Are You Human Too: Episodes 17-18
It’s long past time that Nam Shin-III rebelled against everyone who keeps telling him what to do, including So-bong. Even a robot gets tired of being ordered around with no consideration of what he wants, especially a robot who was made to make his own decisions. Unfortunately, a lot of people are finding Nam Shin-III’s newfound independence very inconvenient, and he’ll have to get creative in order to keep protecting the woman he loves (that’s right, I said loves!).
EPISODE 17 RECAP
Nam Shin-III activates at 6 am to wake So-bong for her morning jog. He thinks she’s sleeping in, but he lets himself into her room to find it empty, and belatedly remembers that she quit her job as his bodyguard. He does this every morning — forgets momentarily that So-bong is no longer there.
He goes jogging alone, and accidentally projects a hologram of So-bong next to him, whining and complaining. He fixes the “hologram error,” and as he remembers her saying she wants nothing more to do with him, he reminds himself, “Kang So-bong is no longer here.”
So-bong even got Young-hoon to pack up her things, too afraid of Jong-gil’s suspicion to go to the house. Young-hoon worried about her leaving because she’s the best at managing Nam Shin-III, but she’d pointed out that Nam Shin-III could break protocol to protect her again and put them all in danger.
Young-hoon suggested they look into why Nam Shin-III’s rules changed regarding her, but So-bong whined that she doesn’t want to do this anymore. She’d said that she used to think of Nam Shin-III as an object, but he speaks and acts like a person, and she hates that she’s getting emotional about a robot.
Still, her family can tell that she’s distracted. Reporter Jo (who’s staying with So-bong to avoid the idol fans she offended) defends So-bong to her father, saying that she did the professionally responsible thing.
Ro-ra prepares to lead the new M-car team, and Nam Shin-III why So-bong quit. Young-hoon keeps it vague, simply saying that she didn’t want to work anymore. Ro-ra tells Nam Shin-III that he was acting strangely because of her, so So-bong quit before it got worse.
After an awkward pause, Young-hoon redirects the conversation to a presentation Ro-ra is about to give, warning her that Jong-gil will probably be on the offensive. She smiles at Nam Shin-III and says “our Shin” is with her, so she’s not worried.
Her presentation is about her plans to have the team develop their own anti-hacking device. Chang-jo, who’s salty at not being chosen for the new team leader, complains that there’s already a company that makes them, while the team programmer is excited about getting to make his own.
Ro-ra explains that making their own anti-hacking chip will help with the driverless car, but also artificial intelligence products overall. As expected, Jong-gil asks why they have to go to the expense of developing their own chip when they can just buy them from their competitor.
Ro-ra argues that in six months, they can invent a chip that’s smaller and less expensive, and possess the technology themselves. Jong-gil says they can’t afford to wait six months while the rest of the market catches up to them, calling it a waste of money to do it themselves.
To Ro-ra’s surprise, Nam Shin-III stands and says that the price isn’t the point — what matters is the negative impression left behind after the M-car’s disastrous driving test. He says that if the public is still reacting unfavorably in six months, the M-car will never be a success. He states that they need the chip immediately to show the public that the M-car is being fixed now.
While his mother gapes at him, he tells Jong-gil to convince the competitor to bring the price down ten percent, then finalize the deal. Meanwhile, he says they can use the profits from M-car sales to bankroll their own anti-hacking chip. Jong-gil smirks, Chairman Nam laughs with delight, and Ro-ra steams at Nam Shin-III’s perceived betrayal.
After the meeting, Jong-gil tells Nam Shin-III that he’s changed from his old emotional self. Nam Shin-III quips, “Why, are you afraid of my change? I’m kidding… human beings change, so why can’t I?” Oops, that’s a little too close to the truth, and Young-hoon puts a stop to the conversation.
In private, Ro-ra asks Nam Shin-III why he took Jong-gil’s side. Nam Shin-III says he just took in the data and determined that restoring the public’s faith was the priority. Ro-ra snaps that that’s her decision, not his, and asks if he’ll support Jong-gil every time he’s right about something. Poor Nam Shin-III is all, “Is that wrong?”
Sensing that this is going nowhere good, Young-hoon reminds Nam Shin-III that he has an appointment with Ye-na. Ro-ra complains that Nam Shin-III is ruining their plans, but Young-hoon says that actually, Chairman Nam was very pleased with the meeting, and Shin will get the credit for what Nam Shin-III did.
So-bong goes through her things, unable to find her mother’s locket. She finds her tablet, which still has video on it from the bug she set up in Nam Shin-III’s room. She thinks sadly of how she told Nam Shin-III that she doesn’t want anything to do with him, tossing away the tablet in frustration.
So-bong gets ready to walk around with a sign advertising the gym, saying that she has to pull her weight in some way. Reporter Jo runs in all excited, having heard that Nam Shin is getting married… next week. So-bong’s careful lack of response is pretty telling.
Ye-na takes Nam Shin-III out with her friends, who marvel that she finally caught “Shin” after crushing on him for years. She whispers to Nam Shin-III to put an arm around her and look close, and when one friend mentions how she used to complain he would never kiss her, Ye-na growls at him to kiss her cheek. He’s so obedient that her friends ask if he’s really Shin.
One guy asks what happened to his bodyguard, curious if she’s as pretty in real life as she looked on TV. Ye-na sneers that So-bong will do anything for money, so the jerk decides he wants to hire her and play with her. He asks Nam Shin-III for her number, and Nam Shin-III nearly twists his arm off.
Trying to smooth things over, Ye-na says she’ll give the guy So-bong’s number, and Nam Shin-III turns his cold eyes on her and suddenly, every cell phone in the room explodes. Only Ye-na and Young-hoon know that Nam Shin-III did it, and Young-hoon quickly gets Nam Shin-III out of there.
Outside, Young-hoon asks if Nam Shin-III wants everyone to figure out he’s a robot. Nam Shin-III defends that they were saying bad things about So-bong, but Young-hoon says that doesn’t matter anymore since she quit. Nam Shin-III says, “But I keep seeing her. There are constant errors causing me to see her. I don’t know the cause yet.”
Disturbed, Young-hoon tells him to focus on pretending to be Shin for now, and Shin wasn’t close to So-bong. But Nam Shin-III says that he’s different from Shin, and he is close to So-bong.
He says he can’t be Shin no matter how hard he tries, but if he acts like himself, Young-hoon and Ro-ra get angry. “But not So-bong,” he continues. “She’s the only person who accepts me for who I am. Is that why I keep seeing her?”
That night, Ro-ra looks at a photo of herself and young Shin, which reminds her of his kidnapping and how he blamed her for his father’s death. Young-hoon had told her that Shin was very angry and pushed everyone away, and Ro-ra had sighed that since Shin never smiled, she gave Nam Shin-III the ability to smile instead.
Young-hoon arrives to talk to her, unaware that Snake followed him to Ro-ra’s hotel. He tells her about Nam Shin-III’s visions of So-bong, but Ro-ra says that there haven’t been any changes in his nervous network. Young-hoon worries about the risks when she considers going into his nervous system, so Ro-ra offers to speak with So-bong first.
At the house, Nam Shin-III wanders around So-bong’s empty room, and he tells little Chingu that she’s not coming anymore. He holds her locket and wonders how to return it when she wants nothing to do with him.
Shin’s doctor worries about Young-hoon and tells him to come to the hospital for a checkup. He asks Young-hoon why he even started all this, and after he’s gone, Young-hoon wonders the same thing.
He tells the sleeping Shin that at first, Nam Shin-III reminded him of Shin, but now seeing Shin makes him think of Nam Shin-III. He says that Nam Shin-III is pestered by him and Ro-ra the same way Shin was always pestered by Chairman Nam, so he pities Nam Shin-III even though he’s a robot. He says softly, “Shin-ah, hurry and wake up before my feelings get more complicated.”
Snake follows Ro-ra when she leaves the hotel in a taxi. So-bong is in the taxi with her, and after a short distance, the driver pulls over and gets out so they can speak privately. Ro-ra ask what So-bong did to make Nam Shin-III change so much, and So-bong admits that she told him to do what he thinks is right.
Ro-ra chastises So-bong for being careless and orders her to put Nam Shin-III back the way he was. She says that if So-bong doesn’t, she’ll have to do it, and tells So-bong to consider it a favor to both Nam Shin-III and Shin.
Remembering Ro-ra talking about Nam Shin-III’s kill switch So-bong asks, “How is that helping them both? You only care about the one lying in bed. You say he’s your son but you’re sacrificing him for your real son. Didn’t you call me here only because people may find out he’s a robot?”
Ro-ra tells her to meet with Nam Shin-III or not, but the rest is none of her business. So-bong agrees that she doesn’t want to be involved anymore and tells Ro-ra not to call her again, but Ro-ra gives her until tomorrow morning to change her mind. Snake follows Ro-ra’s taxi back to the hotel, but when she gets out, he tells his driver to keep following the other car.
After being dropped off, So-bong thinks about Ro-ra’s offer of time to change her mind about talking to Nam Shin-III. She takes out her phone and pulls up his number, but instead of calling it, she deletes it.
The next day, Snake reports to Jong-gil that Ro-ra met with So-bong. It’s his theory that So-bong is deeply involved with something, and Jong-gil decides to get her to talk. Snake says that he just needs to take care of Shin, but Jong-gil snaps that he should have done the job properly in the first place.
Snake reminds Jong-gil of what he did twenty years ago, and says he can just do that again. Jong-gil says darkly that if Snake ever mentions that again, he’ll be gotten rid of first.
In the morning, Nam Shin-III is excited when Ro-ra calls him to meet with her. David argues with Ro-ra, who wants to install a manual mode in Nam Shin-III to control him remotely, saying that it’s not Nam Shin-III’s fault if he does something unpredictable because they made him that way. She barks that he could be discovered and their enemies could learn about the real Shin’s coma.
Nam Shin-III overhears their talk about installing a manual mode. Ro-ra promises that it’s only in case of an emergency and that nobody would control him but her, and that she’ll remove it once it’s no longer needed. She wants to talk to him about it privately, and he looks to Young-hoon, who seems unsettled but tells him to trust Ro-ra.
But Nam Shin-III jerks his arm from Ro-ra’s grasp when he gets a call from So-bong. He answers and tells her where he is, and she says for him to come out.
EPISODE 18 RECAP
He finds her waiting outside with her dad’s van, and she tosses him the keys and tells him, “Slave, drive.” He tosses them back with a sunny smile and says he’s not her slave anymore, and she glares at Ro-ra and says she’s borrowing Nam Shin-III and not to call them.
Not much has changed — So-bong complains at Nam Shin-III’s stubborn insistence on following the driving laws. She says that humans sometimes break the rules, but Nam Shin-III intones that he’s not human, then asks why she “borrowed” him. So-bong tells him to pull over, but he refuses, saying that today he’s going to act according to his own judgment like she told him to do.
He buys a pair of electric bikes, and as he buckles So-bong into her helmet, he tells her about his “error” that made him see her while jogging. Since she was always complaining in his replays, he says he wanted to get her an electric bicycle if he ever saw her again. Oh, you sweet robot.
They enjoy riding the bikes, and when they reach a steep stairway, Nam Shin-III offers to carry the bikes to the top. So-bong objects, so he suggests they play rock-paper-scissors. He warns So-bong that she won’t win against him, then correctly predicts her next few throws, but he carries the bikes anyway.
They get separated, and So-bong stops at an overlook to enjoy the view. Nam Shin-III surprises her with an ice cream, and she says she’s jealous that he doesn’t sweat or get hot. He agrees, but adds that there’s nobody he can talk to about it: “Everyone tells me not to do anything and to hide myself. But I can tell you everything. Since you know the real me, I can show you everything.”
He continues that he think this is why he keeps having “errors” and seeing her. So-bong snaps at him to pay her if he keeps seeing her there, but he says she wouldn’t take the money if he did. She tells him that humans don’t show their real selves either, and gives him a high five.
Nam Shin-III holds up his hand for another high five, but when So-bong smacks it, he entwines their fingers together. He asks her to tell him what she wants to say, knowing that she’s been stalling, promising not to get hurt or angry. Instead, she pulls away and says she’s thirsty, so Nam Shin-III goes to get her a drink.
He decides to return her locket, but she calls him and tells him not to come back. He can see her across the street, but she says she can’t say this to his face. She says that she told him to act on his own, but she takes it back. She orders him to go back to being a slave, and to obey Young-hoon and Ro-ra, because it’s what’s best for both of them.
Nam Shin-III wants to know why, so So-bong tells him that Jong-gil threatened her, and that if he keeps acting like he’s been, she’ll be in danger. She says that today was fun, but that she doesn’t want to see him again. She hangs up, and the light changes, allowing the cars to move again.
Nam Shin-III steps forward, and So-bong hears cars honking behind her. She turns to see him walking across the street, uncaring about traffic rules or the danger to himself. Without a word, he takes out her locket and fastens it around her neck, then he promises to turn back into a slave now and tells her goodbye for real this time. He gives her a tiny, sad smile, then leaves.
He goes to Ro-ra and tells her to install the manual mode program. She thanks him and gives him a hug, but he doesn’t hug her back, standing stony and silent.
The next morning, So-bong’s electric bike is delivered to the gym, with no sender listed. Robocop guesses that it’s from that rich guy as a goodbye present since he’s getting married, but Reporter Jo argues that his marriage has nothing to do with So-bong.
The day of the wedding arrives, and a smug Jong-gil asks Ro-ra to open up to him now that they’re going to be in-laws. She says a marriage won’t change their relationship and accuses him of still wanting to get rid of Shin like he did his father. She says she’ll be watching him, and will expose everything he did to Shin and Jung-woo.
Dropping the nice act, Jong-gil growls that he survived, not Jung-woo. Ro-ra snaps that if he touches Shin she won’t care if he’s married to Jong-gil’s daughter — she’ll make Ye-na pay. As she walks away, Jong-gil tells Toady to proceed with the plan to make So-bong talk by the end of the day.
Nam Shin-III dejectedly rides his electric bike around the pool, dressed in his wedding tuxedo. Ro-ra brings him a new watch battery that allows her to remote into his newly-installed manual mode. Young-hoon directs Nam Shin-III to go greet the wedding guests, and he obeys wordlessly, with empty eyes. Young-hoon tells Ro-ra that they won’t need the manual mode since Nam Shin-III has been obedient ever since seeing So-bong.
Ye-na doesn’t look any happier than Nam Shin-III, but Jong-gil actually tears up to see his little girl in her wedding dress. She fixes his tie and apologizes vaguely, sending Jong-gil into more tears. But as soon as he leaves, his expression goes sharp again.
He goes out to the party and motions to Chang-jo, who tells Ro-ra that someone wants to talk to her. Toady sidles over to her table and plucks her phone from her purse, then uses it to log onto a program on a tablet.
So-bong gets a text from Ro-ra’s phone saying that Jong-gil learned the truth about Shin, asking her to get rid of a file on her desk at the office. It’s really from Toady, of course, who quickly deletes the conversation and returns the phone.
So-bong rushes to the company building, but she can’t find any file on Ro-ra’s desk. Snake is there, though, with a form for her to fill out regarding Shin. She tries to run, but he says that Jong-gil knows the truth, and he grabs her and demands she tell him what she knows. He throws her up against the M-car, which suddenly roars to life, surprising them both as it revs its engine.
Wisely, So-bong makes a run for it, and Snake follows her out. He catches her (by the hair, ouch!) and sticks a gun under her chin. He forces her down to the parking garage and into the truck of his car, but he doesn’t get very far before the M-car places itself directly in his path, blocking his exit.
Snake turns around, but the M-car blocks him off again. He tries a different direction, but the lights in the parking garage all go out, plunging him into darkness. A figure walks out of the dark — it’s Nam Shin-III, and Snake sees his face for the first time.
He tries to ram Nam Shin-III with his car, but the android places his hands on the hood and stops the car easily. He slams his fist down on the hood of the car, hard enough to pop both front tires, then he looks up at Snake, pure fury in his eyes.
Okay, that whole scene was a bit dramatic, but very prettily done, all the same. I find it a bit of a stretch that the M-car got itself downstairs, much less so quickly, even guided by Nam Shin-III. But I do love me some Shinbot in Hero Mode, and that last scene was beautifully lit and filmed, and I’m just shallow enough to let that sway me into getting all emotional about it. I don’t know why a robot protecting a cranky, mostly unlikable girl is so swoony, but it is, because he’s doing it for exactly the right reasons — So-bong is the only person who sees Nam Shin-III for who he is and not what he can do for them, and she’s the only person who doesn’t try to change him into something or someone he isn’t. If that’s not love, on both sides, then I don’t know what is.
So-bong is not the kind of heroine I usually enjoy… she’s too contrary and stubborn and resists all good advice, which makes it hard for me to soften towards her. But I do respect her independent mind, particularly in the way she’s pushing back against developing human feelings towards a robot. It’s very innocently romantic to think, “Oh, a drama about a human and a robot falling in love, how sweet,” but I find So-bong’s negative reaction to her feelings very realistic. As adorable and lovable and sweet as he is, Nam Shin-III is not a human being. He’s not flesh and blood. But I will still argue that he’s a person, just a new kind of person, he’s just not the kind of person that human beings have experience with. Developing any kinds of feelings of compassion or caring towards Nam Shin-III is distressing for So-bong because there’s no precedent and no guidance for how to handle such a situation, and that’s totally in line with her personality. Bring in the attraction she’s beginning to feel for him, not to mention the very real danger she’s in from Jong-gil, and I can see why her knee-jerk response is just to get away.
But it’s not just So-bong who’s getting emotionally attached to Nam Shin-III… Young-hoon is starting to care for him too, to the point that he’s on the verge of making himself sick with worry and anxiety. His feelings towards Shin have always been tangled up in the luxury that being Shin’s shadow allowed him to live in, but his relationship to Nam Shin-III is much simpler. Not only is he in charge of keeping Nam Shin-III safe, which is bound to elicit feelings of protectiveness, but the robot looks to him for guidance, and to teach him about the world. It’s no wonder that Young-hoon is becoming emotionally involved the same way So-bong is, no matter how much they tell themselves that Nam Shin-III is “just” a robot.
And then of course there’s Nam Shin-III, who’s getting all kinds of emotionally attaches to So-bong, whether or not he realizes it. He’s not having “errors,” he just misses her! And you cannot convince me that the look on Nam Shin-III’s face as he glared at Snake wasn’t real, white-hot fury. But I really love how the show isn’t trying to convince the audience that our Shinnamon Roll has human-like emotions, but instead is subtly redefining what it means to be a person as Nam Shin-III evolves into something more than what he was made to be. Maybe he doesn’t feel emotions like people do, but he worries and cares and even loves, in his own unique way. The trick will be whether So-bong and Young-hoon will be able to understand that and accept Nam Shin-III’s version of love, or if they’ll be like Ro-ra and insist that because he isn’t a person in the same way they are, then he’s not any kind of person at all.