Final Review: I am Not a Robot

Since this is Kdrama, I am not expecting Robot to deal with the science-fic possibilities of a machine with learning capabilities. And it didn’t go there. Also, the romance is still strictly between humans, not between an AI machine and human. Which works fine, for the early part of Robot, but the narrative went a little downhill when Ji-ah and gang’s conscience start to gnaw on them. Especially when they learn that Min-kyu’s psychosomatic allergy has been cured by “Aji3”, when in fact, it was Ji-ah all along. And telling Min-kyu will trigger a severe allergic reaction enough to kill him — since the source of his “illness” stemmed from a deep distrust of human beings, after being betrayed by his uncle (aka Chairman Hwang) and his buddy.

Naturally, the second betrayal will hurt Min-kyu even more. Since he thought he had successfully walked out of his psychosis and learnt to accept humans as friends — ironically, the closest to him in proximity is the Santa Maria Research Group (Baek-kyun et al.), who are the ones who had been lying to him. So this convoluted “should-I-shouldn’t-I” went round for a few cycles as the characters and our female lead battle between themselves for having to continue to lie to Min-kyu and yet wanting to tell the truth.

As most romcom goes, physical separation of the OTP doesn’t work. Kdramaland will invent all sorts of ways to pull the OTP back together. So it isn’t surprising that Min-kyu (who had been having near brushes with Ji-ah for like a quarter of Robot‘s narrative), meets Ji-ah face to face on a bullet train (and seriously, who sits facing each other on a train…the seats CAN be rotated on such trains). He was supposed to travel to Busan (weirdly, he didn’t choose to fly when he was supposed to rush for a conference), and Ji-ah was travelling to visit her sis-in-law’s granny for the last time before she migrates to Australia. Keeping Min-kyu at arm’s length doesn’t work either, since Kdramaland’s Mistress Fate decides to lock them in a warehouse overnight.

While I find the setup to be commonplace, I do think Robot took its own sweet time to dither there. I suppose the narrative is unable to sustain a prolonged viewer’s interest since it has chosen the “easy way out” by changing the potential of what Robot could have been to “just another romcom”. Imagine the amount of pondering and what-ifs that could have built up if Min-kyu did indeed fall for a robot, and the hints that Aji3 can evolve be taken a step further. What we did get from this never discussed angle is tentalising hints of Aji3 having a will of her own (she can overwrite a deleted command and even being locked in a chest is no impediment to her walking out of it).

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