The first 2 episodes of My Perfect Stranger were highly entertaining and set the tone for the time-traveling murder mystery combined with family drama and possibly a hint of romance as well. Yoon-Young’s final decision was to stay back in 1987 so that she is able to help her mother find happiness. Along the ride will she get entangled in something else? Let’s find out.
What Happens In Episode 3?
Hae-Joon believes he’s fixed the car and he can get rid of one of his big problems, Yoon-Young but she says she wants to stay back because she has some unfinished business. Fortunately for her, the car malfunctions again and they have no choice but to stay back. In a flashback we see Hae-Joon speaking to the prisoner Go Min-Soo and asking him if he knew the other two prime suspects in the case. Hae-Joon plans on getting close to the other 2 suspects in 1987 as it is a good starting point for him to discover who the real killer might be. The suspects go to the same school Hae-Joon is teaching at, making clear why Hae-Joon has created a life for himself in Woojung-ri back in 1987. Yoon-Young’s big plan is to get into school and spend time with her mother. She tells Hae-Joon to help her get into school, but before he can tell her how bizarre that sounds, the detective from the club arrives and asks Yoon-Young for her ID. Hae-Joon stops the detective from taking Yoon-Young to the station by saying she’s a student at the school.
On their way to school, Yoon-Young is unable to recollect her social security number making her own life as well as Hae-Joon’s difficult. She promises him that she will try her best to not complicate Hae-Joon’s stay in 1987. But, they are both hiding their own stories from the other; stories that could possibly help the other person figure out their answers more easily. There are 2 new transfer students in the school, Yoon-Young and Hee-Seob (her father), who happens to be the great detective’s nephew. Hee-Seob notices that Yoon-Young is there with her uncle-in-law and so she too has no parents like himself. This makes him connect with her but she is determined to hate on him and keep him away from her mother Soon-Ae. Maybe this has made him fond of her already, but he chooses to teach her a trick that his dad had taught him before he died after she told him that her father was there but never showed up because he was too drunk. She uses the trick on Hae-Kyung the class bully, meaning she does somewhat still care for her father. In the meanwhile, a lot of people think they even look alike.
Hae-Joon is known as the 5-second prince because, for the first 5 seconds of class, he just arrives and acts “princely” before he begins a lecture about how the girls should take care of themselves, remember his phone number and go straight home after school. When Yoon-Young can’t find Soon-Ae during the break, she goes in search of her and finds out that Mi-Sook has been having Soon-Ae edit her essays. In a fit, Yoon-Young blurts out some things about how she’s worked under Mi-Sook for 6 years and should’ve known that she couldn’t even write an essay by herself. She decides to take them to the principal but Mi-Sook yells loudly covering her ears, to which Soon-Ae responds by telling Yoon-Young she does the edits because she likes to. Whatever hold Mi-Sook has on Soon-Ae has to be broken before she becomes the famous author that she is in the future. Later, we even see Hae-Joon complimenting her work and telling Mi-Sook that she will become a great author. He knows this because in the future she is well known, but he doesn’t know that her work is stolen from Soon-Ae. After class, Hae-Joon tells Yoon-Young to wait in the classroom so they can go home together. But, Mi-Sook tells her to “be vigilant” and Yoon-Young follows her out. Mi-Sook has already affected Yoon-Young and Yoon-Young tells her that empty threats are useless for someone who doesn’t have anything to lose, but Mi-Sook seems unhinged. They’re interrupted by Mi-Sook’s older brother who tells her he’s there to drive her home. She says she has some other errands to do, so he should go first and takes a taxi. The young man starts a conversation with Yoon-Young and tells her cryptically that Mi-Sook was not in fact running away but was testing Yoon-Young. She’s interested in hearing more and joins him in the car for a ride home (bad move girl!). After telling her that sometimes people walk into traps voluntarily, he smashes her head onto the glove compartment of the car, rendering her unconscious.
Yoon-Young wakes up in a drowsy state, clutching her head in Mi-Sook’s brother’s house. Before he can do anything to her though, Hae-Joon arrives saving her from the disaster and taking Ko Min-Soo (yes, the guy who was in prison until Hae-Joon brought him out before he committed suicide) to the police. It is evident that this is not the first time he has done this and Yoon-Young had even asked if Mi-Sook knew about it. Min-Soo had replied she probably knew and pretended to be oblivious to it. This means that Mi-Sook probably met her brother in the epilogue of the first episode while “dealing with her unfinished business” in Woojung-ri and they might be on a murder spree together. It is possible that Hae-Joon has only been looking for one person, but this whole time it has been the siblings who have been causing unrest in Woojung-ri. Hae-Joon is upset because he believed the older Go Min-Soo when he said he was not the murderer. Now, he has been arrested before the 14th of May, the day of the first murder, so if the murders still happen, Hae-Joon will focus on the other 2 suspects, who happen to be, Yoon-Young’s father (the transfer student) and his friend Bum-Ryong who was seen giving Yoon-Young one of those bong-bong cafe matchboxes in school.
In an epilogue, we see Go Min-Soo pass a crying Yoon-Young walking away from her mother’s place of death. He reaches his old home (now we know after seeing Yoon-Young wake up there) and smiles viciously, proving he still has something to do with the murders all those years ago.
What Happens In Episode 4?
Hae-Joon is now concerned because things are playing out differently from what he was prepared for. He shows Yoon-Young the matchbox he found in her belongings and asks her why she has it. Yoon-Young tells him she found it by chance. Hae-Joon doesn’t really believe her and apart from saying she found it in the future, she doesn’t mention that it was where her mother died, just the river. They are both determined not to tell the other what they’re doing there causing misunderstandings and distrust within them which could be problematic in the days to come. He heads out to meet the detective and give his statement. He warns Min-Soo to stay behind bars until the dates of the two murders have passed to prove his innocence, but of course, things aren’t adding up for Min-Soo.
When he heads back home he notices Yoon-Young sleeping with an empty candy pack next to her. She hasn’t eaten all day and he heads out knowing she might be pretending to sleep. She follows him out and they end up at a “Ha Ha Cafe” ( it looks like there’s some importance to this cafe and the owner but we don’t know what it is just yet). Because the candy she eats is sweet and salty, he brings sugary doughnuts with soy sauce on the side. Yoon-Young truly relishes the taste and their mood lightens up a bit. Finally, she feels better after everything that went down with her and gets a good night’s rest. She has instructions from Hae-Joon to head to Soon-Ae’s home so they can leave for school together along with breakfast and a lunch to be packed. At Soon-Ae’s house, she’s teary-eyed as she sees her grandparents, uncle and aunt. Soon-Ae’s mother tells Yoon-Young to come by any time and even gives her a lunch box to go. Soon-Ae confesses to Yoon-Young that her dream morning would be to read a book with a hot mug of coffee and Yoon-Young realizes her mother gave her exactly that. Never making her work or leaving her books behind to help out in the house.
Despite being instructed not to be late, the two get late for their school picnic making Hae-Joon worry. Hae-Joon sees Bom-Ryong on the way and asks him to hand out the matchbox he was giving to Yoon-Young the previous day. Typical for South Korea, there is a special importance to this matchbox, a trend in the school to share love letters by placing chits in the little boxes to give to their crushes. Hae-Joon’s task to find the killer becomes more difficult with this fact. According to Hae-Joon, Bom-Ryong is a suspect in the killings because he hid things in the school bathroom stall. When Hae-Joon searched the stall, he was only able to find an empty envelope, meaning whatever was hidden was taken away or that it hadn’t been hidden just yet. Hae-Joon then meets Hee-Seob on the way and notices he doesn’t have any food, giving him money to buy drinks for the whole class and offering his own lunch to the boy. Hae-Joon also asks why Hee-Seob has the matchbox in his bag, because he couldn’t know of the school trend in just one day. Hee-Seob says he was building towers with the matchboxes along with his brother and must’ve picked up one. Hae-Joon then asks a suspicious question to Hee-Seob- Does he still have the “lock”, and Hee-Seob happily answers yes in the heat of the moment, later wondering how Hae-Joon could know about the padlock.
In the meanwhile, Yoon-Young and Soon-Ae begin running for the picnic and Yoon-Young is tired very quickly. Hee-Seob finds Soon-Ae at this time and uses the opportunity to walk with her leaving Yoon-Young behind. She gets caught by Hae-Joon for being late and gets dragged up to the rest of the class. Hee-Seob performs a song for the class, even though he’s never physically played a guitar before (showcasing his natural talent). Everybody is impressed, including Soon-Ae because she had told him she likes guys who are good singers. At the same time, Hae-Joon narrates that the first murder victim had arrived in town. The student assistant teacher stands in front of the class and they all ask her to sing a song. She sings a melancholic song and even though Yoon-Young doesn’t know the song per se, she knows of the song and names it right. Hae-Joon offers the student teacher Joo-Young his number for safety’s sake. She tells him she’ll be fine because she has relatives in the town but he knows this is not true and gives the excuse that he has made all his students memorize the number as well. Yoon-Young notices all the bong-bong cafe matchboxes too and searches for answers in Hae-Joon but can’t find any.
Yoon-Young and Mi-Sook find some alone time and Yoon-Young can see that Mi-Sook hides the facts about her brother at school. Yoon-Young is extremely confused as Mi-Sook even asks Yoon-Young if she believes that Mi-Sook is happy about her brother’s imprisonment. Based on that, she would know if Mi-Sook will use her weakness against her. Yoon-Young asks her what is this weakness that she has found and Mi-Sook says it’s obviously Soon-Ae, but she can’t yet figure out the reason for it.
What Great Secret Does Yoon-Young Discover?
At home, Yoon-Young finds herself wondering more and more about Joo-Young, the student teacher. At the same time, Hae-Joon gets a call from the chief and principal saying he can’t get in touch with the young woman. Hae-Joon is immediately flabbergasted and rushes out of the house to look for her. Then, Yoon-Young realizes what felt so familiar about Joo-Young, she had read about it in the book she was editing. The song she sang and the wooden ring on her index finger. Yoon-Young has an eerie feeling when she realizes that Mi-Sook might be writing the true story of the people she killed through her novel. Joo-Young titled her first “fascinating death”.
Hae-Joon heads straight to the prison to check about Min-Soo but he isn’t there anymore. Hae-Joon heads to his house but only finds Mi-Sook there. Not sure what realization hits him, but Yoon-Young realizes she should head to the bust stop as that is the next mentioned spot in the novel. They find each other there and decide that they must tell each other their whole truths in order to make things work and save the town and Yoon-Young’s mother (which she hasn’t realized just yet). In the background, we hear how Mi-Sook picked Joo-Young, at first sight, that day because of her strange appearance and behavior.
In the epilogue, we find out that there was a witness at Min-Soo’s crime scene and it is possible this could’ve been Soon-Ae based on everything that has gone down till now, but what doesn’t make sense is why Mi-Sook would wait so long to kill her. The older Mi-Sook appears at the old house where Min-Soo is already there and tells him again that, “If you walk towards one thing desperately, you fall into traps easily” possibly referring to the witness or Min-Soo returning to the house soon after being released from prison for crimes he didn’t commit. Now the question lies, does Min-Soo know his sister murdered all those people or if he was in fact her right-hand man? We will find out in the next episode of My Perfect Stranger.