Review. Hyde Jekyll, Me is a 20 episode 2015 Korea Drama about a man with an alternate personality that has been dormant for 5 years. When the alternative personality emerges to save a woman, both the primary and alternate personalities become interested in her.
1. Hyun Bin as the leading men Seo Jin and Robin. His portrayal of both personalities was good.
2. Story had good moments. There were sad, sweet, fun, surprising, ridiculous and gripping moments in this story.
3. I enjoyed the music and subsequent Original Sound Track (OST).
4. Lighting was good. Even in the dark scenes, I could see everything. Nice job lighting director.
1. Series had a story line disorder with 3 alternative stories. Just like the number of personalities we met, the series had 3 stories in 3 phases. Phase 1 – light and fluffy. Phase 2 – psychological thriller. Phase 3 – character study. The writers had insufficient plot for 20 episodes. The pacing was off, some episodes had loads of content and others with little. Also, a third personality was introduced for part of an episode, then dropped and never mentioned again…sloppy writing.
2. Other characters were not interesting. I felt neutral about the leading lady most of the series and the only secondary character that I connected to was the assistant Young Chan. Most of this was due to the writing.
This series was the comeback drama for Hyun Bin, who had been absent from kdramas for 4 years. This comeback drama was uneven and only partially utilized his talents.
* The ratings for this show were abysmal and it garnered much criticism.
* This series was hamstrung by the writers who switched story line directions 3 times.
* Though there was uneven writing, I enjoyed most episodes. I liked Hyun Bin, I liked aspects of each phase of the story, the couple grew on me, the last 2 episodes were touching and wrapped the series well. I really liked this OST.
What I liked about Hyde Jekyll, Me:
1. Hyun Bin as leading men Seo Jin and Robin. I watched this series for Hyun Bin. I enjoyed Hyun Bin in 2005’s My Lovely Sam Soon (aka My Name is Kim Sam Soon) and thought he was fabulous in 2010’s Secret Garden.
* Hyun Bin’s performance worked for me. He delivered but the story failed on many levels. Let’s hope his next drama has a better story. He is a gifted actor and I want to see him again.
* I loved Robin’s cute cartoon notes to Seo Jin. Too bad they did not keep that going, it reinforced Robin’s webtoon abilities.
* Robin was sweet and devoted to Ha Na. He did have a side that grew pessimistic when Seo Jin started to evolve. I did not immediately see but understood with time, that Robin saw the progression the clearest. He knew Seo Jin’s evolution would weaken him, he realized as his memories became shared with Seo Jin, his uniqueness was fading. He realized his dementia of losing memories and his drawing abilities, meant he was dissolving away. In the end, Robin called it a day on his own terms. Kinda awesome. The phase 3 was the best phase for this character.
* Seo Jin was my favorite personality yet he took a back seat to Robin in phase 3. In phase 1 he was a jerk, afraid of Robin and losing control. In phase 2, he faced his fears of the past and went head to head with Tae Joo. In phase 3, he quietly loved the leading lady allowing her happiness and Robin existence to come before his own needs. That was a major evolution.
2. Moments and the ending. There moments that were sad, sweet, fun, surprising, ridiculous and gripping:
* Sad – Robin’s end (ep 20) as he went back into Seo Jin’s mind never to return was potrayed perfectly with respect and loss for this character.
* Sweet – Seo Jin and Ha Na’s last cute moments as a couple (ep 20). As a Seo Jin fan, I was glad to see my guy get the girl. Robin and Ha Na were cute on the evening they attended the webtoon conference.
* Fun – Robin forcing Ha Na and Seo Jin to live together (ep 4). Seo Jin’s shocked face….priceless!
* Surprising – The huge reveal that Tae Joo was evil and out to get Seo Jin (ep 8).
* Ridiculous – gorilla (ep 1), zip lines that magically appeared (ep 1 & 3), falling/diving over the roof (ep 1), inept police (ep 8-15), and Tae Joo’s easy escapes (ep 10,12. 14).
* Gripping – Tae Joo kidnapped Seo Jin and put him back in the same spot he was held captive as a child (ep 10). The entire episode was gripping.
* The ending – This show treated the personalities as different men. This created a line between the characters. Only when the alternate personality, Robin, started forget his memories and abilities (similar to a dementia), was there a path to both personalities integrating. The final two episodes finally grabbed my heart strings as Robin started losing himself and decided he’d end things before he lost it completely. In these two episodes Ha Na, Robin, and Seo Jin got a meaty story to emote and portray. They delivered. If you were patient, you were rewarded with the last 2 episodes.
3. Lee Seung Jun’s portrayal of assistant, Young Chan. He was supportive of both personalities and a breath of sanity, caring, and reasonableness. He was more of a friend to Seo Jin and Robin than they realized. As Robin faded out, he was sorry but supportive. I loved when his interactions with Seo Jin or Robin were unfiltered.
What was okay about Hyde Jekyll, Me:
1. Han Ji Min as leading lady Jang Ha Na. Initially this character has sass with Seo Jin and I loved that. She handled Seo Jin’s gruff nature with aplomb. She was sensitive to Seo Jin’s difficulties. All of this made me want to see Seo Jin and Ha Na as the primary couple. In the 20th episode my wish was granted. Ji Min has fabulous hair.
What I did not like about Hyde Jekyll, Me:
1. The story was inconsistent and morphed 3 times during this series. For a show about multiple personalities the writers crafted a series with 3 distinct personalities or which I’ve grouped into phases. Phase 1 – light and fluffy, episodes 1 – 7. Phase 2 – psychological thriller, episodes 8 – 15. Phase 3 – character study, episode 16 – 20. The writers, Lee Choong Ho and Kim Ji Woon, had issues with sufficient plot for the 20 episodes. When they made huge reveals in episode 8, I doubted they would have sufficient story. They solved the problem by wrapping up the Phase 2 story and morphing into the Phase 3 story.
2. Other characters were not interesting. Crafty cousin, the circus characters, and the father all had moments in the series but were not compelling. The chauffeur was good looking and eye candy throughout.
* Comeback dramas can be misses. I don’t see how actors are able to fully judge a series before signing the contract. Most series are partially written when actors must choose to commit. We all seen dramas start strong and then struggle. I felt that this series struggled in the initial phase, was gripping during the first part of the second phase, and the final phase was well done and touching. I hope Hyun Bin continues to act in kdramas. He is talented and looks fabulous. He is worth watching and was crucial to the moments in the series that did work.
* I’m well aware that a crew of and group of actors worked hard to create this series. I appreciate their hard work but this was not a great series.
Hyde Jekyll, Me has a 7 part OST with 7 songs. A compilation OST has not been released as of this writing. Drama Wiki has all the details. I liked the songs of the OST a great deal. I find it interesting though the ratings were rotten (see wiki), there was praise for the OST (see article), yet a compilation OST has not been released.
1. Falling Park Bo Ram (박보람)
2. Because of You Baek Ji Young
3. Embrace Yoon Hyun Sang (윤현상)
4. Wonderful World J Rabbit
5. Only You Kim Bum Soo
6. Maybe Epitone Project (에피톤 프로젝트) with Lucia (루시아)
7. Hyde Jekyll Snuper (스누퍼)
The Seven songs OST are in my YouTube Playlist (link or embedded below)