You’re All Surrounded: Episode 11
Yay, our hero’s back, his real-life injury gets written into the story in a seamless way (complete with hospital rest), and the secret identity cat finally gets let out of the bag. Not a moment too soon, either, because that cat was getting restless. Or was that me? Once in a while, it’s nice to have a rampaging killer on the loose, because it forces people to get truthful, and fast. I like where we are halfway in; let’s keep this momentum going, shall we?
SONG OF THE DAY
Standing Egg – “빛이 속삭여” (The Light Whispers) [ Download ]
EPISODE 11: “Catch that bastard!”
Dae-gu steadies himself and grips his baseball bat with both hands as Combat Boots inches closer to him in the dark, just on the other side of his bedroom door. They attack at the same time, and Dae-gu comes out swinging wildly, and the fight spills out into the living room.
That’s when Dae-gu gets to see half of his attacker’s face in the light complete with behind-the-ear scar, and confirms that he’s Combat Boots. But it’s really his voice that Dae-gu remembers so vividly, and he knows it as soon as one syllable is uttered. “You killed my mother.”
Combat Boots smiles and gets him right where it hurts: “You’ve grown up a lot, kid. You once hid pathetically under the bed and watched your mother die—she gave her life to save you, and you… just… watched.”
It works, and Dae-gu comes roaring at him blinded with anger. They tear the apartment apart, but he’s no match for the calm assassin who has Dae-gu on the floor in no time. Combat Boots kneels above him and takes out his knife…
Downstairs, Pan-seok fiiiiiinally arrives outside the apartment building, but then he’s stopped by a phone call. Drat! It’s Gook, who arrives just behind him with Tae-il and Soo-sun. Pan-seok heads inside first, and the kids turn around to go get more chicken now that the boss is here.
Upstairs, Combat Boots has Dae-gu pinned down and asks, “Don’t you want to see your mother?” Yeesh, I’m sure it goes without saying that a killer-for-hire is a terrible human being, but this guy specializes in emotional torture.
He stabs full-force, but Dae-gu manages to fight back and roll out of the way, and the blade lands on the floor. Phew. But Combat Boots just kicks him repeatedly, and then a final blow to the head knocks him out.
Meanwhile Pan-seok is taking the world’s slowest walk up the stairs for what seems like millennia.
Boots drags the unconscious Dae-gu down to the floor and raises his knife one more time. But just as he does, Pan-seok arrives to kick him out of the way. Woohoo! He’s about to go in for another attack when they lock eyes, and Pan-seok’s blood runs cold.
The ex-partners recognize each other immediately, and Pan-seok stammers, “Jo Hyung-chul? What are you doing here?” Before he can get any closer, Hyung-chul breaks a potted plant on Pan-seok’s face and manages to scramble away.
The killer’s arm is injured, but he’s got a head start, and he brushes past the rest of the gang as they arrive outside the building. Pan-seok comes ambling out a second later, and tells them to go tend to Dae-gu because he’s been stabbed. He tries to chase Boots down, to no avail.
The kids race upstairs and freak out when they find Dae-gu bleeding on the floor. Tae-il tries to slow the bleeding and Gook calls for help, while Soo-sun calls out to him over and over. He finally opens his eyes for a few seconds and sees her, but then she goes fuzzy and he’s out again.
They rush him to the hospital and stay by his side as he gets wheeled into surgery. As they wait, Pan-seok asks if they know of any reason why Dae-gu would be attacked, but they’re clueless. The doctor says Dae-gu is fine and will just need a week’s rest, and they all sigh in relief.
Eung-do arrives and starts asking all the right questions: Did Pan-seok see the attacker’s face? Who would break into an apartment building swarming with cops? This has to be personal. Soo-sun reacts first, and lets, “Then he knew Ji-yong—” slip out before she catches herself. No one notices except for Pan-seok.
Pan-seok shocks them all when he says he’s already got a suspect profile: Jo Hyung-chul, fortysomething male, emigrated to Indonesia ten years ago, lost his family, returned to Korea recently.
“Twelve years ago he was a detective, and my partner.” They all stare slackjawed, not knowing what to say. Pan-seok vows, “But he’s the bastard who stabbed my child. I’m going to catch him.” Awww, you just called Dae-gu your baby. Why is he not awake to hear this?
He and Eung-do head out to work the case, and Eung-do tells the kids to keep watch over Dae-gu ’round the clock in case the killer tries again. Soo-sun asks the boys to keep Dae-gu safe, because she can’t let the man who did this to her partner go free.
She chases after Pan-seok and asks to join the case. He allows it, and Eung-do encourages her for being a true partner.
Pan-seok reports Dae-gu’s attack at the precinct, and Chief Kang is especially disturbed to hear that Hyung-chul is the suspect. Sa-kyung knows that Pan-seok has his plate full, and asks if she should work with a different team on their disappearing crossdressing groom case. He tells her he’ll send Tae-il to help her. That should prove interesting.
Soo-sun and Eung-do comb through CCTV footage for a clear shot of Combat Boots, and when Eung-do shows her the best angle they have so far, she wonders why that silhouette looks so familiar. She can’t quite remember, but says she’ll keep mulling it over.
When Dae-gu finally wakes up, Pan-seok is sitting by his bedside. He doesn’t mince words, and asks why Hyung-chul stabbed him. Dae-gu’s eyes grow wide, and he asks if that’s Boots’ name.
Pan-seok wants to know why he’d attack Dae-gu, and Dae-gu just spits back that Pan-seok should know better than anyone: “Are you putting on a show right now?” Pan-seok says he won’t even ask about why Dae-gu’s been spying on him in his own apartment, but he needs a straight answer about the stabbing if he’s going to catch the guy.
Finally Dae-gu says it—that Hyung-chul is the person Pan-seok handed the pendant off to eleven years ago, before coming to the school to kill him. Dae-gu is still convinced that Pan-seok is putting on a show, but the shock is written all over his face, and it dawns on him as Dae-gu tells him that Hyung-chul is his mother’s killer… that to Dae-gu, he’s that killer’s accomplice.
The pieces finally fit, and he almost sounds relieved to figure out why Dae-gu hates him so much, and that there’s a logical explanation for why he’d be spying on him. He lets out a long shaky sigh and says he understands it all now, and gets up to go.
Dae-gu screams after him that he heard and saw it all plainly—Combat Boots with the pendant, and his mention of Detective Seo. Pan-seok turns around to say that it’s all the more reason why he has to catch Hyung-chul himself, so he can ask what in the hell this is all about.
They leave it at that for now, with Dae-gu confused but still angry, and Pan-seok determined to solve the case. Hey, it’s miles of progress, even with the serious lack of hugs. Pan-seok tells Gook to be vigilant about standing guard in the hospital, and heads out.
Sa-kyung and Tae-il head out to canvas the neighborhood where their missing groom was last spotted, and when the local grocer doesn’t recognize the groom’s photo, Sa-kyung tries the one of him in drag. Sure enough, the grocer recognizes her immediately and points out her apartment. So it wasn’t a disguise after all, and he left his fiancée to live as a woman.
They track her down, and she explains sheepishly that it was the coward’s way out, but she also didn’t want her family to go through any pain. This way, the person she was could disappear, and she could have a second chance to live as her true self. Sa-kyung says they can’t lie about finding her, but they can protect her whereabouts.
Tae-il seems particularly lost in thought, and on their way back, he wonders if keeping the secret was better for the family in the end. Sa-kyung argues that the coward’s way out is pathetic because it’s not motivated by concern for others—it’s selfish. It’s particularly sad for the fiancée, who still has pictures of her ex hanging up in her house.
Sa-kyung’s assessment seems to sink in, because Tae-il goes straight to his parents’ house and tells them he has no intention of returning to the hospital. He says he’s never told them so in plain words, so he’s being honest now.
Dad is beyond disappointed, calling him trash just like his hyung. Ouuuch. Now I know why it took him this long just to say the words. Despite Dad’s harsh response, Tae-il looks relieved as he leaves.
Pan-seok gathers the team at the station, and confronts Soo-sun about calling Dae-gu “Ji-yong” at the hospital. She freezes, not knowing how to answer, and then he asks how long she’s known that Dae-gu is Kim Ji-yong, and if she also knew that Pan-seok was the detective who pressed Ji-yong’s mother to testify in a case eleven years ago.
That, she clearly didn’t know, and the rest of the team just looks back and forth between them with their mouths open. Pan-seok addresses the whole team and says that he’s about to tell them the story of an unsolved case from eleven years ago.
We fade back in after he’s caught them up to speed, and he says that he’s telling them all this because the suspect in that first murder (Mom’s) has now resurfaced—it’s Jo Hyung-chul. Because they have Ji-yong’s eyewitness account, there’s nothing left but to track him down. Go team!
He shows them a picture of Hyung-chul from eleven years ago, and the best CCTV shot from last night. He mentions the scar behind his ear, and that’s when Soo-sun puts together why he looked familiar—this is the man she saw in the school eleven years ago. She keeps the revelation to herself for now.
Pan-seok tasks the boys with keeping Dae-gu safe, while the rest of them work on getting a lead on where Combat Boots went.
Gook and Tae-il return to the hospital to find Dae-gu obstinately trying to unsling his arm and escape. They argue that he’s in no condition to return to duty, but Dae-gu shouts that he can’t let the suspect run free.
He thinks they don’t understand how serious it is, but they tell him they know everything now—Pan-seok told them about his identity, and about his own role in persuading Mom to testify. Dae-gu asks how they can expect him to sit still if they know that he’s waited eleven years to catch that bastard.
Still, Tae-il says it’s too soon and points out that he’s already busted his stitches. Gook vows, “We’ll catch Jo Hyung-chul for you. Tae-il and Soo-sun and I will chase him to the ends of hell if we have to, and I’ll catch him for you!” Aww. Tae-il asks him to just wait three days if he can’t wait a week, and Dae-gu finally relents.
Soo-sun and Eung-do spend all night going through CCTV footage, and they catch a break when she spots Combat Boots walking down the street. She rides around the neighborhood undercover as a delivery person, while Eung-do sells watermelons on the corner and Pan-seok hides out in the van.
Soo-sun crosses paths with him and manages to alert the others without giving herself away, but Boots notes the suspicious van and darts down the street before Pan-seok can get too close. He loses him for a second, until Combat Boots comes careening towards him in a car.
Pan-seok takes out his gun, and Boots floors it…
At the last possible second, Pan-seok lowers his gun and leaps out of the way, which isn’t fast enough. He gets hit by the car and goes tumbling over the top of it, landing in the street. Soo-sun arrives and tries to chase the car in her scooter, but they lose him again.
She washes her face in the bathroom and looks up at her reflection in disappointment, berating herself for giving the killer a roadmap to Ji-yong that night in the school, and losing him again when they had a chance to catch him.
She texts Dae-gu to ask how he’s doing, and apologizes for not being able to come see him. Aw, are you staying away because you feel guilty? Don’t do that.
He’s disappointed, and answers huffily that he never asked her to come. When she says she’ll stop by tomorrow, he tells her not to bother and shoves his phone away, ha.
Tae-il comes by the station to pick something up, and asks if Soo-sun isn’t going to come to the hospital. She admits that she can’t bring herself to, because she’s sorry for losing Combat Boots earlier today. She can’t lie about it, but knows that Dae-gu will just get fired up if he hears that they’ve lost him again.
She asks how he’s doing, and when Tae-il says he’s having trouble sleeping, she tells him that Dae-gu doesn’t sleep well. She rattles off a surprising amount of knowledge on the subject, like the fact that Dae-gu hates the dark so they should keep a light on, and play videos on his phone. She asks that they take good care of him, and gets back to work.
Eung-do urges her to get some rest, but they both hunker down for their third all-nighter in a row, agreeing that they don’t have the right to rest when they let Combat Boots slip through their fingers.
Soo-sun goes to their locker room to get something, and sees Pan-seok inside wrapping up his back and shoulder in bandages and wincing from the pain. She doesn’t say anything and turns around before he notices her.
At the hospital, Gook and Tae-il watch Dae-gu sleep and realize that it makes sense now why he’s always had such trouble sleeping. They sigh and talk about him like he’s a little kid, upset at all the harsh things he had to live through at such a young age.
In the morning, Gook spoon-feeds him like a little baby, even sneak-attacking him with veggies. It’s the cutest thing ever. Tae-il helps him brush his teeth, and then it’s a team effort to get him dressed to check out.
They return to the precinct, and everyone greets Dae-gu with warm smiles. Eung-do gives him a bracelet made from a tree struck by lightning, and says that his mother gave it to him after his first stabbing on the job, and he’s never been stabbed since. Dae-gu takes it gratefully.
Pan-seok orders them into the room to get back to the case, and he and Dae-gu exchange a silent look. It’s the first one that isn’t full of hateful eye-daggers, like maybe Dae-gu is warming to the idea that Pan-seok isn’t the devil, and maybe, just maybe, he had it all wrong.
They’re interrupted when Pan-seok gets called to a department head meeting, where Chief Kang announces that they’ve been tasked with a new case involving an attack on a political delegate. While the other team leaders are jumping to volunteer for the case, she assigns it to Pan-seok.
That brings the whole room to a screeching halt, and he reminds her that he’s on an extremely important and personal case to catch the guy who stabbed one of his own teammates. She won’t hear of it though, and insists that they need their ace detective on this politically volatile case. So Pan-seok tells the whole room that Hyung-chul isn’t just a random guy who stabbed Dae-gu, but the prime suspect in the unsolved Masan murder case. He’s sure because Dae-gu is Kim Ji-yong, who witnessed the crime eleven years ago. Everyone reels at the news, but Sa-kyung most of all.
He argues that he has to take this case personally, and even Chief Toad agrees with him. But Chief Kang puts her foot down and tells him it’s an order. If she’s evil and doing this to cover her own ass, it’s pretty brash.
Pan-seok is stunned and goes after her, and Eung-do follows to make sure he doesn’t explode. But of course he explodes, and he yells that if she doesn’t take back her order, he’s going to resign. He has to finish this case himself, and he thought Chief Kang of all people would understand why. She asks why he’s so shortsighted, and argues that Dae-gu can’t take this case no matter what—he’s already a hothead and an immature kid to boot, so what’s to stop him from becoming a loose cannon and killing their suspect in revenge?
She points out how many times they’ve seen victims become the offenders before, and what happens if Dae-gu pulls one errant trigger. “He’s a child who lived in pain for eleven years. Do you want him to live the rest of his life in prison?” It’s a valid point, but she’s also underestimating Pan-seok and Dae-gu. This is all secondary, of course, to the likelihood that she’s a dirty cop who wants to keep her skeletons buried.
In the very least, as the chief of police, she makes it sound like the cold logical decision. She argues that even surgeons don’t operate on their own family members, and the conflict of interest isn’t lost on Pan-seok. Eung-do says she has a point and that he’d be full of murderous rage if someone killed his mother, and Pan-seok just lets out an exasperated yell as he storms out.
But as soon as they leave, she calls Assemblyman Yoo and reports that she did as told and Pan-seok won’t be touching Hyung-chul’s case for the time being. Assemblyman Yoo then calls someone else and says that things have gotten complicated, and they need to move quickly.
Sa-kyung surprises Pan-seok by offering her team to help deal with the delegate case, knowing full well he’s not going to stop investigating Dae-gu’s case. He takes her up on it gratefully, and she starts to say something but decides against it.
Pan-seok joins the team and the first thing he does when he enters the room is frisk Dae-gu. It’s not as sexy as it sounds. Pan-seok is relieved that he’s not armed, and warns the others that they’re not to let Dae-gu near the guns.
He kicks them out to talk to Dae-gu alone, and says that he knows what Dae-gu is thinking right now. “But you can’t ever kill Jo Hyung-chul. The moment you do, all the reasons disappear, and only the result remains.” Hey, I’ve heard this before.
He advises Dae-gu to think of his mother if he can’t deal with his rage: “The moment you go from being the victim to the offender, your admirable mother becomes the mother of a criminal.” Nicely played.
Dae-gu looks surprised to hear that advice from Pan-seok, and he seems to be listening sincerely, though I highly doubt it’s sinking in properly.
Pan-seok goes to his desk and fishes out an old photo of him and Hyung-chul, and remembers how grateful he was when his partner risked his neck to save him all those years ago. He stares at the picture forlornly and tucks it away again.
Sa-kyung gets a call from her mother in LA, who asks if she’s had seaweed soup for her birthday. Sa-kyung says she’s too busy for that, but promises to have some later to make Mom feel better. Mom asks if she’s in Gangnam for Pan-seok, and Sa-kyung says no. (I don’t belieeeeeve you~!)
Nearby, Pan-seok tells Eung-do to talk to Dae-gu about staying away from the guns (“He listens to you more than me!”) and Sa-kyung rethinks the birthday dinner. She starts to text him to ask if he’s free, but in the end she doesn’t send it.
Pan-seok goes running around town tracking down every detective who ever knew Combat Boots, while Eung-do and the boys stake out the neighborhood where they last saw him. Soo-sun plays Dae-gu’s shadow, following him around so obviously that he gets the jump on her when she nearly follows him into the men’s room.
He scoffs to find her napping when she’s supposed to be his watchdog, and goes over to the blinds to try and get the sun out of her eyes. When that doesn’t work, he raises a hand to shield her face, and then stands in the sunlight to give her shade. She dozes off happily, and he smiles as he watches her sleep. It’s so cute.
Dae-gu’s phone rings, and oh crap—it’s Combat Boots. He taunts him, still calling him kid, and suggests they handle things on their own. Dae-gu asks where he is, and shrugs the sling off his arm as he gets into the car and drives off, grim with determination. Nooooo.
Soo-sun wakes up a little later and gets a bad feeling, and opens the weapons case to find one of the guns missing. Seriously, after that lecture, you guys didn’t maybe think to lock it or something?
She reports to Pan-seok immediately, and he races to his car. Man, I really hope you guys slipped a tracker into his pants, or at least his car. SOMETHING.
Dae-gu does the crazy stupid thing, and goes alone, gun drawn, to the garage where Combat Boots is waiting for him.
Boots’ voice rings out from what sounds like a loudspeaker, and he calls the kid brave for coming out. He says he likes Dae-gu, but it can’t be helped—Dae-gu has to die for Boots to live, and life just sucks that way. Well, it does if you murder people for hire. Just sayin’—coulda been a florist.
Dae-gu works his way through the garage and then finally gets close to the voice… which is coming from a cell phone. The second he looks down at it, Boots whacks him from behind with a two-by-four in his injured arm, and Dae-gu crumples to the ground and drops the gun.
As Boots picks up the gun, Dae-gu scrambles away to hide. Hurry! Boots walks through the garage with the creepiest smile on his face as he taunts, “Kid, where’re you hiding? Kid~ where are you?”
He’s hiding underneath a car (aack, just like hiding under the bed?) and Boots spots a pool of blood near a truck. He grins and steps closer, gun at the ready. Dae-gu quakes in fear as a familiar pair of boots arrives just inches away. He shuts his eyes, prepared for the worst.
Boots starts to crouch down to look under the truck, when suddenly the car behind him revs up and drives straight into him. Y…ay?
But it’s not one of the good guys. A man in a black suit steps out of the car and starts choking Combat Boots. Yipes, a second hitman?
Boots struggles against his attacker, but starts to choke. And as this is happening, Boots turns to Dae-gu and reaches his hand out for help. Eeeeek. Dae-gu lies there under the truck, flashing back to the moment when his mother died in almost the same way, frozen in fear.
Somebody’s trying to kill the killer? I don’t even know what Dae-gu should do. Should he go out there and try to save him? But that seems insane, given that he’d then have TWO killers on his ass. But then he can’t just let the guy die. Ack. It’s a great position to put him in dramatically, since now he’s suddenly stuck between saving himself and getting no answers, or saving the man who killed his mom and was trying to kill him just moments ago. It’s doubly cruel the way it’s staged to be so similar to Mom’s death. Karma-wise, Boots gets a taste of his own medicine, but perhaps Dae-gu gets a chance to overcome his trauma and do the right thing, against all his baser instincts. I actually don’t know if that’s possible, given that hiding seems like a great plan from where I’m standing.
I like the continuing thread that everyone sees Dae-gu as a child, because in many ways he’s still very childlike, though it’s to very different effect based on each person. His friends see him as someone who needs to be taken care of, and even Chief Kang, evil or not, sees him as a teenage hothead who knows no better than to do the first thing that pops into his head. She’s not wrong either, given that he chases after the killer with a gun right after Pan-seok gives him the big speech. But Boots sees him as a kid too, in a scarier way—it gives him power, and I swear I can feel Dae-gu shrinking every time Boots calls him a kid in that exact tone that he used eleven years ago. Dae-gu seems so helpless when it comes to this man, and though he starts every encounter with a weapon in his hands and murderous revenge running through his mind, he always ends up on the defense and being chased to within an inch of his life. Boots honestly never seemed as scary as he was in this episode, when he still saw Dae-gu as that 15-year-old kid and enjoyed taunting his prey.
I’m really happy with where we are in the story, given that we could’ve done the safe boring thing and dragged out Dae-gu’s secret identity for much longer, or found ways to keep him and Pan-seok from having The Talk. I hate it when dramas milk their one conflict until nobody cares anymore, and this show hasn’t been on the fastest end of the spectrum when it comes to revealing its secrets in a timely fashion (which could’ve been solved by having Soo-sun be quicker on the uptake). But now that all the cards are on the table, we’ve set the stage for a very different second half of the drama. Everyone’s on the same page, and now it’s up to the team to save Dae-gu from himself and help him get justice the right way. Soo-sun and Pan-seok even shoulder more responsibility than they need to, but that’s something they have in common with Dae-gu; I just hope this merry-go-round of self-blame doesn’t get in their way.
I love the culmination of events in this episode, because it’s very important that Pan-seok is the one to save Dae-gu, and that he comes at this case willing to go after his ex-partner for attacking one of his own before knowing the whole picture. Dae-gu isn’t conscious for that, but that loyalty speaks volumes. The Talk is naturally the highlight of the episode, since we’ve been waiting for them to be honest about Mom’s death from the start. I wish there were more in the way of explanation from Pan-seok, but I also like that he’s true to character, and the type of person who wouldn’t care to explain, because action and results are what matter to him. He’ll let Dae-gu keep hating him if he wants, because he’ll catch Hyung-chul himself and his actions will prove that he isn’t the culprit. His dogged pursuit of the criminal speaks the loudest, and in the end that’ll convince Dae-gu more than any list of excuses or alibis. Already Dae-gu seems to be willing to consider that Pan-seok isn’t the bad guy; hugs can’t be that far behind, right?
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