“Jekyll” is a modern retelling of the old Jekyll and Hyde stories, only it concerns a scientist Tom Jackman and his super strong, younger, taller alter-ego. Individually, the six episodes that make up this series are all pretty good. James Nesbitt is great as the fearful, highly moral Dr. Jackman, and equally convincing as the amoral socio-path that is Mr. Hyde. But, when you watch all six episodes in a single afternoon, the flaws shine through.
From one episode to the next the things people say and do are contradicted, reversed, and just generally make no sense. For instance, Hyde is supposed to be super strong. He demonstrates this many times. 1) He throws a large 250+ lb man through a window that is 7 or 8 feet above the ground. 2) After beating the snot out of that very same man, Hyde casually carries his injured body to a hospital wrapped up in a canvas drop cloth. Hyde carries the bundle one-handed as if it was an empty laundry bag and drops it at the feet of an emergency room nurse. And the best of all is 3) Hyde jumps into a lion’s den enclosure at a zoo, kills the lion, and throws its corpse over a 15 foot high fence onto the top of a van in the parking lot (I’m not going to guess how far that might be). I need to do a Google search to see how much a grown male lion is, but it’s probably more that the really big guy!
So we establish in the first two or three episodes that Hyde is really, really, strong… but then by episode five he is unable to get out of a locked cellar. He spends a great deal of time looking for the key and I kept thinking “Why don’t you just bust the door into kindling and stroll away casually?”
Another example of the lack of consistency in this show is the following strange concept: In episode 1, Jackman locks himself up in order to lock up Hyde. He uses a keypad lock and tells his assistant not to tell Hyde the combination. Jackman also locks away his personal belongings in a small safe that also has a keypad lock. We are lead to believe that Hyde doesn’t know the combinations for either lock. But, in a later episode, Jackman and Hyde can talk to each other in their minds… then they suddenly lose that ability by the next episode. In a flashback to when Hyde first emerges (which BTW is either six months ago, or seven years ago), he can successfully guess a number Jackman is thinking of (do you see where I’m going with this?) Hyde and Jackman have flashes of each other’s memories, but Hyde doesn’t know what Jackman’s name is or that he is married with children (these would be very strong memories so why can’t Hyde see them?). When Jackman’s personality is destroyed, leaving only Hyde… then Jackman’s memories come on in full force and Hyde can access all sorts of memories. WHAT?
The worst thing in the scripts was the slew of people saying completely opposite things.
• An old lady refers to Hyde as “pure Evil” and then later explains that he is in fact “Love.” (Because Love is super strong and a psychopath… she really does say that)
• Jackman makes a joke about his Ego getting so large that it walked away. Or did he mean his Id?
• The cabal that wants Hyde (for an unspecified reason) keeps talking about how unique he is… but Hyde’s mother has the same curse and is in charge of the cabal! Apparently it’s something that can be passed down through the generations. That hardly makes it “unique.”
• The cabal seems perfectly fine with killing Jackman’s kids to get Hyde to come out… but don’t they also have his genetic curse? Why doesn’t the cabal study the kids?
• Hyde is constantly referred to as a “killer” but never kills anyone until the third or fourth episode when he kills probably the most evil character ever. (I was quite satisfied with his brutal death. Kudos to you, Hyde!)
Lazy writing is also a hallmark of this series. The concept that Hyde and Jackman don’t share injuries (in direct contrast to what has been happening all along) is introduced at the beginning of the very last episode. Then it becomes the most important element of the climax. Chekov would have been very disappointed that the writers didn’t showcase this concept in the very first episode.
The violence was mostly off screen, which is frugal film-making and leaves a lot to the imagination, but the producers could have showcased Hyde’s super powers a little more. The super-sniffer power got old pretty fast. When he does show some ability like the above mentioned super-strength, his super-speed, and his ability to climb sheer walls, he never uses them when it counts. For instance, at the very end of the last episode he walks down a corridor while people shoot at him. He could have crawled up the walls, moved very fast to dodge the bullets, and perhaps used various objects lying around as projectile weapons. I have no doubt that ANYTHING in Hyde’s hands can be used as a weapon, but he often chose a really large knife. (And the fact that he walked into this fortress to rescue his wife without ANY weapons on him, is just absurd! Where is Roger LaCoco and his ball bearings when you need him?)
Speaking of weapons, what was with Hyde’s teeth? He had vicious monster teeth… and sometimes he didn’t. Could he transform his teeth? Why didn’t he transform his nails into claws? Or grow another set of arms? Be consistent people! Either Hyde’s transformation is subtle and he is the “next step in human evolution”… or he is a regressive monster with hairy arms and big teeth!
Ah!! It makes me crazy! Every time I think about it the more I think of things that are wrong!