The mostly incompetent writing and frequent shoddy directing continues in Hyde, Jekyll, Me, leaving me with so little to hang in there other than potentially switching to a fun snark watch session whereby I can let my silly asides fly while still savoring double the Hyun Bin goodness. The last ditch effort to massively rewrite this week’s episodes, and likely gutting whatever was planned going forward, hasn’t yielded any noticeable uptick in narrative cohesion or engaging interactions. It’s actually had mostly the opposite effect on me – Seo Jin’s sudden interest in Ha Na feels abrupt and neither-here-nor-there while Robin has sunk to all time dullsville lows and spends his time moping about losing his chance with Ha Na over the text message misunderstanding.
At this point it’s hard to figure out what the story wants the viewer to cling onto. The DID element never rings true even 7-episodes in as something that hampers on Seo Jin’s life, other than the drama insisting it is and Robin is oh so dangerous. The circus fares even worse and is basically presented as the butt of all jokes when the center piece of its performance involves blowing giant bubbles on stage which I can watch for free in my backyard when the kids are let out to play during the summer. Ha Na continues to have no purpose other than as the plot device representing the woman both Seo Jin and Robin are bound to fight over, echoing whatever happened 5 years ago that must be repeated at all costs. At this point I think they should just have a metaphorical threesome and solve the impasse that way.
Episode 7 recap:
The tables are turned and it’s Robin’s turn to blow his fuse at Seo Jin. He rails at Seo Jin’s underhanded move of not telling Robin about Ha Na’s confession, even going so far as to delete her follow up text messages. Seo Jin isn’t contrite in the least and fake apologizes with a smirk on his face when Robin demands an apology. Seo Jin is thrilled to upset Robin and hears that Ha Na thinks Robin is a total weirdo now.
Robin brings up how hurt Ha Na is right now to believe that she’s been rejected by the guy she likes. That’s not something Robin thinks Seo Jin would understand since he’s never tried to make anyone happy before. Robin warns Seo Jin to stop this behavior now and ends his video.
Seo Jin walks out to the atrium and finds Young Chan waiting there all worried since he heard yelling from the computer lair. Seo Jin explains he got a petty revenge on Robin and feels great about it. Talk turns to the assailant and Young Chan updates that the guy has mental problems and is saying all sorts of weird things, but Tae Joo has confirmed that the guy is holding Professor Kang alive somewhere.
Seo Jin runs into Ha Na in the living room and remembers Robin talking about how hurt Ha Na must be right now after the rejection. Seo Jin brings it up Ha Na looking dejected and asks if she’s just gotten her heart broken? Ha Na figures Seo Jin heard it from his brother Robin and Seo Jin takes the opening to tell her that Robin is a total no good lout and she’s got bad taste to begin with in liking Robin.
Ha Na wears a pissy face in the back seat during the ride to the circus and Seo Jin takes note of it. He later asks Young Chan what could help a girl feel better after getting her heart broken? Young Chan suggests matchmaking getogethers, drinking, and work. Seo Jin notices the decorations going up for the upcoming Valentine’s Day event and asks to see the circus proposal for that performance.
Seo Jin flips through a laughable power point presentation from the circus and proclaims it looking good which Young Chan quickly concurs. Seo Jin remembers Ha Na discussing the circus as filled with her childhood memories and all her father’s life work. Young Chan brings up how hard Ha Na is working to make the circus survive, staying here to help rather than going back to the US. Seo Jin remembers Ha Na confiding in him about how she has to stay strong for the circus troupe. Seo Jin notices that the performance items all look really flimsy and cheap and hears that the circus doesn’t have the budget for updating its performance supplies.
Young Chan has new supplies brought to the circus as well as Seo Jin’s approval in scheduling their performance and giving the circus the center stage in performing in the atrium. Jin Joo wonders what’s gotten into Seo Jin but is told that is probably Seo Jin feeling bad for mistreating them for so long. Woo Jung is excited to meet the twin brother of her Robin oppa.
Chairman Goo gets the report that Robin is dating Ha Na while Seo Jin has zero interest in Ha Na other than as assistance in finding Professor Kang.
Ha Na goes to ask Young Chan why Seo Jin is suddenly so nice to the circus. Young Chan claims Seo Jin just wants show some gratitude but Ha Na thinks it’s still too much. Chairman Goo overhears this and grows concerned when he hears Ha Na say that Seo Jin plans to go watch their rehearsals every day. Young Chan notices Chairman Goo standing there and quickly ends the conversation with Ha Na and sends her off.
Seo Jin looks down at the center stage in the atrium as the circus troupe works hard to set the stage for their upcoming performance. His eyes keep lingering on Ha Na with a small smile on his face.
Chairman Goo chews out Young Chan for not keeping an eye on Seo Jin and the head bodyguard for giving him wrong intel that Seo Jin isn’t interested in Ha Na. Everyone in this room are men, how could they not know why a guy would go watch a girl rehearse every day? Chairman Goo reminds them both of the danger that could arise if both Seo Jin and Robin like the same girl!
The circus is rehearsing and holy shit is this so-called performance a crock of crap. Except for the two acrobats on ribbons swinging from the roof, there is a ballet performance and then Jin Joo wearing some cutesy uniform and blowing giant bubbles on stage. That passes for a circus performance? Real circuses out there are embarrassed to have its craft this insultingly approximated.
Chairman Goo storms off to confront Seo Jin and finds him in the department store. I thought he ran an amusement park? Chairman Goo immediately demands Seo Jin fire the circus and send them all away, he’ll even do it himself if Seo Jin can’t. Seo Jin rebuts him and tells his dad that he runs Wonder Land so his dad can’t make personnel demands. Seo Jin brings up how Wonder Group only holds a percentage of the stock of publicly traded Wonderland so he can’t interfere willy nilly.
Seo Jin claims he’s just running Wonder Land with love and affection like it’s supposed to bring love and happiness to the park goers. Chairman Goo backs down but demands to continue this conversation with Seo Jin later in private. This exchange is observed by Woo Jung and Eun Chang.
Seo Jin goes to check on the circus and brings in an orchestra troupe to accompany their performance and improve the quality. The circus all clap like idiots and thank Ha Na for whatever she did to get Seo Jin to turn nice towards them.
Seo Jin sits down with his dad who can’t believe his son has changed and tells Seo Jin not to overstep in claiming that Wonder Land belongs to him. Dad won’t let Seo Jin inherit until he is fully cured. Seo Jin updates that Professor Kang is alive so his condition will be better soon. Dad hopes so but until then he wants Seo Jin to get rid of the circus and its troupe leader Ha Na.
Seo Jin doesn’t see the need because he doesn’t have any feelings for Ha Na. He’s just being good to the circus to thank Ha Na for helping the police locate the assailant which is one step closer to finding Professor Kang. Chairman Goo doesn’t look convinced even when Seo Jin says one more time that there is nothing doing on with him and Ha Na.
Young Chan also harbors the same concerns and brings it up to Seo Jin, that a guy going to see a girl rehearse every day is a sign of being interested, plus it’s so far from Seo Jin’s normal personality. Seo Jin feels a bit grateful to Ha Na because his tightly wound mood has been alleviated somewhat by Ha Na’s willingness to help find Professor Kang. Young Chan hears this and brings up how Seo Jin is talking like Robin which gets Seo Jin to bark back that not every nice person is Robin! He threatens to fire Young Chan if he speaks out of line again.
The circus goes backstage and talk turns to how Chairman Goo almost had the circus fired but Seo Jin stood up for them. Woo Jung thinks Seo Jin likes Ha Na and Jin Joo thinks it’s possible since they are living together now. Ha Na insists that isn’t possible but no one in the circus believes her and just laugh about it.
Seo Jin walks through the department store and remembers the recent observations from Young Chan and Chairman Goo about his recent changed behavior. He then flashes back to Ha Na’s fireside confession that she likes Robin followed by his hacking Robin’s phone to read Ha Na’s texts before deleting them. Seo Jin stops in his tracks and doesn’t look pleased while Young Chan wonders what’s going on?
The circus heads out drinking but Ha Na’s got her mind on Seo Jin’s recent nice behavior towards them. Everyone drinks if they’ve made a mistake during today’s rehearsal. Eun Chang chugs first and then drinks Woo Jung’s portion when she claims she can’t drink. Seo Jin walks why and looks through the window, remembering the drinking session at the retreat with the circus folks. He tells himself not to have any expectations because Professor Kang hasn’t been found yet and his illness isn’t cured. He walks off and Ha Na spots him through the window but he’s gone by the time she runs outside.
Ha Na finds Seo Jin at home and thanks him for everything, the performance, the supplies, and standing up for them to Chairman Goo. Seo Jin just wants the circus to do its job and put on a good performance. Ha Na gets up her guts to ask why Seo Jin is doing all this for the circus? He stares and then says “expressing my gratitude.”
Seo Jin goes back to his room but Ha Na follows and asks if his gratitude is for her help in finding the assailant to help find Professor Kang. Ha Na claims she did it because she wanted to and doesn’t want Seo Jin’s gratitude this way because it would raise the hopes of her circus members. What if one day Seo Jin went back to being cold towards them, then they would fall into despair. She thanks Seo Jin for this opportunity but asks that he not give the circus any empty hopes going forward.
Seo Jin follows Ha Na back to her room and reveals he also hates empty promises. He read the performance proposal and thinks it’s excellent which is why he’s helping the circus put on a better performance. You mean the same proposal that looks like it was done by a kid for his econ class? Methinks Seo Jin’s ability to run Wonder Land ought to be called into question by dad as well.
Detective Lee brings Tae Joo along to investigate a motive for the assailant’s attack. Tae Joo doesn’t know why but he checked around the hospital and the guy doesn’t have a grudge against Professor Kang. Detective Lee wonders if the assailant could be suffering from depression? He gets a call from the annoying Seung Yun asking if Professor Kang has been located and hangs up on him.
Detective Lee leads Tae Joo into the apartment of the assailant and explains he already sweeped it thoroughly earlier during the day. Tae Joo notices the assailant’s wallet has stacks library cards which indicate he reads a lot. He flips through a diary and sees a picture of a little boy holding a balloon at Wonder Land.
Robin’s back and hears from Woo Jung that Seo Jin must like Ha Na and is now super nice to her. Woo Jung keeps trying to discourage Robin towards Ha Na and insists she’s the only girl for oppa. Her dad sends her away before sitting down with Robin worried that things are going down the same path again. Robin and Seo Jin like the same girl, and then insisting only one of them can have her. Robin shakes his head and explains that Seo Jin is doing this to thwart Robin and smiles wearily when asked how he plans to clear up the misunderstanding with Ha Na.
Ha Na sits in her room and flips through the sketches drawn by Robin before remembering his apology to her last night. Robin is lurking around the house scared to run into Ha Na. He sees her stepping outside and follows her to a convenience store. She’s not as blind as I thought because she sees him in the mirror and taps him on the shoulder.
They walk and talk, with Ha Na wanting to move on from what happened. Robin tries to explain again that he’s sincere towards her so can’t she give him another chance? They miss the green light during this convo and begin walking after the light has turned red. They make it to the other side without a hitch since it’s late at night and there isn’t a single car or human being around.
Which makes total sense that a cop in a car will pull over to cite them both for crossing a red light. SERIOUSLY? The cop wants to write them up a ticket and asks to see their IDs. Robin stammers that he doesn’t have his ID on him and can’t offer up his ID number either without revealing he’s Seo Jin’s alter ego. They get dragged to the police station and Robin remains silent as the cop keeps yelling at him to stop wasting his time. Young Chan arrives in the nick of time, asking Ha Na to step aside while he takes care of things for Robin.
Young Chan yells at Robin as they leave the police station, reminding him that he could have just used Seo Jin’s ID in the situation. Robin can’t since Ha Na was right there so the two go sit down to have a bro chat. Young Chan asks if Robin is serious towards Ha Na and his silence is confirmation enough. Robin initially liked her because she was the girl from 15 years ago and he felt grateful. But now that’s not the case and he likes Ha Na even if he doesn’t know her well enough to know her flaws yet.
He thinks of her when he’s sleeping and worried that he might never wake up again. But that’s over now and Ha Na thinks he’s really weird and it’s not something he can explain to her. Young Chan wonders why Ha Na thinks he’s weird and hears that Seo Jin deleted Ha Na’s texts to Robin. Young Chan asks why Robin doesn’t just say explain that to Ha Na but Robin is worried that Ha Na will have it out with Seo Jin and leave the house, refusing to help anymore. What will happen to Seo Jin? To Robin?
Ha Na storms over to confront Robin about keeping this from her. She wants him to go confront Seo Jin now and get an apology from him. Robin doesn’t budge and Ha Na wonders why there is so much around Robin that confuses her. Robin stands up and heads off with Ha Na.
Robin uses a hand puppet to express his feelings to Ha Na, that sometimes he doesn’t know how to say certain things and hopes someone will understand him unconditionally. Ha Na takes a girl puppet and says she understands but wants to know how long this will continue? The two puppets are face to face so Robin’s moves his puppet in to kiss Ha Na’s puppet before he follows suit and kisses Ha Na himself.
Seo Jin wakes up to find no Robin notes left for him and looks pleased. Ha Na wakes up to the happy memory of last night’s kiss with Robin.
Seo Jin walks through the atrium and notices the potted plant that Ha Na brought as a moving in thank you present. He places it on the ledge to water properly. Young Chan rushes in with news that the assailant is willing to talk about the attack with the police now.
Seo Jin finds Ha Na ready to go to the police station with him and she’s in a pissy mood and warns Seo Jin that she heard the truth from Robin but is holding herself in check right now.
The interrogation begins as Seo Jin and Ha Na are led into the adjoining room where Tae Joo is already there listening in. The assailant explains that he has memories he wants to forget, but he can’t forget those memories which are filled with tears. What “that guy” did to him, that’s what he’s going to dish back to him. The assailant looks at the two way mirror and asks if “that guy” is here, that guy who used to be his good friend.
The assailant starts to sing the Wonder Land theme song and flashes back to the night when there was a Santa Clause and balloons because it was Christmas that day. His smile disappears as he asks Seo Jin directly for confirmation. Seo Jin stares and says “Soo Hyun?” which is when the assailant talks to the mirror with a jaunty wave and announces that he’s Lee Soo Hyun.
Lee Soo Hyun continues his narration from that night – the two boys were good friends and went to tour the haunted house attraction together. The fake vampire was a kidnapper who captured both boys, wanting to get a big ransom from the chaebol family for their son Seo Jin. Chairman Goo refused to negotiate and give them any money and have the news leak. He would instead use all that money to place a bounty on the kidnapper’s head. The kidnapper tells a tied up Seo Jin that his dad won’t pay his ransom.
Lee Soo Hyun explains that Seo Jin’s dad wouldn’t pay the ransom but Seo Jin managed to escape. He wasn’t able to escape and later his dad died. Soo Hyun asks if Seo Jin remembers why Soo Hyun didn’t run away and how his dad died? Soo Hyun yells at Seo Jin that he has to remember, even if no one knows but Seo Jin does and he must remember!
Seo Jin starts having a panic attack and shakes off Ha Na’s attempt to calm him down. Seo Jin runs out of the room and hides in the stairwell to try and calm down. He remembers both boys begging the kidnapper to let them go. Later Seo Jin has climbed out the window and is trying to pull Soo Hyun up but doesn’t have the arm strength. The kidnapper comes back and Soo Hyun begs Seo Jin not to let him go and save him.
Ha Na finds Seo Jin struggling for breath in the stairwell and goes to check on him. Seo Jin suddenly grabs Ha Na in his arms and she doesn’t struggle, instead slowly patting him on the back as Seo Jin starts to silently cry.
Thoughts of Mine:
Can we have a moment to just appreciate the mastery of Hyun Bin in doing so much with so little. Not only that, he does it with a straight face and reservoirs of professionalism. This reminds me of Eric sticking with Spy Myung Wol even as the writing went down down down the crapper. I am genuinely amused at how the production can even delude itself into believing the majority of inane scenes in this drama actually passes muster to air. Why did we need to see repeated scenes of Seo Jin thinking about events that happened recently, and dragging on for minutes on end, other than as filler material. Why bother setting the story in an amusement park like Wonder Land and having the circus around when neither are properly used and accurately represented. Wonder Circus is basically an elementary kid level approximately of what a circus looks like, complete even with the random addition of cheerleading Woo Jung since we all know a circus needs a bunch of cheerleaders to join the rank. Ha Na supposedly trained with the Cirque du Soleil and name dropping that illustrious circus troupe, and rope gliding around random places, has been her only circus cred so far.
I don’t dislike Robin but he’s fast going down dull second male lead territory. Sorry Sung Joon, love ya but your presence here is a glorified cameo as far as I’m concerned. He was intriguing initially with the flashy appearance followed by super fighting skills, but beyond having some moves and being a nice guy, he has no further substance of depth being plumbed. Ha Na is a lost cause as far as I’m concerned, for a leading lady to go 7-episodes and still resemble a blank piece of paper in personality and acting is probably a new record. Maybe a different actress than Han Ji Min could do more with Ha Na as written, or maybe Han Ji Min would have been good but for how Ha Na is written, I can’t bother to analyze deeper into which problem is more to blame other than do my best to absorb whatever plot device she serves in any scene and then move on. Robin’s interest in Ha Na follows the same superficial trajectory as this entire drama has been written, selling things that are mere glossing and asking us to consume empty air and then ask for more. I can’t believe Ha Na’s sadness in the last episode over Robin supposedly rejecting her, and in the same way Robin’s claim to falling so fast and strong for Ha Na goes over my head. At most this drama can convince me Robin and Ha Na are fast friends and like each other, anything deeper and it turns into empty declarations without accompanying built up emotion.
Seo Jin’s abrupt about-face in this episode towards Ha Na was at least interesting, if not completely out of the blue. He was only starting to get used to her around and having his exterior shell crack open a little because of her. To suddenly shower the circus with his beneficence was so forced, not to mention the way he was thinking of Ha Na all the time and making excuses to see her. Where did all that come from? That one night at the retreat, really? I should at least be relieved Ha Na doesn’t feel anything for Seo Jin because that would be the epitome of laughable at this stage in their interaction. At most she is restraining herself from kneeing him in the balls for the text message erasing, though supposedly her caring side is oh so strong that she would immediately run after Seo Jin to comfort him. Eh, whatever. The reveal that the assailant knew Seo Jin wasn’t that much of a shocker but a nice development to keep the kidnapping plot moving along with a juicier explanation. It’s pretty clear that Seo Jin left his friend Soo Hyun behind and that one act of abandonment led to years of self-flagellation and finally the emergence of Robin when he was faced with the same scenario on the bridge with young Ha Na. At least Seo Jin’s DID backstory sorta makes sense, thank god for little victories.
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