Are You Human Too: Episodes 35-36 (Final)
It’s time to say goodbye to our Shinnamon Roll robot, one way or another, as he’s got multiple people out to destroy him and a critical choice to make. His choice will determine exactly how human he is, as he learns that being human isn’t what you are, but who you choose to be. It’s possible that being human has been in Nam Shin-III’s power to make all along, and that the question of what it means to be human was never for him in the first place.
EPISODE 35 RECAP
Over a montage of scenes depicting Ro-ra’s relationships with Shin and Nam Shin-III, her voice tells us, “The child I gave birth to and the child I created. I thought I had no choice but to destroy you. Don’t be hurt. I was wrong.” She had seen Nam Shin-III offer to walk off a building rather than hurt humans again, through his manual mode video feed, and realized that she had to make sure they both survived.
She creates a program to stop the kill switch from working if it’s activated, but it isn’t finished when she learns from Ye-na that Shin stole the kill switch. She takes it to Nam Shin-III anyway and installs it when Shin activates the switch, then loses her life saving Nam Shin-III from falling construction equipment.
As she dies in Nam Shin-III’s arms, she sees a vision of her sons, happy together and smiling at her, and her last thought is, “Goodbye, my sons.” Confused, Nam Shin-III begs her not to die, but she’s already gone.
Ro-ra had thought to text So-bong the location of the warehouse she followed Nam Shin-III to, but as So-bong arrives, she sees a news article that Nam Shin-III is wanted for murder. David is also there, and they go inside to find Nam Shin-III still cradling Ro-ra’s body. He tells them that she stopped the kill switch but she won’t breathe, and that it’s his fault.
They hear police sirens approaching, so David makes Nam Shin-III leave with So-bong. After they’re gone, he lets himself cry for Ro-ra as he holds her and asks sorrowfully if this is why she thanked him the last time he saw her. He sobs that she didn’t have to love him back, he only wanted to stay with her.
Back at the hideout, Shin finds the meal that Ro-ra left out for him. Jong-gil calls Shin to express his “condolences” on Ro-ra’s accident at Nam Shin-III’s hands (he’s the one who dropped the equipment on them, then called the cops on Nam Shin-III for killing her). Shin is confused, and when Young-hoon walks into the room, he notes his expression and asks what’s wrong. Young-hoon has to be the one who tells him that Ro-ra has died.
As news spreads about Nam Shin-III’s supposed murderous tendencies, Jong-gil leaks the video of him attacking So-bong in the elevator, which just makes everything look that much worse.
Young-hoon takes Shin to identify Ro-ra’s body, but he balks and asks for a moment alone. He thinks about how caring she was of him, and how he rejected all of her attempts to become closer. He looks at her last text asking him to come eat some food she made for him, which he’d ignored in favor of confronting Nam Shin-III. That decision had led to her death, and Shin cries like a lost little boy.
Young-hoon goes in to see David, who sighs that he wishes they would just arrest him for Ro-ra’s death instead, but there’s a witness who insists it was Nam Shin-III. Young-hoon muses that to most people, Nam Shin-III wasn’t a son to Ro-ra but just a machine.
David tells Young-hoon that Ro-ra died saving Nam Shin-III, when the kill switch was being reversed and he couldn’t move. Young-hoon reveals that Jong-gil was the one who told Shin of his mother’s death, which makes him their main suspect for her real killer. David thanks Young-hoon for not thinking Nam Shin-III did it, and Young-hoon says, “It’s because he showed me things.”
Ye-na is still locked up on Jong-gil’s orders, but she still has her phone and she sees the articles about Ro-ra’s death. She knows instinctively that her father is the true killer, and when he gives her plane tickets and tells her to stay out of the country as long as possible, she asks him if Nam Shin-III really killed Ro-ra.
She denies thinking that he did it, and he claims that he only wants her to leave to get over Shin. Ye-na agrees to leave, then pretends to stumble on her way out and slides her phone under the couch.
So-bong calls Dad, Joint, and Robocop to tell them what’s happening, and they unanimously support Nam Shin-III. Dad tells her not to just run, but to stay alert and make a plan, and to be sure to comfort Nam Shin-III.
He’s not doing very well, just sitting and staring into space. So-bong tries to cajole him into looking at her, but he says that he keeps seeing Ro-ra’s face as she dies, over and over again. Crying, So-bong tells him that it wasn’t his fault and to stop watching his mother’s death, because it would make her sad.
Her tears get Nam Shin-III’s attention, but she tells him that she’s only crying because he can’t. They go outside, where it’s snowing, and Nam Shin-III says bleakly, “I want to cry, like a person.” So-bong gives him a backhug and says that she’s hugging him because his heart is crying.
Jong-gil and Toady share a glass of wine to celebrate getting rid of the robot. Jong-gil talks about killing Ro-ra, and adds that only Young-hoon is blocking him now. Toady asks how he’ll get Young-hoon to hand over his company shares, and Jong-gil says that all he has to to is take Shin hostage. They laugh evilly, unaware that Ye-na’s phone conveniently recorded their whole plan.
Meanwhile, Young-hoon tells Shin that Nam Shin-III isn’t the one who killed his mother, and that in his opinion, Jong-gil is the one behind her death. Young-hoon leaves, and Shin gets a text message from Nam Shin-III on So-bong’s phone, saying that he needs to tell him something about Ro-ra. Shin replies, telling Nam Shin-III to come to him if he wants to talk.
David is glad to hear Nam Shin-III’s voice when he answers So-bong’s phone. He asks for confirmation that the kill switch was taken care of, but Nam Shin-III’s silence is worrisome. Finally Nam Shin-III says, “Eleven hours and twelve minutes. The kill switch was reactivated.” Oh, no — the unfinished chip couldn’t stop it, only delay it.
David orders him to come to see him, now, but Nam Shin-III says he needs to talk to Shin, and that he’ll tell So-bong himself. He hangs up when she turns out to be right behind him, and she argues with him about seeing Shin, scared that he’ll get caught if he does. Nam Shin-III just says that Shin needs to know about Ro-ra’s death, and promises to return.
At the PK Group office, the shareholders demand to know what Young-hoon plans to do about the plummeting stock prices since the announcement about Nam Shin-III running the company. They ask if it’s true the chairman wanted him as CEO and whether he really killed Ro-ra, and Jong-gil shows up looking smug.
He tells the shareholders that he’s been fired, but that he’s here out of concern for the company. He gives Young-hoon an “I told you so” speech about how dangerous Nam Shin-III is, but Young-hoon addresses the shareholders when he says that he doesn’t believe Nam Shin-III murdered anyone.
He says that if he’s right, then the killer is the person who would most stand to benefit from Ro-ra’s death, giving Jong-gil a very pointed glare. The shareholders see it and shuffle awkwardly, but Jong-gil pretends innocence. Young-hoon says that he’ll accept their blame and transfer his shares to Shin, but that it will never go to a scumbag, staring at Jong-gil again from inches away.
At the same time, Toady follows Shin when he leaves the hideout. David slips into the hideout and checks the computer, which is counting down Nam Shin-III’s remaining time. His battery watch is also counting down, he pulls his cuff over it to hide from So-bong that he has just over eight hours left before the kill switch activates again.
David calls Nam Shin-III to tell him that the chip Ro-ra made could only delay the kill switch, and that during the next eight hours, he’ll slowly lose power. Nam Shin-III agrees to go see David after talking to Shin, fibbing to So-bong that David just misses him.
Ye-na retrieves her phone and listens to the recording of her father discussing his plans to take Shin hostage and force Young-hoon to hand over his company shares. She texts Young-hoon that something may be about to happen to Shin, then when she can, she calls him to tell him that she’s sure her father killed Ro-ra.
Jong-gil makes his way to Chairman Nam’s office and summons Young-hoon, who asks flat-out if he killed Ro-ra. Jong-gil refuses to answer, but when Young-hoon asks where Shin is, he’s more than happy to show him a video of Shin tied and gagged, being beaten by a pair of his goons.
EPISODE 36 RECAP
Jong-gil threatens to kill Shin unless Young-hoon hands over all of the chairman’s company shares. Young-hoon calls him an animal, but Jong-gil growls, “I’m not an animal! I’m a demon.” He gives Young-hoon the papers to sign, warning him not to try anything or Shin is dead.
A few minutes later, Young-hoon is stopped by the police. They want to question him about Nam Shin-III and Ro-ra’s death, and as they lead him away, he sees Jong-gil smirking at him triumphantly. Toady calls to ask Jong-gil what he should do with Shin. Jong-gil tells him to wait, because he wants to kill Shin himself.
When Nam Shin-III gets another call from David, So-bong snatches the phone away to hear him say that he’s reviewed Ro-ra’s data, and he may be able to save Nam Shin-III if he can see the chip. He says that Nam Shin-III only has four hours left, and So-bong pulls up his sleeve to see his watch battery counting down the time.
She yells at Nam Shin-III for not telling her he’s running out of time and wants to take him to David now. But he insists that he has to tell Shin something, so she admonishes him to make it fast.
Ye-na gets to the police station just as Young-hoon is being led inside. She plays her recording of her father admitting to one murder and planning another for the cops, getting Young-hoon freed, and he says he’ll thank her once Shin is safe.
When Shin doesn’t show up at the church where he told Nam Shin-III to meet him, So-bong wants to go to David, but Nam Shin-III gets a call from Young-hoon saying that Shin was abducted by Jong-gil. He tracks Shin and Jong-gil and sends Young-hoon their location.
So-bong tries to convince him to let Young-hoon handle this and go to David, but Nam Shin-III gently says that she understands why he has to go. She sobs that his time is running out and she doesn’t care if Shin dies, but he promises to bring Shin back very soon.
She asks what he expects her to do if his time runs out and she never sees him again. Nam Shin-III hugs her as she sobs that she can’t live without him, then tells her softly, “Kang So-bong, when my mom died in front of my eyes, I couldn’t do anything. If the human Nam Shin dies now, I’ll keep remembering her dying. It’s my rule to help humans. Help me stick to that rule.”
So-bong refuses, but Nam Shin-III promises again to come back to her, “Because I’m your robot.” He turns to leave, but she stops him again, saying that she’ll go with him wherever this leads.
Nam Shin-III and So-bong arrive at the warehouse where they tracked him, only to find the goons there, but no Shin. Nam Shin-III casually tosses the men aside, then turns to nod at So-bong.
Shin is barely conscious by the time Jong-gil shows up and tells him that he should be with his parents. Telling Shin to say hello to his father, Jong-gil levels a gun at his head, but just as he’s about to pull the trigger, something slams into his arm and knocks the gun out of his hand. Nam Shin-III grabs him and throws him, as So-bong hurries to free Shin.
When he can talk, Shin asks if Nam Shin-III came here out of guilt for killing Ro-ra. So-bong says Nam Shin-III didn’t do it, and Nam Shin-III says that he came to bring Ro-ra’s message: “She said she was sorry for leaving you alone again.”
Shin looks So-bong leads Shin out, begging Nam Shin-III to hurry, but Shin stops to tell Nam Shin-III that it’s his own fault Ro-ra died, “So don’t blame yourself.” Nam Shin-III gives him a tiny smile and says, “Thank you, Shin-ah.”
So-bong leaves with Shin, and Nam Shin-III turns to Jong-gil. He points Jong-gil’s gun at him and shoots several times, deliberately missing. Jong-gil yells that he can’t kill people, but Nam Shin-III says he has one last bullet, pointing the gun at Jong-gil’s head. Jong-gil screams and Nam Shin-III pulls the trigger… but there’s no bullet after all.
Nam Shin-III tells Jong-gil never to play with people’s lives again, then leaves. On his way out, he slumps a bit, losing power as David predicted. He’s got less than half an hour left, and he quickly tracks So-bong, determined to get to her.
She finds Shin a safe spot then leaves to find Nam Shin-III. Shin tries to stop her, but she says he doesn’t know what Nam Shin-III gave up to come here and save him: “His life. The kill switch was reactivated.”
David arrives to try to help Nam Shin-III, and he finds So-bong first. He says he’s found a way to stop the kill switch, but they only have a few minutes, so they need to find Nam Shin-III fast.
He’s being chased by Toady and the goons, having run into them on his way to So-bong. He ends up on a ledge over the ocean with two minutes left, and he seems to realize that he won’t see So-bong again. Toady and his gang catch up just as Nam Shin-III spots Shin watching them nearby.
Toady isn’t sure if he’s Shin or Nam Shin-III, but he says he’s dead if he’s Shin. The real Shin moves as if to show himself, but Nam Shin-III stops him with a shake of the head. He takes off his battery watch and tosses it into the water, which only Shin sees.
Nam Shin-III shows his wrist to Toady, carefully showing only the part without the port, convincing Toady that he’s Shin. He points a gun at NS, but Jong-gil runs over and grabs it, eager to do the deed himself. He screams, “DIE!!” and shoots, hitting Nam Shin-III right where his heart would be, if he had one.
So-bong finds them in time to see Nam Shin-III shot, and she screams. Nam Shin-III sees her, and he never looks away from her face as he takes bullet after bullet. Each bullet pushes him backwards until he falls into the water, and Young-hoon joins So-bong and David as So-bong falls to her knees, sobbing. Nam Shin-III sinks and his eyes close, and at the PK Group building, his servers shut down, one by one.
One year later.
Toady visits Jong-gil in prison and tells him that the new PK chairman’s inauguration was today. He sighs that this is all because of that robot, and Jong-gil says that he truly thought Nam Shin-III was Shin that night, which he describes as the most thrilling of his life. Even Toady looks uncomfortable at the madness in Jong-gil’s eyes.
He tells Jong-gil that Ye-na, who lives with her mother in Boston, almost never leaves the house these days. He asks if he should contact her, but Jong-gil shakes his head.
At PK Group, Young-hoon greets the shareholders then takes his place in the old chairman’s office. Shin greets him warmly, looking relaxed and happy. Young-hoon asks if he’s ready to take his rightful place soon, but Shin just says that Young-hoon looks like he belongs in the chairman’s seat.
He tells Young-hoon to keep it, because when he takes over he’ll probably just sell, though it doesn’t sound like a threat anymore. He haltingly asks about So-bong, but Young-hoon admits that he hasn’t spoken to her for fear of opening old wounds.
So-bong sits with Maibo that night, and she plays his recordings of Nam Shin-III’s voice talking to her and answers them as if he’s there. She asks Maibo/Nam Shin-III why he isn’t with her yet when he said he’d come soon, and she hugs Maibo while she cries. She tells him, “I miss you, my robot.”
One day she takes Maibo to the sea shore, and she stands take a walk on the beach. She accidentally knocks him to the sand and runs to pick him up, scared she broke him. In Nam Shin-III’s voice, he says, “I’m sorry I don’t understand you. I’m sorry I’m a robot,” but So-bong tells Maibo not to be sorry.
A voice behind her says, “I’m sorry I’m a robot, Kang So-bong.” She turns around expectantly, but it’s just Shin, pretending to be Nam Shin-III. So-bong snaps at him for messing with her, and he says he was being nice by letting her think he’s Nam Shin-III.
Calling Shin names under her breath, So-bong turns and walks away angrily. She hears his voice ask, “Are you very angry?” But when she wheels to yell at him some more, it’s Nam Shin-III standing there. He’s alive!
Without hesitating, he walks to So-bong and takes her in his arms. He says the rule is to hug her when she cries, but she backs up to look at him again, and even checks for his battery watch. She cries even harder as she asks if it’s really him, scared to believe it, but he gives her that sweet cinnamon roll smile and removes all doubt.
Up the beach, Shin watches their reunion with David and Young-hoon. Young-hoon gives Shin the credit for using his money and power to find Nam Shin-III, and Shin admits that this was the first time he enjoyed using them. David sighs that Ro-ra would have been happy to hear him say that, and adds, “It was worth the long effort in fixing you, my son.” Somehow, I don’t think he’s talking about Nam Shin-III.
So-bong touches Nam Shin-III’s face, and he takes her hand. He says that most of his special abilities are gone, making him more like a regular human. So-bong says that’s okay, because it just means he’s closer to her.
She tells him that she’s become closer to him, too, and that her heart won’t change anymore, like a robot. Nam Shin-III looks at her wonderingly, then leans down to kiss her. So-bong hugs him happily, and behind her back, Nam Shin-III smiles as a single tear slides down his face.
Awww, I loved that ending. I loved that Nam Shin-III became more like So-bong, and she more like him, meeting in the middle yet still remaining uniquely human and robot. I love that the moral of the story is that you don’t have to change to be a good person, that being who and what you are is enough, and that anyone can be a good person who’s worthy of love if that’s what they want to be. This show didn’t have a lot of issues, though the problems it had were pretty glaring, but it handled the question of what makes someone human in a really touching way. And I’m willing to forgive a lot since we got a happy ending for Nam Shin-III and So-bong.
My only major complaint about the show is how the primary female characters started out so interesting, but ended up sidelined when it became more convenient for them to be damsels in distress. So-bong was a physically and mentally strong fighter, and Ro-ra was an actual genius, yet by the end, Ro-ra did nothing but cry and So-bong just hung on Nam Shin-III and stopped being fiercely independent. It bothers me that So-bong started out so badass and aggressive that I didn’t even like her much, but in the last few weeks she was relegated to a romantic object only, and pretty much did nothing but make eyes at Nam Shin-III while the men did all the heroic stuff. I wanted to see So-bong get in on the rescue mission (beyond watch Nam Shin-III and run in circles), and I felt it very out of character for her to do nothing while Nam Shin-III did all the fighting. The So-bong we were introduced to wouldn’t have stood for that — she would have been right in the thick of the action, using her fighting skills. In the end, Ye-na did more to save Shin than So-bong did, and So-bong did literally nothing to save Nam Shin-III other than tell him to get to David.
While it’s annoying that Ro-ra was “fridged” in order to bring Shin to his senses, I honestly think that her death is the only thing that could have done it. Maybe Young-hoon dying might have had a similar effect, but considering the rage we saw from Shin every time he thought his mother loved Nam Shin-III more, I really believe that nothing less than forever losing the chance to reconcile with his mother is the only thing that could bring Shin back from the brink. I don’t think that Shin’s change of heart and saving Nam Shin-III makes all of his previous murder attempts okay, but I guess that it’s a start. All he’s ever wanted was for someone to show that they loved him, and he got that from an unexpected source — Nam Shin-III, who gave up his life just to tell Shin that Ro-ra was sorry. Shin’s redemption felt rushed, but I can see how the events leading up to Nam Shin-III’s destruction (and knowing that Ro-ra’s and Nam Shin-III’s death were both his fault) made him re-evaluate the way he treats people. I just wish we’d seen it, instead of being told after a time skip that he’s completely changed.
I actually think that the whole finale was a bit rushed, with so much happening and so little time to adequately portray it all. I wish Ro-ra’s death had happened a week earlier and that we’d explored the fallout and Nam Shin-III’s vindication a bit more thoroughly, but all in all I felt that Are You Human Too was well-paced and well told, the casting and directing were spot-on, and the acting was top-notch. The themes it explored were unexpected and quite interesting as well. For example, I thought the show would be about what it means to be human, and it was, but not in the sense of whether Nam Shin-III was human. He absolutely was, in all the best ways a person can be human, but not everyone around him was as human as he was. I feel like the title, while it sounded like it was asking Nam Shin-III the question, “Are you human?” was actually asking of the people around Nam Shin-III, “This robot is a shining example of what it means to be human — are you human, too?”
I started this drama expecting Nam Shin-III to develop human emotions, but I liked his actual character development much better than if I’d gotten what I expected. Nobody ever asked Nam Shin-III to be human, and in fact, So-bong and Young-hoon spent half of the show telling Nam Shin-III that he was already exactly as he should be — a robot with a good heart. I love that the lesson Nam Shin-III needed to learn wasn’t that he should try to be human, but that being a robot is perfectly wonderful, and he shouldn’t be ashamed or hide it. The way he acts isn’t human, and the feelings he feels aren’t human, but that’s okay – he’s perfect just the way he is.
Far and away, the best thing about this entire drama was Kang Seo-joon’s performance. I’m amazed at how much emotion he conveyed just through his eyes, as Nam Shin-III never really did show much facial expression, yet he was always so easy to read. Kang Seo-joon’s acting and characterization was consistent from start to finish, with a clear vision of who both Shin and Nam Shin-III were, and he played them both so perfectly and distinctly that at times, I even forgot it was the same actor portraying both of them. That final scene was a great example — I knew that it was only Shin speaking to So-bong at first, and I also knew the moment we heard Nam Shin-III’s voice that it wasn’t Shin standing behind So-bong anymore, just by his subtle softening of words. The differences between Shin and Nam Shin-III were never dramatic, just a relaxing around the eyes and an opening of the expression… very subtle, but unmistakable. I never would have expected Kang Seo-joon to be capable of such a wonderfully detailed performance before this show, but now that I know what he can do, I’ll be looking forward to his future roles.