5 Moments In Episodes 3-4 Of

After an excellent premiere week setting up the major conflicts and mysteries, “My Perfect Stranger” stays in 1987 as our two leads try to plan the best way forward. Yoon Hae Joon (Kim Dong Wook) and Baek Yoon Young (Jin Ki Joo) are understandably wary of each other as two strangers thrown into cohabitation in a decade they don’t belong in, but they’re going to have to trust each other and fast. There’s murder brewing in the sleepy town of Woo Jung, and, surprisingly enough, the key to the truth Hae Joon’s been searching for this whole time may not be among the student body he suspects but with Yoon Young.

Spoilers for episodes 3-4 below.
Warning: brief mention of sexual assault.

1. Yoon Young returns to high school

Hae Joon has an ironclad cover in 1987, but Yoon Young is out of her depth. Given the turbulent political situation at the time, outsiders to a town or city who acted strange were viewed as North Korean spies. Yoon Young certainly doesn’t help matters given how she doesn’t have an ID and hasn’t spent as much time studying the customs and pop culture of the era. Yet, she’s determined to stay in 1987 to watch over her mother Lee Soon Ae (Seo Ji Hye) and asks Hae Joon to pretend that she’s a distant relative who’ll be attending the same high school that Soon Ae attends and where Hae Joon teaches. He’s against the idea but has to do just that when the local police officer Baek Dong Shik (Choi Young Woo) — also a relative of Baek Hee Seob (Lee Won Jung) — comes calling, still believing that Yoon Young is a spy. And just like that, Yoon Young becomes a high schooler in 1987.

Past or present, high school remains a lawless land. Yoon Young quickly makes the cognizance of the local mean girls headed by Kim Hae Kyung (Kim Ye Ji). She also finds that Hae Joon’s nickname is the “5-Second Prince.” Why? Because he looks amazing…until he opens his mouth and spews a series of super old-fashioned rules on how women shouldn’t be out late at night and how studying is best. In reality, Hae Joon does it because he knows that the first murder takes place in three days, but the students just think he’s a bit of an old fart, even if he’s cute.

Yoon Young and Soon Ae bond over their love of books, and Yoon Young wonders what happened for her mother to give up that interest as she grew older. She doesn’t have to wait long to find out. Eavesdropping on a young Go Mi Sook (Ji Hye Won) reveals that she’s been having Soon Ae rewrite all her literature assignments and sucks up to Hae Joon, asking what he thinks of her writing. Hae Joon has no idea that Mi Sook didn’t write it and dryly says that she’ll hit it big if she keeps it up (which he knows). The worst part is that Mi Sook gaslights Soon Ae by says that the work is Mi Sook’s because “anyone can rearrange words.” It’s the same thing she did to Yoon Young in 2021. Soon Ae and Yoon Young basically rewrote the work for her. What Mi Sook fails to grasp is that great writing is more than a great idea; it’s being able to set down a great idea in great language. Otherwise, it’s nothing more than a concept. Yoon Young is furious at Mi Sook for taking advantage of Soon Ae and vows to report it to Hae Joon when Soon Ae fights back. She’s too kind for her own good and supports Mi Sook. Yoon Young has no choice but to stand down, and Mi Sook smirks. Still, Yoon Young warns Mi Sook that she has her eyes on her. Only, Mi Sook warns Yoon Young that the feeling is mutual.

2. Hee Seob being a father three decades too early and three decades too late

Mi Sook isn’t the only person Yoon Young has to contend with in her protection of Soon Ae. Hee Seob is besotted with Soon Ae, and Yoon Young is determined that the disastrous marriage that led to her birth never happens. Hee Seob simply cannot understand why Yoon Young is so opposed to him flirting with Soon Ae, but he tries to anyway, haha. He’s miles from the drunk wastrel in 2021. This Hee Seob has dreams of being in a punk rock band and a whole ton of empathy. When he mutters that Yoon Young must have turned out like this because she doesn’t have parents, Yoon Young happily says that she does in fact have a useless father who never bothered to show up for anything in her life for decades.

Yet, Hee Seob takes that to heart and sweetly takes it upon himself to show Yoon Young some of the best tricks to stand up to bullies that his parents taught him. He says that this is the sort of thing her father should have taught her and is certain that her father must have had some sort of reason for doing what he did. Yoon Young is determined not to be moved by her dad’s younger self, but it’s pretty clear that part of her is starting to wonder just what happened to change this happy-go-lucky man into the one she knows in 2021. It all seems to come back to the series of murders, which unbeknownst to Yoon Young, are about to begin. And not only does she not know that her dad and his best friend were two of the three suspects but that Mi Sook’s brother was the man arrested for the killings.

3. Go Min Soo, the psycho

In 2021, Hae Joon narrowly saved Go Min Soo (2021’s self played by Im Jong Yoon) from taking his life. He genuinely believes Min Soo’s pleas of innocence for one reason: the killings continued after Min Soo’s death. So he’s horrified to find that 1987’s Go Min Soo (Kim Yeon Woo) is a psychopath.

When Yoon Young accepts a ride home from Min Soo, it’s because she’s trying to gather information on Mi Sook. Min Soo doesn’t seem to like his sister much and warns Yoon Young that Mi Sook is brilliant and has already latched into Yoon Young’s weak spot: Soon Ae. Yoon Young expects him to be an ally. She doesn’t expect him to slam her head into the dash or to wake up in a home where he tries to sexually assault her. Hae Joon bursts onto the scene before the crime occurs and sends Min Soo straight to jail. He’s especially shocked because he believed that Min Soo was innocent. Now, he wonders just how much of what 2021’s Min Soo said was true. With barely any time left until the first murder and none of the three suspects acting suspicious, Hae Joon’s out of clues. That is, until the first murder victim shows up.

4. The new teacher

At first glance, little about Lee Joo Young (Jung Ga Hee) makes sense. She’s a student teacher from the prestigious Seoul University, but something about her story doesn’t add up. Her clothes are worn, her shoes scruffy, and her knowledge of current pop culture is quite lacking. Hae Joon knows that she’s going to be the killer’s first victim and asks that she be assigned to work under him so that he can ensure her safety. It’s a hard line to walk because Hae Joon needs to not come off as creepy while keeping an eye on her. But his questions pay off when he notices Joo Young lying in her answers. She pretends to be living with relatives in the area when her case files listed her as having no next of kin. She refuses Hae Joon’s offers of assistance and seems strangely closed off.

Even Yoon Young notices something amiss. Despite even having seen Joo Young before, there’s something strangely familiar about her. Yoon Young and Hae Joon haven’t been sharing any information with each other thus far (understandably so as they’re still strangers), which has resulted in them unwittingly having all the information that the other party needs. Hae Joon is horrified to hear that Joo Young has gone missing a day earlier than she was supposed to, and he wonders if his and Yoon Young’s arrival has changed things in this timeline. He races out to search for her, while Yoon Young realizes where she recognizes Joo Young from: Mi Sook’s first novel. The one her mother very likely wrote. It’s the description of the murder victim in the story.

5. All cards on the table

Despite Hae Joon’s warnings to stay at home, Yoon Young chases after him to tell him that she knows where Joo Young will be. If the book’s events are about to occur, then there’s no one better informed on the matter than Yoon Young, who’s read that book dozens of times. She puts this together with the matchboxes that Hae Joon seems concerned over and the same matchbox she found floating at the scene of her mother’s murder over 30 years later, and she knows that something’s seriously wrong here.

She asks Hae Joon if the murder detailed in Mi Sook’s book is about to happen and if that’s the reason he’s been coming to 1987. And our duo is finally ready to be honest with each other.

Next week promises more revelations and a slow build up to the first killing—unless Hae Joon and Yoon Young can stop it. In the preview, Yoon Young seems convinced that Mi Sook is the culprit. She’s certainly devious enough to be a killer, and her entire list of books involve female killers. But the fact remains that it was Soon Ae who wrote the book that propelled Mi Sook to stardom. So by that logic, would the real killer be shy, sweet, and repressed Soon Ae? The same Soon Ae who has been bullied for years? The scary thing is that it almost makes sense, save for the fact that Yoon Young doesn’t know that her mother was killed in 2021 by the same killer. Here’s hoping that she realizes that soon because it isn’t just 1987’s Soon Ae she has to protect but the mother she lost in the future as well.

It isn’t clear as to what the butterfly effect will be of Hae Joon’s and Yoon Young’s actions. Time continues to flow in 2021, with the adult Min Soo and Mi Sook having a clandestine meeting that hints to a dangerous, shared secret. Just what will Hae Joon find once he repairs his car and heads back? Perhaps next week will tell!

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Shalini_A is a long time Asian-drama addict. When not watching dramas, she works as a lawyer, fangirls over Ji Sung, and attempts to write the greatest fantasy romance of all time. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and feel free to ask her anything!

Currently Watching: My Perfect Stranger,” “Tail of the Nine-Tailed 1938,” “Stealer: The Treasure Keeper,” “Dr. Romantic 3,” and “Black Knight.”
Looking Forward to: “Gyeongseong Creature,” “Ask The Stars,” “The Girl Downstairs,” “The Worst Evil,” “Queen of Tears,” “Vigilante,” “Demon,” “Daily Dose of Sunshine,” and Ji Sung’s next drama.

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