If you haven’t had a chance to check out the two biggest mental health dramas of the Winter 2015 season, look no farther, because your local Distractors have got you covered. For, there is nothing like a little assurance, in Dramaland and we have no problem deducting the stress of your mental health check-in.
This time around Ekun and her blog partner over at Stone Cities, Lore, the always amazing Drama Debussie, and I, discuss Hyun Bin‘s first drama since military service, Hyde, Jekyll and Me, co-starring his The Fatal Encounter actress, Ha Ji-min, who is notorious for being rather cold and having little spark with co-stars. The trend continues here, however, the lack of sizzle has just as much to do with the written personalities as their actors’ interpretation.
Brief Diagnosis: Prickly chaebol and heir apparent to Wonder Group, Gu Seo-jin, oversees his family’s theme park Wonder Land but is hiding a damaging secret; he’s currently suffering from dissociative identity disorder and doing his best, by maintaining his stress levels, to keep his alter personality at bay. But one day, a premonition and the return of the parks’ circus ringleader heiress, Jang Ha-na, spikes his heart rate and Seo-jin begins to fret. Fortunately, his personal physician, Dr. Kang Hee-ae, clues him in on a possible cure, however, before they make contact, Dr. Kang is attacked, Ha-na’s is a witness and Seo-jin’s inner hero Robin, emerges after 5 long years of dormancy.
Ekun: Well, we are all watching Hyde, Jekyll, Me and I am certain we all have different opinions on how things are going down thus far. Hence the discussion of the show, and my growing obsession with Hyun Bin in glasses… Maybe the latter is just my opinion– oh well! Ladies, what are your initial thoughts 2 weeks in?
Lore: My initial thoughts are: Hyun Bin looks good in everything, even floral yoga pants. Oh, and I am a tad bit disappointed at the reason behind his second identity, because I thought there would be something more dramatic there. Overall I like it, there are just things here and there that have me rolling my eyes.
Drama Debussie: As much as it pains me to say it, I’m so bored. Sure, I’ll take a bespectacled Hyun Bin any day, but the build up these two weeks has been a little slow for me. Blame my lack of patience or my being spoiled by Kill Me, Heal Me, but I’m going to need them to speed up this process just a bit.
Unnichan: After this fourth episode, I can firmly say that I have missed Hyun Bin (smiling). But, I have zero emotional investment with these characters; I don’t care about Seo-jin’s integration and Baek Ji-young makes me crave sageuk. And please don’t get us started on Kill Me, Heal Me! That entire drama is a PD.
Ekun: Look, I gotta keep it 100%– I was so upset after the first 2 episodes, popcorn throwing was not enough. My rage has since subsided, but I tell you one thing for sure and two things for certain: I ain’t ever going to like Jung Ha-na and Seo-jin tap danced on my last nerve in episode 4 and then Robin!!! Why is screaming his name the only way to react to him?
Lore: Yes, it is impossible to say Robin without screaming, I agree. I think episode 3 and 4 got on my nerves a bit more than the first two entries in the series. I watched episode 1 and 2 thinking that the open questions would have better answers than they did. Especially related to the whole Robin/Seo-jin dynamic.
Unnichan: A shame I never exclaim “Robin!” in joy… But it’s those questions that are both interesting and create loop holes, Show feels destined to fall into. However, for now, I like why and how Robin was created. We don’t know what had Seo-jin on the ledge every night, but we do know that Robin exists to do the things Seo-jin only wished he could do. It began as being too weak, then grew into something more, that later birthed a resentment. I like that, I’m just not sure Show is doing anything more than just telling me these things and leaving me to write my own narrative.
Ekun: I agree. I don’t mind drawing my own conclusions, but I would really appreciate a little more, which we might get down the road. Let’s discuss these characters specifically. I was very intrigued by Gu Seo-jin and Robin at the end of the first week (maybe because I had already decided I hated Ha-na?), but it has since fizzled out. I don’t know what I am expecting, but sometimes, the character seems to be missing something, I am very indecisive over the show because of this very fact. Thoughts on Seo-jin/ Robin?
Lore: Robin, oh Robin. My thoughts on this character are a bit complicated, because there is so much we have to learn about him at this point. On a very basic level, I want to shoot him with a tranquilizer dart so he calms the f down (too harsh?). Seo-jin we know a bit more about – he was written to be that guy you hate (but root for to change his evil man ways). They are such opposites (the whole point, I guess), and I can’t say I like one over the other at this point. Melding the two distinct personalities, which again is what I am guessing the point is, would probably make a more interesting character in my opinion.
Drama Debussie: I’m all about Robin he slightly feels two dimensional sometimes. I kind of feel like I didn’t have any other choice but to adore him. He’s sweet, rescues people, and has the face and body of Hyun Bin. I didn’t stand a chance!
Unnichan: Heh. Robin is supposed to be this guy we like, but I can’t, not yet. At least, not anymore than I like anyone else. He isn’t any better than Seo-jin or any worse than Ha-na. Though perhaps, he’s the only one that doesn’t seem to have a clear and present agenda. Robin had a life and a family, an occupation, a talent. I look forward to learning more about that, however, when it comes to Seo-jin, he doesn’t seem to have any of those things. He’s hollow. And though, I suppose, Show wants my sympathy with that, he doesn’t get it, for the simple fact, these are choices Seo-jin makes. It’s not just his personality but the way he chooses to treat people that don’t meet his needs. Or rather don’t fit into his plans.
Ekun: I will admit, I am a mess and totally fine with Seo Jin’s nasty personality. I remember saying to myself in episode 1 when he was talking to Ha Na, “Oh, you don’t have to say it that way, but that’s just the way you are…” When the way he is in that regard is not okay. It was that Ha Na that flared me up for so many reasons. I do not remember that first thing that made me say, “Oh no!”, but we ain’t ever going to get along (which I know Unnichan is very puzzled by).
Unnichan: As long as you know.
Drama Debussie: Ha-na is so harmless to me that it’s hard for me to consider her in any way that would force me to decide if I like or dislike her. She’s just…there. I know that that’s usually how it goes with dramas and heroines, they are instruments for the hero to use to complete his journey, but I for some reason expected more.
Lore: I don’t hate Ha-na’s character, but I can’t say I am extremely intrigued by it either. My feelings towards Seo-jin/Robin and Ha-na’s characters are intertwined in that I see the show using the multiple (or is that dissociative personality) disorder as one huge romantic plotline, marginalizing the actual depth of these characters. Like Ha-na doesn’t have that much depth to her to begin with, and Seo-jin/Robin’s character depth is completely tied into the split personality concept and high level characterizations (the mean guy, the good guy).
Unnichan: Exactly. Seo-jin is the strongest personality but the weakest emotional link. Not because of his condition but because of his dishonesty with himself. There’s no reason to dislike Ha-na for reacting to Seo-jin, like most people would, with flared up emotions and furrowed brows. However, I rarely agree with her motives or the things she says, yet, that can be said for Seo-jin as well. And, I think that is the problem. For me, we have two fairly unlikable characters and one manipulative personality. But with that, let me go back to something I said earlier— the emotional investment in the show is very low, however, the one time I actually felt something was when Robin spoke with his father. It was in that moment, I realized that no one sees this man as a person and that infuriated me.
Ekun: Girl! Daddy is the worst. He is never trying to help Seo-jin with the problem of “Robin”, but always looks for the easiest way out. I completely understand him being hesitant and feeling some kind of way about Robin, but that is still your son. And I am willing to bet my last that he plays a major role in the reason why Seo-jin felt he had to take his life on the bridge. But the way he treats Robin is even worse. He just claims that Robin is dangerous because of the incident 5 years ago, but he is still a person who can process and feel. It was the one time I felt a twinge and did not scream “ROBIN!” as I tend to do.
Lore: Yeah, I am betting Dad is the source of a lot of the problems that Seo-jin carries around. Dad is clearly not the nicest Dad out there. I agree that the scene where Robin talked to “his” Father was probably the most emotional scene thus far in the series. What do both of you think about Seo-jin’s Mom?
Unnichan: We all agree that Seo-jin’s inferiority and helplessness originated with Daddy and honestly, I don’t care whether someone is nice or not (Seo-jin isn’t nice either). What I care about is my inability to pinpoint actual love from his father. And oddly, it’s not that I doubt he cares but what is more important to him is how he thinks life and people should be and feel and that gets translated into raised voices and snide, hurtful comments. As for Mom, I can see that she loves her son, but she’s equally, if not more, frightened of Robin. That concerns me, because clearly whatever he did, made her partly shutdown her attachment to him as a part of her son. For, it’s clear that wasn’t always the case.
Drama Debussie: Questionable relationships with the parental units is something I’m sure we’re all accustomed to, but when it’s all based on what we can all assume is a major occurrence committed by the child’s other personality you would assume there would be some understanding that he shouldn’t be blamed for whatever went down. Dad treats Seo-jin like the red-headed stepchild.
Ekun: Mom is clearly frightened. Why, we have no idea. I think her reaction is more understandable because fear does not always dissipate the love she actually feels for her son. I need to know what is the thing that makes everyone slap the title “dangerous” on Robin. It is more than the fact that he is not supposed to exist…
Drama Debussie: That’s what drives me crazy the most about this show! What the heck did Robin do? I understand they’re building the suspense by keeping us guessing, but so much revolves around Robin and the hatred that so many people in Seo-jin’s life (including Seo-jin) have for him. You can’t just dangle that in front of us! I can only assume that the story doesn’t really get started until we know, so now we’re just supposed to wait for the answer?!
Lore: Yeah, there is a lot hinging on what happened 5 years ago. Based on what we do know (as limited as that is) we can assume Ha-na probably played a part in it – whether she realizes that or not though…
Unnichan: This mysterious 5 year ago event hurt a person. That is something that is clear. Seo-jin told us that he doesn’t want to be the cause of someone’s pain or something to that effect, so Robin, busy saving lives, endangered someone. And that person must have been pretty important and it has everyone on red alert like he’s an axe murderer. I am hard pressed to believe whatever happened was malicious or intentional but no one else gives him this benefit. And what tops it for me, is that even Robin is as clueless as we are! So again, we come to this impasse of, “Why won’t anyone throw some enlightened sympathy his way?” ‘Cause I tell ya, what he did better have been awful! And I ain’t hearing some Snow-Regina Once Upon a Time *censored*.
Ekun: Do you know how wide agape my mouth dropped when they said that even Robin doesn’t remember?!
Drama Debussie: Do you know how much I’m hoping Tae-joo will be the lucky one that will sneak attack Robin with hypnotism so that it will all come back to him? Partly, because I really want that to happen, but mainly because Tae-joo needs something to do. If the dramaverse wastes Sung Joon again I will be forced to back my bags, fly to South Korea, and have some serious conversations with some important people.
Lore: A thousand times yes to not wasting Sung Joon! So far Tae-joo hasn’t done a whole hell of a lot, so I am waiting for his character to…um…do something. Preferably something cool, I would take hypnotizing Robin. Thoughts on our other secondary characters thus far (as little as we have seen of them)?
Unnichan: Oh come on guys, you know all Tae-joo is going to do is fall in love with Ha-na, like her little dongsaeng. And that is probably the extent that I think about our other characters. We don’t know much about Robin’s other life but he has a few things going for him on that side of things that piques. Mostly this manga/manhwa that, by golly I want to read! And the villain, he’s funny, what is name again? Stumbling on secrets, thinking Seo-jin is dating that little girl (Min Woo-joong), who’s barely old enough to breathe. Tsk. Tsk.
Drama Debussie: Oh, Seung-yoon? The clumsiest villain I’ve seen in a long time? The one who has to compose a text in front of the woman the text is being sent to? Yeah.
Ekun: Look, backing up to Tae-joo falling for Ha-na… How can I put this delicately? Ain’t nobody got time for that *censored*. I need him to do something worth my time and love for Sung Joon. Ahem, back to Seung-yoon… first, what is going on with this new haircut? Second, I cannot see this actor try to take someone else’s company again [see: Birth of a Beauty, Big Man]! Although, it seems like Papa (Seo-jin’s) is trying to give it away!
Unnichan: Oh yea girl, he’s handing it over because he can’t trust Seo-jin and giving it to Seung-yoon would keep it in the family. I personally say, go right ahead, ’cause once Seo-jin gets real with himself, Robin and the rest of dramaland, he won’t be playing with that company anyways. *tosses mic* And since it seems none of us wants to talk about it… I’ll go ahead and mention it… How are you guys feeling about the romance angle *waiting for disgruntled side-eyes?*
Drama Debussie: Why must you open this Pandora’s box of emotions within me, UC? WHAT ROMANCE ANGLE?! WHERE? Is it an acute angle? Obtuse? Because I can’t really find it.
Unnichan: Kekekke. You know, it had to be done. It’s for your health DD. Your health.
Drama Debussie: I see Ha-na having gratitude for Robin that has been brewing for the last 15 years, that I could see her confusing for like or love after spending some time with Robin. Understandable seeing that Robin is a sweet protector of humans, but he treats everyone the same, so I doubt he feels the same way just yet. He has gratitude toward her for conjuring him up, but that’s all I see. Seo-jin is starting to show signs of caring for Ha-na but that nut is hard to crack. I already have doubts about any romance in this show because I doubt I’ll believe them.
Unnichan: He does treat everyone the same right? That wasn’t just me? The guy didn’t even remember her and he’d saved her life less than 24 hours prior.
Ekun: Look, look, look, look, are you looking? I ain’t in the mood for that either. I feel that show is hurriedly trying to give me every reason to root for these fools– but I can place investments in things I can’t see reaping a profit. And I can’t stand Ha-na, I want her to get her tail on a plane and go back to that Las Vegas.
Unnichan: If someone mentions Las Vegas ONE MORE TIME!
Ekun: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! It is what happens in Vegas stays… but why didn’t she!? I know, I am mean, I’m ok with that.
Lore: Ha- yeah, Vegas. I am trying to figure out why, if she loved that dang circus so much, she was in Vegas to begin with. Oh, and can I mention the fact that I am extremely unimpressed with the clown makeup. And she wants to make the thing into Cirque Du Soleil? I have little faith. Yes, I am judging this show’s circus ability.
Unnichan: Heh. The amount of shade Ekun is throwing on Ha-na has me chilly and though you have a great point Lore, I get why she went and why she’s back. The problem is, I don’t need to be reminded of where she’s been. Not only do I not care, it doesn’t matter now (hence the saying). Perhaps she’s learned a few things about the trade and trellises, but she certainly hasn’t acquired any knowledge about conducting business deals or properly organizing a circus troupe. Ha-na loves what she does because of who birthed the love within her and that is sweet but it doesn’t create any tallies in her corner to stay in Wonder Land, nor is it doing much by way of making me believe she can upstart a relationship with Seo-jin. Whenever she and Robin are together they are cute, like two teenage buddies but she and Seo-jin… I just roll my eyes at anything Show is trying to pull with that.
Drama Debussie: I understand what you mean about the circus, Lore. The little we’ve seen of the present day circus is horrible. You can’t turn a circus into Cirque Du Soleil when its roots are Cirque Du Ratchet. I can’t blame Ha-na for trying to hang on to it, seeing the personal investment she has in it. Although like UC said, she’s not great at her new job. I can totally understand Ekun’s shade. Her qualifications are weak and it’s annoying to see them try to make her more than what she is. Not all of us need to aim so high, Willis.
Lore: Which I think makes the Vegas thing seem more sketchy — like, Miss Circus went off to learn the trade, came back and um…can’t figure out how to work the dang thing. It is losing money but she wants to transform it into this epic show on par with a Vegas performance? *Side eyes* Okay, circus annoyance aside, I agree with UC’s statement regarding Ha-na and Seo-jin’s “relationship”. It is a hard thing to swallow at this point. I think that is where the fusion of the two personalities comes in – with Robin-Ha-na is too lovey dovey with faulty logic (I mean, come on,
it is a crush because he saved her when they were young), while with Seo-jin it…um…well..yeah. We need to see the halfway point personality and how that shakes out in the romance department with Ha-na. Because that is probably the only romantic storyline I would even halfway buy into at this point.
Ekun: I ain’t for it. Maybe by episode 8 my tune will change, but right now I would love for her to be on a jet plane, defeating the purpose of the show…
Unnichan: Look, a tune on a middle school recorder, sounds nothing like a classical flute, and right now, that is the only tune this romantic angle has me playing.
Ekun: But, aside from that, anything else we neglected? Ah! This creepy mofo following Ha-na, trying to kill her at every corner… What is up with that?!
Unnichan: Yes, Yes, Yes! Who is this Joker that has disappeared the doctor (and I mean kidnapped)? He’s crazy— in that creepy, sadistic, eerily meticulous way. He’s not the best murderer but he’s pretty darn good at being a creeper. He’s all over everywhere pretending he needs counseling… Well, I guess it’s not really a pretense, but I digress. Any thoughts on who he is and who has hired him?
Drama Debussie: Honestly, I can’t with him. Seems like he’s creepy and stalking for the sake of it all. I’m sure he has what he thinks is a good reason for doing all of this but watching him make his way around town being all murderous and creepy is getting old really fast. Again, we need answers! I can only assume/hope/pray to dear baby Jesus that Tae-joo will play some part in getting him to reveal what his issue is. Until then, if he wants to be the reason Robin is forced to appear and save Ha-na in ways that forces their bodies to be really close to each other, let him do it.
Lore: I am not sure who he is, but he is obviously a master of disguise. I mean, he wears glasses when he is creeping, but when he is not creeping he doesn’t. Genius right here, folks.
Ekun: For years glasses have duped many a foe into believing one is not who they appear to be.. Clark Kent/ Superman. Need I say more? And the doctor (Shin Eun-jung) is missing– I guess there is not a lot to say about her other than she believes she can cure Seo-jin and she is missing. If she turns out dead, I am going to be upset ya’ll!
Unnichan: No, see that I won’t be upset about— not now. When it happened, I was upset but now, I think I’ll only be mad if she has D.I.D. too and hired this guy to kidnap her tail. I’m thinking that everything we need to know is encrypted in these files on her computer, so once Tae-joo cracks the code, it will kill two birds for us: Sung Joon will be worth his pay and Seo-jin might have a “cure.”
Ekun: Now see, that is a show I want to see! She crazy (I mean that in the nicest way possible) and she trying to cure someone from the disease she suffers from? Unnichan, get that script off to Korea ASAP! And I like the idea of Sung Joon being put to good use.
Drama Debussie: All of your enthusiasm is starting to wear off on me, but there’s still a huge part of me that thinks we’ll all go Tyra Banks (“HOW DARE YOU!”) on this show if turns out whatever cure the doctor may have been referring to doesn’t work if they find it/her. Thing is, the cure should come from within Seo-jin and I just don’t believe the doctor will have that answer but that’s the pessimist (or realist?) in me. There’s a reason Seo-jin compartmentalized all the parts of himself that make up Robin, and I just don’t see a doctor being able to fix that. That statement would include Tae-joo which kills me for the Sung Joon wasting that would entail.
Lore: Here is what I am betting on — The doctor is going to be found, but when she is found Seo-jin is not going to want to be cured. Why? Because there will come a point in time when Seo-jin likes Ha -na back, but knows that Ha-na only likes Robin (so he needs Robin). Therefore, he will have a sob story / angsty meltdown about his other personality, and that will facilitate his not wanting to change. But BUT! He will, of course, change due to Ha-na any way. Such is the sappy, super cheesy power of love in drama land. Hold on, I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.
Unnichan: Lore, your theory has brought tears to my eyes. Not because it is sad, but because it’s so plausible, I’m scared and it better be the worst case scenario. Ultimately, I still have hope in this Show, to actually turn around and be a decent drama. But for now, we have nothing to grab ahold of and it’s discouraging. To piggy back off DD, I kind of wish we didn’t have the diagnosis looming over everything and were just working with a man struggling with his mental illness or duality. I don’t mind Robin existing but I’d like to get to the heart of the matter so I can make a sound choice as to whether I like this story or not. Hyun Bin is doing all he can with what the script calls for but there are issues with everything we should be caring about beyond whether his performance is up to par.
Drama Debussie: Exactly. We can’t just be expected to keep watching for him. I hope they have a plan for a much more exciting place to where this show is headed. I mean, Hyun Bin is just a man. A sexy, delicious, future ex-husband of a man, but a man nonetheless.
Ekun: That is exactly what I was thinking.. Wait? Why is on the ex- husband list? I need to keep that around forever. Even if I gots to trap him… You know what I mean…
Drama Debussie: Ekun, there is a list of future ex-husbands that exists in my life and I have to give everyone a shot. He’s number one on that list, though.
Lore: DD, polyandry is a thing and all..I think what you need is a harem. I will come right out and say it. They could murder this plot and I would watch it for Hyun Bin. As sad as that is, that is the truth. Four years of Hyun Bin thirst cannot be easily denied by a crappy drama plot.
Drama Debussie: *gasps* POLYANDRY! YES! See, this is why we need you, Lore. I’m right there with you. I have a feeling this show will destroy me in all the wrong ways, but the thirst is too strong within. I’m in it for the long haul.
Unnichan: WAIT! I may be thirsty (and I do feel parched) but what is all this marriage and divorce talk? Can’t we all just flit and float [Thank you, Sound of Music]? I get the idea of putting a few people on lock, but can’t we just pretend to trap them or something? A harem I can get behind, but I can’t be tied like that.
Ekun: Oh ok, I can flit and float– at some point in life I was anti- flit/float, but now that I am close to 30, to hell with it! Anything else before we call it a done deal?
Drama Debussie: Here, here! I can support that. Almost 30 is the best time for me because I give less f$#@s the closer I get to it. I’m all for flitting/floating out of here until next time.
Lore: I just have one more thing to say before we call this a done deal:
Unnichan: Flit and float. Alls I’m saying… FLIT. AND. FLOAT.