"You're Surrounded" has a cohesiveness that is made up of its predictable elements and its wonderfully timed and portrayed character beats. Its plotline is nothing new, nor are the bad guys and their evil ways. But what makes this show unique is how it infuses its characters with humanity.
There is nothing black-and-white about this show despite the fact that the world in which the characters exist is very insular and the plot relies on coincidences. But those contrivances are not detrimental because they serve a clearly planned purpose and the character writing is steady throughout.
The villains were more thoroughly developed this episode. We got to see inside Chief Kang's desperation and how far that desperation has pushed her. She, unlike Assemblyman Yoo, regrets the horrible things she does. That doesn't stop her from her wrongdoing, but the turmoil she feels gives her character depth. The booted murderer feels remorse for his crimes, but has long since resigned himself to his dastardly ways and is seemingly beyond redemption. Assemblyman Yoo is the only criminal who shows no signs of stopping. Between the three, the show can explore how wrongdoers begin evil acts, how they feel about them, and what the consequences are for them and for those they hurt. This exploration is the reason that the simplistic plot works. If it was too convoluted, the amount of character study "You're Surrounded" does wouldn't be clear.
Then there is Dae-goo, the slowly steadily changing hero. His journey thus far has been about the small changes. His teammates grow fonder of him, embrace him, pry him open, but he still retains his characteristic prickliness. He also still retains his antagonism with Pan-seok despite the apprehension of his mother's killer. It's makes for juicy character conflict and humorously awkward car rides.
The romance is slowly developed as well and its simplicity is what makes it effective. It's Soo-seon's small acts of caring that get to Dae-goo, her consistency. And the way that Lee Seung-gi portrays Eun Dae-goo's quiet moments of affection for Soo-seon is subtle, but effective.
The joy in this episode rested with the camaraderie between the four rookie teammates. The annoyance rested with the ridiculous product placement. The show tried to get it out of the way in one fell swoop, but it was overpowering and disrupted the otherwise well-paced action of the episode.
"You're Surrounded" really isn't about cops and robbers. It's about growing up and growing closer with people one cares about. It's about moving beyond the obstacles in one's life to appreciate what's important.
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
Follow on Twitter @raine0211
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 12"
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