Truthfully, there was a mulling frustration threatening to boil throughout this episode, but boy, it was all worth it for that ending.
(Just a random thought after having watched Brooklyn Nine Nine – does this series of introductions qualify as a cold open?)
Anyway, I loveeee that this time round, we get Young Hoon’s take on the issue. He narrates that he shouldn’t have hesitated when Grandpa asked whether the robot was better than humans. In the flashback, we return to the moment in the past when Grandpa punched Young Hoon instead of human Shin.
What we didn’t see was how Shin immediately went to Grandpa, smashed his things and yelled, “Don’t hit him again. Don’t touch poor Young Hoon! If you do, I will do much worse.” I know. I know what you’re really like.
Shin gave Young Hoon an ice pack but Young Hoon had also prepared a first aid kit for Shin. I like how they show us this brotherly love as the duo nursed their injuries. Back to the present, Young Hoon continued. Sorry Shin. This is how I should have responded. He should have replied instantaneously that he had never once thought the robot was better, “If you don’t trust Shin, I’ll quit right now.” I should have taken your side.
We then see how human Shin was so hurt when he heard that Grandpa was in this for a decade. He tailed the couple while they were on their date and watched how in love they were. Meanwhile, Young Hoon continued tracing the phone number and learnt from the facility that 20 years ago, a director from PK committed suicide there. Right at that moment, he received a call from human Shin, asking for a favour.
Anddd we are back at the moment where robot Shin picks up the stack of napkins. Human Shin appears and tells him that Young Hoon wants to meet him in the parking lot. He catches robot Shin unaware and takes off his watch.
Before robot Shin can retaliate, he shuts off.
Young Hoon arrives slightly wary but immediately bursts out of the car when he sees robot Shin on the floor. Human Shin is enraged, “I’m going to make it clear to Grandpa about what’s real and what’s fake.” He drops the watch and grinds it with his feet. “If you don’t want me to misunderstand, act like someone on my side.” I think we had the introduction from Young Hoon’s side also to explain why he would, however reluctantly, agree to help human Shin. It is out of a sense of guilt perhaps.
Finally, So Bong realises that it wasn’t robot Shin in the cinema and she rushes out with her belongings. I wish there were more details on just how much time has lapsed after she took the napkin, but given that it’s left as it is, I’m going to assume it is as what we have seen! She took the napkin, she thanked him and then she saw him cry thereafter.
Young Hoon has placed robot Shin in his car and ignores So Bong’s call. From his car which is at an angle, he watches as So Bong rummages through human Shin’s car. Human Shin says that after trying to be robot Shin, it’s fun.
So Bong retorts, “Continue all you want, but a jerk like you can never compare to him.” Shin tells her to shut up, “I’m real, he’s fake,” but So Bong doesn’t care. “I’ll make you pay.” She rushes off and robot Shin returns with a smirk to Young Hoon’s car.
He picks up So Bong’s call on robot Shin’s phone and pretends to be robot Shin, “There was an error with Medicar so I went back.” Sadly (for the fans), So Bong doesn’t pick up on this and kinda fall for it, especially since Young Hoon takes the call and says that he will settle everything.
Young Hoon brings both Shins back to the house and Laura finally learns about the truth. It’s funny how a secret so well-kept for 10 years just unravels like that. She confronts David and slaps him, “How long have you been deceiving me?”
David closes his eyes in guilt, knowing that what he has done can’t be explained away. Young Hoon brings him away, leaving Laura with her two sons.
Human Shin makes a jibe that Grandpa is always one step ahead and asks casually about whether there is something to destroy robot Shin. Laura responds in a fluster, “Stop teasing mum!” Human Shin then asks about the manual mode because he wants to show Grandpa that robot Shin is something that can be easily controlled. He even guilt-trips Laura, “Do you care more about that too like Grandpa does?”
Young Hoon enters the lab and relents, since it’s their fault for human Shin feeling like this after he woke up. But he can only use the manual mode on one condition, “You will never hurt anyone else.” Human Shin promises.
So Bong waits for Shin outside the gym with Maibo and calls him. He picks up on the last dial tone and tells her that he won’t be able to make it for the night, but “turn around once before you go in.” So Bong, who is initially disappointed, turns around to find Shin right behind her.
She rushes up to him and hugs him tightly. Shin adorably notes, “Maibo is poking me.” Hahaha. So Bong immediately pulls back but Shin hugs her even tighter. Since he’s a robot, he doesn’t feel pain.
So Bong smiles, “That’s what I like about you.”
They enter the gym and the sidekicks greet him with enthusiasm, worried that he had left because they made him clean too much. One of them strokes Shin’s arm and suddenly, Shin twists his arm with much force. In a flashback, we see human Shin affixed the manual-mode watch on robot Shin and gave him his rule, “Do not let anyone touch your watch.” He then told robot Shin, “You’re my toy now.” This is why Shin suddenly did the back-twist because the sidekick touched his watch!
He suddenly lets go of the sidekick and is surprised at his own actions, “I couldn’t control my strength. I’m sorry.” He rushes out on the pretext that he has to prepare for work, leaving Dad puzzled. Outside of the gym, he tries to decipher the manual watch, but access is denied.
Young Hoon stands broodingly by the pool, recalling the moment where robot Shin was turned off in the lab. He turns around to see robot Shin, who tells him, “I experienced manual mode for the first time. My body didn’t move according to my decisions.” Young Hoon apologises but that’s not what robot Shin wants, “I want to know why Nam Shin did this.” Young Hoon explains that human Shin has learnt about Grandpa, but robot Shin asks what if human Shin makes him do something against his rules. Young Hoon replies that Shin has already promised not to hurt anyone.
Robot Shin is doubtful, but Young Hoon is firm that Shin will keep his promise, “I believe Shin.”
Human Shin is watching this entire conversation from a tablet and he throws it aside. He wants to show everyone how dangerous robot Shin can be. Ye Na wonders about the viability of human Shin’s plan, since robot Shin still has his face and if he causes trouble, it will be bad for human Shin too. She just wishes that human Shin will live his own life, instead of being so obsessed with robot Shin.
The next morning, robot Shin meets Grandpa in the server room. Grandpa explains that PK Company was like a hungry baby and robot Shin was like new food – all advanced corporations are looking into merging AI and living things. But thanks to the Medicar robot Shin proposed, Grandpa’s vague dream has become clear, “M-City. That is my last dream.” A city completely controlled by AI, and only robot Shin can make his dream come true. All this while, human Shin is listening!
Robot Shin runs into So Bong at the lift lobby and they enter the lift together. He vaguely explains that he met Grandpa who told him about his last dream, and So Bong wonders, “Why did he tell you instead of his real grandson? Well, I’d trust you much more than that jerk too.” I’m assuming that Shin must have told So Bong about Grandpa off-scene because I don’t recall the revelation having been made to So Bong explicitly…?
That is such a trigger for human Shin and with anger burning in his eyes, he says, “You need to pay for this, Kang So Bong.” Robot Shin’s smile suddenly fades, the watch turns into manual mode and he violently pushes So Bong against the wall of the lift.
As So Bong thrashes about, the lights flicker until robot Shin suddenly returns to himself.
So Bong slides onto the floor and robot Shin looks at his hand. The lift door opens and Seo’s sidekick, Park, is there.
He looks confusedly as Shin runs out, followed by So Bong.
So Bong chases after Shin and finally deduces that something is up. She sees that the watch is different but Shin doesn’t let her come any nearer, “Don’t ask anything and don’t come near me so that I can’t do anything to you.”
He rushes off and So Bong immediately goes to find Young Hoon. She learns about Shin being switched over to manual mode and yells, “You know how he’s like. But he attacked someone. Imagine how shocked he was, he practically ran away!” I realise it totally made sense that she couldn’t really identify this as the manual mode because the final product was created when she quit as the bodyguard! So Bong is enraged that Young Hoon is still protecting human Shin, “The person who protects the criminal is worse than the criminal!” and rushes off. There’s… a lot of rushing off in this episode.
Young Hoon calls human Shin for an explanation, but human Shin lies that it was an error – he merely wanted to scare So Bong but the robot ended up being more aggressive than he thought. From aside, David asks if Laura believes human Shin. There’s no way that’s an error and to be honest, Laura must be nervous too about what human Shin will do to robot Shin. Laura doesn’t want to talk to him but David indignantly points out that he didn’t do it for money – he really likes robot Shin and he likes Laura too. “I’m going to protect him until the very end, and if you want, I’ll protect you too.” Laura stalks off but hears David’s phone call with So Bong about how they will search for robot Shin together.
Robot Shin has actually been waiting by Young Hoon’s car all along. He sends texts to Young Hoon’s phone, asking for a favour. Next thing we know, Ye Na brings human Shin to the company to meet Young Hoon and after human Shin leaves, she calls to meet Grandpa. Turns out, it is just a ruse – it is robot Shin who wants to meet human Shin.
Human Shin goads robot Shin about having thrown So Bong against the wall, “Did your heart break? Did you want to die?” Meanwhile, So Bong sees both Young Hoon’s and human Shin’s car in the parking lot.
Robot Shin knows that human Shin is angry with the grandfather and he’s taking this anger out on him, “Then fight him directly. Why are you using me to torment people like a coward?” He pertinently points out that human Shin must be scared of him but there’s no need to because he will not compete against human Shin, “I have no desire to take what’s yours.”
Human Shin feels insulted, “You’re just a doll which does what I say. If I tell you to kill Kang So Bong, you have to kill her. That’s what you are.”
Robot Shin doesn’t want to hurt Kang So Bong, nor anyone else. He asks what he has to do for human Shin to let him go and human Shin grits out, “Disappear.” With determination in his eyes, robot Shin approaches and stands on the edge of the roof, ignoring human Shin’s demand to back away. “I’d rather disappear than harm humans.”
Alas, before he can do anything, human Shin activates the manual mode and orders him to step away.
Sad music ensues, as human Shin grabs robot Shin by the collar, “Do you get it now? You don’t even have the right to disappear.” Robot Shin answers slowly that he’s right, he’s nothing but a machine, “I guess what humans would feel in this situation is… helplessness, right?”
There’s just something poignant about how robot Shin finally realises in that moment how controlled he is.
Human Shin comes down to his car and smirks at the sight of So Bong. So Bong punches him in the face and tells him that she had felt a little sense of pity earlier, but not any more, “You deserve it.”
On the other hand, Ye Na tells Grandpa that human Shin has already found out the truth. Grandpa is surprisingly unfazed by the news and asks how human Shin has been dealing with it. Ye Na warns him that it’s Grandpa’s last chance to get close to human Shin; if he still cares for him, show it now.
She leaves the room and runs into her dad, who shows her a CCTV clip of robot Shin strangling So Bong and threatens to tell Grandpa. Except he has no clue that Grandpa already knew oops, but Ye Na still succumbs to the threat and tells him everything so that he wouldn’t tell Grandpa what human Shin has been doing, such as being impulsive and controlling robot Shin. I wouldn’t say that’s a shitty move but yeap, that’s going to have consequences Ye Na.
Back at home, human Shin recalls robot Shin’s words that he’s nothing but a machine and softens a little. However, Young Hoon tells him to terminate the manual control and that triggers him again. Young Hoon takes out the namecard and reveals that he has already learnt that Shin’s father did not commit suicide. Yet, human Shin doesn’t want to explain to him what has happened nor relent control.
Young Hoon warns him that if he hurts someone again, he will never speak to him. And this is the first time, Young Hoon has ever said such stuff to Shin.
Upon Seo’s text, Shin meets Seo at his father’s columbarium where Seo tells him that it’s true – Shin’s dad didn’t commit suicide, but rather fell to his death when he tried to escape from the facility to find Laura and Shin. He produces a recording of a conversation between Grandpa and Jung Woo, and tells Shin that once Grandpa decided robot Shin is more useful, he will get rid of human Shin. “Do not back off sir. I’m on the people’s side.”
He leaves and Shin listens to the recording where Grandpa threatened Jung Woo to stop with the whistleblowing or he would make Shin pay. “My company is more important than my blood. My company is my heart and my blood!” Shin smashes the recording in anger. Seo and Park gloat outside the columbarium, as getting human Shin into a rage is all part of Seo’s plans – Shin will take Grandpa out and he will take Shin out.
In Grandpa’s room, a Shin appears and he asks if Grandpa knows whether he’s the robot or human. Grandpa relaxes and says that only humans would ask that question, because only humans have the desperate need to affirm their identity. THAT is incredibly sharp, I must say. I’ve never once heard robot Shin asking if anyone could recognise him, but then to be fair, he’s not the one who woke up and suddenly found a clone of himself. Human Shin demands for the company but Grandpa refuses to just hand it over. He instead points out that this is human Shin’s last chance to prove himself.
Meanwhile, robot Shin broods on a bridge and sees an image of So Bong due to a hologram error. He reaches out and the image flickers away. He takes out the necklace and touches it gently. Ahhh his expression of loneliness is killing me. So Bong waits for robot Shin on the gym’s rooftop and calls him but he doesn’t pick up. So she leaves a voice message, “You’re alone again, aren’t you.” She confesses to being afraid the day before of robot Shin, “I always thought you were like a human, but for a moment, you seemed like a robot.” She wonders if that’s why he’s not going to her and apologises for her thoughts. “I miss you. I miss you like crazy.”
As he listens to this, Shin’s legs start to turn seemingly by their own accord. “I’m going to cry until you come hug me, so hurry up.”
And we see Shin slowly, slowly walking, before he starts running towards the gym. One of my favourite scenes in this episode!!
It has this parallel to robot Shin’s very first robotic reaction to hug people who cry, but this time, it is stemming from the notion of love. It’s not something that robot Shin supposedly ‘feels’, but it’s there in his every action. When he hears So Bong crying over the phone, he just wants to rush there and take her in his arms. And if this is not love, tell me what it is.
So Bong sees Robot Shin at the bottom of the gym and runs down, “You are bad. What took you so long?” Shin doesn’t answer and she continues, “What are you doing? I’m crying.” He walks towards her with purpose in his eyes………and just when he’s about to pass her, a metallic gleam shines his eyes and he walks right past her.
So Bong reaches out in confusion and he asks, “Who are you?” Uh-oh, he’s on manual mode again. Except I felt like his manual mode is already switched on when So Bong is running down the stairs because he stood there instead of hugging her immediately. What do you guys think? (thought about it again and concluded I thought too much! It was probably as how the show meant it to be – the reason why I brought this up was because I felt like Shin’s stride didn’t look like it was going to end at So Bong right from the start, but this was probably just an editing thing.)
He steps into a car, driven by human Shin and it’s revealed that human Shin has placed a memory block on robot Shin’s memories. He now can’t recognise anyone but human Shin.
The next day, Grandpa meets Seo and asks whether Seo has said anything useless to Shin but of course, Seo denies everything. Robot Shin appears but Grandpa picks up on the manual watch immediately and knows that’s not robot Shin as himself. Robot Shin strides towards Grandpa and strangles him, while Seo simply stands at a side in wonderment.
Meanwhile, human Shin looks at Grandpa’s spluttering face through the tablet with an evil expression, “Finish him.”
So Bong appears and runs to stop robot Shin, telling him that’s not who he really is. Shin shakes her off and she falls to the ground. Seo gets his ass out of the scene, and Shin drops Grandpa onto the floor.
He walks menacingly towards So Bong who stands up strong and tells him that she won’t move this time.
not even Shin strangles her and starts lifting her off the ground.
“I’m not scared. I’m not scared of you at all.” Oh my goodness.
She cries, “Please…come back…please….” and as a tear drops onto robot Shin’s hands, his memory block lifts.
He starts to remember all his past memories with So Bong, including how he didn’t hug her yesterday.
Finally, everything culminates and it’s such a satisfying moment to see the ‘manual mode’ on his watch being overwritten. He lets go of So Bong,
who falls and he holds her tightly in a hug.
“Sorry, for only hugging you now.”
This is such a dialogue-driven episode that my recap ended up being wayyy longer than expected!
I had this quiet sense of frustration that was just beneath the surface, threatening to boil over around the 80% mark of the episode. I wanted Shin to break out of the manual mode NOW, each time human Shin uses it against him. And yet each time, robot Shin obliges to the order. But it wasn’t the bad kind of frustration. In fact, it’s a good kind of frustration because my mind just really appreciates how they make robot Shin so helpless. Each effect of the manual mode is different. Robot Shin feels truly scared and bewildered the first time when he hurt So Bong, he feels helpless when he can’t disable himself, the viewers feel (on his behalf) torn and heartbroken when he just walks past So Bong and forgets who she is, and finally, the last use of the manual mode has crossed a boundary that even humans should not cross.
That accumulation makes the ending all the more sweeter. I had initially hoped from the preview that Shin will break the manual mode in the lift but I realise on hindsight, this is much better. Because it will hardly be a well-written conflict if a manual mode can be broken that easily! We have to see it takes it toll multiple times and see how Shin struggles with all of that, in order to understand how he grows and how he reaches the breakthrough at the end. It’s also a nice character development where we have So Bong admitting she was afraid of robot Shin for the first time, and realising how she can bring him back the second time. To be afraid is only human but it’s what we do despite our fear that’s more important.
I know people are really disgusted with human Nam Shin for daring to cross into murder (Side rant here: there are STILL people being disappointed that So Bong isn’t going to end up with human Nam Shin. To these people, I can only say….you’ve gotten your premise all wrong. Please watch more dramas. You may not approve of So Bong being with robot Shin, but even then, So Bong ending up with human Shin is NOT the answer to your disapproval.) Strangely, I’m pretty ambivalent about that as a show viewer (of course, no ambivalence about this in reality lol). I have to see how the drama progresses in the next episode but I feel that human Shin is someone who gets really impulsive in the moment and only backtracks when he sees the actual consequence. For example, when he demands robot Shin to disappear, he is taken aback when robot Shin actually wants to throw himself off the roof. Yes, he says that that’s because robot Shin doesn’t have the right to disable himself, but I also see it as a kind of a… oh crap what, no don’t do it what oh crap kind of mess in his head. He doesn’t think things through. He’s a child. And therefore, when Grandpa hurts him like he did, he retaliates in the most malicious, childish manner he knows how – show Grandpa how evil the robot can be. Unbeknownst to him, it doesn’t show anyone how bad robot Shin is, but how far gone human Shin is.
It also suddenly occurred to me why I wasn’t as mentally satisfied this episode. It’s just for the plain reason that I didn’t get enough fix of the cute, sweet, kind robot Shin!
As I’ve tweeted (follow me on Twitter!), it’s so amazing to watch Seo Kang Joon rocking this role. Although it’s the exact same angle and exact same pose, you can still tell that something has changed by looking at the eyes!
Excited for next episode!