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Are You Human Too: Episodes 3-4

The simple fact of Nam Shin-III’s existence becomes convenient when disaster strikes, and he’s forced to enter a world he knows nothing about. Luckily he has a good guide, because he’s up against some very dangerous adversaries. But a complication that Shin left behind is poised to throw an unexpected wrench into everyone’s plans, and Nam Shin-III will find himself facing a situation nobody planned for.

 
EPISODE 3 RECAP

Shin and Nam Shin-III spot each other across the road, and realize that they look exactly alike. Nam Shin-III reviews his memory and recalls running across Shin earlier by the flower stand. He thinks, “A human that looks exactly like me. I first saw him forty-six minutes, forty-three seconds ago.”

The flower vendor had asked if they were twins, but when Nam Shin-III had turned around, Shin was walking away. He’d been able to ID Shin and noted that they have the same name, then had seen the man with the snake tattoo following Shin with a gun in his pocket.

There had been no data in Nam Shin-III’s memory for Snake, and he’d realized that Shin was in trouble. One of his rules is to save lives, so he’d followed Shin and Snake, and had deliberately picked up the same hat and hoodie Shin put on to hide from Snake.

He’d joined the crowd watching the dancers in order to draw Snake’s attention, then led him in the opposite direction from Shin. Then Nam Shin-III and Shin had seen each other, and been mesmerized. Nam Shin-III had wondered why they wore the same face, but before the two could reach each other, Shin had been hit by the truck.

Shin’s mother, Ro-ra, is nearby and sees her son crumpled unconscious on the pavement. She runs to him, crying and begging him to wake up, as Nam Shin-III watches. He thinks to himself, “I understand now. The human Nam Shin. He is Mom’s son.”

Mom’s friend David stops Nam Shin-III from going to hug Ro-ra as his program tells him to do when someone cries. He pulls Nam Shin-III away, suspecting something is wrong, and on the drive home, Nam Shin-III tells David that someone was following Shin with a gun. He projects a video of Snake onto the car’s TV screen, and although David doesn’t say anything, his face grows hard and he steps on the gas.

A flashback shows us that the driver of the truck did deliberately run down Shin in the street. He’d seen Nam Shin-III in his side mirror, so when he meets up with Snake, he starts to tell him that there was another Shin. But Snake cuts him off with a bullet, then recieves instructions from his grandfather’s right-hand man, Jong-gil, to return to Korea immediately.

Shin’s secretary, Young-hoon is in the Czech Republic as well, having followed Shin after he changed flights. He goes to Ro-ra’s home, and when Nam Shin-III answers the door, Young-hoon yanks him outside. He talks to Nam Shin-III as if he’s Shin, angry that he’s abandoned his family duties.

Nam Shin-III casually informs Young-hoon that he’s not Shin, and that he’s not human. Before he can explain further, an ambulance arrives at the house, and Young-hoon watches in disbelief as Ro-ra and Nam Shin-III guide the gurney carrying an unconscious Shin inside the house.

Once Shin is settled inside, Ro-ra tells Young-hoon that his bleeding has stopped, but that it’s unknown when he’ll wake up. She also says they found the driver of the truck dead of a gunshot wound to the head. She says determinedly that she hasn’t seen her son in twenty years, and that he was hit by a car in front of her eyes, so she’ll look after him now.

Young-hoon warns that if Jong-gil learns where Shin is, he’ll have him taken off life support and claim the company for himself. But the only way to stop Jong-gil is for Shin to go back and take over himself, and Shin is severely injured.

David and Nam Shin-III decide, for now, not to tell Ro-ra about Snake and the fact that they can’t find him. When Ro-ra finally comes out of Shin’s room, she tells Nam Shin-III that she needs to ask him a favor. Young-hoon looks unsettled as Ro-ra asks Nam Shin-III to go with him to Seoul to protect Shin’s place at the company.

Nam Shin-III thinks for a minute, then says he’ll go. Ro-ra thanks him and says she’s sorry, and when he sees her face he steps in to hug her, asking her not to be sad.

Soon, dressed and styled as Shin, Nam Shin-III leaves with Young-hoon, who still seems unsure about this plan but is determined to do whatever he has to do. The only clue that Nam Shin-III isn’t who he appears to be is the high-tech device he wears, which plugs into a port on his wrist.

Chairman Nam and Shin’s aunt, Ho-yeon, along with the entire house staff, are waiting when Young-hoon arrives home with Nam Shin-III. Nam Shin-III takes in the deep bows from the staff, and after a pause, he returns the bow.

Young-hoon rolls his eyes and snaps his fingers, and the entire house and all the people disappear. WHEW, they’re in a simulation room! He tells Nam Shin-III that Shin doesn’t greet the workers, and when Nam Shin-III asks why, Young-hoon quips dryly, “He’s rude.” HA.

They go through multiple scenarios of Shin’s normal life, all of which Nam Shin-III fails. Having been programmed to be nice, Nam Shin-III tries to sit near the chairman when Shin usually avoids him, he ignores Jong-gil and is reminded that he’s Shin’s future father-in-law, and he nearly kisses Ye-na, Shin’s fiancee (Young-hoon: “Ye-na is like a sister to you. No skinship.”). But eventually, Nam Shin-III grasps Shin’s personality enough to emulate him to Young-hoon’s satisfaction.

In Seoul, Chairman Nam sees a doctor about his memory issues, and the doctor confirms that he’s in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Chairman Nam still insists on giving the presentation to the shareholders, bis daughter is scared that he’ll have an episode in front of everyone. Unfortunately, the alternative is to let Jong-gil do it and get all the glory.

At the moment, Jong-gil is practicing the presentation, which involves the unveiling of the company’s new driverless M-car. He beams at Ye-na, asking if Daddy looks good on stage, but she pouts that she was hoping Shin would be here to do it. She says that she found out where Young-hoon went, so she’s going to join him and help convince Shin to come home. Jong-gil, having thought that Shin is dead, splutters for a moment before telling Ye-na to go ahead.

While all this is happening, So-bong arrives at a new bodyguard assignment only to be told that everyone knows she took pictures of Shin to sell, and that her services are no longer needed. She goes home to her father’s boxing gym and amuses herself by drinking soju straight from the bottle and encouraging the athletes to cheat.

Dad confiscates her soju and asks what trouble she got into this time. She tells him she’s been blacklisted, but he’s not very sympathetic considering that she got herself into this mess. She swears she’s never going to do anything like that again, but Dad barks, “you’re encouraging my athletes to cheat, how can I believe you?!” He’s got a point.

He growls, “Once trash, always trash,” and So-bong loses her temper. She decides to press charges against Shin for hitting her in the airport, and get tons of money. But Dad whaps her upside the head and sighs that she should report him too, and he’ll go to jail for raising a child like her.

So-bong escapes to a picnic table to get her drink on. She drunk-dials her friend, Reporter Jo, to complain that there are PK Motors billboards everywhere she looks. Reporter Jo apologizes and says she’s currently kneeling in the middle of Hongdae to confess that the hidden camera-watch was Shin’s plan.

She tells So-bong that it was Shin’s idea to talk So-bong into taking secret pictures, so that he could put on a scumbag act in public, and that the money she paid her even came from him. She says that even Shin hitting So-bong was part of the act, and So-bong flips out.

She shrieks that she’s breaking off their friendship and going over to PK Motors right now. She calls her dad’s two sweet, but not-so-bright athletes and says she needs to borrow their muscles.

When the big presentation begins, Jong-gil is onstage, and he tells the audience that Shin (who is chief director at PK Motors) planned and ran the driverless M-car project, but that he can’t be there today. The screen behind him parts and an M-car enters in a dramatic cloud of smoke and light.

It stops on a rotating platform and the door opens to show that there’s nobody inside, but the crowd murmurs when they realize that there is, in fact, someone in the backseat. It’s Nam Shin-III, playing his role of Shin, and he steps out and approaches Jong-gil.

He scans the audience, quickly identifying the PK executives, Chairman Nam, and Shin’s aunt Ho-yeon (marked “hostile”). He politely but firmly invites Jong-gil to take a seat, and with everyone watching, Jong-gil has no choice. Nam Shin-III smoothly continues the presentation after an encouraging nod from Young-hoon.

Outside the presentation hall, So-bong and her sidekicks stand holding signs demanding that PK Motors and stop attacking her character and repent. One sidekick, whom So-bong calls Joint (his name is Jo In-tae, hee) complains that his arms are tired, but the other (who calls himself Robocop) bellows that he’s tireless. So-bong learns from her former fellow bodyguards that Shin is inside, and gets an idea.

Nam Shin-III describes the M-car as feeling no rage, fatigue, or impulses, nor does it drive recklessly or drunk. He says that people could spend their time in the car watching a movie, shopping, or even “enjoying a little skinship.”

Jong-gil calls out to ask what happens if the car is in an accident, and gives Nam Shin-III a scenario: the M-car is driving on a road, and two motorcyclists are approaching, one wearing a helmet and one not. He asks which one the car would hit if it couldn’t avoid a collision, and the executives mutter that the helmeted motorcyclist should live because he’s following the law.

Nam Shin-III thinks about it, then rephrases the question. He asks them to imagine that the person in the helmet is one hundred years old, and the one without a helmet is a teenager. The crowd is silent when he asks if the teenager should die just because he’s breaking a law.

He says that the decision of whom to kill and whom to save is for humans to make, and that only gods can tell humans what to do. He adds that through the M-car, PK Motors will become a competent deity which benefits humans through decisions made by humans. The crowd erupts in applause, not seeming to realize that he didn’t actually answer the question.

But the applause is interrupted by a cry from the balcony: “You dog, Nam Shin!!” Nam Shin-III looks up to see So-bong glaring down at him, and Ho-yeon recognizes her as the girl from the airport. Young-hoon moves intercept her, but Chairman Nam growls to let Shin take care of this.

So-bong stomps onto the stage and accuses Nam Shin-III of setting her up to take secret pictures of him, then assaulting her. Confused, Nam Shin-III searches his memory banks and finds the video of Shin hitting her at the airport.

So-bong continues that she was going to let it go since she was wrong, and that she’s been blacklisted and treated like scum, but now she’s found out that he used her. She accuses him of treating her like a toy robot, and mocking her for her stupidity.

She grows so upset that she gets tearful, and Nam Shin-III does what he’s supposed to do when someone cries — he hugs So-bong. The reporters gasp and snap photos as Nam Shin-III whispers that the rule is to hug someone who cries.

 
EPISODE 4 RECAP

So-bong is escorted out of the building by security, still in a daze from Nam Shin-III’s hug. She tells Joint and Robocop to go home, and when Robocop reminds her that she promised to buy them beef, she snaps back to reality and screams at them to leave before she grills their hands.

Thinking about the hug, So-bong assumes that it was a stunt by Shin to make him look good to the media again. She sees that Reporter Jo is standing nearby, and she runs and gives her a flying kick to the head.

Inside, the reporters also ask Nam Shin-III if the hug was a stunt to clean up his image. Young-hoon steps in to say that Shin has done a lot of repenting, and Jong-gil wonders if he matured while he was away, but Chairman Nam sighs that people don’t change so easily.

When Nam Shin-III approaches the chairman, he remembers Young-hoon saying that Shin rarely speaks to him, so he ignores his grandfather’s rant about his disappearance. He was also told that Shin mocks Ho-yeon, so when she tells him to stop pretending to be nice, Nam Shin-III sneers that she pretends to be nice in front of the chairman. LOL, he even gives her an epic eyeroll for good measure.

Jong-gil says it’s nice to have him back and takes Nam Shin-III’s hand, which allows Nam Shin-III to read his pulse and conclude that he’s lying. He yanks his hand away and snaps, “Liar. You didn’t want Nam Shin to return. I know, I have a lie detector.” Lucky for Nam Shin-III, Jong-gil laughs off the insult as Young-hoon gives Nam Shin-III a meaningful squint.

Ro-ra travels to Seoul to check on Nam Shin-III. She calls David, who’s back home with Shin, and he tells her to focus on how Nam Shin-III is adjusting to the foreign. He apologizes to Shin, saying that this is a foreign environment for him, too, and pleads with him to wake up before this gets harder on everyone.

Alone at home, Jong-gil vents his fury at Shin’s apparent return by smashing bottles of wine against the wall. He attacks Toady, kicking him in the stomach and ordering him to find out whether Snake betrayed them.

Toady mentions “the thing that Chairman Nam can never discover,” and wonders if Shin learned the truth about it. Jong-gil says that where Shin went has nothing to do with that, and when Toady asks if it concerns Shin’s father, Jong-gil tells him to mind his own business and find Snake.

When Young-hoon gets a chance to talk to Nam Shin-III alone, he tells him that hugging So-bong and mentioning his lie detector were dangerous moves. He reminds Nam Shin-III why he’s here — to become the real Shin. He says that Nam Shin-III can’t be found out, for his mother’s sake, and Nam Shin-III nods dejectedly.

Seeing Nam Shin-III’s pout, Young-hoon relents and tells him he did well today. He even gives Nam Shin-III a tiny smile, and when Nam Shin-III remarks on it, Young-hoon nods ruefully and admits that he even feels relaxed.

He offers to call Nam Shin-III a car to visit Ro-ra, but before Nam Shin-III escapes, Ye-na shows up to glue herself to “oppa’s” arm and insist on going wherever he’s going. Snapping back into Shin’s personality, Nam Shin-III pulls away from her coldly.

Reporter Jo trails after So-bong, begging her to talk. She offers to use her press pass to get them into the reception so that So-bong can ask Shin to stop blacklisting her. So-bong has concerns but she goes along anyway, hiding her face, and they enter the reception.

Ye-na joins Nam Shin-III, who’s hanging on a railing over the party looking bored. When he pulls away from her again, she complains that he cherishes her too much, and he grumbles that she’s like a sister. She says she’s ready to get married, and Nam Shin-III tells her no, but his gaze is locked on something across the room.

He’s locked in on some sparklers stuffed into wine bottles, and he cross-references them against a news article about sparklers causing a fire in a Brazilian club. Ye-na says she’ll go stop them, but before she gets there, So-bong snatches the lighter from the partygoer’s hand.

The girl calls her an ajumma and storms off, knocking So-bong’s “Nam Shin must repent” sign to the floor. Ye-na picks it up and tears it in half, introducing herself as Shin’s fiancee, and So-bong recalls “the stone statue that doesn’t budge when her boyfriend cheats.”

Ye-na orders So-bong to leave, but So-bong says she’s just Shin’s fiancee, and engagements can be broken. She yells that Shin staged everything and used her, and when Ye-na accuses her of framing Shin, So-bong says to bring him here so they can ask him.

Nam Shin-III walks up just then, with Young-hoon at his side. He doesn’t recognize Reporter Jo, proving to Ye-na that So-bong is lying, and Young-hoon pulls Reporter Jo aside to talk privately. Nam Shin-III stares at So-bong and Ye-na, who watch him expectantly, then he follows Young-hoon.

In another part of the club, the girls light the sparklers and dance around crazily. Someone sets a wine bottle with a still-blazing sparkler on a table, and it falls to the floor, setting a banner on fire.

Nam Shin-III affects his bored-Shin demeanor as Young-hoon asks why he’s never met Reporter Jo if what she says is true. Reporter Jo says it’s good that Nam Shin-III pretended not to know her so they won’t get caught for setting up the fake hidden camera incident. But she argues that So-bong shouldn’t be punished for their plan, so Young-hoon offers to lift her blacklisting.

So-bong and Ye-na run into each other again in the ladies’ room. Ye-na passive-aggressively shakes water off her hands in So-bong’s direction, and So-bong retaliates. They go nose-to-nose, but before it gets ugly, the lights go out and they hear screaming from the hall. Someone yells, “Fire!” and Ye-na panics and runs out of the restroom. So-bong stays calm and pulls a handful of paper towels from the dispenser, and wets them.

In the kitchen, the cooks evacuate, but one forgets to turn off the heat under a pan. The liquid in the pan boils over into the gas line, causing a fireball to billow into the main reception room. Soon there are flames and exploding glass everywhere, and partygoers struggling to find a safe escape route.

So-bong uses her wet paper towels to block smoke from her nose and mouth as she heads to the hallway. People are crowding against a locked door, but So-bong finds it impossible to open, so she leads everyone in a different direction.

She stops Ye-na from going back to the restroom for her phone, but a minute later, she realizes that her necklace is missing. She sees it where it fell on the stairs and runs up to grab it. As she’s tucking it into her pocket, another fireball explodes right where she was standing just moments ago, blocking her exit.

Young-hoon and Nam Shin-III watch incredulously as Reporter Jo drinks an entire bottle of liquor by herself. Someone runs in yelling about the fire across the street, just as sirens fill the air. The street is full of people, coughing from smoke inhalation, and Nam Shin-III scans the crowd.

When he doesn’t see what he’s looking for, he walks calmly into the inferno. Young-hoon tries to stop him, but Nam Shin-III easily flings him to the floor. Young-hoon calls Ro-ra for advice, and she tells him that Nam Shin-III is in Disaster Mode — he’s focusing all of his energy on saving lives, so his other functions have shut down and he doesn’t recognize anyone he knows.

Nam Shin-III certainly looks all business as he dispassionately evaluates each person he passes in the burning building. He finds a locked door and pushes on it, and eventually the concrete walls around the door begin to crumble. He shoves until the door falls, then starts carrying people out.

Nam Shin-III walks through the room looking for more people, and when he finds three more women, he makes his way towards the one in the worst condition. Another girl begs him to save her first since the others are going to die anyway, but he just tears her high heels from her feet and tells her to save herself. He carries the other two women out, one slung over each shoulder, while the third girl follows.

Inside, So-bong narrowly escapes being hit by falling scaffolding, but she’s trapped under the wreckage. Her phone, which fell not far away, starts ringing with a call from Dad, and So-bong strains to reach it. She hears a noise and realizes that the balcony is about to collapse on her, and she braces herself for her death.

But the balcony stops falling, seeming to hang in midair. Nam Shin-III has caught it on his back, and he slowly but surely pushes it up and away from So-bong. He easily lifts the scaffolding off of So-bong and picks her up in his arms, and as they lock eyes, So-bong feels her heart pounding.

She tells Nam Shin-III not to misunderstand, that it’s his heart beating that way, but he says, “I have no heart.” The camera pans around to his back, where his shirt has partially burned from catching the falling balcony. Some of his synthetic skin was also ripped away, exposing the machinery inside.

 
COMMENTS

Oof, what a heartrending reminder that as sweet and lovable as Nam Shin-III is, he’s not human. The fire did a good job of allowing us to see a good side to So-bong’s personality — the side that was willing to delay her own escape to help save others. Of course, it put her in mortal danger so that our hero could, well, be the hero. But I feel like Nam Shin-III’s “Disaster Mode” was something we needed to see as well, especially the way everything else shuts down and he becomes focused on rescue to the point that he doesn’t even recognize people. Probably later, he’ll go into Disaster Mode again, but that time he’ll override his programming for some emotional reason, showing how he’s evolving.

I still love this drama as much as I did after the first episode, and even though it has some pretty obvious flaws, I’m willing to overlook them since the emotional draw is so darn good. The drama seems to be sacrificing some logic and continuity (well, aside from the main character being a robot capable of human emotion) in order to focus on issues like the human condition, and as long as I’m prepared for those sorts of trade-offs early on, I’m generally willing to go along with them and just enjoy the ride. So we’ll just ignore things like the fact that a truck going that fast would do more than put Shin in a coma… it would quite literally flatten a man, and even if he did survive, he certainly wouldn’t be stable enough to be moved to someone’s home the next day. He definitely would not still have his pretty face intact.

I didn’t really comment on So-bong as a character before, because I wanted to get a more comprehensive sense of her personality besides her being an opportunistic liar. She’s portrayed as cute and somehow likable despite her willingness to sell out a celebrity for money, but I appreciate that the show doesn’t let her immoral behavior slide just because she’s adorable. She’s definitely shown to have deserved what she got, and even her Dad, who previously doted on her and defended her, now openly shows how disappointed he is in her and even calls her trash. But So-bong is scrappy and tough, and she’s not afraid of confrontation, which is an admirable quality. Still, I like that So-bong is flawed and irrational and angry, because it gives her character a direction to grow in, and I’m looking forward to Nam Shin-III teaching So-bong to be more, well, human.

One thing I wasn’t expecting from this show was bromance, but I really love the energy between Young-hoon and Nam Shin-III. Young-hoon knows Shin very well, but he definitely doesn’t like him, and you can already tell that he’s starting to like Nam Shin-III. That little moment when Young-hoon smiled, and Nam Shin-III smiled back at him, was absolutely perfect. It wasn’t too much for this stage of their friendship, and it showed that there’s respect growing between them, and the potential for a wonderful friendship. Nam Shin-III has never had a male friend of roughly his own age, and I think I’m going to like seeing him making a friend as much as I’m going to enjoy watching him discovering romance.

I’m still just as impressed with Seo Kang-joon’s acting here, which is such a pleasant surprise. I thought he did a great job in the first episode distinguishing Shin from Nam Shin-III through his expressions and body language, but he stepped up his game in this episode by perfectly portraying Nam Shin-III-as-Shin. He had Shin’s smirk and swagger down to a tee, but whenever he dropped the facade to just be Nam Shin-III, it was a subtle but startling transformation. And more than once in this hour I found myself thinking, “Wow, Nam Shin-III does such a good impression of Shin!” before remembering that it’s the same actor, and not really someone else pretending to be Shin.

I expect that part of Nam Shin-III’s story will involve his discovery that he’s not Ro-ra’s son the same way Shin is, and that he will struggle with the knowledge that she doesn’t love him the way she loves the son she gave birth to. But Ro-ra created Nam Shin-III and lived with him for twenty years, more than twice as long as she knew and lived with Shin, and she must have developed a mother’s love for him, as well. I hope the show addresses the fact that Nam Shin-III is also Ro-ra’s son — he’s every bit her creation, in some ways even more so than Shin, and loving Shin doesn’t mean that she doesn’t also love Nam Shin-III as a son.

 
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