong-gil warns him to be careful what he says, but it’s too late — Ye-na heard everything.
The driver that hit Snake turns himself in, but Jong-gil is skeptical that it was an innocent hit-and-run. He’s also curious about So-bong, because oddly, all of the security cameras were dead at the time of her attack.
Snake had told Toady that the M-car attacked him on its own, so Toady checked, but the M-car was in the office like it was supposed to be, and Snake’s smashed car was no longer in the parking garage. Jong-gil decides that Snake’s accident was no accident.
David lets himself into a room containing some pretty high-tech looking machinery, where he meets with Chairman Nam. He asks if Chairman Nam killed a person, and Chairman Nam says that if he hadn’t, the fact that Nam Shin-III’s data center is in his building would have been discovered, and even Ro-ra would have found out. Wait, what??
David defends Ro-ra, saying that she only created Nam Shin-III because she missed her son, but Chairman Nam says that it would be too shocking if she learned that he’s her sponsor. He asks about Shin’s progress and learns that he probably won’t wake up.
He tells David to keep Nam Shin-III’s attachment to So-bong under control, because the robot is a product and he doesn’t need problematic defects. David says he didn’t accept Chairman Nam’s money to create a simple product, and that Nam Shin-III is adapting to the human world like a real person. Looking around, Chairman Nam says that this room is Nam Shin-III’s brain, and the future of his company.
Nam Shin-III arrives at So-bong’s hospital room, and she asks if his mother was mad about the wedding. He flashes a mischievous smile, so she tells him to apologize to Young-hoon and blame her so he’s not in trouble, She says that he can’t get out of control, but Nam Shin-III asks why not.
She doesn’t want to tell him about the kill switch, so So-bong just snaps at him to do as he’s told. He does, and she half-pouts that that was a bit too easy. She tries to sleep, but nightmares of Snake shoving her into the car trunk haunt her dreams.
A hand caresses her cheek, and we see that Nam Shin-III came back. He sits by her bedside, patting her softly until she wakes again, and he asks her why she pretends to be so tough. So-bong insists she is tough and fusses at him for not leaving, but when he starts to go, she stops him and grumps, “How could you leave just because I said so?”
He smiles and stays, and apologizes for only being able to say he’s thankful to her without feeling it. He promises to stay with her all night, and when So-bong says she’s nobody, Nam Shin-III disagrees. He says that she’s an incredible person, and that he even ignored traffic rules and broke a car because of her: “You make me break existing rules, and create new rules that didn’t exist.”
So-bong mutters that that’s oddly persuasive, then her stomach grumbles hungrily. Nam Shin-III leans closer to listen, fascinated, then takes her downstairs to the commissary. He buys her a mountain of convenience food, and while she eats, So-bong asks him to bring her the black box camera so she can see if anyone else saw him.
Nam Shin-III points out how much food she’s consumed, so So-bong snaps at him to push her wheelchair so she can digest, and when he complies, she smiles happily to herself. He pushes her around at top speed, then suddenly lets go, only to pop up in time to catch her.
He crouches and smiles, reminding So-bong of his dramatic rescue earlier, and how he’d smiled and hugged her. On the defensive again, she snaps, “What am I, your friend?” Nam Shin-III says that he’s never had a real friend, so So-bong asks if he’d like to be friends with her.
He looks surprised, but agrees to be friends and drops to banmal, and she can’t resist teasing him for it before saying that it’s fine. She says they’re the first robot and human to be friends, and they decide that’s pretty cool.
So-bong asks, as a friend, if Nam Shin-III will keep pretending to be Shin, and when he asks her what he should do, she says that she won’t tell him what to do anymore but that she’ll support his decision. Later, So-bong wakes to find Nam Shin-III gone, and a note saying “I’m on my way to answer your question.”
Jong-gil learns that Ye-na left without a word overnight, supposedly on a trip. Ye-na shows up at Ro-ra’s hideout with her suitcase, saying that she wants to stay near Shin. Ro-ra asks if she still thinks she knows her father, reminding Ye-na of her previous defense of him.
David steps in and stops Ro-ra before she starts ranting, and he tells Ye-na that Ro-ra is just sensitive and sends her to Shin’s room. Ro-ra grumbles that just looking at Ye-na makes her sick, but David says that angering her won’t do any good. Ro-ra forbids him to tell Ye-na that they stopped Shin’s ultrasound treatment, determined that he’ll wake up anyway.
When she sees Shin still in his coma, Ye-na sobs, and apologizes over and over that she didn’t know her father was capable of murder.
Jong-gil arrives at work to find Ro-ra waiting for him. He smirks that she must feel bad about the wedding, but she says it wasn’t going to happen anyway, since only one person wanted it.
Jong-gil wants an apology for his daughter getting hurt, so Ro-ra says, “I’m sorry… but I have no intention of apologizing. Listen well, Seo Jong-gil. If you make my child cry, I will make your child cry tears of blood. If you touch my son again, I’ll do the same to your daughter.” After she’s gone, Jong-gil mutters that Ro-ra must know the truth about the accident in the Czech Republic.
Young-hoon and Ro-ra find Nam Shin-III at the office, and Ro-ra snaps that he should have stayed at the hospital. Nam Shin-III says that So-bong is his friend, so he needs to ensure that she isn’t hurt again because of him. He tells Ro-ra that she’s also important to him, so he’ll continue to protect Shin’s position, but from now on he’ll do it his way.
He promises to do the job well, but Ro-ra says she doesn’t need a Shin who does his job well, she needs the real Shin and storms out. Nam Shin-III’s phone lights up with a call from Jong-gil, and his expression goes cold.
EPISODE 20 RECAP
Young-hoon follows Ro-ra, who says that it’s too hard to be around Nam Shin-III because he no longer listens to her. She says she needs to change her perspective, but she doesn’t explain what she means.
Nam Shin-III meets Jong-gil at a bar, where Jong-gil asks why Nam Shin-III hurt Ye-na by not showing up at the wedding. Nam Shin-III says that Jong-gil hurt her more with what he did to the man Ye-na loves. Jong-gil pretends confusion, calling this a misunderstanding.
Nam Shin-III asks if Snake would agree after trying to kill him, then getting killed himself trying to abduct So-bong. Jong-gil claims to be offended that Nam Shin-III thinks he tried to kill him. Nam Shin-III says he has proof, though he doesn’t plan to use it yet, but he warns that if Jong-gil harms anyone he cares about, he’ll do the exact same thing to him.
Seething, Jong-gil recalls Snake saying that “Shin” can’t be human, and he asks, “Who are you? What are you?!” NC3 looks him right in the eye and asks calmly, “Who do you think I am? Believe as you see and wish. I am just me.”
Bored silly, So-bong calls Joint to bring her some of her things without letting Dad know. A cute little robot walks into her hospital room and introduces itself as Maibo, followed by Nam Shin-III. He offers to teach So-bong how to use Maibo so she’s not bored when he can’t be there, and helps her back into bed.
She holds up his note saying he was fixing the problem, and he says that he told Ro-ra that he’ll keep acting like Shin. He tells her that the CCTV videos of the incident were deleted, and when So-bong shivers that that’s scary, he suddenly grows very concerned and starts making a bed on the floor to sleep next to her tonight.
So-bong tells him no, pointing out that he doesn’t sleep anyway, and tells him to go since Joint will be there son with her laptop. Nam Shin-III produces the USB file of Snake’s car’s black box, but So-bong says she’ll watch it alone.
She walks him to the elevator and waves goodbye, but he opens the doors again to ask if a guy and a girl can be friends. He says he saw in a matchmaking survey that most women think they can’t, and he wants to know where So-bong falls on the issue. She tells him to quit being dumb as the elevator doors close again.
David finds So-bong and takes her downstairs to talk. He says that Ro-ra is very upset that Nam Shin-III is rebelling by insisting on being Shin in his own way, and that she told him she needs her real son, none of which Nam Shin-III mentioned to So-bong when she asked. Since Nam Shin-III listens to her, David asks So-bong to tell him not to anger Ro-ra any further in case she takes extreme measures.
When So-bong asks what he means, he just says he misspoke. He asks if Nam Shin-III really considers her a friend, saying that he’s really grown up and that even though he made him, he’s really curious about him. He jokes that if Nam Shin-III gets a girlfriend, he’ll be perfect.
Meanwhile, skeptical of So-bong’s cover story, Reporter Jo shows up at So-bong’s VIP suite to deliver So-bong’s things. She confirms that So-bong is the patient, not visiting a friend. She finds the USB So-bong left on the bed and grows curious. Why is So-bong this boundary-stomping, intrusive person’s friend again??
So-bong arrives at her room to find her things there, and the deliverer gone. She asks Maibo if by “extreme measures, “ David meant Nam Shin-III’s kill switch, and in response, Maibo does a little dance to a song that goes, “Yeah yeah yeah.” Eek.
Nam Shin-III calls to ask So-bong if she wants to be his bodyguard again, just in case. She says no, aware that people will conflate her return with his canceled wedding and might get the wrong idea (or is it the right idea?). She asks if he lied to her today, and he says that he didn’t.
He asks again whether she thinks men and women can be friends. She barks that she does, since she’s even open-minded enough to be friends with a robot. After they hang up, she asks Maibo why Nam Shin-III didn’t tell her about Ro-ra saying she needs her real son, worried that he was hurt by the words.
Nam Shin-III sits by the pool, smiling at the projection of So-bong sitting next to him. So-bong fades and Nam Shin-III sees Young-hoon standing there with a six-pack, wanting to talk. He’s haunted by So-bong’s words that she’s getting emotionally involved after spending time with Nam Shin-III, and her asking him if he’s ever felt the same.
Working his way through the beers, he tells Nam Shin-III that he feels like he’s being punished for thinking that Nam Shin-III seems like a person. He reveals that he played dumb when So-bong said it, but that he also feels that way sometimes.
Nam Shin-III asks why that should be punished. Young-hoon confesses that he sometimes thinks things that would make the human Shin angry, like that he wishes Shin were more like Nam Shin-III, or that he likes Nam Shin-III because he’s not emotional or cynical. Nam Shin-III says he just lacks emotions and ambition, and Young-hoon says that because of that, Nam Shin-III can make the decisions from now on, even if Ro-ra disagrees.
He says he’s fine with it as long as it helps Shin, even if Shin never wakes up, or even if he wakes up and can never forgive him. Nam Shin-III asks why he’d go so far for Shin, wanting to understand which part of the brain Young-hoon is using, but Young-hoon doesn’t know. He says that Shin is just a habit he unknowingly developed.
Shin’s doctor prepares to end the ultrasound treatments, but Ro-ra stops him. She says that if Shin is going to die, it won’t matter if he dies while continuing the ultrasound. She forbids the doctor to touch Shin, saying that she’ll take full responsibility.
She remembers Nam Shin-III asking if a robot can’t be her real son, then saying that he’d do things his own way from now on. She opens a safe to find Nam Shin-III’s kill switch inside, but memories of Nam Shin-III hugging her when she cried make her pause just long enough for David to find her.
He asks if she plans to kill Nam Shin-III, and when she says that he’s getting strange, David yells, “He’s not getting strange, he’s progressing! Why, are you afraid he’ll progress even more and hurt your son? How could you even imagine something so insane? You’re no scientist, just a bad mother.”
In the morning, Young-hoon finds a note from Nam Shin-III and a whole tray of anti-hangover food. How is this robot so unbearably squishy and sweet? Nam Shin-III sends So-bong a message through Maibo that he’ll visit her after work, but she’s already next to him, reminding him that he asked her to be his bodyguard again.
They can hear employees already gossiping about whether he canceled his wedding for So-bong. Ignoring them, So-bong says that she doesn’t like how the building’s security tapes were erased, sure that Jong-gil was somehow involved. Nam Shin-III says cheekily, “You can just admit you were worried about me.”
He meets with Chairman Nam to tell him that he can’t marry Ye-na. Chairman Nam asks what he’ll do about Jong-gil, and Nam Shin-III says vaguely that Jong-gil can’t do anything to him. He says he doesn’t fear Jong-gil, and Chairman Nam murmurs, “Learn one more thing and you’re complete.”
Nam Shin-III doesn’t miss the odd comment, but Chairman Nam continues, telling him not to forgive anyone who gets in the way of his decision, not even Ro-ra. He says, “Your enemy is not always your enemy, and your ally isn’t always your ally. If you can understand that, I’ll let you take my place.” Nam Shin-III thanks Chairman Nam, then invites So-bong into the room. He announces that his decision is that So-bong will be his bodyguard again, and Chairman Nam laughs.
Back in the lobby, Nam Shin-III tells So-bong to ignore the gossips talking about them, and she says she envies his lack of emotions. He asks if she’s hungry and she requests sandwiches at a park.
Ro-ra passes them, stopping only for an instant before walking on wordlessly. So-bong excuses herself and follows Ro-ra, and says in a shaky voice, “He calls you ‘mom.’ He said his mom was his creator, family, and friend. If you’re his mom, treat him that way.”
Ro-ra starts to walk away in disgust, but So-bong calls after her, “You can’t kill your own son!” She says she knows about the kill switch, and that to Nam Shin-III, it means death. Ro-ra asks anxiously if Nam Shin-III knows about it, but So-bong says he wouldn’t have just smiled at her if he did. She begs Ro-ra, if she’s truly his mother, to get rid of the kill switch.
So-bong finds Nam Shin-III waiting for her in the park and people-watching. She notices that he got food for two people, and he says he’ll eat with her since they’re friends.
After eating, So-bong catches Nam Shin-III staring at the people around them, and he says he’s trying to understand them. She says that he’s surrounded by such terrible people and asks if he’s not sick of them, but he says, “I want to understand you more. I need to know more about you, Kang So-bong.”
So-bong thinks to herself, “At that moment, I thought for the first time that I wished the one in front of me wasn’t a robot. I wished he was a person like me.”
Meanwhile, David stands watch over Shin, wondering who he should pity more, Shin or Nam Shin-III. He leaves with a sigh, and seconds later, Shin’s monitor registers brain activity and his fingers begin to move.
I was genuinely surprised to learn that not only has Chairman Nam known about Nam Shin-III all along, but that he’s been Ro-ra’s sponsor from the very beginning. I figured that he might have known Nam Shin-III’s secret after he revealed that he never had dementia, but I never guessed that he was actually bankrolling Ro-ra’s development of Nam Shin-III. I do find it hard to believe that if Nam Shin-III’s “brain” requires so much physical space, that Ro-ra never saw where it was located and apparently hasn’t ever been curious about it, but I guess I’ll have to go with it for story’s sake.
Here’s what i really don’t understand: Why was anyone surprised that “Shin” didn’t show up for the wedding? The real Shin actively hates Ye-na and never would have agreed to marry her, and Nam Shin-III has barely tolerated her. Did they really think that just planning a wedding would change his mind about marrying her? And what did the people who know about Nam Shin-III think would happen when Shin wakes and learns that while he was in a coma fighting for his life, he was married by proxy to a girl he despises and into a family he considers the enemy? The whole thing was just a terrible, badly thought-out plan from the beginning, so I’m glad it didn’t happen.
It’s interesting to watch Nam Shin-III’s evolution from a simple android to something much more human, because it so closely mirrors how a child grows up. First he was entirely dependent on his mother for everything — safety, companionship, even his very existence. Then he entered the big world and began to see that there was more out there, and began pulling away from his mother and seeking out relationships elsewhere. He learned to take guidance from Young-hoon, and protection, then caring, and now friendship from So-bong. He still cares for Ro-ra, but he no longer needs her in the same way, and I think that’s why she’s so angry with the changes in him.
She created him expecting him to be dependent on her forever, and to be a replacement for her human son, but Nam Shin-III is becoming his own person independent of her. She may not like it, but the moment Ro-ra pushed Nam Shin-III into the world then essentially abandoned him, she lost control of the direction he evolved in, and rightfully so. I think David nailed it when he said she’s a bad mother, at least to Nam Shin-III. I can understand why she’s upset and wants her biological son back, but she’s spent twenty years lovingly creating and living with Nam Shin-III, so I don’t get how she can just toss him away so casually. But now that she seems to have done that, I hope that Nam Shin-III is able to keep growing and flourishing with So-bong, who only wants him to be himself.
I love So-bong and Nam Shin-III’s new friendship — they’re so cute now that So-bong isn’t fighting the fact that she actually likes the adorable Shinbot. I was feeling weird about her anger and denial that Nam Shin-III seems like a real person (and Young-hoon’s too, for that matter), because it’s not a moral failing to feel kinship and compassion towards something that seems so human. I mean, people do it with pets all the time, so why would it be bad to feel friendly towards something that looks, acts, and sounds like an actual human being? Nam Shin-III was created to fool people into thinking he’s a real person, so it’s no surprise that even people who know he isn’t would develop emotional attachments to him. It’s literally what he was made for — to give Ro-ra somewhere to direct all of her maternal love after her son was taken from her. But then, I also appreciate that both So-bong and Young-hoon aren’t entering into relationships with Nam Shin-III lightly the same way Ro-ra did, but are making sure that they’re not misdirecting their energy futilely. They are the ones who will still be Nam Shin-III’s friends after everything blows up, because they really see him as an independent entity, while Ro-ra only ever saw him as an extension of herself. I’d much rather see Nam Shin-III with the people who appreciate and love him for who he is, not something to be disposed of once it’s no longer convenient.
- Premiere Watch: Are You Human Too, Secretary Kim, Life on Mars
- Beating hearts and fiery infernos in Are You Human Too teaser
- Snow, steam, and back-hugs in Seo Kang-joon’s robot drama Are You Human Too
- Lee Jun-hyuk, Park Hwan-hee join Are You Human Too as second leads
- Gong Seung-yeon falls for robot Seo Kang-joon in Are You Human Too
- Seo Kang-joon offered role as swindler robot in KBS’s political drama