I’m Not a Robot: Episodes 13-14

It’s a roller coaster of emotions for Min-kyu and Jia as they try to make sense of their increasingly confused feelings. The Santa Maria team gets in on the act with romantic challenges of their own and it feels like spring in the dead of winter. As much as Jia would like to confess that she’s a human, she can’t do that without jeopardizing Santa Maria’s research. That forces her to continue as Aji-3’s stand-in while Min-kyu establishes what he thinks is a necessary distance.

 
EPISODE 13: “A first kiss tastes of apples”

As Jia’s lips softly touch Min-kyu’s, he narrates how much he’s missed the warmth of another human. He confesses that he imagined his first kiss many times after hearing it compared to the taste of apples or a flower in spring, but he never imagined that it would be with a robot.

Min-kyu jumps away and demands to know why she kissed him. Jia promises not to do it again but is confused when he asks, “Who said you shouldn’t?” She wonders aloud, “Then, should I do that again,” but Min-kyu is so confused that he doesn’t know what he wants. Baek-gyun returns with an umbrella and asks Min-kyu, “Where’s your first love?”

Ri-el walks into a hotel bar and scolds a man already seated for calling her while she was on a date. The man turns out to be Yoo-cul, who doesn’t immediately answer her question, “What’s so urgent?”

Mink-kyu looks dazed as he stumbles into his house with the umbrella, which reminds him of the kiss. Baek-gyun drops Jia off at home but she retreats to a park where she cringes in private until she remembers how Min-kyu gushed about her umbrella. She blames him for the fact that she got carried away.

Min-kyu stares at the stuffed animal that he bought for Jia, outfitted in her “Pretty One” hat, and asks, “Why did you do that to me?” He vents to the umbrella, “I can’t believe that after all this time, a robot stole my first kiss.”

Min-kyu next shares his troubles with Robovac and puzzles over what he put into her memory to cause such a response when he has a revelation — Aji-3 got the idea during his session with Sun-hye.

Min-kyu laughs in relief and asks the TV for a movie with robots. Soon he’s watching Edward Scissorhands, and during the kiss scene, Min-kyu recalls Baek-gyun’s instructions to input his emotions into Aji-3. He suspects that Aji-3 must have developed feelings for him and gasps, “Oh my gosh!”

Jia scolds herself because she could have been caught but decides, “I got away with it because he’s dumb. If he was a little smarter, I would have been caught.” Even though she had a close call, Jia can’t keep the smile off of her face.

Min-kyu lets himself into the barn where the real Aji-3 sits and wonders why she seems so unfamiliar. Pi startles him and she warns Min-kyu not to come by without calling first and bluntly explains that’s her way of telling him to leave.

Before he goes, Min-kyu asks if it’s possible for Aji-3 to develop feelings and Pi explains that the hope is she will be able to hug and comfort her master on her own. Pi is clear that her responses aren’t to be confused with real feelings and that if Aji-3 ever displayed that level of deep learning, the test would end so they could study her. When Pi mentions an end to the test, Min-kyu glances over at Aji-3 and makes a hasty retreat.

Jia remembers Min-kyu’s words, “I want to meet that person. Whoever made this umbrella,” and smiles as she admits, “That person is right under your nose. And, I’m not a robot. I’m a person.” She resolves to tell him everything once the test is over.

During a video call with Dr. Oh, Min-kyu explains that Aji-3 can act as if she likes someone. Min-kyu beams when he brags how much she likes him but his smile disappears when Dr. Oh points out that he’s talking about a robot.

Dr. Oh hangs up when he approaches a house to meet another patient who suffers from the same condition as Min-kyu. This other patient explains that he improved when he came to love and trust his nurse and Dr. Oh shares that his patient improved thanks to a special robot.

Jia feels as if she’s on top of the world and stares at Min-kyu’s number while she practices what to say, “I’m a person. We’re fated to be with each other. I’m the one who made that umbrella.”

Min-kyu struggles with the question of what exactly happened with Aji-3, was it a peck or a kiss? While Jia imagines telling Min-kyu the truth, she accidentally dials him and hangs up but he calls her back.

Jia pretends that she contacted him about the money that he owes and when Min-ku refuses, she starts to hang up, until he agrees to pay her if she answers a question. Haltingly, he asks, “I’m just wondering when two people’s lips touch, does that count as a kiss? Not just a peck?”

 
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A kiss or a peck?

 

Jia asks if it was quick or long and Min-kyu reenacts it and decides that it was long, thrilled when she confirms, “Then that was definitely a kiss.” Jia is curious about his reaction and pries, “Was it nice? Did your heart flutter,” horrifed when Min-kyu confesses, “…it was totally absurd, ridiculous, and crazy.”

When Jia suddenly hangs up, Min-kyu worries that her feelings were hurt because she has no one special. Her bubble burst, Jia rides down the slide and returns to earth with a thud just as Min-kyu sends a text, “Someone will like you one day. Just sent you $300.”

That night, Min-kyu clutches his chest as he breathes, “So this is how it feels to be on the receiving end of one-sided love.” He finally settles down to sleep with a smile on his face.

Pi listens to the evening’s recording and hears Baek-gyun remind Jia that they used to go out on dates. When Baek-gyun returns, he complains how unpleasant it was to take care of Jia all evening and Pi offers to accompany her next time. Baek-gyun is forced to admit that he had a good time and wants to date Jia again.

Pi asks Baek-gyun if he figured out why Jia left him but he argues that’s all in the past. Pi reminds Baek-gyun that machines keep breaking unless the problem is discovered and corrected. She encourages Baek-gyun to think about when he was most sorry to Jia to find out what led to their breakup.

Jia returns to the barn in the morning with noticeably red eyes. Baek-gyun produces some eye drops and when he examines her, asks, “Are you a crying ghost?” Jia grabs the drops and snaps, “Would it kill you to be nice to me?”

Dressed as Aji-3, Jia informs the team that she has to get back to work and Pi promises that the robot will be repaired by the weekend. When Jia asks her not to speak formally, Pi tells her it’s what makes her comfortable and walks away.

Jia chokes when Ssan-ip asks if Min-kyu experienced his first kiss the night before and lies that she doesn’t know. Hok-tal thinks it would be easier for Min-kyu if the woman kissed him first while Jia squirms.

Ssan-ip mentions that Sun-hye told him something else but he can’t share it with Min-kyu until after his first kiss. We hear Sun-hye’s voice warn, “The day after your first kiss is very important.” Min-kyu sternly faces Jia in his house as Sun-hye’s voice continues, “If either of them ignores what happened, that’s when the game of ‘Hard to Get’ begins.”

Min-kyu finally speaks, “You can’t love me. You might be able to become my closest friend but you can’t be the woman I love.” Jia remembers when he asked her to stay with him until he dies while Min-kyu continues, “So you can’t do what you did yesterday ever again, okay?”

Min-kyu is flabbergasted when Jia innocently asks, “Did I do something yesterday?” When he orders her into Friend Mode, Jia can’t hide her annoyance and asks, “What,” so he tries to find out if she’s mad at him. Jia switches back to Operational Mode and pretends that she doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Jia won’t go back to Friend Mode and pretends that it’s currently unavailable, which doesn’t help Min-ku’s mood. The two argue back and forth until Sun-hye arrives for another coaching session.

Min-kyu glares at Jia as he explains to Sun-hye that his first kiss was stolen from him. Sun-hye sympathizes that he must feel wronged while Jia mutters that she can’t exactly give it back.

Sun-hye recommends that Min-kyu should try again with a private, cozy date and suggests a drive. Min-kyu imagines his car parked near the river where he moves in for a kiss with Ri-el until Aji-3 pops up in the back seat.

Min-kyu nixes a drive so Sun-hye proposes a movie and we see him with Ri-el in an otherwise empty theater. When their eyes meet during a kiss scene, they move in for a kiss of their own until Aji-3’s hand reaches for some popcorn.

Min-kyu can’t get Aji-3 out of his head so he scolds, “Can you stop interfering? I can’t do it because you keep following me around like a puppy!” Sun-hye calmly suggests, “Then go by yourself,” but Min-kyu protests, “I need her there in order to kiss anyone.”

Sun-hye has to ask, “You’re having a funny fling, aren’t you?” Min-kyu denies any such thing and storms off which gives Sun-hye a chance to ask Jia how she’s holding up. She explains that she pretended that the memory disappeared.

At the barn, Baek-gyun asks Pi for an honest assessment of his behavior. She admits that he speaks harshly and lacks manners but adds that’s not how she sees him. Baek-gyun tells Pi what he’s most sorry about — he scolded Jia in front of a group of researchers when he found her cleaning his lab.

Outside, Min-kyu opens the umbrella to test Aji-3’s memory. Jia keeps up the ruse that the memory is gone, even when Min-kyu makes the umbrella clear. She asks if she needs to remember and he explains, “No, you must erase it.”

Min-kyu finally admits that it’s not fair that he’s the only one who remembers so she encourages him, “You should forget it too.” Min-kyu explains that humans can’t erase memories like robots and confesses that he’ll remember every time he looks at the umbrella. He stomps off in frustration with an annoyed Jia close behind.

 
EPISODE 14: “You’re concerned for Jo Jia”

At Sun-hye’s coffee shop, Hok-tal returns a feather ornament and when she coyly asks if it’s a coincidence that he found it, he doesn’t catch on that she’s flirting. She offers him a cup of coffee but turns her down because he has no money and refuses her suggestion to pay later. Sun-hye wonders to herself, “What’s wrong with this guy?”

Ssan-ip walks in wearing new clothes, surprised to see Hok-tal already there. When Ssan-ip orders coffee, Hok-tal forgets his objections and orders some as well. Once they’re served, Hok-tal asks, “Sun-hye, once the pushing and pulling starts, which side gets pulled along?” She tells them that it’s the person who gets angry first.

Butler Sung stands next to his cart piled with packages and protests that it’s his job to carry them inside. Min-kyu explains that from now on Aji-3 will handle that job as Jia looks at him forlornly.

Later, Min-kyu lounges on his couch to watch Jia clean and is confronted, “…I thought I was your treasure. You shouldn’t treat your treasure so carelessly.” He argues, “What’s the use of a forgetful robot that can’t save information? You should do petty work.” (Work isn’t the only petty thing going on here.)

Jia later reminds Min-kyu that her batteries will wear out faster if she works so hard and he asks if she’s tired. She reminds him that’s not possible so he gives her another task. When she vacuums near his desk and sees her unopened petition it looks like war as she mutters, “He wouldn’t shed a drop of blood even if I stabbed him.”

When Baek-gyun walks up to the house and discovers Jia cleaning windows, he confronts Min-kyu about his treatment of her and offers to clean the windows instead. Min-kyu orders her to close the umbrella but Baek-gyun won’t let her do that either.

Min-kyu asks what’s going on and Baek-gyun covers with the explanation that he made the umbrella, but an alarmed Jia thinks to herself, “No…It’s my invention.” Jia can’t believe it when Min-kyu dismisses Baek-gyun’s claim and argues that it was created by a greater genius.

Min-kyu invites Baek-gyun inside to show him the plans for Santa Maria’s new research complex. Baek-gyun points out that Min-kyu’s plans aren’t personalized to suit the team and rattles off amenities that would appeal to Hok-tal. When Jia asks, “What about me,” the men answer in unison, “You’re a robot!”

After Jia returns to the barn, Baek-gyun tries to make up for her hard day with a crate of juice boxes and watches with satisfaction as she drinks one. Later, while he and Pi work on Aji-3, he tells the robot, “Jo Jia is struggling because of you. Get up soon.”

When Aji-3 correctly concludes, “You’re concerned for Jo Jia,” Pi turns to walk away but slips on a ball bearing. Baek-gyun catches her and Aji-3 announces, “This is the moment when you go in for a kiss.”

Baek-gyun demands to know who taught her that and Pi reminds him about Sun-hye. They awkwardly part just before Ssan-ip and Hok-tal return with sandwiches. Pi criticizes Ssan-ip for ordering too much and it causes Baek-gyun to remember when he didn’t allow a hungry Jia to order what she wanted.

Min-kyu sits in bed and happily declares that he’s over it and turns over to go to sleep, but soon he’s in front of the barn in defeat, “I’m not completely over it.” Min-kyu lets himself in while everyone is asleep and approaches the real Aji-3, who greets him as Chairman Kim. Min-kyu wonders why she didn’t call him Master and she explains that she’s not operating with his personalized program.

Min-kyu wants to know if she’s the only Aji-3 and she confirms that she’s the only one produced by Santa Maria. When he voices doubt that she’s his Aji-3, she responds, “A person who trusts no one can’t gain the trust of anyone,” something that Pi once told him. Min-kyu gets an idea and asks Aji-3 what it means to train a robot and when she repeats what Baek-gyun told him, “It means to form a relationship,” he makes an important, but disturbing connection.

Back in his house, Min-kyu thinks over Pi’s explanation that Aji-3’s responses aren’t real emotions. As he lies in his bed, he imagines Jia as Aji-3 next to him and tells himself that it feels so real even though it’s fake. He reaches for her but her image disappears and a tormented Min-kyu is left to struggle with his dilemma.

Jia stands outside of Min-kyu’s house in the morning and gives herself a pep talk, “Forget about what happened yesterday and act as you always did. You are Kim Min-kyu’s most cherished friend and treasure.”

Inside, Min-kyu stares at Jia until he announces that he’s hungry. Jia watches him eat but Min-ku stops to offer her some of his food. He laughs that he’s kidding but she notes that he doesn’t seem to be in a good mood. Min-ku points out that he’s smiling but she reminds him that she’s watched him for a long time. Min-kyu coldly replies that’s what she does, she observes everyone, no matter who it is. Ouch.

Min-kyu watches a game show and when Jia laughs, he asks sadly if it’s because she thinks it’s funny or because she should. She wonders if he’s still upset about what happened but he ignores her and announces it the perfect day to wash blankets.

 
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I’m not your friend

 
Min-kyu steps on his blankets as they soak in his tub and when asked if he’s tired, he comments that robots never gets tired. Jia watches him worriedly and when she wipes some suds from his face he grabs her and asks, “You remember it, don’t you?”

After a long pause, Jia replies, “I’m not sure what you mean, Master.” Min-kyu releases her and confesses, “I really hate you.” Angrily, he tells her that he’s not her friend anymore because he did something that no friend would ever do. He orders her to only function in Operation Mode from now on or he will reset her and then he sends her home. Jia volunteers that she still has battery left but Min-kyu wants to be alone.

Later, while Robovac whirs about, Min-kyu lies on the table that once held his house of cards. Tormented by sweet memories of Jia as Aji-3, he reminds himself that it was all fake. Suddenly, his phone alerts him to an email from Madame X with a warning that his position at the company is at risk.

Chairman Hwang meets with Director Yeh to inform him that Yoo-chul is about to become the next chairman and suggests that he would be a good choice for a son-in-law. Director Yoon shows Director Yeh a report that proves that Chairman Hwang is close to controlling the majority of shares.

Chairman Hwang outlines his plan to have Min-kyu dismissed at the next board meeting but Director Yeh reminds him that he made them a lot of money over the years. Director Yeh is adamant that unless he has proof that Min-kyu can’t fulfill his duties, he’ll keep the promise that he made to Min-kyu’s father and support him.

Before Director Yeh can leave, Chairman Hwang warns, “I’m giving you a chance. When a chance comes, you must take it.” Director Yeh explains that he doesn’t care about succession, he only cares about the company, just like Min-kyu’s late father.

Once he leaves, Chairman Hwang orders Director Yoon to finalize the sale of Daeyang Shipbuilding once Min-kyu is dismissed. He asks what Min-kyu is up to and learns that he’s looking for Jang Doo-sam, the driver of Daeyang’s late Chairman Park.

Jin-bae uses Jang Doo-sam’s photo to verify his address but learns that he just moved out. Jin-bae leaves his card with the attendant and asks him to call if Jang Doo-sam returns.

Jin-bae’s wife reads the story of the Velveteen Rabbit to her daughter as Jia walks alone, deep in thought. Min-kyu lies on his table and stares at the ceiling as she reads, “You can become real if someone loves you for a long time.”

Jia walks into the barn while the team celebrates the release of an online article that will restore Baek-gyun’s reputation, thanks to Min-kyu. Baek-gyun was falsely accused of stealing research and in order to protect Ssan-ip and Pi, he didn’t fight the allegation.

Baek-gyun caps off the good news with an announcement that the plans for their research lab are ready. The team calls for a party and soon everyone is gathered at Sun-hye’s coffee shop. They raise their glasses as Beaek-gyun toasts Min-kyu, the man who restored the team’s reputation.

Min-kyu isn’t in a party mood but he gamely drinks beer from a bottle. When Sun-hye encourages him to eat, Min-kyu confides that he can’t eat anything prepared by someone else. Sun-hye notices that Jia keeps looking at Min-kyu and that Pi’s attention is on Baek-gyun. She proposes a game called “Five Chances” to select a couple to buy ice cream and when Baek-gyun and Pi end up losing, they leave on their errand.

Sun-hye announces that the moon is bright and invites Hok-tal to look at it, but he informs her that it’s only a crescent moon. Ssan-ip is interested but he gets emotional and tells Sun-hye, “But my moon is really sad.” Sun-hye takes the two men outside anyway and leaves Jia alone with Min-kyu.

Jia stands next to Min-kyu and encourages him to go home because he’s drunk. When she starts to walk away he grabs her hand but she tells him to let her go. He finally looks at her and confesses, “I’m afraid you’ll leave. I can’t live without you,” only to be reminded that’s not something to say to a friend.

Min-kyu pulls Jia down into the chair next to him for another game of Five Chances. He holds up his hand and lists his challenges, “Fold… if you were kissed by a robot. Fold… if you were dumbfounded when that happened. Fold…if you were angry because of it. Fold…if you hated that robot as a result.”

Tears roll down his face by the time Min-kyu gets to his last challenge, “Fold…if you wish that robot was human.” He passes out on the table and Jia lays her head next to his as she finally confesses the truth, “I’m not a robot.”

 
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If you’ve ever wished a robot were human

 
COMMENTS

It was so jarring to watch Min-kyu and Jia plunge from the flush of that first kiss into angsty, tortured turmoil. I never expected that Jia would fall so hard and so quickly for Min-kyu, but that kiss had her floating and it was devastating to witness her crash. She’s a real girl in love but she can’t let anyone know, especially Min-kyu. He adds to her torment geometrically by dumping what must be fifteen years of anger and frustration in her lap, and the poor girl is so far gone that she puts up with it.

Min-kyu is ready to rejoin the world, as much as he’s able, and even though Jia as Aji-3 has facilitated his reentry, she’s now standing in his way. He needs her, but he doesn’t want to, because she’s a reminder that he’s still not completely free of his affliction. Min-kyu has had a taste of what his life could become and he wants to run, not walk, from his isolation. I think that’s why he’s so angry that his first kiss was with a robot, aside from the fact that he knows that he can’t have a real relationship with one, he’s impatient for real human experiences, not half-baked ones. He believes that Jia is a robot and that all of their interactions are fake, angry because she’s confused him.

Which is what makes that introduction of the Velveteen Rabbit so poignant. A toy rabbit that was not only loved so deeply for so long but loved deeply as well. What is the message here, that the love we feel is very real and has great power? Of course we can’t love inanimate objects to the point that they become real and Min-kyu knows that all too well. But perhaps his heart will be opened enough that he’ll one day see the real Jia before him and recognize that he was connected to her all along. What he felt was real, it was never fake, and she returned his sentiments every step of the way. How else will he manage to overcome his disappointment when he learns that she deceived him for so long?

Yoo Seung-ho has the most incredible emotional range and we got to see everything from heart stopping smiles to heart breaking tears this hour. His glares were cruel and his eyes so cold that it was difficult to remember his warm smiles. Jia proved that she’s a real trooper because she endured his wrath not just for his sake but for the Santa Maria team as well. The restoration of Baek-gyun’s reputation reminded me of what’s at stake with his Aji-3 project. It’s not just his work but that of the entire team and they’ve suffered ostracism and poverty to bring it to fruition. Add to that the fact that Min-kyu could be in real danger without Jia, she can’t bring herself to leave him before the real Aji-3 is ready to provide that sense of security.

The corporate angle of this drama finally picks up steam as Chairman Hwang makes his move not only for control of the company, but for a match between Yoo-chul and Ri-el. As usual, Madame X makes contact to help Min-kyu, but he’s still at a disadvantage because of his condition. The lines at KM Financial are about to be drawn and it will be interesting to see who sides with Min-kyu.

Thankfully, there’s still some lightheartedness to remind us that this is a romantic comedy. Sun-hye’s triangle with Hok-tal and Ssan-ip is hilarious and I’m looking forward to witnessing how she handles such logical men in matters of the heart. Hok-tal is so literal and obtuse but I get the feeling that he’s on the verge of connecting with Sun-hye, who seems genuinely interested in him (But please, that weird eye make-up has to go). For now, they’ll provide the comic relief while Jia and Min-kyu navigate their way through turbulent times.

 
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