Mark Watches ‘Jekyll’: Episode Two

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.


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.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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44 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Jekyll’: Episode Two

  1. knut_knut says:

    So far, I really like where this show is heading, but I have a very small complaint that I must rant about or else. I hate, HAAAAAAATE Hyde’s weird slow motion attacks because they make me laugh EVERY TIME. I’m genuinely scared and then that weird slow motion thing with the teeth happens and I can’t stop laughing and the moment is ruined.

    Also, I had Jurassic Park flashbacks when Hyde threw the lion on top of the van <3 If this show incorporates dinosaurs I will die <3 BUT SERIOUSLY, WHERE IS THIS HEADED I HAVE NO IDEA BUT I NEED ALL THE ANSWERS. ALL.

  2. clodia_risa says:

    “V qvqa’g rkcrpg gur erirny bs Wnpxzna’f zbgure gb pbzr nalgvzr orsber gur raq” – V guvax V arrq n arj jbeq sbe “hacercnerq”.

    The scene with the lion and Hyde and the blood…it was over the top and silly and frightening and I think that is why it works. Hyde doesn’t care about scaring people (until he does). He cares about doing what he wants to do, which sometimes includes scaring people. But it’s fun! Look at their funny faces. Also, don’t forget that I’m a human being that can rip you to shreds. Ta now!

    Man, Hyde would be the best character for an RPG. I’m going to have to keep that personality in mind the next time I need a character. As long as I had someone to keep that personality in line.

  3. BSGfan1 says:

    Unpopular opinion but I'm not particularly enjoying this show. That may have more to do with disliking Michelle Ryan as much as anything. Too bad she wasn't eaten by a lion. But I'll give it another episode before I give up. I am enjoying your reviews though 🙂

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      No, this is totally okay. The first two episodes are rocky, but I swear, the next two will probably knock your socks off.

      Or maybe not because that would be weird? Could you imagine watching something and then WOOPS THERE GO MY SOCKS

    • Tauriel_ says:

      I love this show, but I'll join you in disliking Michelle Ryan. I think she's totally unconvincing, always sounds like she's just reading out her lines.

  4. psycicflower says:

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    I’m sorry but what in the actual fuck with all of that lion stuff. I know you said to stick the show out but if this wasn’t a Mark Watches project I would’ve stopped after this episode. Yeah there are scary parts and Nesbitt is fantastic but I guess I'm just not really getting into the show itself so far, which I guess is probably an unpopular opinion.

  5. Maya says:

    I always thought of what Hyde did to Christopher as what Westley threatens to do to Prince Humperdinck in "The Princess Bride" when he says "to the pain" No I do not compare everything in my life to that book/movie I have no idea what you're talking about.

    Yeah this second episode is a bit odd. I think it still has the pacing issues of the first where they're rushing a whole bunch of shit to get everything ready for the realness to come. But I didn't really hate the bit with the lions, mostly because James Nesbitt is so damn good at selling Hyde. No one else could have played him as well.

  6. Tauriel_ says:

    Interesting tidbit from the Making Of video on the Jekyll DVD: when they filmed the scenes in a zoo, the guy who was responsible for handling the lions said that he was pretty surprised how accurate the script was (the scene with Hyde standing on top of the wooden structure), because that's actually what REALLY HAPPENS with lions when the alpha male is killed by a younger lion – the new alpha climbs the highest point in the vicinity of the pack to demonstrate his superiority.

    And I agree with clodia_risa – there is a certain amount of ridiculousness with the whole Hyde and lions sequence (and there are some hilarious gems, such as: "Get the note from the lion!" 😀 ), but it still works, because you are aware of what Hyde is capable, and that makes it terrifying. I mean – he KILLED A FUCKING LION WITH HIS BARE HANDS. O.o

    Also, there's this awesome exchange:

    Hyde: "Ever killed anyone, Benjamin?"
    Benjamin: "Not personally. I have people."
    Hyde: "You're missing out… It's like sex, only there's a winner."

    (I was totally reminded of this exchange in "The Doctor's Wife" when Idris says: "Biting's excellent – it's like kissing, only there's a winner." Eerily similar, but more family-friendly.)

    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.

    Well, by now it has already been established that Hyde is essentially a child inside a grown man's body. Which means he does not have any kind of restraints that we adults put on ourselves (either due to social conventions, our morality, or whatever). He's driven purely by primal instinct – he doesn't reason and consider consequences. For him, the choice was very simple: Christopher put his son in mortal danger. Christopher must be punished. End of.

    • notemily says:

      I'm never sure how I feel about the idea that children are inherently amoral and it's only (or mainly) our social inhibitions that make us moral as we grow up. Like, maybe if Hyde is one of those kids who pulls the wings off butterflies just to see what happens, sure. But most kids I think do have a sense of kindness and right/wrong.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        No, no, I didn't mean to imply that ALL children are amoral (actually I believe the opposite – all children are inherently good unless messed up by some inherited genetic garbage or bad education)! I only meant "child" in the sense that he doesn't really think of the consequences and has a very simple view of the world. Sorry, I think I didn't explain myself very clearly. It's the combination of child-like mentality and Hyde's whole "dark side of the man" nature that causes him to be like that.

  7. storytelling on this show.

    love the



  8. nanceoir says:

    Does anyone else get creeped out each time Hyde calls Tom "Daddy"? It makes the whole child-in-a-man's-body, like, a frajillion times worse.

  9. mediamadmeg says:

    My God. This show makes everything else I've ever seen by Moffat look SO FUCKING TAME. Neither most tense moments of Sherlock nor the most terrifying moments of "Blink" and "The Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead" have ANYTHING on this show. Holy fuck.

  10. orangerhymes says:

    I am officially guessing that his mom has a Hyde side. heh. That rhymes. I think that it was carried through her and the 'kind of' that she answered with when Tom asked her about his father's death signifies that her Hyde side killed him.

  11. notemily says:

    I do like that they didn't have Sophie-Jane not recognize the change in her husband. I hate that trope. (I know she has a name in the show but I'm calling her Sophie-Jane now. Deal with it.)

    Wait why are the lights flickering? Oh god he has supernatural powers. He made it rain last episode. Oh god.

    I like that we're going back to the beginning. JESUS CHRIST Hyde is terrifying. *awaits barrage of comments about me saying "Jesus Christ" as a swear word*

    This makes Jackman's comment about his alter-ego liking Mary Poppins last episode more hilarious in retrospect.

    Hee hee the whiteboard of scheduled changes is high-larious.


    He's not tied up! The lights are off! SHE IS NOT SAFE!!!! Oh god this is terrifying


    "Well, it's a… brief relationship." "The meat wasn't fresh. In a zoo there's really no excuse for that, is there?" Oh John Jarndyce, you're hilarious.

    Noooo don't take the kid back to the factory

    LOL John Jarndyce was his protector, just like on Bleak House! Except I hope he's not kind of creepily in love with Jackman like he was with Esther Summerson!




    "It's like sex, only there's a winner." Thanks Idris. I guess this line came first though.

    Every time Benjamin swears he sounds non-American. "We can buy the focken zoo." Maybe he got his American accent from Eddie Izzard. "You're always in here all the time, in here with the focken matches!"

    Seeing Hyde steal the van was pretty hilarious, I have to say. All the guys jogging after it.

    At least he brings dude to the hospital after instead of just straight-up killing him. Although what he does to him… *shudder*


    "Anything he can't fuck or eat." Lololol thanks Mom


    So everyone is saying the THIRD episode is the mind-exploding one? I couldn't even deal with this episode! My roommate is like "yeah, nothing about this one was really surprising to me" and I'm like WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT lk;jasd;asf;d

  12. Tzigane says:

    I love this show so much and I must say Mark that I am ecstatic that you're reviewing it! The only complaint I had about this episode was that they overdid the black vans a little.

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