Now that Hae-joon and Yoon-young are aware that they might have more in common than they initially thought, the two get to know each other on a deeper level. Why did Yoon-young want to travel back in time to 1987? Why is Hae-joon so familiar with the 1987 world? What other information are they withholding that they should come clean about? Yoon-young and Hae-joon learn that in order to move forward in the 1987 universe, their goals and values must align first.
My Perfect Stranger Episode 5: A Certain Confession
Yoon-young and Hae-joon bump into each other in front of Soon-ae’s family store. Yoon-young assumes the new student-teacher in town, Joo-young, will disappear that night after “getting lost” and then get murdered two nights later. So the two head out to the nearby river where she was said to have been found. Sure enough, they discover Joo-young hiding in fear by the river. When approached by Hae-joon, Joo-young shouts at him that it “wasn’t her fault.” But before he can ask for more information, he’s distracted by the sudden appearance of a stranger watching them. While Yoon-young stays behind with Joo-young, Hae-joon chases after the stranger but ultimately loses him thanks to Detective Baek. Hae-joon bumps into Detective Baek’s car and so the stranger manages to escape. Frustrated Hae-joon confronts Detective Baek. First, the detective released Min-soo and then now he prevented Hae-joon from chasing after the stranger. Detective Baek is reminded of Hae-joon’s warnings about how he will not be allowed to make any mistakes or else history will repeat itself. Though he’s curious as to what Hae-joon is referring to, Hae-joon doesn’t elaborate any further. He can no longer trust or rely on Detective Baek.
Just like Yoon-young predicted, Joo-young lies that she simply got lost but Yoon-young and Hae-joon don’t buy it. There must have been someone who threatened Joo-young or was involved with her but the student-teacher feigns ignorance. Although Hae-joon offers his assistance to Joo-young, she declines his help and rushes back home. Hae-joon and Yoon-young secretly follow Joo-young and they wound up by the inn that Joo-young is staying at. Yoon-young and Hae-joon head back home for the night since they assume that Joo-young will be safe for now. While Yoon-young and Hae-joon secretly followed Joo-young, Detective Baek was also secretly peeking at them.
Hae-joon and Yoon-young make their next stop at Bong Bong Teahouse – the same teahouse that they visited last time to eat some bread and also the same teahouse where the mysterious boxes of matches are from. Hae-joon explains to Yoon-young about the serial murder case he’s been investigating which Yoon-young herself is quite familiar with. He’s certain that there were two victims who died but he learns from Yoon-young that the third victim who was deemed missing also died. Her source is the draft of Mi-sook’s upcoming novel which she shows Hae-joon. Listed in the manuscript also includes the identity of the culprit behind the three murders: Mi-sook. But Hae-joon doesn’t buy into it as easily and he warns that they can’t jump to conclusions too quickly. This novel could be false or greatly exaggerated; maybe it was based on details and stories that Mi-sook heard throughout the village at that time. But Yoon-young feels differently and she believes that Mi-sook was the culprit. Since Yoon-young’s worked with Mi-sook for a while, she’s well aware of what Mi-sook is capable of. While the two discuss the serial murder case, Mi-sook celebrates the disappearance of her brother, Min-soo, and how he no longer lives at home with her. She feels as if she can breathe a little bit more easily now.
Just then, Hae-joon and Yoon-young are interrupted when they overhear some noise coming from another table. It turns out that Soon-ae and Hee-seob are also at Bong Bong Teahouse, haha. Buuuttt things don’t go so well when Yoon-young approaches them and starts hitting Hee-seob. How dare he think of marriage with Soon-ae and proposing to her! But Hee-seob clarifies that it was all just a misunderstanding and that all he did was just answer Soon-ae’s questions. Soon-ae admits that there’s someone else she’s interested in so they all look outside the window and discover Beom-ryong standing outside the teahouse (OMGEEEEE). With that, Soon-ae exits the restaurant to go with Beom-ryong. Yoon-young chases after her mother outside but she’s stopped by Hae-joon who demands for some answers. Why did she react that way to seeing Hee-seob and Soon-ae? So Yoon-young admits that the two are her parents. Hae-joon’s shocked by the information. That means that Yoon-young is the daughter of one of the suspects to the serial murder case.
Back at her room in the inn, Joo-young talks to someone on the phone and it’s clear she’s petrified and afraid for her life. She feels as if she can’t stay in the town for much longer. She glances at the note that she received as a confession on the school trip, claiming that someone was watching her. When Hae-joon and Yoon-young return home, Yoon-young does some more explaining. Her mission now that she’s back in 1987 is to prevent her parents from getting married, even if the consequences to that include a future where Yoon-young is nonexistent. Yoon-young is well aware of this and she also knows that anything she does can have an impact in the future. But she lost her mother in the present so she wants to utilize this one chance to change things. She wishes for a better life for her mother, even if she herself gets impacted in the process. Hae-joon encourages Yoon-young to head inside the house and get some rest. It’s been a long day for both of them. When Yoon-young returns home, she discovers that the light has been fixed thanks to Hae-joon. She also finds her box of matches sitting on the sofa and realizes that she missed the opportunity to ask Hae-joon about the item.
Hae-joon returns to his office to reflect on the new information that Yoon-young shared with him. He too is curious about the small box of matches that Yoon-young discovered by the river on the day that her mother died. He stares over at the wall containing the photos of the three suspects to the murder case and studies Hee-seob’s photo carefully in particular. The next morning, Yoon-young and Hae-joon head out to the river where Yoon-young lost her mother. Unlike Yoon-young, Hae-joon never had a special relationship with his mother and he’s long accepted that. He then proceeds to talk about the first murder that is to take place the next night. The murder scene will include the same box of matches and a note inside that contains the message: “women who read are dangerous.” This seems to be the culprit’s signature and since the same thing was also found at the river on the night that Yoon-young’s mother lost her life, Hae-joon assumes Yoon-young’s mother must have been murdered. And maybe on the night that Yoon-young’s mother lost her life, she witnessed the culprit before getting killed by this person. So Hae-joon warns Yoon-young to not act too recklessly; wouldn’t she want to save her mother’s life and also catch the culprit? Though Hae-joon doesn’t have concrete evidence just yet, the situation and question gets Yoon-young thinking and she comes close to crying.
When Yoon-young arrives at school, Soon-ae approaches her with another apology letter. She’s sorry about the misunderstanding that she caused about her and Hee-seob’s relationship. She had no intentions of actually ever dating Hee-seob. The letter makes Yoon-young emotional and she realizes something new about her mother that she missed all along: her mother promised to stay by her side forever. Her mother wanted to be with her for a very long time. Her mother wrote her a letter and not a suicide note on the night that she died. So Yoon-young grows emotional and she gives her mom a warm hug. Soon-ae, of course, is confused but Yoon-young vows to protect her mother. Mi-sook walks into the classroom shortly afterwards and she’s too confused at the sight of Soon-ae and Yoon-young hugging. While in the teacher’s office, Hae-joon beats himself up over the words that he mentioned to Yoon-young during their talk. He feels as if he may have been a bit too harsh on her. Just then, Joo-young walks inside and she sits at her desk across from Hae-joon. Hae-joon shares that he remained quiet about the incident from the night before in case she was worried that he told anyone.
Midterm rankings for the school are revealed and Soon-ae ranks in first place (woo hoo!). While Yoon-young and Soon-ae celebrate, Mi-sook isn’t so thrilled and she walks away after making eye contact with Hae-kyung. So Hae-kyung does what she usually does and bullies Soon-ae. The bullying doesn’t last as long this time due to Mr. Park who intervenes and scolds Hae-kyung. Hee-seob can’t seem to understand and comprehend how Soon-ae could have a crush on the last ranked student in the entire school: Mr. Beom-ryong. But he also doesn’t want to lose a friend in Beom-ryong even if it pains him to think that Soon-ae likes him. It turns out Beom-ryong wasn’t all that helpful when the rose that he gave to Hee-seob to surprise Soon-ae with didn’t impress her. He also gave one of the three roses to his girlfriend. So what about the other rose? While Beom-ryong doesn’t disclose who exactly he gave it to, he watches Joo-young walk in the hallway and we’re left to assume she was the one who he gave the rose to.
Yoon-young studies Mi-sook carefully in class and she reflects on the conversation she had with Hae-joon about the serial murder case earlier that day. While Yoon-young thinks it’s Mi-sook who’s behind the murders, Hae-joon’s interested in the stranger who appeared the night that they found Joo-young at the river. He could be the person who Hae-joon has been waiting for. On the night that Joo-young was murdered, she left the school and went straight to Bong Bong Teahouse afterwards. Then once she exited the teahouse, she headed back to the inn but she never actually made it there alive. Then her body was discovered the next day. Since there were no witnesses to the murder case, Hae-joon plans to follow Joo-young this time to catch who it was that she met at the teahouse – the person with a blue hat. And this person with the blue hat was the same stranger who Hae-joon chased after on the night that they discovered Joo-young at the river. So Mi-sook isn’t completely innocent but there’s also a chance to catch who the person with the blue hat is. Hae-joon pleads for Yoon-young’s patience; if he manages to catch the killer, people’s lives will be saved in both 1987 and 2021.
So Joo-young wraps up for the day and Hae-joon prepares to follow her for the night. Before leaving, he hands Yoon-young a pack of jelly that Principal Yoon received from his son who’s currently in the U.S. and he encourages her to head home with his mom and uncle. Aww. Detective Baek feels uneasy about Joo-young and he recalls the night that he secretly watched Hae-joon and Yoon-young interact with Joo-young at the river. It seemed as if Hae-joon had acted strangely on purpose as if to send Detective Baek a sign that Joo-young’s life was in danger. So Detective Baek rushes out of the police station but he’s stopped by some colleagues and has no choice but to answer them. It turns out there’s more to Joo-young than Detective Baek thought: she’s had three previous convictions. And she’s also well aware that Hae-joon is following her.
It’s the day of Joo-young’s fate. Yoon-young offers Hae-joon her help but he respectfully declines. He’s used to working alone so he’s sure he can handle the case just fine. But an unexpected situation arises at work and he confronts Detective Baek who shows up at the school. Detective Baek warns Hae-joon that he could have died and that Joo-young’s a dangerous person. So he instructs his guys to go find Joo-young. Joo-young catches sight of Detective Baek at the school so she runs away and escapes. Unbeknownst to Joo-young, Yoon-young is chasing after her. Joo-young runs to Soon-ae’s family store and she’s interested in buying tickets to the next bus heading to Seoul. But her plans are interrupted by Yoon-young who catches up to Joo-young at the store and she pleads for Joo-young to stay for the night so that they can catch the culprit. Joo-young seems to already be aware of this fact and she grabs a knife inside the store and threatens Yoon-young’s life with it.
When Hae-joon arrives at the store shortly afterwards, he discovers Yoon-young’s life in danger and he attempts to calm Joo-young down. She assumes they set her up to turn her over to the police but Hae-joon confirms that they didn’t. He earns her trust by asking Yoon-young’s grandpa for a place to hide from the police and he lets them hide in a closet inside the store. So the three fit themselves inside the small closet while Grandpa and Aunty Kyung-ae lie to the police that everything is fine. With that, Detective Baek and his men leave to go back to the inn. Inside the closet, Joo-young apologizes for the trouble she’s caused. She thought she was alone in all of this and she cries out of guilt. Returning to the inn doesn’t seem like a safe and good idea for Joo-young.
Later on that night, Hae-joon heads to Bong Bong Teahouse to check out the person who Joo-young had originally met up with. Maybe the person might still appear at the same time and at the same location even if the situation with Joo-young has changed. So Hae-joon sits down at a table and he waits patiently for someone to appear. Yoon-young also hopes that the person will show up since she assumes it’s the same person who killed her mom 34 years later. So Hae-joon waits and waits and then he finally gets the answer he was waiting for. Someone in a blue cap walks through the doors and shows up at the teahouse. He flips a ring over and over in his hand (similar to the one that Joo-young wears) and he shows his face to Hae-joon. Hae-joon studies the person’s face carefully and sure enough, that little hunch that Hae-joon had about Hee-seob was correct. It’s Hee-seob who walks through the doors and shows up at the teahouse.
We’re brought back to the final moments of Mom’s life in 2021 before she got killed. She’s terrified and stunned at the sight of the person standing in front of her and she backs up towards the edge of the river. How could this person deceive everyone after what they did? It’s not revealed who Mom was talking to at this moment but just like with the other victims, a small box of matches from Bong Bong Teahouse is found floating in the river where Mom died.
Man oh man! This episode was sooooo good! I loved the plot twists and little hints we got peppered throughout that made everything seem not so black and white. You watched as Yoon-young traveled back in time to 1987 with one mission on her mind and then by the end of the episode, she came out of it with an entirely different mindset and goal. Sure, changing her mom’s future by preventing her parents from getting married was an option but it’s even more important now to 1) save her mother’s life and 2) catch the culprit who killed three victims in 1987, her mom in 2021, and then kill Hae-joon a year later. There are so many layers to this story and investigation and the drama just keeps on peeling more and more of these layers with each passing episode. It’s been so fun to pay attention to the details and hints. You just never know where the drama is going to go or what new hints are going to pop up.
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I like that the drama remains mysterious and open as to who the culprit is. You have Mi-sook whose manuscript for her upcoming novel details the accounts of the victims who died. With this, you’re led to believe that she maybe was the one behind it. But then Beom-ryong is so suspicious and he gave Joo-young a rose that was sitting by the note in her inn that said that someone was watching her. Then there was also Hee-seob who showed up to Bong Bong Teahouse wearing a blue cap and was presumably the last person who Joo-young met up with on the night that she got murdered. You think it has to be one person and then the drama throws you in for a loop by providing clues in regards to another suspect and then they also pepper in a little plot twist at the end. I don’t know why but it never occurred to me until this episode that Mom was murdered rather than committing suicide. Mom seemed depressed and sad about her situation and her relationships with Yoon-young and her husband but then she did express how she wanted to be with Yoon-young for a very long time. So it’s one of those situations where she was murdered (and it makes sense given that the box of matches was found at the river where Mom’s body was found) but I could see why Yoon-young initially thought her mother committed suicide first (and, hence, why she was initially determined to prevent her parents from getting married).
But I like that the drama’s now implemented this little plot twist where Mom was murdered by who we assume is the same person who committed the serial murder cases in 1987 and then will go on to kill Hae-joon in 2022. It’s not so much what the culprit did but more so who the person behind these murders were. We know that the culprit was involved in the murders of several victims throughout the years, it’s more so that Hae-joon and Yoon-young are trying to figure out who exactly is behind it. Is it just one person? Is it a combination of two or more characters working together? Or were each of the murders done by separate people and they conspired to leave behind the box of small matches as a way to confuse people? I’m not entirely sure that Mi-sook was the person behind the murders because the drama already seems to be painting her as the culprit by focusing on her manuscript. So if that’s the case, could it be Beom-ryong? Or maybe it’s Hee-seob because we can’t possibly imagine him killing his own wife right? But maybe that’s what the drama wants us to think or feel and it was actually him who was behind everything. There are so many questions and not enough answers just yet!
I really enjoyed this episode for how seamless and smooth it felt with the serial murder case investigation. I appreciate that I can follow along pretty easily with Hae-joon and Yoon-young’s clues and conversations and talks. I like watching them work together to protect Joo-young or Soon-ae or each other. They both each have their own understanding or version of what they think happened and it’s better if they collaborate to solve the mystery together. I loved that the investigation has transformed and risen to even higher risks for Yoon-young. It’s not so much about preventing her parents from getting married but rather more about saving her mom’s life who they assume was killed by the same culprit. Yoon-young already had enough motivation and reasons to protect her mom but with this new twist, it just added another layer to the entire situation and made her even more determined to save her mother’s life. They were able to fortunately save Joo-young’s life but will that last forever? Why was she arguing with Hee-seob in the restaurant on the night that she died? Is her life no longer at risk or has the timeline just merely been extended for a few days and she’ll get killed a few days later? Can Hae-joon and Yoon-young protect the victims who were originally murdered and can they manage to protect them forever? Or will they find themselves in a situation where the protection is temporary and the victim still dies in the end someway somehow? It’s clear that Hae-joon and Yoon-young are willing to do whatever they can to solve the mystery but that also means being interrupted with external factors and individuals who attempt to get in their way. We witnessed them be successful with Joo-young on the night that she was supposed to die but for how much longer can Yoon-young and Hae-joon go on like this?