In the second episode of Jekyll, the organization that Benjamin works for takes to drastic measures to trigger the appearance of Hyde, and does so to disastrous effects. A mysterious woman from Tom Jackman’s past arrives and Katherine helps her reunite with him. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jekyll.
Well, sweet summer child, this all got so much more real. I’ve said many times on this blog that I love: 1) nonlinear storytelling, 2) “mystery” plots, and 3) complex and intricate arcs. It’s what was so fun about Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica. Hell, some of the stories Moffat created for Doctor Who were fantastic. I had complaints about the sloppiness of series six, how the complex plot seemed so nonsensical to me towards the end. (I still rather enjoyed series six because just watching the faces of the Doctor, River, Rory, and Amy filled me with joy. Oh, and “The Doctor’s Wife” was just beautiful.) I believe I said that given the time, Moffat could have created a much more meaningful and satisfying end to that mytharc, and while watching Jekyll, I think I’m witnessing him doing that.
With just a single “topic” to cover, I’m impressed at the serpentine plot that weaves throughout the course of an hour in episode two. Even more impressive is the fact that so much has just happened. I didn’t expect the reveal of Jackman’s mother to come anytime before the end, and now we have a much fuller understanding of what’s at work here. (I’m still pretty sure I’m unprepared, but for what it is, I’m totally into what’s going on.)
Episode two is far more tense and creepy than nearly every moment in the pilot, so I’m just going to assume this will all get worse and worse. I love that this episode starts right where the cold open of Episode One left off; I honestly didn’t expect we’d ever see what happened with Katherine during that first meeting with Jackman and Hyde. It’s important to see, though, how Katherine first meets Jackman’s other personality, how that frames her trust of him and her relationship with both manifestations of Jackson’s personality. She’s not just a piece of the puzzle, and even if her scenes drip with terror and intensity, she’s still a person who has her own emotional issues with the situation.
Of course, it’s just plain fascinating to see Hyde’s first real appearance to Katherine, and it’s riveting in its psychological implications. What totally blew me away is how we come to see the tiny details about Katherine and Jackman’s routine that they’ve locked themselves into. I loved the glimpse of the whiteboard that showed when the two manifestations could be scheduled. This is all inspired by another awkward awakening by Jackman, who learns that Hyde dined with some mysterious woman. So, Katherine has promised not to share integral details with either personality, they have a schedule, they have a set of rules…it’s all planned out, and it’s been six weeks. This is about trying to manage the unmanageable, and yet, for the time being, things were being managed.
Katherine’s trust issues (and whatever she was lying about) are brought to the forefront, though we only get one part of that in the beginning. I initially believed she was working for Benjamin, but after drugging Jackman (COULD SHOWS PLEASE STOP DRUGGING PEOPLE, IT IS ALWAYS UNCOMFORTABLE) and seeking out personal documents of his, it didn’t make sense. Whomever Benjamin works for, they already seem to know everything they need to about Tom Jackman. Why would a letter be at all necessary to their cause? Plus, Katherine seemed awful nervous about it, not just because she had drugged her employer, but because the letter confirmed something she’d not believed before. So she calls up the unknown woman she was speaking to before and tells her that she now believes her.
She’s met with silence, because Hyde has woken up. AND JESUS GODDAMN CHRIST THIS SCENE IS JUST TOO MUCH. What is so frightening about Hyde is that he’s uninhibited, that he revels in causing these sort of reactions from those around him. Katherine has every right to fear him after this episode, and I’m glad Moffat shows her reacting the way she does after it’s over. This is not simply about being spooked; she’s now seen what Hyde is capable of. (Though, now I’m curious: Was her glimpse of Hyde in the doorway a mental reaction to trauma, or was it a result of that idea of a psychic projection that’s mentioned later? I mean, Jackman’s son, Eddie, sees Hyde when his father arrives to pick them up for a day at the zoo. This is not just an issue of Jackman briefly changing to Hyde; both were visible at one point in time.
Benjamin Lennox is back and…well, I still don’t get what the organization he works for really is. I get that they are quite large and powerful, and I almost feel silly saying that. The power they have (which we witness at the zoo) is so massive that it’s pretty much limitless what they can do. I get the sense that Lennox is a bit over his head at times, but he possesses a certain zest for what’s unfolding. He’s enamored with what Jackman is, what he is able to do, and what he’s capable of doing for Lennox. But….why?
Everything that happens at the zoo with Tom’s child is both horrifying, entertaining, and utterly ridiculous. I think if you take one scene out of context, it’s the silliest thing in all existence. I mean…a man throws a lion onto a van. It’s absurd, and if I didn’t believe that Hyde was getting stronger and stronger very rapidly, I would have turned off this show without giving it another second. And while I don’t want to discount the frightening reveal that Eddie is inside the lion’s cage, meant to trigger the appearance of Hyde, I was far more shocked and confused by the voices that Jackman heard. The logistics of this character continue to be far deeper and more complex than any adaptation I’ve ever seen. When Katherine “called” him, I thought it was a trick to lure him away from Eddie, which I also believed to be a simple kidnapping at the same time. But…that’s Hyde actually speaking to Jackman. HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS HAPPEN???? Can they now exist at the same time? Does that mean Jackman can speak with Hyde while he’s awake, too, or is this a one-way street? God, it’s such an electrifying scene to watch because it’s just so goddamn weird.
And really, everything with the lion and a bloodied Hyde is just way beyond normality, and I think that while it’s certainly played as being humorous in a dark way, it’s actually fascinating to me that Moffat chose to go straight for the weird. Hyde really is unhinged in a way that would create a reaction like we see here. We’ve already seen it established that Hyde has a weird obsession with catchy pop tunes associated with Disney, so why wouldn’t he climb up in a lion’s den to sing, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”? Weird as it may be, it’s in-character, you have to admit.
What Benjamin shares with Hyde makes little sense to me, and I’m okay with that. I know I barely have any of the story, but….Benjamin’s people controlled Jackman? Who the hell is this man? Who dropped him off at that train station 40 years prior and why? How would they even know that Jackman had the power to change into Hyde, and why do they need it?
I suppose I’m a bit uncomfortable with where episode two goes after this, and it’s my first real chance to see just how fucked up Hyde is. Perhaps that’s what I’m supposed to think: Hyde is not just detached for any sense of morality, and he’s not just peripherally violent anymore. What he does to Christopher is flat-out fucking terrifying. Yes, the man threw Jackman’s child to a pack of lions, and that’s reprehensible. I won’t deny that. But he drops off the man’s body in a sack, his eyes gouged out, his hearing damaged, his limbs broken, his body a shell of what it was before. This is what Hyde is capable of, and he’s only appearing with a higher frequency.
And then that is suddenly on the bottom of a list of a bazillion things that all seem to happen at once. Peter Syme betrays Jackman, tipping off Benjamin to Jackman’s location. And Katherine finally reveals why she drugged her employer at the beginning of the episode: his mother has returned.
UM WHAT THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND EPISODE WHAT IS SHE DOING HERE.
Just…well, this just got a whole lot more interesting. What does she have to do with all this? It’s clear that she is an antagonistic force to Benjamin’s people since they take her away to their facility. That would be fascinating enough, but then she DISAPPEARS FROM HER HOLDING CELL. I mean….what??? Does she have some secret that she’s keeping from all of us? That can’t just be any ordinary sort of escape, can it?
I’m just glad that this episode ends with Jackman contacting Miranda. I really think she’ll be a big help, but mostly I’m selfish and I just want to see more of Miranda and Min. Clearly, Katherine is going to meet up with them, but what does Jackman have planned? Ah, damn, I feel so silly! I don’t get what’s going on, BUT I WANT MORE.