My Perfect Stranger: Episode 2 Recap

Yoon-young and Hae-joon explore the world in 1987 that they’re stuck in together and realize that there’s a lot more to the place than they thought. This involves Yoon-young reuniting with her mother and embarking on an adventure to learn more about her mother’s life. But the more that they interact and the more that Yoon-young investigates, the more she learns that things aren’t as bright and positive as they seem. There’s definitely a lot more going on behind the scenes than her mom lets on.

My Perfect Stranger Episode 2: The Reason We Can’t Return

The episode begins with Hae-joon falling into water. He attempts to swim back up for air but finds himself trapped under a frozen lake. While fighting to get his way out, he catches sight of two men walking above him on the lake. A few seconds pass and one of the men lay on the ground dead and unconscious. This man is none other than Hae-joon and the trapped Hae-joon watches as the other version of him lays dead right above him on the frozen lake. A report regarding Hae-joon’s murder appears on the news. The only thing is: his body is nowhere to be found.

It’s 10:40 pm on May 9, 1987 and the actual Hae-joon is back in Woojung Village. The red time-traveling car is broken so there’s no way to get out. He exits from the car and heads into town where he bumps into young Hee-seob. Similarly to how Yoon-young did, Hae-joon’s head also starts to bleed after bumping into Hee-seob but he walks away afterwards. Hee-seob grows concerned and curious about his shoulder. How many more heads are going to bleed because of his shoulder? Haha.

Hae-joon eventually discovers Yoon-young and he pulls her to the side for a private conversation. He informs her about the strange situation they’re stuck in and how they’ve returned to the year 1987. Since the red time-traveling car isn’t working, there’s no way out. Hae-joon attempts to reassure Yoon-young who he assumes is horrified and scared but upon further observation, he finds her laughing instead. She seems delighted and relieved by the news and she focuses her attention back to reuniting with her mom, Soon-ae. So Yoon-young pushes Hae-joon aside and enters the club where her mom and her mom’s three friends – Hae-kyung, Eun-ha, and Yu-ri – are located. Since Soon-ae doesn’t feel too comfortable being in the club, she heads to the restroom for a break and that’s where she meets Yoon-young for the first time.

Yoon-young approaches Soon-ae carefully and slowly. It’s not until she pinches her mom’s cheeks that she realizes that it’s not a dream and that it’s real life. She starts to cry afterwards and she expresses her thoughts and feelings towards her mom. Yoon-young admits that she was embarrassed of her mom which was why she ignored her later on in life. But she feels sorry for the way she treated Mom and it’s clear she never wants to act that way again. Yoon-young embraces her mom and gives her a hug while crying her heart out. She thought they’d have more time left to make up and to spend together. She also thought that her mom would wait for her. Soon-ae remains confused the entire time and she’s uncertain as to how to react or what to make of the situation. Who is this young lady hugging her and crying her heart out to her in the restroom?

Hae-joon is discovered by Principal Yoon as well as Soon-ae’s dad, Mr. Lee Hyung-man, who check in with him after he was knocked out unconscious thanks to Yoon-young. They grow so worried about Hae-joon that Mr. Lee even carries him on his back to the hospital. Haha.

Back at the club, Mom assumes Yoon-young must be on drugs and she grows afraid that Yoon-young might hurt her. She escapes out of the restroom and returns to the lobby only to find a group of police officers, led by a detective named Baek Dong-sik, conducting a crackdown on minors. So Soon-ae and her three high school “friends” are caught and they’re pulled to the side. But Hae-joon arrives just in time to rescue the four students as well as Yoon-young from getting into trouble. While being carried by Mr. Lee through town, Hae-joon had overheard the same club employee who Yoon-young met just earlier that night talking about her. That’s how he eventually found Yoon-young’s whereabouts.

Hae-joon recognizes Detective Baek upon seeing him in the club and recalls to himself how the detective would eventually quit his job, leave the town, and disappear for 30 years. But for now, Hae-joon’s objective in the meantime is to rescue his students (plus Yoon-young) in the club which ends up happening when Principal Yoon and Mr. Lee show up. Detective Baek pays his respect to Principal Yoon and he lets the students go. Mr. Lee is unhappy to see his daughter in the club and it’s pretty obvious she’ll pay the consequences for it at home. That leaves Yoon-young and Hae-joon left so they exit the club together and it’s during this time when Yoon-young finally grows curious about Hae-joon. Who is he? And how is it that he looks so familiar and comfortable in this town during the year 1987?

So Hae-joon takes Yoon-young to the site of the accident and shows her the red time-traveling car. She’s quite amused and fascinated by the time machine and the power to travel back and forth in time. But the two quickly bicker over whose fault it is that they’re stuck in their current situation. Hae-joon blames Yoon-young for getting hit by the car but Yoon-young blames Hae-joon for his reckless driving. The bickering comes to an end since there’s nothing they can do about it. Their only hope left is to fix the red car. A few seconds later, they’re approached by one of the villagers who arrives at the site to pick up the car with their slow tractor, haha. Yoon-young offers her mom’s scarf to Hae-joon so that he can cover up his valuable items in the car (AKA his laptop and cellphone) before it’s taken away. While Hee-seob has fun at a concert, Yoon-young and Hae-joon walk back to Hae-joon’s house together and follow the tractor home. She shares with him some of her snacks on the way back.

The two finally have some time to rest once they arrive at Hae-joon’s house. Before going to sleep, Hae-joon warns Yoon-young not to go out because it could get dangerous. He also reminds her to be careful with her actions as one little thing she does could completely change someone’s future. Yoon-young takes into consideration Hae-joon’s advice. Across the street, young Soon-ae is thrown out of the house by her parents as punishment for going to the club. While sitting outside on the curb, she notices the lights turned on in Hae-joon’s house and assumes that he must be home.

Yoon-young recalls the scene back in the club when Hae-joon arrived to rescue Soon-ae and the three students. Since they referred to him as their teacher, she assumes her mom must be attending school nearby and must live somewhere in the neighborhood. This must be the reason as to why Yoon-young ended up in Woojung Village out of all places. Hae-joon shortly interrupts to hand Yoon-young some blankets and pillows for the night and he also offers her his assistance. He reassures her that he’ll help her get back home sooner than later. Butttt it’s a lot easier said than done and Hae-joon learns the hard way that fixing the red time-traveling car won’t be as easy as he thought. He’s clueless as to how to fix it, haha.

After assessing the car, Hae-joon goes upstairs to his office to determine his next steps. He glances at the calendar on the wall where the 14th day of the month is circled. As that is when the first murder by the serial killer occurs, he emphasizes that he must send Yoon-young back home before that date no matter what.

Hae-joon receives a special visit from Soon-ae’s dad the next morning at 7am who invites him to the village’s special family walkathon event. Hae-joon’s not interested but he’s dragged by Mr. Lee to the event anyway so Yoon-young uses the opportunity to escape. It doesn’t take long for Yoon-young to discover where her mom lives and she finds herself standing across from her mom in the house across from Hae-joon’s. The two reunite and Yoon-young is excited to find out that her mom lives nearby.

Yoon-young follows her mom while walking through the fields, but Mom pauses for a moment to address a concern she had about Yoon-young. Did Yoon-young’s mom die? She found it odd that Yoon-young referred to her as her mother. Instead, she wishes to be called by her name, Soon-ae. Yoon-young realizes that they’re standing near the river where her mom committed suicide 34 years later but she quickly focuses her attention back on her mom. She grows excited at the thought of a friendship with her mom and abides by Soon-ae’s request. Yoon-young follows after her while calling her by her name. And so their friendship blooms and they become friends.

Yoon-young follows Soon-ae to her family store where Soon-ae will be in charge for the day. She usually doesn’t work on Sunday’s but since her parents are busy with the walkathon, she’s responsible for the store for the day. So upon Soon-ae’s request, Yoon-young leaves Soon-ae alone so that she can focus on work. But Yoon-young doesn’t go too far and she returns to the store to sneak some photos of her mom by the store window. Yoon-young’s reminded of a later memory when her mom mentioned to her about how she enjoyed reading books and how she wanted to become a novelist. Now that Yoon-young catches sight of the younger version of her mom reading books while sitting at the store, she realizes what her mom was referencing about in that memory.

Not too far away from the store, Hee-seob walks along the street and searches for someone who he was waiting for. Meanwhile, Yoon-young embarks on an adventure of her own and she investigates the reason as to why she returned to Woojung Village in the year 1987. One of the last things she mentioned to her dad after her mom passed away was how she wished to go to the past to stop her mom from meeting her dad. So Yoon-young puts the puzzle pieces together: her parents got married in 1988 and Mom had mentioned that she met Dad a year earlier. It all begins to click for Yoon-young and she finally realizes what is happening.

The timing is perfect. Because it’s at this moment that Hee-seob catches sight of Soon-ae at her family’s store and he falls for her. Literally. He falls to the ground upon laying his eyes on Soon-ae and finds her absolutely stunning and beautiful. When Yoon-young returns to the store, she witnesses Soon-ae helping Hee-seob up to his feet. And sure enough, Yoon-young confirms with him his name and realizes that this was how her two parents met. She’s desperate to change her mom’s future though so she tries her best to look out for her mom and to get Hee-seob away. After pulling Hee-seob away for a private chat, Yoon-young puts Hee-seob through some tests to examine his traits. Unlike her dad in the present, young Hee-seob is capable of running without limping. He also speaks with a dialect which she’s unfamiliar with. She ends the conversation with the younger version of her dad by warning him to stay as far away from Soon-ae as possible. They’re best friends so as long as she is around, he won’t have a chance of being with Soon-ae. Hee-seob’s frustrated with Yoon-young’s behavior and he’s curious as to why she disapproves of him. Yoon-young makes it clear that she’s aware of how irresponsible and light and insignificant his love is and how she knows what his true colors are. The conversation ends when Hee-seob’s brother, Yoo-seob, finally arrives so Hee-seob runs away. Haha. We love a protective daughter. 

Meanwhile, Hae-joon is certainly having the time of his life at the family walkathon. He observes Principal Yoon sitting by himself as the rest of the villagers warm up which then reminds him of a memory that he experienced in the year 2024. In that memory, Principal Yoon sits near the river where Hae-joon’s murder occurred and he calls out for his grandson’s whereabouts. He voices how he misses his grandson and wishes for his grandson to be found. Hae-joon grows irritated at Principal Yoon’s words for it’s clear that Principal Yoon didn’t cherish or care for his grandson. And that grandson is Hae-joon himself.

So the family walkathon is literally a family walkathon for Hae-joon when he’s partnered up with his grandpa, Principal Yoon. Principal Yoon’s excited at the thought of winning the third place prize, a Walkman, and the two speed up their steps to secure their chances. Sure enough, Hae-joon and his grandpa end up placing third at the walkathon but it’s Hae-joon who is given the prize. But there are other things he’s more concerned about including Yoon-young who he notices isn’t home. But what Hae-joon does notice though while folding her blankets and cleaning the living room is the same box of matches that he also happens to own. Inside the box is a small note that reads, “Women who read are dangerous.” Hae-joon grows confused as to how the box landed in his house.

Yoon-young returns to Soon-ae’s store only to find it empty inside. So she becomes a little rebellious and sits in Soon-ae’s seat by the window to read some of her book as well as her diary. But something in the diary throws Yoon-young off and the small smile on her face disappears the more she reads the entry. Shortly afterwards, Yoon-young goes out to search for her mother who was pulled away at the store after a visit from Hae-kyung, Eun-ha, and Yu-ri. The three teenagers propose that Soon-ae pull a “prank” with them on one of their other classmates who is secretly hiding and watching nearby which Soon-ae is reluctant to do. So Hae-kyung grows frustrated with her and backs Soon-ae further and further towards the edge of the river. Soon-ae ends up falling into the river and she’s unable to swim so she pleads for help. While the three teenagers watch her struggle to stay afloat, Yoon-young fortunately finds them by the river and she jumps into the water to rescue her mom.

Soon-ae is saved and Yoon-young confronts Hae-kyung, Eun-ha, and Yu-ri for nearly letting Soon-ae drown and die. Hae-kyung stands up for her friends and she fires back at Yoon-young. Yoon-young engages in a little guessing game and she assumes Hae-kyung must be the younger version of Mi-sook. She now knows that Mi-sook’s first and most popular novel was based off of her mother’s diary entry and she’s curious as to which one of the girls is the teenage version of Mi-sook. But unlike what Yoon-young thought, the girl standing in front of her isn’t Mi-sook. Instead, the female student who was hiding in the fields but rushed to Soon-ae’s side after the drowning incident steps up to introduce herself as Mi-sook. She even exhibits the same traits as she does 34 years later by touching her necklace while talking to Yoon-young.

Yoon-young eventually takes her mom back home that night and they talk to each other before bidding farewell. Yoon-young voices her dislike for the four girls Soon-ae was with earlier and assumes she must be getting bullied by them.. But Soon-ae is defensive of the group and she refers to them as her “friends.” They’re the only ones who talk to her at school so she perceives them as friends and she views everything that they do just as jokes and fun. But Soon-ae grows emotional and she remains honest with Yoon-young. She doesn’t actually feel all that great about her life and she admits with tears in her eyes that she wants to die. Their conversation abruptly ends when Soon-ae’s sister calls for her to come home so they separate and Yoon-young also heads back home. She approaches Hae-joon in his garage where he’s fixed the red car to start operating again. It’s no longer broken! But Yoon-young has other plans and there’s something heavy weighing on her mind. She realizes just how impactful and powerful the current situation she’s in is and how she has the chance to make things right. So with that, Yoon-young confesses to Hae-joon that she can’t go back just yet. There’s something she needs to get done first.

My Thoughts:

Is it possible to love a drama so much even though there’s only been two episodes out so far? While I preferred episode one over episode two, this episode was just as impressive and enjoyable to watch and there were many great things about it. ‘My Perfect Stranger’ does such a wonderful job at tugging at your heartstrings and making you feel things. There were definitely a few moments in this episode alone that made me tear up and want to cry. I felt for Mom Soon-ae, I felt for Yoon-young, I felt for their relationship, and I just wanted to give both of them a big and warm hug.

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