Who woulda thunk it but I really really liked episode 11 of You’re All Surrounded. Still mostly incompetent cops with a sliver of case-cracking ability, what makes this drama finally click is that people are talking to each other and talking about the past. It’s the episode where all the secrets come out without being overwhelming in angst and serves to push the present danger to the forefront so that the leads finally have a compelling case to investigate. YAAS may be a disappointment but it needn’t be a total failure, there is still the second half of the drama remaining and gosh darn it I’m feeling a sense of things gelling at last. I’ll take it happily without wondering if it’s here to stay, at least there’s finally emotional stakes and cohesive momentum. Killer Boots trying to off Dae Gu nicely jump starts the main conspiracy in a way that makes the entire Team 3 in on it. This is no longer about adult Dae Gu trying to figure out who killed his mom, or getting incorrectly riled up by Pan Seok, or even Pan Seok stewing in guilt about his failures eleven years ago. Now the danger is in the here and now and all of Team 3 is behind both Dae Gu and Pan Seok.
First and foremost, Dae Gu survives the attack but spends the majority of the episode laid up in bed. It helps him calm down and there is a no holds barred conversation with Pan Seok that aligns facts that only each knows but combined together might hold the key to unlocking what really happened. Chief Kang is fast becoming just an one-dimensional cover-up villain, one willing to dig in to keep her own crimes hidden. The baddies are still not very interesting because their motivations aren’t known yet, but the clue to what the Congressman said about letting the world continue to believe that Dae Gu’s mom died because she was a witness about to testify points to her death is due to something else entirely, and quite possibly more personal. It won’t be a surprise if it involves Dae Gu/Ji Yong’s birth and who his real father is. This is a K-drama, after all, and almost everything ends up being about a birth secret. It’ll likely work here because Dae Gu has so much he needs to work through and his father-less existence was a burden he carried early on until the bigger burden became losing his mom as well. I’m so glad he has Team 3 around him as both an emotional and a physical protection so that he will not be alone again.
Episode 11 recap:
Killer Boots (who is actually a Pan Seok’s former cop partner) sneaks into the rookies apartment to kill Dae Gu but the boy is ready for him with a bat in hand. Dae Gu confronts him as Boots and his mom’s killer with a voice that Dae Gu will never forget and the scar behind his ear. Killer Boots taunts Dae Gu as all grown up now and no longer the boy who hid scared under the bed while his mother died trying to protect him. That goads Dae Gu to attack and the two men tussle in the living room.
Dae Gu is easily overpowered by Killer Boots who is prepared to stab him. Pan Seok arrives outside the apartment but is stalled when the other three rookies call him after spotting him outside. Luckily for Dae Gu, Killer Boots loves to make final statements and pauses to tell Dae Gu to go well because he’s going to see his dead mother now. Dae Gu has enough time to catch his breath and kick Killer Boots off him. But Killer Boots is both stronger and faster and one punch knocks Dae Gu out cold.
Just as Killer Boots is about to deliver the killing stab, Pan Seok finally arrives at the apartment and kicks Killer Boots away. Pan Seok gets a good look at his former partner’s face and stops in shock. That gives Killer Boots enough time to whack Pan Seok in the face and run out of the apartment. Pan Seok chases after Killer Boots but loses him outside.
The remaining rookies rush up to the apartment to find Dae Gu laying all bruised and bloodied on the ground. Soo Sun calls out for Dae Gu to hang in there while Ji Gook calls the ambulance and Tae Il stops the bleeding. Dae Gu is rushed to the hospital and the rest of the team follows to wait as he’s wheeled into the OR.
While waiting for the doctor to come out, Pan Seok asks if the other rookies know anything about why Dae Gu was attacked and whether he said anything. The rookies know nothing but the conversation is cut short when the doctor comes out to assure the group that there were no critical injuries and the patient will be fine with a week’s rest.
Eun Do rushes to the hospital and finds the test of the team gathered around the sedated Dae Gu’s bed. He asks why Dae Gu was attacked in his own apartment? No one knows but the rookies point out Pan Seok saw the assailant since he got there first and engaged the suspect. Soo Sun blurts out the possibility that Ji Yong….no, that Dae Gu was the target of the attack specifically. Ji Gook mutters that Dae Gu may be difficult and sharp tongued sometimes but nothing to make anyone want to kill him.
Pan Seok sighs and reveals that there is a specific suspect: Jo Hyung Chul, 40 years old and moved to Indonesia ten years ago and recently returned to Korea. The name isn’t familiar to Eun Do who wonders how Pan Seok knows so much about the suspect already? Pan Seok reveals the suspect was a former cop and Pan Seok’s partner 12 years ago. It doesn’t matter the connection though because Pan Seok will catch him no matter what.
Eun Do leaves the rookies with the assignment to never leave Dae Gu alone from now on. He was attacked at home so is in danger anywhere. Soo Sun asks Tae Il and Ji Gook to handle keeping Dae Gu company, she wants to participate in catching the suspect who hurt her partner. She catches up to Pan Seok and Eun Do outside and asks to join in the search and Pan Seok agrees. Eun Do is pleased because Soo Sun is acting like a real cop.
Pan Seok briefs the leadership at Gangnam Precinct about rookie Eun Dae Gu getting attacked in the rookies own apartment. What gets everyone’s attention is Pan Seok revealing that the suspect is a former police officer named Jo Hyung Chul. Chief Kang looks alarmed when she hears this and quickly asks that the news be kept from the media for the time being. The media will play up a former cop attacking a rookie and make a big deal. She wants everyone to be especially alert to keep this information under wraps.
Sa Kyung offers to help with the investigation of the missing fiancee since Pan Seok’s team will now be working on finding the suspect who tried to kill Dae Gu. Pan Seok thanks her and lends her Tae Il to go investigate. Chief Kang looks shifty and freaked out after all the cops leave the meeting.
Soo Sun and Eun Do pull up all the surveillance tapes near the rookies apartment and find a slightly blurry picture of Killer Boots. Soo Sun can’t see the face but thinks the way the suspect is dressed triggers a familiar memory for her but she can’t connect the dots just yet.
Dae Gu wakes up finally and finds Pan Seok sitting bedside. Dae Gu has his angry face on and Pan Seok notices that to mean Dae Gu is fully alert so dives right into asking Dae Gu why Jo Hyung Chul wants to kill him. That Killer Boot’s name is Jo Hyung Chul is news to Dae Gu and he’s even more surprised to hear that Killer Boots was formerly a cop. Dae Gu bristles that Pan Seok ought to know why Killer Boots wants to kill him. Pan Seok doesn’t know which is why he’s asking Dae Gu.
Pan Seok also wants to know why Dae Gu planted the surveillance camera in his home as well. Dae Gu is finally fed up and yells at Pan Seok to stop playing stupid. Eleven years ago it was Pan Seok who handed the necklace to Jo Hyung Chul. Pan Seok’s eyes widen and asks what Dae Gu is talking about. Dae Gu saw with his own eyes Killer Boots holding the necklace when he arrived at the school to kill Dae Gu. Pan Seok asks if eleven years ago it was Jo Hyung Chul who killed Dae Gu’s mom?
Dae Gu spits out a very angry YES! Pan Seok is so disbelieving that he has to confirm again that Jo Hyung Chul was the killer eleven years ago? And Dae Gu thinks Pan Seok is an accomplice which is why he put the surveillance camera in Pan Seok’s apartment and is willing to work on his team even though he hates him. Pan Seok understands everything now. Pan Seok gets up to leave but Dae Gu doesn’t know what games Pan Seok is playing at. Dae Gu heard Killer Boots mention Pan Seok’s name twice that night so he must be involved. Pan Seok is determined even more to catch Killer Boots and find out the truth about what happened.
Pan Seok runs into Ji Gook outside Dae Gu’s hospital room and reminds Ji Gook to always stay by Dae Gu’s side. He’ll send someone later to relieve Ji Gook and everyone will take turns guarding Dae Gu.
Sa Kyung and Tae Il go around the neighborhood looking for the missing fiancee and a neighborhood ahjumma recognizes the female version of the missing fiancee as a lady who recently moved in. Sa Kyung is surprised that the missing fiancee is dressed as a woman now all the time. They locate the missing fiancee and sit down to talk. The missing fiancee knows what he did was irresponsible but believes it’s less painful than having his family learn the truth. Even though his real identity is gone, he would rather live as his real self. He borrowed money for the gender reassignment surgery and will return the money one day. He asks the cops convey to his family that they couldn’t find him. Sa Kyung is duty bound to tell the truth but won’t tell the family how to find him. He asks Sa Kyung to convey to the fiancee that he’s doing well and to forget about him.
Sa Kyung and Tae Il drive back and she brings up whether Tae Il thinks that man is very weak in not telling his loved ones the truth? Sa Kyung knows the man doesn’t have the courage to face the consequences of living the life he wants, he had the courage to choose the path but not enough to tell the truth about it.
Tae Il gets up his courage to go home and inform his parents that he won’t be going back to the hospital. Dad yells at him but Tae Il is certain of his path. Dad calls Tae Il trash like his older brother but Tae Il keeps cool and simply heads out rather than argue with his parents.
Pan Seok gathers the entire team for a meeting and starts by asking when Soo Sun knew that Dae Gu was Kim Ji Yong? He heard her call him Ji Yong at the hospital. Does she also know about the Masan murder case? Did she know that Pan Seok was the investigating officer in that case? Pan Seok sighs and tells the team everything about the case which includes details that are a shame to Pan Seok’s career as a police officer.
After explaining the case, Pan Seok reveals that the case is active again now because the suspect who attacked Dae Gu is also the same suspect in the killing of Dae Gu’s mother eleven years ago in Masan. He flashes Killer Boot’s picture and explains that the man has a scar behind his ear. He orders Ji Gook and Tae Il back to the hospital to guard Dae Gu around the clock. Eun Do and Soo Sun are sent to track down where he may have gone in a stolen vehicle while Pan Seok himself will interview people who knew Killer Boots in the past.
Tae Il and Ji Gook arrive at the hospital to find Dae Gu trying to get dressed to leave the hospital and find Killer Boots. Tae Il stops him by revealing that Pan Seok told them all about what happened eleven years ago and how Pan Seok pressured Dae Gu’s mom to testify. Dae Gu yells that he has to go find the guy since he waited eleven years to find him! Tae Il points out that Dae Gu is bleeding already and Ji Gook explains that everyone is working around the clock to find the guy so will Dae Gu let them help and rest up for now.
Soo Sun and Eun Do watch surveillance camera footage through the night and Soo Sun finally spots Killer Boots. Soo Sun disguises as a motorcycle delivery person while Eun Do is selling watermelons from a truck. Soo Sun rides past Killer Boots and radios back that he’s headed towards their undercover vehicle. Killer Boots isn’t a former cop for nothing and he spots Pan Seok and makes a run for it. Eun Do lets Killer Boots run right past him since he’s actually in the middle of a watermelon sale. LOL, I don’t know why I found that funny.
Killer Boots manages to elude Pan Seok and gets into a car and makes a run for it. Pan Seok raises his gun and aims it directly at Killer Boots in the driver’s seat but can’t bring himself to pull the trigger. Killer Boots sends Pan Seok flying with his car and successfully gets away. Soo Sun is chasing after him in on the motorcycle but can’t catch him. Later Soo Sun washes her face in the bathroom and chides herself for being useless, eleven years ago as well as today.
Dae Gu sits in his hospital room and flashes back to the crime eleven years ago and presently Pan Seok vowing to catch Killer Boots and find out the truth. Dae Gu gets a text from Soo Sun asking if he’s better and he texts back gruffly that he’s much better. Soo Sun was planning to visit him tonight but something came up and can’t come. Annoyed Dae Gu texts that he didn’t ask her to come. Soo Sun promises to come tomorrow and even more annoyed Dae Gu texts that she doesn’t need to come tomorrow either and he’s off to sleep now!
Tae Il wonders who Soo Sun isn’t going to the hospital to visit Dae Gu and hears that she’s embarrassed that she let Killer Boots get away. She gets an update from Tae Il that Dae Gu is recovering but not sleeping well. Soo Sun knows Dae Gu has trouble sleeping and tells Tae Il to keep the lights on for him or leave a video playing. Tae Il suggests Soo Sun gets some rest as well since she’s been working nonstop for two days now.
Soo Sun finds Eun Do also working late into the night, neither want to go rest since they were so close to catching Killer Boots and let him get away. Soo Sun sees Pan Seok bandaging himself up in the meeting room after getting hit by Killer Boot’s car today. She wants to say something but doesn’t know what to say so sadly turns away.
Ji Gook and Tae Il watch Dae Gu sleep and feel so bad that Dae Gu suffered so much when he was young. No wonder he has trouble sleeping. The next morning, Ji Gook takes his babysitting all the way and hand feeds Dae Gu his hospital meal. Tae Il steps up and helps squeeze toothpaste for Dae Gu to brush his teeth. The two guys work together to dress Dae Gu before checking him out of the hospital.
Dae Gu returns to the precinct and Eun Do hands Dae Gu a special protection charm that will keep him from getting injured in the future. Tae Il explains that Dae Gu can come back to work but only on desk duty.
Chief Kang gathers the leadership to assign a new case where a famous person got attacked. The matter has the media’s attention so she wants her ace team led by Pan Seok to handle it. Pan Seok refuses to take it because he’s investigating Eun Dae Gu’s attack because it’s connected to the Masan murder eleven years ago. He reveals Eun Dae Gi is the missing teen from eleven years ago Kim Ji Yong. Director Cha suggests Team 1 and 2 work together to handle the other investigation and let Team 3 continue investigating Dae Gu’s attack. Chief Kang refuses and insists Pan Seok handle the new case.
Pan Seok storms into Chief Kang’s office and threatens to quit if he’s not allowed to investigate Dae Gu’s attack case. Chief Kang claims that she is doing this for a reason, that Pan Seok is too emotionally invested in the case that he can’t investigate properly. She also doesn’t want young Dae Gu involved in this case because he’s even more personally invested. What if he find the suspect and shoots him? Does Pan Seok want Dae Gu to spend the rest of his life in prison for personal vengeance? She wants to protect Dae Gu and the best way is for him not to be involved in the investigation of his own case.
Eun Do tries to convince Pan Seok that Chief Kang’s reasoning is correct. If Eun Do’s mom got killed, he wouldn’t be able to just capture a suspect and let the law handle it. Chief Kang calls the Congressman and reports that she did as he ordered. The investigation into Killer Boots has been halted for the time being and the matter he’s worried about won’t happen. The Congressman then makes another call to report that matters have become more complicated and things need to be sped up.
Sa Kyung offers to help Pan Seok’s team handle the investigation that Chief Kang assigned to him, giving him some breathing room to keep looking for Killer Boots. Pan Seok thanks her and she asks if he’s really swamped right now? She appears to want to say something but just tells Pan Seok to hang in there.
Pan Seok orders the rookies to keep a gun away from Dae Gu from now on and then has everyone leave so he can speak with Dae Gu privately. Pan Seok knows what Dae Gu is thinking but no matter what happens, Dae Gu cannot kill or harm Killer Boots. If he does so then Dae Gu’s valid reasons all evaporate. He needs to remember his mother’s sacrifice and not go from a victim to a suspect in this case. Dae Gu doesn’t argue back and takes in Pan Seok’s advice.
Pan Seok goes back to his desk and pulls out an old picture of him and Killer Boots when they were partners. Pan Seok stares at the picture nearly in tears as he remembers Killer Boots taking a flaming bat to the head to save Pan Seok and then shooting the perp.
Sa Kyung gets a call from her mom in LA reminding her to have some seaweed soup since it’s her birthday. Sa Kyung doesn’t have time for that and her mom asks why Sa Kyung went to the Gangnam Precinct? Was it for Seo son-in-law? Sa Kyung assures her that it’s not since things have ended between them. After hanging up she sees Pan Seok hard at work and wants to text him to have dinner tonight but ends up not sending it.
Pan Seok tries to talk with other cops who might’ve known Killer Boots but hits a brick wall everywhere. Soo Sun follows Dae Gu like a dutiful shadow never leaving him alone. Dae Gu tries to get her to shoo but she’s persistent and even follows him to the bathroom. Dae Gu finds Soo Sun asleep at the table in the meeting room, passing out finally after working nonstop for days. He goes to pull the blinds to get the sun off her face but ends up using his hand to cast a shadow on her. Finally he walks to the window and uses his body to shade her completely.
Dae Gu gets a call from Killer Boots who wants to meet and resolve their issues once and for all. Dae Gu pulls off his cast and rushes off to meet Killer Boots. Soo Sun wakes up and immediately starts looking for Dae Gu but can’t find him anywhere. She checks the weapons box and finds one gun missing and quickly calls Pan Seok to report that Dae Gu is missing along with a gun. Pan Seok wants Soo Sun to check for Dae Gu’s last cell phone location and to call Pan Seok right away.
Dae Gu drives to meet Killer Boots and stares at the gun in the passenger seat. He arrives at a parking garage with his gun drawn and hears Killer Boot’s voice in the distance. Killer Boots is impressed the kid dared to come but sadly Killer Boots has to kill Dae Gu otherwise he can’t stay alive. Dae Gu shouldn’t be upset, this is life and it’s often not fair. Dae Gu finds a phone on the ground where Killer Boots’s voice is coming from.
Killer Boots knocks Dae Gu down and sends his gun flying and picks it up. Dae Gu manages to scamper off and hides under a car. Killer Boots looks around calling for Dae Gu to come out. He spots Dae Gu under a car and is about to dispatch him when another car suddenly speeds up and runs Killer Boots over.
A man gets out of that car and pins Killer Boots on the ground and starts to strangle him. Dae Gu can see this from his vantage point just like he saw his mother get strangled by Killer Boots eleven years ago. Killer Boots reaches out his hand as if asking Dae Gu for help.
Thoughts of Mine:
The beginning action sequence and the ending one in this episode are both silly in context but works great in narrative intensity. We know how much Dae Gu has been waiting to take down Killer Boots. To see how formidable and condescending Killer Boots is makes his eventual downfall even more satisfying, especially if it comes via Dae Gu’s own hands. But I don’t want to see Dae Gu become a killer to catch a killer, which is where there is actually an element of danger. I know Dae Gu will survive but wants his slow rehabilitation that has been happening as part of Team 3 to mean something beyond catching his mother’s killer. I want him to know that he has people to rely on, he was never alone but for the sad circumstances of his very unfortunate childhood. Soo Sun is a great friend and partner and I love her interactions with Dae Gu and appreciate the drama not throwing in fanservice romance or pile on unnecessary love triangles. Soo Sun and Dae Gu quite possibly fit in ways where opposites attract and it’ll be nice to watch it develop in the remainder of the drama, but it shouldn’t feel intrusive to the police story which is finally getting steam. It’s actually Pan Seok and Sa Kyung’s second chance that has more stakes and if the drama needs romance then spend more time on them. It’s not too late for them to not only reunite but try again, have another child to make the family that was so cruelly stolen from them.
I hope Killer Boots doesn’t die at the hands of the second killer. It’s so traumatic for Dae Gu already to witness someone getting killed in the exact same scenario as how his mom died, the poor boy does not need more mental bashing at a time like this. Plus Killer Boots has the connection with the Congressman, and likely also Chief Kang, so he’ll make a good witness down the road. Or if he ends up dead, at least reveal the deeper conspiracy to the good guys before toddling off. Pan Seok and Dae Gu remain so in the dark about what really happened eleven years ago, neither are likely to make any headway until they catch a big break. The police investigation scenes remain so silly, with the missing fiancee who secretly ditched his identity to effect a sex change wrapping up in such a perfunctory fashion. And just in time to give Tae Il a boost to stand up to his controlling parents about not wanting to go back to being a doctor. I wished I cared why but I don’t, though he’s a sweet part of Team 3 and I like to keep him around. Same with Ji Gook who is mostly hapless but serves his haplessness well when he’s called on to be the consistently caring thread in the team. YAAS is unfortunately getting better at a time when it’s not going to win back viewers or hook new ones, but for folks like me who stuck around, it’s a validation that sometimes a little bit of hope does get a nice satisfying payoff. Now I get to watch more Lee Seung Gi and Cha Seung Won and actually enjoy it.
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