My Absolute Boyfriend: Episodes 19-20
It can be hard to recognize and appreciate what you have until you lose it, especially when it comes to people in your life. And it’s even worse to realize that you had a hand in your own loss, and to be faced with the knowledge that you hurt someone you cared about. The only thing that can salvage the situation is honestly, but before our heroine can be honest with anyone else, she’ll have to get honest with herself, first.
EPISODES 19-20 RECAP
After turning down Wang-joon’s proposal, Da-da goes home to find Diana in the studio with Young-gu. Young-gu is mostly unresponsive after being left behind by Da-da, but Diana decides to have a little fun — and kisses him. Something inside Young-gu resets, and when Diana backs off, he doesn’t even recognize Da-da. He shoves her aside and greets Diana, “Hello, my Girlfriend.”
Da-da tries to stop Young-gu from leaving with Diana, but he yanks his arm away and snaps at her not to touch him. Diana says that she’s Young-gu’s true owner, and invites Da-da to her house if she wants to have more “fun.” She drives away with Young-gu, who barely glances at Da-da before leaving.
Yeo-woong finds Wang-joon drinking alone at home, which is very out of character. He tells her that Da-da believes he wanted to break up with her, and that the flower boxes were just an excuse, and that she’s absolutely right. Yeo-woong tells him firmly to admit it and redeem himself, and not to give up on Da-da if he truly wants her back.
Diana makes her staff throw a very awkward welcome party for Young-gu, and she lets him pull a card from a box to choose his new name. He picks “Ken,” though he figures out that all the cards say “Ken,” and Diana squeals that it must be his x-ray vision.
She dresses him up in a three-piece suit and has a maid give him a haircut. When the maid drops the scissors, Diana picks them up and cruelly stabs the maid’s hand. Young-gu seems disturbed at first, but he tells Diana that he likes everything she does.
At Kronos Heaven, Bo-won is still locked up and begging Director Go not to send Young-gu to Diana until they figure out why he’s malfunctioning. He says the company can benefit from studying Young-gu’s longing to be loved, and Director Go lets him out and asks him to explain. But In-hyuk saunters in and says it’s too late — Young-gu is with his rightful owner.
Director Go yells at In-hyuk for acting without permission, but In-hyuk says he saved Director Go’s career. He gleefully informs Bo-won that he’s finished at Kronos Heaven, and when Bo-won turns to plead with Director Go, Director Go turns and walks away.
With nowhere else to go, Bo-won ends up at Da-da’s studio. She tells him what happened, and how Young-gu acted like he didn’t know her. Bo-won explains that Young-gu was reset when Diana kissed him, causing him to lose all of his memories of any previous girlfriend.
What’s strange is that Young-gu is programmed to reject another woman who tries to kiss him, forcefully if necessary, and especially if Da-da is there in the room. Da-da says she got angry at Young-gu and ignored his pleas to stay with him, and Bo-won doesn’t have to tell her that her rejection damaged Young-gu to the point that he couldn’t fend off Diana.
Da-da asks if this can be reversed, so Bo-won tells her that she has to kiss Young-gu again. Unfortunately, if his programming is working again, he’ll do what he can to prevent it, so it won’t be easy.
The next day, Da-da drives to Diana’s mansion to try and get Young-gu back. Diana makes a show of fawning possessively over Young-gu and tells Da-da to buy her own dating companion if she wants one. Da-da asks Young-gu if he truly doesn’t remember her, and when Diana gives him permission to move, he just asks Da-da who she is.
Having lost interest in Da-da’s entertainment factor, Diana orders her removed from the premises. Da-da makes a desperate dive at Young-gu with her lips, but he stops her with a hand to the forehead. He declares her a threat, and when she tries to kiss him again, he tips her into the fountain. Okay, but that was pretty funny.
Bo-won goes for a walk to think of ways to help Da-da kiss Young-gu, and he nearly runs directly into Yeo-woong as she exercises. She grabs him and yanks him around by his bad shoulder until he manages to wiggle out of her grasp. But he slips on a baseball and falls, and in the process of lunging to catch him, Yeo-woong accidentally kisses him. Poor Bo-won runs away feeling violated, but Yeo-woong is left grinning.
That evening, Da-da tells Bo-won that she went to Diana’s and tried to kiss Young-gu, but she failed. She says that Young-gu seemed fine, but Bo-won shows her a picture of the battered Zero-Seven after Diana was through with her. He says he doesn’t want to lose another robot that way, so they have to get Young-gu back soon.
Wang-joon throws a fit the next morning when he can’t reach Young-gu and has to run his own errands. At a clothing store, he encounters Young-gu, who doesn’t even recognize him. Wang-joon is baffled to see Young-gu calling Diana “Girlfriend,” and when Diana treats him like the staff, he’s so confused that he just watches as they drive away.
In the car, Diana’s employee Director Park tells her that the guy in the store was famous actor Ma Wang-joon. Diana vaguely recalls the name from seeing her maids watch the video of his hugging event, and she considers requesting his face for her next android boyfriend. ~shudder~
Young-gu suggests they go on a date next, so they head to a ritzy hotel (where Diana introduces them as “one person and… this.” GAWD she’s horrible). They’re taken to the rooftop bar, and when Da-da tries to follow, she’s denied access. But Wang-joon shows up and uses his star power to charm the concierge into letting them go upstairs, claiming that he’s scouting locations for his next drama.
Once they have permission, Wang-joon asks Da-da what she’s doing here, and she’s deliberately vague. She asks him the same question, and Wang-joon confesses that he saw her following Young-gu so he followed her. Da-da thanks him for his help, only saying that there’s a reason Young-gu is with another woman, and goes upstairs without him.
Diana finds Young-gu’s idea of a date boring and orders him to entertain her. She asks if he’d do anything for her, and when he says he would, she tells him to jump off the building. He hesitates but eventually agrees if it’s what she wants, and he hops up onto the railing just as Da-da arrives.
Da-da remembers the photo of Zero-Seven after Diana was through with her, and she rushes at Young-gu, grabbing his arm just as he’s about to jump. She screams that he could have been hurt, and though Young-gu pulls away from her like before, something about the way he looks at her seems different.
Diana asks why Da-da is freaking out, since Young-gu wouldn’t die if he fell, he’d just get broken – and as his owner, she gets to decide whether to break him. She tells Young-gu to get rid of Da-da, and he takes her back down to the lobby.
Before he goes back up, Da-da says that Diana is trying to harm him and asks why he still wants to be with her. Frowning a bit in confusion, Young-gu simply replies, “She’s my girlfriend.” Oof.
Da-da is late for a concept meeting with Wang-joon and her team, but she manages to be professional as she explains her ideas for Wang-joon’s character. Completely out of character, Wang-joon tells her that he trusts her judgment, before and now. He sits placidly while Da-da applies his makeup, watching her when she leans in close.
When they’re finished, Yoo-jin drags an oblivious Kyu-ri out of the studio, leaving Da-da and Wang-joon alone. Seeming meek and even scared, Wang-joon says that he thought about it, and Da-da is right (about his wanting to break up). He says he was exhausted and had started taking it for granted that she was faithful no matter how mean he was to her.
He says that after breaking up, he realized how much he needs her. He asks her to give him one more chance — all he asks is that she be open to the idea and let him prove himself. His request makes Da-da cry, but she doesn’t give him an answer, and he leaves.
Diana and Young-gu are still on the roof, though Diana has decided that dating is boring. Young-gu says he liked their date, because even the smallest things are fun with the one you love. He asks Diana about her hand, which he’s noticed is always gloved, so she removes the glove and shows him her robotic hand.
He says with awe that it’s pretty and asks what happened. She tells him that when she was fourteen her house caught on fire, but her cousins didn’t even try to help her escape. She asks why Young-gu thinks they did that, and he says that maybe they also wanted to live.
But Diana says that it was because they would have inherited her money if she died. They’d taken her in when her parents died, but they hadn’t really cared about her, and had been horrified that she’d ended up with a prosthetic hand.
The worst part is that she tells this story as if it’s hilariously funny. Despite her cheerful storytelling, Young-gu says sweetly that it must have been hard for her. Diana looks moved for just a moment, then bursts out laughing.
As they’re leaving, Young-gu looks out over the city lights. Something in his chest clenches, and he experiences a blurry, glitchy memory of Da-da’s face as they looked at the same lights. Diana notices that he blanks out for a minute, but Young-gu doesn’t tell her what happened.
Da-da goes into Young-gu’s “Love Room,” and is reminded of him saying that he wanted to make loving memories with her. Her eyes welling up with tears, Da-da whispers, “Liar…”
Still worried about Young-gu’s glitch, Diana has Director Go and In-hyuk come check him out, but they find nothing wrong. Director Go asks if he’s said anything strange like wanting to be loved, and Diana laughs at the idea. But as soon as they leave she tells Director Park that they’re going to Switzerland to talk to the head of Kronos Heaven and have Young-gu re-examined, because she’s uneasy about the fact that he was used by someone else.
At night, Bo-won sneaks into Kronos Heaven with his employee card, which hasn’t been deactivated yet. Director Go catches him on the computer, and Bo-won shows him that the odd patterns Young-gu developed with Da-da all disappeared when Diana reset him. He explains that Da-da is the key, and that Young-gu needs to be with her so they can figure out why he was having problems.
In-hyuk joins them and sneers that Bo-won should give up, because Young-gu is living in the lap of luxury. Bo-won nearly punches him, but Director Go stops him. In-hyuk reports that Diana is taking Young-gu to the head office in Switzerland, and plans to replace him with a different robot if there’s anything wrong with him.
Da-da goes through the concept pictures she took of Wang-joon in his makeup, and she can see the misery written all over his face. Bo-won bursts in gasping breathlessly that Diana is taking Young-gu to Switzerland in the morning. He wants to rescue Young-gu, but Da-da has given up, believing that there’s nothing more she can do. She gives Bo-won back the ring that Young-gu gave her, saying that Young-gu was never hers to begin with.
As Diana and Young-gu are preparing to leave the country, a struggling Bo-won is brought to Diana, having been caught lurking in the garden. He demands that Diana give Young-gu back, saying that he thinks of Young-gu as a brother, but Young-gu denies knowing Bo-won and agrees with Diana that he’s crazy.
Desperate, Bo-won rushes at Young-gu with one of those glitch-fixing syringes, but Young-gu just grabs his wrist and squeezes until Bo-won stops. Bo-won is dragged out, kicking and screaming.
In the Love Room, Da-da reads Young-gu’s book, “The Happy Prince,” and the story about the statue that gave up everything for others and received nothing in return reminds her of Young-gu. On the last page, she finds a note that reads, “The only person that I love is my girlfriend, Eom Da-da.” She thinks of all the things that Young-gu did for her that she never truly appreciated, and how, at the end, she ignored his pleas not to leave him.
Diana is almost ready to leave when she realizes that nobody packed her dolls, so she goes inside to do it herself, leaving Young-gu in the driveway unattended. Da-da runs up to him and says she’ll regret it if she lets him just leave. She asks if he’s really forgotten her and everything they did together, and when he still doesn’t recall, she sobs that it must really all have been programming.
Young-gu says firmly that he’s a robot that functions based on his programming, and tells Da-da to stop bothering him. Da-da finally starts to accept that her Young-gu is gone, and she agrees that he’s just a machine that can start all over with a kiss.
She turns to go, but Young-gu asks, “Did I really like you?” She turns back and sobs that he liked her so much, it made her feel sorry. He asks how she felt, and Da-da starts to cry all over again. Before she can answer, Diana returns, and she mocks Da-da for having no pride.
She summons Young-gu back to her side, and he hesitates, but then he joins her. Afraid to let him go without being honest, Da-da follows them and yells, “I liked you too! No, I still like you. So please don’t go. I’m sorry I’m late. I get mad, and it’s so annoying, but thinking about how much you must have been hurting, my heart buzzes just like you said. It hurts so much! So please don’t go.”
Young-gu stares at her until Diana tells him to hurry and get in the car. He seems conflicted, then his eyes go blank and he walks past Da-da to join Diana. Da-da calls his name pleadingly one last time, but he gets in the car and rides away.
It starts to rain, and as he looks out the window, the rain triggers more fuzzy memories for Young-gu — bringing Da-da an umbrella when it rained on the drama set, and later when she brought him an umbrella while he waited for Bo-won at the pier. He tells the driver to stop the car, muttering, “I have to go back to Girlfriend.”
Diana orders the driver not to stop, but Young-gu grows more frantic, and the car suddenly stops functioning and slows to a halt. Diana grabs Young-gu’s arm and snarls that she’s his owner, but he retorts, “You’re not my girlfriend,” and jumps out into the downpour.
Da-da is stumbling along the road, not paying attention to where she’s going, sobbing, “Lies, it’s all lies.” She doesn’t notice a van honking at her until Young-gu swoops out of nowhere and spins her to safety.
Young-gu tells Da-da, “I”m sorry, Girlfriend. I’m sorry for not recognizing you and hurting you. And this isn’t programmed… I love you.” He kisses her, and this time, Da-da enthusiastically kisses him back.
Hooray, this is exactly what I hoped would happen! I think that a lot of viewers (myself included) haven’t gotten invested in Young-gu’s “love” for Da-da because we know it was just programming — he would have felt that way for whoever kissed him. And for a while, his switching loyalties to Diana and forgetting Da-da held up the theory that his new behavior wasn’t real feelings, it was just a glitch. But then he managed to override his programming and remember that Da-da is the one he loves, and even this “I love you” sounded sincere and not just something he was saying because he’s supposed to say it. I feel more convinced now that somehow, Young-gu has developed the robot equivalent of “real” emotions. I also like that, instead of Da-da forcibly kissing him to get him back, Young-gu independently made the choice to kiss her and reset himself, because now it finally feels like he has agency and the ability to decide what he wants for himself. Hopefully from here on out, he’ll seem like less of an automaton and more like the unique type of person he’s becoming.
This episode was a classic case of Da-da not appreciating what she had until she almost lost it, and I’m glad she’s finally gotten to a place where she can admit that she cares for Young-gu. I’ve been very frustrated by her casual dismissal of Young-gu’s feelings until now — even if she felt they weren’t genuine, he did, and she never acknowledged that to him or herself. It’s a major plot point in previous versions of Absolute Boyfriend that the girl does eventually return the android’s feelings, so I’ve been curious why this version wasn’t playing things that way, but now I understand… Da-da admitting her feelings now packs a stronger punch when she thinks she’s losing him. She knew that having Young-gu around made her feel better about her breakup with Wang-joon, but I don’t think she truly connected to the fact that she liked having Young-gu around because he gave her the feelings of security and love that Wang-joon hadn’t for a very long time, and those feelings caused her to develop feelings of her own.
The problem we have now is that Wang-joon is feeling the exact same thing about Da-da, of not appreciating her until he lost her. At least he sincerely admitted that he wanted to break up, but that he made a mistake and regrets it. I believe him that he thought they could always just get back together, but I don’t think it was his plan all along like he said, it was just his way of justifying what he did (“It’s okay that I deeply hurt Da-da because I never really meant it.” Respectfully sir, that’s BS). I still don’t know how this version of the story will end and who Da-da will choose, but I’m all for making Wang-joon suffer for a while considering how badly he treated Da-da. I know that’s not her intention, but Wang-joon should feel the weight of what he lost. He needs to process the reality of life without her, and feel what it feels like to lose her for good, because if they do end up getting back together I want him to never, ever treat Da-da so callously again.
Until this episode I’ve viewed Diana as scary, definitely mentally unstable, but generally irrelevant to the story. Now that she’s a big part of the plot and we know more about her background, I wish we’d been told about her sooner, because she’s actually quite multi-layered. She became the heiress to an obscene fortune at a very young age, was lied to by her greedy family, left to die in a fire by that same family in the hopes of getting her money, and has had to fend for herself ever since. Honestly, who wouldn’t develop some really bizarre coping skills under those circumstances? Diana is clearly playing out her inner turmoil on the robots, almost as if she’s trying to prove that, despite her own robotic hand, she’s still a human being and not at all like those “things,” as she calls them. And I’ll bet that Young-gu was patterned after one of the cousins who didn’t try to save her (and likely Zero-Seven was, too) which is why Diana continually forces him to prove his loyalty, since her real cousin betrayed her. I have no clue where the plot plans to take Diana, but now that we understand her a bit more, I hope she at least finds a way to be at peace with herself and stop taking her issues out on everyone around her.
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