‘My Perfect Stranger’ Ending, Explained: How Will Yoon-Young And Hae-Joon Return To The Future?

The last episode of Korea’s Back To The Future aired this week. We’re excited to discuss everything that went down in My Perfect Stranger, especially in that last episode. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get to see more of Yoon-Young and Hae-Joon together because they’re quite an adorable pairing whose relationship really grew through the series, just as did our liking for them together. It’s a medium-paced drama with mystery, lots of family drama, some romance, and a lot of cuteness. It’s the perfect K-drama because it’s a mix of all the genres out there while simultaneously being entertaining and not over the top. Jin Ki-Joo has got to be the highlight of the show because of her adorable smile and loveable nature as Yoon-Young. She’s always a delight to watch, and if it weren’t for her, My Perfect Stranger may have come across as a little dull. The show is quite cliched, but that isn’t a bother when the actors have great chemistry with each other, and we begin to appreciate all the families involved. It’s quite an unserious show in terms of the sci-fi side of things and focuses more on the family and friendship dynamic than one can imagine. Ultimately, it’s a show that teaches people to be understanding of their loved ones.

Spoilers Ahead


What Happens In The Show?

A journalist named Hae-Joon picks up an abandoned time-traveling car in the year 2021 on a rainy day. The car has a manual with instructions, and Hae-Joon decides to give it a try. He realizes it actually works and finds himself in the future. He’s supposed to have been murdered in the year 2022, and it’s a serial killer who has been around since 1987 who kills Hae-Joon, so he makes his way to 1987. There, he creates an identity for himself in order to find out the truth behind the murderers. In the present day, Hae-Joon knows that the person in prison is a falsely accused man, so he goes back to question him about what exactly happened. At the same time, a woman named Yoon-Young finds herself getting distant from her mother and engrossed in work. She works for a famous author named Go Mi-Sook, who is a terrible boss and essentially makes Yoon-Young do all the work for her. Yoon-Young has a huge fight with her mother and ends up turning off her phone and running away from her problems. She spends the whole day this way, gets fired, and, to her utter shock, finds out that her mother is dead. It’s deemed a suicide, and a devastated Yoon-Young can’t fathom why her mother would do such a thing. She blames herself and her alcoholic father. Yoon-Young finds a matchbox near where her mother was found and keeps it with herself for some reason. Finally, when she’s walking back home, she hears some music and ends up getting hit by a car. It’s Hae-Joon’s car, and both of them end up together in 1987.

Yoon-Young finds her own way in 1987 and gets separated from Hae-Joon to find herself face-to-face with a young version of her mother. When Hae-Joon finally finds her and saves her from being arrested, he tells Yoon-Young that they have to stay there a little longer than anticipated because the car has broken down. Yoon-Young is happy for the opportunity to make sure her mother leads a happy life without her father, essentially wanting to remove herself from existence. Hae-Joon, on the other hand, is in the past to make sure that he can find his murderer and end things in 1987 once and for all. He is a Korean language teacher in a small town called Woojung-ri, and Yoon-Young says she will pretend to be a student so that she can be near her mother too. Coincidentally, the matchbox found by Yoon-Young has a connection to the murders that occurred in 1987, making the two of them believe her mother might have, in fact, been murdered. They decide to work together, and we learn a lot of things in the meantime.


Who Are Hae-Joon And Yoon-Young, Really?

Hae-Joon is the townhead’s grandson. Mr. Yoon’s son, on the other hand, was in the US studying, and Hae-Joon spends most of his time in 1987 with his grandfather. Mr. Yoon never knew who Hae-Joon was, of course, but he liked him from the get-go. Later on, Hae-Joon tells him and Detective Baek the truth so that he can help them solve the mystery of the killer. Hae-Joon even attempts to save the two victims from dying, but he’s not thorough enough in his search and ends up being wrong about the killer at first. In the mentime, we find out that Yoon-Young is Soon-Ae and Hee-Seop’s daughter. Hee-Seop is Detective Baek’s nephew and moved into town in 1987. While initially, Yoon-Young didn’t want her parents to end up together, after getting to know a whole new Hee-Seop she changed her mind. Hee-Seop was one of the suspects in the murders, along with his brother, but it turned out to be all fake. Yoon-Young and Hae-Joon don’t just prove their innocence but also save Hee-Seop from having a permanently crippled leg, changing the trajectory of his life completely. Soon-Ae’s sister is one of the two victims of the murderer, and alas, Hae-Joon and Yoon-Young were not able to save her.


Who Is Mi-Sook?

Go Mi-Sook is the author Yoon-Young worked for in 2021. She was actually friends with Soon-Ae, Yoon-Young’s mom, in high school. It turns out that Mi-Sook stole Soon-Ae’s work and published it under her own name in 1987. This happens to be Yoon-Young’s favorite book, and she helps Soon-Ae get her book published under her own name. Mi-Sook isn’t necessarily a bad person, but due to circumstances, she ends up making poor decisions. Her brother Min-Soo used to abuse her, and when she found an opportunity to pin the murderers on him, she did. Beom-Ryong, one of their classmates, ended up dead because of her mistake, and Soon-Ae, too, was kidnapped. If she had told the truth about the killer, they wouldn’t have been hurt.


Yeon-Woo And Chung-A

Hae-Joon didn’t know who his mother was when he grew up, and he was not very close to his father either. Through his time in 1987, though, Hae-Joon learns that Yeon-Woo was seeing a woman named Chung-A, who was the owner of the Bong Bong Cafe at the time. His feelings for her went from resentment to empathy by the end of the show. Chung-A left Hae-Joon in his grandfather’s care because she was afraid that he would turn out like Yeon-Woo, his father. It is revealed in episode 15 that Yeon-Woo was the murderer the whole time, and that is why Hae-Joon possibly got the task of solving this great mystery. The second time around, since Hae-Joon’s grandfather knows the truth too, he can take good care of his grandson and not abandon him as a murderer’s son.


Bong Bong Cafe

A big clue in the mystery was the matchbox from Bong Bong Cafe that was found near all the victims. The matchbox had a note inside that read something along the lines of “Women who read are dangerous”. Yeon-Woo wrote these words because he resented his mother for abandoning him. The handwriting in these matchboxes was a match to the letters he wrote to Chung-A, so that’s how Detective Baek could keep Yeon-Woo in prison for these murders. The cafe was a great meeting place for everyone in Woojung-ri, and Chung-A decided to leave because she realized who the murderer was after seeing the note. She had just found out she was pregnant, though, so she never told anybody the truth.


Where Did The Time Machine Come From?

Yoon-Young and Hae-Joon don’t get through to 2021 after they’ve said their goodbyes and everything is taken care of. While Hae-Joon is trying to figure out how to fix the car and head back. Yoon-Young gets another day to spend with her family. She spends the day with Soon-Ae and Hee-Seop, learning how to bike from her father and having a picnic, two things she never got to do in all her life earlier. At the same time, she convinces Hae-Joon to spend some more time with his family and actually says goodbye before leaving this time around. Hae-Joon speaks to his grandfather and takes him fishing. He tells him honestly that he only needs his grandfather to take him fishing once in a while. Hae-Joon also meets his mother one last time and tells her to forgive herself for abandoning her child. He tells her to live freely and with joy in her heart. Finally, he has forgiven her for everything, and he will not resent her anymore.

In truth, Hae-Joon doesn’t know anything about the car because he didn’t make it; he just picked it up. Hae-Joon tells Yoon-Young that there was somebody who gave him a strange call the day they both traveled back in time. Now, that person shows up, reminding Hae-Joon why he was the only person who could’ve set things straight. It was Hae-Joon’s son who made the time machine. He tells his father that he didn’t die in 2022. We were made to see that Hae-Joon’s body had gone missing after he was murdered, and that was because his son, who had come back from the future, had saved him. We’re not entirely sure of this answer, but we’re going to have to go with it. This secret future for Hae-Joon was the reason all of this began.

Back in 2021, everything was as expected for both of them. Soon-Ae is a famous writer, and Yoon-Young lives in a happy family with a present father. They have a huge house, and Yoon-Young helps her mother edit her novels. Even though Yoon-Young’s parents question how their daughter and her boyfriend both look like people from their own past, they never find out the truth. She also begins to write her own novel titled “A Stranger I Happened Upon,” which translates to the Korean title of the show, so we can also say her book is called My Perfect Stranger. Yoon-Young happens upon Mi-Sook as well, who looks to be in better shape than before. Yoon-Young’s wish for her is that she doesn’t lie as much anymore. As for Hae-Joon and Yoon-Young, things are bright and sunny, and they live happily ever after. Or so we think, because they decide to go back to 1987 one last time, as there’s just one more ride remaining in the car. It’s May 16th, the day everything began, and since they know who the culprit is, they might be able to save everyone this time around. My Perfect Stranger ends with Hae-Joon telling Yoon-Young that it was destiny and not a coincidence for them to meet. Seeing his son made him believe in such a thing, and as long as they’re together, everything will be fine!


Could There Be A Second Season?  

My Perfect Stranger was a fun show that grew on us slowly. It was emotional and had a deep connection to familial love. Of course, there was no need to have any expectation of real sci-fi for a family drama as such. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see more of the future in 2021 and meet their son again in the distant future. If there were to be another season, it could revolve around their family, but all the loose ends have been tied to this particular story. We never understood why Yeon-Woo tried to kill Hae-Joon in 2022, though, and that’s something that could’ve been explored more. Another thing is how did Yoon-Young and Hae-Joon’s memory change; what new things did they learn, and how much of the past do they remember after going back to 2021? Considering it is a drama, as long as the leads end up together and happy, it should all be fine, so that’s how we’re going to think as well! Most probably, we won’t be having a second season of My Perfect Stranger.


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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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