Thursday, February 12, 2015

Hyde, Jekyll, and I Episode 7 - Kisses and Kidnappings

This was a hard episode to get a feel for.  I had actually changed the title three times since I keep changing my mind on what direction I want to tackle the various scenes.  Do I focus on the Seo Jin's plot line, where we get a cute chaebol discovering love?  Do I focus on Robin and his regret over love and Ha Na.  Or do we talk about the underlying events that caused Seo Jin's initial trauma which forced him into a situation where Robin was created?  So in true multiple personality fashion, I am going to segment this sucker up and cover all three. 

Seo Jin - A Man In Love
Seo Jin is finally starting to admit to himself, if not others, that yes he has some interest in Ha Na.  Not that it is a huge secret to everyone around him since his actions (being nice to her) literally speak louder than words.
Concerned over whether Ha Na is hurting because of Robin's supposed rejection, Seo Jin turns to his trusty secretary for advice.  Quickly nixing Secretary's first suggestions of fixing her up on blind dates "You forget a man with another man", he settles on the idea of giving her tons of work instead.  This is cute since Seo Jin can of course relate with the idea of drowning emotions through work.  So being the sweet romantic that he is (even though he still does not realize he is being romantic), Seo Jin gives the circus troupe the opportunity to be the main event at the valentines day celebration, complete with new costumes and a live band to accompany them.
Awww Seo Jin is wooing her... even though he is unaware he is wooing her. As part of the deal Seo Jin lets the circus know that he will be coming to watch on their progress every day until the performance.  Hmmmm is that a gift or more of a curse?  Either way it is cute how he is finding ways to be around her without having to admit he wants to be around her.
When Secretary asks if Seo Jin is starting to have feelings for Ha Na.  You know, since this is the first time Seo Jin has been nice........ever.......seriously. remember the chucking of the girl in front of the rampaging gorilla debacle? Instead of saying a fast and hard "NO", Seo Jin tells his sidekick that for the first time in forever he can breath just a bit easier.  To which his secretary jokes that he is starting to act a bit more like Robin. Hahaha.

Unfortunately the whole episode is not about Seo Jin discovering love. Instead we get a dose of dear old evil dad (The only good thing about seeing the annoying father on screen is that we get to see his hottie secretary at the same time).  Evil dad is busy sticking his nose into his son's business. After learning about Robin's interest in Ha Na dad inquires about Seo Jin's relationship with her.  His minion is quick to reply that there is nothing more than Seo Jin's interest in Ha Na's ability to find Dr Kang.  Just as evil dad is relieved over Seo Jin's romantic actions, he comes upon his secretary talking to Ha Na about Seo Jin's sudden interest in funding her circus.  I found it funny that finally Ha Na is questioning something (Seo Jin's sudden generosity towards the circus) only to then do a head smack as I realize this is the writers subtle attempt at cluing in evil dad to both of his son's interest in the circus ringleader.
Evil dad, being the jerk that he is, heads off to rid Ha Na from his son's sphere.  Just as he is in route, Seo Jin steps in front of him and like a total boss, tells his father to back off.  He is in charge of Wonderland and if anyone is going to make changes without his approval, it will be the boards decision and not his fathers.  WOOT!!!  It is so nice seeing a Chaebol leading man who is not automatically overwhelmed by his pushy parents.
Robin Goes a Smoochin'
And that brings us to our second segment, also to be therefore known as "Robin Gets Some Action." Yup, our boring nice personality has some moves hidden behind that smile.  Or in kdrama terms, he calls dibs on our clueless leading lady (makes you wonder if maybe the Robin personality is endgame).  But before we get to "the kiss" lets discuss some of the events leading to our 2nd lead getting his smooch on. 
Remember that we left Robin sad and alone after finding out that Ha Na not only confessed (supposedly to him), but also sent him a text message that had been erased by Seo Jin.  In an effort to be noble and keep the status quo, Robin had decided to not rock the boat and keep Ha Na in the friend zone.  His ability to actually accomplish this is nil as he stalks her to the mini mart, apologizes for his lack of knowing about her confession, and then tells Ha Na that he wants her to stay in his life because she is important.  Just as Ha Na starts to realize the subtext behind Robin's words a cop breaks the moment and begins issuing them a ticket for their inattention to the stop light.
The problem with being the "other" personality is that legally you don't really exist.  As we find out when our "other OTP" gets sited for jaywalking (Yet another moment of weak writing since that was kind of a stupid reason to give him a ticket.)  Poor Robin can't give his identification due to the fact that it is all under Seo Jin's name so his secret would not longer be a secret.  Luckily he is saved by his secretary who comes and gets Ha Na to leave long enough to sort things out.  Robin and Secretary take a walk to a nearby park bench where Robin admits to his unconfessed feelings for Ha Na.  How he likes Ha Na, but how can things work out in their situation?  Besides, it is too late since there has already been an incident where Seo Jin erased a message in his phone causing misunderstandings. Ha Na (who overheard everything....... cough cough..... weak writing........cough) does not understand all the subtext to the conversation.  She storms out demanding that things are not at all complicated and drags him play puppets.  SIGH.......  And just in case you were wondering, that was a sigh of annoyance, not a "so cute" sigh.  Their puppet personalities play out a little scene of Robin puppet asking for understanding and no questions. While the Ha Na puppet inquires how long does she not have to ask questions?  There are a few seconds which were attempting puppet cuteness and then Robin makes the puppets kiss.  This is followed by Robin swooping in to give Ha Na a kiss of his own.
OK let's dissect "the kiss" scene step by step and I will try to forget that I am having issues with the romantic movement of the drama (more about the specifics on that topic later).  First of all, puppets are in no way sexy.  At the best they bring forth the feeling of innocence and childhood.  Two things that you don't want associated with a sexy skinship moment.  Next, the  90 degree angle of Robin's head is completely awkward and I really dislike the way the director decided to shoot this scene.  The fact that I can see her bug eyed look over his sideways head is both distracting and lacks any sense of romance.  Which leads us to her horrible wide eyed stare.  Hyun Bin is going to town on your lips girl. At least attempt to put some emotion into your expression.  Glassy eyes are not a good sign when in mid kiss.  Thankfully the director pans out.  Only for us to get a clear look at how uncomfortable our leading man must be feeling to tilt his head in that unnatural manner.  And the final nail in the sexy coffin is the fact that they have the couple kissing as well as the two puppets, who are also still kissing.  Then we get a closeup of just the puppets (who are still freaking kissing).  UGH... Gag, gag, makeout puppets NOT SEXY
Remember the Past
Thankfully the episode is saved by a switch in focus to the mystery of the drama.  It is curious that the bad guy is supposedly caught, but the doctor continues to be missing (I am thinking that this guy is not the real kidnapper).  Personally if I were the cops I would be a little more concerned on making the perp talk since I imagine that the doctor would be starving to death about now if she was chained up in a hidden basement or something.  But this is kdramaland and real things like eating and drinking don't matter when love is on the line.
Hot Doc, Ha Na, and Seo Jin again meet up at the police department to watch the bad guy's confession.  They are told that they guy has just been rambling about memories.  Turns out those memories include a young Seo Jin. The bad guy, Lee Soo Hyun, calls out to Seo Jin to remember.  Remember back to when they were friends and were kidnapped together.  Remember how Seo Jin's father refused to pay the ransom.  Remember how Seo Jin escaped without Soo Hyun resulting in horrors happening to the poor boy and while he was caught by the kidnappers his father died.  It seems that he harbors a deep resentment against the director of Wonderland.
Seo Jin is blindsided by this revelation and goes into an emotional meltdown, eventually rushing from the room while gasping for air.  He collapses in the stairway and struggles to breath when Ha Na comes up behind him.  Seo Jin grabs her and pulls her into a strong hug, obviously needing Ha Na's help in dealing with these latest revelations.  I can't help but notice that this hug had all the feelings that were missing in the puppet kiss. It will be interesting to see what happens next episode.
My Thoughts
The episode was like a PB & Pickle Sandwich... It should be good since we all love Peanut Butter, but those pickles just leave a sour aftertaste in our mouths. Sure there are people out there that love PB&P, but for the most part we are in agreement that this sandwich is not satisfying our snack needs.
Some of the problems can be laid at the writer and director's door. With their stale dialogue, and bland cinematography we viewers feel a little let down.  It is not that either aspect is horrible, but both seem like the people are phoning it in and taking the easiest way possible to get their ideas across.  For examples, there is the constant use of people overhearing key plot points to move things along.  There are only so many times that I will buy this coincidence and they had over three times in this one episode alone.  Let's just say that I am not impressed.
I am also having problems with the double love lines now that the two characters are acting  more similar.  It has me having negative flashbacks to a similar plotline in the Tdrama "Fall In Love With Me".  I was constantly upset that I did not feel that the leading lady truly had emotions for both versions which ruined it for me and the same thing is happening in Jekyll and Hyde.  I get the impression that we are supposed to believe that eventually the personalities will merge into one complete personality that Ha Na will love.  But if she only has emotions for one version, won't that make the eventual love of a cured Seo Jin seem just a little bit false.

While originally it was pleasant to see Hyun Bin's smiling version of Robin, it is now getting old and the nice character is coming in 2nd on my list of who i want to watch.  Sure Robin is nice and everything, but he is a bit boring and lacks the character depth that I want.  I really enjoyed when he was introduced in episode 3 because they had him be more than just a token personality, but somewhere along the way I think they have lost that ooomph. 
Before you think that I am totally against the whole episode, let me do a quick countdown of things I did like.  I am obviously a sucker for Seo Jin falling in love.  It is really cute and I love the feel of Seo Jin discovering his own emotions that had stayed dormant for so long.  His interest in Ha Na gives his character a humanity that is very charming.  Her presence also gives him a source of strength he leans on during the trial of his condition.  I also am enjoying Seo Jin's strength in confronting others.  It is not him being a jerk, but truly not letting himself feel walked upon, or in some cases, less of a person because of his afflictions.  Seo Jin is  a problem solver and I enjoy that.
I also really like how the writers added in the connection to his mysterious past with the events of the present.  I was not expecting for him to have such a dark history with the bad guy and that surprise was very appreciated since the rest of the plot was pretty standard.

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