Mark Watches ‘Jekyll’: Hyde

In the sixth and final episode of Jekyll, Tom makes an unlikely alliance to rescue his family, and the full truth of his origin (and Claire’s) is revealed. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Jekyll.

It’s unfortunate that there won’t be anymore Jekyll for the foreseeable future. With Moffat fully running Doctor Who and working on Sherlock (though that is over for now), I don’t imagine we’ll ever get a second series of this show. Yet even despite that, I was pleased with how most of the hanging plot threads were resolved while Moffat introduced some clear ideas for a sequel series. Most of all, though, I just want to watch more of James Nesbitt and Gina Bellman, and it’s with “Hyde” that I realize just what a spectacular thing Moffat and this cast of actors has pulled off.

That’s the overarching thing I feel: I am very satisfied by these six episodes, the stories that have been told, the performances that I’ve witnessed, and the complex mythology that’s surprised me to the very end. That’s not to say there weren’t things I didn’t necessarily liked here. I enjoyed the idea of Katherine Reimer as a character, and I think Michelle Ryan is a fine actress, but her development started off strong, and then it completely disappeared. She barely did anything at all in episodes three through five, and then I’m supposed to believe her emotional goodbye to Tom Jackman? I frankly did not buy it, and it’s one of the only things here that feels artificially jammed into this finale to make room for a story in a second series. Again, it’s not that I dislike her character, but the addition feels sloppy.

Otherwise, there really is a whole lot to like about this finale. First and foremost, this is one of most thrilling television spectacles I’ve experienced. A combination of constant action and unexpected reveals are what Moffat seems to thrive on, and they’re all generally executed extremely well. On top of that, there’s a lot of misdirect, starting off with the hilarious cold open. I was led to believe that the introduction of Gavin Hardcastle was used not only to explain how the Institute came to have a group of trained solders on staff, but to set up an inevitable confrontation between Hyde and Hardcastle. How would Hyde fair against someone who was much more proficiently skilled in combat?

But that’s the trick; the entire montage fed right into that trope and then Moffat literally tosses it off of a building. I’m sorry, I love it. I love that we are meant to be intimidated by Hardcastle, and Hyde simply disposes of him in less than five seconds. The Institute consistently and constantly misjudges Hyde, and I think that it’s used as a larger theme here: they misjudge his strength, they misjudge his ability to change from one persona to the other, and they misjudge Hyde’s drive to protect and care for him family. Forced into a difficult situation when Mrs. Utterson kidnaps his family, we find out that the power drain at the end of “Episode Five” enabled Hyde and Jackman to essentially combine themselves, allowing one to take the strengths of the other. It’s with this that he finally leaves to pursue his family.

And oh lord, his family is so much more interesting, isn’t it? The “house” that Mrs. Utterson takes Claire and her children to is the true “headquarters” of Klein & Utterson, and home to the secrets about Tom Jackman’s origin. God, thinking back to those first moments with Claire is in the house, I’m surprised how completely unprepared I was for where the story was. It seemed odd that they’d stick Claire’s kids in those boxes, but I just wrote it off as a way for them to create a similar trigger of claustrophobia for the kids, a bargaining tool so that the Institute could get what they wanted. When Tom’s mother showed up, though, I started questioning who she was. Was she really Tom’s mother? How could she just appear and disappear so suddenly? Perhaps she wasn’t a physical body and I thought that perhaps she was a ghost or spirit of some sort. Hell, why couldn’t that happen? She could be some sort of messenger to guide Claire to the truth, right? Yeah WASN’T EVEN CLOSE.

That “truth” was, again, nothing I even guessed. Goddamn it, Moffat, how do you think of this stuff? The great misdirect, of course, was that Miranda was actually right all along. Well…sort of, that is. When Claire stumbled into that room with all the copies of Tom Jackman, of course we’re meant to think that he’s a clone. He’s not, but these bodies were: humans cloned specifically for their healing properties. It’s not something I’ve never seen before, but here, Moffat introduces an idea that would make a hell of a story for a second series. What sort of ethics fall into “growing” copies of the same man in order to cure diseases we think are incurable?

It is great to see it addressed just a bit in “Hyde” through Peter Syme. I think it was inevitable that Syme wouldn’t make it out of series one alive, and his death here is a way to hold him accountable for his gray morality and his constant betrayal of Tom Jackman. Yet to be fair, the show doesn’t go as far to say that it’s always immoral to shoot for the greater good, and Peter’s impassioned defense of what he’s done isn’t treated like a silly joke. But what Peter is willing to ignore here is that individual people are destroyed, that he has destined possibly hundreds of clones (who are still people) into living lives devoid of meaning, joy, happiness, or satisfaction. The cost is clearly low enough for him, but when Tom Jackman stands before him, demanding a justification for the horror of his life, it’s not enough for him. The man’s actions have ruined him, and may possible ruin his family’s life forever. Of course, killing Tom (or at least attempting to) wasn’t a good move, either. So Peter dies at the hands of the very man he attempted to profit from, and it’s the only fitting end I could see to Peter Syme’s life.

I think that moral ambiguity is represented in Claire’s story, too. She is merely an endgame and a tool to Klein & Utterson, and that sort of realization on her part is horrifying. Of course, she has had her own life, her own experiences, and Tom’s mother assures her that this hasn’t changed. But in learning that she is actually a clone of Jekyll’s maid, Alice, Claire learns exactly what Hyde is: the human expression of love. When I first heard that, I rolled my eyes so hard. It seemed ridiculous, but upon reviewing what we’ve seen from Hyde throughout this show, it’s actually supported by the material. It was the love Tom Jackman experienced while having sex with his wife that first started to bring Hyde around; it was the threatening of his wife that pulled Hyde out of Jackman’s body to defend her; it was the love of his children that prevented him from ever doing anything harmful to him, and by the end of series one, it’s Hyde’s extreme sense of love that saves the day. It’s an interesting commentary on the dual nature of how we express our love for one another.

Even if you go back and examine the final confrontation between Mrs. Utterson, Colonel Hart, and the rest of the soldiers, it’s love that triggers Tom to turn into Hyde and face his inevitable death. I think Hyde knew that there really was only one option left for him in what was probably an impossible situation. Trapped in a hallway with guns pointed at him, his children possibly suffocating in those boxes at the opposite end of the hall, Hyde chooses to do one last thing: save his children and wife. For a moment, I thought he’d make it to the soldiers and wreak havoc on them, but even this was too much for him. Instead, he takes the bullets, one after another, stumbling towards his singular goal. I was then completely surprised that at the last minute, Colonel Hart changed his mind. He helped Hyde just before he died. I think in a way, Hart had accepted his own death, which Hyde had correctly predicted as being two years out in the previous episode. Would he wait those two years knowing he’d helped murder an entire family, or would he take the chance and risk dying that day in order to save their lives?

Gina Bellman, once again, acts circles around everyone in this episode, and I was crushed when her sons asked her what happened to their father. Even though we learn that Hyde allowed his “body” to die entirely, leaving Jackman alive, I was totally blown away by the reveal that the Jackman children seem to possess some of the genetic features of their father. They held their breath that whole time??? THEY TRADED PLACES??? Oh god, see, this is why I want more of this show. WHAT IF THEY START CONVERTING TO SOMETHING WHILE STILL CHILDREN. oh god THAT WOULD BE SO HORRIFYING.

I think that this was written specifically with the idea that series two would happen. While a lot of stories are completed, I didn’t feel a sense of closure with Miranda and Min. (How rad would it be if the second series was the Fantastic Band of Women against Mrs. Utterson?) Of course, the very ending opens up the story to so, so much more. The entire time, we’ve been told that Dr. Jekyll had no descendants, and this still stands. However, MR. HYDE HAD DESCENDENTS. Which makes that woman Tom’s actual mother, who really did leave him on that train station over forty years before, who is ALSO MRS. UTTERSON.

SWEET SUMMER CHILD HOW DID I NOT FIGURE THIS OUT. Oh god, I won’t lie: I adore this reveal, even if it’s sad that we’ll never get to see more of this. Does this mean that there are other descendants of Mr. Hyde out in the world? What if that was what series two was about? THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES FOR WHERE THIS COULD GO.

Unfortunately, this is all that we get, but I’m still really happy with this ending. Sure, I’ll be left wondering what could be, but the story still feels fairly complete. This was a fun show to watch, and I’ll always appreciate the opportunity to see people act their pants off like this. This is one of Moffat’s most solid stories yet as well. I still love the first and third Sherlock episodes, as well as “Blink,” more than this, but that’s because…well, good lord, have you seen those?

AWESOME. Thanks for joining me on this brief journey. We start Mark Watches Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Monday. OH GOD IT’S REALLY HAPPENING OH MY GOD.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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