Person Who Doesn’t Exist
Episode 12 of My Perfect Stranger begins with Yeon-woo demanding an explanation over who Hae-joon is. However, the latter bites back and points out he hasn’t gone to the police and there must be a reason for that. As Yeon-woo tightens his grip on the matchbox, police storm Min-soo’s place and find the red rope and a number of other bits of evidence, including the matchboxes.
Min-soo does seem to have been set up, and while he’s in a world of trouble, Hae-joon and Yeon-woo continue to verbally spar. In fact, he suggests Yeon-woo continue to fix up the car, and in doing so he may just find out who he is. It seems to work and Yeon-woo heads home.
Yoon-young catches up with Hae-joon after, reassuring him and believing that Yeon-woo and Principal Yoon, given they’re both family, can sense an aura around him. Hae-joon admits that he grew up without his parents. His dad would come back every now and then to visit though, but he studied abroad and his mum, as we know, left when he was born and never looked back.
Yoon-young confides in what her nightmares have been about, pointing out that it was the perfect future, with her parents together, everything great and content… but Hae-joon wasn’t there. She looked everywhere but he didn’t seem to be in this timeline – and that’s something Yoon-young couldn’t stand.
Hae-joon has renewed spirits, deciding that they need to work extra hard to save Soon-ae and do what they can to stop any more murders from potentially occuring.
Min-soo is arrested and reporters are all there to snap photos and try to get a statement. Min-soo is completely out of it, and he stumbles into the station and is drunk out of his mind. He wants to know where Mi-sook is but the police believe they have their man… except for Detective Baek.
Something doesn’t sit right with him. First of all, the matchboxes were completely empty and secondly, the handwriting is completely different. Baek demands that the police get their act together and investigate this properly, but the police are more interested in wrapping this up quickly and being done with it.
With Min-soo arrested, Hae-joon nd Yoon-young realize they need to try and find evidence to make sure Min-soo can go free. They need an eye-witness like Hae-kyeong to come forward and corroborate the story and point out where Min-soo was the night of the murders. The thing is, she’s not going to talk any time soon.
In the middle of all this, Beom-ryong speaks to Hee-seob and hands over some jewelry, something he got from the homeroom teacher that belongs to Soon-ae. He wants Hee-seob to hand it to her, given Soon-ae probably doesn’t want to see him.
Beom-ryong struggles to hold it together, telling his former friend that he’s been terrible in the past and needs to repent. Hee-seob suggests he start again from this moment onwards, offering another chance to do better.
Soon-ae and Hee-seob decide to skip school and spend time together. The latter walks Soon-ae back home but her mother happens to be on the rooftop doing the washing and overhears their entire conversation. A chat that sees Soon-ae decide to help out her mum more as she knows she’s having a hard time right now. Since Min-soo was arrested, things have been seemingly calming down a bit.
Min-soo heads in the house and sees her mum making dinner, acting vibrant and as if she’s just come out from a nap. Soon-ae smiles warmly.
Meanwhile, Yeon-woo speaks to Principal Yoon who points out when he first met Hae-joon, which is when he saved those kid from the sniffing glue incident. He was also there to save the kids from a fire and Yoon points out that this is his most defining attribute. Specifically that he’s “oddly cool”. This only makes Yeon-woo more curious over who he is.
That night, Hae-kyeong comes clean to Hae-joon over what she’s hiding. She wanted to protect Mi-sook but after what’s happened to Min-soo, she feels like she needs to speak up. Hae-kyeong admits that she took Mi-sook to Min-soo that night on the bridge. Mi-sook decided to go after all but she’s annoyed about cleaning up after Min-soo, believing that she’s going to get the blame for the injury.
However, as they walk together, they’re forced to hide when they both notice a hooded figure. Hae-kyeong wants to report the murder but Mi-sook decides this is a massive opportunity for them and they should keep quiet. In fact, Mi-sook apparently saw who the killer was but the reason she’s keeping quiet is because Min-soo beat her badly, with bruises all over her chest and stomach. She doesn’t want her family to see her as insignificant and wants Hae-kyeong’s help to frame and destroy Min-soo.
Hae-joon realizes that Mi-sook is not the culprit but another witness. And an important one at that. She saw the killer’s face. However, the phone rings and Beom-ryong sobs down the receiver. It’s about Soon-ae. Something has happened to her. He left school early and found her but passed without an incident. He came back on the mountain and found her missing, with the ring next to her. Hae-joon tries to reassure her, but that’s easier said than done.
In reality, Soon-ae is held captive with a bag over her head and the familiar red rope we’ve seen before. She’s alone, with the killer watching over her, wearing globes and writing out notes on a notepad. He puts the note in a matchbox and places it in Soon-ae’s pocket.
Everyone is out looking for her, but it’s Beom-ryong who finds her first. He tries to help, but in getting her out, the killer attacks with a brick. The pair fight, but unfortunately Beom-ryong gets beaten to a pulp as a result. Soon-ae can only hear the sickening smacks of the brick against skull as she runs away, hands tied behind her back.
With Beom-ryong dead, the killer rushes after her. Now, from the back this looks suspiciously like Yoo-seob. Unfortunately, the killer catches up with Soon-ae as she runs away but he switches lanes and rushes back the opposite direction when he notices Hae-joon close in. Hee-seob and Yoon-young get out the police car that rocks up, while Hae-joon hurries after the killer.
With Soon-ae taken to hospital, Yoon-young follows Baek as he heads the opposite direction – closer toward the murder. It’s Hae-joon who gets there first though, and he sees Beom-ryong dead. He tries to wake him and realizes the boy has been killed. Hae-joon is shocked, and with blood-stained hands, tries to make sense of what’s happened. And unfortunately, the crime scene is eerily similar to that involving Hae-joon himself in the future too.
Detective Baek shows up and believes Hae-joon is the one responsible. Unfortunately, he also finds the matchbox in his pocket with the note, and that’s enough for him to arrest Hae-joon.
The Episode Review
Surely evidence should help get Hae-joon out of this predicament right? The bloody footprint is not a coincidence and with DNA testing on the weapon and Beom-ryong, it should be enough to get him out of this sticky situation. Besides, he has an alibi for that night, including eye-witnesses from Soon-ae’s father and the phone call itself.
However, it’s clear now that the killer is not Mi-sook nor is it Beom-ryong. Some of those shots of the killer from behind look eerily similar to Yoo-seob, don’t they? But then I also think it could be Yeon-woo too. He’s been every bit as entangled as this as anyone and he’s largely flown under the radar up until this point. It could well be that once he fixes the time machine, he heads to the future and kills Hae-joon as unfinished business. And it perhaps would also explain why Soon-ae recognizes him in the present too, along with the matchbox
This has been a solid mystery though and there’s been a lot to like about this one. The story is just starting to tighten the screw and the second half of this chapter has been incredibly exciting. This could actually be a dark horse contender for one of the best K-dramas this year! Let’s hope next week’s double-bill continues that great work.