“I have made my return.” That’s what Hyun Bin’s character says in the first episode of Hyde, Jekyll, Me (also known as Hyde, Jekyll, and I). Hyun Bin’s been gone from Kdramas since his wonderful performance as the arrogant, rich, lovable Kim Joo-Wan in Secret Garden in 2010, so I couldn’t help but smile when he said that line.
Hyde, Jekyll, Me is the story of Gu Seo-Jin, a wealthy man who is the director of Wonderland Amusement Park, a family owned business, and suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID). Because of the guilt he felt from a traumatic incident as a child, Gu Seo-Jin developed the personality he calls Robin. Robin is a sweetheart, a savior… exactly what Seo-Jin is not. Through careful physical monitoring, and close contact with his psychiatrist, Doctor Kang, Seo-Jin has been able to keep Robin at bay for five years. Just after Seo-Jin receives a call from Doctor Kang, telling him she has found a cure for his disorder, she is kidnapped. All of a sudden, Robin makes an appearance and Seo-Jin has no idea why. He has to find Doctor Kang so he can finally get rid of Robin for good.
Jang Ha-Na is back from the States and ready to take over her deceased grandfather’s position as the manager of the circus at Wonderland. However, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time and is the only witness to Doctor Kang’s kidnapping. She was almost killed herself, in trying to get away, but was rescued by Robin. Because of the trauma, Ha-Na can’t recall what the kidnapper looks like but she’s willing to go through hypnosis to see if that will help her remember.
In the mean time, Robin gets a job at Wonderland’s circus and he and Ha-Na begin to develop romantic feelings for each other. Ha-Na thinks Robin is Seo-Jin’s older twin brother. What will happen if she learns the truth and finds out that the reason Seo-Jin is so desperate to find Doctor Kang is so he can get rid of Robin once and for all?
Seo-Jin, played by the award winning actor Hyun Bin, is an aloof character. He is the director of Wonderland and has an estranged relationship with his selfish, harsh father. Because of his DID he has kept himself at an emotional distance from others. That makes him seem mean and arrogant but I saw it more as a cautious attribute.
Robin, also played by Hyun Bin, is the personality that was born of Seo-Jin’s childhood guilt. He is kind, gentle, loving, and happily comes to the aid of others – a savior, in a way. He is a famous webtoon author and works for Ha-Na’s circus. He and Seo-Jin have reached an agreement that he will be “awake” at night, leaving Seo-Jin the daytime to be active.
Han Ji-Min is Ha-Na, a kind, considerate, beautiful woman who values her grandfather’s circus and its employees. She is willing to go through discomfort herself to help someone else. Ha-Na knows what love is and puts her whole heart into a relationship.
Sung Joon plays the part of Yoon Tae-Joo the hypnotherapist who tries to help Ha-Na remember the kidnapper’s face. He was a student of Doctor Kang’s so Seo-Jin depends on him to help find her.
Lee Seung-Joon’s character is Kwon Young-Chan, Seo-Jin’s right-hand man. He knows all about Seo-Jin’s DID and is not only a dependable secretary to him, but a good friend to Robin.
Hyde, Jekyll, Me is a good mystery and a sweet love story. However, I felt like there was too much of a clear-cut line between the two. Three fourths of the show deals with the mystery part and then, after the kidnapper is caught in episode 15, the writer concentrated on the love story. It felt like two different shows, to me. It just didn’t blend as well as it could have.
I liked the fact that the writer chose Robin as the name for Seo-Jin’s other personality. I saw a connection between Batman’s sidekick, Robin, who saves people, and this Robin who was created to be a savior. Good touch.
I also thought it was quite clever that the writer had Robin be away for five years before making his return – the same amount of time Hyun Bin had been away from Kdramas.
The music was very enjoyable. There’s a song called Because of You that fits the relationship of Robin, Seo-Jin and Ha-Na perfectly. I couldn’t help but compare the idea of them playing that song so much to Pavlov’s dogs experiment. Because of You was like Pavlov’s bell (the conditioned stimulus). The song played so often at the romantic parts of the show that the second I heard it start at the emotional part at the end, I started crying. Music is wonderful at bringing out emotions in people and the way that particular song was used in this show was nothing short of brilliant.
We encounter several nice backdrops/scenes in this drama. First and foremost, Seo-Jin’s house – it is jaw-droppingly beautiful. It has an atrium in it that is just exquisite. (Hyun Bin’s character Joo-Won, in Secret Garden, had an amazing house, too.) Then there’s a scene where Robin and Ha-Na are talking outside at night, surrounded by billions of colored lights. So romantic. There’s another scene where Seo-Jin and Ha-Na are arguing in an aquarium while fish swim all around them. There’s also an eerie haunted house ride at the amusement park, and a romantic campfire scene. The director did a fine job choosing places for this story to evolve.
Kill Me, Heal Me and Hyde, Jekyll, Me were airing on Korean TV at the same time. The writer of Hyde, Jekyll, Me claims his idea was stolen by the writer of Kill Me, Heal Me but, other than the fact that both leading male characters were dealing with a personality disorder, I didn’t find the two shows alike at all. Kill Me, Heal Me did much better in the ratings (12.5 %) than Hyde, Jekyll, Me (5.8 %) but both shows were very entertaining. Even though I, personally, liked Kill Me, Heal Me better, I cried a lot more at Hyde, Jekyll, Me.
At the end of each episode of Hyde, Jekyll, Me there was always a sentence or two for viewers to consider. Just an added bonus to make us think beyond the factious story playing out and ponder what kind of things real DID sufferers may be dealing with. I’ll leave you with a few to talk about with friends…
“If someone else exists inside me… Then I hope it’s someone better than myself.”
“Have you ever been faced with another side of yourself?”
“One body with two personalities… Would that be one person, or two people?”
“The more I keep trying, the more ‘me’ I end up discovering.”
“Don’t try to blame the pain on anyone… Blaming others won’t erase the pain.”
Hyun Bin and his fantastic acting
Original sub-plot (amusement park and circus)
The way the song Because of You was used to enhance the ending
Separating the mystery and romance too much