The Hyde in him…

Janet Cooper reviews episodes 6, 7, and 8 of ITV’s period drama series, Jekyll and Hyde in the second part of her three-part review to conclude last year’s spectacular series. Janet is a graduate in English and Creative Writing BA (hons) and is currently studying an MA in English Studies.

Episode 6 brings sadness as it begins with Utterson’s funeral. The character of Utterson will be missed as he has only just accepted that the supernatural exists. He was a clever, quirky character that instilled humour into the series.
Nevertheless, there isn’t much time for mourning as we begin with another action-packed episode. A ripper stalks London, removing body parts from its victims. His nickname is spring-heeled-Jack, and is an obvious interpretation of the notorious Jack-the-ripper.

Of course, Hyde is furious when Bella’s business suffers as a result of the murders and vows to stop him. There is an excellent twist here as spring-heeled-Jack is in fact a vigilante hunting the murderer, rather than the actual murderer. It’s interesting how Hyde always fights to be out when one of his/Jekyll’s friends need rescuing; he certainly conforms to the figure of the anti-hero. He isn’t the conventional, well-behaved hero, yet you have to label him a hero because he constantly rescues people.

The show challenges the ethics of British intelligence here by comparing their tactics with that of their enemy. Kidnapping isn’t the best way to enlist the help of Jekyll or Hyde, but it seems MI0 will stop at nothing. I think it’s interesting that they use very similar tactics to the Tenebrae and even stoop to using Captain Dance’s monocane gun to pull it off. I think that this puts covert intelligence in a negative light, as they were willing to use the same underhand warfare techniques for their own gain. They hold Ravi, and promise that Jekyll may have him back if he works for them. The difference between Edward Hyde, and Robert Jekyll’s, Hyde, is that Edward Hyde is portrayed in a more monstrous light, but Robert Jekyll’s, Hyde, has morals and feelings. When he attacks someone it’s always to protect his friends or family, and it’s his emotion that tends to make him transform into Hyde. I think that seeing Hyde is this light makes accepting him as a monster more difficult. He protects the honour of those he cares for and I prefer his character to that of Jekyll’s. His humour and sarcasm never fails to make me love his character even more, like in episode 6 when he comments on the shininess of the police officer’s buttons on his uniform, when they are investigating Spring-heeled-Jack.

Spring-heeled-Jack and Hyde, set out to find the monster who isn’t so easy to find as it’s a parasite that lives inside humans. Jack becomes the parasite’s new incubator and it connects to his mind and takes over his body. Eventually in episode 7, Jack is killed by MI0 but not before Hyde tries his best to save him. This proves to be a careless act as the parasite then enters Ravi and although Jekyll finds a way to get the beast out of him, Ravi remains sick and ill. MI0’s failed attempt on getting Ravi infuriate Hyde who almost lets the parasite get Bulstrode and partakes in some blackmail himself. Ravi becomes very useful as the parasite leaves him with a psychic link to the Tenebrae in episode 8, and this proves to be extremely beneficial helping to locate the eel-creatures before they get chance to complete the Tenebrae’s bidding.

The backstory happening throughout the episodes and unknown to Jekyll and is friends, is that the body-parts stolen by the parasite are being used to revive Captain Dance in good-old Dr Frankenstein style. This part of the story was interesting as I like the fact that the series recognises other Victorian literature. For instance, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein consists of a fairly eccentric Doctor that trifles with the laws of nature and takes science too far. In this case Fedora, Dance’s lover, will do anything to revive him. There are eel-creatures keeping Dance’s body alive but in episode 8, Fedora agrees to send these out into London so that they can find the body parts Dance needs to regenerate. Sending the eels out is a suggestion of Lord Protheroe who seems to have a hidden agenda and doesn’t seem to want to save Dance.

As one character leaves, another one joins as episode 8 finally means that the character of Olalla is properly introduced. She appears to be a vampire based on a previous short story by Robert Louis Stevenson but although she drinks blood, she uses a blood-drinking device as she is not a true vampire. This is yet another strong female character introduced to the series. Olalla is a Hyde, like Robert, and it turns out that she is his twin sister. Olalla’s story is a sad one, as Louis Hyde, their father, sacrifices Olalla, then only five-years-old, to Tenebrae in order to save Robert as he is the chosen one, prophesised to open the jar.
Olalla has been mentally and physically abused by Tenebrae. She is constantly a Hyde, and hasn’t been her Jekyll persona for many years. She was raised by Dance and there is some possible brain-washing used. There are obvious mental health issues here because of the abuse she has endured and also because of her dependency on the drug mix she has been fed. The Tenebrae have her hooked on a monocane and blood mixture and have kept her exclusively as Hyde for many years. She is scared to be her former self but Robert forces her hand and it is painful for her. She is unable to stay as Jekyll due to the pain it causes her and runs away to find her secret supply of her mixture. She has a strong love for her brother and she turns up to save him when she is needed and seems a little hurt that he doesn’t remember her. In episode 8, she turns up just in time to save Robert and Ravi from the eel-creatures.

Robert decides to propose to Lily in episode 8 and with this in mind, he breaks off his relationship with Bella. Bella is certainly more suitable for Hyde as she is feisty, but of course there is a further twist with the character of Lily. Lily seems taken aback by the proposal and tries to put him off. Soon after that it is revealed to the audience that Lily is in fact an MI0 agent, working for Bulstrode and has been tricking Jekyll the whole time. MI0 have been willing to attack Robert physically and emotionally, the emotion being Ravi and now obviously Lily. There is certainly more to Lily than meets the eye as working as a female spy was dangerous business in the 1930’s. I previously thought that Lily was a representation of the Lily that could save/control Jekyll’s transformation but is the term lily now a symbolic term to destroy Jekyll. It makes you wonder what lengths British intelligence will go to and what Jekyll/Hyde will do when he finds out!

Now just two episodes to conclude and I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

 

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About spectralvisions

Spectral Visions is an annual Gothic conference hosted by the University of Sunderland. It explores the dark, the decadent and the terrifying aspects of Gothic literature and language. This blog is a student-run initiative, where Visionaries showcase their creative talents and learning in short stories, poems and essays on the Gothic. You can follow us on Twitter at @spectralvisi0ns or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/uosgothic
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