I said a sincere prayer to the drama gods today once the last frame of Hyde, Jekyll, Me rolled by. Finally my Hyun Bin has been set free, and I along with him and his precious dimples. This drama was at least consistent, remaining crap to the last drop with so few redeeming storytelling moments in between. It’s an embarrassment to every actor who participated and must now have this turkey on their resume, it’s an even greater level of travesty that the leading man was Binnie. What the &*!% just happened doesn’t even begin to capture the astronomical levels of uncomfortable plotting this final episode dropped on us.
Ha Na marrying Robin wasn’t even the worst possible thing the drama pulled in the litany of all things nonsensical. The nadir of this drama is the realization that the male lead Seo Jin wasn’t even the male lead all along, and that the audience was strung along to a story about an alternative personality’s magical romance and epic farewell. Turns out Seo Jin was merely a placeholder to tell the story of Robin, nice guy with a savior streak and talented manhwa artist with a terrible taste in women. Too bad no one got the note from the scriptwriter so we all went expecting a spring picnic and came home after falling into a pile of springtime poop.
Episode 20 recap:
Ha Na organizes a wedding ceremony to Robin and asks him to marry her so that she can give him the best memory of his existence. To recap the ceremony is an insult to the very idea of marriage between two willing consenting adults, because in this case the wedding is between one batshit crazy woman and an alternate personality borrowing the use of a body. Suffice to say, they get married and their equally insane friends cheer and throw petals on the newlyweds as they say their vows, exchange rings, and kiss.
Robin and Ha Na spend their wedding night in bed watching congratulatory videos recorded by their friends at the wedding. Young Chan gets overcome with emotion trying to wish the newlyweds well so the detective steps in to offer a few words of wisdom as a married man. Young Chan composes himself and claims that he was against this wedding because marriage is a crazy institution, not that this particular marriage is crazy. The circus friends interrupt with inane banter as usual and the video ends with everyone wishing them to live well.
Robin turns to Ha Na with a glint in his eye before pulling the covers over them as she giggles. My god, they are consummating their wedding? Doesn’t Seo Jin get a say in this? And Ha Na is okay sleeping with Seo Jin’s body with Robin behind the wheel? This is so many levels of wrong I can’t even.
After what I assume is newlywed sexy times, Robin sits in front of an easel to draw his bride Ha Na as she holds her wedding bouquet in hand. Robin looks a bit perplexed and pauses with his pencil to the paper. He excuses himself and walks over to his desk. Ha Na finds him trying to redraw one of his own manhwa panels but can’t do it anymore. Robin drops his pencil in dismay while Ha Na takes note of this latest deterioration but puts on a brave face. She claims to be hungry so asks that he draw her another time.
Robin faces Ha Na and calmly tells her “the time has come, the time to leave.” Ha Na has to repeat a few times “now? now?” while insisting it can’t happen because they haven’t eaten yet. Robin embraces Ha Na while she asks for just one more day since he still needs to eat and has yet to sketch her. Robin cries as he admits he can’t draw Ha Na anymore even if he wants to. His body has forgotten how to do it.
Calls go out to Professor Kang, Woo Jung, and everyone else who needs to say goodbye or be there for Robin’s final farewell. Woo Jung cries through her goodbye to Robin oppa in his officetel, with Robin apologizing for not properly saying goodbye to her five years ago. Woo Jung is thankful for this chance to send him off with a smile and a real farewell.
Young Chan paces the mansion waiting for Robin and Ha Na to arrive. He sees Robin and immediately hugs him without saying anything. Robin thanks his hyung for everything he’s done while Young Chan wants Robin to remember how much he really likes him. Robin asks Young Chan to take care of Seo Jin. Chairman Goo pats Robin on the arm while Professor Kang asks Robin to call her in when he’s ready.
Robin goes inside with Ha Na and tells her there is one person he hasn’t been able to say goodbye to – Seo Jin. Robin wants to say goodbye to Seo Jin but can’t now. Ha Na gives him that chance and shows him a video that Seo Jin recorded for Robin.
Seo Jin admits he’s been thinking of this moment for a long time, since Robin appeared Seo Jin has been waiting for the moment Robin would disappear for good and leave Seo Jin whole again. He thought about what to say to Robin at this time, perhaps thanking Robin for saving him all this time, but that’s not what he wants to say now. Seo Jin simply thanks Robin for existing.
Robin finishes watching Seo Jin’s video and records his response. He had a lot of things he wanted to say to Seo Jin at this time but now all he will say is this – don’t look for me anymore Seo Jin, let’s never meet again. Robin ends his message to Seo Jin and Ha Na tearfully embraces him. She declares “I love you. I love you, Robin.” He kisses her on the forehead before telling her that she needs to be happy going forward. Even without him around, she needs to be happy like he’s still with her. Ha Na nods her promise to do so as Robin leans in to kiss her one final time.
Ha Na walks out to the living room to cry her guts out while Chairman Goo sends Professor Kang in to do her medical hoodoo.
Robin sits in the chair as Professor Kang hypnotizes him to go backwards in his memory, starting from his most recent happiest memory and then back in time. She talks him to go back to the first moment Robin came into existence. Robin remembers the wedding to Ha Na, their sad goodbyes, their happy times, and finally back to the moment he saved her as she fell over the building and into the water.
Seo Jin opens his eyes to see a concerned Young Chan and Professor Kang beside him. She asks if he’s feeling fine but he says nothing so she asks if he’s Seo Jin? It is Seo Jin and he just looks around the room. Young Chan runs out to the living room to inform Chairman Goo that Seo Jin is back. Young Chan offers Ha Na the chance to go inside and see Seo Jin but she declines and zombie walks out of there. Seo Jin sits in his room all alone and stares at the wedding ring in his hand. Aw shit, what an awful way to find out Robin and Ha Na got married. *%!*@&
Ha Na goes back to Robin’s officetel and looks around the place, crying at all her memories Robin left behind. This is what you get for marrying a personality, lady! Seo Jin walks around his empty mansion, looking around as if trying to find something that isn’t there anymore.
Seo Jin walks down to Robin’s den and sits down on the stairs to brood. Later he watches all the videos Robin left for him all these years, like he’s mourning the loss of a best friend, brother, and part of himself. Seo Jin wipes away tears as he watches video after video.
Seo Jin pounds on the door to Robin’s officetel, knowing Ha Na is inside and declaring that he’s not leaving until she opens up. Ha Na opens the door to Seo Jin as he confirms that she’s still alive. Ha Na sees Seo Jin and immediately thinks of Robin so she asks to be left alone for the time being. Seo Jin pulls Ha Na behind him but she asks him to not do this. Seo Jin tells Ha Na that Robin wants him to comfort her. Plus Seo Jin is also missing Robin so the two people who are mourning his departure should do so together to remember him.
Seo Jin and Robin go to the countryside and take the same walk that Robin did with Ha Na. Seo Jin also pauses to read the poem on the wall like Robin did. Ha Na stares at the street mural of the old couple looking out at the sea and looks sad since she can’t do that with Robin. She appears to see Robin writing on the doodle wall but when she walks over all she sees is Seo Jin.
Seo Jin asks if it’s really that painful for Ha Na to see him? Can’t she be comforted by seeing him and remembering Robin? Seo Jin doesn’t know how to comfort her, to lessen her sadness, to stop her tears. Ha Na doesn’t want Seo Jin to comfort her because she doesn’t deserve it. She admits to not wanting Robin to disappear even as she’s happy that Seo Jin’s illness got better. Even knowing Robin is an illness, she wanted a way to live with Robin forever. Since meeting Robin and Seo Jin, the thing she thinks about most is how great it could be if the two guys were the same person. One side like Robin, one side like Seo Jin, and that way no one gets hurt and she can love without reservation.
But Seo Jin and Robin are not the same person. With Robin being gone, Ha Na doesn’t want to search for Robin’s memory in Seo Jin. Doing so will only make it more painful for herself and for Seo Jin. Ha Na walks off as Seo Jin stares at the doodle wall and remembers Robin writing the note on there.
Ha Na and Seo Jin just miss each other by the waterfront, with her walking off as he arrives to look out over the water. Seo Jin answers a call from Professor Kang and tells her that he’s being weird right now, suddenly starting to cry while standing there. Professor Kang hears Seo Jin is feeling flushed and asks him to come see her. He might be getting Robin’s memories flowing into him and eliciting a sudden strong emotion. Seo Jin is surprised that he’s not only getting Robin’s memories but also Robin’s emotions. Seo Jin looks up and sees Robin’s memories of the fireworks going off.
Seo Jin goes home to process all this new memory and emotions Robin left behind, while Ha Na is at the officetel watching the video from her surprise birthday at the radio station. She still doesn’t know that it was Seo Jin pretending to be Robin that day. Jin Joo arrives to check on her and Ha Na admits she can’t forget what Robin said to her that day before going to the radio station, that it all feels like a dream but isn’t. Ha Na also feels like that day was a dream because she was so happy, especially the way Robin was looking at her and smiling. That’s Seo Jin, you fool!
Jin Joo tells Ha Na that the way Robin was looking at her that day was the look of a man in love with a woman. Jin Joo answers her phone to assures the caller Young Chan that she’s at Ha Na’s place and will take care of her. She tells Ha Na that Seo Jin is worried about her so sent Young Chan to ask Jin Joo to check on her. Ha Na knows that Seo Jin cares but she doesn’t want to accept his efforts. Seo Jin is finally all healed but seeing her sad will make him feel guilty and she doesn’t want that. Her choice is to not see him anymore.
Seung Yun’s position as the interim director of Wonder Land has been rescinded as the board is readying for Seo Jin’s return. Seung Yun refuses to accept that, insisting Wonder Land is his and Seo Jin will destroy it.
Seo Jin gets dressed for his return to work, with Young Chan offering him a morning revitalizing drink. He bumps Seo Jin who spills a bit of water on his suit but doesn’t get mad and just brushes it off. Seo Jin calls Young Chan hyung like Robin does without even realizing it. Seo Jin also heads straight for the driver’s side door rather than his usual back seat spot.
Seo Jin attends a press conference for his return to Wonder Land as well as to discuss future plans for the park. He admits to running a theme park for kids but having never watched Disney movies himself. So he watched all of them and realized that it’s not just stories but human emotion that the park will bring. Young Chan’s jaw drops to hear Seo Jin’s speech sound exactly like what Robin said to the board when he was pretending to be Seo Jin.
Seung Yun can’t hold himself in and causes a scene, blurting out that Seo Jin is not manhwa artist Robin and can’t even draw. He challenges Seo Jin to draw on the spot and prove he is also Robin. Seo Jin grabs a pen and easily draws a picture for Seung Yun, confirming that he can draw now just like Robin. It’s Seung Yun’s turn to be taken aback so he know believes Seo Jin is Robin and asks him to list the contract terms for the recent Wonder Group deal. Seo Jin correctly answers Seung Yun’s challenge leaving Seung Yun eating the drawing in anger.
Seo Jin leaves the press conference and stares at his hand which just effortlessly drew a picture. He remembers Ha Na wishing for him and Robin to be the same person. Seo Jin gets into the car and pauses for a moment before driving off. Seo Jin arrives at Robin’s officetel and knows the code to open the front door. He looks around inside and remembers Robin’s happy moments with Ha Na here.
Woo Jung is dating Eun Chang but still remembers today is Robin’s birthday and has prepared flowers. She asks Eun Chang to be patient with her until the time arrives that she forgets Robin’s birthday until it has passed. She gets a call and runs over to Wonder Circus where Jin Joo is reading a news article that manhwa artist Robin has released a new work.
Ha Na reads the news and runs off to the officetel where she finds Seo Jin sitting at the desk. She demands to know why there is a new work being published, and if he had someone else draw it. Ugh, shut up wench. Seo Jin admits he doesn’t know how to tell her about all his changes and wonders if she will believe him if he said that he drew the new work. Seo Jin doesn’t believe it himself but it’s true, he can now draw and even drive, Seo Jin can now do all the things Robin knows how to do.
Ha Na asks Seo Jin to stop doing this and turns around to walk off. She stops in her tracks when she sees the completed portrait of her holding the wedding bouquet sitting on top of the fireplace. Seo Jin walks up to Ha Na who asks if this is a dream, seeing as the portrait is confirmation that Seo Jin does draw just like Robin.
Seo Jin drives Ha Na to the countryside and shows her a little country farmhouse just like what Ha Na said to Robin before that she wanted to go with Robin on his birthday. Seo Jin explains to Ha Na that he has all these memories of the time Robin spent with Ha Na but it feels like a dream where he doesn’t know the context. He wants to understand and keep those memories together with Ha Na. Thanks to Ha Na, his illness has been cured, that illness which used to cause him to not remember half the time of his life.
Now Seo Jin remembers everything, even the things he did with her that he didn’t know about. How Ha Na smiles at him and talks to him, he remembers. Whether it’s as Goo Seo Jin or as Robin, he remembers it all. If she asks who he is, all he can say is that he is a man who loved her as both Seo Jin and Robin. He is just a man who wants her love now.
Seo Jin tells Ha Na that he loves her before wiping away her tears. Ha Na says nothing to his big speech or declaration, just standing there as Seo Jin kisses her on the forehead before softly kissing her on the eye and finally landing a kiss on her lips. They break apart and Ha Na leans in to kiss him again. The camera keeps cutting out to show to cute white puppies running around.
Seo Jin voiceovers that he lied to Ha Na about one thing – the wedding ceremony, he never was able to regain that memory as likely Robin took it with him.
It’s Seung Yun’s turn to do calming yoga like Seo Jin did in episode 1, chanting that he is letting it all go and will get better. He chants that he no longer has his ambitions and should be thankful that Seo Jin stopped him from falling deeper. His ladylove is happy that Seung Yun has finally let his obsession go.
Ha Na and Seo Jin tend to their garden in the atrium hothouse, cutting peppers off the vine and picking lettuce. Ha Na shows off her hand wave activated cell phone camera function for one final PPL as the couple take selcas with their harvest.
Seo Jin and Ha Na sit in the same bird cage chair as Seo Jin voiceovers “smiling, teasing, feeling, this ease and being in love, we are just living our days like this.”
Thoughts of Mine:
How do I close out my recap commentary for the final episode of a drama that left me with such a bitter taste in my mouth and shivers of distaste down my spine. There wasn’t a lick of romance or healing to be found, only quackery to the nth degree wrapped in a gross substitution wrap up. Robin remained a plot device from beginning to end in how he was developed, yet elevated to the importance of the male lead with how long he overstayed his welcome. He should have left a few episodes ago yet the final stretch of the drama was all about Robin’s plight in disappearing. What could have been moving if handled judiciously became ponderous as it was dragged out on and on. When Ha Na married Robin and then consummated their wedding, which means sleeping with SEO JIN(!!!), it became like the 10th straw the broke the already broken camel’s back. How the writer thinks this is even remotely proper to do is beyond the mind of any rational human being, no matter how much she wants to keep giving Robin all the love while Seo Jin gets the droppings. For Seo Jin to wake up and see his hand with a wedding ring on it kills me, strikes me dead even as I thought this drama couldn’t sink any lower.
Ha Na has joined the pantheon of drama leading ladies I hate with the heat of a thousand burning suns. She is an abominable human being, capable of neither rational thought nor proper consideration. She is all about Robin, when Robin is not real and the one who is real she totally puts on the backburner. Even worse is dragging it out even after Robin has disappeared, treating Seo Jin like he’s pressuring her or something, when Seo Jin is the one who must feel even worse about Robin’s departure since it’s like losing a part of himself. The throwaway romantic wrap up at the end is completely unpalatable to me, the way Ha Na went from her continued insistence that “I love Robin and you are NOT Robin” to wordlessly accepting Seo Jin just like that. Da fuq is this? Seo Jin is a cool enough character on his own, despite the limited screen time and character development, that he deserves a woman who loves him for being HIM, and not some amalgamation of Seo Jin and Robin. If the drama has spent a few episodes developing how Ha Na grew to love the new SeoBin then it would work, but to throw it in the final few minutes icks me out big time.
Was she just resigned to having Seo Jin because he retains Robin’s memories and behavior? If so then that’s so not fair to Seo Jin, who actually grew to love Ha Na on his own terms with his own reason. If she was already in love with Seo Jin even when Robin was around but couldn’t toggle between the two, then Robin leaving should leave her free to accept Seo Jin. Except the drama never fleshed that out with the proper development and passage of time, instead wasting so much screen time on Robin’s farewell tour that only the final thirty minutes were left to give Seo Jin a proper ending of his own. If Robin was really Seo Jin’s twin, an actual person, then this might make sense, but Robin was ultimately just a personality created by Seo Jin to fulfill a purpose during a moment of emotional trauma. His domination of this story reversed the priority and left too many more important threads hanging. The events of 5 years ago that created a supposed third personality Terry was discussed once and never to be seen or heard from again. Tae Joo the kidnapping hypnotic expert mastermind controlled the entire middle section of the show without proper build up initially and no satisfying wrap up towards the end.
I’m not sure where to place Hyde, Jekyll, Me in the pantheon of crappy K-dramas. There are plenty worse than this, but likely not many that achieved this level of disappointment simply by virtue of killing so much excitement for it. If this is Binnie’s last drama in god knows how many years, maybe ever, then it’s certainly a crash and burn way to go out. He’s had plenty of low-rated dramas, even ones that have equally silly but different plots, but this one hurts more than any other. His earlier duds were during the rising period of his career, but now he has the clout and critical acclaim to handle any role and he was saddled with wasting his time acting out the gamut of emotions for a DID personality who just didn’t know when to gracefully exit stage left. Han Ji Min was so bad from start to finish here, from speaking like she had a speech impediment and couldn’t speed up her cadence, to reacting to almost every event with the same brow-furrowed blank expression, she was as bad as bad acting gets. This doesn’t mean I think she is or only can be a bad actress, but in this drama her performance was undeniably awful even if half the blame can be laid on the poorly written character of Ha Na.
Looking back at the drama as a whole, aside from Binnie’s acting being phenomenal as usual (and hardly tapped at that), there really isn’t anything else redeeming about this production. I hated all the OST songs, if I can kill “Because of You” I would send that syrupy ditty to the pits of hell, and there was only one instrumental that elevated the mood. The directing was pedestrian and devoid of any energy, everyone was directed half-somnolent not to mention the excess slow repeat brooding shots. Every scene felt like it was running on slightly slower video speed, so even action shots like Tae Joo’s kidnapping and repeated escapes came across as jokey. Why did Binnie pick this drama I will never know, but apparently he got only the first two scripts which was then wholly rewritten before filming started. The second female lead was initially supposed to be the ex-girlfriend character from 5 years ago, who also happens to be Seo Jin’s psychiatrist. That character was eliminated and the set up repackaged to what we saw. In hindsight, oh what I would give to have seen what Binnie likely signed up for instead of what he was saddled with. So many coulda, woulda, shouldas. My only certainty at the end? It was still worth watching this crap drama for Binnie and keeping him company through this dark period of his acting career.
Click here to watch Hyde, Jekyll, Me.