A relatively calm and uneventful episode of You’re All Surrounded plops me squarely into investigative territory. This drama is mediocre on all levels now to the point of actually coming across like a series of stepping stones leading to the flashing neon lights of an ending. The journey lacks a meaningful view nor is it daunting enough to pay attention to each precarious step. Instead it’s just a walk on the expected and average side. I appreciate the pulling back on showing the rookies incompetence but there isn’t much in the way of great leadership in the elders or interesting police cases to be found. Dae Gu is right in chewing out Pan Seok for throwing them in the fire without any instructions or oversight, but then Dae Gu may be right a lot of times but conveying it an an angry accusatory way with Pan Seok really gets him nowhere. As an undercover in his mom’s own murder case, he’s a terribly emotional and obvious agent.
YAAS needs either interesting cases that are solved in obvious but entertaining ways or simple cases solved with brilliant deductive conclusions. It has neither and continues to flounder on the procedural aspect. On the rookie growth aspect, episode 6 focused on Dae Gu and Soo Sun and finally tipped both over to mildly interesting territory. Soo Sun appears to really have learned from her act-first-think-later disaster with the stalking victim and has calmed down enough to be palatable. Her interactions with Dae Gu have also simmered down from bickering incessantly to actual conversations and even bits of warming up to each other. It’s not OTP-forever material but is nice enough to watch. I actually enjoyed this episode a lot for the lack of frustrating failures and the increase in Dae Gu cracking open his aloof bitter exterior. The next big narrative breakthrough will come when Pan Seok learns who Dae Gu really is and that can’t come fast enough for me. It’s gone on for too long with their combative back-and-forth all based on Dae Gu’s assumption that Pan Seok is more culpable in his mom’s death than he really is. It’s time to unite against the baddies and start taking this police business as more than a series of cases written to highlight a character’s past issues.
Episode 7 recap:
Soo Sun lays in her rooftop tent tossing and turning as she thinks about Dae Gu’s earlier kiss. It appears to have worked because not only did it shut her up, it also zapped away her question about whether Dae Gu is really Ji Yong from high school. Flashback to 24-hours earlier and still the night that the P4 successfully apprehended the hit-and-run driver. Soo Sun’s mom arrives at the Seoul bus terminal and calls her daughter to announce that she’s on her way over.
Soo Sun has no choice but to beg the other three rookies to pretend that she lives with them. Ji Gook asks if she lives on the roof like this and Soo Sun admits she’s got nowhere else to go. But she would rather jump off the roof then to let her mom know she lives like this. She begs them for just one night of pretense which Ji Gook and Tae Il agree to but Dae Gu refuses. Soo Sun threatens to jump off the roof and Dae Gu tells her to go ahead since at most she’ll break some bones. Too bad for Dae Gu, Soo Sun already told her mom to head to the rookies apartment and she’s there right now.
The P4 sit down in the living room with Soo Sun’s mom and she’s immediately all over Dae Gu, feeding him fish wrapped in lettuce while paying no attention to Ji Gook. Tae Il pours her some wine and she downs it while feeling up Tae Il’s perfect skin. Soo Sun’s mom laughs that seeing Dae Gu and Tae Il reminds her of a saying “cleaning the eyeballs”. Soo Sun’s mom cackles at her own joke while Soo Sun looks mortified. Soo Sun’s mom can’t believe the department lets mixed gender rookies live together and continues to feed Dae Gu more food.
After dinner Soo Sun’s mom wonders where her daughter sleeps and Dae Gu volunteers his room as Soo Sun’s room while he’s taken his bedding out into the living room. Soo Sun gives Dae Gu a silent look of thanks and he sighs while not being snippy with her for once.
The P4 head up to the roof to have a late night beer and Soo Sun tells Dae Gu again how thankful she is that he gave up his room to her mom. She also thanks the other two guys and the four of them toast. Soo Sun thought she would be a lot more excited after catching the hit-and-run driver but she’s actually quite calm. Ji Gook is just happy to have done his job and given the child victim justice. When he was watching the video of the accident, he saw the boy still alive and it made him almost burst into tears when he got the call that the driver had been successfully apprehended.
Soo Sun teases that they still can’t change the world even by catching one more bad guy, but today they took something out from their past to look at again. They have another toast and then turn around the enjoy the night view.
Sa Kyung runs into Pan Seok waiting outside her apartment and reminds him that she doesn’t want to see him around. Pan Seok would have accepted her request in the past but not anymore. He doesn’t want to live like that anymore. Why did she come to Gangnam and work alongside him who she hates? He doesn’t care what the reason is anymore but the moment she arrived his heart started to beat faster again. His heart started to thump for her again. Pan Seok asks sincerely “Sa Kyung-ah, can we start over again?”
Soo Sun’s voiceover says some took out love again, others took out pain. That refers to Tae Il taking out the picture of the young man he looked at in episode 2. Soo Sun takes out a necklace and says she took out a memory from long ago.
Soo Sun arrives at work the next morning and walks into the office and happens to encounter Dae Gu wearing his old glasses as he reads an evidence bag. She makes the connection that he’s Kim Ji Yong and is about to ask him when Dae Gu spots Pan Seok walking up and quickly silences her with a swift kiss.
Pan Seok is startled to see his rookies kissing and quickly darts off to the side to pretend to read a newspaper. Dae Gu and Soo Sun break apart and the two of them run off in opposite directions. Pan Seok wonders what the heck is going on and whether they are going to pretend like nothing happened.
Soo Sun sits in her tent that night mulling over whether Dae Gu kissed her because he liked her? If so then he must be a freak otherwise why all the constant dissing of her. When did he start to like her then? Was he just flirting with her all this time? Soo Sun tosses and turns thinking that Dae Gu is secretly in love with her. Dae Gu is brushing his teeth and flashes back to the silencing kiss earlier and starts to more vigorously brush his teeth as if to scrub off any residual Soo Sun on his lips.
Soo Sun sends her mom off at the bus terminal and Mom worries about her health working so hard. She’s even more worried about Soo Sun’s impetuous personality and rush to do something anytime she sees injustice. Soo Sun assures her that she’ll be fine and be mindful of her actions.
Dae Gu is at the hospital and called in to see his psychiatrist. He asks for another prescription for sleeping pills because he’s been problems sleeping lately.
Dae Gu arrives at the police station at the same time as Soo Sun and he immediately turns to avoid her. He then wonders why he needs to avoid her and goes back to get into the same elevator as her. Soo Sun darts to the side and tries to close the door on him but he manages to get in. Ji Gook arrives and jumps in at the last minute as well and stands between the two awkward partners.
Ji Gook wonders why Soo Sun packed up her tent and where she plans to stay going forward. Soo Sun thinks there are plenty of places to set up her tent. Dae Gu suggests an empty patch of land next to the river and Ji Gook chides him for suggesting a dangerous place. Soo Sun needs to just hang in there for two months, after that she’ll have the funds to get a new place. Ji Gook sweetly offers their apartment if she’s ever in dire need of a place during this period.
The rookies leave the elevator and the killer peers out from around the corner as he watches Dae Gu. He wonders why Dae Gu is working at the Gangnam precinct now that he’s a cop?
Chief Kang calls another meeting of the department heads and it starts off with Pan Seok apologizing for his actions which caused problems and worry for everyone here. Chief Kang tells him to sit down and reminds the entire group to be especially mindful of their actions during this sensitive time when they are trying to get more investigative autonomy. Director Kang pointedly warns Pan Seok not to have another run-in with Prosecutor Han, if that happens then she will personally fire him herself.
Ji Gook and Tae Il are grabbing a drink when Tae Il steps aside to take a call. Another cop pulls Ji Gook aside to warn him to keep his distance from Tae Il otherwise people will misunderstand. He whispers to Ji Gook that everyone knows Tae Il is gay after he was seen leaving a gay bar with another guy. Ji Gook insists his partner isn’t gay and huffs off.
Director Cha is walking by the stairwell and finds Soo Sun’s belongings stashed in the corner. He chews out Soo Sun for bringing all her personal belongings to work and blames Pan Seok for not disciplining his rookies better.
After Director Cha storms off, Pan Seok finds out that Soo Sun has been living in a tent after she was swindled by her temporary housing for three months rents. Soo Sun begs him to turn a blind eye for just two months and afterwards she’ll find a place to live. Pan Seok relents and tells her to hid her belongings better.
Team 3 holds a meeting to discuss their current case which involves a stabbing assult that happened at a street stall. The only eyewitness is the ahjumma that runs the stall as two gangsters beat up and stabbed a young man.
The eyewitness ahjumma is brought in to review a line-up of suspects and told by Pan Seok to pick out the men she saw that night. Five men file in to the room across from the one-way window and the ahjumma stares and shakes her head. It’s none of them. Another five is brought in and she again shakes her head.
In the third batch of men, the ahjumma clearly recognizes the last two and one guy glares at the window as if threatening the witness. Pan Seok notices the ahjumma’s reaction and asks if she recognizes anyone? The ahjumma lies and says no. Pan Seok calls in another batch and she says no one final time.
After the line-up review is done, Pan Seok asks the ahjumma whether she’s sure she didn’t recognize anyone? The ahjumma sticks with her story and says people heard she was coming in to identify the perps and warned her there might be retaliation. Pan Seok assures her that she is safe and the perps won’t know that she identified him. The young man who got stabbed is in critical condition and needs her help. The ahjumma wavers and Pan Seok tells her that she will be safe.
Dae Gu finally can’t take it anymore and tells Pan Seok to stop his harassment of the witness. She said that she didn’t see the perps in the line-up! If he keeps pressing her then he’s forcing her to testify. Dae Gu tells the ahjumma that she has a right not to testify and to leave. The ahjumma gets up and runs out of the precinct.
Pan Seok runs back to the interview view and grabs a chair to thwack Dae Gu but is stopped by Eun Do. Pan Seok orders Dae Gu to write his resignation letter immediately and leave because his team doesn’t need a cop like him! Dae Gu brings up cases from Pan Seok’s past that are all linked by one common element.
Those cases were crimes caused by the leak of a witness identity. There is no guarantee that witness testimony will be protected so isn’t their job to prevent a crime from happening which is more important than cracking an existing criminal case? Pan Seok asks if Dae Gu is asserting he’s putting witnesses in harms way in order to increase his success rate in solving cases? Dae Gu doesn’t discount that possibility. Pan Seok argues back that the victims of existing case need justice, and in this case the victim is younger than Dae Gu and hovers near death. Doesn’t this victim and his family deserve justice?
Dae Gu screams that the stall ahjumma doesn’t need to carry the burden of testifying for the victim’s justice! Pan Seok yells at Dae Gu to leave because he will catch the killer no matter what even if someone holds a knife to his throat. Dae Gu finally brings up his mom’s case from Masan and Pan Seok falls silent. Eun Do warns Dae Gu not to say another word!
Pan Seok is furious Dae Gu investigated him but Dae Gu doesn’t need to investigate, anyone who wants to learn about the legendary Seo Pan Seok will know about this case. After Pan Seok endured the pain of losing a witness like that, how can he still force another witness to testify? He cannot understand that! Pan Seok doesn’t need him to understand, he just needs Dae Gu to submit his resignation. The two men glare at each other for the longest time.
Dae Gu storms up to the roof and starts beating on the working equipment to release his frustration. Dae Gu is furious that he waited 11-years only to blow up over this instance.
Pan Seok grabs Dae Gu’s personnel file out and informs Eun Do that he will get rid Eun Dae Gu no matter what. Eun Do suggests sending him to handle other cases for now. Pan Seok wants Eun Do to investigate Dae Gu’s past to find out what beef he has with Pan Seok? He also wants a tail put on the fourth guy in the third group of the line-up, the ahjumma’s expression changed when she saw him. That particular suspect’s DNA is not on the knife but it could belong to the other suspect. Without witness identifying him then this is all they have to go on. Eun Do takes the other two rookies to do surveillance.
The rookies find Dae Gu brooding alone and sit down to join him. Tae Il and Ji Gook are called away by Eun Do to do surveillance leaving Soo Sun alone with Dae Gu. The mood is awkward so she runs off to join in the surveillance team. The suspect is released from the police station and the surveillance team follow behind in the van.
Sa Kyung walks past Pan Seok in the office and pointedly ignores him but has actually placed a heart-shaped note in the palm of his hand asking to meet at 7 pm at their spot. Pan Seok gets a call from the killer asking to meet and Dae Gu is listening in on his duped phone. Pan Seok wants to meet now and the killer says to meet at the place from before. Pan Seok drives off to meet the killer and Dae Gu follows him.
The surveillance team is chowing down on jjajangmian and joking about working based on the suspect’s schedule and not theirs. Soo Sun laughs at his joke and Eun Do teases her for being so pretty when she smiles. Eun Do brings up what he just learned reading Dae Gu’s file about how he grew up in an orphanage. The rookies are surprised to hear that since he doesn’t seem like orphan. They piece together the little Dae Gu shared about his past: he had a mom until she died when he was 15 years old and he’s never mentioned a dad. Soo Sun remarks about how hard it is to know about a person’s past based on their demeanor and Tae Il agrees with that.
Pan Seok parks in a department store garage and then heads up to the shopping floor while Dae Gu remains undetected and on his tail. Pan Seok runs into the assault stabbing suspect and calls Eun Do to inform him that the guy is at the shopping mall. Eun Do freaks out that the suspect managed to leave while they were keeping surveillance outside.
Pan Seok hurries to chase after the stabbing suspect and loses him by the courtyard fountain. He spots the suspect behind a pole and the chase is on as the suspect runs down into the subway with Pan Seok hot on his heel. The suspect manages to escape in a subway train when the door closes on Pan Seok. Dae Gu arrives and sees Pan Seok has lost the stabbing suspect.
Pan Seok chews out Eun Do at the station for eating noodles and letting the suspect slip out from under their noses. Now they have no way to find him again. Eun Do sends Dae Gu and Soo Sun to the suspect’s old home in Namjong Island, telling them to find a home stay and squat there until they either find the suspect or are told to come back.
Soo Sun and Dae Gu take a boat out to the island and stand on the desk watching the seagulls fly by. The ferry drops them off at the island and Soo Sun asks around to confirm the suspect hasn’t come home. They missed the last ferry off for the night so head to a home stay.
Tae Il and Ji Sook remain doing surveillance at the suspect’s apartment. Ji Gook takes the chance to find out more about Tae Il and asks to share secrets with each other. Ji Gook is about to share his secret that he’s fallen for Eo Soo Sun but Tae Il already knows it since everyone can tell. Ji Gook tries to assure Tae Il that he’s a good friend and will support Tae Il no matter who he likes. Tae Il whispers in Ji Gook’s ear and Ji Gook’s eyes open wide.
Soo Sun and Dae Gu check into a home stay and the ahjumma only has one room and thinks the partners are a couple. She tells them to make a good memory tonight and heads back to her room. Dae Gu decides to sleep outside on the pallet and gives Soo Sun the only room.
Soo Sun goes outside and adorably pokes Dae Gu to have a talk. She starts with how hard she worked to become a cop. Dae Gu knows, she took the exam 7 times before passing. Soo Sun likes her job and wants to do well. Dae Gu doesn’t know why she’s having this conversation so Soo Sun comes right out and asks if he likes her? She doesn’t want to date at work and Dae Gu assures her that won’t happen because the kiss wasn’t because he liked her. She asks why then and he claims to have a reason he can’t say.
Dae Gu ends the conversation and goes back to his pallet to sleep. Soo Sun is frustrated with his attitude but still gets him blankets and pillows. She sees him watching cartoons and remembers that he grew up in an orphanage. She decides to accept his attitude this time around since she never caught onto his sad childhood.
Soo Sun still wants to ask if Dae Gu really doesn’t like her or he’s just toying with her? She hopes he doesn’t like her because she doesn’t want him to feel uncomfortable. She extends a hand to shake for her partner and asks to let the awkwardness go and work well together going forward. Soo Sun hops back to her room to sleep while Dae Gu turns to watch her quietly.
Dae Gu needs to go to the bathroom but is too scared to go to the outhouse and decides to hold it in. He ends up squirming in bed uncomfortably. He goes to find Soo Sun who isn’t asleep yet and has her accompany him to the outhouse. When Dae Gu is in the toilet, he yells out loud to make sure Soo Sun is still there.
Soo Sun is bored and offers to sing for Dae Gu but he tells her no need. Soo Sun decides to sing and dance anyway and it’s the song he saw her sing in high school in the broadcast room.
Dae Gu finishes up and looks out the window and starts to smile as he watches grown up Soo Sun singing and dancing like her teenage self. Soo Sun stops to ask if Dae Gu is done and he lies that he needs a little more time so Soo Sun goes back to singing and dancing. Dae Gu smiles as he watches her continue singing and dancing.
Thoughts of Mine:
This episode has done something I thought was highly unlikely which is to make me actually okay with Soo Sun now. I also enjoy watching Dae Gu more because he’s cracking but neither character strikes me as particularly engrossing on their own. They work in the context of this story but are written too one dimensionally. Same goes for earnest Ji Gook and mysterious Tae Il. The P4 haven’t formed an identity as a group or created the memorable impressions like other famous foursomes in other dramas. The mystery of Da Gu’s mom’s murder remains the most interesting and developed crime case so far and I like how the progress is slow on it since the case is old and there isn’t a rush to bring closure for Dae Gu. He’s going to open up and find meaning in his life aside from getting justice for his mom and it helps that he’s slowly warming up to Soo Sun and hanging out more with the P4.
Pan Seok and Sa Kyung appear to make fast progress in reconciling which renders their relationship history rather lightweight if all it took was Pan Seok asking for another chance o make it happen. The stabbing case ahjumma eyewitness conundrum was clearly drummed up to bring parallels to Dae Gu’s mom’s plight and give Dae Gu a reason to explode at Pan Seok. Too bad he’s exploded plenty of times before and I don’t see Pan Seok ever kicking him out of the squad for good despite the threats to go write that resignation letter. The killer is also way too in-the-know with how quickly he tracked down Dae Gu to the orphanage and appears to lurk around the police station to keep tabs on him. I’m not getting a good sense of urgency or danger in this drama and that is perhaps why it falls so flat for me most of the time. I feel like the P4 can learn from filing paperwork more than they are actually taking away important and practical insights into become cops.
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