It’s an episode of revelations and flashbacks (many, many flashbacks. and did I mention the flashbacks? because there are a few.). We learn about our characters’ pasts and their connections to one another, but end up with more questions than answers – which is, I suppose, a good thing, given that we’re only halfway through the show’s run.
Soo Sun is all smiles that evening as she remembers that little Ji Yong is alive and well in the form of Eun Dae Gu. She thinks of another question she has for him, but hesitates before sending the text. She slips into a less pleasant memory: the day she found out about his mother’s death and Ji Yong’s disappearance.
She hurries to the police station to tell the detectives she’d seen Ji Yong the night before. As she recounts the story, she realises his behaviour towards her wasn’t a result of childish pique: he was being chased. Luckily she remembers Boots and describes as much of him as she can to the detective. Unluckily (?), Chief Kang happens upon the scene and overhears much of the account – including her description of Boots. And she does not look happy.
The detective can’t seem to find Pan Seok and Chief Kang promises to relay the message…. only to crumple it up in her fist the moment the other detective’s back is turned.
Young Soo Sun leaves the station only to trip over her laces again. When she kneels down to tie them, she remembers Ji Yong and decides this won’t do at all: she’ll have to get velcro ties instead. Hee!
Back in the present, Soo Sun wonders about Boots’ identity…
In another part of town, Pan Seok shares the good news with Eung Do, who wonders if he’ll be okay with the Ji Yong/Dae Gu situation. Pan Seok assures him that he’ll be fine – it’s been eleven years, after all – but his hands shakes as he reaches for the soju bottle. He makes sure to tell Eung Do to keep this news from Sa Kyung for the moment, as she won’t take it well, and Eung Do agrees.
As he wanders home, he flashes back to that night eleven years ago and we find out that this is the night of the murder. Pan Seok is on his way to pick up his son, but as he’s driving, Ji Yong calls from the school with the pendant clue. So Pan Seok takes a detour, calling the station to let them know of the pendant and his son’s teacher to let her know he’ll be late.
He arrives at Ji Yong’s school and as he’s searching for the boy, his phone rings. It’s his son’s teacher and Pan Seok apologises for his lateness – but that’s not why she’s calling. She informs him of the accident and he races off… just as Boots stumbles out of the school, one hand clamped over his eye. He arrives at the hospital in time to see Sa Kyung clutching their son’s lifeless body and he collapses to the ground in tears.
In the days – months? – following their son’s death, he tries to care for Sa Kyung, but she’s beyond forgiveness and leaves him with nothing but divorce papers and the sight of her back as she leaves him. In the present, he falls asleep yet again to the recorded footage of his son playing in the park. *sob*
Dae Gu wakes up grumpy and gets irritated with Gook for drinking his banana milk and Tae Il for putting vegetables in his omelette. Ha, he really is a little boy in a man’s body (though, given the shower scenes we’ve been treated to, that’s a little creepy, so let’s not go there).
The boys encounter Soo Sun on their way to work, and she behaves as she always does: cheerful and chipper, almost as though she hadn’t just found out the truth. You’d think that’d suit Dae Gu down to the ground, but instead he seems a little… disgruntled at how normal everything is.
And while the kids are playing, the grown-ups are talking. Pan Seok tells Chief Kang of Dae Gu’s true identity and doesn’t seem all that surprised to hear that she already knew. She tells him she’s been sponsoring Dae Gu for years – a coincidence, she claims, to which I say: pfft, yeah, right – and when she discovered he wanted to become a cop, she deliberately placed him on Pan Seok’s team… to help Dae Gu heal. Uh-hunh.
Another flashback, this time one of Chief Kang’s memories, as we see the other side of Pan Seok’s conversation regarding the pendant. The detective finds it in the jacket, as Ji Yong had said it would be, and bags it as evidence. Chief Kang keeps an eagle eye on the proceedings and then tampers with the evidence, adding a cell phone and slipping the pendant into her pocket, to pass on to Boots.
Tae Il’s mother meets up with him at the police station and entreats him to come back to the hospital. They clearly come from money, as his father has pull with the hospital board and his mother can’t understand his interest in such a low profession as policework. Sa Kyung happens along the conversation and rather than passing by, awkwardly hovers a few feet away to eavesdrop. She asks him why he hasn’t been home recently and he points out that this is the first time she’s actually acknowledged him. Her response to that? To ignore him completely.
Onto the case of the day. An engaged man has gone missing – but not without accruing massive debts in the form of online loans. His family had been unable to get hold of him for months before his disappearance and suspect that his fiancé had applied for the loans in his name and then murdered him.
Gook looks into the loans, Tae Il into the man’s finances, and Soo Sun and Dae Gu interview the fiance. the fiance seems remarkably calm and tells the two that she did put the apartment up for sale – she felt it was her due for being lied to and abandoned by a man who hadn’t wanted to get married in the first place. What about the loans, then? He was addicted to gambling and spent all his time at the casino, is her answer.
But that doesn’t gibe with the man whose friends and colleagues have described as ‘diligent’. The team conclude that the fiancé is lying, most likely to collect on the insurance policies for which she was the beneficiary – now, to prove it…
Soo Sun reflects on the nature of love and Gook perks up, wondering if she likes someone. Oh, Gook; you’re so obvious. But no, she’s talking about the case and so Gook knowingly says that love changes. No, Dae Gu corrects: love doesn’t change; people change. The other three ooh in admiration of his wisdom and wonder if he has a girlfriend. Nope, because Dae Gu doesn’t like girls. Then… does he like guys? Soo Sun and Gook giggle at this, and Dae Gu shakes his head like a disapproving grandpa.
Then it’s back to work, with Soo Sun teaming up with Sa Kyung to search for the missing man’s cell phone. When Soo Sun complains that their other team members are barely going through the motions, Sa Kyung responds that she shouldn’t expect the world to dance to her tune: if she wants something done, she should do it herself. With that, she literally wades into the muck and after a bit of searching, she finds the phone. Soo Sun glows with admiration and you can almost hear her thinking ‘I want to be just like her when I grow up’. It’s adorable.
The team comb through old CCTV footage for a glimpse of their missing person and after hours or tireless investigation, Dae Gu finds a recording of him entering the bathroom of a subway station. They rewind and replay the footage, but can’t find him actually exiting the bathroom. Eung Do posits that he was murdered inside and the body disposed of, but Soo Sun, still reviewing the footage, notes that there’s a woman who bears a striking resemblance to their man. Sa Kyung confirms this, with a picture from the cell phone: it’s of Mr Missing – or rather, Miss Missing.
Soo Sun is still living on the roof and awakens one morning with a sense of foreboding. She narrates that there are days when everything just feels off, like something bad is about to happen. And sure enough: she bumps into someone on her morning jog and drops and breaks her cell phone; the water cuts off as she’s washing her hair; then, as a last straw, her chopsticks break unevenly. Yup, it’s definitely going to be an unlucky day.
Chief Kang meets with the congressman, who tells her of Boots’ return (his ‘real’ name is apparently Hyung Chul) and says that he was told of something odd: that Kim Ji Yong is still alive. He seems to be warning her as he reminds her that the boy’s mother was killed for testifying… and that has to remain the truth. She swallows and agrees. So she was killed for a different reason entirely? Ack.
The detectives all bow in turn as the congressman leaves – all save one: Dae Gu, who has his nose buried in a case file. He acknowledges only Chief Kang and this catches the congressman’s attention. When he turns to Chief Kang, her face is an open book, but he merely notes how good looking the detectives are these days.
He definitely knows who Dae Gu really is, though, and in his car orders someone (Boots?) to do ‘it’ perfectly. Eek. Dae Gu, run!
Chief Kang is apparently torn between two loyalties, but finally she calls Dae Gu. Only she doesn’t tell him that he’s outed – merely reminds him that Boots has seen his orphanage records and asks him to be careful. He agrees, but when he turns around, he jumps to find Soo Sun standing right behind him.
She wants to share with him his daily horoscope and when he lectures her on the dangers of over-generalisation, she nods her understanding… and then proceeds to tell him his fortune anyway. LOL.
It’s fairly ominous and warns of being in harm’s way and isolated, with ‘no-one there to save you’, and for all his talk of not believing in horoscopes, Dae Gu looks a little concerned. He promises to be careful to placate her, then shoves her chair back, with a reminder to maintain a respectable distance between them.
Boots prepares for the murderous day ahead and then calls Pan Seok with a favour: he needs a way into China, as soon as possible. Pan Seok wonders why he can’t leave legally and Boots smirks, because he doesn’t really want to know, does he? When he notices Pan Seok’s expression, Boots tells him not to look at him with such pity – he, at least, is still proud of the scar behind his ear.
Flashback to twelve years prior, when Boots was his partner. They enter a seemingly abandoned warehouse – Pan Seok through the front, Boots through the back – and neither notice a man creeping up behind them with a burning club. He’s about to cudgel Pan Seok when Boots sees him and dives in front of his partner. He takes the hit and both go down; before the perpetrator can hit them again, Boots shoots him. It’s only then that Pan Seok notices the severe burn on Boots’ neck.
With the topic of gun abuse rife in the minds of the public, Boots (I should probably start calling him Hyung Chul, shouldn’t I?) is dismissed for killing a supposedly unarmed man. He’s left with nothing but a scar and simmering anger, and Pan Seok with his own regret.
Pan Seok returns home to find his lights flickering and when he climbs up to change the bulb, catches sight of Dae Gu’s hidden camera. He grabs it and heads back to the station to try to trace the signal, but Dae Gu’s too smart for that: he’s routed it through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and it’s therefore untraceable.
Boots watches Dae Gu’s apartment building, waiting for his chance to strike. Luckily (for him, at least), Tae Il and Gook have decided to go grocery shopping, thus leaving Dae Gu alllll alone. The boys head off, with Gook (still nursing his crush) wondering if Soo Sun and Dae Gu are getting a little too close for comfort; Tae Il points out that that’s normal for partners and Gook nods, reassured. Boots watches them leave, then pulls on his gloves and heads inside.
He enters the darkened apartment, searching room by room for Dae Gu. When he reaches the last room, he pulls out his knife and opens the door… only to find Dae Gu hidden behind the door with a baseball bat. They hesitate, each waiting for the other to attack first… then they both go on the offensive, and the fight is on.
I have to admit that this episode feels cobbled together with filler, which is presumably down to both Seung Gi’s injury and the live-shoot system. (You’re All Surrounded has been knee-deep in live-shoots since around episode 6 – earlier than I’d have expected.)
But on the whole, the episode was surprisingly coherent (if a little heavy on the flashbacks) with a few major revelations, chief of which is that the death of Dae Gu’s mother may not be related to her testimony, but could instead be part of a deeper conspiracy… perhaps involving Dae Gu’s birth father? Killing both mother and child seems a little extreme as a solution, but then I’m not a power-hungry sociopath, so what do I know?
Something I found a little more surprising is that our killer, Boots, was actually a cop. If the timeline holds true, he was a presumably upright detective just a year before brutally murdering Ji Yong’s mother right in front of him. What could’ve happened to so drastically change his personality in the space of a year? Or is it possible that Dae Gu’s memory has been playing tricks on him, and that the real murderer wasn’t actually Boots at all?
That opens up the field for even more villains, which I suppose is necessary given that we have a further 10 episodes to fill. So far we have our token baddie in Boots, our string-pulling puppeteer in the congressman, our whose-side-is-she-on middle man in Chief Kang, and Pan Seok, who seems to be easily emotionally blackmailed by Boots, but not actively involved in the possible Dae Gu/Masan conspiracy.
One more, and then I’ll move on to other talking points: our discovery of the fact that the two tragedies in our leading men’s lives occurred on the same night (which was actually a speculation made by NewKdramaAddict a few weeks ago; props, Bel). I actually find it quite hard to believe that Dae Gu isn’t aware of this, because he has a scrapbook of the Masan murder and he’s obviously kept an eye on Pan Seok over the years – does it really make sense that he wouldn’t have known of the death of Pan Seok’s son, or have put the two dates together in his scary-smart mind and realised they match up? There could be a reasonable explanation for that, other than a writing misstep; we’ll have to wait and see.
Speaking of… Pan Seok and Sa Kyung’s relationship. I said in a previous recap that I don’t think they should be together, and that opinion only solidifies as the episodes play on. And no, it isn’t because I ‘ship either of them with someone else (I do wonder if Tae Il was one of Sa Kyung’s one night stands; that would explain his moony eyes and her almost-nervous dismissal of him), but rather because, cute as it is at the moment, I don’t think theirs is a sustainable relationship. To me, it doesn’t seem as though either of them have dealt with the past and their feelings of blame and regret. They’re basically ostriching their way through the situation by pretending that the past doesn’t exist, which is going to circle round and bite them in the ass – particularly now that Pan Seok knows Eun Dae Gu is actually Kim Ji Yong.
That said, maybe the show will surprise me and have the two attend couples counselling, work through their issues and live happily ever after. Anything’s possible, right? Right? Anyone? Bueller?