You Are All Surrounded Korean Drama Review


Everyone has that one drama that really sings the song of their people. For many drama watchers, it's a nuanced, deep, heartfelt show that really speaks to their soul.

For me? It's You Are All Surrounded, where people run around chasing cars and punching bad guys. I am what I am, okay?

Even though I said from the very beginning that I couldn't possibly offer an objective view of this series, now that it's over, I do have a few bones to pick. But first, let's talk about the things that I love:


Things I Loved

The cast. Historically, I haven't been a huge fangirl for any of the actors in this series, but the combination of cast members here was pure magic. Bro time between Lee Seung Gi and Cha Seung Won was predictably fantastic, but even the side characters gave me warm fuzzies inside my heart. The chemistry of the central cast gave this show a lot of leeway to overcome downsides (which I will address in a moment).
Hug it out, you two.

As part of the cast interactions, I also enjoyed the relationship between Seung Gi's Dae Gu and Go Ara's Soo Sun. The couple was allowed to develop in a natural way, and, in spite of Dae Gu's early complaints that Soo Sun was a bird brain, they had mutual respect and friendship. Not to spoil anything, but I also loved how the writers handled Dae Gu's love confession. They had a million opportunities to make him run away out of noble idiocy, but they opted to take the less obvious route, and the relationship worked better as a result of that choice.


One of the most pleasant surprises was the character of Chief Kang. She wasn't the lead of the show, but she was probably the most interesting female character I have seen in a K-drama this year. K-drama characters (especially women) tend to fit into cookie cutter roles of first lead, mean second lead, or terrible mother-in-law, but Chief Kang defied categorization. As a viewer, I felt like I was learning about her from episode 1 to episode 20.


Things I . . . Didn't Love

Frankly, the cast was great, but the writing was sloppy. The first half of the series balanced romance, mystery, comedy, and character development really well, but the second half of the series lost momentum. Maybe I was hyper-aware of this because I watched the series as it aired, but there were far too many episodes where I felt like there was no payoff. Every once in a while, there would be a superb scene or series of scenes that sucked me in, but those scenes were a bit too few and far between.

When I say that the writing was sloppy, I mean that the writers tried to make interesting things happen, but they did so in the most obvious way possible. The central mystery that completely took over the second half of the series wasn't nearly as mysterious as the writers would have us believe, and, for how great the good guys were, the villains were basically cardboard cutouts. I think I speak for quite a few viewers when I say that I would have been happy with much more Pan Seok/Sa Kyung romance in the second half and much less of the evil chaebol woman laughing smugly at the camera.
We aren't happy that you're here, either.

Similarly, while the case-of-the-day format was great for some laughs and team-building moments at the start of the series, most of the cases weren't all that compelling. The sheer number of random coincidences that allowed them to progress on any case was a sign that the writing was a bit weak.

Conclusions

Saying that the villains were terrible and the writing was lacking might sound like major negatives. If this were any other show, that might be an accurate assessment, but this one is an exception for me. It's absolutely worth it for the characters. Regardless of what kinds of shenanigans they were trying to pull, I cared about them, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching their interactions.

P.S. (SPOILERS--BEWARE)
I was pleased that bag lady's husband wasn't really Dae Gu's daddy, but the fact remains that he legitimately thought he might be the father. I know babies have some leeway in conception dates, but that means that Dae Gu's mom was doing some hanky panky with that guy and Dae Gu's real dad in a very short span of time. Was I the only one who thought of that?

P.P.S. Best kiss reaction ever:


Where to watch You Are All Surrounded

Comments

  1. You've summed up all of my feelings about this drama. I would quibble with you on the case of the day format (seeing as it was a lot more enjoyable and well written then the overarching mystery that eventually overtook the entire drama), but it honestly doesn't even matter. The second half was definitely a let down for me. (I think I also just enjoy stories with case of the day type setups.)



    I still have the last episode to watch, and while I really want to force myself to watch it, the more I wait...the less I want to watch it.

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  2. Yay! I was hoping you guys would review this drama. Thanks for sharing it! I think I got about three episodes in when I realized that no matter how handsome and cute this cast was, I was never going to get over how much I loathe Lee Seung-gi's character. It stems back to his Shining Inheritance days, but I just couldn't suffer another drama with him and his standoffish baby cheeks pouting around an otherwise fun cast. His character brought what I did watch down. Even that man-beast Cha Seung-won couldn't save this drama for me. And I move Heaven and Earth to see him in action. I think I just don't like that kid [Lee Seung-gi].

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  3. The drama was hyped and didn't live up to its expectations. In the end I forced myself to finish episodes 19 and 20. For me, the first few episodes were not that great. I figured it actually got better in the second half of the series, but by then my interest had somewhat faded. I'm glad I stuck it out, though. Would I recommend it for someone else to watch? Probably not. I would grade the drama a C.

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  4. I completely agree with your thoughts. I, too, watched it while it was airing and I completely agree with you. Although the drama was completely enjoyable.. a lot of things could have been cut short or re-done differently. Anyhow, it's still definitely worth your time.

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  5. Same here. I watched the last two episodes today after postponing it as far I could. In the end, I feel like they were unnecessary; everything turned out to be so obvious within the second half of the drama that I just lost the will to watch. It was a fun ride, though..

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  6. I've pretty much decided I'm not going to bother with the last episode. I was going to force myself to watch it, but what's the point? I won't enjoy it anyway.

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  7. I actually enjoyed the final episode more than the episodes that led up to it. I liked having some time at the end to enjoy the characters back in their carefree, fun state after all of the drama.

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  8. Yeah, if you don't like Lee Seung Gi, you won't like this show! I heard so many people say that they hated his character in Shining Inheritance that I skipped that one entirely. Sounds like I made the right choice.

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  9. It's definitely not for everyone. I happen to love buddy cop shows, so I loved the first half, but I'm not surprised that other people weren't as enthralled with it.

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  10. Maybe 16 episodes instead of 20 would have improved the show overall.

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  11. I'm afraid I just can't muster up the desire to watch it now. But that's fine. I have King of High School and Fated to Love You to occupy my time anyway, lol.

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  12. I agree with this. It was way too draggy and drawn out the second half. Fewer episodes would have been great. They could have really cut down on all of the ridiculous mystery machinations and just gotten down to catching the bad guys.

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  13. I was surprised that they never had Lee Seung gi acknowledge that he was mistaken as to why his mother was killed: that it had nothing to do with Cha Seung won making her testify. He carried that hate for over a decade but never concedes that he was mistaken. And wow, that really was a heck of a coincidence that after testifying in that case, her ex-lover's wife shows up and bashes her head in - I was disappointed that the real killing was for such a lame reason.

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  14. I totally forgot about that, but you're right! He never even apologized for the hatred that lasted more than half of the show.

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  15. There were a few things that I just didn't get about this show and was overall disappointed. (But that might have something to do with my expectations being WAY too high. I love just about every one of the cast members and from the one teaser I saw before it aired, I assumed this would be straight up comedy. Not to mention it has a great opening theme, all 70s superhero and comic book like with awesome music. But then the show starts...omo.)

    Categorizing this show as "comedy" was laughable (word play!) Sure, there were comedic moments but this was not a comedy. This was The Lee Seung Gi Pouting Power Hour (x 20!) Hey, new drinking game: anytime there's a close up of someone clinching their fist in anger, take a shot. Sidenote: there seems to be an overall trend of dramas going from 16 to 20 episodes and it's scaring me, most shows don't even need to be 16. lol

    Anyway, I usually try to suspend all disbelief when it comes to cop or medical shows. I don't expect them to be realistic or along usual lines and I especially try to keep in mind that this is another country so I don't really know how their laws work BUT how is it possible that it's cool to talk about hostages, on speaker phone, with people just milling around, listening in and the hostages parents able to scream into the phone?

    Also, maybe this is a cultural thing, but no way would Dae Gu have been allowed to interview suspects in his mom's killing or been able to work the case like he did. And none of these cops seem to be able to defend themselves. So many scenes I was like, dude, throw a punch or kick or something! Soo Sun could kick butt in the school flashbacks, I think she even talked about her dad teaching her marital arts? Then she becomes a cop and can't fight anyone off.

    I loved the plot with the chief, I thought her struggle and fight was a good one. But I agree with other comments that the mom dying because of crazy bag lady was a loss.

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  16. yeah, exactly!

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  17. Maria Roxanne Fortuno CasalmeSeptember 1, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Hello! There's a question that leave me hanging in this drama.... " why Kim sa kyung leave the divorce paper for Seo pan suk?" hehe.. i love this drama though :D

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  18. I agree, I wonder about why the lead gal becomes weaker after being an adult and as a detective, she is much fiercer and better during school time !! Logic doesn't work here....the teenage she and adult she doesn't match at all...their personality and such...

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  19. Hello. This is A.K.I.A. Talking…

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    ReplyDelete
  20. I loved this drama! Highly recommend!

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