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I’m Not a Robot: Episodes 21-22

Min-kyu acts like a moth drawn to a flame when he meets the human inspiration for Aji-3, unaware of the danger that it poses for him. Jia struggles to keep her distance from Min-kyu, but he’s not so easily dissuaded. Unfortunately, the Santa Maria team is under attack and Baek-gyun is spread thin as he tries to prevent his research from falling into the wrong hands and protect Min-kyu, whose health still worries everyone around him.

 
EPISODE 21: “Encounter on the Train”

A saleswoman in a jewelry store sets an engagement ring in front of a somber Min-kyu and a distracted Ri-el. Later, Min-kyu suggests that they need to talk, which prompts Ri-el to explain that she doesn’t know herself as well as she thought she did. She admits that she was surprised to discover that she’s not as materialistic as she thought, which is why she can’t marry Min-kyu. 

Ri-el promises to tell her father about their broken engagement and is certain of his continued support for Min-kyu at KM Financial. When Min-kyu offers to take the blame, she insists, “It’s my first time going against my dad, so it won’t be easy…It’s something I must do at least once in my life.”

As long as she’s being honest, Ri-el confesses that Min-kyu’s birthday cards were sent by her father. His reaction tells her that he already knew, but he explains, “Whether they were from you or not, the moment I opened them, I was really happy. For that happiness, I thank you.”

Ri-el notes that Min-kyu has changed — she used to wonder what they would talk about but now she wants to have drink with him some time. Ri-el does regret that she’ll never have his mother’s necklace but assures Min-kyu, “It’ll find a good owner.”

Min-kyu walks through the train station while on the phone with Jin-bae, who just arrived for an out of town contract ceremony. Min-kyu explains that he decided to take a train and promises to meet him soon.

Min-kyu pauses to watch a news report about a meteor shower and then walks away, only to be replaced by Jia, who watches the same broadcast. Her sister-in-law, Hong-joo, calls and Jia promises to let her know when she gets to Geoje Island and then tells Sun-hye the same thing when she calls.

An uneasy Hok-tal and Ssan-ip visit Sun-hye at her coffee shop, only to be told, “Get out.” Before they leave, Hok-tal asks if Jia is all right and Sun-hye softens and takes their order.

When Sun-hye inquires about Min-kyu, a worried Ssan-ip frets, “They won’t cross paths or something, will they?” Sun-hye doubts that’s possible since Jia is on Geoje Island and promises, “They’ll never meet until the sky breaks in two.” Hok-tal continues to worry anyway so Sun-hye decides that if they meet again, it will be destiny.

Min-kyu finds his seat on the train but has to step away briefly. When he returns, there’s a familiar face in the seat across from him and Min-kyu openly stares at a woman who looks just like Aji-3. Jia eventually notices and in spite of her surprise, she has to force herself to look away.

Jia notices the destination Min-kyu’s on ticket and busies herself with a book until they reach his stop. Min-kyu is forced to give up his seat when the passenger assigned to his spot shows up. Jia doesn’t look up until Min-kyu exits the car and then sadly tells herself, “What a relief.”

Still on the train, Min-kyu calls Baek-gyun to ask how he came up with Aji-3’s face. Baek-gyun explains, “I had a character model. With the face, personality, habits, and so on.” Min-kyu wonders if it would be possible to cross paths with that person and Baek-gyun admits that it’s possible, but advises Min-kyu to ignore her if that happens so that he doesn’t come across as strange. 

Suspicious, Baek-gyun calls Jia but her number has been disconnected. Satisfied that she’s out of reach, Baek-gyun continues on to a meeting with Yoo-chul. 

Min-kyu calls Jin-bae from the train to let him know he won’t attend the contract ceremony after all. Jin-bae is concerned for Min-kyu, who admits that he’s a bit flustered and doesn’t see Jia escape to the bathroom where she succumbs to tears. 

Yoo-chul presents Baek-gyun with photos of Jia and we see that the bumblers approached him with their surveillance evidence of Aji-3 in an attempt to get paid. They shared that they saw her at Jin-bae’s house and Curly confirms that he saw her eat ice cream.

Yoo-chul asks Baek-gyun, “Is she Aji-3…Or could she actually be human?” Baek-gyun uses the same explanation that he just offered Min-kyu, she’s the human model for Aji-3. Yoo-chul wonders who exactly Min-kyu met, Aji-3 or her model. Baek-gyun pretends that he doesn’t understand the question and is warned, “You’ll soon have something to say to me. Give me a call anytime.”

Baek-gyun leaves the restaurant and when he reaches the street, he notices a very well dressed Butler Sung accompanied by a younger, professional looking woman.

Pi stumbles across an unknown folder labeled “Monami” on Santa Maria’s computer and asks Ssan-ip about it. He determines that it holds soon-to-be deleted files and they decide that Hok-tal must have created it. Pi asks Ssan-ip to have Hok-tal delete it right away.

Ssan-ip can’t wait for the design team that Jin-bae hired to take measurements for the new lab. As if on cue, the design team arrives, but it’s really the bumblers.

Armed with a tape measure, Brains makes a beeline for the computer. He gets unwelcome help from Hok-tal while Curly sits mesmerized by the sight of Aji-3. She notices his rapt attention and inquires, “Do you know me? I’d like to get to know you as well.” 

Curly raises his finger, E.T. style, but before Aji-3 can respond, Ssan-ip pushes his finger away with the explanation, “I won’t allow you to look at her like that.  And you must refrain from touching her. She’s really sensitive.”

When Pi calls for Hok-tal’s help, Brains inserts a USB with a virus into the computer that allows a remote team to hack into Santa Maria’s files. Yoo-chul hears from the hacker team, “We’ve succeeded.”

Two taxis stop at a modest restaurant called Hong-joo’s Place, located in a small seaside town. Jia gets out of one, while Min-kyu watches her from the second one. Inside, an old woman is on the phone with Hong-joo, who coaches her not to ask questions and to let Jia do whatever she wants.

The woman hangs up when Jia arrives and fusses that she’s lost weight. Jia jokes that it means that she’s gotten pretty, but the woman insists that her granddaughter, Hong-joo, is the pretty one and that Jia is lucky to have such a kind sister-in-law.

Jia immediately dons an apron to get to work and Min-kyu gets another glimpse of her when she clears tables outside. He stares at her from his taxi and recalls Baek-gyun’s explanation that he used a character model for Aji-3.

Jia returns inside in time to hear Grandma argue with a fisherman about the delivery of a special order. Jia grabs her jacket and runs out the door to pick up the order, which only makes Grandma realize how desperate she is to stay busy. 

Min-kyu’s taxi follows Jia to the wharf, where she is warmly welcomed by the locals. They ask if she plans to stay for the winter and are excited to hear about her plans to visit Australia.

Jia walks over to a stray cat, whose markings are similar to those on Min-kyu’s cat mask and confesses, “You remind me of someone.” The likeness isn’t lost in Min-kyu, who watches the exchange with interest.

When the fishing boat arrives, Jia hands the captain her customary gift and takes Grandma’s order. She wrangles the crate onto her cart and heads back to the restaurant with Min-kyu close behind.
 
It’s dark by the time Jia returns to the restaurant and this time, Min-kyu follows her inside. She’s taken aback when he walks in and asks, “You know me, don’t you?” When Jia pretends that she doesn’t know him, Min-kyu reminds her that they were on the same train and explains that he has something he wants to tell her. Jia protests that she’s too busy, but Min-kyu promises to wait and sits down at a table.

Jia runs to the kitchen to remove her necklace. She calls Sun-hye, who blurts out, “Wow, he really did split the sky in half,” when she learns that Min-kyu is on Geoje Island. Sun-hye helps Jia come up with a plan, she must treat Min-kyu like any other stranger, ignore him and then treat him like he’s crazy if he’s persistent.

Jia goes about her work and keeps her back to Min-kyu, who finds it increasingly difficult to be ignored. She can’t keep it up though, and finally confronts Min-kyu over his strange behavior, “Did you follow me from the train station? Did you fall in love with me at first sight?” She angrily insists, “I have no interest in you. You aren’t even my type. Please leave. Otherwise, I’ll call the police.”

 
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Are you a stalker?

 

Min-kyu pauses as he considers his reply and then orders dinner. When Jia points out that there are other restaurants in town, he insists that he wants to eat there. He points to her apron to ask if her name is Hong-joo and when she walks off, he calls out, “I’ll wait for you, Hong-joo.”

Grandma offers to call the police but Jia confesses that she’s the one who’s the problem. Grandma realizes that Min-kyu is the reason for Jia’s distress and clucks as the girl retreats to the kitchen to call Baek-gyun. Unable to reach him, she texts that she’s on Geojo Island and that Min-kyu is with her.

The Santa Maria team realizes that the virus was planted by the design team and Baek-gyun directs them to protect Aji-3’s technical files, no matter what. The teams battle for the files and when the hackers get shut out, they wonder, “Who are these guys?” Pi confirms that they were duped, the appointment with the design team that Jin-bae hired was cancelled. Baek-gyun surprises everyone when he announces that he knows who’s responsible for the attack.

Yoo-chul sits at a bar and recalls Min-kyu’s words, “So keep doing what you always did and stand aside as if you don’t care.” He’s about to throw his glass in frustration until Ri-el stops him. 

Yoo-chul assumes that she’s there out of pity, but Ri-el confesses that she’s not the pitying type. When she calls him CEO out of habit, Yoo-chul stiffens and proposes, “Let’s see how childish I can be. And let’s see how materialistic you can be.”
 
Yoo-chul bitterly observes, “If I succeed in ruining Min-kyu’s career, your dad will eventually give you to me.” He asks why Min-kyu is preferable over him and an offended Ri-el admits, “Min Kyu never gives up on being a gentleman. He doesn’t stoop low and show his worst side like you.” Ri-el walks out in anger and leaves Yoo-chul alone to wallow.

Ri-el gets home just as her father ends a meeting amid speculation that once Min-kyu becomes his son-in-law, he can take charge. When Director Yeh asks Ri-el if she met Min-kyu, she admits that she met Yoo-chul. 

She asks why Yoo-chul was kicked out of KM and learns that Chairman Hwang took bribes to buy enough votes to have Min-kyu dismissed. When Ri-el argues that Yoo-chul did nothing wrong, Director Yeh points out, “He was the CEO, but he knew nothing. That’s what he did wrong.”

Ri-el confesses that she can’t kiss Min-kyu, but her father ignores her and informss her that he booked a larger venue for her engagement party. Ri-el asks if he plans to use her to become the chairman of KM Financial and storms out.

Yoo-chul gets the disappointing news that the hackers failed to steal Santa Maria’s files and throws his drink in anger.

While Min-kyu waits to meet with Jia at the restaurant, he notices a young boy with a dirty face and Grandma smiles when she sees him wipe it clean.

Grandma finds Jia in the kitchen and suggests that she shouldn’t make Min-kyu wait too long. Jia finally sits with Min-kyu and asks, “What is it that you want to say?” 

 
EPISODE 22: “Geoje Island”

A slight rewind shows that Jia tried to call Baek-gyun before she approached Min-kyu, but she couldn’t reach him. Once the hackers were evaded, Baek-gyun saw Jia’s texts, but since her phone was left in her apron pocket, she didn’t notice when he called back.

Baek-gyun confirmed the team’s worst fears and announced that Jia and Min-kyu were together. Baek-gyun immediately called Dr. Oh, who panicked when he learned that Jia couldn’t be reached. Dr. Oh asked Baek-gyun to deliver a message, “Tell her to keep it a secret no matter what… Tell her not to say or do anything that could remind him of Aji-3.”

Min-kyu carefully explains to Jia that he recently lost a friend and she reminds him of her. He confides, “Sometimes, absurd things happen in this world. Things people can’t believe unless they actually experience them. That friend and I experienced that miraculous moment together.”

Jia does her best to remain aloof and suggests that Min-kyu needs to be seen at a hospital. As she walks away, he calls out that he used to tell his friend, “Hi, Aji-3.” Jia stops and struggles with what to do before she turns around to ask if Min-kyu knows Baek-gyun.

Jia admits that she was the character model for Aji-3 but Min-kyu confesses that he already knew. Jia doesn’t understand why he’s not bothered that she’s uncomfortable. She’s shocked when Min-kyu asks if he can just look at her with the promise that he’ll leave when he’s done.

Jia stammers at his suggestion while Min-kyu gazes at her and muses, “It’s just so fascinating.” Jia orders Min-kyu to stand up and physically pushes him out the door. When she calls him a stalker, Min-kyu points to the sign out front and asks for a room. Jia lies that they’re full and shuts the door, leaving Min-kyu out in the cold.

When Baek-gyun prepares to leave for Geojo Island, Pi insists that she has to accompany him. He warns Hok-tal and Ssan-ip not to get hacked again, while they wonder why Pi had to tag along.

Outside, Pi reminds Baek-gyun that he hasn’t slept much and she’s worried that he’ll fall asleep on the road. She stubbornly insists that if he won’t allow her to accompany him, he can’t go. Once they’re on the road, Baek-gyun calls Sun-hye to find out exactly where to find Jia.

A concerned Dr. Oh tries to call Min-kyu, but his phone was left behind in the restaurant.

Baek-gyun and Pi pass the time like two geniuses, with an analysis about Jia’s chances at successfully maintaining her cover. Pi reasons that Min-kyu’s cluelessness improves Jia’s success rate, but Baek-gyun lowers it due to her unpredictable nature and they bicker over who will affect the final outcome the most.

Jia peers outside, satisfied that there’s no sign of Min-kyu. She gets a call from Sun-hye, and learns that Baek-gyun is on his way. Jia next speaks with Baek-gyun, who passes on Dr. Oh’s warning not to do anything that will remind Min-kyu of Aji-3.

Baek-gyun suggests that Jia should lock herself in a room until he arrives and he’s still on the phone when Min-kyu suddenly reappears. Startled, Jia reacts exactly the way that she did the first time that she posed as Aji-3, and Baek-gyun groans over her lapse.  

Baek-gyun pulls over to collect himself while Min-kyu tells Jia that Aji-3 reacted that way the second time that they met. When she asks why he came back, Min-kyu points to his things and adds that he still has to eat dinner. Jia calls Baek-gyun, who suggests that she can just be herself since the robot was patterned after her, but to guard against any more behavior that Min-kyu will associate with Aji-3.

Sun-hye delivers coffee and bread to the barn for Hok-tal and Ssan-ip. While they discuss Jia’s dilemma, Sun-hye happily takes a coffee offered by Hok-tal but turns down bread from Ssan-ip, because she’s on a diet.

When she spills some coffee, Hok-tal wipes her hand and she grabs him to ask, “Am I all you see?” Hok-tal freezes and Ssan-ip breaks their grasp while he confesses, “I always see you.” Sun-hye matter-of factly responds, “I know, yes, thank you,” and Ssan-ip gulps down his coffee as if he wishes it was something stronger.

Jia brings water to Min-kyu just as Grandma asks her to drive the cart to a communal warehouse for another family’s use. Min-kyu asks Grandma if she has a room and she tells him, “Yes, many,” while Jia answers, “No.” Min-kyu smiles in satisfaction as Grandma urges Jia to take him to his room.

Jia shows Min-kyu to a simple room and when he inquires about coffee, she tells him about a vending machine in front of the restaurant. Min-kyu has no change, so Jia hands him some coins and tells him “It’s on me.”

Once Jia leaves, Min-kyu gets a call from Baek-gyun and learns that his little detour isn’t a secret. Baek-gyun tells him that Aji-3’s model called to complain about Min-kyu’s behavior. Min-kyu shares how taken he was by the model and admits that by the time he came to his senses, he had followed her to the island. 

Baek-gyun emphasizes how disturbing his behavior must be, but Min-kyu explains that he told the truth about his interest. Baek-gyun informs him that he’s on the way to the island and warns Min-kyu to leave her alone until he gets there.

Once they hang up, Min-kyu notices the missed calls from Dr. Oh and calls him back. Dr. Oh double checks that Min-kyu still has his medication and syringes, but Min-kyu pretends that he doesn’t. When Dr. Oh sounds alarmed, Min-kyu assures his doctor that he has everything that he needs.

Min-kyu makes one more call, this time to Jin-bae, and confides that he met someone who looks like Aji-3, “Her name is Hong-joo.” When Jin-bae nervously repeats the name, his wife assumes that he’s talking about her.

Jin-bae confirms that his research into Santa Maria included the fact that Aji-3 was based on a real person, which is all that Min-kyu needs to hear. The real Hong-joo asks her husband why her name suddenly came up.

When Pi notices that Baek-gyun is drowsy, she has him stop at a convenience store. While she’s gone, a friend sends a text to ask why she turned down a desirable teaching position and Back-gyun reads it. 

Pi returns with a ginseng drink and tells Baek-gyun to drink it right away. He obliges and gags, but Pi won’t let him drive any further until he finishes it.

The hackers successfully copy the mystery folder “Monami” and get to work on hacking the password while Hok-tal and Sun-hye are preoccupied with Sun-hye, oblivious to the warnings on their computer.  

Baek-gyun can’t believe it when the van breaks down but Pi admits she’s surprised it lasted as long as it did. 

Min-kyu stands in front of the vending machine, unsure what to select until Grandma chooses for him. Jia leaves to drop off the cart and when Grandma asks Min-kyu to accompany her, he jumps at the chance. (I see that matchmaker gleam your eyes, Grandma.) Outnumbered, Jia is forced to take Min-kyu with her.

While Jia drives, she and Min-kyu both remember when he decided to drive Aji-3 to his mansion every morning to conserve her battery. Jia had cutely asked if it was because she was his treasure, which Min-kyu crossly denied. They both laugh at the same memory but when Min-kyu asks what prompted her, Jia ignores him to focus on her driving.

Min-kyu thinks she should be grateful for his company, even though she didn’t invite him. They bicker, which causes Min-kyu to comment that he can see how she and Aji-3 are different. When Min-kyu starts to talk about Aji-3 again, Jia suddenly jerks the cart and explains that she’s a terrible driver. (Ha! She’s jealous of herself.)

Once they pull into the warehouse, Jia realizes that she doesn’t have her phone. She needs a flashlight and uses Min-kyu’s phone, even though it’s almost dead. While she rummages for something, the boat captain shuts the door and locks Min-kyu and Jia inside, unable to hear her cries because of his earmuffs.

Jia can’t believe her predicament and thinks to herself, “My gosh, did I seriously get locked up in this storage room with him?” Min-kyu jumps in surprise when Jia turns suddenly to face him.

 
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Ruh-roh… trapped for the night!

 
COMMENTS

This hour was a quieter, gentler experience compared to the past few episodes. It was a much welcomed breather as all the characters were moved into place in preparation for Min-kyu’s realization that his Aji-3 is really Jia. The board has also been set for Yoo-chul’s dirty fight for control of KM Financial and Santa Maria’s research. Was anyone as surprised as I was to see Butler Sung in a completely different light as the corporate fight promises to heat up?

It was difficult to fully enjoy Min-kyu’s interactions with Jia while he was acting like such a stalker. Of course he couldn’t quite wrap his mind around the living, breathing model for Aji-3 and got caught up in the moment, but it was uncomfortable. Min-kyu still hasn’t quite adjusted to interacting with people and his reaction to Jia made that abundantly clear. What I did appreciate was that Min-kyu’s relationship with Ri-el was resolved before he ran into Jia. He’s free to follow his feelings once he sorts through the truth about Aji-3.

I’m surprised that Ri-el is so drawn to Yoo-chul, who seems intent on taking the dark path to have her for himself. All he has to do is ask Ri-el, because she knows what she wants, but Yoo-chul treats her like a trophy instead of the strong, decisive woman that she’s proven herself to be. He’s not the only one who ignores her, Director Yeh has his sights set on KM Financial and he expects Ri-el to get his foot in the door, even though she doesn’t want to marry Min-kyu after all. Ri-el has turned out to be a pleasant surprise because she genuinely wants her own happiness as well as Min-kyu’s, and refuses to settle for money over love.

Ri-el isn’t the only one with problems. Poor Jia! She has to listen to Min-kyu share his pain over the loss of his friend, knowing that he’s talking about her, but she can’t tell him the truth or react in any meaningful way. Her strength in the face of such emotional bombardment proves how much she loves Min-kyu and wants to protect him. But Jia still manages to find an outlet for her feelings, just like she did when she posed as Aji-3. That wobble in the cart when Min-kyu kept talking about Aji-3 was classic Jia, and how crazy is it that she’s actually jealous of herself? I love the way that this drama deals with the romantic triangle of Min-kyu, Jia and Aji-3, which isn’t really a triangle at all. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t pose a very real threat to Min-kyu though, because it does, and it’s only a matter of time before he’s going to have to confront the fact that his Aji-3 was a real woman all along.

 
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