You Are All Surrounded Korean Drama Review
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:
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 LoveFrankly, 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.
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.
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: