You’re All Surrounded burst out of the gate last week with two rollicking episodes that set up a serious backstory while keeping the present action breezy and slapstick. The ratings were quite promising for premiere week with the teasers or the well-liked cast getting viewers to check it out. Which is all the more worrying that the ratings took a noticeable drop in today’s episode 3, and it pains me to have to say the drop was qualitatively merited for what the episode delivered. I seriously have no clue what the screenwriter is attempting in creating the characters of Soo Sun (present and past) and Dae Gu (present only), I only know it’s a major backfire since annoying incompetence or self-absorbed irritability does not make for leads that viewers will like or relate to. Soo Sun is thisclose to getting on my very last nerve and Dae Gu hasn’t gotten more interesting and instead has gotten more full of it. The story has also fallen off a cliff that I hope contains a short drop rather than a long fall. Things can of course look up and start humming along again, but watching truly mindbogglingly bad detective work only goes so far in pulling the amusement out of a situation.
The drama calls the rookie team the P4 so that’s what I’ll call them as well, the P4 spend the episode getting on each other’s nerves and in each other’s faces, all sandwiched between mostly failing at being a professional. Forget being a cop, these four wouldn’t cut it in any job that required them to put their personal issues aside to perform basic tasks and think carefully before doing something. Tae Il and Ji Gook are the less pathetic pair, but conversely their scenes are so snooze inducing. Dae Gu and Soo Sun spend more time fighting than being cops, and fighting in ways that inevitably lead them to do something harebrained. I thought Captain Seo was a tad too harsh on them in the last two episodes but now I think he’s not harsh enough. Unleashing these four on the poor residents of Gangnam is a hazard to the citizens and a boon for the criminals. What Dae Gu and Sun Soo did on their stalking case is so shockingly a dereliction of duty from beginning-to-end I have no words. I hope the over-the-top bumbling of the P4 will be reigned in because it crossed over to not-funny-at-all territory.
Episode 3 recap:
In the middle of chewing out the P4 is when Captain Seo Pan Seok’s cellphone rings. The duplicate cell phone Dae Gu has starts ringing in his pocket which causes everyone to stare at him quizzically. Captain Seo walks right up to Dae Gu and is about to say something when Ji Gook’s cellphone starts to ring as well. The coincidence gets Dae Gu off the hook from being busted for duplicating Captain Seo’s cellphone.
The P4 stand outside the conference room where all the senior officers are in a precinct meeting. Tae Il points out the three strikes rule for some crimes and Ji Gook worries the P4 have screwed up enough times to warrant getting kicked out of the force.
The officer meeting turns towards the latest screw ups in Team 3 led by Captain Seo. Chief Cha yells about how Gangnam precinct is being embarrassed by them even to other precincts and he wants the P4 kicked out. Director Kang understands the P4 is causing consternation but wants to hear what their direct supervisor Captain Seo has to say before she decides what to do about them.
Captain Seo sticks with his openly known opinion that such useless rookies, even training them isn’t going to make them into good cops so they ought to be plucked at the root like weeds. Prisoner delivery can’t even be done properly and they seem to treat the major crimes unit like cosplaying police officers. He then stands up and yells about why they are even having a meeting just to discuss the incompetent four who have caused a mess twice in a week. He never supported bringing the rookies in and still wants them out!
But then Captain Seo asks the precinct to give him three months with them. He wants them to either walk out of here with their heads held high in three months or else have them willingly apply for transfer because they acknowledge they can’t cut it here. He wants this make or break it chance to train them or fail. The P4 other than Dae Gu happily celebrate their reprieve from getting axed.
Captain Seo takes the P4 out knowing they eavesdropped on the meeting and know their fate is on the line for the next three months. Captain Seo doesn’t believe they can make it either but he’s keeping them to prove that even he can’t turn them into real cops so it won’t happen next time. Anyone who can’t hack it can quit anytime or they can all leave together. He doesn’t care either way.
He reminds them that if one fails then the entire rookie team fails because the major crimes unit operates as a team. He asks if there is any objections? Dae Gu objects because the police rules do not call for a team punishment. Captain Seo doesn’t care and walks over to tell Dae Gu to control his angry glares.
Team 3 heads off to their mission and is deposited by the police van to go investigate a robbery in the neighborhood. Captain Seo gives them the address and Dae Gu has a photographic memory so he remembers the map of Gangnam and knows where the exact address is. Soo Sun goes to ask for directions from a realtor while Tae Il gets picked up by a nice lady offering to drive him where he wants to go. Ji Gook hitches a ride with a motorcycle delivery guy. All four arrive at the location at the same time but separately which gets them chewed out by Captain Seo for splitting up to investigate when he told them to work together as a team!
The next mission is doing surveillance since one way to catch is bear is to wait for it to exit the cave. He orders the P4 into the van and warns the first person to get out means the whole team goes into their next mission without rest. The P4 settles into surveillance with Dae Gu warning Soo Sun not to drink water for their 12 hour surveillance and Tae Il suggesting they treat it like a trans-Atlantic flight.
After seven hours the P4 are each trying to cope with being cooped up together. Suddenly the worst thing happens and someone farts. Everyone stares at Dae Gu who stares back with his poker face daring anyone to say something. It’s past 11 hours and everyone is trying to endure for the final hour left. Dae Gu grumbles that this is a violation of his human rights and he’ll lodge a complaint. Ji Gook tries to leave the van and is pulled back. Finally Dae Gu can’t stand it and rushes out with everyone following him. Captain Seo smirks as he watches them limp off.
The next mission is to retrieve an important DNA source, a suspect tossed a gum wrapper at the site of the alleged crime and it was caught on surveillance video. The P4 head to the trash collection site and start digging through bags of trash to find the gum wrapper. Ji Kook can’t handle it and Soo Sun complains she has it worst since her sense of smell is as keen as a canine.
Dae Gu tosses his rubber gloves aside and storms off but Soo Sun won’t let him go since it was his fault he got off the van early which is why they have to do this third mission. Dae Gu snaps back that Captain Seo can’t get rid of them that easily because the precinct director has got their back. He hates dumpy places like this and he hates even more being toyed with by the lunatic captain. Ji Gook thinks Dae Gu has a point and suggest they go home now and tell the captain they couldn’t find it. Tae Il also agrees with this plan.
Soo Sun challenges their manhood for giving up so easily and refusing to put in the effort. She orders Tae Il and Ji Gook to go back digging but Dae Gu refuses and starts walking away. Soo Sun grabs a bag of trash and starts wailing on Dae Gu’s head with it, calling him a sneaky bastard and accusing him of farting last night in the van. Ji Gook can’t believe it was Dae Gu farting last night but Dae Gu yells back that it wasn’t him!
Soo Sun walloping Dae Gu with the trash when the bag breaks and in the falling pile of debris is the gum wrapper they are looking for. The P4 get into a fight over the wrapper and each one gets their hand on it until finally Soo Sun secures the prize by sticking it in her chest where the other three guys can’t get to it.
The trashy P4 return to the precinct as their nasty smell overwhelms the entire office and sends everyone reeling. Soo Sun happily offers the gum wrapper to Captain Seo and hears they found it as a team working together. Captain Seo orders them to shower and change and come back in 30 minutes.
Team 3 raids the officer where the lady scam ring is being trained by its criminal boss. The suspects are cuffed and taken into custody along with all the evidence.
Soo Sun smells something odd from one of the girls and in searching her bag they find marijuana along with other drugs. Captain Seo asks who her source is? Dae Gu picks up her cellphone and turns it on to see the screen has a picture of the girl posing with a guy that was partying with the guy who stabbed that night at the club. Dae Gu remembers it from his photographic memory.
Team 3 hands the drug dealer woman over to the cops who staked out the club to bust the drug trafficking ring. Dae Gu redeems the P4’s screw up by handing over the drug source as the guy in the woman’s cellphone picture and saying the drug dealer can be tracked in the call log on the cell. The other cop is placated and snarks that Dae Gu is more competent than his own captain. After he walks off, Captain Seo chews out Dae Gu for keeping this information from him. Dae Gu retorts that Captain Seo didn’t ask him plus he didn’t think he would believe a useless rookie like him. The two proceed to have yet another silent stare down before Captain Seo yells for the team to head back.
Pan Seok returns to the precinct just in time to see the missing persons team captain Kim Sa Kyung walk by. He follows her as she heads into an office to apply a shoulder patch to an ache. Sa Kyung sees Pan Seok outside and tells him to come in and help since he’s already there. Pan Seok notices Sae Kyung’s bruises on her shoulder and wonders what happened? Sa Kyung chalks it up to cop work and doesn’t explain more.
Soo Sun walks by and sees Pan Seok applying the patch for Sa Kyung. She thanks him curtly before turning to walk out. Pan Seok asks Sa Kyung to have dinner tomorrow but she declines because it’ll give her indigestion.
Soo Sun hides as Sa Kyung and then Pan Seok walk out of the room. Pan Seok asks if she likes to peep and if she got a kick out of it? Soo Sun sputters while Pan Seok warns her that she’s dead if he catches her doing it again.
Ji Gook hears noises from Dae Gu’s room and walks in to find Dae Gu has a drama playing on his computer that he’s displaying on the ceiling. Ji Gook wants to turn it off because Dae Gu appears asleep but Dae Gu wakes up and stops him. Dae Gu turns the channel to Spongebob and tries to go back to sleep. Poor baby.
Soo Sun walks home and thinks to herself that she’s lived here for three years and with only one goal – to become a useful member of society. Though this wasn’t her dream, she feels fulfilled working hard today and feel like she’s finally a useful member of society. She returns to her goshiwon (temporary housing) to find the tenants congregating outside arguing with the new landlord. Turns out the old landlord sold the place and took off while the new landlord refuses to honor any rentals and wants all the tenants to move out. Many tenants have prepaid months and even a year of rent and are now left in a lurch.
Dae Gu arrives at work early to rifle through Captain Seo’s desk and Soo Sun walks into the office with her tooth brush and towel clearly having slept there last night. She bails Dae Gu out of being caught and then Captain Seo arrives to hand the P4 their first official case.
Dae Gu and Soo Sun are assigned to handle a stalking case while Tae Il and Ji Gook head off to investigate the theft of prescription drugs from a plastic surgery clinic. He reminds the P4 to take note of all details and be thorough. He’s headed to the police academy for a three day work trip so asks them to be on their best behavior. Captain Seok reminds them that they are not rookies anymore and are now cops in the major crimes unit. Cops are not allowed to make mistakes because one mistake can cause an irreversible consequence. He stares at Dae Gu and reminds the partners to never split up and always work together.
Soo Sun drives and hopes they will work together well to solve this case. Dae Gu snaps at her to just focus on driving and not talk because she can’t handle multi-tasking, pointing out that she hasn’t changed lanes yet and needs to turn left ahead. Soo Sun gets a break when the car lets her cut into the left turn lane. Her phone rings from another tenant calling her on their search for the previous landlord but Dae Gu takes her cell and turns it off. He won’t let her talk on the phone while driving but Soo Sun says they are stopped at a light.
Soo Sun grabs the phone back and keeps talking with the other tenant and yelling at why they aren’t protected more under the law. Dae Gu honks the horn to get the attention of two traffic cops and rolls down the window for them to ticket Soo Sun for talking on the phone while driving.
Soo Sun angrily holds her traffic citation and glares at Dae Gu as they visit with the victim of the stalker in her apartment. Soo Sun hands over her card and asks the victim for the details of her situation. The victim explains that her stalker was the date she met 10 months ago but decided after two dates that he wasn’t right for her. He kept calling and showing up outside her apartment since then and insists that she’s the one for him. The stalking has gotten worse after she started dating a guy recently. He even called to say that he would kill her.
Dae Gu asks if she has evidence of him threatening to kill her? Without it then he can only be arrested on the lesser charge of stalking which is a slap on the wrist punishment. If she wants him taken in for threatening her life then she needs to have evidence of that crime. The victim can’t believe stalking carries such a light punishment which gets Soo Sun to start ranting about how the law needs to be changed to help the victims since Soo Sun is currently feeling the pain of what happened at her goshiwon. Dae Gu cuts her off and tells the victim to call them when she has more evidence.
Soo Sun stops Dae Gu and offers to collect the evidence for the victim. Dae Gu curtly asks Soo Sun to speak outside and then lights into her the moment they step out. He yells at her to stop talking if she doesn’t think first! They just need to do what is within their purview as cops. Soo Sun argues this is part of their job. Dae Gu chalks it up to her overeager desire to solve her first case. Soo Sun retorts that she knows what it’s like to be a victim and Dae Gu doesn’t understand this case because he’s a guy. Dae Gu doesn’t care and won’t accompany her on doing extra useless work.
Soo Sun stops Dae Gu from leaving when she uses his snooping in Captain Seo’s desk this morning. She threatens to tell Captain Seo unless he works with her on this case. She takes out her cellphone and gives him three seconds to agree. Dae Gu agrees and goes to get the CCTV videos from the apartment surveillance cameras.
Soo Sun goes back to the victim’s apartment and pulls up the stalker’s social media profile to read through it. Soo Sun plans their evidence gathering mission and has the victim answer the stalker’s call to meet with him.
The other team of Tae Il and Ji Gook arrive at the plastic surgery clinic and the receptionist immediately assumes Ji Gook is here for plastic surgery. After they head up to meet with the staff, a patient in the waiting room asks to get surgery to look just like Tae Il. The team finds out the prescription drugs are being stolen from a locked storage room.
As Tae Il and Ji Gook are leaving, a young man walks up to Tae Il and embraces him before asking if he’s back? Tae Il pushes the guy off and says never to approach him again and his words are a warning.
The stalking victim meets with her stalker as Dae Gu and Soo Sun sit around them to record the meeting and eavesdrop. The stalker says the victim is wearing the perfume he likes but she says it’s the perfume the man she is dating likes. She tells the stalker to accept they’ve never dated but the stalker thinks the other man is threatening her. The girl says she’s gotten courage from the new man in her life to confront the stalker for being crazy. She calls him a piece of trash and says this is the last time she will never see him.
Soo Sun texts Dae Gu to up the ante and pretend to be the boyfriend to send the stalker over the edge so he will say something on camera they can nail him with. Dae Gu stands up and takes the girl’s hand and pretends to be the boyfriend and tells the stalker to leave his girl alone. The stalker tenses for a moment before smiling oddly. Dae Gu takes the girl away and Soo Sun quickly follows. Soo Sun assures the victim that they will protect her 24/7 in the coming days.
Captain Seo delivers a speech to the recruits at the police academy and encourages them to trust in themselves and look towards the direction they want to go. Their bodies will follow naturally and with this belief they will head towards their dreams. He opens the floor to a Q&A session and the first question is about Captain Seo’s first unsolved case and the circumstances surrounding it. Captain Seo talks about Dae Gu’s mom’s murder as a witness in another murder case. Her fifteen year old son disappeared afterwards and all the clues went dead on solving the murder.
Captain Seo sits outside watching the recruits marching and Director Kang sits down beside him and hears that the Q&A session led to him remembering the murder case from 11 years ago. Director Kang encourages him to let this case go and he thinks it’s about time since the statute of limitations is also running out soon.
Dae Gu and Soo Sun are on protective detail outside the stalking victim’s home and Dae Gu is ignoring Soo Sun’s blathering and she threatens to tell Captain Seok unless he talks to her. Soo Sun claims to have an insight into this case while Dae Gu has been going through the stalker’s SNS accounts to get more clues.
The protective details goes late into the night and Soo Sun falls asleep snoring at the wheel. Dae Gu takes off his jacket to cover her….which involves tossing his jacket over her head. Ha! Dae Gu gathers from all the surveillance videos and when the stalker posts on his SNS account that he only stalks the victim until midnight and has never posted after 1 am.
Dae Gu sets an alarm for midnight and then wakes up Soo Sun who is chagrined that she fell as asleep. He shares his analysis of the stalker’s behavior which indicates that he goes to sleep by 1 am so it’s past midnight now and he won’t show up tonight anymore. Soo Sun asks if he’s certain? Dae Gu is certain and gets out of the car, willing to have Soo Sun report him to Captain Seo if she wants.
Soo Sun is about to drive off when she gets a call on her cellphone from the goshiwan resident handling the matter. She doesn’t notice the stalker driving his car right past her to the victim’s apartment. The victim tries to call Soo Sun but doesn’t get through since she’s on the other call. The victim texts Soo Sun that the stalker called and said he was ready to let go and asked her to meet with him one more time. She decided to go to gather evidence to put him away for threatening her life. She texts Soo Sun to follow her since she can see Soo Sun’s car is still parked outside the apartment.
The victim gets into the stalker’s car and drives past Soo Sun’s car and the victim stares in alarm when she notices Soo Sun is on the phone and isn’t planning to follow her. Oh shit!
Dae Gu grabs a drink at the convenience store and notices some milk cartons misplaced and he fixes it. It sudden triggers a pattern recognition in his mind and he pulls up the stalker’s SNS account to sudden realize something is wrong with all the posts. Dae Gu runs back to the victim’s apartment and Soo Sun notices from the car and runs to join him. No one answers the door and Dae Gu tells Soo Sun to call the girl and reveals the posts are incorrectly time-stamped.
Soo Sun pulls up her cell and sees the text from the victim. They run to the coffee shop where she said she would be at with the stalker but neither are there and the coffee shop owner doesn’t remember seeing them.
Dae Gu and Soo Sun drive around looking for her while Soo Sun keeps trying to call and not getting an answer. They get a call from their captain but Dae Gu asks her not to answer and give him a moment. Dae Gu scrolls though his memory of the stalker’s SNS account and starts repeating all his posts. He suddenly remembers the post naming the location of where the stalker saw her and it’s at a nearby park.
Soo Sun and Dae Gu arrive at the park and run around looking for the victim. They suddenly see a group of people crowded around a tree and push their way to the front to find the victim laying slumped against the tree trunk with a bloody stab wound on her abdomen. Holy shit to the infinity, these two screwed up so royally it’s not even funny.
Thoughts of Mine:
Inexperienced and/or incompetent police officers messing up is only funny in real life NEVER, but entertaining in dramas when no one gets hurt and no real harm done. Like that chase through Gangnam in the first episode which could have caused major collateral damage like when Captain Seo drove on the wrong side of the street. Instead we laughed because we knew no one would get hurt and it was funny seeing the P4 freaking out in their first mission together. It requires innate understand on the part of the screenwriter to know the line not to cross when depicting professional mishaps in an amusing way versus a painfully unacceptable way. Hospital dramas with incompetent doctors can’t work because their ability controls the lives of patients and legal dramas with ineffectual lawyers need to be about small fry cases lest justice is wholly subverted due to the failure of judicial process.
YAAS crossed the line for me in this episode with both Dae Gu and Soo Sun. She’s way more annoying a character but what happened to the stalking victim was equal parts fault on both of them. From the get-go Soo Sun mishandled the case by baiting the stalker to get more evidence, then Dae Gu let his own ability and annoyance at Soo Sun jump the gun in making a snap judgment that the stalker wouldn’t show up past midnight. Of course the victim was clearly crazy to see the stalker in the middle of night, regardless of whether she thought the cops would follow her. The stalker could have blew her brains out the second she stepped out of her apartment for all she knew. I blame the poor writing that takes me out of this story because what’s left beyond the logical gaps is not entertaining to watch in the least.
Soo Sun and Dae Gu are also letting their own personal feelings or beliefs affect their professional ability. Dae Gu glaring at Pan Seok all the freaking time needs to stop. No subordinate could do that and keep getting away with it. Rifling through Pan Seok’s desk early in the morning is also such a WTF dumb thing to do, the entire police station is probably wired not to mention anyone can walk right in on him, case in point Soo Sun. I can’t stand her combination of earnest go-getter attitude coupled with a do-first-think-second tendency. I find it impossible for Dae Gu to ever fall for her, and I don’t think he’s all that either that she ought to fall for him. Both leads need major personality and mental attitude re-wiring for me to even root for them going forward.
Pan Seok’s entire character is more interesting than the two of them combined, too bad he’s relegated in this episode to watching from the sidelines and getting in touch with his past either with Sa Kyung or the unsolved mystery of Dae Gu’s mom’s death. I’m sad to see the drama take an abrupt turn into narrative slips and rational blips, losing the goodwill and momentum from the first two episodes where the laughs were delivered judiciously and the police cases had a bit of energy to it. Now Dae Gu and Soo Sun are dealing with their first case being a stalking-turned-murder (or attempted murder if she’s not dead yet) while Tae Il and Ji Gook are off tracking stolen prescription meds with even more cracks about how good looking Tae Il is. I need CPR for this drama fast before it codes.
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