We could view this in reference to the crisis of masculinity that has occurred over the last thirty or so years. The rise of the feminist movement fighting for equal rights in the face of a male dominated and chauvinistic society, the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction with emasculated and ineffectual new men of the 1980’s, the backlash of laddishness and the more considered response of the mytho-poetic men’s’ movement headed by such people as Robert Bly, seeking a balanced view of the masculine. Hyde, the pre-feminist “old” man and Jackman/Jekyll the sensitive, emotional “new” man.
It would be interesting to discover which aspect women find most attractive? Jackman the family man in a sexless marriage devoid of joy, interest or energy, or Hyde, the unreliable, potential lover promising mystery, danger and erotic pleasure.
Ultimately it is the character of Claire that is acting as the catalyst. In the first episode she was almost incidental to the plot, (though Gina Bellman’s onscreen presence can never be described as incidental), just the wife at home, a background character (in some ways, similar to the role of female leads in pre-feminist, pre-equality horror cinema, just there as a love interest, to scream and be rescued). She is, however, potential in waiting. Episode three contained a pivotal scene as Claire confronted Hyde for the first time and we began to see the strength and resolute belief ready to explode. I have the feeling that Gina Bellman’s portrayal could be a bit of a tour de force: I always considered that she did most in developing her character in the comedy series Coupling (also written by Steven Moffat), so we could see a transformation worthy of Jekyll and Hyde himself as she switches from meek wife to…..well, we shall have to wait and see! Link