Jekyll s1:6 review

Spoilers aplenty here, as Mark reviews the final episode of the first season of Jekyll.

So many unexpected outcomes, developments and plot pirouettes, where to begin?

First I’d like to say that despite my misgivings about Episode 4, overall this was a taut exercise that gripped the viewer with its clever conundrums and sleek performances. Top of the acting accolades must go to James Nesbitt, who moves transformation unhindered between Dr. Jackman and Mr. Hyde with consummate ease. On a least a half dozen occasions, he had a least one leg in ‘Jekyll the Panto’, but managed to stop himself sliding into utterly wild farce. I can’t wait for any Hyde out-takes, I bet they’re hilarious.

The other solid performance came from Gina Belman, whose character obviously revelled in the idea of no-consequence adultery as a side order to the mayhem. Denis Lawson did a sterling job as the duplicitous Symes, especially where prior to his demise he tried to justify his actions to Jackman/Hyde.

So back to Episode 6, was it the finale we’d wanted? To a degree yes, but it slightly took its foot off the accelerator in the final stretch.

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The opening was a masterpiece of genre manipulation, where we go back a year in time and see the organisation that pursued Jekyll finding the toughest mercenary they can find, and installing him and his highly tuned troops in their top secret location. He’s built up as a complete psychopath, killing his own men in training.

We then flip forward to the main timeline to see Hyde dispatch him like he’s nothing, four minute intro – two second death. At this point I was already chuckling, Hyde-like, at what other film conventions Moffat potentially might mutilate.

It wasn’t a long wait. I don’t think Moffat likes child actors, perhaps he finds creating their dialogue tiresome or something. Cue two matching miniature metal caskets, like the one they placed Jackman in, and that’s them and their sticky fingers sorted for the majority of the proceedings. Mrs Jackman wasn’t too happy about this, as you might imagine, and reminded anyone who’d listened then her husband was coming, and he wouldn’t be happy either. No shit, Mrs Jackman!

Normally in these dramas unless it serves the plot, the revelations are held for the penultimate, or final scenes, but there were so many in this piece they soon came thick and fast.

The nice grey haired old lady re-appeared and helped Mrs Jackman escape, guiding her to the secret 7th basement floor, where bad things have been happening. Here she saw the failed genetic attempts to make Hyde, using DNA they’ll collected years before.

So was Jackman another successful clone? Err…amazingly no. He was an throwback, a direct descendent of Jekyll, from a line fathered by Hyde. But, and this was really the unexpected bit, they’d realised early on that the Hyde effect was something of a binary weapon. It required Jekyll’s DNA, and Mrs Jackman’s presence to work. So realising they had a ‘Jekyll’ they got hold of poor housemaid Alice’s DNA, and made themselves a clone catalyst – Mrs Jackman.

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That tied up so many loose ends in one fell swoop, and less than 30 minutes in, it then let you wondering what Mr Moffat was holding back, and it was a doozie.

But by now I was missing Hyde, and his return wasn’t far away. His first manifestation is to invade the minds of everyone in the building, sending them an unusually polite message inviting them to run away, or die. Unsurprisingly really, some did run.

Symes is the first to die, and in a somewhat fitting manner, leaving only the horrible American women, the cancer-riddled head of security and a handful of mercenaries to dispatch. They all meet on the 7th floor for a final confrontation.

Before this we’re given one crucial piece of the puzzle about Hyde and Jackman, where it’s explained that it’s possible for one of them to be injured, which the other doesn’t experience, conveniently. I’d have been more comfortable with this information had it been revealed earlier in the series, rather than jack-in-the-boxed on us now.

Unexpectedly only one other then person dies, and it’s Hyde perforated with machine gun bullets, everyone else lives, including Jackman, bizarrely!

Again expectations were built up, paraded, and then slaughtered in entirely unexpected ways. This tangent had me more than slightly suspicious that Moffat’s original intention was to have a much darker and disturbing ending. But that senior BBC production, having seen the completed episodes, held out the carrot of a second series, if he could keep Jackman alive. This may, or may not be the case, but enough hints were packed into the last ten minutes to suggest it’s at least a possibility, if not an absolute certainty.

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Anyway, Moffat has one last flourish in his magic hat to pull out, which involves the old lady and the American women, which I won’t spoil. But it ends the series on more of a cliffhanger than a resolution, encouraging me further to think Jekyll 2 is on the cards.

Overall, not as weird and twisted as Episode 5, but jolly entertaining all the same. Somehow I doubt this is the last we’ll see of Jackman, Hyde or Nesbitt. But I must stop writing now, there seems to be something wrong with the electrics today, the lights just flickered…