What promised to be a wacky cop procedural became a long trudge through illogical scenarios and police incompetence.
This was the highlight of the series.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★
Only 만: ★★
Rookie detective Eun Dae Gu (Lee Seung Gi) joins Gangnam Police Station along with three other unmotivated recruits. Under the supervision of hothead Seo Pan Seok (Cha Seung Won), they initially struggle, but grow to become passionate police officers and friends. What starts out as a wacky police procedural evolves into a light revenge drama, as Dae Gu’s true motivations become apparent.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: I would like to confess that I did not actually finish watching “You’re All Surrounded”. Instead, I forced Only 만 to watch the last two episodes then verbally recap it while I was stuffing my face with pork belly.
Only 만: Yes, I was forced to recap instead of also stuffing my face with pork belly, though I managed all right in the end. In fact, I also have to confess that I didn’t watch many of the middle episodes all that attentively.
중국어 캐나다: Ha! I actually did watch every episode up to 15 with undivided attention, and that is what caused me to watch episodes 16 to 18 in a half-assed manner. Then, I gave up completely. However, can you blame me for abandoning this disappointing drama?
만: I can’t. The middle section dragged so spectacularly that I kept wondering why they hadn’t stuck to 16 episodes; it would have been a vast improvement. Though, the last two episodes really picked up, so if you can force yourself to watch episodes 19 and 20, you might like it more.
중국어 캐나다: Well, I have strong, set opinions on this series, regardless. It was a disappointment. I thought it would be a wacky crime procedural with some police incompetence presented in a comical context. Instead, the wackiness died down within the first few episodes, and we were left with incompetence in serious situations, which is an exercise in frustration.
만: Agreed. We weren’t helped by the stone-faced male lead, Eun Dae Gu, and the try-hard, dimwit female lead, Uh Soo Sun (Go Ara). Nor were we helped by the bag lady story that took up far too much time. I think the only thing that kept me going in the middle sections was the relationship between Pan Seok and Sa Kyung (Oh Yoon Ah). Which surprised me, because I found them annoying at the start.
중국어 캐나다: I agree completely. The relationship between the two exes started out with unexplained resentment on her part, and hangdog guilt on his. I thought it would just be a prolonged story featuring her angry tears and his neverending apologies. Then, after the kidnap case blew their issues out into the open, Sa Kyung suddenly became more amicable, which, of course, Pan Seok was receptive to. Such an abrupt switch in a character would normally annoy me, but it came as a relief, because I now had something in the show to keep me going.
만: They were surprisingly cute, and it did keep me going when the comedy disappeared (or became mostly unfunny). On the other hand, I didn’t find much to latch on to with Dae Gu and Soo Sun. In fact, I found Soo Sun’s teenage version more compelling than her adult incarnation. Teenage Soo Sun wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box, but she was an amusing loudmouth. Adult Soo Sun, and especially by the middle of the series, was just dim. The character devolved to the point where her sole purpose was to comfort Dae Gu. Even her concerned expression became painful to watch by the end.
중국어 캐나다: Soo Sun started popping up in the corner of rooms and in the shadows of hallways to show her support for Dae Gu. At best, this repeating sequence had a stalker quality, and at worst, was reminiscent of a horror movie cliché.
만: It was creepy, because I didn’t find their relationship to be all that well developed. I kept forgetting that he had started liking her, so every time she popped up, I was expecting him to rebuff her.
중국어 캐나다: Unfortunately, Lee Seung Gi and Go Ara just had no chemistry. And, the rest is the fault of the writers. Dae Gu did not progress far enough from bitter and antisocial to make him likeable. Soo Sun went from idealistic to inane as time went on.
만: But cuddlier, so I guess that’s something. What about the side characters, Tae Il and Kook? Or Eung Do?
중국어 캐나다: The only thing I remember about Eung Do is that he procreated profusely, and he did not annoy me. I had high hopes for Tae Il, because it seemed like they were hinting at him being gay. Then, they copped out when they revealed his big secret, and it turned out that he used to be a doctor then made the career change, because his brother died chasing after him after coming out of the closet. In fact, Tae Il’s heterosexuality solidified just in time for him to make moony eyes at Sa Kyung, while Pan Seok grumbled. Then, there was Ji Kook having a crush on Soo Sun that she was oblivious to, and it ultimately went nowhere. I found these weak attempts at a love triangle amusing.
만: Ultimately, neither one had a chance, and it was an obvious excuse for comedy and some touchy-feely bonding between Tae Il and Kook.
중국어 캐나다: They didn’t even play that up, because I would have enjoyed more platonic love between Tae Il and Kook. Instead, the series focused mainly on the intrigue behind the murder of Dae Gu’s mother, which was solved at a snail’s pace. Then, a few crime cases were thrown in at regular intervals that simply put their incompetence on display.
I notice that the opinions of Pan Seok and his seasoned partner, Eung Do about their team of rookies changed at around the midway point, and they started repeatedly complimenting their team on how far they had come. But, for me, they hadn’t progressed at all. It was like the writers were trying to convince us of professional growth in words if not in actions.
만: Right. In the last two episodes, they suddenly morph into competent cops, and solve everything. They even nab the cartoon villains in spectacular fashion. Frankly, it was too late to save the series for me, but it was something.
중국어 캐나다: Based on what you told me, the big reveals were nonsensical. Even if the characters did suddenly become competent, the situation they found themselves in was still frustratingly illogical.
This entire review has been ranty. Can you think of anything positive besides the relationship between Pan Seok and Sa Kyung?
만: The last two episodes? The first few episodes? The teenage leads? Kook and Tae Il? The opening sequence?
중국어 캐나다: Yes, the opening sequence was quite lively and cartoonish. If only the series lived up to its opening sequence.