"You're Surrounded" has found its balance between character growth and the case of the week. Almost every member of the detective unit has been fleshed out to some extent, the two major romantic involvements have begun, and a very hopeful message is passed on in each episode.
This show focuses on growth for the detective team as a unit. Each member has issues to overcome and some maturity to gain. Pan-seok and Sa-kyung have made a very tentative start to mending the relationship that severed after the death of their son. That loss has haunted them for eleven years, and they are only just beginning to face it. It's a sad, poignant issue for the show to tackle and it has been done quite tastefully.
Tied into the loss of his child is the way that Pan-seok violently loses his temper at Prosecutor Han's nasty goading regarding the dead child case Pan-seok is working. Pan-seok has to suffer the consequences for his actions. What is great about his character is that although Pan-seok is prideful, he has a heavy sense of responsibility. His boss, Chief Jang, is furious at him for possibly stalling a petition she's working on getting passed. Moreover, Dae-goo and Tae-il acknowledge that Pan-seok was wrong. It's important for the rookies to see right and wrong, and to also see their boss acknowledging them and taking responsibility for them. In the end, it is grudge-bearing Dae-goo who finds the way to release Pan-seok from jail, not because he likes Pan-seok, but because even distant Dae-goo doesn't want to see their now cohesive team broken.
That change in Dae-goo is a big one. He started at Gangnam police station with plans to focus on Pan-seok's involvement in his mother's murder. Now his priorities have expanded to working as a unit with the team he initially disdained. Part of the change in him comes from the fact that Dae-goo knows he's an inexperienced rookie despite his intelligence. He makes mistakes like the rest of them and is learning to set aside his ego and work as a team after years of flying solo. This episode gave insight into his past after the murder of his mother. He grew up in an orphanage, lying that he doesn't remember his past. He was finding the secret difficult to keep before, but it is becoming even more difficult as the murderer is looking for him and Soo-seon is on the verge of realizing that she knows him from their youth. Dae-goo is a great character in that he molds wonderfully under pressure, and I'm looking forward to seeing what this added pressure does to him.
Also tied in with Pan-seok's jailing for assaulting Prosecutor Han is Sa-kyung's unexpected support. She gives him the faith in himself that he needs to fight his way out of Han's nasty clutches. Han represents all that can go wrong with the prosecutor/detective relationship and how the system can be manipulated for the worst. His power over Pan-seok and his team dishearten the rookies who wonder why they fight for what's right when nothing ever really seems to change. It's a good question. With Han supporting the release of the very rich and equally as guilty man who killed the child in a drunk hit-and-run, the detectives have little power to stop him. But when they work themselves to the bone and find the key to jailing the bad guy, they see that all the hard work is worth it if they can help save one family and take one horrible person off the streets. They can't save the world, but they can make a difference.
What's next on the character front is to develop Ji Gook and Tae-il more. Tae-il has had a few moments of pause when faced with hospital or medical situations. He obviously has issues with the medical world, made clear by his confrontation with his doctor older brother a few episodes back. He turned to detective work as a way out of medicine, but seems to be drawn to it. I'd like to see where his dichotomous feelings take him. Ji Gook the country bumpkin, on the other hand, seems to be the glue between the four rookies, but hasn't had much development. He needs some time.
A few wonderful uses of often-used Korean drama tactics found their way into this episode. The first was "You're Surrounded"'s version of a car chase: the airport cart chase. It was delightfully fun and entertaining, mostly because of the strong chemistry between Lee Seung-gi and Go Ara. The second is the "kiss-to-silence" maneuver used by Dae-goo to silence Soo-seon when she is about to blow his cover. Dae-goo has been showing signs of an attraction to Soo-seon for the last couple of episodes and it is telling that he chooses a kiss to silence her over something else. It's also an interesting character development that they have him falling for her first when he has set such a serious agenda for himself. It's an unwelcome distraction for him, but deliciously fun for the viewers.
In the beginning, "You're Surrounded" was very uneven in tone. The sudden shifts in tone were jarring and chopped up the narrative. Now that the show has settled into a groove, it's much more enjoyable and easier to follow. The humorous moments compliment the action rather than detract from it. With all of the stakes that the show had attempted to set up, I was worried that the tone issues would render it impossible to deal with the stakes. I have been happily proven wrong and now eagerly await next week's episode.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "You're Surrounded" Episode 6"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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