Hyde, Jekyll, Me: Episode 19

Hyde, Jekyll, Me: Episode 19

onto Hyde, Jekyll, Me

No matter how much Seo-jin has come to accept Robin as his own person, we knew that he would have to heal eventually. As much as we’re rooting for Seo-jin to be strong enough to stand on his own, it’s tough to see how terrified Robin is about vanishing completely. But the truth is that it’s not up to either of them—the more Seo-jin accepts Robin, the faster Robin begins to fade away—and what lies on the other side, nobody knows.

 SONG OF THE DAY
The Film – “Forget-Me-Not” [ Download ]
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 EPISODE 19 RECAP

The group celebrates Hana’s birthday over at Woo-jung’s place, with Robin conspicuously absent. Hana gives the excuse that he went home early because he was tired, but we know that he’s been brooding on his own, over the fact that Hana couldn’t tell him apart from Seo-jin, and that he and Seo-jin are the same person.
He calls Secretary Kwon over for some beers, still going along with the ruse that he’s Seo-jin pretending to be Robin. Secretary Kwon says that it must be because of Seo-jin that Robin isn’t coming out—in the past, Robin was always the one to sacrifice, but now Seo-jin is the one making sacrifices for Hana.
Robin’s eyes widen, as Secretary Kwon continues to marvel at how much Seo-jin has changed, enough that he’s planning to live the rest of his life with Robin when getting rid of him used to be his only goal in life.

Secretary Kwon muses that acknowledging your illness really is the first step towards recovery, and finally notices that Robin is staring at him slack-jawed. Robin makes it known that it’s him and ekes out, “Seo-jin did what?”
Hana calls to check on Robin later that night, and she can tell that he’s still in the same funk that’s kept him away for the last few days. He decides to give her the birthday present that he’s prepared, and reveals a painting of a woman.
It looks exactly like Hana, but he says that he found the painting and it reminded him of her. Did you really not paint it yourself, or do you not remember painting it? He hopes that every time she looks at it, she’ll be reminded that this is how he remembers her. The way he says it makes her nervous, but he offers no other explanation.

As they cuddle on the couch, Hana says that she thought about what Robin’s life is like, and has resolved to be more considerate instead of just being excited on her own. Robin asks if she’s happy right now, and she nods with a smile.
She caresses his face and remembers their first meeting, and they both smile as their thoughts drift back to that day. But as they do, Robin’s memories start short-circuiting, giving him sharp pains in his head. Ack, are all his memories fading?
Hana makes him panic when she chatters happily about wanting to go back to the farm, which Robin naturally doesn’t remember (because that was Seo-jin pretending to be him).

In the batcave, Robin watches a message from Seo-jin earlier that night. Seo-jin explains that he can’t bear to tell Hana that Robin didn’t wake up on her birthday, which is why he’s heading to the radio station.
Seo-jin says in his matter-of-fact way that Robin can just do better if he’s mad about it, and adds, “Hana needs you.” This is all a shock to Robin’s system, especially when he was the one to say with confidence that Seo-jin would never sacrifice a single thing for anyone else.
He takes out a small jewelry box in his pocket with a necklace inside—it must be Seo-jin’s present for Hana. Robin looks back and forth from the necklace to Seo-jin’s face on the screen and says quietly, “You can’t go that far. If you become that nice, then what about me? I’ll have no place left to stand.”

In the morning, Secretary Kwon recaps the evening’s events, but Seo-jin already knows everything that Robin did—he can see the memories clearly, only now he also feels everything that Robin feels, from his sadness to his fear.
Seo-jin describes Robin’s emotions as horror, of feeling like you’re slipping away and disappearing little by little every day. He worries that he should tell Hana to prepare her, but doesn’t know if it’s the right thing to do.
Cousin Seung-yeon nearly has an aneurysm during a board meeting, where they listen to the marketing team pitch a gazillion ideas to integrate Seo-jin’s webtoons into Wonderland. Seung-yeon’s blood pressure rises with every compliment paid to Seo-jin, until he finally blows his lid and screams that Seo-jin wasn’t living a double life as Robin; he has dissociative identity disorder.

The meeting comes to a grinding halt and Chairman Dad glares at him… and then the speaker at the podium asks if Seung-yeon has something to say. He imagined it? Of course he did.
He tells his girlfriend after the meeting that he feels like one of those scientists in disaster movies who knows that the hurricane is coming, but no one believes him. This time even she abandons him, and he just gets wrapped up in his own lone-scientist narrative, where he’s the only one on the planet who knows the truth.
Robin wakes up that evening and his head pounds as another memory fades. He goes to meet Hana at Woo-jung’s place, and finds them laughing over an old photo album. Yet another memory fades of the first time he saw them drinking together, and panic settles in as he looks over at Hana.

He sneaks out before she notices him there and heads to see Dr. Kang. She’s shocked when he asks to begin treatment now, and says that they have some time left and don’t have to rush. But when he asks how long he has, she guesses six months, and he asks what kind of life he’d have in those six months.
He admits that every day the memory loss is becoming more frequent, and he’s afraid that in six months’ time, he won’t even know that he’s lost memories to begin with. Dr. Kang agrees that it’s likely, and Robin realizes that he might not even recognize the people around him any longer.
He swallows back tears as he says that he doesn’t want to live that way, and then asks for the final treatment to make him disappear in a week. He requests that she not say anything to Seo-jin or anyone else, promising to do it himself.

Robin goes straight to Hana and asks if she’ll go on a trip with him, and they leave right away. She asks if he told Seo-jin about the trip, and he says that he doesn’t need to, since he intends on staying awake the entire three days. He doesn’t intend to share her this time.
They arrive at an old hanok village, and Robin takes her to the house where he grew up, at least in his memories. He tells her that he had a loving mom, a brother, and a sister. How sad—is this the life that Seo-jin secretly wishes he had?
Robin shows her an old tree where he used to bury his allowance money, and tells her that when he first spoke with Dr. Kang, she told him that his memories were fabricated and his childhood wasn’t real. He came running to this house and dug everywhere, but there was no money under the tree, and there were no records of his family members ever having existed.

He says, as if accepting it now: “It was all fake.” He turns to Hana and asks how she accepted someone like him, when everything he remembers is fake: “I’m not real, so how did you come to love me for real?”
She takes his hand and answers, “My love is already real, so how could you be fake? My heart is real, so how can that love be fake? As long as I love you, you’re real.” He smiles at her, heart full of gratitude, and she decides that they’ll bury something under the tree today to mark the fact that she’s really here with him.
They skip along to the stationary store and write letters to each other, and bury them under the tree. Hana suggests that they come back in ten years to read them, and Robin gets her to agree to three years, even though he knows he won’t be here next week.

Later, they stop at a mural to take a picture together, and Robin hangs back to read the poem that’s written on the wall. It describes a love that can’t be spoken, and ends with the refrain, “My heart will always be for only one, only one, only one.” And because Hana’s name means “one,” it also reads, Only Hana, only Hana, only Hana.
They get quiet as they gaze at a mural of an elderly couple, and Hana laughs to see Robin scribbling on a wall where countless people have left messages before them, noting that everyone’s messages are all the same—they all just want to leave proof that they were here.
Sure enough, Robin writes: “Hana and Robin were here.” As Hana leads him away, he keeps turning back to stare at his message, looking terrified that it’ll disappear.

After they get a room for the night, Robin heads out to grab some food, and stares at all the passersby on the street for a long while, lost in thought. He tells himself that telling Hana is the right thing to do—it’s why he brought her here, so he has to do it.
He braces himself for the big conversation, only to find Hana already asleep. He gazes at her closely and murmurs aloud, wondering if she’ll be okay without him. She opens her eyes and startles him, and demands to know what he was talking about.
Robin gets adorably flustered and babbles that he meant not being able to be together all day every day, and Hana schools him like a little kid that he’s not allowed to hide or avoid her any longer.

In the morning, Robin eagerly leads her to the car to take her somewhere special, but then they arrive at his imagined family home again. Oh no. Robin starts telling her the story of his childhood—the exact same story, word for word, that he told her yesterday. Oh noooooo.
Hana looks up at him, shock slowly turning to understanding. She doesn’t let on that he brought her here yesterday, but can barely hide the terror that’s creeping in. She excuses herself for a moment and runs outside to call Dr. Kang, and tells her that Robin can’t remember the things he did yesterday.
Dr. Kang’s response is, “Already?” and Hana knows that this is more than just one lost day. Dr. Kang was hoping that Robin had a chance to tell her, but under the circumstances, she fills Hana in on everything.

Hana’s eyes brim with tears as she finally learns the truth, and she takes off at a run as tears spill down her face. She runs straight for the tree where they buried their letters and digs Robin’s letter out to read it, hands trembling.
Robin writes that by the time Hana reads this letter, he’ll be gone. They’ll have said their goodbyes, and she’ll come to this tree anyway, searching for a trace that they were here. He thought that doing interviews and radio shows these past few weeks was for him, but he’s glad that it’s also for her—so that he’s left a trace of himself behind for her.
He says that there’s one memory he doesn’t ever want to lose: Hana at his side when he made his first public appearance, her shaking from nerves but holding his hand to calm his nerves. We see Robin sitting back on the porch and reminiscing about that very moment as Hana reads about it in his letter. He looks happy, and at peace.

Robin writes that he wants to hold on to that memory, and before it disappears, he wants to disappear as Robin, with that memory intact. Hana sobs and clutches the letter close, and then runs back to the house.
She tears inside and tries to catch her breath, still crying, and Robin looks back at her in alarm. Only… it’s not Robin anymore. That is clearly Seo-jin, staring back at her wide-eyed, asking what’s wrong. Ack, is Robin already gone?
Hana pleads through tears, “It isn’t time yet, right? He hasn’t gone already? Not yet, right?” All Seo-jin can do is say unconvincingly that it’s probably not time yet. She shouts at him angrily that he knew—they both did—but kept it from her. How could they?

Seo-jin sighs and admits, “We didn’t know how. Because the only thought we had was, what do we do?” Hana wails, “He said he wanted to live! He said that he didn’t want to disappear!” He gets up to put a hand on her shoulder as she cries, knowing that there’s little he can do to comfort her.
When her tears subside, Seo-jin reads Robin’s letter. Hana asks if outing Robin publicly was what led to this, but Seo-jin assures her that she gave him something no one else could—a chance for Robin to live as himself, even if it was for a short time.
She tells Seo-jin about this being Robin’s childhood home, and they sit quietly, just taking in the empty house and thinking of Robin.

As Seo-jin wanders around on his own, he gets a text from Robin’s phone. It’s a video message, and Robin says that he’d really like to meet Seo-jin, though he knows it’s impossible. He says that just as Seo-jin decided without him to keep Robin around forever, he’s decided to leave without Seo-jin’s input.
He announces that he has a week left, because he wants to disappear while he’s still himself. He then shares all the ways to make Hana happy: Make her laugh, even if his jokes suck; praise her often for carrying on her father’s work to make others happy; look into her eyes when they speak; hold her hand as they walk; open the car door for her.
Robin knows it’ll be hard for Seo-jin to do all those things, but he says that it’s important to make her feel like he’s thinking of her all the time, even with all the little things. And then Robin gets teary-eyed as he says, “And comfort her. In a week… if she’s having a hard time. I know your feelings are sincere. I must be disappearing because you’ve become as sincere a person as I am.”

He fights his tears to say that Seo-jin has to get Hana to fall in love with him, so that Robin doesn’t regret leaving. Seo-jin records a short reply and says okay, and adds, “But for the remaining time, you give her lots of love.”
Hana heads back to the wall where Robin left another trace that he was here, and cries all over again. She’s startled when Robin calls her, and runs to the bridge where he’s watching fireworks.
She nearly tackles him in a back-hug and sobs that she isn’t ready, that a week is too soon. He turns around and cups her face in his hands, and tells her that there’s no such thing as being ready for something like this.

She still argues that a week is too soon, but he explains carefully that if he stays any longer, he’ll slowly disappear. He tells her that if he loses his arm or his leg, he’s still Robin, but if he loses his memories…
His throat catches as he says, “I can’t be asking you, ‘Who are you?’ as I leave.” He pleads with her to let him leave with the memory of them intact, from that one perfect day. But as soon as he says it, he gets another searing headache, and that very memory that he so desperately wants to keep, starts to fade away.
He cries, “No, no!” but it won’t stop, and just like that, it’s gone. Robin clutches his head and gasps in horror, “It’s gone… That day… is gone.” He breaks down completely, gut-wrenching sobs spilling out as he pounds his head over and over.

Eun-chang and Woo-jung are centimeters away from their first kiss, but hastily break apart when Hana walks in. She’s dazed and numb, but sits Woo-jung down to tell her about Robin.
Woo-jung asks why Hana didn’t insist that Robin stay, but Hana has seen the worst of it now, and tells her that they should send him off while he’s still Robin, while he still has the chance to smile and tell them that it’s okay.
Hana makes a decision and enlists the help of all their friends, and she gets all dressed up and brings Robin back to the place where they walked the red carpet together. Aw, is she recreating the moment for him? That’s so sweet.

They hold hands in the elevator like they did the first time, and there’s a red carpet all lined up, just without the photographers and fans this time. Secretary Kwon comes out to greet them and pins a flower to Robin’s lapel before leading them inside. Robin’s jaw drops when they get inside to find the hall decorated for a wedding (A WEDDING?!), with their friends waiting for them. Seriously, a wedding?
Hana smiles at him and says that their best memory isn’t lost yet—she’s going to create it for him now. She turns it into a question and asks if he’ll let her create the new memory with him now, and asks, “Will you marry me?”
She stretches out her hand, and Robin takes it and they walk down the aisle. Closing caption: Nobody knows what’s at that end, except that you are by my side.

 COMMENTS
Um, this is a terrible idea, yes? Am I too grumpy to see the romance or something? Because I was totally with them up until the wedding, when it was a very straightforward disappearing-is-death metaphor, and Robin was struggling to hold on and take control of his life in what little time he had left. His storyline is no different from any other terminal illness, though maybe it’s more like dementia crossed with terminal illness, where the terror is in losing yourself before you die, and not being able to recognize the person you love. Robin’s fear felt real in the moment when he lost his most treasured memory with Hana, not because it was such a great memory, but because it represented his last shred of self-identity. To feel the loss as it happens but have no control over your own mind would be absolutely terrifying.
There’s always been a very strong thematic thread in this drama about the question of identity, and how much a sense of self is rooted in memories—the only thing that separated Seo-jin from Robin was that they couldn’t share the same memories, but the more they became like each other, the more that distinction began to crumble. So while in theory I totally get the symbolic I-will-marry-my-lover-knowing-he’ll-die routine, IT’S SO NOT THE SAME when that dying lover is only one half of a man’s two split personalities that are in the process of merging.
What happens to Seo-jin, or does he not have a say in this? Because I feel like he should have a say. I never blamed Hana too harshly for enabling Robin’s continued existence, because technically she fell for him thinking he was a twin, and she can’t help her feelings. But marrying him seems batshit crazy in this situation, because shouldn’t she be coming to grips with the fact that Robin and Seo-jin are the same person? What happened to her struggling with her feelings for both guys?

Don’t get me wrong—the sentiment is sweet, that she wants to replace his lost memory with a new best moment in their lives. That’s beautiful and the best thing she could do for him in the time he has left. But there have to be middle-ground options between awards ceremony and wedding, no? What’s wrong with a public serenade or an embarrassing declaration of love? Poetry slam, anyone?
And while I get that the marriage is largely symbolic, doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose and dilute the point of it? It’s a timeworn trope when one character is going to die, but we know that here, Seo-jin will remain. I just don’t see how she’s going to get over losing her husband and then fall into Seo-jin’s arms—what would’ve been natural now seems icky and vaguely adulterous. I don’t know, I’ve seen dramas paint themselves into a corner before the finale, but this makes me angry. I liked everything about Robin’s final moments and the way he said goodbye to both Hana and Seo-jin, and his desperation to leave a part of himself behind.
Except then Hana had to come up with the bright idea to marry him, and I find myself annoyed that she only thinks of Robin leaving, and not Seo-jin remaining. But maybe my problem is that I’ve always been on Seo-jin’s side while Hana has never veered away from her single-minded love for Robin; the wedding only solidifies how I don’t see eye-to-eye with her. I was feeling pretty optimistic about the finale at least wrapping things up in a satisfying manner, but now I’m not so sure that even the most obvious version of happily ever after won’t leave me a little dissatisfied.

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Tags: featured, Han Ji-min, Hyde Jekyll Me, Hyun Bin, Sung Joon