Part of the allure of K-drama romances is the tension building even with ordinary couples in relatively mundane situations. Who wants to watch a romance that is devoid of the frisson of excitement, which explains how the current easy peasy Ha Na and Robin are dating reveal falls so flat. Hyde, Jekyll, Me picks up when it dips the first toe in the new waters filled with big bad Tae Joo and does a passable job of utilizing this new narrative weapon. It helps a lot that Sung Joon is having a blast playing Tae Joo with the crazy eyes and the veneer of dastardly right under the surface. Finally someone else in this drama is helping Hyun Bin shoulder the burden of rendering the proceedings entertaining to some degree.
Sadly the continued Robin and Ha Na dating sucks all the energy into a vortex where two really dull and boring nice folks just sit around all day being nice and dull and boring together. A glimmer of hope appears in what might be me rooting for Ha Na to immediately start cheating on her new boyfriend with his twin brother (so she thinks), because there was one scene with Ha Na and Seo Jin that made the screen thrum with bursts of energy. Too bad it was so one-off and the rest of episode 9 was just more exposition and set up. I can’t wait for Tae Joo to unleash some whoop ass payback because that will mean Robin actually doing something other than be Ha Na’s lapdog, not to mention Seo Jin getting a much needed kick in the rear to do something about his predicament other than be angry all the time.
Episode 9 recap:
Tae Joo is revealed to be the real Big Bad and is gunning for Seo Jin as payback for what happened to them as kids during a botched kidnapping escape. Ha Na remains clueless as ever and heads to see him for another hypnosis session to recover her lost memory from the hospital rooftop attack. Tae Joo’s nice façade is shaken when he sees Robin arriving with Ha Na and is further shocked to hear Ha Na introduce him as Seo Jin’s older brother.
Tae Joo welcomes Robin and Ha Na in and goes to grab them a drink. Both notice Tae Joo seemed off to see Robin and wonders if perhaps he’s awkward because Ha Na brought her boyfriend along while Tae Joo is a lonely bachelor. These two are so dim I have no words.
Ha Na is a bit nervous about the upcoming session but Robin is more interested in whether Ha Na has been doing her sessions along with a handsome bachelor professor like Tae Joo. Robin notices a picture of Professor Kang posing with Tae Joo on the desk and Ha Na wonders if Robin also knows Professor Kang?
Tae Joo is trying to compose himself while trying to make sense of how Seo Jin could have a twin brother when he’s certain Seo Jin is not a twin. Tae Joo flashes back to the rooftop attack and wonders if the guy then was this Robin? He puts on his fake face and heads out to greet Robin and Ha Na.
Robin introduces himself and explains that not a lot of people know that Seo Jin has a twin. Ha Na confirms that Robin can stay during her session and Tae Joo agrees before heading out to grab his items. He pauses to glare at the door leading to the hidden room where he’s keeping Professor Kang hostage.
Tae Joo explains to Ha Na that her memory of the assailant’s face on the rooftop may lead to the real Lee Soo Hyun. Ha Na nervous glances at Robin and he gives her a reassuring sign so she starts the session. Tae Joo hypnotizes Ha Na back to the day of the hospital attack and she walks up to the rooftop herself. Suddenly the door shuts behind her and she starts to freak out.
A person walks up to her and Ha Na pauses but is too scared to turn back to look at him. Tae Joo tells Ha Na to turn back around and we see that in the hypnotic state the person walking up to Ha Na is Tae Joo himself. Ha Na remains too scared to turn around as Tae Joo walks right up to her.
Ha Na cries that she wants to leave, she’s too scared and she needs to leave. Tae Joo tells her to calm down and on the count of three she will wake up. Tae Joo wakes Ha Na up but she is still in the hypnotic state and feels someone strangling her. Robin gets up to help but Tae Joo holds him back and tries to wake Ha Na up from the hypnosis. Robin pushes Tae Joo aside and runs over to Ha Na while Tae Joo tries again to wake up her.
This time it works and Ha Na wakes up completely from the hypnosis but she’s traumatized and crying that she can’t open the door and someone is strangling her from behind. Robin gently wipes Ha Na’s tears away to comfort her. Ha Na goes to the bathroom to wash her face and revive herself from the too real nightmare.
Tae Joo is scribbling in his notebook while Robin waits for Ha Na. He doesn’t seem happy and asks Tae Joo if Ha Na being in a trance is normal? Tae Joo says it’s possible since Ha Na was in danger and almost died that day so her emotional fear from that day influences how she reacts during the hypnosis. She’ll need something beyond her control to help her overcome this ingrained fear.
Ha Na comes out from the bathroom and tells a worried Robin that she’s fine. Tae Joo gets up to talk with her but Robin stands protectively in front of Ha Na. Tae Joo explains that Ha Na needs to remember what happened that day otherwise even Professor Kang could become a suspect.
Ha Na leaves with Robin and he pulls her in for a reassuring hug, upset about what she’s been going through to get her memory back. He almost thrashed that doctor back there and calls out Tae Joo for looking quite shady. Ha Na teases about his jealousy but Robin is serious in feeling helpless in solving this issue for her. Ha Na hugs Robin back and is just happy that he’s beside her now and will always be there for her. As they walk off Robin turns to look back one more time at Tae Joo’s apartment.
Tae Joo watches the recorded session and zooms in on Robin sitting in the background. He gets a call and welcomes the person up to his apartment.
On their way out, Ha Na wants to go home to check on Seo Jin first but Robin makes the excuse that they need to discuss the circus performance plus Seo Jin is not home. As they drive out of the parking garage is when cousin Seung Yun drives in with his girlfriend. He wants her to find other DID experts and is certain Seo Jin was seeing Professor Kang to treat that condition. But he needs the official diagnosis to use as leverage against Chairman Goo.
Seung Yun sits down with Tae Joo for a hypnosis session because he’s curious about how someone could be hypnotized to believe something. Tae Joo shows off his hypnosis prowess with Seung Yun and shows him how easy it is to him believe that he was separated from his parents while wandering through the park.
Tae Joo then really hypnotizes Seung Yun and asks if Seo Jin has a twin brother? Seung Yun confirms Seo Jin doesn’t have a twin.
Ha Na shows Robin the event proposal for a night parade to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Wonder Circus. It’ll cost a lot and she’s not sure Seo Jin will agree to it. But she wants to do their best to make an awesome presentation for Seo Jin so she needs Robin to sketch the scene displays. As Robin sketches he brings up Ha Na’s future sessions with Tae Joo and wants to always go with her which makes her think he’s being a jealous boyfriend. Ha Na finds his jealousy cute so Robin runs with it and asks Ha Na not to worry so much about Seo Jin. He knows she’s helping him but don’t make herself too emotionally worn out because of it.
Ha Na agrees and then changes the subject to ask why Robin was so sad when he was young? Why are all the pictures of him on the bridge so sad with his head down? Robin realizes that Ha Na didn’t see Seo Jin for the first time on the bridge that day and hears she was watching him for the year prior to him jumping off the bridge.
Robin realizes Ha Na has been concerned about Seo Jin since back then and tells her that the sad boy on the bridge was Seo Jin all along. Ha Na realizes that Seo Jin was the one she saved from falling over the bridge and the one who saved her was Robin. She stares at Seo Jin’s picture and Robin pulls her over to remind her that Seo Jin will be fine. He’s been through a lot but endured the whole time. Ha Na thinks Robin helped by being a big comfort to Seo Jin.
They start flirting with each other which is when Ha Na’s circus mates walk in on them. They can sense the odd mood between them and ask for an explanation. Robin happily declares that he’s dating Ha Na.
Robin hangs out with Publisher Min and is told to keep his relationship with Ha Na from Woo Jung for the time being lest she freaks out. He’s more worried about how long Robin intends to keep the truth from Ha Na.
Ha Na goes home and stares at Seo Jin’s closed door before going to her room to look at the sketches of sad Seo Jin on the bridge. Robin voiceovers that when Seo Jin tried to kill himself that night, it was when Robin was born. But Robin doesn’t know why Seo Jin tried to commit suicide or the reason Robin came into existence. He wonders if he can tell Ha Na all of this?
Seo Jin wakes up and is immediately inundated with memories of all the recent events.
Detective Lee holds another investigation update session with the other detectives to link up Professor Kang’s disappearance with Goo Seo Jin’s kidnapping from 22 years ago. The kidnapper was caught and is serving a life sentence now. The other people involved include the missing Lee Soo Hyun from 22 years ago.
Young Chan informs Seo Jin that the police is looking at alternative angles, such as maybe Professor Kang staged the scene and hypnotized the assailant into doing her bidding and believing he is Lee Soo Hyun.
Ha Na finds Seo Jin on his way out of house and stops to share her firm belief that Professor Kang is a victim and not the perp since Ha Na saw her injured that day in her office. Seo Jin coldly tells her that he needs to go somewhere else so she can go to Wonder Land by herself.
Seo Jin pays Tae Joo a visit and Tae Joo immediately takes Professor Kang’s side and is certain she did nothing wrong. Seo Jin doesn’t know who to believe but wants as much information as possible. Tae Joo suggests Professor Kang may not know the whole truth about what happened during the kidnapping 22 years ago. The fake Lee Soo Hyun kept saying Seo Jin was not telling the truth about the kidnapping, so it’s not likely Professor Kang could have hypnotized him to say that if she doesn’t know what happened back them herself.
Seo Jin hears Professor Kang started her hypnosis research about 6 years ago in connection with another medical expert in the US. Tae Joo claims no one else in Korea knows how to do it. Seo Jin asks for all the files pulled from her research and takes the day off to go home rather than head to Wonder Land.
Tae Joo calls Ha Na to check on her and she wants to schedule another session tomorrow. Tae Joo tells her not to overexert herself as it’ll backfire in her current state. Tae Joo will call Ha Na to schedule another time as he has another patient for tomorrow. He stares angrily at his computer with pictures of Robin and Seo Jin side by side and ominously declares that he will see them tomorrow.
Ha Na finds Seo Jin in his room angrily on the phone demanding the documents he asked for immediately. She notices that he cuts his finger while flipping a page and goes inside to hand him a bandaid. He ignores her so she grabs his hand and wraps the bandaid on the cut. Seo Jin continues to ignore her and keeps reading the papers in his hand.
Ha Na asks why Seo Jin doesn’t trust Professor Kang despite her treating him for over ten years now. Seo Jin angrily retorts that even the father who gave birth to him didn’t come save him. How can Ha Na ask him to trust anyone? He never even trusted Professor Kang from the beginning much less now.
Ha Na brings up the sad boy who walked the bridge every night and reveals she used to watch him. She heard from Robin that the boy was Seo Jin. Ha Na shares her experience of falling off the rope when she was training and was too scared to get back on. Her dad said that her fear wasn’t the rope but herself. If Seo Jin can’t trust the world, then he should at least be able to trust himself.
Seo Jin sits on the floor and stares at the books and papers around him while thinking about all the conflicting things people are all saying. He grabs his head and says that it’s too late. Seo Ji ends up sleeping on the ground which is how Robin finds himself when he wakes up surrounded by books. He’s naturally confused since Seo Jin is always in such orderly control of his life.
Robin gets a call from Woo Jung asking to be his manager from now on to help arrange his work schedule. Robin heads down to his basement room and get to work and gets a text from Ha Na explaining that Woo Jung warned her not to distract Robin. She then asks Robin to check on his little brother Seo Jin who seems quite distressed.
It’s morning time and the one to wake up is Robin and not Seo Jin. Young Chan freaks out upon getting a call from Robin during daytime. Robin doesn’t know what happened either since he went to sleep on schedule. This has never happened before and he didn’t do anything to keep Seo Jin from coming out. All Robin can guess is that Seo Jin may be running away after starting to doubt Professor Kang. Young Chan is just freaking out because today of all days is the schedule Board Meeting.
Chairman Goo calls to check on why Seo Jin isn’t at work yet? He orders Young Chan to bring Seo Jin in immediately and not worry about the Professor Kang stuff. Young Chan tries to beg off claiming Seo Jin is sick but is told to bring Seo Jin no matter what. Robin decides to step up and go in Seo Jin’s stead and salvage the situation.
Robin puts on glasses but is told he just looks like Robin wearing glasses. The two guys fiddle with Robin’s hair until he gets it gelled back like Seo Jin. Robin puts on a suit and tie and is told to add an extra layer of ice to his whole demeanor. Young Chan has Robin practice talking in Seo Jin’s curt tone and then shows him a slide of all the people who will be at the Board Meeting. Chairman Goo’s secretary texts Seung Yun that Seo Jin is still not at work yet so Chairman Goo is pissed off already.
Seung Yun is dining is with the other Wonder Land executives and devising a plan to bring up Seo Jin’s recent bad press to try and force him out as heir of Wonder Group.
Robin studies all the latest business details on the ride to the meeting but doesn’t look all that confident which unnerves Young Chan.
Chairman Goo arrives at the Board Meeting where everyone else is already seated except for Seo Jin. Chairman Goo finally gets tired of waiting and calls the meeting to start. Before Seo Jin’s turn is skipped over Robin arrives just in the nick of time. Robin goes around greeting all the board members one by one before heading to the podium for his presentation.
Seung Yun immediately brings up the recent events at Wonder Land and asks how Seo Jin plans to explain it. Robin takes responsibility for all the incidents and explains that he’s corrected all the lapses. Another board member asks about the missing Professor Kang who is a psychiatrist and is also treating Seo Jin. Chairman Goo interjects that both he and Seo Jin have retainer doctors on hand for all the specialties.
The board still wants to know why Seo Jin is seeing a psychiatrist and Robin explains that he’s just being careful after the kidnapping incident but he’s perfectly fine. Seung Yun wants to see a clean bill of psychiatric health and Robin can’t get one from the missing Professor Kang but welcomes the board to bring in another psychiatrist to see him.
Seung Yun then brings up Ha Na and why Wonder Circus is still around? Chairman Goo claims Ha Na is helping to find Professor Kang and afterwards the circus will be let go. Robin interjects and refutes that plan and will continue to keep the circus going forward since it’s been part of Wonder Land for so long. Robin explains that he may be a shrewd businessman but he’s very into spreading art and culture under his leadership at Wonder Land.
Chairman Goo drags Robin back to his office after the board meeting and demands to know if he’s Robin? He angrily smashes a cup when he hears that Seo Jin is missing and demands to know what Robin did to Seo Jin! Young Chan has to go outside and asks all the secretaries to step away lest they overhear.
Chairman Goo is done with Seo Jin and wants to send him away to a mental hospital for hypnosis therapy. Robin explains that Seo Jin made the choice to hide behind Robin now and won’t come out even with any type of therapy. Robin vows to keep being Seo Jin until Seo Jin comes back.
Robin tells Young Chan later that he wants to help Seo Jin because he’s also helping himself. He wants to know why Seo Jin is running away and why Robin exists in the first place. Chairman Goo tells Seo Jin’s bodyguard to find another psychiatrist who can keep a secret.
Robin sees Ha Na walking by the carousel and secretly follows her until she enters Wonder Circus. Woo Jung walks up and tells Robin, who she thinks is Seo Jin, that they need to become a team to split up Robin oppa and Ha Na unni. She tells Robin to wait there and runs into the circus to tell Ha Na that Seo Jin is waiting for her outside.
Ha Na looks around outside and is about to head back when she sees Robin (pretending to be Seo Jin) walk past. Robin then gets a call from a distorted voice telling him to do exactly as told otherwise Professor Kang dies. Tae Joo is hiding in the distance and orders Robin to keep walking so he does, which is when Ha Na catches up and follows him.
Robin is ordered to go to the Ghost House and go inside. That’s when Tae Joo identifies himself as Lee Soo Hyun and wants to meet. Robin walks into the Ghost House while Ha Na watches curiously from behind.
Thoughts of Mine:
This drama keeps asking the characters to behave in ways that stretch the credulity on how they are piecing together information and running with it. From the Grade-A inept cops to Ha Na and Robin’s little twin dim stars routine, sometimes I wonder how anything gets done? Then I realize this world has the circus that never actual performs actual circus performances and then it all makes sense. Just like how I never actually see Seo Jin run Wonder Land just like Robin hasn’t done much manhwa drawing other than for Ha Na, and both are still delivering more that the world’s least believable circus troupe leader. This gripe really is hard to let go of because once a drama chooses it’s setting out of a myriad of choices then it should be weaved into the story and serve a meaningful purpose. That hasn’t happened here and often even detracts and takes me out of the action, like that laughable excuse for a publicly traded company board meeting. The only stretch that works if the hypnosis element that Tae Joo uses as his weapon to enact revenge. It may be a scientific stretch but given the leap of faith then the drama makes full use of it as Tae Joo has now gotten even closer to Seo Jin but I really want to see more sparks fly rather than skulking around.
I do find it implausible that Tae Joo doesn’t know about Seo Jin’s DID simply because he had that convo with Professor Kang about using his real identity to go into therapy to treat Seo Jinl. If he wasn’t told that Seo Jin had DID, then what did Tae Joo think Seo Jin was seeing Professor Kang for? Aside from that, if Tae Joo is as crackers as he seems then both Robin’s strength and Seo Jin’s smarts are needed to contend with whatever nefarious plan he has in store. I like the little asides when Robin’s instinct tells him that something is off with Tae Joo, but then he doesn’t probe further which remains a major flaw in storytelling in the drama. So much is said and not shown, so much information just sits there and is not analyzed further. I still can’t believe Ha Na doesn’t know Robin and Seo Jin are the same person, regardless of what she’s been told if I see one guy only during the day and another identical one during the night then all my koala senses would be tingling off the charts. Ha Na may not do the conjectural flying leap that Seo Jin and Robin are two personalities in one body, but she really is too meekly accepting of whatever she’s told.
I like the development that Seo Jin goes into hiding and refuses to come out, though the execution isn’t nearly as funny when Robin pretends to be Seo Jin compared to when Seo Jin had to pretend to be Robin. It did happen really abruptly, one moment Seo Jin is sitting there reading and feeling stressed and the next moment he’s on the floor and gone. I wish Robin knew more about what’s going on Seo Jin, sometimes he seems so self-absorbed, like when he told Ha Na not to worry about Seo Jin because he’s been there done that. Since I don’t find the Robin-Ha Na romance even remotely interesting, their interactions become time fillers until I can get more substantive conversations from Ha Na with Seo Jin. The saving grace is Ha Na’s unconscious concern for Seo Jin, which is explained further when she learns finally that the sad boy she was worried about all those years ago was Seo Jin. Since Ha Na remains still just a plot device, I hope the drama utilizes her to trigger more from Seo Jin so that he comes back out and fights for his right to exist, cowardly flaws and all.
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