I basically said a hallelujah first before commencing the recap for episode 5 of Hyde, Jekyll, Me which was exponentially better in every way. SO GOOD, SO SO GOOD! There was romantic fanservice up the wazoo but with it came honest to goodness sparks and narrative impact. I was laughing and enjoying myself so much here that even the first four episodes of blah combined doesn’t phase me anymore. The ratings for HJM is frankly a lost cause but there I don’t give a frack either. Hyun Bin’s clout and appeal doesn’t come from being a ratings champion, it comes from delivering every single time in whatever acting capacity is required regardless of the story quality. This episodes best moments come courtesy of Seo Jin being forced to pretend to be Robin and Binnie slayed it.
The drama is slowly taking shape into its rom-com mold, initially too runny and viscous to really set but with the addition of more interactions between Seo Jin and Ha Na the density is being filled in. I’m so happy not to be loving Robin and hating Seo Jin, those characterizations would be too easy and the last two episodes have warmed me to Seo Jin way more than I could have expected. In many ways he’s like a really repressed big boy, and when he’s not barking at Ha Na is when he starts to thaw in entertaining ways. The drama still hasn’t magically fixed its overall flaws but the switch has been turned on finally with the stirrings of a central romance that I can get behind of. Ha Na may still be a plot device but she’s serving her purpose better and better which is such a relief.
Episode 5 recap:
Seo Jin and Robin have it out via video messages to each other. Robin isn’t the least bit apologetic about acting in Seo Jin’s stead to sign the new contract with Wonder Circus. He blames Seo Jin for making Ha Na cry in the first place and that’s something Robin can’t stand, when someone makes his woman cry. He warns Seo Jin to never make Ha Na cry again otherwise he’s dead.
Seo Jin blows his lid at being threatened by Robin over Ha Na and warns Robin not to use his face to say something like that. Robin’s trump card on Seo Jin for him to be nice to Ha Na and adhere to the new contract is to threaten to reveal his real identity to the world. Seo Jin screams at Robin, calling him crazy for taking over Seo Jin’s life and house and even violating their principle rule to never pretend to be each other. Ever.
Seo Jin goes to throw a hissy fit in the atrium while trashing the place despite Young Chan trying to calm him down. Young Chan promises that once Professor Kang is found then everything will go back to normal and both Robin and Han Na can be removed. He wants Seo Jin to do what Robin asks for now but Seo Jin hasn’t the patience to put up with Robin stealing half his life. Young Chan reminds Seo Jin that the bigger danger is Robin revealing himself to the world.
Ha Na walks through the house calling out for Seo Jin and encounters him in the atrium near the entrance to the secret lair. She’s there to give him a moving in present of the potted plant in her hand.
Seo Jin drags Ha Na to lay down the rules of cohabitating – Ha Na is to live in this house like a complete ghost where her presence is not seen or felt. She’s to focus on her primary task and go see Professor Yoon Tae Joo every morning to help her memory recovery. Seo Jin refuses to take any questions from Ha Na but she’s not that easy to placate.
Ha Na asks if Seo Jin wrote the contract or someone wrote it for him? Seo Jin snaps back that he wrote damn contract, how could someone else have written it for him! Ha Na flips the contract to a page where Robin wrote and drew all sorts of cute notes for Ha Na such as good luck and fighting and buing buing. Seo Jin grits his teeth, screaming at Robin inwardly, while Ha Na genuinely wants to know what he means by those messages?
Seo Jin grabs the contract out of Ha Na’s hand and she almost falls off the stairs which is when he grabs her mid-fall. Seo Jin reminds Ha Na of his request that she not get hurt or put herself in danger in his presence, remembering that Ha Na’s safety is a trigger for Robin’s appearance. Seo Jin sets Ha Na straight and curtly clarifies that he doesn’t care about Ha Na’s wellbeing so she can get hurt as long as it’s not around him.
Ha Na goes back to her room and acts out the two sides of Seo Jin, the nice side that wrote the contract and the mean side that yells at her. Ha Na takes out the circus funny glasses that Robin used to cheer her up and models it herself. She looks at her cell phone and imagines herself and Robin jumping on it like on the trampoline. Suddenly Seo Jin appears and pushes them both off LOL.
Seo Jin goes to record a message to Robin capitulating for now with a ceasefire while setting the ground rules again. Seo Jin’s parents are informed that Seo Jin is going to coexist with Robin for now until Professor Kang is found. Chairman Goo orders Seo Jin to come see him because he won’t allow a woman to live in the same house with Seo Jin, even if she’s an eyewitness that can help find Professor Kang. He reminds Seo Jin’s mom that last time all that problem was caused because of a woman. Ha Na happily informs the circus that they are going on a two day-one night retreat to bond and help rebuild the circus.
Seo Jin’s annoying cousin Seung Yun is told that Jang Ha Na is living with Seo Jin now and rumors are flying that he’s dating her, which also explains why he saved her earlier and why he reversed his decision to fire the circus. Seung Yun doesn’t buy it and thinks the girl Seo Jin is dating is Woo Jung, staring at the picture of Woo Jung with Robin. They decide to place a bet on it so Seung Yun calls in his minion to give him a task.
It’s 8 pm and Robin wakes up in Seo Jin’s bed and finds a message from Seo Jin and the key to Robin’s room. Robin happily runs into his room filled with comic books and drawings and opens his own closet filled with casual clothes. Seo Jin’s image appears to lay own the rules: Robin has his own cell phone but will carry both but not use Seo Jin’s, an incident such as sleep or falling unconscious will bring back the other person so unless that happens both are to stick with their allotted time which means Robin has to sleep on time. Seo Jin also warns Robin not to let Ha Na find out the truth .
Robin happily runs out to grab a car from the garage and sees Ha Na leaving the house with an umbrella. He follows her as she walks in the snow and they pass the minion sent from Seung Yun to spy on Seo Jin who is armed with a camera. I thought Seo Jin’s place was supposed to be super safe so how came a random minion can lurk around outside just like that? Wouldn’t the real assailant be able to attack Ha Na easily if security is so lax?
Ha Na walks in the snow while Robin follows her, which is romantic NOT despite the pretty scenery. Ha Na senses a presence and clearly doesn’t find it anything other than scary. Robin pulls his hood over his head to sneak up and scare Ha Na but all that earns him is repeated thwacks over the head with Ha Na’s umbrella.
Robin finally gets her to stop and pulls down his hoodie to show Ha Na his face and apologizes for scaring her. Ha Na crouches down sobbing about how she was so scared because she thought it was the assailant and Robin can only keep apologizing.
Ha Na takes Robin back to the house to bandage him up. Robin confirms Ha Na lives here now until the assailant is captured and reveals he doesn’t live here since this is Seo Jin’s house. He sees Ha Na’s sketchbook and teases that he finally found something she’s not good at which is drawing.
Robin easily sketches the bridge scene from Wonder Land and asks if Ha Na needs a storyboard designer for the circus and if so can he do it? Robin explains he has a lot of free time which Ha Na thinks is because he doesn’t have a job. She’s impressed with Robin’s sketch and agrees to let him do it but warns that it’s very demanding to do right. Robin asks about the payment terms and reveals that he knows all about the price of drawing a storyboard and asks if Ha Na wants to go meet his agency?
Robin takes Ha Na to the café and she realizes that he’s the “Robin” who is a famous manhwa artist. Robin finishes hugging his friend Publisher Min which is when Woo Jung comes home and immediately beats up Robin for disappearing for five years. She gets Robin to apologize and promise to never disappear again before sobbing dramatically that she thought Oppa disappeared because of her, because her dad said she was ugly so Robin disappeared to avoid her. So she’s annoying and dumb, go figure.
Robin prepares snacks with Publisher Min and talk turns to Robin’s lack of answers for where he’s been the last five years and who is the girl that he brought to the café tonight.
Woo Jung gives Ha Na the stink eye and wants to tell Ha Na all about her own relationship with her Oppa Robin. Woo Jung refuses to let Robin pour beer for Ha Na and then butts in the middle when her dad snaps of picture of Robin and Ha Na. Woo Jung gets drunk and claims she endured Robin being gone, treating him as having done two tours in the army. Woo Jung gets more upset when hears Ha Na has known Robin for 15 years.
Publisher Min hears from Robin that he’s back and prepared to draw again while Seo Jin has become even harder to deal with over the years. When asked who Ha Na is, Robin just smiles and says she’s the person who saved him.
Seo Jin wakes up to a loud rocket alarm at 8 am the next morning with a note from Robin that he has to put the rocket back on the stand to turn it off. Seo Jin sits up in bed and feels the effects of last night’s Robin drinking. He sniffs his shirt and grimaces.
Ha Na wakes up drunk in bed and finds her sketchbook already containing new sketches from Robin. She then remembers herself drunkenly trying to crawl her way up the stairs to her room last night claiming she doesn’t need help from no guy. Robin ends up piggybacking her while she barfs on his back.
Robin puts Ha Na to bed and she drunkenly invites him to the retreat with the circus. He explains that he can’t stay the entire time but agrees to drive her there. Young Chan then calls Ha Na out to go see Tae Joo for her session.
Seo Jin hears from his bodyguard that Robin was out drinking last night with Ha Na which is why Seo Jin doesn’t feel well this morning. Ha Na joints the trio in the car and shoots Seo Jin a dirty look. He’s thinking about what happened last night without a clue while she’s embarrassed that Robin must remember her drunken behavior last night. Ha Na wants to ask Seo Jin about last night when she got home but he barks at her to be quiet.
Seung Yun’s minion reports that Seo Jin was wearing a track jacket and was out drinking with two women last night and got beaten up by both. Seung Yun is shown pictures of the night which the minion is impressed with how hard Seo Jin plays yet he still manages to treat his women well.
Ha Na sits down for her session with Tae Joo and he wonders if she’s looking well this morning because she’s in love? Ha Na demurs but admits there is some good feeling growing. Tae Joo starts the session and shows Ha Na a blurry image capture of the assailant in the circus before he dropped the strobe light on her.
Detective Lee goes to the hospital and asks to meet with the assailant who is a medical tech there.
Tae Joo hypnotizes Ha Na into dreaming that she is in an empty art gallery. They stop in front of a portrait of The Scream and Tae Joo snaps his finger for Ha Na to remember. Ha Na stares and the assailant’s face blurs into the face in the portrait before a pair of hands reach out to strangle her.
Tae Joo holds Ha Na from behind and covers her eyes with his hands while asking her to calm down because she’s safe. Ha Na calms down while Tae Joo explains he created this art gallery world and would never take her anywhere dangerous. He wants Ha Na to trust him so he can unlock her fears.
Tae Joo walks Ha Na out of his office after the session and she explains that she doesn’t trust herself rather than not trusting Tae Joo. He must have encountered patients like that before so Ha Na asks Tae Joo to trust her and give her strength. Ha Na notices the assailant walking with Detective Lee and hears that he’s a technician at the hospital.
Robin wakes up to a note from Seo Jin threatening to kill him if he uses that damn clock again. Robin sighs that Seo Jin is no fun while checking his phone. He reads a slew of messages from Ha Na thoroughly embarrassed about last night and asking him not to come to the retreat. Robin texts that he’s already outside the house so Ha Na asks him to forget last night before quickly reapplying her makeup.
Robin thanks Ha Na for inviting him to the retreat because he really wanted to attend something like this. He helps put on her seatbelt before they happily drive off. Along the way a big truck starts to tail them and Robin notices. He tells Ha Na to sit tight before trying to shake the truck driven by the assailant. He asks Ha Na to tell Seo Jin that they were followed tonight.
The truck manages to catch up to Robin’s car and drive him off the road before driving off. Robin calls for the address of the nearest hospital before carrying Ha Na there to seek treatment. He hands Ha Na to the doctor before passing out himself.
Seo Jin wakes up in the hospital bed with Ha Na worriedly staring down at him. She keeps asking Robin if he’s okay which allows Seo Jin to quickly figure out that he switched with Robin while he was out with Ha Na. Seo Jin hears that they are near the retreat in the countryside which makes Seo Jin inwardly scream his rage at Robin for putting him in this situation.
The circus arrives at the little countryside hospital to pick up Ha Na . Jin Joo tells the rest of the circus that the guy with Ha Na is their new storyboard designer and also a famous manhwa artist. But the bigger news is that he’s also Goo Seo Jin’s twin brother. They run into the hospital to find both Ha Na and Seo Jin are fine.
Seo Jin is so clueless as to why even the circus knows Robin. Ha Na calls the detective on the case to report the incident and which alarms Seo Jin further. He sneaks outside to the hallway to call Young Chan who thinks he’s just Robin crank calling him since this is Robin time. Seo Jin has to call back Young Chan to convince him that he’s Seo Jin. He orders Young Chan to come immediately to pick him up since Robin passed out when he was with Ha Na causing Seo Jin to wake up.
Young Chan tells Seo Jin the bad news that the inclement weather has closed the roads so he can’t pick Seo Jin up. Plus if the assailant followed them there then Ha Na is still in danger so it’s best for Seo Jin to stay with Ha Na to keep her safe. Seo Jin is freaking out that the entire circus is also here and everyone thinks he’s Robin! Young Chan calmly tells him to pretend to be Robin then, just for one day. Seo Jin wants to know how Robin acts and is told to just SMILE. A lot.
Ha Na finds Seo Jin who turns around to face her with a ridiculously awkward smile on his face. He asks where the retreat dorm is and Jin Joo wonders why he talks exactly like Director Goo? Seo Jin has to quickly adopt a casual tone of voice.
On the drive to the retreat, Seo Jin is repeating over and over “I am Robin, I am that bastard no good Robin” to hypnotize himself. He wonders if they are going to a resort and hears that it’s more like a…..pension. They circus arrives at a total countryside residence run by a friend and everyone happily settles in except for Seo Jin who stares in horror at the ramshackle surroundings.
Seo Jin calls Young Chan demanding to be picked up and ordering a helicopter to come get him if the roads are not accessible. Young Chan gets hangs up on him after telling him nothing can fly tonight. Seo Jin then freezes when he senses something behind him which turns out to be a goat. Ha Na finds Seo Jin basically stiff with fright being surrounded by all these farm animals.
Ha Na wonders why Seo Jin is out there and hears he needs to use the restaurant. Ha Na points to the distance and then leads Seo Jin to an outhouse. Seo Jin waffles between not wanting Ha Na around and being too scared to use the outhouse alone. Ha Na has to stand outside the outhouse while Seo Jin squats inside, wondering why he’s so weird tonight. Seo Jin explains that he’s scared of the dark.
Seo Jin wishes Ha Na would stop talking to him but then starts to get nervous when he nears nothing from the outside. Ha Na confirms she’s still outside and asks if he wants her to sing a song for him? Seo Jin likes that idea until Ha Na starts singing famous horror movie songs LOL. Seo Jin runs out of the outhouse to find Ha Na laughing at him.
Ha Na takes Seo Jin’s hand to lead him back to the residence. She marvels at the pretty stars and crisp air which Seo Jin inwardly doesn’t appreciate at all. Ha Na finds it odd that Seo Jin carried her during the night to the hospital but now is scared of the dark. Seo Jin grimaces as he understands now why his back hurts. Ha Na starts to play a game where she calls out names of various animals and Seo Jin is supposed to make the sound back. He doesn’t play at first until finally she gets him to meow, bark, and quack back at her like a reluctant child enjoying himself.
Ha Na introduces Seo Jin to the circus as the new storyboard designer and tells everyone that Seo Jin will draw the new story for everyone now before the drinking gets started. Seo Jin stares at the sketchbook in front of him while the circus stares expectantly.
Seo Jin claims artistic license excuses himself to go draw alone and we see Seo Jin drawing a STICK FIGURE. Ahahahahaha. He looks up and sees boxes of soju in front of him and remembers that stress and getting drunk can trigger a change. He calls Young Chan to find out what his alcohol tolerance is but Young Chan doesn’t know since Seo Jin never drinks. Young Chan does know Robin is a lush with a high tolerance and that’s enough for Seo Jin to decide he has a low tolerance since everything is opposite for him with Robin.
Seo Jin goes outside to start drinking with the circus and he gulps down his beer while inwardly demanding Robin that bastard show up now. The drinking gets super earnest and Seo Jin is downing cup after cup of beer. Eventually the entire circus has passed out drunk except for Seo Jin. Drunken Jin Joo compliments two-eight split (her nickname for Seo Jin) on having such a high tolerance before she collapses. Seo Jin wonders who two-eight split is and sighs to discover that he can drink.
Sseo Jin goes outside to keep drinking by the fire while calling Professor Kang a quack for claiming he can’t drink alcohol. Young Chan is on the phone with him and tells Seo Jin to stop drinking now because he needs to go to a meeting tomorrow at noon. He might as well not sleep so Robin doesn’t show up to mess with the meeting. Seo Jin burps which makes Young Chan laugh that Seo Jin needs to thank Robin for this opportunity to drink.
Ha Na comes outside to join Seo Jin and sees the fire going and suggests roasting sweet potatoes. Ha Na eats a sweet potato and offers a bit to Seo Jin. Instead she gets a smile out of him because her face is black with soot from the potato. Ha Na noticed that Seo Jin was awkward back there and thanks him for coming to hang out with her.
Ha Na likes everyone in the circus but it gives her pressure to be around them because they are all looking towards her to lead them. Ha Na can only promise everything will be fine while keeping her own fears and worry hidden. She thanks Robin for being by her side during this time. Seo Jin’s expressions unexpectedly softens towards her until Ha Na starts sneezing.
Seo Jin sighs and blames the alcohol for him doing weird things before wrapping his blanket around Ha Na to keep her warm. Ha Na stares before saying “Robin, you are such a nice person. Which is why I like…..I like you.”
Thoughts of Mine:
I genuinely loved this episode of Hyde, Jekyll, Me even if all the clunky execution and writing bits still peek out from time to time at the seams. This is what I mean by a drama needn’t be qualitatively excellent to be enjoyed, all I ask for is basic narrative coherency and characters I care about. It took five episodes but I’m all in with how much I want Seo Jin to get better and get his life on track. Even if it means getting rid of Robin as his split personality, it’s all worth it for this man living a stunted life to have a chance at happiness. The parts of Seo Jin that cracked a little at the end was brilliantly done. From the moment he woke up in the hospital bed, every gesture and dialogue afterwards had me in stitches. He was so clearly Seo Jin pretending to be Robin for us but somehow the parts where he had Robin’s reactions felt natural, like a nice reminder that Robin is always part of Seo Jin. Whether Seo Jin locks away his nice side on purpose or he can’t control it, the Robin that Ha Na is falling for is part of Seo Jin and neither side is all that only nice/mean.
Ha Na may be insanely dimwitted, buying whatever she’s told about Robin v. Seo Jin and not catching on to anything weird with Seo Jin pretending to be Robin at the end, but at least she’s stopped annoying me. I loved her teasing ways at the end, when she took Seo Jin to the outhouse and then hummed horror movie music to torment him. Even cuter was her ability to elicit Seo Jin’s interactive side, when he’s been strictly living as a passive person who does not get involved in anything or with anyone. I think Seo Jin actually wants to live like Robin, to enjoy life like Robin, but due to their personality split the two sides of him can’t come out at the same time. Until now, when Ha Na brings forth Seo Jin’s playful side the way he made all those animal noises back at her. As the character interactions between the leads really shine like in this episode, it helps smooth over all other failings in storytelling and even makes those elements seem quaint. Like the dumb as bricks criminal police investigation and the bizarre reliance on one hypnosis doctor to get produce an eyewitness sketch. No one seems to be taking Professor Kang’s disappearance ALL THAT SERIOUSLY in urgency despite the talk about needing to find her. I feel like she could be laying in a dungeon somewhere while Seo Jin drinks and hangs out with a sweet potato munching Ha Na.
Some of the supporting characters are beginning to shine as well, namely Young Chan as Seo Jin’s assistant but also Robin’s hyung. I adore how he is so at ease with both of them, handling each with the attitude as necessary. The way he can sass back to Seo Jin makes me happy because I want him to become a hyung to Seo Jin like his warm repartee with Robin. I wish Woo Jung would disappear because I find characters like her annoying as heck and her character seems totally unnecessary, not to mention the idol actress who plays her is so abjectly terrible at acting. It would be ugh if she turned out to be the woman who caused the situation 5 years ago that Chairman Goo is referring to. Part of the improved character building comes from fleshing out Robin, with his own life as a manhwa artist and the way he smoothly worms his way into Ha Na’s personal and now professional worlds. I do hope he really is just her guardian angel because it’s going to be tough if he falls for Ha Na and ends up antagonistic towards Seo Jin. Their constant bickering is awesome and I don’t want it ever to stop.
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