It’s hard to top the ignominy of episode 7 of Hyde, Jekyll, Me, what with the ratings dropping to a measly 5.1% and losing to a KBS two episode filler special drama. At this point it’s basically a lost cause to try and resurrect the ratings, the drama would do better to just focus on telling whatever story it has up its sleeve to the best of its ability rather than pandering to get 1 or 2 negligible percentages points. Episode 8 was a much needed game changer for the story, not one that is all that shocking or impactful but at least it’s now going somewhere beyond incremental baby steps with the Seo Jin-Robin circular issues. The big twist, so to speak, also gives me something to actually care about outside of liking Seo Jin’s character.
The central romance and love triangle remains so deadly dull it’s a major reason why I’m so harsh on this drama beyond the bad writing. I’ve enjoyed so many terribly written dramas all because I like and care about the OTP, even if stuff happening in the story is silly and trite. Here there is no OTP for me to care about because Ha Na is so flat as a character compounded by her one-expression emoting. Now the twist suddenly throws a different character into the limelight and created a different conflict with Seo Jin that is way more compelling than the limp romance. I can see this development was likely built in since the drama started and I actually think it a disservice to introduce it so late when this drama could have used this intensity from the beginning. Better late than never, right?
Episode 8 recap:
Seo Jin starts having an nervous breakdown episode after hearing the assailant claim to be his childhood friend Lee Soo Hyun and bringing up their mutual childhood kidnapping episode. He runs out of the interrogation viewing room into the stairwell to try and calm himself down. Ha Na is concerned and goes to check on him. Instead of pushing her away as usual, Seo Jin embraces Ha Na until he calms down. He then wordlessly releases her and walks away.
Seo Jin goes to the bathroom and processes the news that Soo Hyun is still alive. Oh, did he think his friend died? Seo Jin tells himself that he’s fine since it’s all in the past now. You can keep telling yourself that and delay the inevitable, my boy.
Young Chan worriedly reports to Chairman Goo on the identity of the assailant who claims to be Lee Soo Hyun, the son of Driver Lee. Mom hears Dad talk about Driver Lee’s son and her mouth drops open. Young Chan tells the Chairman that Seo Jin appears to be doing fine despite hearing this shocking new information.
Young Chan meets up with Seo Jin as he walks out of the bathroom and tentatively asks if Seo Jin wants to go see Soo Hyun? Seo Jin doesn’t see the need, they were formerly childhood friends but Soo Hyun is now a criminal and who knows what he’s done to Professor Kang. Seo Jin is just going to give a statement to the police.
Ha Na asks Tae Joo if the assailant has said anything further, namely where Professor Kang is? Tae Joo shakes his head and Seo Jin walks up to apologize to Ha Na for alarming her earlier when he briefly lost his composure and curtly tells her that he’s all fine now. All four head to see Detective Lee so Seo Jin can explain his side of the story.
Seo Jin explains that he was abducted along with Soo Hyun from Wonder Land when they were kids but his dad refused to pay the ransom. Seo Jin managed to escape and afterwards no one knew what happened to Soo Hyun. Detective Lee wonders why Chairman Goo didn’t pay the ransom and Seo Jin coldly repeats that it’s pointless to negotiate with criminals.
Detective Lee brings up how Soo Hyun’s dad Driver Lee supposedly took money from the company safe to go negotiate with the kidnappers and died in a car accident. Seo Jin refutes that and claims that wasn’t what he was told. He was told Driver Lee went all over to look for his son and died in a car accident that way.
Tae Joo interjects to ask how Seo Jin managed to escape? Seo Jin doesn’t see how that’s connected to this case and Tae Joo claims it might help shed light on the assailant’s mental state. Seo Jin claims not to remember how he escaped. All he knows is that the kidnapping left trauma for both boys and clearly Lee Soo Hyun is suffering from mental problems. Detective Lee wonders why Soo Hyun would target Professor Kang rather than Seo Jin if he holds a grudge against Seo Jin? Seo Jin remembers Professor Kang finding the cure and explains that because he needs Professor Kang that is why Soo Hyun took her, to keep something important from Seo Jin. Later Ha Na walks through Wonder Land with new understanding of what Seo Jin said to her before, that he has no happy memories in Wonder Land.
Seo Jin goes to see his dad to discuss this turn of events. Dad can’t believe Soo Hyun is back after so long, and if he targeted Professor Kang that means he knows Seo Jin’s illness. Seo Jin is genuinely upset that Professor Kang is in danger all because of him, and if she’s never found alive then he will feel guilt for the rest of his life.
Seo Jin appears to be functioning just fine again and tells Young Chan to keep his schedule for today.
Ha Na is zoning out during a circus meeting and her troupe notices that something is on Ha Na’s mind. Ha Na announces a break and goes outside to voice her concern over Seo Jin. She tries to assure herself that he should be fine since he said he was fine. She composes a text to Seo Jin but can’t bring herself to send it.
Young Chan accompanies Seo Jin home and offers to hang here tonight, clearly worried about Seo Jin. All he gets is a “leave” as Seo Jin heads to his room. Young Chan runs into Ha Na and shares his worry about Seo Jin’s tightly wound mental state and asks Ha Na to keep an eye on him.
Ha Na walks through the house and doesn’t find Seo Jin anywhere. She tentatively knocks on his door and walks in when she doesn’t get a response. She finds Seo Jin curled up in bed looking wan and sweating profusely. Ha Na tries to call Young Chan but Seo Jin grabs her hand to stop her.
Ha Na then runs around the house looking for medicine and then brings it to Seo Jin in bed. She gets him to take the medicine and then gets advice from a medical helpline on how to take care of someone with a high fever. She pulls off his blanket to help the heat dissipate but draws the line on taking off his clothes or holding him.
Seo Jin orders Ha Na out of his room but she just puts a warming pouch in his hand and heads to the kitchen to cook up some food. She presses some fresh juice and hot tea for Seo Jin before carrying it back to his room. Ha Na natters on about why Seo Jin doesn’t have any rice or real food in the house and refuses to leave until he drinks the fluids. She can’t believe he’s so tightly wound and won’t take her help and offers to make some porridge for him.
Ha Na offers her hands to help him sit down and Seo Jin remembers how she’s been influencing him recently and thinks to himself that it’s all pointless. Seo Jin tells Ha Na to leave and he doesn’t just mean his room, he wants her out of his life. Because of Ha Na, Robin is back and he started to have hope again, which is how things ended up back in the same place again. If Ha Na wasn’t here then his life could have continued as is.
Ha Na claims she is just concerned about him but Seo Jin doesn’t see Ha Na having any right to be concerned about him. Who is she to him? He demands that she forget everything from today because she’s nothing to him other than a burden in his life. Ha Na calls Seo Jin the ghost going through life not caring or engaging and if that’s what he wants then he go back to living that way.
Ha Na storms out of Seo Jin’s room and turns back to glare angrily at the closed door. Seo Jin moves to open the door and follow but stops himself. Ha Na stands with her back to the door and Seo Jin does the same thing on the other side.
Ha Na stomps back to her room and can’t believe she’s hurting because of that two-eight split guy! She calls herself too kind and overflowing with pity in wanting to help him.
Seung Yun takes his girlfriend to the police station to bring food to butter up the cops. He asks Detective Lee if he can see the suspect and claims to know Lee Soo Hyun when he was younger. He explains his connection with Seo Jin – Seung Yun’s mom is Seo Jin’s dad’s older sister so they are first cousins. He has shares in Wonder Group like Seo Jin but just a lesser percentage which is why he cares about Seo Jin’s wellbeing. Seung Yun tries to get his girlfriend to flash some leg but that doesn’t work with Detective Lee.
Seung Yun is still let into the interrogation room and he sits across from the assailant and can’t believe he’s Soo Hyun, claiming that he looks totally different grown up. He identifies himself as Seung Yun and explains how he used to take the boys out to play when they were younger. He claims to be here to help Soo Hyun and wants to know where Professor Kang is being stashed. The assailant claims not to know who Seung Yun is which upsets Seung Yun since he was closer with Soo Hyun than he was with Seo Jin.
Seung Yun stands up and reminisces about an incident with a lighter when Soo Hyun burned himself on the back of the neck. He pulls open the assailant’s shirt and doesn’t see the burn mark. Seung Yun informs Detective Lee that the assailant is NOT Lee Soo Hyun.
The police go back to the assailant’s apartment to search it again and this time Detective Lee finds a hidden space in the ceiling. The panel is opened and boxes fall out of the space. Detective Lee finds a picture album with no pictures inside other than an insignia that reads Hope Orphanage 1992.
Woo Young holds a gathering of Robin’s fan club and her new fan Eun Chang is now working part time at the café to spend more time around her. Woo Jung calls Robin to join the party and he agrees to come right away. Robin then thinks about his kiss with Ha Na last night and calls Ha Na to invite her to the party as well.
Robin arrives at the café for his fan party and is immediately swarmed by shrieking girls. He then sits down as Woo Jung leads a group of fans to do a dance performance for Robin who happily watches. Robin notices Ha Na’s arrival and gestures for her to come in but Ha Na shakes her head with a smile and stays outside.
Robin and Ha Na go drinking alone and he gets the update on Seo Jin getting mad at Ha Na for trying to take care of him earlier. Robin thinks Ha Na should have yelled back to Seo Jin and not taken his bad attitude. Robin thinks the men of the family have temper issues and jokes that he was the one who didn’t want the family and not the family kicking him out.
Robin claims he tried so hard to help and shares an instance where Seo Jin used to be isolated by kids at school so he pretended to be Seo Jin one day and wowed the classmates with some fancy skateboarding. The next day there was a fan club for Seo Jin but soon disbanded since Seo Jin’s personality remained prickly and hard to get along with. So in the end Robin and Seo Jin agreed to each live their own lives.
Robin tells Ha Na to just ignore Seo Jin since he’ll just make her upset going forward and Robin doesn’t like someone with his face making Ha Na cry. Ha Na asks why Seo Jin thinks she’s the reason Robin appeared? Why does Seo Jin make it seem like Robin and Ha Na ruined his life? If it was her, she would be angry at the dad for not paying the ransom during the kidnapping, so why is Seo Jin mad at Robin? Robin explains that Seo Jin sees Chairman Goo as a wall and who can hate and be angry at a wall? That’s why he takes it out on Robin since he’s around, and blames Ha Na because he thinks Robin hasn’t left like he did 5 years ago because this time Ha Na is there.
Robin suddenly notices that Seo Jin appears to affect Ha Na quite a bit. Ha Na claims Seo Jin is Robin’s younger brother and is so different, having suffered as a child, while she’s just too kindhearted which is why she feels bad for him. Ha Na asks if Robin can’t get along with Seo Jin and just gets a smile in return.
Ha Na goes back to the house and stops to stare at Seo Jin’s closed door. After she walks away is when Robin sneaks into the house and quickly ducks into Seo Jin’s room. Ha Na goes to the kitchen to make some hot water for Seo Jin and brings it in a thermos to his room. Ha Na knocks but doesn’t get any response so places the tea outside his room. Robin pretends to be Seo Jin and gives her a curt acknowledgement so Ha Na goes back to her room. Robin apologizes to Ha Na in his mind for not telling her the truth now. But when the times comes and she can accept him knowing the truth, then at that time Robin will never be the first to leave Ha Na.
Seo Jin wakes up the next morning and immediately remembers the assailant claiming to be Lee Soo Hyun. Robin leaves him a message to go watch a video and Seo Jin finds soju and snacks waiting for him in the lair. Robin records a video while asking to drink with Seo Jin and teases that Seo Jin apparently can drink more than him.
Robin figures Seo Jin doesn’t want to drink back so takes a drink and starts talking about how Professor Kang claims Robin was created from Seo Jin’s guilt and self-loathing. Those are just excuses and Robin exists because Seo Jin wants to live, and to live Seo Jin needs Robin. If that’s the case then they need to survive together. It’s ironic that Robin was created so Seo Jin can live but Robin is happy and Seo Jin is miserable every day.
Robin has never been happier than now and he believes that only if Robin survives then Seo Jin can survive since Robin was created by Seo Jin. Robin asks Seo Jin to help him and in turn Robin will help Seo Jin. Robin will wait for Seo Jin’s answer.
The detectives pay a visit to Hope Orphanage and finds the records of the assailant Ahn Sung Geun who was raised in the orphanage, proving that he’s not Lee Soo Hyun who lived with his family until the kidnapping incident in 1992. Detective Lee storms back to interrogate the assailant who keeps insisting that he’s Lee Soo Hyun.
Ha Na wakes up to text messages from Robin that he’s going to talk with Seo Jin like they used to so that Ha Na isn’t worried about them. She smiles and then goes downstairs to make breakfast for Seo Jin. Young Chan rushes in to inform Seo Jin that the assailant turns out not to be Lee Soo Hyun after all.
Seung Yun and Tae Joo are called in to confer with the detectives about how to break the assailant’s claim that he’s Lee Soo Hyun and also to get him to reveal where Professor Kang is stashed. Tae Joo brings up how the assailant was a mental patient as well so he could be having a psychotic episode. Seo Jin arrives and Seung Yun immediately claims credit for discovering the man isn’t Lee Soo Hyun.
Seo Jin storms into the interrogation room and checks for himself that the assailant doesn’t have the burn mark on the back of his neck. The assailant keeps insisting he’s Lee Soo Hyun and even Detective Lee doesn’t know what to do because the assailant actually passed a lie detector test. Seung Yun brings up how the assailant may actually believe the lie which is why he passed the lie detector test. Tae Joo says that is possible with hypnosis to get someone to believe a lie is the truth.
Seo Jin starts to lose his cool as the assailant brings up the kidnapping incident again and has to be pulled off the guy. The group convenes outside to discuss how the assailant knows so much about Lee Soo Hyun if he’s not the guy. Seung Yun thinks the assailant must know Lee Soo Hyun and Seo Jin agrees with him. Tae Joo asks again how Seo Jin escaped from the kidnapping? Seo Jin says he got out first and tried to save Soo Hyun but couldn’t, that is all.
Tae Joo explains that hypnosis could theoretically plant false memories in the assailant leaving him to actually believe it. But he claims he’s only read about it but hasn’t seen it actually done it. And the only person with psychiatry skills expert enough to do it is Professor Kang herself.
Detective Lee pays Ha Na a visit to tell her that the assailant is not Lee Soo Hyun and wants her eyewitness account again of having seen the assailant before. Ha Na is certain she saw him as the attacker in the circus, but now thinks the attacker on the roof at the hospital was a different person. Ha Na offers to go see Tae Joo for another session to retrieve the memory of the face of that attacker. Tae Joo heads home and gets a call from Ha Na asking to come over later for another session. He welcomes her and hears she’s bringing a friend along.
Tae Joo pours himself a cup of coffee before walking to the bookshelf next to his bed and pushing it open to reveal a hidden room behind it.
Tae Joo heads into the room and tells the person inside that time is almost up as Ha Na is coming by later for a session and is about to get her memory back. The camera pans around and Professor Kang is sitting there tied up with her mouth duct taped.
Flashbacks to the same scenes in episode 1 show that Tae Joo was the one who entered Professor Kang’s office that day. She realized that he was Lee Soo Hyun and that led to Tae Joo angrily pushing Professor Kang into the table. Then Ha Na sneaks into the room and Tae Joo with a mask and glasses attacks her. She fights back and the attack moves to the roof where she pulls off his mask and gets a look at his face.
Tae Joo then goes back to Professor Kang’s office and hypnotizes her into docilely leaving the hospital with him. He then hypnotizes the assailant by planting false memories into his mind about being Lee Soo Hyun.
Tae Joo then observes the proceedings at the police station when the assailant claims to be Lee Soo Hyun in front of Seo Jin.
Tae Joo tells Professor Kang that her treatment method has failed. When she discovered Tae Joo was really Lee Soo Hyun, she wanted him and Seo Jin to go into therapy together and mutually get healed. Since Seo Jin was carrying guilt over Lee Soo Hyun, but Soo Hyun was still alive, then Seo Jin would heal that trauma. And if Seo Jin admitted his fault from the past, then Tae Joo would forgive Seo Jin.
Too bad that failed as Tae Joo explains that Seo Jin is still emotionless and telling lies about what happened in the past. Tae Joo tried to give Seo Jin the benefit of the doubt with coming clean about the past but each time Seo Jin did not admit any fault. That means Professor Kang is wrong in thinking Seo Jin will ask for forgiveness when he sees Tae Joo, because Seo Jin hasn’t experienced the same pain that Tae Joo went through.
Professor Kang’s treatment method is wrong so now it’s time for Tae Joo’s way. He’ll make sure Seo Jin experiences the same pain Tae Joo did, then they can mutually get over the past. Now he has to deal with Ha Na to make sure she doesn’t remember seeing his face on the rooftop of the hospital.
Tae Joo leaves the hidden room right as Ha Na rings his doorbell. He opens the door with his usual warmth and welcomes Ha Na inside. She moves forward which is when Robin appears behind her with a big smile. Ha Na explains that she brought her friend and Tae Joo’s face twitches as he tries to control his emotions at seeing Seo Jin’s face.
Thoughts of Mine:
Thank you Evil Tae Joo! Thank you for finally showing up with your crazy eyes to inject life into this plodding drama. I’m going to rail on this incompetent screenwriter some more for keeping the Tae Joo twist in the pocket for no discernable later payoff and plenty of underwhelming filler in the beginning. As a rom-com Hyde, Jeykll, Me doesn’t ride on the thriller crime element. The kidnapper itself is standard chaebol trauma fodder, plenty of the chaebol male leads have had kidnapping or attempted kidnapping backstories so it should have been introduced from the get go to flesh out Seo Jin. HOW Seo Jin developed the DID (stemming from a kidnapping incident) isn’t as important as WHY it was triggered (from his guilt in leaving a friend behind). Seo Jin should have been given his backstory from the get go rather than seeming like a cowardly jerk and the details could be filled in later. Keeping all of it until the last few episodes left his character hard to connect with in the first episodes when necessary for the audience to engage, hence there was no engagement aside from the viewers who stuck with this story.
The writer is really shafting all the three central plots – romance, thriller mystery, and mental illness – by doing too little with each until now. I love that Tae Joo is the bad guy because he’s more compelling an antagonist than the mostly incompetent assailant with mental problems. It also gives Sung Joon more to do, but beyond that his issues with Seo Jin are super intriguing. Is Seo Jin really a coward who left his friend behind to save his own hide? Could a child be blamed if Seo Jin did do it? What exactly happened to Tae Joo after he was left behind? I still can’t really feel Seo Jin and Robin’s conflict with each other, beyond the constraints that they share one body so neither can be fully in control. The drama needs to tell us soon, if not already, what happened 5 years ago that was such a big deal. That would also help explain why Seo Jin is so deathly afraid of letting Ha Na into his heart. I need him to really spend more time with her because Robin+ Ha Na=yawn inducing boredom. Robin’s the type of too-good-to-be-true perfect second male lead that puts me to sleep because he’s so one-dimensional still. He also seems like Ha Na’s lapdog, doing whatever she asks to make her happy. *rolls eyes*
I’m still amused by the “circus” that does no actual circus performing and seems to consist of a troupe of 8 people LOL. Same with setting the background at Wonder Land and not doing much with the amusement park element of laughter, crowds, and fantasy escape. Seo Jin didn’t even tour Wonder Land in episode 7 and instead spent it in a department store, what gives drama? It’s so many of these jarring lapses in storytelling that keep wrenching me out of the moment when I’m trying so hard to just enjoy what I can from this drama. Watching Woo Jung and the Robin fan club fawn and dance for him even for a few seconds was like nails on chalkboard annoying. Same goes with Chairman Goo (and mostly MIA Seo Jin mommy) when all they do is show up and express concern/disapproval/surprise over whatever is happening with Seo Jin. If the filler can be cut and more time spent around actually fleshing out Seo Jin’s issues and trauma then the central obstacle could at least take concrete steps forward. Did Seo Jin forget what he did to Tae Joo during the kidnapping in order to move past his guilty conscience? Is that why Robin was created? Does Robin need to merge back into Seo Jin so that he can fully remember what he did and therefore heal? I actually care about that now and it’s all thanks to the professor-kidnapping-hypnosis-expert-vengeance-drive Dr. Yoon Tae Joo.
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