You’re All Surrounded has settled into a comfortable cadence that is actually relaxing in its mediocrity especially when stripped of the seriousness around the police procedural aspects. I wasn’t wrong to expect this drama to have something interesting to add on its setting in a police precinct, but the sheer incompetence of the writer in tackling that genre took me off guard and drew out some really angry reactions from me. Once the initial frustration passed I find the drama really easy to watch without requiring mental commitment. In the day and age of dramas that aim too high and disintegrate mid-airing, YAAS had a rocky start and is showing all signs of incrementally getting better now that the emotional elements have finally connected with me. I loved how Dae Gu’s real identity was revealed to the important characters in this episode, finally this drama does something really right with zero overreacting and lots of self-reflection all-around. This was the episode where I finally liked all three leads, and like in the sense that their characters have finally settled down to feel realistic amidst being flawed.
Dae Gu is allowed to be passive-aggressive with Pan Seok as his inner childhood torment is shown to have been always laying just below the surface. Studious smart Dae Gu is like a day job but the real Dae Gu is still hurt and lonely Kim Ji Yong. Soo Sun shows off her ability to be thoughtful and considerate even if her first tendency is to leap into the fray. The best part of the Soo Sun-Dae Gu partnership takes center stage with a friendship that is more heartwarming and moving than any romance plot line between them. I want them to have each other’s back both past and present and together confront both their goal to excel as cops and put proper closure to what happened years ago in Masan. Pan Seok and Sa Kyung continue to make ex-couple reconciliation seem like a walk in the park with how effortlessly they got back together, but with their age and maturity level it is believable that they can bypass the histrionics and just give it a shot again. This week aired only one episode due to the elections preemption last night but one good episode is way better than two lousy ones, and this is the first episode I’ll be keen to rewatch in a long time.
Episode 9 recap:
Pan Seok runs into Dae Gu at the funeral parlor for the supposedly dead blackmailer and makes the correct association that he’s Kim Ji Yong. Dae Gu feigns cluelessness as to who Kim Ji Yong is and assumes Pan Seok investigated his background at the orphanage because Pan Seok mistakenly thought he was Kim Ji Yong. Pan Seok asks why Dae Gu is here then? The coincidental arrival of Ji Gook gives Dae Gu the perfect excuse that he’s here to do a corpse study.
Pan Seok and Eun Do view the body and Pan Seok asks the coroner if officer Eun Dae Gu came to view this body already. Because of the switch in personnel, the just arrived coroner says no.
Ji Gook wakes up in the morning and calls Soo Sun and uses the video call feature. He asks where she spent the night on such a rainy evening? Soo Sun is about to mutter that she slept in her tent before she fully wakes up and remembers she’s in Captain Seo’s condo. She quickly ends her call with Ji Sook and claims she spent the night at a friend’s place and has to run. Ji Gook runs into Tae Il in the living room and the two are cool towards each other. Ji Gook mutters that he’s ignoring Tae Il so now Tae Il is ignoring him back.
Soo Sun looks around Pan Seok’s condo and notices a pile of candy wrappers on the desk. Looks like the exacting Captain has a sweet tooth. Soo Sun sees the picture of Pan Seok and Sa Kyung’s deceased son on the desk before quietly leaving the condo.
Dae Gu waits for his handler to arrive at their cafe meeting who we all know now is Chief Kang. Dae Gu flashes back to hearing the orphanage director telling his teenage self that he now has a guardian and can attend school again. Dae Gu receives boxes of presents from his guardian on birthdays and holidays including books, clothing, and lots of encouraging cards over the years. Dae Gu always writes back a thank you and an update to his guardian. Dae Gu ends up attending law school and he finally meets his guardian when Chief Kang visits him in person.
Dae Gu informs Chief Kang that Pan Seok almost recognized him at the memorial hall but he managed to allay his suspicions. He’s frustrated because the killer is missing and the blackmailer is now dead. Chief Kang asks if Dae Gu still suspects Pan Seok? Dae Gu is certain it’s Pan Seok because of the necklace as well as the killer contacting him. Chief Kang suggests the killer may have something on Pan Seok but that doesn’t mean he’s involved in Dae Gu’s mom’s death. Dae Gu blames him nonetheless for forcing his mom to testify years ago. Chief Kang can see that Dae Gu is too emotional right now but Dae Gu can’t be dispassionate since this is his only chance to avenge his mother’s death. Chief Kang reminds Dae Gu of his promise to hand the culprit over for the legal system to punish and not for Dae Gu to take matters into his own hands. Dae Gu reluctantly says yes.
Soo Sun arrives at work and runs into Tae Il and Dae Gu. Tae Il asks where she slept last night and Soo Sun explains it was at a friend’s place. Tae Il notices she’s a bit under the weather and Dae Gu just silently takes this all in without revealing he knows Soo Sun spent the night at Pan Seok’s place.
Team 3 gather in the interrogation room where the two fighting brothers are still blaming each other for their dad’s death. Pan Seok says the manner of death was blunt force trauma to the head and time of death was 26 hours before it was discovered. The younger brother notes that his older brother wasn’t in the house at that time and the older brother says it has to be the younger brother then. Eun Do shouts at them to sit down and Pan Seok explains that the younger brother was online playing video games for 36 hours straight during that time.
Pan Seok explains how their father died. He was looking at the new cell phone that his older son bought him to ask him to buy insurance from him. The dad then gets a call on it but he doesn’t know how to answer it with a swipe motion of the finger. He asks his younger son for help to show him how to use the phone but the son is engrossed in his video game. He then goes to the bathroom to wash the younger son’s tennis shoes. The phone rings while he’s in the bathroom and he slips on a bar of soap and hits his head as he falls backwards. The dad desperately tries to answer his ringing phone with a call from the older son but can’t. He dies holding the new phone in his hand.
The two sons are dumbstruck to learn their father died just like that. Pan Seok picks up the cell phone and says the phone was never answered despite a lot of finger prints on it. The reason the father didn’t have a wrist fracture despite falling backwards to break his fall was because he was trying to keep the phone from breaking. Pan Seok rules this case as an accidental death. All the cops leave the room while the two brothers absorb their own contributions to their dad’s death.
Team 3 goes to lunch and Eun Do sadly notes that the manner of death was having selfish children. Everyone quietly eats without any conversation. After lunch Ji Gook calls his mom to check up on her and ask her to send his favorite foods like she wanted to last time and he turned her down. Tae Il stares at his phone as does Dae Gu who composes a text to his mom. Little Dae Gu voiceovers “Mom, are you with Dad over there? Is Dad good to you? Are you happier now than with me?” Adult Dae Gu doesn’t send the text and deletes it.
Pan Seok sits in his car and flashes back to his interactions with Ji Yong and Dae Gu. Clearly he isn’t fully swayed by Dae Gu’s explanations and still thinks he could be Ji Yong. He has Ji Gook take him to the rookie’s apartment and once there he looks around. In the bathroom he grabs Dae Gu’s toothbrush and takes it away and tells Ji Gook to lie that he dropped the toothbrush in the toilet. He then pokes around Dae Gu’s room where he finds the desk drawers locked. He tries to log-on to Dae Gu’s computer while Ji Gook says he doesn’t know what is going on but he’ll forget this happened. Pan Seok warns Ji Gook that he never came by today. Ji Gook wonders if Dae Gu could be Pan Seok’s son what with him taking the toothbrush for a DNA test but then shudders about watching too many dramas.
Pan Seok hands the toothbrush in for DNA testing and tells Eun Do what he did to get confirmation on his suspicions. Eun Do agrees with what he did since it’s better than always being suspicious. Eun Do reminds Pan Seok that he has a date today with Sa Kyung and Pan Seok hurriedly changes to not be late. At the lunch Sa Kyung asks what the situation is with rookie Eo Soo Sun. Pan Seok explains again that she lives in a tent on the roof and it was raining that day and he couldn’t just leave her there. Sa Kyung smiles and asks if he’ll always let Soo Sun stay at his place if it rains? Pan Seok mutters that she’ll have found a place by then.
Sa Kyung wonders how he found this cute place and Pan Seok confesses that he googled a nice place for oppa to take a girl out on a date. They are eating Vietnamese food and when the dishes arrive Pan Seok eats a dried rice paper without realizing he needs to dip it in water to soften it to make a roll. Sa Kyung laughs at him and then makes a roll for him while calling him “oppa”. She offers to teach him how to make it but he rather just eat the ones she makes. After lunch they head wander around shopping and having a snack. They end up adorably calling each other their old nicknames for each other. The date heads into the night and it starts to rain so they seek shelter under an awning. Pan Seok shields Sa Kyung from a car splashing water on her and she uses the closeness to lean in for a kiss. Pan Seok smiles and takes her hand tightly in his as they wait out the rain together.
Team 3 heads out on their next case to find a suspect in an armed robbery. The team splits up into the partner duos and it’s Tae Il and Ji Gook that encounter the suspect first on the roof. The suspect has a giant knife holding Ji Gook hostage as he threatens to kill him if he’s not allowed to leave. He tries to drag Ji Gook down the stairs but Ji Gook holds onto the railing tightly and refuses to be taken hostage for the third time. The suspect keeps beating him with the knife (as opposed to stabbing him) and allows Ji Gook to tell Tae Il that he doesn’t want to be an embarrassment anymore to the police force. He screams out that Tae Il is a doctor and asks why he’s not being a doctor and came here to be a cop? He tells the suspect to stab him and when the suspect gets distracted is when Ji Gook punches and disarms him. The suspect is taken into custody as Pan Seok and Eun Do both look pleased with Ji Gooks’ maneuver.
Back at the precinct, Ji Gook apologizes for outing Tae Il’s secret back there and Tae Il snarks that he should have confessed he has a crush on Soo Sun. Tae Il pushes Ji Gook to sit down and then tends to his sprained ankle from falling off the stairs with the suspect. Tae Il gives Ji Gook doctorly advice on how to tend to his swollen ankle and Ji Gook grouses that Tae Il is just too perfect. Tae Il bandages Ji Gook up and the partners tussle over the bandage.
Soo Sun’s brother visits and they greet each other happily outside the precinct before she takes him of to have ice cream and cake. Her brother notices that her voice has gotten louder and she’s gotten buffer and older since she became a cop. The brother notices Dae Gu walking past the cafe and remembers him being in Masan recently. He also recognizes him as Kim Ji Yong from their junior high days.
Soo Sun sits with Dae Gu in the car for surveillance and she asks why he doesn’t wear glasses more. Dae Gu curtly says no and is in no mood for her teasing. Soo Sun doesn’t want him to be in a bad mood with her since they have to be here all night. Dae Gu claims he was never close with her to begin with. The suspect they are watching walks past their car and Dae Gu pulls Soo Sun down. When they think the suspect has walked past, Dae Gu looks up and sees the suspect peering in through the window. The suspect immediately books it and the cops get out of the car to pursue him. Soo Sun falls when she trips on her untied shoelaces while Dae Gu loses the suspect when he makes a motorcycle getaway. Dae Gu
Dae Gu notices Soo Sun’s scratched up arms while she blames her fall on her shoelaces. Dae Gu kneels down to tie her shoelaces and she further confirms that he’s Kim Ji Yong. After Dae Gu finishes tying her shoelaces and gets up, Soo Sun calls him Kim Ji Yong and asks if he’s Kim Ji Yong from their Masan junior high. He keeps insisting he’s not while she keeps insisting he is. Dae Gu threatens to kiss her again if she says he’s Kim Ji Yong. WHUT? Silly girl, just keep saying he is! Soo Sun stops calling him Ji Yong while Dae Gu storms off.
The shady former police commissioner turned congressman is paid a visit by the killer who waltzes right into his office. The killer asks if he’s been well these days? The congressman hears that he’s back in the country and hopes its just a short stay. The killer announces that he’s back permanently and informs the congressman that the child from 11 years ago is not dead. He did not manage to kill him. the congressman freaks out while the killer tells him not to worry because he’s managed to find the person now. With one word from the congressman, he can kill that person today. The congressman asks where that person is now?
Pan Seok takes out the DNA test results and nervously looks at it to find Dae Gu is a 99.9999% match to his dead mom. Of course he is. Pan Seok looks relieved and sad and walks back to the office to sit down at his desk and keep staring at Dae Gu who is working. In Pan Seok’s eyes he suddenly becomes teenage Dae Gu wearing his school uniform sitting there. Pan Seok remembers little Dae Gu asking why he didn’t protect his mom like he promised? Pan Seok asks to speak with Dae Gu and takes him up to the roof.
Pan Seok starts crying on the roof and calls Dae Gu his real name again. Dae Gu sees that he’s holding a DNA test result in his hands. Pan Seok is so happy that Ji Yong is alive and grew up so well. Pan Seok explains that he’s never stopped looking for Ji Yong and feels so sad he couldn’t find him. Dae Gu keeps insisting he’s not Ji Yong and Pan Seok can accept that because it was his fault what happened to his mom and for the pendant. Dae Gu clenches his fist and insist he’s not Kim Ji Yong! Pan Seok brings up the DNA result and Dae Gu keeps screaming that he’s not Kim Ji Yong! So Pan Seok the bastard can spend his entire life continuing to wonder where Kim Ji Yong is. Dae Gu leaves the roof and leans against the wall sadly.
Soo Sun is also certain that Dae Gu is Ji Yong and takes matters into her own hands by visiting Dae Gu and asking for ten minutes of his time when he tries to blow her off. Soo Sun walks into the apartment and hears the other two went out to buy stuff. Soo Sun has decided that Dae Gu is Ji Yong and when Dae Gu makes a move Soo Sun says no kissing! She knows that when his mom died and he disappeared, she was really worried about him. He must have a reason to conceal his real identity so if he tells her why then she won’t ask anymore. Dae Gu stares and keeps ticking off the time she has left but won’t tell her anything. He insists one more time that he’s not Kim Ji Yong….but then claims that he knows the guy. The guy wants Dae Gu to convey something, that she’s not a bird brain this time and Ji Yong does have a reason to conceal his identity. So can she not investigate anymore and just let it be? Soo Sun understands and tells Dae Gu to convey to his friend Ji Yong that she’ll do as he asked.
Soo Sun asks Dae Gu to grab a bite to eat at the street stall around the corner because she hasn’t eaten yet. They sit down to eat and Soo Sun takes a shot of soju and afterwards is all smiles. She reveals that she’s really happy because she heard Ji Yong is alive. Not just her, all of Masan was worried about him. Soo Sun has also been feeling really bad about what she said about Ji Yong’s mom outside school that one time. Dae Gu says Ji Yong told her to forget about it. Soo Sun wants to ask how Ji Yong lived all these years? She heard is was at an orphanage. Dae Gu grumpily says he met a good orphanage director and a good guardian so he got an education and it make him believe this world wasn’t a cold horrible place.
Soo Sun has one more thing to say, if Ji Yong needs anything then to tell Soo Sun and she’ll be there. Even if he doesn’t call her noona she’ll help. Dae Gu grumbles about “noona?” and Soo Sun decides today is so happy she’ll let it go. She reminds him again to tell her if Ji Yong needs anything and to assure Ji Yong that she’ll keep his secret. If Ji Yong needs to talk to anyone like they are doing right now, then she’ll be there. They toast with a shot of soju and Soo Sun stops bothering Dae Gu with her chatter and tells him to eat up. Dae Gu quietly eats while sneaking peeks at Soo Sun.
As Dae Gu and Soo Sun walk back after eating, Dae Gu says goodnight at the park but as he turns to leave Soo Sun back hugs him. He quietly lets her hug him as she cries thanking him and saying he is incredible for doing so well. Soo Sun rests her head on Dae Gu’s back and he strokes her hand wrapped around his waist as tears pool in his eyes.
Thoughts of Mine:
Soo Sun’s reaction to finding out Dae Gu’s real identity was the sweetest, smartest, most considerate thing ever. It doesn’t suddenly make her earlier incompetence swept under the rug but it gives me hope for her continued character growth going forward. I can understand Dae Gu’s anger and I’m glad it’s really coming out in full force. He needs to let it out and deal with the consequences before he can start picking up the pieces of his shattered heart. I don’t get what Chief Kang’s deal is but I want to believe she’s a good guy and genuinely helping Dae Gu. I do wonder how she found little Ji Young/Dae Gu in the first place in that orphanage when Pan Seok looked everywhere and couldn’t find him. And why she would keep it from Pan Seok when she doesn’t seem to believe Pan Seok is guilty in Dae Gu’s mom’s death. I feel like she’s playing both sides, or maybe she’s just conveniently written to fill this purpose in the drama and I shouldn’t over think it. It’s also rather abrupt to show the congressman being the shady guy behind the killer though he was always written to seem rather superfluous to the story line so that would indicate his hidden agenda which is finally revealed today. Tae Il and Ji Gook continue to feel like space filler and the whole Ji Gook nabs the suspect scene was so lame it was amusing for how stupid it was.
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