The third episode of Hyde, Jekyll, Me is a charm, fitting that old adage but likely not much help with kickstarting this drama into gaining traction with the audience. If only the first two episodes were sliced of useless too-long scenes and this episode’s much needed narrative information dump happened last week. The drama still has plenty of kinks to get out but the great leap forward improvement in quality in this episode is a sigh of relief for me. It helps my already made decision to recap it so I’m not left trying to squeeze words out for a total bore, and it might be improvement enough to launch more discussion fodder. The story really did get majorly interesting all of a sudden, and with that both leads finally start coming to life beyond just looking pretty onscreen.
The drama got lots of buzz early on around news that Hyun Bin was paid some ridiculous salary for his drama comeback. Star salaries aren’t tied to screen time, but if it was then the salary was clearly earned this time for Binnie. He’s basically carrying 80% of the entire drama in both screen time and narrative importance and delivering masterfully at both. Getting both of his characters into the drama title now feels not enough, it’s a Me, Myself, and I situation where the viewer needs to be a fan of Binnie otherwise this drama is going to get tiresome staring at his face all the time. In terms of reveals, we find out Robins’s backstory and the nemesis gets a face and a name in this episode, answering some questions about the current missing person mystery as well as Seo Jin’s big question of why Robin is back.
Episode 3 recap:
Seo Jin sees a strobe light about to fall on Ha Na and tries to call out a warning to her before collapsing on the ground with a major headache. The strobe light falls on Ha Na and it’s Robin who pulls her to safety. Their conversation is cut short when Seo Jin’s bodyguards arrive so Robin makes a quick getaway. Ha Na manages to track down Robin on the roof before the guards and sees him standing there soaking up his return to the world.
Ha Na stares at Robin behaving oddly and asks if he’s okay in the head? Did he get hit on the head by the strobe light? A guard arrives on the roof and Robin springs into action, swiftly pushing him out the door before locking it against the rest of the arriving guards.
Robin looks around for an escape route and Ha Na taps him on the shoulder and is rewarded with a massive Robin smile in return. He asks if she wants to thank him? If so then thanks isn’t necessary since saving people is just his personality. Ha Na flashes back to the boy who saved her on the bridge who said the exact same thing.
Robin is about to just climb down from the roof when Ha Na offers a helping hand. They end up zip lining from the roof down and across the expanse of Wonder Land with the guards unable to stop their escape.
They land right in front of the castle and Robins call her a super hero for her escape tricks before leaning in to thank her for the help. Ha Na has to avert her eyes not to get swept away by Robin’s charm, reminding herself that he’s Goo Seo Jin. She asks where he’s headed and they get in a taxi together and gets away before the guards catch up.
Young Chan is informed that Robin is back and got away from the guards. He’s at the villa and has Jang Ha Na in tow. Young Chan reports the development to Chairman Goo and informs him that Robin likely doesn’t know that his belt has a tracking device. Chairman Goo hears about the missing Professor Kang and that Jang Na Ha is an eyewitness for the police. He orders Young Chan to keep all the CCTV footage of Robin from coming out.
Ha Na is washing up in the bathroom and has to repeatedly tell herself to snap out of it. The guy is rude Goo Seo Jin and she can’t be that easily charmed by a smile. She does sense that he’s not talking to her the way Seo Jin does but composes herself to go and ask all her questions and get to the bottom of things.
Robin enters a room filled with drawings and comic books. He takes out an old phone and listens to a series of voice mails from a worried male voice wondering where he went and whether he really disappeared like he said he might?
The voice explains that Robin’s manga has been adapted into a drama and he’s handled the transaction per Robin’s instructions. The voice cries that it’s been five years and is he really not coming back? Robin sighs that there is no need to cry since people are bound to leave.
Ha Na walks through the villa looking for Robin and just passes by him as he walks the other direction.
Ha Na goes outside when all the lights are turned on in the garden to transform it into a colorful wonderland of sorts. Robin walks through the brightly lit garden where Ha Na finally finds him. She calls him Director Goo which is news to Robin that Seo Jin has become a director already. Ha Na wonders why he’s talking in third person while Robin figures that Ha Na knows Seo Jin.
Robin explains he’s not Seo Jin therefore he’s not Director Goo and introduces himself as Robin. Ha Na tells herself to snap out of it because things have been strange for her one after another since she got back to Korea. He looks just like Seo Jin and she met him at Wonder Land, so if he’s not Seo Jin then who is he? Robin points out to Ha Na that Seo Jin would have never saved her since he doesn’t do that.
Ha Na agrees, Seo Jin would not have saved her and the way Robin talks to her is so very different. So if he’s not Seo Jin, then who is he? Flashback to Seo Jin and Robin having their recorded video conversation where Seo Jin lays down the ground rules of the coexistence of the two personalities. Both of them need to answer the same way when asked the question of who Robin is.
Robin tells Ha Na that he’s Seo Jin’s twin, he’s Seo Jin’s older brother. Ha Na doesn’t understand why the guards are trying to capture Robin if he’s Seo Jin’s twin? Seo Jin tries to inch away from her to avoid answering the question when suddenly they both slip on the icy ground. They grab each other to try and steady themselves but end up falling on the ground laughing.
Ha Na notices the necklace around Robin’s neck and flashes back to the memory of the same necklace in the water when she was saved as a child. Ha Na reveals that she’s seen this necklace before, she is certain the necklace is familiar to her. Same with what Robin said, that there is no need to thank him because that’s his personality. She’s about to bring up the bridge when she sees the guards readying to shoot a tranquilizer dart at Robin.
Ha Na pushes Robin aside and takes a dart to the chest and promptly faints. Robin carries Ha Na in his arms and agrees to go with the guards, warning them not to do anything while he is willing to cooperate.
Robin stares at the sleeping Ha Na beside him in the car and is assured she’ll wake up in a few hours. The car shakes and Ha Na falls on Robin’s shoulder in her sleep.
Seo Jin’s cousin Seung Yun hears from his lady love and spy that Seo Jin saved a girl at Wonder Land tonight. Other employees saw it and find it so weird since a few days earlier he bit a girl to get away from the gorilla. Seung Yun remembers five years ago when there was a fire in the hotel garage and the elevators broke, Seo Jin pulled people safely out of the shaft. He then hears that employees saw Seo Jin sliding down a zip line straight out of a movie. Seung Yun doesn’t believe it since Seo Jin has zero interest in games.
The police are interviewing the circus troop over the fallen strobe light and hears from Young Chan that Ha Na is resting at the hospital from the fright. The detective asks if Seo Jin saved Ha Na like some employees witnessed, he pulled her to safety from the falling strobe light.
Seung Yun arrives to hear that and asks Young Chan as well if that is true? Young Chan admits that happened and tries to downplay it. Seung Yun acts impressed that Seo Jin grew up and is willing to help others. Young Chan lies that Seo Jin is at the hospital, explaining he’s fine but just wanted to get check out. Another detective runs up to reveal that the strobe light part was broken and it could be a malfunction or tampered with. Young Chan tells the detective that Ha Na claimed to have been followed by a man in a cap earlier tonight.
The man in the cap assailant takes a taxi and arrives back at Hankyul Hospital. Turns out he is a doctor there as other doctors wonder why Doctor An went out tonight? He lies that he forgot something before warmly helping push a patient in a wheelchair into the elevator.
Hypnosis expert Dr. Yoon Tae Joo is giving a lecture on the subject, sharing anecdotal stories of hypnosis changing a person’s sensory experience such as enduring surgery without anesthesia or hating a food one used to love. The class laughs in disbelief and Tae Joo calls up three classmates who laughed the loudest and has them stand in front.
He asks all three to cross their hands in front of them. He will hypnotize them to believe they are criminals who have committed a crime. He asks them to open their eyes and open their clasp hands. One guy can’t pull his hands apart until Tae Joo releases him from the hypnosis, explaining to the class that he’s not a magician and is using the science of hypnosis to do this.
After class Tae Joo runs into Doctor An waiting for him outside his office. Doctor An heard about Professor Kang’s disappearance and it’s making him anxious and his condition has worsened and he can’t sleep. He asks for a consult with Tae Joo to try hypnosis as a treatment. Tae Joo agrees to see him tomorrow and Doctor An warmly thanks him before turning around and showing his scary face.
Seo Jin’s mom hears that Robin is back and her husband wants to send Seo Jin away. She wants more time to find Professor Kang and have Seo Jin treated but Chairman Goo just doesn’t want Robin to show up whenever and mess things up. Mom wants to do what they did ten years ago and keep Seo Jin beside them but Chairman Goo is worried about how the stockholders will react if they know Seo Jin is mentally ill. He can’t risk another situation like what happened five years ago which is why he needs to send Seo Jin away now.
Robin is delivered to meet Chairman Goo and he stares one last time at the sleeping Ha Na inside the van. He passes Seo Jin’s mom on his way in and happily wants to greet her but she takes an inadvertent step back from him. Robin’s smile sadly goes away and he just politely bows before walking inside.
Robin asks after Chairman Goo’s health and gets back an accusation on why he is back again? Why did he appear again? Robin doesn’t know how to answer, then or now, because he exists in ways he cannot control. Robin has his own set of memories that don’t belong to Seo Jin, all Robin knows is that he exists, his name, family, childhood, personality, it’s all him. Chairman Goo calls him a fake but Robin doesn’t care because he likes who he is.
Robin points out that he lives happier than the always afraid and hesitant Seo Jin, and compared to Chairman Goo and Seo Jin, people like Robin better. Robin asks Chairman Goo not to interfere and allow Robin to quietly live his life, he promises not to make problems for anyone. Chairman Goo spits back that Robin doesn’t have a life! He’s just the imagination of Seo Jin, he doesn’t exist. Chairman Goo hands a bottle of pills and orders Robin to take it and go to sleep forever.
Chairman Goo scoffs at Robin’s assertion that he’s not making problems for anyone. His very presence is a problem by taking Seo Jin’s body. Seo Jin has been working so hard these last five years and has changed so much. Robin wonders then why he has appeared again? Chairman Goo doesn’t know but he does know that no one welcomes Robin so he should leave. Robin knows he’s not welcome but thinks Chairman Goo should at least greet him. Chairman Goo doesn’t see the need, Robin is no one to him, he’s not Seo Jin’s twin and the Chairman’s son. He derides Robin as just a parasite, a parasite sucking Seo Jin’s life.
Chairman Goo orders Young Chan to ensure Robin takes the pills and go to sleep, then bring Seo Jin to see him tomorrow. Young Chan then hears that Ha Na is still sleeping and not awake yet.
Young Chan goes to see Robin who lights up and calls him hyung before giving him a buddy headlock. Young Chan keeps his distance from Robin and just hands him the pill bottle and orders him to take it. He gets a call from his daughter and promises to call her back in a bit. Robin asks how old the daughter is now and immediately Young Chan answers back and Robin tells him to stop forcing the distance and be himself.
Young Chan asks Robin to repeat rule number 7, that he needs to sleep after 12 hours which Robin remembers but points out that it’s only been 5 hours so far. Robin doesn’t care what Young Chan wants to do as long as he doesn’t make Robin go see Professor Kang. Young Chan reveals Professor Kang disappeared and reminds Robin that he was at the hospital yesterday and saved Jang Ha Na. Robin flashes back and remembers yesterday saving Ha Na.
Young Chan explains that Ha Na is an eyewitness in Professor Kang’s disappearance which is why Seo Jin is keeping her safe but there are currently no leads on what happened to Professor Kang. Robin figures Seo Jin brought him back because he’s scared without Professor Kang around but Young Chan says that’s not the case. Young Chan confirms that Seo Jin has changed and won’t ask for Robin anymore and reminds him of rule number 19.
Young Chan puts the pills on the table and gets up to leave when Robin asks who brought him back then? He can’t appear of his own volition, if he could then why didn’t he show up the last 5 years. He knows Seo Jin has looked for him during this time but Robin can’t appear unless he’s summoned. Young Chan tells Robin not to believe that, no one in this world would look for him. Young Chan wants to leave Robin a word of advice as his hyung, in this world there is no one who needs him now.
Robin looks very sad after Young Chan leaves and then looks around the room while snarking that Seo Jin still doesn’t have good taste.
Robin goes inside the secret liar and turns on the computer to the communications link between him and Seo Jin. He logs on and sees a new message waiting for him. Seo Jin reminds Robin of rule 19, the 19th protocol, Seo Jin doesn’t need Robin anymore so Robin is to never appear again. Robin can’t figure out why he’s back then if Seo Jin isn’t the one who summoned him.
Robin scrolls through all the recent CCTV footage and sees the moments right before the strobe light fell on Ha Na. Seo Jin tried to warn her by calling her name before collapsing on the ground. Robin watches the footage from the gorilla attack and Seo Jin having an episode right as the gorilla was running towards Ha Na. He then remembers Young Chan mentioning how Robin was at the hospital yesterday and saved Ha Na. Robin deduces that he came back because of Jang Ha Na and that she was the girl from long ago he saved from the bridge.
Ha Na finally wakes up from the tranquilizer dart and remembers meeting Robin. She looks down and notices that she’s wearing the necklace around her neck. Flashback shows that Robin took off the necklace and put it around Ha Na in the van while she was still sleeping. Ha Na remembers when she was saved from the bridge and woke up with Robin smiling down at her and connects the two as the same guy.
Ha Na opens the door a crack and finds guards standing outside. She looks out the window which overlooks the atrium and sees Robin pacing down there. Robin is calling Young Chan to ask about Ha Na’s whereabouts but hangs up when she signals to him from the room above.
Ha Na is wondering how to get down when suddenly the alarm goes off. Robin gestures for her to just jump so the acrobatic Ha Na jumps into Robin’s open arms. They smile at each other before running off hand-in-hand.
Robin leads Ha Na to the upstairs balcony and locks the door to the guards so they can talk. Ha Na confirms he put the necklace around her and he’s also the boy from the bridge. Ha Na thanks him for saving her, now and then, but Robin is the one who wants to thank Ha Na for everything. He feels like saving her is repaying a debt but she thinks otherwise and they sass back and forth. Ha Na points out he’s speaking to her in banmal already.
The guards break down the door and come out with dart guns pointed but this time Robin tells them in time to stand down and he’ll go with them. He gives Ha Na one last smile before leaving. Robin even pats the head guard on the shoulder like an older friend before going back to the secret liar. Ha Na is escorted out of the mansion and takes one last look back before leaving. Robin sits down and turns on the video camera to record a message to Seo Jin.
Ha Na runs to talk to her unni about encountering the person who saved her life before but finds no one home. She sits down to sketch the bridge and narrate what happened that night. A circus girl was practicing her cartwheels on the bridge when a boy walked onto the bridge and climbed on the railing to commit suicide. That happened night and after night as she watched him climb up but never get the guts to do it and always climb down.
Then one night he climbed higher and actually was about to leap so Ha Na jumped on the railing and pushed him back to safety but she fell. Her quick reflexes allowed her to grab the edge of the bridge but she needed help to get back up. Seo Jin reached over the railing to grab her hand but then he couldn’t hold on and she fell into the water. He dove in after her and saved her. Ha Na narrates that she was supposed to be protecting him but he ended up saving her. Ha Na wakes up and touches the necklace with a smile.
Seo Jin wakes up and immediately is in pain from an aching body. He looks around and sees a note with a “Hi” left for him on the nightstand.
Seo Jin rushes to the secret liar and logs onto the computer and finds Robin’s new message waiting for him. Seo Jin plays the video and sighs to see a smiling Robin greet him. Robin apologizes first since he figured Seo Jin doesn’t have any happy welcome words for him. He then apologizes for breaching the 19th protocol, the one where they agreed Robin didn’t need to exist anymore because Seo Jin doesn’t need him anymore.
Robin has another reason to exist because of Jang Ha Na. He asks Seo Jin to remember the bridge 15 years ago, the night Seo Jin wanted to kill himself and the night Robin was born. The girl who saved Seo Jin and who awakened Robin is Jang Ha Na. Now that girl is the trigger who has brought Robin back again. Robin knows Ha Na is currently important to Seo Jin as well as the eyewitness to Professor Kang’s disappearance. Which is why Robin is laying down a new rule, protocol 20: protect Jang Ha Na.
Thoughts of Mine:
The noticeable and much appreciated improvement in Hyde, Jekyll, Me doesn’t feel too jarring despite the lackluster first two episodes. That mostly comes from the narrative flow coming across as organic to the storyboard rather than interjected for extra oomph. Maybe the writer thought the first two episodes was sufficient background laying with enough interesting nuggets to keep the audience attention, and we all know that didn’t happen with a combination of not enough information and sloppy execution. The story really picks up now with the arrival of Robin not just as a flying superman savior but someone with his own backstory. Hearing the hows and whys of Robin sharing a body with Seo Jin actually makes Seo Jin interesting finally. I don’t want to get too hooked on Robin not just because he’s the alternate personality and is likely doomed to disappear, I also think he’s existing within a formed vacuum and doesn’t have the capacity of Seo Jin to really live a complete life. In that essence he is the parasite that Chairman Goo believes, but I do wonder if Seo Jin would have lived and lasted this long with Robin to share in the heavy burden he bears.
I find all the super romanticized moments in HJM both absurd and satisfying. It’s a weird reaction which I chalk up fully to Hyun Bin’s charisma and mega-watt dimples. When he smiles I don’t care if he’s doing flying leaps over roofs or zip lining across an amusement park, I just like watching him light up the screen. Doesn’t hurt that the directing takes it so seriously, making me want to pat the PD on the head and tell him that pretty doesn’t equal logically easy to swallow. Throwing in the far-fetched encounters does add that comic book element to help tie in the co-existence of Seo Jin and Robin as basically mean Clark Kent and really smiley Superman, with Ha Na as their Lois Lane. The fact that she thinks Robin is Seo Jin’s twin works for me since that’s the official line around the Goo household, but she still comes across as super dim most of the time. In both cases where she’s been rescued by Robin, he shows up mere seconds after she just had an interaction with Seo Jin, and always wearing the same outfit. I wish going forward she will become more insightful and less dopey asking questions that serve as exposition. Han Ji Min’s acting is still as flat as in the first two episodes but at least Ha Na has become more interesting thanks to the backstory with Seo Jin as well as being the trigger for calling Robin back.
I’m not quite sure how this drama wants to tackle the psychological condition of Seo Jin’s dissociative identity disorder. So far the medical aspects have been lightly touched upon while the focus has been on the return of Robin after a five year absence. I enjoyed the peek into the formerly symbiotic relationship whereby Seo Jin actually willingly co-existed with Robin until something caused them to agree to protocol 19 whereby Robin would never come out again. That’s awfully sad if one sees Robin as a person with feelings, since he’s been banished and his return is viewed as a nuisance and intrusion in Seo Jin’s life. Whatever Robin lives for, he does appear to be a happier person than miserable tightly wound Seo Jin, except I get a sense that there is more to Seo Jin than we’ve seen so far. I see Ha Na falling for Robin because he’s her white knight, not to mention who wouldn’t be charmed by a man who smiles and saves her in one fell swoop. That’s a connection that feels too simplistic so I’m looking forward more to how Seo Jin and Ha Na will start communication and learning about each other aside from immediate antagonism. I enjoyed the Seo Jin-Robin video communications and find their secret lair such a cute comic book superhero set up. Hopefully the drama keeps up the improved pace and quality then it might really have a shot at being a worthwhile watch.
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