Jekyll

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
The hero and his other half.
"Heard of good cop, bad cop? This is the movie!"
Tom Jackman, "Jekyll"

Bizarre British TV series written by Steven Moffat and a Deconstruction of the Jekyll and Hyde trope, Jekyll tells the story of the scientist Dr. Tom Jackman, and his Mr. Hyde, who coexist in an uneasy relationship, the two communicating through a dictaphone and "changing" at designated times. Unfortunately, Jackman is married with children, and he will go to any length to prevent his other side from finding out about them. Even worse is the arrival of a shadowy agency intent on capturing Hyde for their own ends.


Tropes used in Jekyll include:
  • Acting for Two: James Nesbitt pulls it off, with Tom and Mr. Hyde seeming like two extremely different people. He's helped by some quite extensive make-up.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Perhaps not all girls, but Mr. Hyde certainly seems to appeal to a few.
    • Subverted by Claire, who finds him irritating and Catherine, who instead has the hots for the far more beige, but kind and decent, Tom Jackman.

Claire: Let's be honest, just us girls together. All good taste and decency aside; he does spend half his time as a world-class hottie.
Katherine: Yes, and he spends the other half as Mr. Hyde! ....oh, you meant the other...the other way around...see what I did there?
Claire: ...You have good taste.

  • All Lesbians Want Kids: One of the lesbians who aid Jackman throughout the series is pregnant. (Real Life Writes the Plot: her actress was pregnant, so they just wrote it into the script. It doesn't come up in any really meaningful way.)
  • Anachronic Order: One later episode focuses on Jackman's life before Hyde, and him realising his condition.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Episode six spends its first few minutes showing us a badass mercenary Utterson has hired. The episode flashes through his hiring, him training soldiers for Utterson (including casually snapping one's neck while blindfolded). Then he confronts Hyde, who casually throws him off the roof within seconds. All of this occurs within the first five minutes!
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Badass: Claire. There's really nothing else you can say about an Innocent Bystander who can go stand up to the most lethal force in the world, and not die. She's also a Mama Bear. It does help that the most lethal force in the world is in love with her, would never dream of harming her and would literally do anything for her, including sacrifice himself, but that's only after she stands up to him so.
    • Hyde is a clear cut example.
  • Badass Moustache: As worn by Robert Louis Stevenson of all people.
  • Bald of Evil: Benjamin.
  • Being Good Sucks: The methods Jackman takes to keep Hyde away from his family and not doing too much harm pretty much ruin his life.
  • Berserk Button: Do not threaten Jackman's family in front of Hyde. You will die. End of story.
    • Don't you ever, EVER lie to Hyde.
  • Big Bad Friend: Peter Syme.
  • Big Blackout: Changing between Jackman/Hyde causes nearby lights to flicker. At one point, the entire city of London powers down.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first actual death, Benjamin
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Hyde has them.
  • Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: The very ending. Seeing the CEO do the Nightmare Face, from what we saw of Mr. Hyde doing it, sometimes means death for the victim. Unfortunately, that's the last shot of the series, with no indication if Jackman gets out alive.
  • British Brevity: Only a single mini-series of 6 episodes was ever created; given how Tom's character arc is pretty much wrapped up this was probably by design. Though there are sequel hooks at the end of the last episode, and Moffat has mentioned the possibility of a second series...
  • Cloning Blues: Poor Claire.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Hyde does this to Christopher, the man who placed Eddie in the lion's den. Jackman allows it to happen.
  • Combo-Platter Powers: Hyde has super strength, super speed, enhanced senses, genius intellect, super-human aim, genetic and hallucinatory memory, enhanced durability, a limited ability to manipulate electricity, a ridiculously high pain threshold, and he can control lions.
    • He can also stop injuries he suffers affecting Tom.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Blood, sand, dust, window-fog...
  • Cradling Your Kill: Hyde does this mockingly with his first victim.
  • Creepy Twins: "We swapped, mummy! We were so bored!"
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tom and Claire are intimidated by a thug and his gang while on holiday, who sexually harass Claire and humiliate Tom for failing to come to her defence. When Hyde emerges for the first time, he savages the thug and bites off his ear, not even knowing why he wants to (because when Claire is threatened, Tom only subconsciously wishes horrific physical injury on her tormentor).
  • Eagle Land: Definite flavor 2, exemplified by Benjamin and presumably ever other American at K+U.
    • Also, (end of series spoiler) Tom's mother and Ms. Utterson are respectively British and American, somehow.
  • Enemy Within
  • External Retcon: Of the original Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde.
  • Evil Brit: Inverted in that most of the boss-level bad guys in the series are American (albeit with poorly done accents). And those boss level bad guys? Hyde kills them all effortlessly.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: Hyde emerges for the first time to inflict grievous bodily harm upon a thug who humiliated Tom and Claire.
  • Flash Step: Hyde does it to scare Katherine. And the audience.
  • Helpless Good Side: Averted and deconstructed. For the first half of the series Jackman ruins his life trying to minimise the damage Hyde could cause, particularly to his own family. Although Hyde is meant to be the most intelligent creature on the planet, his immature mind and Jackman's own substantial intelligence and careful planning allow Jackman to keep a quite tight hold on Hyde's actions.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mr. Hyde
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: WEDGE ANTILLES!
  • Genetic Memory: Hyde can not only rewind Tom's memories but he can also access those of their ancestor, Dr. Jekyll. With bonus Lampshade Hanging from the bystanders about how scientifically implausible it is.
    • End of series spoiler. And when it seems Hyde is permanently dead and leaving Jackman alone... Eddie later winks at Claire in a very Hyde-ish manner.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Hyde definitely fits this later in the series, killing and torturing multiple people in the name of protecting his/Jackman's family (or in self-defense, or to annoy Tom). But at least some of the things he does, like assaulting Billy, he seems to do more for fun than anything else.
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll: At the start of episode 5, that's Hyde using Tom's memories.
  • Identical Grandson: Suspected to be a clone, ultimately explained as a perfect genetic throwback.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Hyde does this with gusto.

(dramatic flourish) "Gentlemen! If any harm should come to Mrs Jackman I will kill all of you one by one! And I shall take my tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!"
Also a very Large Ham moment.

  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Much like The Incredible Hulk, Jackman's changes can be triggered by anger, fear, and arousal. But Hyde can also come through if he's asleep. The third episode plays with the last beautifully.
  • Ironic Echo: Two examples in the 4th episode: "It'll be over in a minute. Finishing touches," and "I apologize for the coffee."
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: "Boys and Girls, Come Out to Play"
  • Jekyll and Hyde: Jackman and Hyde are the modern Jekyll and Hyde.
  • Large Ham: Hyde, oh so much.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Robert Louis Stevenson, acting as ghostwriter for the original Jekyll.
  • Living Lie Detector: Hyde claims to be one. He's probably at least a living polygraph.
  • Locked Room Mystery: The villains are dumbfounded when an old lady somehow gets out of a high-tech cell. Which provides a clue to the eventual twist ending.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Both subverted and played straight.
    • It's revealed that the psychopathic Hyde is not a manifestation of all the dark impulses of human nature as commonly believed, but represents the ruthlessness of pure love, prepared to sacrifice anything and anyone for the object of his affection. This is proven by both Henry Jekyll and Tom Jackman's circumstances in which they found love.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: "Hyde is love - and love is a psychopath."
  • More Teeth Than the Osmond Family: Hyde shows these off when he roars.
  • Nightmare Face: Mr. Hyde really likes to do this. There's fangs and black eyes.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Hyde to just about any person he attacks. He doesn't seem really capable of anything less.
  • Open the Iris: A non-cute example. Hyde's irises are jagged and black.
  • Papa Wolf: You do not threaten Tom's/Hyde's children.
    • Tom is also an interesting example. Klein and Utterson deliberately put Jackman into a situation where Papa Wolf tendencies emerge, by placing his child Eddie in a lion pen. This causes the timid and physically weak Jackman to transition into Hyde, willingly doing so at least at a subconscious level, so that he can defend his son. Hyde also mentions afterwards that he can hear Jackman trying to direct Hyde's murderous rage towards the man who placed Eddie in the pen.
  • Power of Love: Apparently where Hyde gets his superpowers from.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Hyde. Several times in the series people refer to Hyde as a child (he even calls Tom 'Daddy'). But he also likes to screw anything he fancies and kill/maim anyone who seriously pisses him off.
    • He's a violent sociopath who loves Disney songs. It's a given.
  • Reality Subtext: The actress who played one of the lesbians became unexpectedly pregnant between signing on and filming, so Moffat just rewrote it into the script. He later said that if anyone could have known that the actress' baby bump wouldn't be prominent (which can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy even for the same woman) the production staff just would have been able to work around it without re-writing.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: As evidenced in the picture at the top.
  • Roar Before Beating
  • Sexier Alter Ego: YMMV within the show itself.
  • Shapeshifting Squick
  • Shout-Out: The twins are called Eddie and Harry, presumably making their full names Edward (Hyde) and Henry (Jekyll).
  • Slasher Smile: Hyde. Made extra-creepy by his pointed teeth.
  • Spies in a Van
  • Split At Birth: One possible explanation for what Harry and Eddie are. It's in the genes...
  • Split Personality
  • Split Personality Makeover: As well as the vastly different ways James Nesbitt portrays them, Hyde looks quite different to Jackman. Hyde is taller, thinner, and younger, he has darker eyes, a receded hairline and a different jawline. This was achieved through camera angles, directing, tailoring, wigs, platform shoes and make-up.
    • A more literal example from the last scene of the series: when the old woman changes into the evil American lady, she somehow acquires makeup and a completely different hairstyle.
  • Split Personality Takeover: Deliberately orchestrated by Klein and Utterson so that Hyde will win. In the very end Hyde sacrifices himself, knowing Claire will be happier with Jackman. But when Hyde wins...

"The Doctor is... OUT. He's out of my head! HALLEUJAH! HOME ALONE!"

  • Stealth Pun: Episode 6's "kiss of death"
  • Super-Powered Evil Side
  • Super Strength: Hyde can hurl the corpse of a fully grown male lion over a high wall, and throw a man across a room one handed with ease.
  • Super Speed: Less obvious, but Hyde does Flash Step a lot.
  • Swallow the Key: Claire, to prevent Hyde escaping. He threatens to rip her open to retrieve it. That turns out not to be necessary; she was only bluffing and hadn't actually swallowed it.
  • Take That: Several inexplicable ones towards America scattered throughout the series...
  • Talking to Themself: Hyde can communicate with Jackman through audio hallucinations when Jackman has a certain drug in his system.

"How could you be phoning me?"
"Jesus! I'm not phoning you. I'm in your head."

    • They also briefly talk when Hyde brings Jackman's personality back to life in a memory hallucination.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Hyde pre-records his side of a conversation with Jackman, and is able to accurately predict what number Jackman will think of when prompted, when he will say "I'm not afraid of you," and even that he will eventually break the TV set he's talking to. It's possible that Hyde was actually speaking to Tom at that moment rather than recording his answers in advance, or maybe poor old Tom really is that predictable.
  • Totally Radical: Benjamin's whole rant, over the phone, about "havin' respec'!", several times in a few minutes...sounds pretty silly. We get it already, he's black.
    • One critic said it seems Paterson Joseph learned how black Americans talk from watching Rush Hour movies, and no one told him that's not generally representative.
  • Trust Me, I'm an X: "Trust me, I'm a psychopath!" Claire is...not wholly reassured.
  • Van in Black: With Lampshade Hanging about how inconspicuous it isn't.