My Perfect Stranger: Episodes 11-12
For once, things are looking up for our time travelers, and they bask in their well-earned successes. But all good things must come to an end, especially with a serial killer on the loose. Our duo once again find themselves a step behind, and to make matters worse, the townspeople are starting to notice that a certain teacher is always in the eye of the storm.
This week we finally start questioning the killer’s motive, something you’d think would have been higher on the investigative priority list. Whoever the killer is, they are particularly obsessed with female literacy and its outcome. Both victims were carrying books with them when they died, and of course there’s the note about the dangers of women who read. The fact that Yoon-young is a book editor, Mi-sook a future novelist (in name), and Soon-ae an aspiring novelist also seems relevant.
It’s of note that both women who have been murdered so far were highly self-expressive. Joo-young was a teacher-in-training at the most prestigious university in the nation and was a known government protester. Kyung-ae was often derided for her boldness and her desire to be famous; before she died, she asked Soon-ae to name drop her in one of her future novels since the written word lasts forever. Tying things together is a telling comment that Mi-sook makes about how women who read start thinking of themselves as main characters in their own stories. Whether there’s a specific reason or if it’s just general misogyny, it’s safe to say the killer hates women having autonomy or power.
For now, we jump back into the mom mystery with Hae-joon coming face to face with the two mom candidates. Surprisingly, we get immediate confirmation that Yeon-woo’s girlfriend is indeed Chung-ah, and there’s little doubt she’s Hae-joon’s mother. Both her and Yeon-woo admit to feeling strange around Hae-joon. Even his name gives them pause – they’d once talked about naming their future child Hae-joon.
Hae-joon is shaken by finally learning who his mom is, and he ends up talking to Yoon-young about it. He opens up to her about being raised by his grandfather Principal Yoon who ignored and disliked him, while his father only dropped by a couple of times a year during his time off as a professor in the States. Hae-joon never made any effort to find the mom who chose to abandon him, but maybe a part of him was curious. Now, he can truly put it behind him.
Given how fond of Hae-joon Principal Yoon is in 1987, it’s strange that he was so cold toward Hae-joon while he was growing up. Hae-joon seems like one of his favorite people in 1987 – he’s always bragging about how he saves people and how they resemble each other. There’s clearly more to their family story.
Up until now, it’s been Hae-joon comforting Yoon-young over family troubles, but now it’s her turn. And she takes it a step further because Yoon-young is not one for holding anything back. She gets to give the typical hero’s confession, telling Hae-joon she cares for him and can’t imagine a future without him in it. Because we have no time for noble idiocy or repressed feelings here, Hae-joon lets her know he feels the same way. He walks toward her… and they hug. A little anticlimactic, but they are in a dire situation and have no idea if they’ll both make it to the future. Plus, their cover story is that they’re relatives, so maybe keeping things on the chaste side is a smart move.
On the investigative front, they tie up loose ends with Yoo-seob who clarifies how Kyung-ae ended up at that abandoned house. It was his and Joo-young’s hideout, and when she stumbled on it, rather than turning them in, Kyung-ae helped them and kept them company. The night she was murdered, she’d brought them Jane Eyre (written by another one of those pesky female authors with ideas) at their request.
In all the murder mayhem, Yoon-young forgot about the other impending crime: Mi-sook’s novel theft. Everyone is blindsided by Mi-sook’s sudden “discovery” as the next new it girl of the literary world. She had Soon-ae’s book secretly published and is raking in praise for her literary genius. Soon-ae barely even tries to fight, assuming she’ll lose and drag her family into the mud, but Yoon-young isn’t so easily cowed. She rallies Hee-seob and Soon-ae’s parents who jump into action, convincing Soon-ae to fight.
Yoon-young goes with Soon-ae to the publishing house where they present her many drafts as proof that the novel is hers. Miracle of all miracles, the editor listens to her and agrees to recall the copies in print and reprint the novel under Soon-ae’s name. And just like that, Soon-ae has now realized her dream of being a novelist. Yoon-young is ecstatic that her parents’ futures now are bound to be different, and her mom is on a new path.
Mi-sook does not take this failure well and is at the end of her rope, desperate to change her fate. She goes forward with her plan to frame Min-soo for the murders and tells the police she’s an eyewitness. That turns out to be half true from what Hae-kyung tells Hae-joon. The two girls did witness Joo-young’s murder, although only Mi-sook appears to have seen the man’s face. Mi-sook is now in the clear; her novel is based on a murder she witnessed, not one she committed.
Meanwhile, things take an unfortunate turn when Yeon-woo finds Yoon-young’s matchbox containing the incriminating letter inside Hae-joon’s house. So now Hae-joon looks like the culprit. Yeon-woo confronts him and while he doesn’t fully trust Hae-joon, Yeon-woo doesn’t go to the cops.
Things get worse when Bum-ryong makes yet another late-night phone call to Hae-joon, crying that Soon-ae is missing. He’d run into her on the mountain earlier that day – Kyung-ae and Joo-young’s ashes were spread there – but she’d never arrived home. Hae-joon and Yoon-young jump into action, mobilizing Hee-seob and Dong-shik (and therefore the cops) to join the search.
Once again, Yoon-young and Hae-joon’s tampering with events has resulted in an entirely new situation, this time turning Soon-ae into the killer’s next target. He has her tied in the abandoned house, her own published novel beside her. (All that interference on Soon-ae’s behalf better not end up just getting her killed sooner…)
Ironically, it’s Bum-ryong who comes to her rescue. He finds her and attacks the killer, yelling at Soon-ae to run. He buys her time to get away, but he’s not so lucky. The killer brutally murders him and then chases after Soon-ae. When Hae-joon and the cops arrive, the man runs with Hae-joon hot on his heels.
Hae-joon loses sight of the killer but stumbles across Bum-ryong’s body lying in a mirror pose to Hae-joon’s body in the future. Hae-joon stares in shock as he recalls Bum-ryong’s final words about how helping Soon-ae could be his chance at redemption. Dong-shik arrives to find Hae-joon standing motionless by Bum-ryong’s body with blood on his hands and Yoon-young’s matchbox (complete with note) inside his pocket. We end as Yoon-young arrives in time to see Dong-shik leading Hae-joon away in handcuffs.
That all went spectacularly awry. Given how much Hae-joon and Yoon-young have been involving themselves, it was only a matter of time before people started getting suspicious and drawing the wrong conclusions. Now there’s a new victim and the cops have arrested yet another not-murderer while the real murderer escapes. Since half the townsfolk have been either ruled out or picked off, there’s only so many options left. You wouldn’t think finding a man who hates literate women with main character energy would be so difficult.
- Premiere Watch: My Perfect Stranger
- Jin Ki-joo searches for My Perfect Stranger
- Driving through time in Run Into You teaser
- Jin Ki-joo is trapped with Kim Dong-wook in Run Into You
- Kim Dong-wook might Run Into You in new KBS fantasy
- Kim Dong-wook drives Jin Ki-joo back to 1987 in You, Whom I Met By Chance