The production team is clearly padding for time, as the final episodes of "I'm Not a Robot" bring up some very weak last-minute conflicts solely so that the characters can demonstrate more minimal effort to solve them. Min-gyoo abruptly turns around from permanenently hating Yoo-cheol to just sort of idly forgiving him, which Yoo-cheol gladly accepts. Once more it's hard to take Yoo-cheol credibly as a villain, when it never seemed like he wanted to be fighting Min-gyoo in the first place.
Everyone else just sort of hangs around and does extended epilogue stuff. Everyone gets a girlfriend, or boyfriend, or little sister, or something to make life generally warm and fuzzy. At the risk of sounding like a grump, my main issue with this is that everyone's loneliness issues are solved way too easily. At its best emotional moments, "I'm Not a Robot" really nailed Min-gyoo's sense of social isolation, to the point it made other characters do serious introspection about their own life choices.
The revelation that Min-gyoo has to go do military service, an inherently miserable and lonely life experience for Korean men, is completely wasted in this context. The drama had a perfect opportunity to help us build solidarity with Min-gyoo, and realize that we are all Min-gyoo on the inside- and instead we just to Yoo Seung-ho looking dapper in his uniform as he comes back to see Ji-ah. The scene may be cute, but it's also unnecessarily generic.
Consider this. We see Min-gyoo go through a terrible grueling day of training. He's miserable, having never been run ragged before like this in his life. He's about to cry- then the heart ball turns on, and upon realizing that Ji-ah is thinking of him, Min-gyoo's worries all melt away. Other soldiers see the heart ball and want their own. All of a sudden, Ji-ah is a successful entrepreneur, and she didn't have to make deals with suspicious looking white guys in suits to do it.
That's another mistake "I'm Not a Robot" has made fairly consistently. It expects us to care about the characters' professional goals, solely because we're supposed to want to see them succeed. What I wanted, anyway, was to see them work together to make the world a better place. How exactly Baek-gyoon's robots are going to accomplish that, we'll never know, since the drama cuts out before we get an explanation. Oh well. I've seen worse.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "I'm Not a Robot" Episodes 31-32 (Final)"
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