"You're Surrounded" has made a big effort to express a message in each episode. It focuses on how people grow in different stages of life after experiencing hardships. It's not really a drama about detectives catching murderers. It's about four young people growing into their under under a leader who still has a few things to learn himself.
Part of growing up is contending with the past and it's role in one's life. Dae-goo is fueled by his past. He is revenge set and Pan-seok is the key person in enacting this revenge. His mother's murder and the injustice of it still haunt him to the point where he needs cartoons and sleeping pills to overcome insomnia. He has traveled through the past eleven years in an isolation of his own making. That is why his chosen form of revenge, following Pan-seok to the police station, is actually perfect for healing him.His place on the police force requires him to interact, form relationships, rely on other people. Already he helps the other rookies (albeit reluctantly) where he woulds've refused before. The same is true for Pan-seok who now covers for his team and compliments them when they do well whereas before he wanted to get rid of them.
Also, the romance in this show isn't just a fanservice, but something that can pull Dae-goo out of the past. His burgeoning feelings for Soo-seon have made him genuinely smile for the first time (probably) in eleven years. It's telling that he does it in private - he's not ready for more than that yet. But the smile is a huge step. Love has a healing quality and Dae-goo needs that. It's good for him to spend some time fretting over kissing Soo-seon, for the character and also for audience benefit. Love also comes in the form of friendship that he is finding in Ji Gook and Tae-il that they all benefit from.
Soo-seon's narration included a line that describes the episode perfectly: "Someone coming into your life is a big deal because his whole life [his past] comes with him". The characters learn more about each other and that changes relationships, brings some closer, causes others to be more suspicious. The past shapes present behavior and brings to light some important issues. Because of his mother, Dae-goo does not to push witnesses to testify, wishing to protect them. An equally valid opinion is Pan-seok's, wanting the witnesses to testify to bring justice to the victims. It's a cruel dichotomy that law enforcement has to delicately balance. It also creates great drama between Dae-goo and Pan-seok.
Pan-seok's curiosity has been piqued and since next week is the midway point of the drama, there is sure to be a shift in character knowledge or the plotline. Perhaps Pan-seok will discover Dae-goo's identity. Or we will learn more about the mysterious Tae-il and his background. He and Ji Gook are going to get spotlighted soon since a lot of time has been spent on Dae-goo, Soo-seon, and the relationship between Pan-seok and Sa-kyung.
The past was the focus this episode, and with it coming to light and the pieces of Dae-goo's and Pan-seok's pasts coming together, the case of Dae-goo's mother is coming closer to the point where it will be more directly addressed. Until that happens, however, we are treated to some funny, some cute, some serious and a whole lot of "Dae-goo, Dae-goo!" The rookie detectives call Dae-goo that, always in doubles, and it's such a wonderful dialogue device. It's endearing and I'm wondering if Pan-seok will adopt it.
While I was exasperated with the show's beginning, it has settled into an even pace and has balanced all of its elements nicely.
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 7"
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