Hyde, Jekyll, Me: Episode 20 (Final)

Hyde, Jekyll, Me: Episode 20 (Final)

onto Hyde, Jekyll, Me

On the one hand, the finale of Hyde, Jekyll, Me finally gives me what I’ve been wanting from the show. On the other, I’ve been waiting for nineteen episodes for this stuff to happen, which kind of takes the punch out of getting what I want. It’s time to face the music and decide once and for all: Is it Robin? Is it Seo-jin? Because there’s no such thing as a love triangle in a happily ever after.

 SONG OF THE DAY
Coffee Boy – “나를 사랑하자” (Let’s Love Me) [ Download ]
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 FINAL EPISODE RECAP

So here we are, against all reason, at Hana and Robin’s wedding. I wish I could tell you that lightning strikes, or that Seo-jin wakes up and asks what the hell they’re doing with his body, or that Secretary Kwon stops the ceremony to ask if everyone is high. But to my dismay, none of this happens.
Friends cheer them on as if this is all perfectly normal, and Robin and Hana exchange rings and share a kiss.
They cuddle in bed while watching the prerecorded congratulations from their wedding guests, and both of them wonder who invited Detective Na. Secretary Kwon can’t even congratulate them without turning into a blubbery mess.

When Hana cuddles closer, Robin throws a blanket over them and they laugh and squeal under the covers.
Later that night, Hana poses for a portrait holding her wedding bouquet, and Robin begins to sketch. But he keeps faltering and hesitating; something is clearly wrong, but he tries to play it off like it’s nothing.
He heads over to his desk and takes out a small sketchpad to try and recreate one of the webtoon sketches he’d recently drawn. But he can’t, and the pencil goes limp in his hand as he realizes that he can’t draw anymore.

Hana sees the pencil fall out of his hand and understands what’s going on, and does her best to hide her reaction. She comes up with an excuse to postpone the portrait, and complains that she’s hungry.
Robin walks over to her and just stares at her for a long beat, then says the one thing that she’s been dreading: “I think my time is up.” He says that he has to go, and Hana can barely ask, “Now?”
She says that he hasn’t even eaten yet, and clings desperately to this idea that he should eat before he goes, and tries to move past him into the kitchen. He pulls her into his arms from behind and just holds on.

Hana’s voice shakes as she begs, “Just one more day. Stay just one more day.” She turns around to face him, and he does his damnedest to hide his tears behind a smile for her sake. She cries that they haven’t even eaten, and he hasn’t finished her portrait.
Robin admits that he can’t—he can’t draw anymore, and he knows it without a doubt now that his time is up.
They begin the round of phone calls, from Dr. Kang to Secretary Kwon. Woo-jung comes by to say her final goodbye, and then Robin and Hana head home, where Secretary Kwon grabs him in a tearful hug. He cries that he always liked Robin, and asks him to forget anything that might’ve hurt his feelings.

Even Chairman Dad is here, and he just silently puts a hand on Robin’s shoulder. It’s not much, but it’s the first nice thing Dad’s ever done. Dr. Kang tells Robin to take his time, and he takes Hana into the room to be alone.
He regrets that he can’t say goodbye to Seo-jin, but Hana takes out her phone because she’s already prepared with a message from Seo-jin. Robin watches the last video message from Seo-jin with a sad little smile, and Seo-jin says that he’s thought about this moment for a really long time.
At first, all he ever wanted was for Robin to go away. Then eventually he realized he’d want to tell Robin that he saved him. But now, the thing he wants to say is: “Thank goodness you were here.”

Robin smiles a little wider, then taps the screen to record a reply. He says that he had prepared all sorts of things to tell Seo-jin, but now all he can think to say is one simple thing: “Let’s not see each other again. Don’t come looking for me again, Gu Seo-jin.”
Heh, I kind of like that their goodbyes to each other aren’t sappy. He pulls Hana in for a hug, and she says in her wobbly, tear-filled voice that she loves him. He presses a kiss to her forehead and tells her that he’ll do all the loving—she just needs to be happy, even if he’s not around.
She nods her agreement silently, and he gives her one last gentle kiss.

Hana comes out of the room crying, and Dr. Kang heads inside. Robin slides his wedding ring off and grips it tightly in his palm, and shuts his eyes as Dr. Kang leads him back through his memories until they get all the way back to the beginning.
When he opens his eyes again, it’s morning, and Dr. Kang and Secretary Kwon are hovering nearby, anxious and hesitant. They ask if it’s Seo-jin, and hold their breaths as Seo-jin focuses his eyes and confirms that it’s him.
Secretary Kwon comes out to deliver the news: It’s done, and the one who woke up was Seo-jin. Chairman Dad beams, and Hana’s face falls. It’s really over, and Robin is really gone. Secretary Kwon asks if she wants to see Seo-jin, but she makes her excuses and leaves, knowing that she can’t face him yet.

Seo-jin looks down at the wedding band clutched in his hand and just takes it in silently. Hana goes back to the officetel she had shared with Robin, and Seo-jin walks through his house and sits in Robin’s room—they’re both mourning him in the same way, feeling suddenly so alone.
Seo-jin spends the night watching every video message that Robin ever left him, from the kind ones to the angry ones, and can’t stop himself from shedding tears.
In the morning, he knocks on Hana’s door and tells her that he won’t stop until she opens up. She hasn’t moved all night from her position on the floor, but after a while of incessant knocking, she can’t avoid Seo-jin any longer and answers the door.

She comes out instead of letting him in, and he sighs in relief that she’s alive. She remembers saying the exact same thing to Robin once when he was hiding from her, but brushes the memory away.
Seo-jin takes her by the wrist to lead her outside, but she stops him. She doesn’t want his comfort, but he reminds her that Robin told her to be happy. He admits that he hasn’t let go of Robin either, and asks if they can’t remember him together, since they’re both unable to let go or move on.
That speaks to her, so she takes Seo-jin to the street with all the murals, and pauses sadly in front of each one. Seo-jin watches her carefully and then noticeably pauses at the same poem that made Robin linger, narrowing his eyes as if remembering something.

Hana is floored when she thinks she sees Robin scribbling on the wall, and turns him around to face her. It’s Seo-jin, of course, and she hangs her head. He asks if it’s difficult for her to look at him, which is a dumb question, really.
But he tells her to think of Robin when she looks at him, wanting to comfort her in any way that he can. He admits that he doesn’t know how to give comfort—he just knows that he wants her to cry less and be less sad. Could you be any sweeter? Gah.
She tells him not to comfort her because she doesn’t deserve it. She confesses that she hoped Robin wouldn’t disappear, even while hoping for Seo-jin to be healthy and whole. She knows how contradictory it is, how crazy she sounds wanting things that can’t exist together. She tells him frankly that she hoped they could be one person—a man with Seo-jin’s qualities and Robin’s qualities, whom she could love freely.

But she knows now that the two aren’t one, and doesn’t want to keep looking for Robin in Seo-jin. She leaves him there, and as he turns back to the wall, he has a flash of memory and sees Robin writing their names.
At night he wanders to the bridge, just missing Hana as she leaves it. There are no fireworks tonight and the water is still, and nothing happens, but Seo-jin suddenly just starts to cry.
He wipes away a tear as he answers a call from Dr. Kang, who gets worried at the sound of his voice. He admits that he’s randomly crying and doesn’t know why—he’s not upset and he doesn’t remember anything new, and wonders if there’s something wrong with him.

Dr. Kang tells him to get checked out at the hospital just in case, but explains that it’s going to be like this as he remembers more of Robin’s memories and his emotions. Seo-jin is surprised at that, since he thought it was just going to be more memories that he gained, not actual feelings.
He looks up at the sky from the bridge, and he sees flashes from the night that Robin was here: fireworks, Hana running to him in tears, Robin breaking down in her arms. He sends Secretary Kwon to make sure that Hana got home safely, and that her friends will check on her.
Hana watches the video from her radio birthday surprise and pauses on what she thinks is Robin gazing at her lovingly, though we know that it was Seo-jin. She tells Jin-ju that she’ll never forget what Robin said to her that day, before leaving for the radio station—that he often thinks that he’s dreaming until he sees Hana and is reminded that it’s not a dream after all.

She says that that day feels like a dream—the look in his eyes as he gazed at her, how happy she felt, without any worry about when that happiness would go away. Jin-ju agrees that Robin doesn’t look worried in that moment either, calling that the face of a man who’s just looking at the woman he loves.
Jin-ju gets another call from Secretary Kwon and tells Hana that Seo-jin is relentless about making sure that she’s okay. She asks Hana where this leaves things with Seo-jin, and Hana admits that she’s comforted by him, but that’s all the more reason to stay away. She feels bad enough that he was wiling to be sick for the rest of his life for her; seeking comfort in him would be too selfish.
Cousin Seung-yeon gets ousted from his position as acting president, and in no time, Seo-jin is getting dressed in a suit to go back to work. He’s facing the press for his official reinstatement today, and Secretary Kwon is extra nervous.

He spills water on Seo-jin and cringes, waiting for the blowback, but it never comes. Seo-jin just answers nonchalantly, “You’re the one who needs to stay calm, hyung.” Say what? Secretary Kwon does a double take and stammers, “Did you just call me hyung?”
Seo-jin thinks he heard wrong, which means it must’ve been involuntary. This is going to be fun.
They head out to the car, and Seo-jin opens the driver-side door, surprising the chauffeur and himself. They stand there awkwardly, as he wonders why he came to the wrong door. It’s a tiny thing, but he’s increasingly weirded out by his own behavior.

His speech to the press is a hit, but Secretary Kwon has his own silent freakout when Seo-jin quotes a line from Robin’s speech, the day he had to pose as Seo-jin to attend the board meeting.
It all goes swimmingly, until Seung-yeon publicly announces in the room full of reporters that it’s all a con. He points at Seo-jin and declares dramatically that he’s not Robin, and challenges him to draw something right there on the spot.
He plops down a notebook and pen in front of Seo-jin, looking smug about his impending triumph. Seo-jin peers down at the blank page nervously, then picks up the pen. To everyone’s shock (and even his own), he draws… exactly like Robin.

Seo-jin hands Seung-yeon the page and walks away, thinking the argument won. But Seung-yeon decides that this means he’s Robin and not Seo-jin, and asks him to name all their acquisitions in the last year. Seo-jin doesn’t even have to blink to rattle those off the top of his head, and kills any suspicion once and for all.
Seung-yeon has nothing left to do but eat his words, literally—he stuffs the drawing into his mouth and starts to chew. Secretary Kwon hands him Dr. Kang’s card on his way out, heh.
Seo-jin walks out of the press conference and ignores the chauffeur holding the backseat door open. Instead he climbs into the driver’s seat and braces himself before starting the ignition and driving away. He goes to Robin’s officetel and looks nervous as he tries the lock code. It works, and he opens the door.

Eun-chang takes Woo-jung shopping to pick up memorial flowers in honor of Robin’s birthday, and Jin-ju calls with news that shocks them. They rush back to the circus office and stare at the news story announcing a new superhero webtoon by Robin, called Somebody Stop Me!
Hana comes in and they show her the story nervously. She’s angry by the time she finds Seo-jin sitting at Robin’s desk, and accuses him of paying a ghost artist to keep creating webtoons under Robin’s pen name.
He knows that she won’t believe him, but he tells her that he can draw and drive now—he’s retained all of Robin’s skills. He says that he’s undergoing a lot of changes, but she’s still adamant that he stop publishing new work under Robin’s name. She asks him to call it off and turns to go, but then stops in her tracks when she sees a sketch up on the wall.

It’s of her—the one from her wedding night—that Robin couldn’t finish. Seo-jin not only completed the sketch, but he knew things that only Robin would know, like the fact that she was holding flowers.
Her eyes fill with tears as she looks back and forth, from the portrait to Seo-jin and back again, trying to process what this means. She turns to him and asks, “What I’m seeing now—is this not a dream?”
She searches his eyes for an answer, but instead he just leads her out by the hand and gets behind the wheel to drive her somewhere. They arrive at a garden, where he takes her to a table prepared with food, and a strange mix of things: chickens, and dogs playing in the field.

She looks back at him with the same searching expression, and remembers telling Robin that she wanted to do this very thing on his birthday, down to the chickens and dogs.
Seo-jin tells her that his time spent as Robin feels like a dream that he couldn’t remember, but he wants to remember it with her: “Not remembering half of my life was my illness, but I was cured because of you, and now I remember everything—the things I did with you while I was sleeping, how you laughed, how you looked at me—I remember it all.”
He ends with, “If you ask me now whether I’m Robin or Gu Seo-jin, I only have one answer: I’m just one man who loved you, loves you, and wants to be loved by you.” Okay, good answer.

When he tells her that he loves her, a tear trickles down her cheek, and he gently wipes it away. He takes her face in his hands and softly kisses her forehead, then tilts his head to kiss her eye.
He makes his way down to her lips and gives her a tentative kiss. When he pulls away, she leans in to kiss him back.
Seo-jin admits in voiceover that he lied about remembering everything: He doesn’t have any memory of the wedding, and says that it’s as if Robin took that one with him when he went.

Cousin Seung-yeon tries to convince himself through yoga and meditation that he’s happy for Seo-jin, though I don’t know if chanting it through gritted teeth counts as meditation.
Hana and Seo-jin tend their new vegetables in the greenhouse and take cute pictures with their harvest.
As they snuggle, Seo-jin narrates: “A day to laugh, talk, feel, be comfortable, and love. Another day to love—we’re living that day.” Closing caption: That day is a miracle.

 COMMENTS
I was all prepared to say that this drama’s biggest offense was that it was boring, but then they went through with the wedding, and that just takes the crazy cake. Which is saying a lot in a drama full of kidnapping shrinks, insta-hypnosis, and a fairytale rendition of dissociative identity disorder that makes it seem almost romantic to have an alter ego. He’s brave where you’re cowardly! Artistic and in touch with his feelings! He woos your girl and lets you keep her! My problem was never in the fictional rendering of the Hyde/Jekyll setup—it is, after all, a fantastical idea to begin with, that your alter ego is all things good. I accepted that going in, and I liked the themes that it brought to the surface, about memory and self and fear.
What I had a much harder time with was the heroine—I couldn’t figure out why she insisted that she loved only Robin, when I always saw Robin as an extension of Seo-jin. It felt like a forced and unnatural perception, for her to dig her heels in about their separation. Yes, Robin struggled with his sense of identity because it was a question of survival for him. But Hana is outside of that and should’ve been able to look at Seo-jin and Robin, and help them come to terms with their illness and see that they were in fact two parts of one man. I don’t blame her for Seo-jin’s decision to live with his illness since that was his choice, but I was disappointed when she didn’t call him stupid and noble, and push him to heal instead. And then when she came up with the wedding idea, I finally realized that I could never in a million years understand her. In some sense, her weakness as a character made Seo-jin and Robin shine more, but I would’ve gladly sacrificed some of that for a heroine that I could identify with.

The writing is where the show suffered most, though it’s not a total trainwreck or anything. There are certainly shows that are far less cohesive and far less thought-provoking, and I did really enjoy Seo-jin and Robin’s characters. But OH MY GOD, could the pace have been any worse? Granted, it’s rare for a drama to be truly ahead of its audience (always the mark of a gifted writer), so most dramas follow a rather predictable arc and pace. But this show actually telegraphed its punches and sapped whatever excitement it possibly could at every turn. See that left hook plot twist? Here it comes… in two weeks! I got used to it after a while and just enjoyed the little moments between the characters, but what really disappointed me was that it was languid with lesser plotlines that dragged on for weeks, only to cram the stuff that we really wanted into the final three episodes. Why? Whhhhyyyy. Because I watched this drama to find out how we were going to resolve Hana’s love for Robin, and develop her love for Seo-jin. I thought that was what we were all in it for.
But apparently the writer had different ideas, and instead of spending five weeks on Hana’s relationship with Seo-jin like I gladly would’ve done, we spent weeks upon weeks on doctor Sung Joon and his kidnapping habit, who didn’t even get a send-off in the finale, by the way. But what I actually care about is the fact that we rushed through Hana’s resolution with Seo-jin. This is the relationship that’s important to me, so I can’t for the life of me understand why we rushed through Seo-jin’s transformations into the Robin-Seo-jin hybrid that he becomes. Imagine how great it would’ve been to spend weeks on his gradual changes, and to have her slowly fall for him, despite herself. As it is, her acceptance feels rushed at best and false at worst, because she spent the entire drama refusing to see that they were one man. And truth be told, I’m still hung up on the fact that she didn’t fall for Seo-jin just as Seo-jin, before finding out that he was Robin’s other half. They’re technicalities, but they matter if I’m to make sense of this relationship.

What would’ve salvaged a great deal of the central story for me is if Seo-jin had stayed the focus of the drama. But Robin’s role grew and grew until it almost took over, and I just never found Hana’s relationship with Robin all that exciting. They were smiley and cute, but Robin was juvenile and they were pretty one-note, while Seo-jin was thoughtful and swoony and more complex. That’s not to say that the romance was all wrong; any indication that Robin and Seo-jin were becoming more like each other was welcome, and save for the wedding, I enjoyed Robin’s send-off and Seo-jin’s new post-Robin character.
This drama really was just the Hyun Bin Show, though Hyde, Jekyll, Me’s low ratings are just more proof that you can’t build a show on starpower alone. He certainly played the hell out of the characters and always made me believe that he was Seo-jin when he was Seo-jin and Robin when he was Robin, even when they were undercover as each other. Han Ji-min had more of an uphill battle because her character was written badly and I was often frustrated with her. She lacked spark in the lighter scenes but brought much more in the emotional scenes toward the end of the drama.
And it seemed to take almost the entire drama’s run for the pair of them to find a bit of chemistry, not to mention the added hurdle that the writer wasted so much of the potential for tingle-inducing romantic hijinks. They were cute together; they just never had the kind of love that got you in the gut, or made you think that you’d go move the goddamn mountains yourself if it meant that they could be together. They were a sweet, but take-it-or-leave-it kind of couple. It’s not like I regret watching or recapping the drama, since it was pretty fun to talk about. I suppose in hindsight, I would like to think that if I were sent back in time to make the decision again, I’d be older and wiser and have sounder judgment. The thing is, I’ll suffer a lot for Binnie, and that’s just the truth.

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