The emphasis here is less on physical danger than it is on mental gymnastics. To date, Tae-joo has always been able to backpeddle his way out of failures because he was always watching from some secret compartment somewhere. Here, he has to directly negotiate with Seo-jin over the terms which will decide who was truly at fault for what happened at the kidnapping so long again. And the dramatic impetus ends up hinging on one question that to date hasn't really been addressed- why does Tae-joo even care in the first place?
There's an old joke about psychology majors- that the reason they pick that major concentration is so that they can self-diagnose their own mental illnesses. It's a very apt metaphor for Tae-joo's motivation here. Tae-joo slowly comes to realize that by obsessing on winning the guilt game, he's tacitly acknowledging that anyone holds responsibility for what happened at all aside from the kidnapper.
The paradigm is essentially an absurd one. And it also has interesting implications in the light of what happened last episode. At the time Tae-joo seemed utterly cruel for brutalizing his now-imprisoned captor. Yet by the end of this episode, it's actually kind of a poetic justice. It's not that Tae-joo's actions are any less cruel. It's rather than this is a chain of events the kidnapper himself set into motion long ago without even realizing it. Bizarrely enough, if he had just stuck to the kidnapping things probably wouldn't have turned out so poorly.
It's very fortunate that "Hyde, Jekyll and I" was able to make a convincing turn for Seo-jin's character development in the second half. Had that much been fumbled everything about this episode would have come off as a total joke. It's actually quite impressive here how directly essential Seo-jin's psychological recovery is to keeping the situation tense and genuinely exciting. He's only able to prevail over Tae-joo in the end, paradoxically enough, by not trying to fight back.
That's quite a rare thing for any story to pull off- usually good prevails over evil because of the way the flags are marked. But Seo-jin actually kind of manages to shame Tae-joo into realizing that just because the latter man has lots of fancy degrees doesn't make him an expert on what it's like to actually be a mental patient. It's pretty compelling stuff- really the only flaw this episode is the goofiness of all the secondary characters being crowded into the same car. Hey, they gotta be around here somewhere for the climax.
Review by William Schwartz
"Hyde, Jekyll and I" is directed by Jo Yeong-gwang, written by Kim Ji-woon-II and features Hyun Bin, Han Ji-min, Sung Joon, Hyeri, Lee Seung-joon, Han Sang-jin, Shin Eun-jung, Lee Duk-hwa and many more.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Hyde, Jekyll and I" Episode 15"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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