My Absolute Boyfriend: Episodes 17-18
Our adorable lovebot continues to glitch and behave in ways he was never programmed to behave, causing problems for everyone around him. Meanwhile, a mystery gets solved, but the result is nothing like those involved would expect. A surprise visitor changes up the whole game, and our heroine will be forced to decide what she wants — the comfortable and familiar, or the new and exciting?
EPISODES 17-18 RECAP
After receiving her own threatening black box and figuring out exactly why Wang-joon broke up with her, Da-da races to his apartment, only to find him sick to the point of passing out. Terrified, she sits cradling his head as Young-gu catches up and sees them.
Da-da gets Wang-joon to bed, where she sees his collection of black flowered boxes. She also sees the dummy cake she made for him, and it all just makes her feel worse. Wang-joon wakes and breathes, “Da-da, don’t go,” weakly holding onto her hand.
She’s still there when Wang-joon wakes up later, and he stares at her like he’s scared he’s dreaming. Da-da tells him that she got a black box today, and asks if he was planning to keep all this a secret from her.
Wang-joon says sheepishly that he was scared she’d be hurt, but he was also scared watching her get further away from him. He admits that he never truly felt like they broke up, but he was afraid he was losing her. He asks her to come back to him now.
Meanwhile, Young-gu goes back to the studio, and he finds Da-da’s black flowered box. He looks through the threatening photos and sees something in one that worries him. When Da-da gets home, Young-gu asks how Wang-joon is doing, and she figures out that he followed her earlier. Young-gu keeps on a cheerful face until Da-da goes to bed, then he clutches his chest as he feels something strange.
Young-gu heads back to Wang-joon’s place (where he’s staying since Director Go and In-hyuk found him), but on the way, someone grabs his shoulder. He nearly crushes Bo-won’s hand before realizing it’s his friend, and Bo-won gives Young-gu his hat to wear while walking around since he’s too handsome to just flash his face around.
Hesitantly, Bo-won asks if Young-gu still wants Da-da to love him back a little. Young-gu shakes his head — he doesn’t want her to love him a little, he wants her to love him a lot. He asks Bo-won if he can stay with Da-da if she falls for someone else, but Bo-won just hurries him on to Wang-joon’s place without answering, worried that Young-gu’s unprogrammed feelings aren’t just a temporary error.
Awww, Young-gu brings Wang-joon some medicine, but Wang-joon refuses it and tells Young-gu confrontationally that Da-da will return to him. Young-gu mentions the black box and Da-da’s pictures inside, and he asks if the flowerpot incident was because of this. Wang-joon just says it won’t happen again, because he’ll protect her.
Young-gu shows Wang-joon a slip of paper with an odd symbol on it, and says that the symbol is on a ring worn by the person taking the photos. He shows Wang-joon the photo that bothered him, but Wang-joon can’t see what Young-gu sees in the photo with his superhuman eyesight, though Young-gu hopes the lead is helpful.
In preparation for season two of Doctor AlphaGo (and daily interaction with both Wang-joon and Young-gu), Kyu-ri goes to a sauna to get some exercise. Bo-won is staying at the same sauna, going over Young-gu’s data and trying to find a pattern that would lead to his odd emotional behavior.
Kyu-ri slips while walking past Bo-won, falls, and smacks him in the face. Angry, he turns her over to yell at her… and falls head over heels. She gasps for help, having had the wind knocked out of her, but his clumsy attempt at CPR gets him slapped and screamed at.
Later, Da-da, Kyu-ri, and Yoo-jin hear the plot of the new season, which includes a lot of extra work for them between making new dummies and Wang-joon’s makeup. His character is being resurrected for Season Two, so the director wants a new look.
They do a half-hearted group cheer, and Kyu-ri notices that the director isn’t wearing a ring he usually wears. They guess that he must have had a recent breakup, probably due to his nasty personality.
In private, Kyu-ri asks Da-da why she seems down, so Da-da finally confesses that she and her long-time boyfriend broke up. Kyu-ri isn’t surprised based on Da-da’s recent mood swings, and Da-da says the breakup was a misunderstanding and he wants her back. Kyu-ri doesn’t see why Da-da doesn’t get back with him now that the misunderstanding is cleared up.
She says that love isn’t a math equation where things add up a certain way — you either like someone, or you don’t. She advises Da-da not to think about it too hard and let things sort themselves out, and the answer will show itself.
Wang-joon muses over the symbol that Young-gu gave him (like a lopsided eternity sign with a tail), which he thinks seems familiar. Young-gu drops him off at the station for a meeting with Eun-dong, and Wang-joon’s rookie nemesis, Hwa-ni, is in the meeting room and behaving as rudely as ever. He’s still angry that Wang-joon agreed to star in the second season of Doctor AlphaGo and took the role from him.
Hwa-ni recognizes Young-gu when he brings Wang-joon a revised script to look over, but Young-gu is more interested in the ring Hwa-ni wears, with the lopsided eternity symbol on it. But when Wang-joon asks about it, Hwa-ni says that he admired it on Eun-dong, so he gave it to him. Eun-dong walks in right then, and Wang-joon looks betrayed, then nails Eun-dong with a right hook.
After everyone calms down a bit, Eun-dong’s whole demeanor changes. He doesn’t deny sending the threats, saying that he was just protecting the product he created after letting things go on for seven years. He sneers that he couldn’t let Wang-joon propose on television and watch his value plummet.
Wang-joon says he’s not a robot to be created or controlled, but Eun-dong tells him that he’s gotten big for his britches now that he’s famous. Wang-joon holds back from beating Eun-dong to a pulp and says they’re finished, but Eun-dong calmly reminds him that Da-da will get hurt if he breaks his contract.
Wang-joon warns Eun-dong that if Da-da is hurt, he’ll personally destroy him. He storms out, and Eun-dong takes some pictures of the spreading bruise on his face, asking idly, “How much do you think you’re worth? Do you think I’ll let you be?”
On his way out, Yeo-woong catches up to Wang-joon. He tells her that he caught the black box culprit, and that it was Eun-dong, but that Da-da could still get hurt. He adorably, grumpily asks Yeo-woong to keep working with him anyway, and she pretends she’s not one bit interested or flattered, but she gives in easily.
Still, she’s worried that Eun-dong will lash out at Wang-joon or Da-da, so Wang-joon says that if that happens, he won’t take it lying down. Young-gu brings Wang-joon the medicine he bought him, making Yeo-woong gape that he hired Da-da’s new “friend” to keep an eye on him. She grumbles that it’s probably fine since Da-da says there’s nothing between them, and Wang-joon hugs Yeo-woong like she just gave him a new lease on life.
He grins the entire ride home, making Young-gu curious. After dropping Wang-joon off, Young-gu asks to leave to go check on “Girlfriend,” and Wang-joon takes exception to the way he refers to Da-da. He tells Young-gu that Da-da said there’s nothing between them, and that he’s not sure why Young-gu keeps acting like there is, but ordering him to stay away from her from now on.
To be extremely clear, he tells Young-gu, “Da-da doesn’t need you anymore. I’ll be by Da-da’s side now.”
Feeling good, Wang-joon makes reservations for two for dinner tonight. But Young-gu sits dejected in a park, thinking about Wang-joon’s declaration that Da-da doesn’t need him anymore. He doesn’t notice the van nearby, with In-hyuk inside watching him and reporting back to Director Go.
Director Go gets up to prepare for Young-gu’s return, but he’s shocked to find Bo-won in his office, wanting to talk about the fact that Young-gu seems to be developing feelings. It starts with Young-gu’s training, where they seem to have missed that certain input information was rejected — as if by Young-gu himself. Now he’s saying he wants to be loved, but Director Go says that’s impossible.
It’s significant because they’ve been trying for years to create an Artificial Intelligence with feelings, but they never succeeded. Bo-won argues that if they can study Young-gu, they may be able to recreate the “error” and finally make the AI they’ve dreamed of making — one that can actually love.
Director Go sighs that it will never happen, because a robot that wants to be loved can also feel lonely, and hurt. He insists that Young-gu is acting according to their parameters, and is only experiencing an error, so they can just fix him. He locks Bo-won into Young-gu’s cell and tells him that he’ll no longer be working with Young-gu.
In-hyuk decides that he can bring in Young-gu alone, and he approaches him very aggressively. He recites Young-gu’s shut-down code, and Young-gu’s eyes close… then open again. Young-gu looks at In-hyuk almost pityingly when he tries again, walking forward silently until In-hyuk dissolves into panic and runs for the van. A flashback shows that Bo-won changed Young-gu’s shut-down code, ha.
Young-gu heads to Da-da’s studio, where Yoo-jin is there for work (with turtles?). Yoo-jin fawns all over Young-gu, still thinking that he’s the seven-year secret boyfriend, but Da-da snaps that it’s not what he thinks and sends him away.
Da-da fusses at Young-gu for coming here when he’s the one in danger, especially with her team expected to be at the studio frequently to work on the drama. Young-gu just listens quietly, then offers to take Yoo-jin his phone that he left behind. Yoo-jin asks why Da-da seems tense today, offering Young-gu his support.
He sends back Da-da’s old art kit, which she left behind on set, and she’s thrilled to have it back even though she’s since bought a shiny new set of pencils. She says she’ll give the new set to Kyu-ri, and when Young-gu asks why she’s not keeping the new ones, Da-da says she likes the familiarity of the old set.
Young-gu watches Da-da as she works, using Yoo-jin’s turtles as inspiration for Season Two’s prosthetics. She tells Young-gu that they’re a mated pair, but one with a scar on its shell keeps escaping, and when it does, the other refuses to eat. Young-gu asks Da-da if he’s someone she needs, like the turtle needs its mate, and she can’t stop staring at his eyes… until she cuts her finger.
Young-gu jumps up for medicine, bumping the turtles’ bowl and splashing water all over Da-da’s work. He says he was just worried, but Da-da whines that he keeps saying weird stuff like that, making Young-gu feel bad all over again.
Da-da goes to the bathroom to clean up, and she recalls Kyu-ri’s statement that love isn’t a math equation — it doesn’t always add up, but if you wait, the answer will become clear.
In spite of his insistence that Young-gu can’t possibly be developing feelings, Director Go looks over the data and realizes that it’s true. He catches In-hyuk attacking Bo-won, blaming him for erasing Young-gu’s shutdown code so that now they can’t bring him in.
In-hyuk is frantic because today is the day Young-gu is supposed to go to Diana, and he’s getting messages from the head office wanting to know if Diana is happy with the product. He storms out, and Bo-won apologizes to Director Go that he was only doing what he thought was best. Director Go says that Bo-won is the smartest employee who’s ever worked for him, and also the most foolish.
Determined not to get fired after getting his old job back, In-hyuk vows to make sure Bo-won takes the blame for this. He goes to see Diana and says he’s there to tell her something, and she slumps to hear that there’s yet another problem with her new toy.
Da-da works until late, then Young-gu invites her outside to look at the “stars.” But Wang-joon calls and says he’s at a restaurant and would like her to have dinner with him, eager to clear up all her misunderstandings now that (he thinks) he’s dealt with their stalker. Da-da agrees to meet him and asks Young-gu to watch the stars with her another time.
As she’s leaving, Young-gu asks her not to go, saying, “When I see you with him, this,” and he puts her hand on his chest, “This part here keeps buzzing. So can you not leave me? No… don’t go.” Da-da says she’s sorry, but it’s important that she go.
This time Wang-joon is there when Da-da arrives, and though he looks excited to see her, she seems very guarded. Young-gu is still at the studio, clutching his “buzzing” chest and remembering every time Da-da or Wang-joon said he’s not needed or wanted.
In-hyuk takes Diana to Da-da’s studio, having told her that her “toy” lives here with another woman. She goes inside to find Young-gu unaware of anything around him, until she tries to take him with her and he refuses to go, muttering that Da-da will come for him if he waits.
At the restaurant, Da-da eyes the obvious ring box on the table with suspicion. Wang-joon brings up their long-ago promise to get engaged if he won the Best Actor award, and admits that he had the ring the night he won. He says he can finally give it to her, but Da-da just says softly, “You liar.”
She says that he wouldn’t have given her the ring that night even if the black flower box hadn’t shown up. She reminds Wang-joon that he said he broke up with her for her own good, but continues that if that were true, she’d have felt it. “I’m the only one who can see your true self, “she tells him.
“On the day we broke up, the look in your eyes was sincere. I guess you could have been worried, but you really did want to break up. The flower box was just a good excuse. I still took my time to think it over, because I’d loved you with all my heart for the past seven years. But, Wang-joon-ah, someone once told me that love isn’t just about giving, or receiving.”
She gives him back his couple ring, and Wang-joon asks if this is because of Young-gu. He says that she doesn’t really care about Young-gu, she just needs him nearby, but she says she needed Wang-joon a lot, too.
Da-da goes home, where In-hyuk is still waiting outside the studio. Inside, Da-da finds Diana and Young-gu, and when Diana realizes that this is the “Girlfriend” Young-gu keeps muttering about, she decides to have some fun. She grabs Young-gu and kisses him, to Da-da’s shock.
Da-da pushes Diana away, but it’s too late. Something inside Young-gu recalibrates, and he stares at Da-da, unaware of who she is. He pushes her aside and turns to Diana, gives her that smile, and greets her: “Hello, my girlfriend.”
First of all guys, I’m sooo sorry for all the recap delays! I was pretty sick last week, but I’m fine now, and ready to dive back in!
I’m glad that Da-da didn’t just fall back into Wang-joon’s arms, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned before. I have problems with the way he made decisions and was cruel to her without telling her the truth of what was going on, right when she thought they’d be getting engaged. And he doesn’t even seem sorry — he just tells her what he did and waits expectantly for her to forgive him, without apologizing or showing remorse for how he treated her during or since the breakup. Not only that, but I have even more issues with Wang-joon’s assumption that he could treat Da-da however he wanted, both in private and in public, and she’d just welcome him back like it never happened.
He’s got a pretty bad case of “I”m famous so I can do whatever I want-itis,” and he should know Da-da better than to think that she’d be so grateful that he never truly thought of them as broken up that she’d just forgive everything he’s done to her. He’s still doing it — he makes dinner reservations, then doesn’t even actually invite her, he just calls her from the restaurant and says he’s there. I don’t really blame him for feeling sort of proprietary about Da-da — after all, he and Da-da were exclusive for seven years and he thinks of her as “his” girl — but that mindset is part of the bigger issue. He takes Da-da for granted, and after so long, she’s clearly tired of it.
I don’t think anyone was surprised that Eun-dong turned out to be the stalker/sender of the black flower boxes, nor at his reasoning — to protect his “investment.” I do think it’s a little cuckoo to go so far as to threaten harm to Da-da to keep Wang-joon single, but then this show isn’t exactly based on logic. I understand (I don’t agree that it’s right, but I understand it’s a fact) that “no dating” clauses are often built into acting or idol contracts in South Korea, because it allows fans a certain fantasy relationship with them, but Wang-joon has been famous for quite a while now. Surely it would surprise nobody at this point in his career for him to be dating? Performers can and do date and get married and continue to have very successful careers all the time, so why couldn’t Wang-joon?
I feel like Diana has been wasted as a threat — she was initially shown to be unhinged and dangerous, but since then, we barely get thirty seconds of her per episode, so I forget that I’m supposed to be scared of her getting her hands on Young-gu. She’s been given plenty of potential backstory, like her prosthetic hand and her request to have Young-gu made into the image of a boy she once knew. I feel like she’s going to suddenly become this Big Bad Evil, and since she wasn’t built up much beyond a few scenes of her acting freaky, the tonal shift will feel jarring. In fact, I think that pacing has been My Absolute Boyfriend‘s biggest problem — just some better, smoother pacing while telling the exact same story would have made the show a lot more engaging, for me at least.
That said, now that things have changed, I’m interested to see what this does for Da-da as a character. She hasn’t had much character growth, but I do like her as a strong female lead who makes her own decisions, so I want to see how Young-gu’s shift of affections, affects Da-da. Just like Wang-joon took her for granted, she’s taken Young-gu’s feelings for granted (and rightfully so), so it will be interesting to see if she can — or wants to — lure him back. I hope she doesn’t just kiss him and boom, his feelings are transferred back to her, because I’d like to see even the robot have some autonomy and choice in the situation. My hope is that his independent self-programming overrides this reset by Diana, and that he would choose to be with Da-da, since his lack of a choice has been a sticking point for me all along. How about we sit back and see if the math works out, and what Young-gu would decide for himself?
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