Hyde, Jekyll And I – First Impressions

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Hyde, Jekyll and I – which switched from the shorter title Jekyll and I to the longer version – was surprisingly charming for me. It hit the right notes and reminded me of My Love From Another Star in certain aspects. I think it also helped that I generally liked Cheongdamdong Alice, and since the writer Kim Ji Woon is on this drama as well it doesn’t feel too far off from her style for her sophomore outing as a main screenwriter.

I’ve got high hopes for this drama. (Some spoilers, for episodes 1-2.)

The beginning of the drama was a little slow, even if it did have certain action scenes like Goo Seo Jin (Hyun Bin) saving a mysterious girl (who turns out to be Han Ji Min) from a falling disco ball, and a loose gorilla on a rampage in the theme park. There were certain moments reminiscent of Secret Garden based on Seo Jin’s gruff and efficient manner in handling things, but Hyun Bin carefully shies away from being too quirky to better fit the tone of this drama. He at least doesn’t have a weird phrase about a turtle and a rabbit or something to keep his head sane, but uses yoga and meditation to keep his heart rate in check.

And it’s actually really important that he keeps all of his vitals in check, because if he goes over 150 in his MSP (a measure that calculates his pulse, blood pressure, and temperature), he passes out and turns into Robin, his alter ego. In this instance the usually-violent Hyde is the sweet-natured, protective Robin, flipping the personalities on its head. Robin has been suppressed successfully by Seo Jin and his bodyguards and assistant for five years, but the reappearance of Jang Ha Na (Han Ji Min) triggers his MSP into overdrive. He becomes Robin when he sees her in danger and saves her multiple times, confusing Ha Na whenever she encounters Seo Jin again (as Seo Jin the Jekyll-personality).

The drama sets up a love-hate relationship almost immediately where the two leads hate each other, but Ha Na can’t help but be drawn to Robin out of curiosity. It suggested that the drama could go very easily down the path of Blade Man, which basically used the love story and the mystery of the blades to drive the series. But thankfully the relationship is not the main issue in these first two episodes. Instead, we learn that Seo Jin’s psychologist has discovered a treatment that will eliminate his dissociative identity disorder… and just as he’s about to go see her for treatment, the doctor is knocked unconscious and disappears.

This is where it reminds me a bit of a My Love From Another Star: instead of relying on the love-hate relationship and going down the path of a typical rom-com, it has added a murder/kidnapping mystery! Woo! I love it when things have a darker undertone! Hopefully this mystery can drive the show for a few more episodes, and then we can progress to the next story arc.

Once the mystery is set-up, the drama moves relatively quickly because everyone’s on the hunt for the assailant, who also attacked Ha Na and Seo Jin/Robin for being there at the wrong place, wrong time. But what becomes even more interesting is that everyone around Seo Jin, including his father, wants this ‘Robin’ to be eliminated forever. It makes no sense considering how kind Robin is. You’d think he’d be the personality to save, and Seo Jin to be quelled forever. But for some reason, everyone – including Seo Jin – treats Robin like a villain. Why? That is what I really want to know. It could end up being a very lame reason, and the whole issue about how the father knows the son’s secret didn’t work out very well in Blade Man. But I’m hoping Hyde won’t go down that route. Considering that it’s in the hands of Kim Ji Woon, it could end up being very complicated as this writer likes complicated.

I actually enjoyed some of the stunts in this drama, even if some were a bit unnecessary. The stunt where Robin jumps off a ledge to save Ha Na, or when he grabs her and spectacularly saves her from the disco ball crashing is quite beautiful to watch in execution. It was acrobatic (which fits in with the idea that this show is also about a circus troupe) and just awesome enough without being ridiculous like Blade Man, which had really crazy stunts that were also kind of awe-inspiring and yet really really absurd. But some stunts like Robin somersaulting around some parade floats was a little too much.

I know I compare this drama a lot to Blade Man, which isn’t exactly the same thing as Hyde. However, tonally it’s quite similar. But Hyde manages to pull it off with enough seriousness, because it’s a little easier to swallow a split personality in a person than blades coming out of a person’s body. It also has the wonderful acting of Hyun Bin and Han Ji Min. I can’t help but just stare at their beautiful faces, waiting for that subtle change in their eyebrows to express the thoughts that go through their minds. I love it.

Oh and not to mention Sung Joon! You’re so adorable, even though I can totally take you seriously as a psychologist. But oh, swoon. The scene where he knocks down Ha Na’s small defenses with a simple game of cat’s cradle, makes her think that he won’t hypnotize her, and then BAM! starts asking her questions about the day before and puts her under hypnosis was brilliant. Not only was the writing quite effective, but the way it played out was so strong. I just had this moment of wide-eyed shock, thinkinG, “I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE. YOU’RE COOL.”

It’s only been two episodes though, and lots could go wrong. But I really hope this drama doesn’t let me down.

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