Whatever You’re All Surrounded was waiting for before unleashing its potential to be solidly good, the trigger must’ve hit because episode 6 was the first time everything clicked for me. Again I can’t say it’s marvelous well-written stuff that everyone can’t miss out on, but for fans of Lee Seung Gi and Cha Seung Won at least it’s no longer disappointing to slog through just to watch them onscreen. There was a little bit of everything in this episode which pushed the narrative forward while still pulling the curtains back on the major character arcs. Dae Gu steps up in both the investigation into his mother’s death as well as being an active member of Team 3 in doing his duty. We learn little Dae Gu found an orphanage to take him in and thus grew to adulthood with adequate care but a bellyful of trauma and woe. Dae Gu’s bottled up anger and recurring sleeplessness is the first time his character touched me beyond knowing he experienced a tragedy.
Pan Seok is also shown to be human after all, with his own insecurities and helpless moments, but at least he has one thing to anchor him which is his devotion to his profession. I think these two are going to really bond down the road and that’s going to be cathartic to see. It’s highly likely the death of Pan Seok and Sa Kyung’s son might be more than a simple accident, I wouldn’t put anything past the nefarious forces out to quash a violent crime. I wish the drama could have skipped over the stalking victim case because it wasn’t necessary to drop Soo Sun and Dae Gu that low to get them to start taking their jobs seriously. Both would have started connecting with being a cop once they saw victims needing help and justice regardless of whether Soo Sun or Dae Gu are currently inexperienced at the job. The “policing” details remains laughably rudimentary and the cases still concocted like the writer scribbled it on the back of cocktail napkins, but since I’m in for a Lee Seung Gi penny and staying for the full P4 pound, it’s a relief to like the characters finally and now I’m curious enough to want to watch more.
Episode 6 recap:
Prosecutor Han has Pan Seok locked up for disobeying his petty order to escort a suspect. He’s busted out of lock up by the arrival of Team 3 with the arrest warrant for the rich hit-and-run driver.
Team 3 heads to the rich guy’s house and arrests him as his car is pulling out of the garage. They drag him out of the car and Dae Gu slaps the handcuffs on him while reading him his rights and showing him the arrest warrant. The guy’s driver looks on while the guy merely smirks like he’s got nothing to be worried about.
Soo Sun gives a happy high five to her partners as the guy is taken away in the police car. Pan Seok lets out a sigh of relief that might be too early at this point.
Dae Gu meets with a private investigator and hands him the file on the mysterious man who threatened his mother from testifying. The man disappeared from radar about 6 years ago and Dae Gu hired other investigators with no luck locating him. The private investigator accepts the case.
Pan Seok waits outside Sa Kyung’s apartment as she comes home. She conveys her relief that his team managed to arrest the car driver and is about to walk inside when Pan Seok asks her to have dinner together. Sa Kyung declines with the excuse that she has no appetite lately. Sa Kyung walks off and then pauses before asking if he wants to have drinks?
Pan Seok and Sa Kyung have a drink together and he sadly asks why she came to the Gangnam Precinct knowing he worked there? Sa Kyung wants to know what he thinks is the reason? Pan Seok doesn’t know, in fact he doesn’t think he ever truly understood her in their time together. He wished he knew why. Sa Kyung stares at him looking so down and says they should just drink tonight.
Pan Seok tries to flag down a taxi for Sa Kyung but can’t get a car to stop for him. He walks over to Sa Kyung to suggest they go elsewhere to call a taxi when Sa Kyung leans her head on his shoulder and cries that she misses their son so much. Pan Seok raises his hand to pat her on the back while he blinks back tears as well.
Dae Gu lays in bed watching random TV shows projected on the wall because otherwise he can’t sleep in the silent darkness. The scene cross-cuts with Pan Seok living alone and going about his evening. Pan Seok does laundry while Dae Gu gets up and makes himself a cup of ramyun. Both men sit down and take their meds.
Pan Seok pops an old recorder tape in and plays a recording of his son. The boy plays with the robot that Pan Seok stared at before and talks to his dad recording him, calling him the bravest guy in the world. Pan Seok watches his son onscreen and smiles sadly.
Dae Gu falls asleep to the sounds of a cartoon playing. He has a nightmare where he’s a teenager again and back in the school where the killer is chasing him. The killer chases him through the school until the scene transitions outdoors into a dark alleyway. Dae Gu is now an adult and still running from the killer who corners him at a dead end.
The killer is about to attack when Dae Gu bolts upright in his bed after waking up from the nightmare. His hand is clenched tightly into a fist and he has to pry his fingers open. His hand was clenched so tightly that his nail dug into his palm and drew blood.
Pan Seok storms into the jail cell the next morning after hearing that the rich guy was released because the real perp confessed and turned himself in. Pan Seok stares at the rich guy’s driver who is sitting in jail. Pan Seok rushes to confront Prosecutor Han for releasing the rich guy and letting the driver take the fall. He demands to know how Prosecutor Han can sell out his soul like this, the deceased was just a 7 year old boy.
Prosecutor Han begs Pan Seok to let go and afterwards he slaps him across the face while asking how dare he act out here. Prosecutor Han doesn’t care who the victim is, he cares who actually committed the crime. Pan Seok decks Prosecutor Han across the face and leaves him with a bloody gash on the forehead and slumped on the floor.
Prosecutor Han is laid up in the hospital and the doctor says he has a mild concussion and should wake in a few hours at most. His head has been stitched up and he’s fine now. Prosecutor Han wakes up and hears that he got 17 stitches in the head. He wants an official diagnosis from the doctor and plans to use this to have Pan Seok arrested for assault. Prosecutor Han warns Pan Seok that he will have his police officer uniform stripped for this and plans to call a press conference to escalate it.
Dae Gu heads to the orphanage and talks with his mysterious handler about wanting to ask his orphanage director some questions now that the killer has resurfaced. Dae Gu thinks back to trying to find a place to take him in and always claiming that he doesn’t remember his name, age, family, anything about himself. When he’s asked to go to the police station he just walks away from that place. He finally finds a particular orphanage director who doesn’t ask him any questions and just takes him in and feeds him.
Dae Gu arrives back at that orphanage and catches up with the director over coffee. He apologizes for not visiting more but the director is happy that his existence is a hope to all the kids and they see him as an idol. Dae Gu hands the director a picture of the mysterious man who threatened his mom and asks if a stranger comes to ask about him for her to say she knows nothing. The director reveals it wasn’t the man in this picture but another man was already by not ten minutes ago claiming to be a police officer and carrying a picture of young Dae Gu wanting to ask about him.
Dae Gu rushes outside and looks around for the man in question. He spots a man in black with a cap on who is quickly walking towards his car. Dae Gu stops the man and turns him around. The man has a scar on his face but he’s not the killer Dae Gu is looking for since the voice is different. We see the real killer hiding behind some sheets hanging outside watching Dae Gu. He thinks to himself “Bingo. So you’re Ji Yong, no, now you’re Eun Dae Gu.”
Dae Gu runs back inside to ask the director if the man had a scar and she is sure he didn’t have a scar. Dae Gu drives back and talks to his handler about the guy asking around the orphanage already but he didn’t have a burn scar. Dae Gu thought he would be able to recognize the guy immediately because of the acid scar so if the guy doesn’t have the scar then either what Dae Gu poured on him wasn’t acid or the guy got plastic surgery. What worries Dae Gu more is why he’s looking for Dae Gu now? Does he still want to kill Dae Gu?
Dae Gu stands next to the vending machine brooding when he sees a shadow walking up to him. He turns abruptly and puts Soo Sun in a neck lock. She asks what the heck he’s overreacting about but Dae Gu yells at her for startling him.
Dae Gu and Soo Sun enter the precinct and wonder why there are so many reporter outside? They hear from Tae Il and Ji Gook that the rich guy was released because his driver claimed he was the one driving. Plus there is even more pressing reports about Pan Seok beating up Prosecutor Han and the media is spinning it like the cops are out of control.
Chief Kang is furious in a meeting with all the team leaders and Pan Seok can only keep apologizing for the incident with Prosecutor Han. Chief Kang is very disappointed in him. Director Cha snarks about why Pan Seok is so uncharacteristically meek today.
Two police officers arrive with the arrest warrant for Pan Seok for assaulting Prosecutor Han. Everyone looks upset but can do nothing. Pan Seok leaves with the two officers after apologizing again for what he did. Chief Kang tells Team 3 to suspend all work and hands the hit-and-run case to Team 1 to wrap up. Director Cha snidely tells Pan Seok to reflect on his arrogance while he’s in detention.
Pan Seok leaves with the arresting officers and walks past his concerned rookies. The P4 want to follow him but Director Cha yells at them to halt and follow him.
Pan Seok leaves his badge and phone in a basket as he heads to detention. Eun Do assures Pan Seok that he will go beg Prosecutor Han to let it go. Pan Seok tells him it’s no use to lower his head to a guy like that. Eun Do wants to do it, it’s worth it over Pan Seok getting suspended. Even if Eun Do begs it’s just his body bending low and not his spirit. Pan Seok tells Eun Do to take care of the rookies who must be upset that the rich driver was let off the hook.
Pan Seok’s cell phone rings from the killer trying the call and Dae Gu is upset because Pan Seok can’t answer it since he’s locked up in detention, which means Dae Gu can’t listen in on the call.
Dae Gu returns to the officer to find Director Cha overseeing the rookies handing over the hit-and-run case to Team 1. He orders Team 3 temporarily suspended and warns them not to investigate any cases.
Eun Do takes the rookies to grab a bite to eat and the kids are worried about Pan Seok. Eun Do can’t reassure them everything will be fine and knows the easiest way to get this problem resolved is for Prosecutor Han to drop the charges. Soo Sun can’t deal with the injustice of the rich driver getting off while their captain is locked up. Dae Gu interjects that Pan Seok did do wrong by resorting to violence. Soo Sun claims it was just one punch, and Prosecutor Han struck him first! Dae Gu says it doesn’t matter since the other guy got injured.
Tae Il agrees with Dae Gu, their captain ought to have restrained himself in that situation knowing his actions could have ramifications. Their team might even get disbanded. Eun Do ends the debate on this topic and tells the rookies to keep investigating the rich driver. Ji Gook thinks it’s pointless since the guy will just be released again. Eun Do finds Ji Gook’s pessimistic attitude unlike him and Soo Sun pipes up that she can’t deal with this perversion of justice. Ji Gook thinks the world has too many bad guys and they can’t get every one. Soo Sun tries to argue the world can change but can’t even get the words out. Everyone looks depressed and Eun Do sighs before urging everyone to dig in.
Soo Sun thinks to herself that she really couldn’t answer Ji Gook’s point because if she thinks the world can’t change then why do they work so hard to try and crack cases?
The former Police Commissioner calls Chief Kang out to discuss yet another slip up at her precinct. He points out that under the current situation, he can’t bring up the proposal to give the police independent search warrant privileges. Chief Kang assures him that this matter won’t get escalated since it’s bad for Prosecutor Han as well if it spirals out of control.
Sa Kyung visits Pan Seok at the detention center and remarks about how he can quietly stay there when she thought he would be raising hell. She sighs and asks him not to be upset at Chief Kang who is very worried about the proposal passing. Pan Seok isn’t upset since he caused his situation himself. He laughs that Sa Kyung never liked him being a cop and that pushes Sa Kyung over the edge. She’s angrily asks how he can laugh at a time like this when he’s so useless, if that was the case then he should have quit being a cop before they lost their son. Wasn’t he the guy who refused to quit being a cop even after they lost their son? How come he’s laughing when he’s in a bind because of scum like Prosecutor Han?
Sa Kyung calls him a failure as a dad but she validates him as a cop because the world needs a cop like him. So he needs to solve this problem and go back to being a cop, including catching the rich hit-and-run driver. After Sa Kyung leaves, the driver who took the fall for the rich guy is brought into the same detention cell.
Tae Il and Ji Gook track down the driver’s residence and find a neighbor who reveals that the driver is a nice guy who is responsible for a sick younger sister who desperately needs surgery.
Dae Gu is at the hospital and when Prosecutor Han leaves his room, Dae Gu sneaks inside and grabs his wallet. He hides in a bathroom stall to rifle through it and takes a particular receipt before putting the rest back. Tae Il visits the driver’s sick little sister at the hospital. He wheels her around the hospital and hears from her that it’s just the siblings left after their parents died. She asks if Tae Il has an older brother which makes his pause before answering yes.
Tae Il helps the little girl into the bathroom and then watches as the hospital broadcasts a code blue and all the doctors and nurses are rushing around. Dae Gu bumps into him and hears that he was visiting the driver’s little sister at this hospital. Dae Gu hand Tae Il the receipt he took from Prosecutor Han’s wallet and asks Tae Il to hand it to Pan Seok because it will help his case.
Pan Seok talks with the driver in the adjoining cell. He knows the driver is taking the fall for the rich guy who confessed to driving the car that day in front of them. Pan Seok figures the driver is doing this for his little sister but it’s not the right way. Pan Seok thought being a good cop would make the world better for his son but the best dad is the ones who stay beside their child and protect him. Only after losing a child does he truly understand what he lost. When Pan Seok’s son died he wasn’t even by his side and now he can’t see him hit any more of his future milestones. He encourages the driver not to do this because right now his sister needs him beside her more than anything else.
Tae Il hears that the rich guy went to the airport and reports it to Eun Do. He orders Tae Il to bring the little girl from the hospital right away and he’ll handle the rest.
Dae Gu and Soo Sun are on traffic cop duty and Dae Gu pulls a driver over who curses him when he tries to give her a ticket. Soo Sun is directing traffic when she hears the rich guy is headed to the airport and she and Dae Gu immediately drop everything and rush off. Ji Gook is blocking traffic trying to find a particular Gangnam messenger to look at his blackbox recordings.
Dae Gu and Soo Sun are sprinting through the airport and can’t find the rich guy anywhere until they spot him in the VIP lounge. Eun Do calls the detention center to pass word to Pan Seok that the rich guy is leaving the country and they need him to urgently talk to the driver more.
Tae Il visits Pan Seok and hands him the paper that Dae Gu swiped from Prosecutor Han that will help him get out. Pan Seok reads it and smirks before immediately calling Prosecutor Han. Ji Gook sits in the messenger’s van and watches the video from the night that the little boy was hit. The video cuts off right when the car impacts the little boy.
The driver is being moved and Tae Il brings his little sister to see him. The little girl asks if her oppa did something wrong and he keeps saying no. She asks if he’s doing this because of her? Did he become a bad guy because of her? If so then she would rather die. She angrily walks off while the driver frets about her condition getting worse. Pan Seok is there and the driver calls out wanting to talk to him.
Dae Gu gets a call from Ji Gook that the video doesn’t capture the rich guy driving the car. Suddenly a sexy woman walks up to the VIP lounge and calls the rich guy to come out. Soo Sun gets a text from Eun Do not to let the rich guy out of the country no matter what. The rich guy walks out of the VIP lounge with arms wide open to hug his sexy girlfriend when Soo Sun darts forward and sandwiches herself between the two.
The girlfriend demands to know if the rich guy is cheating on her again. Soo Sun has him in a bear hug and won’t let go while calling him oppa and saying he’s her everything. The girlfriend slaps the rich guy and storms off.
The rich guy calls his guards to come grab Soo Sun and before they can drag her away, Dae Gu runs out pushing a luggage cart and sweeps up both the rich guy and Soo Sun. The driver hands Pan Seok something that will prove what happened and he asks if it’s too late? Pan Seok assures him that he will get out before his sister’s surgery.
Dae Gu keeps running from the rich guy’s guards as Soo Sun pins the rich guy down in the runaway luggage cart. All they need is for him to miss his flight. The guards finally stop Dae Gu and surround the two cops. The rich guy taunts them for thinking they can ever catch him.
Eun Do arrives and shows the rich guy a recording that the driver made where he admits that he was drunk driving and killed a kid. He tells the driver to take the fall and he’ll pay for the surgery the sick little sister needs. Eun Do orders Soo Sun and Dae Gu to arrest the rich guy for hit-and-run and tampering with a witness.
Soo Sun returns to the precinct with Dae Gu and Eun Do and she’s the most excited to see Pan Seok there and released from detention. She gives him a happy hug which makes Dae Gu, Sa Kyung, and Ji Gook pause. Eun Do laughs at how effusive Soo Sun is. Sa Kyung walks off without greeting Pan Seok which everyone takes note of.
Pan Seok thanks Eun Do for working extra hard and asks his rookies how it feels to catch the rich guy. The rookies give a thumbs up and Pan Seok tells them to remember this as the smell of catching their first bad guy. He congratulates them for being official cops now.
Pan Seok goes to talk privately with Dae Gu and thanks him for delivering the item that got him out of detention. Dae Gu doesn’t need thanks since he didn’t do this for Pan Seok. He did it so their team doesn’t get disbanded. Dae Gu calls Pan Seok a disappointment as the captain of Team 3 who expects a lot from his rookies but doesn’t hold himself up to the same standard. Doesn’t that make Pan Seok a hypocrite? Pan Seok is silent in hearing that but then asks Dae Gu if he has something personal against Pan Seok? He’s noticed it from the get go that Dae Gu has an attitude towards him. He asks whether Dae Gu knows him?
Dae Gu stares back and says nothing so Pan Seok asks again if Dae Gu knows him? Dae Gu claims every aspiring cop knows of the legendary Seo Pan Seok.
Pan Seok sits in the office late at night and reads Dae Gu’s personnel file and makes note of the orphanage that took him in after his mother died. He goes online to research that orphanage and notices something interesting. Dae Gu arrives at the office first thing in the morning before anyone else so he walks over to Pan Seok’s desk and notices that he’s got Dae Gu’s personnel folder on his desk.
Dae Gu goes to the team locker room to look through some items and he wears his old glasses. Soo Sun walks in and immediately connects Dae Gu with teenage Kim Ji Yong. She calls out “Kim Ji Yong?”
Dae Gu looks up when she calls him that name and Soo Sun gets further confirmation that he’s Ji Yong. He takes off the glasses and tries to leave the room but Soo Sun blocks his way and keeps asking if he’s Kim Ji Yong, right?
Dae Gu notices Pan Seok walking over and to silence Soo Sun he leans in and kisses her mouth shut. Pan Seok makes the most hilarious “omomomomo” shudder when he sees the kiss.
Thoughts of Mine:
The hit-and-run case has been the most interesting one so far not due to the investigation details but how it was used to make substantive progress in the rookie’s development as well as tangentially show us the issues percolating around the Gangnam precinct. It’s like a switched turned and suddenly most of the characters feel more real and less like comic book rejects. Of the two male leads, right now Pan Seok is a much better written character. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that he’s more fleshed out, but then again I don’t see much deeper inside of Dae Gu other than his sole mission in life to find his mother’s killer and punish those involved in her death. It’s like the story forgot that Dae Gu must have a life and personality outside of that big goal.
Dae Gu rarely speaks but when he does all I get is him griping about Pan Seok in a passive-aggressive way or conversations around his personal investigation. I wouldn’t mind if he got some voiceover time slots that are currently filled by Soo Sun’s occasional thought bubble. I’m glad Soo Sun totally toned down her antics and I actually found her quite endearing in this episode. She was eager but not brainless, able to think on her feet but without taking on more than she can handle. The drama wants to show that Dae Gu seems to be falling for her first but I still feel nothing between them that make me care. I think Dae Gu needs friends who can be surrogates for the family he doesn’t have more than he needs romance and a girlfriend. The shut-her-mouth kiss has been done to death and the only interesting part of this one was the great camera work and Pan Seok’s reaction. That was priceless.
Pan Seok and Sa Kyung’s past history and present interactions serve as the romantic angst in this drama that I’m not getting from the Dae Gu-Soo Sun pairing. It’s such a terrible tragedy to lose a child and clearly that tore them apart. I wonder if Sa Kyung transferring to Gangnam precinct was because she wants to take the first steps towards reconciliation. Pan Seok is so guilt-ridden there is no way he would dare to ask for another go with her. I would like to see more inter-team police work because I think Gangnam precinct is pretty dysfunctional as well and the entire organization could use a kick in the rear. Tae Il’s story got a bit more color in this episode when we learned he had an older brother that he’s loathe to discuss and he also seems quite affected by being in a hospital. Judging from the plastic surgeon who greeted him in episode 3, chances are he was formerly a doctor who gave up the profession to be a cop for whatever reason. He still doesn’t stand out as an interesting character but I enjoy his presence, along with Ji Gook, in the P4 to give it some balance. Overall YAAS has aired enough episodes that those who like it will keep on watching and those who dropped it early aren’t going to find a compelling reason to come back. It’s nothing special and disappointing when taking into account the talent involved, but the glimmer of hope shown in episode 6 gives off the glass half full feeling that it can only keep getting better.
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