You’re All Surrounded has settled into a nice watchable cadence. Not good and mostly mediocre, but the lighter touch renders the proceedings inoffensively easy to swallow and sometimes even leaves a nice aftertaste. Ultimately it’s a drama only made worth watching for the involvement of Lee Seung Gi and Cha Seung Won, other than them the rest is simply filler used to make the canvas so that the viewers can spent two hours a week watching them do their thing on the small screen. Both are quite good here and the upside is knowing their upcoming interactions will finally be spent towards solving the big mystery that binds their pasts together. Romance is such an after thought here mostly because it’s not really important to the characters and their trajectories. It’ll be nice if Dae Gu got Soo Sun as a girlfriend by the end since the guy needs more affection and someone to care about him, but working through his trauma is less about love healing him then it is about letting go of his pain.
The identity of Dae Gu’s handler on the phone is finally revealed and is neither a shocker nor was the reveal done in any meaningful way. I also don’t know why Pan Seok is having cafe meetings with the killer unless he doesn’t know the guy’s role in the murder of Dae Gu’s mom. Poor Tae Il and Ji Sook are such asides in this story I wonder if it would work better as just a pair of rookie partners in Soo Sun and Dae Gu learning to be good cops while he solves his mom’s murder. I like Tae Il and Ji Gook’s presence and characters but they don’t make much impact. The little bits of satisfaction in sticking with this drama is watching Dae Gu slowly crack open his hardened shell to enjoy Soo Sun’s presence in his life as well as actually choosing to do his job as a cop over just pretending to be a cop to investigate Pan Seok. I like his character development because it feels organic and he’s taking agency and initiative in his own life. Now if only the cop cases could just be a little bit more interesting and not continue to feel like after school specials.
Episode 8 recap:
Pan Seok arrives at the restaurant he went to with Sa Kyung before all dressed up in a snazzy suit and sits down to wait for her. He texts Eun Do a thank you for covering for him in the next two hours. Unfortunately Sa Kyung is elsewhere waiting for him since her note said to meet at “their place” but didn’t identify said place and it’s now clear they had a different place in mind. Pan Seok waits and waits while other diners finish up and leave. He checks his phone and it’s half an hour past their meeting time but still no message from Sa Kyung.
Pan Seok suddenly realizes his mistake and takes off while Sa Kyung is fed up with waiting and leaves. She purposely doesn’t answer a call from Pan Seok who is running to meet her. A huffing and puffing Pan Seok meets Sa Kyung on the stairs and smiles to see her. Sa Kyung doesn’t want to talk with him and tries to leave but pauses to deride Pan Seok as unable to change and continuing to disappoint her. She’s done playing games with him. Pan Seok catches his breath and explains to Sa Kyung that she’s the one who made the mistake, the place they first met isn’t here. Doesn’t she remember?
Before they had their first date here, they met a week earlier at the udon place when he was with his sunbae and she came in with other colleagues. They were introduced and he fell for her at first sight. Sa Kyung’s has an “oh shit, I was wrong” look on her face while Pan Seok apologizes for being late regardless and he won’t do it again. He pulls her around and suggests they have a tonkatsu (pork cutlet) together. Sa Kyung pouts and wants to go to the udon place.
She walks ahead of Pan Seok who takes a bad step and falls on his behind. Sa Kyung turns around and laughs at him and that defuses the tension. Pan Seok gingerly walks over to her since his ankle is tender after the fall and Sa Kyung smiles to let him put his hand on her back as they slowly walk down the stairs together.
Soo Sun sits beside Dae Gu and talks about her childhood having seafood by the beach with her family. She looks over and sees that Dae Gu is sleeping soundly. She tiptoes over and confirms that he’s passed out and mutters about him claiming that he couldn’t fall asleep. She pulls the blanket snugly around him and heads to bed herself.
Dae Gu wakes up in the morning and stretches before sitting up. He looks rather unused to sleeping so well and looks around before walking over to the guest room to peek at the still sleeping Soo Sun. He kneels down and quietly watches her from the doorway, which would be creepy but for the fact that Dae Gu just needs something good in his life.
Soo Sun’s cell rings and Dae Gu quickly pretends he’s doing exercises in the yard. Soo Sun answers the call which is from Eun Do telling them to come back. They caught the other suspect who confessed to the assault and named the other assailant.
Dae Gu’s other cell rings and he answers to hear Pan Seok and the killer on the phone making plans to meet today at noon. Dae Gu tells Soo Sun that he needs to go back to Seoul immediately and will take the car. Soo Sun doesn’t understand what just happened other than Dae Gu just left her on the island to get back herself.
Dae Gu speeds towards the ferry and passes by the other suspect arriving on the island in a car. Dae Gu weighs his two choices, rush back to Seoul to catch Pan Seok meeting with the killer or apprehend the other assault suspect. He screams in frustration as he makes his choice, Dae Gu turns his car around and chases after the suspect.
Dae Gu pulls up alongside the suspect and screams for him to pull over but clearly that doesn’t work. Dae Gu screams that the dude is dead after what Dae Gu gave up to catch him. The two cars engage in a speeding and lane changing chase until finally Dae Gu cuts the suspect’s car off. Dae Gu gets out of the car as does the suspect and the two men start fist fighting on the street.
The suspect takes out a knife and waves it around but Dae Gu tells him to surrender since the other suspect already confessed and named him. Dae Gu’s anger gives him an extra dose of strength and he finally subdues the suspect. Dae Gu cuffs the suspect and then collapses on the street in exhaustion but with a smile on his face.
Dae Gu stands by the jetty looking out over the ocean and chiding himself for being crazy back there. The suspect is cuffed in the back of the car and Soo Sun happily drags Dae Gu over to patch him up. She’s so happy they caught the suspect but wants to know what happened earlier that made Dae Gu rush off back to Seoul. He doesn’t want to talk about it so Soo Sun assumes he’s going back to meet a first love. She pinches his cheeks and calls him adorable.
Soo Sun puts ointment on Dae Gu’s wound and then blows on it, giving Dae Gu a nice view of her cherry lips. Soo Sun compliments him on not leaving for Seoul so that he can catch the suspect, if he left then he’s not a real cop. Dae Gu continues to be surly with her but it’s clearly all just an act now.
Pan Seok arrives at work and Eun Do quickly tells him that Dae Gu and Soo Sun captured the assault suspect on the island. Pan Seok wants an update on the investigation into Dae Gu’s background and all Eun Do knows is that Dae Gu’s mom died when he was in the last year of junior high and no one knows anything about his dad. Pan Seok points out Dae Gu’s outburst in the interview room was clearly that of someone who had a family member hurt or sacrificed in a police investigation. Plus he mentioned the Masan murder where the mom died and the son disappeared.
Eun Do knows Pan Seok drops everything the moment he hears a potential lead into the missing son. Does Pan Seok think Eun Dae Gu could be the missing son? Pan Seok heads off to visit the orphanage leaving Eun Do muttering about how the lasting effects of the Masan case still follows Pan Seok around.
Dae Gu and Soo Sun bring the assault suspect back to the Gangnam precinct to the applause of their colleagues. Ji Gook even gives Dae Gu a fist bump and he reluctantly returns it. Eun Do tells them to put the suspect in lock up and then they can grab lunch. Soo Sun wonders where Captain Seo went and hears he’s out of the office.
Dae Gu glances at Pan Seok’s empty desk and then goes to make a private call to his handler explaining that he missed another arranged meeting between Pan Seok and the killer because he was stuck on the island. He worries that he won’t have another chance. Dae Gu’s handler turns out to be Chief Kang and she assures him that he’s waited eleven years and will get another chance so he has to keep the faith.
Pan Seok arrives at the orphanage and introduces himself as a police officer to the orphanage director. They sit to discuss Dae Gu and she pulls out his file. Dae Gu arrived in 2003 with both parents deceased. She claims he lost both parents during a tragic bus incident. Pan Seok asks if Dae Gu got a new identity her and the director claims he didn’t. Pan Seok asks to see Dae Gu’s childhood picture and the director shows him a picture of another teenage boy and that ends Pan Seok’s suspicion that Dae Gu could be the missing son Kim Ji Yong.
After Pan Seok leaves the orphanage, the director calls Dae Gu to tell him that Pan Seok just came by and she did as Dae Gu asked her. She didn’t reveal his identity and Pan Seok left disappointed. The director also reveals that the other man who came earlier to find Dae Gu, the teacher who led him inside remembers that he had a scar on his ear.
The rookie roomies are having breakfast and Tae Il offers to make some hot food. Ji Gook declines and rushes off to go to work while Dae Gu asks for breakfast that Tae Il teases is the taste of an elementary school student.
Soo Sun tries to wheel her chair close to Dae Gu to discuss a file but he kicks her chair back and when she tries to get close again he uses a ruler to make her keep a safe distance. He makes it appear that he doesn’t like her company but after she wheels away a small smile appears on Dae Gu’s face. He then notices Pan Seok staring at him so his smile disappears.
Pan Seok has lunch with Eun Do who shows him a picture of a criminal that Pan Seok put away. Eun Do thinks Dae Gu could be that criminal’s son and here for revenge. Pan Seok orders Eun Do to focus on eating but Eun Do is just worried that Pan Seok is too focused on Dae Gu because of his guilt towards the missing son. Pan Seok won’t rest until he finds the son or a body, and now he wants to open the investigation into the Masan murder again starting with the man who threatened the witness. Pan Seok asks Eun Do to look into it. They get called back to a precinct meeting called by the toad Director Cha.
Director Cha slithers back and forth in front of all the gathered cops. Sa Kyung walks up and Tae Il stares at her with a very warm look. Oooh, he has a crush on her. Sa Kyung asks another cop what is going on and hears that someone played a prank on Director Cha’s car yesterday. Director Cha starts screaming about who dared to mess with his car and mess with him. He almost pulls a nerve on his neck with his screaming. He vows to look through all the CCTV footage until he finds the culprit. After the meeting breaks up, Pan Seok gets a call and takes his team along to a new crime scene.
In a high rise apartment building, a 72 year old man lies dead in the bathroom with blood around his head. He has two sons and lives in the apartment with the younger son but it was the older son who found him. Pan Seok looks over the dead body and notes that time of death was over 24 hours ago. The cops hear an altercation in the living room and find the two sons fighting with the younger son choking the older son screaming that the older son killed the dad for money. The older son claims it was the younger son living off their dad’s money and killed him to have it all. The cops have to restrain the two sons from fighting while Eun Do screams at them to behave with more decorum when their dad just died.
Pan Seok takes them both back to the precinct to take their statements. Dae Gu and Soo Sun sit with the older son and ask if he really thinks his younger brother killed their dad? The older brother says it’s the truth, his younger brother is a monster. He describes his younger brother as a video game playing addict who likes killing games. He wasn’t always like that but after graduating and suffering disappointment in life he became addicted to gaming. One time their dad brought dinner in to him and accidentally spilled some soup on his computer and the younger brother pushed him. The older brother claims the younger brother must not even have realized he killed their dad, he probably thought it was just a game.
Tae Il and Ji Gook are interviewing the distraught younger brother who claims it is all a bunch of lies by his hyung and it was the older brother who killed their dad. Ji Gook tries to get the younger son to calm down first and ask him to give his statement. The younger brother says the only reason his older brother would come by to visit the dad is for insurance. The older brother works at an insurance company and is always needing to make his quota. Their dad ignored him and he screamed at the dad for not helping him out.
The younger brother walked into the bathroom and found the older brother hovering over their head dad and believes his older brother killed their dad for the inheritance.
Pan Seok holds a team meeting to go over the known facts of the case. The deceased died when his head hit the floor in the bathroom and there was a bar of soap near his feet. The two witnesses are pointing fingers at each other as the killer. Tae Il returns from the coroner’s office and reveals the deceased didn’t have any broken bones. Eun Do explains that if a person fell then the person would instinctively use his hand to brace himself and there would be a fracture in the wrist. If the person was pushed backward then there might not be a fractured wrist. Pan Seok says it’s too early to tell if its homicide or accidental death so they need to continue to investigate the crime scene, CTTV, interview neighbors, and track the movement of the deceased in the day prior.
Ji Gook is at the apartment and peering out over the ledge. Tae Il offers to do it and Ji Gook points out the dust on the ledge is intact which means there was no intruder who broke in that way. Soo Sun interviews the neighbors while Dae Gu goes online to research. Tae Il watches the CCTV footage from the apartment building.
The rookies sit down to discuss their findings. Tae Il says the footage shows the older son arriving at 9 am but didn’t report the death until 2 pm, Ji Gook notes that the younger brother was addicting to gaming that none of the neighbors knew he lived there, and Dae Gu’s online research showed that the younger son was online for three days straight before the death and never left the computer. Soo Sun says the older brother claimed to have took a nap when he first got home and only when he went to the bathroom later did he find his dead dad. Ji Gook shudders at killing a parent for money and Soo Sun hopes their investigation can determine this case is just an accidental death.
Soo Sun sits in her tent diligently reading up on her investigation into the circumstances of this case. She decides to stage the crime scene and goes to the bathroom armed with a pillow behind her head, a camera recorder, a pad on the ground behind her, and some soap so she can keep slipping backwards.
Soo Sun records her re-enactment of the crime scene and goes to show the videos to Pan Seok. Pan Seok watches Soo Sun’s hilarious attempts and tries to muffle a smile. Soo Eun is sure that when a person accidentally falls then that person will instinctively used the hand to brace the fall and will keep the head up the prevent it from striking the floor. She believes its homicide now and wants them to secure the apartment as a crime scene and to get an arrest warrant to prevent the two son suspects from leaving. She goes back to watching the videos with Pan Seok to show him again and he smiles to see her working so hard.
Eun Do provides Ji Gook constructive criticism on how he wrote up his investigative report, he included his feelings rather than sticking with the facts of the case. Eun Do shows Ji Gook how Tae Il wrote up his report and it followed the required format. Ji Gook isn’t happy about constantly being compared to Tae Il and not matching up.
Ji Gook is in the evidence room and takes a call from his mom who keeps trying to send him more food. He’s impatient and doesn’t want anything from her and doesn’t like every conversation to revolve around whether he ate. He’s 29 years old now and even if he ate more he’s not going to grow any taller. Tae Il comes in and asks to chat about Ji Gook’s attitude lately. He wonders if he said something to Ji Gook who claims it’s nothing and storms out.
Pan Seok meets with the killer in a coffee shop and greets the man with “long time no see, are you back now for good”? The man claims he’s back for good because there is a debt he needs to collect. Pan Seok notes the scar behind the killer’s ear and asks what he wants. The killer tells Pan Seok to be patient and asks if he found the boy from eleven years ago?
Dae Gu is working at his desk when he get a text from his partner. He asks what she wants and she just wanted to tell him it’s raining outside. He asks if she wants to say anything else but she claims that was all. He tells her to stop bugging him and she calls him cold blooded for leaving her outside in the rain in her tent. After Dae Gu ends the texting is when he realizes she was trying to hint for him to invite her inside the apartment because it’s raining.
Soo Sun wonders if she should go to a jjimjalbang in this weather and then hears Pan Seok calling her from outside the tent. He asks why she is in the tent in this weather and not in the ladies rest room in the precinct? Soo Sun says it’s full so Pan Seok tells her to come along with him.
Dae Gu returns to the precinct with an extra umbrella in hand to bring Soo Sun back to the rookies apartment. He goes up to the roof and calls her to come out but there is no answer since she already left with Pan Seok. Dae Gu unzips the tent and sees that it’s empty. He goes down to the ladies rest room in the precinct and is about to knock and check before stopping himself.
Dae Gu goes back to his room and tries to resume working when he suddenly sees Soo Sun entering Pan Seok’s apartment through his surveillance feed. He stares in shock. Ooooh jealousy.
Pan Seok deposits Soo Sun in his apartment and tells her to sleep here tonight and he’ll sleep elsewhere. She doesn’t want to burden him and will go to a jjimjalbang. Pan Seok orders her to stay and to lock the door when she leaves in the morning. He’s about to leave when Soo Sun’s stomach growls. Soo Sun cooks ramyun for the two of them and she darts between Pan Seok’s arms to grab the pot from the shelf and it clearly makes him feel rather awkward. Soo Sun cheerfully makes the ramyun while Pan Seok sits on the sofa and tries not to watch her. Soo Sun notes that his apartment doesn’t have any fresh food and wonders if he never cooks in here?
Soo Sun brings the cooked pot over and places it on the table and the two dig in. The doorbell rings and Pan Seok opens it to find Sa Kyung standing there. She’s brought over food for him because it’s raining and Pan Seok quickly says someone else is here. Soo Sun stands up and hurries to the door to greet Sa Kyung.
Pan Seok explains that Soo Sun got swindled out of her apartment and lives in a tent on the precinct roof. Since it’s raining he brought her here and was going to sleep elsewhere but they were hungry so decided to have ramyun first. Sa Kyung does not look happy to see this scene.
Dae Gu is having his own hissy fit in the apartment when he gets a call from his private investigator claiming to have found the person Dae Gu was looking for. Dae Gu runs to the morgue as does Pan Seok after getting a call from Eun Do that the person who threatened the witness has been found. He died a week ago falling off a building and it was only after his death did they confirm his identity.
Dae Gu looks at the man that the coroner pulls out and confirms it’s the guy he saw threaten his mom that night. But then he looks at the dead body’s ears and appear to notice something. Plastic surgery scars?
Dae Gu walks out of the morgue and runs into Pan Seok in the lobby. The two men stare at each other and Pan Seok makes the first move, walking up to Dae Gu and saying “So you’re still alive, Kim Ji Yong.”
Thoughts of Mine:
FINALLY. I needed Pan Seok to learn who Dae Gu really is like two episodes ago. It was fine to have it looming over the narrative and let the two bicker with Dae Gu’s hidden anger at Pan Seok leading the way, but ultimately it dragged on too long and then got revealed so abruptly. What was the whole feint the orphanage director pulled for Dae Gu if it was only going to come out like thirty minutes later in the same episode? All the police cases have been similarly slap-dash with issues raised and then resolved simply. So the witness ahjumma is scared to testify like Dae Gu’s mom was? Let’s make it easy for her by not needing her testimony because the other suspect gets apprehended quickly and then confesses to the crime and implicates his cohort. I don’t have a problem with simplistic or even hastily assembled writing if the emotional aspects of the narrative work to hook the viewer along enough to overlook these other gaping lapses. YAAS still hasn’t figured out the formula other than calming Soo Sun down and cracking Dae Gu nicely with each episode.
Sadly Tae Il and Ji Gook can disappear in the next episode and I wouldn’t even miss them, that’s how little of an impact they are to this story and cast. Eun Do even has more presence and that’s due to his very nice partner working relationship with Pan Seok. I could have watched a drama where they are rookies investigating and learning. It’s nice of the drama to drop both the reveal of Chief Kang as Dae Gu’s handler as well as reveal the killer to be operating in the open. I think the drama wants us to suspect Chief Kang may have ulterior motives in helping Dae Gu investigate Pan Seok but that might be yet another misdirect. Who knows and honestly it’s not gripping enough for me to care.
Sa Kyung and Pan Seok have similarly gone from her being angry and slap-happy towards him to suddenly going on cute reunion dates that don’t quite work based on the rivers of shared pain in losing a child. I like them getting back together but the process, like most of the narrative elements in this drama, is just shown to jump over development straight to the next stepping stone. I’m disappointed the drama make Pan Seok and Sa Kyung’s reconciliation feel so slight with barely any effort, and then promptly followed it up with some very weird Pan Seok-Soo Sun moments. Don’t get me started about the drama dropping some really unpalatable odd tension between Pan Seok and Soo Sun that feel totally unnecessary to the story and always is a no-no for me since he’s her superior at work. Please don’t go there, drama.
Why is Pan Seok looking at Soo Sun with warmth? Is he like a kindly father figure proud of her improvement as a cop and hard working attitude? Is he feeling stirrings for her due to the hug she gave him? Does he pity her? Or is it just bad writing which will hopefully be nipped in the bud in the next episode? What’s the point of having Sa Kyung and Pan Seok give their relationship another shot if he’s feeling something for Soo Sun? And if not, then the misunderstanding for Sa Kyung is merely intended to keep their reconciliation process drawn up at the expense of character consistency. I don’t think Pan Seok does like Soo Sun and definitely shouldn’t like her.
Dae Gu and Soo Sun have settled into a nice partnership rhythm and he’s clearly affected by her enough to want to look out for her and jealous when she is rescued from the rain by Pan Seok first. Having even the hint of a love triangle between Pan Seok and Dae Gu is so lame when they have genuine conflict and angst between them unrelated to something as superficial as romancing a girl. While Pan Seok have Dae Gu have had a stare down in every episode so far, the one at the end of this episode is the first time I feel like they are really headed something substantive in their conflict. Here’s to hoping either punches get thrown or actual conversation is had to help them put the murder investigation on the fast-track.
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