‘My Perfect Stranger’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending, Explained: What Does Hae-Joon Find In The Future? 

If Back To The Future was Korean, My Perfect Stranger would be it. The show follows a similar premise of family drama and a time-traveling car that takes a man into the past and the future. Of course, the car isn’t as fancy, and the man isn’t going back in time to get his parents to fall in love but to solve a grave mystery. On one of his many trips, he hits a woman who also goes back in time with him and causes the car to break down. How many glitches in time will they create, and will Hae-Joon be able to save himself from murder in the future by heading back to the past?


Spoilers Ahead

Finding The Time-Travelling Car! 

Yoon Hae-Joon is a famous TV journalist who is having a bad day because of the rain, navigation going wrong, and a broken cell phone. Added to this, he finds himself almost hitting a car in a tunnel. He gets down and braves the rain to see what’s inside the car, and he finds himself looking at a manual for a time machine. The manual gives instructions on how to use the car to go back to the past or travel to the future, and out of curiosity as a “journalist,” Hae-Joon gives it a go. He travels all the way to 3085 and returns to try something closer and see his own future after realizing it actually works. Hae-Joon puts in the year 2037, 16 years from his present day. His current plan is to retire in 2037 and live a peaceful life, so he wonders if that is what happens, but when we see him return from 2037, he is completely shaken. He has seen something unbelievable.


Hae-Joon is currently narrating this story to two young kids in a small village called Woojung-ri. It’s the year 1987, and he’s saving some kids from getting a black mark for life. Three of the girls from the village have “sniffed glue” in the mountains, and Hae-Joon prevents them from being caught by a journalist who would’ve ruined their lives. But Hae-Joon’s ulterior motive is to save one of the 19-year-olds from falling to her death off that mountain. The village was celebrating five years of crime-free living until Hae-Joon showed up, and now they’re forever in his debt. He slyly admits he’s looking for a job with the help of the two kids from earlier and becomes a teacher at the village school (we’ll know why he’s doing this a little bit later). Kim Hae-Kyung is the mastermind behind the kids of the village being rebels, and according to Hae-Joon, she is the reason one of the other girls would’ve lost their lives. He plans on watching them at school.

Hae-Joon’s Long Vacation In 1987

Hae-Joon even moves into a home in the village (reminiscent of the scenes of the beloved slice-of-life drama “Reply 1988”). In the newspaper he’s carrying, we see the headlines change, meaning he’s changed the timeline forever. Hae-Joon spends a month in the village until he drives back to 2021, but what is the reason for him to make a life in 1987? Well, apparently, there was a serial killer in the village in 1987, and that somehow connects to what he saw in 2037. In 2021, Hae-Joon met with a prisoner who was arrested for the murders all those years ago, but Hae-Joon knows he’s innocent. He tells the prisoner, Min-Soo, that he will be released the next day. Hae-Joon knows that Min-Soo was supposed to hang himself the day before his release because he went to visit him in the future. Now, a free Min-Soo asks Hae-Joon what his intentions are and how he knew about the suicide. Hae-Joon says his goal is to solve the murder of 1987, and Min-Soo might be key to uncovering the truth.


Yoon-Young’s Pathetic Life 

On the other hand, we have Yoon-Young, a young woman who is an editor and assistant for a popular author named Go Mi-Sook. Yoon-Young is excellent at her job, but Mi-Sook treats her like garbage and discredits her work by taunting her. While shopping, they come across some people fighting over some items at a sale counter. Mi-Sook is quick to judge and shame them in front of Yoon-Young, whose mother is in the “embarrassing” crowd too. They make eye contact, and Yoon-Young chooses to ignore her. Yoon-Young’s mother is extremely hurt by this. They see each other on the street, and Yoon-Young’s mother gives her a new pair of branded shoes and tells her that these are expensive and not from the sale counter. Yoon-Young is annoyed by her mother and yells at her for using the money she gave her on Yoon-Young instead of herself. Her mother says she would never ignore her daughter, no matter how embarrassed she is, and leaves on a sour note. Yoon-Young is angry at herself and Mi-Sook and leaves in the middle of the workday to go see a movie. She turns off her phone and enjoys the film. After she has calmed down, Yoon-Young goes to her mother’s house to apologize for being horrible to her, but instead, she finds the house empty. She receives a phone call that will change her life forever. Her mother has passed away in Woojung-Ri, and Yoon-Young can’t fathom her passing. It is deemed a suicide, and Yoon-Young blames herself and her drunk father for her mother’s death.

What Does Yoon-Young’s Mother’s Last Letter Say?

A letter was found with Yoon-Young’s mother’s body near the lake in Woojung-ri. Yoong-Young is confused about why it would be that her mother would’ve done such a thing. When she tried to call her father, a bar owner picked up and told her that her father had created a ruckus yet again. She is disappointed and asks for the bill for all the mess he’s created. Mi-Sook, in the meantime, messages that Yoon-Young is out of work. Yoon-Young’s mother’s letter is heartfelt and an apology for the mess of the afternoon. She just wanted to go back to the time when they were close and always played with each other. After reading the letter, Yoon-Young is completely destroyed. Her father arrives to take her back, and she tells him that if she could go back in time, she would make sure that her mother didn’t love her father or her and live a happy life for herself. Before his arrival, she found a “bong bong cafe” matchbox in the water that had a little message on it, but now the ink had bled. She keeps it for some reason and walks away from her father. We also know now that Hae-Joon found out that he died in 2037 at the hands of the same serial killer, and the same blood-splattered matchbox was found near his body. This is what helped him find Min-Soo.


Yoon-Young wanders away from her father to cry out her feelings and reaches the infamous time-traveling tunnel. As she’s walking, she hears loud music and a man talking on the phone, but she doesn’t see anything. Suddenly she sees a white light and is hit by Hae-Joon’s car! They were both transported to 1987, but the car is now broken. Yoon-Young wakes up, walks away as if it weren’t a big deal, and finds herself in the middle of 1987. She bumps into a man, and he thinks he’s caused her head to bleed (we’re going to see a lot of him, but it’s not yet revealed who he is). A man at the entrance of a club entices Yoon-Young to go in and have some fun after a “fight with her friends,” but then she starts acting strange (to him, of course) and says the dates on a poster are all wrong; it’s 2021, not 1987. The man is confused and concerned and tells her to go away, noticing her bleeding head. She even pulls out her cell phone, thinking it’s a film set she’s stumbled onto. After some time, she sees a young woman walk by, and it is actually her mother in the flesh but much younger!

Previously, we saw that Hae-Kyung and her friends had forced Yoon-Young’s mom to go to the club with them because she’s the town smarty, and their parents would be less angry seeing her with them. They make her up and take her, and that’s when Yoon-Young sees her. She’s about to follow them in, but Hae-Joon spots her and tells her that they have time traveled to 1987 but can’t go back to 2021 because the machine is broken. Yoon-Young finds herself laughing because her wish to see her mom has come true, and she could possibly change the future for her mom!


Mi-Sook’s Secret Visit 

In the epilogue of My Perfect Stranger Episode 1, we see Ko Mi-Sook returning home and her husband asking what took her so long. She says she had some work to finish up at Woojung-ri. Suspiciously, this might be evidence that she had something to do with Yoon-Young’s mother’s death. In a zoom-in, we see a picture of the village kids, including Yoon-Young’s mother and the other girls. Is she the killer? Considering she writes mystery novels about female killers, we’re being pushed to believe that she is, in fact, the murderer, but there might be other things at hand!

Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.


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