My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Recap & Theory Analysis


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K-drama “My Perfect Stranger” is a South Korean drama series produced by KBS2 and premiered on May 1, 2023. It is written by Bai Su-yan and directed by Kang Soo-Yeon, who previously worked together on “The Tale of Nokdu” in 2019. The story follows the strange yet beautiful time travel between two imprisoned men and women in 1987. A man searching for the truth behind a series of murders from the past and a woman trying to prevent her parents from getting married become aware that their goals are connected. 

My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Recap

🚗 Continuing from My Perfect Stranger episode 7, Yoon Hae-Joon received a call from Yoo Bum-Ryong informing him of Lee Joo-Young’s death and was shocked. Yoo Bum-Ryong nervously took back the ring he gave to Lee Joo-Young while Yoon-Young found a matchbox and note in Lee Joo-Young’s bag. Of course, Yoon Hae-Joon suspected that Yoo Bum-Ryong was the murderer since he was the first one to find out about her death, but he denied it and claimed that they just had a small chat before she died (he took back his ring yesterday). According to what Yoo Bum-Ryong said, it can be inferred that Lee Joo-Young never left the village. At this time someone called the police, but neither of them knew who did it since there were no people nearby except for themselves. It could only be assumed that the real culprit made the call.

🚗 The next day, Yoon Hae-Joon learned that Kyung-Ae became another victim as well. He couldn’t believe that he couldn’t prevent these murders from happening at all. Meanwhile Soon-Ae woke up without knowing what happened and wanted to cover up Kyung-Ae’s absence with an excuse.

🚗 Yoon Hae-Joon now believes their intervention won’t change anything since both murder cases have different times and locations but same victims which means they cannot stop them from happening again. Moreover, he has never seen where Kyung-Ae was killed – an abandoned hut.

🚗 Baek Dong-Sik noticed both Kyung-Ae and Lee Joo-Young had matchboxes in their belongings with a note saying “a woman reading is dangerous”, which made him wonder about something~ Baek Hee-Seob was also at the scene where Lee Joo-Young’s body was found and had a moment with Ko Mi-Sook, indicating that he might have something on his mind as well.

🚗 Soon-Ae told Yoon-Young to go see her mother because she had become strange after hearing about her sister’s news. Yoon-Young saw that her grandmother was mentally affected and even cut herself, which reminded Yoon-Young of her grandmother passing away long before she was born. She feared that her grandmother might do something foolish, so she didn’t want to go back to square one. For her, the emotions shared with everyone during this period were real unless Yoon Hae-Joon could find a way for them to return to before they knew each other. On the other hand, it was the day when Principal Yoon Byung-Goo welcomed his son Yan-U back home. He heard that Yoon Hae-Joon needed something fixed but at this time he was in deep sorrow and did not meet Yan-U until he heard Soon-Ae’s family looking for Ok-Ja and rushed out directly up the mountain to stop Ok-Ja from jumping off the cliff. He hoped Ok-Ja would survive so that Soon-Ae and their son wouldn’t have to suffer without a mother.

🚗 Yoon Hae-Joon eliminated suspects Yoo Bum-Ryong and Ko Min-Soo through reasoning, leaving Baek Hee-Seob, Baek Yu-Seob, and Ko Mi-Sook who intentionally lied since Ko Mi-Sook knew too much about the case itself. Two hours ago, Ko Mi-Sook made an appointment with Baek Hee-Seob showing him a blue hat saying it could cover his weakness while proposing protection for someone in exchange for getting rid of someone else as well as herself being free from trouble. When Yoon Hae-Jeon and Young went searching at Baek Hee-Seob’s house where they found bloody clothes belonging to him but suddenly heard hallucinations causing him mental breakdown holding onto his head telling them to mind their own business. Later, Baek Dong-Sik came and heard Baek Hee-Seob’s confession and arrested him despite Yoon Hae-Joon telling Young that he didn’t think Baek Hee-Seob was the killer nor would he let her disappear like this.

My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Theory and Analysis

My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Recap & Theory Analysis

Ko Mi-Sook: When do you think people become the most dangerous? It’s when they hold onto the hope that they can correct all their mistakes or cling to the illusion that they can cover up all their errors. Once they fall into that pitiful yet sweet void, at some point, they will suddenly wake up and realize there are no sins in this world that can be redeemed. However, when people understand this fact, it is already too late as fate has already rolled over them mercilessly. The most important thing is actually direction.

This episode portrayed Kyung-Ae’s death with strong emotional depictions, especially when her father appeared at the scene shouting “I want to take Kyung-Ae home.” This scene was really heart-wrenching compared to breakfast time where her father said if Kyung-Ae didn’t collapse drunk on the roadside and had to be sent back by a cart then she wouldn’t be Kyung-Ae anymore. In this episode, the writer-director used a father’s complaint to depict some regrets he had towards his daughter.

As Ko Mi-Sook mentioned in her opening narration, family members should regret not treating Kyung-Ae’s dreams well enough or listening carefully enough about them; not supporting her goals well enough; and not showing enough love and affection for her as a family member (for example, Mom regrets not taking seriously Kyung-Ae’s coquetry towards her nor filial piety now she regrets not hugging Kyung-ae). Similarly Dad also regrets mocking Kyung-ae instead of using money to support her dream. Therefore, both their current remorse and desire for redemption cannot be undone.

However Yoon Hae-Joon’s final appearance trying to stop Ok-Ja from committing suicide shows that he still hopes he can make amends for his past mistakes. Despite his attempts to prevent the two previous cases, they still happened and he had given up thinking that the outcome would never change. But when Yoon Hae-Joon held Ok-Ja’s hand and pulled her away from the cliff, there was a deliberate close-up shot by the director which represented his desire to believe that he could still make amends. When Yoon Hae-Joon suddenly asked Yoon-Young if they should hug each other, their embrace was very touching as there were no words needed but just comfort for each other.

The current case should be clearer now, Baek Yoo-Seob is probably the main suspect, and I think Baek Dong-Sik also knows that the real culprit is not Ko Min-Soo. In this episode, when Baek Dong-Sik saw the paper in the matchbox saying “Women who read books are dangerous,” he seemed to be thinking about something in his heart. None of the other police officers noticed anything wrong with the matchbox, but Baek Dong-Sik immediately realized it was suspicious. After the case was solved, he resigned from his job as a police officer. I believe he is hiding what he knows because otherwise he wouldn’t have gone directly to find Baek Hee-Seob and heard him confess.

What does the matchbox represent? Is it describing the targeted female victims?

My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Recap & Theory Analysis

Yoon Hae-Joon found a matchbox brought by Yoon-Young and discovered that she was also involved in serial killings. He compared one of its notes with another note on his hand and found out they were identical: “Women who read books are dangerous.” (This phrase seems to imply that the killer is a woman who needs to be careful.) It made me instinctively think that Ko Mi-Sook was too obvious as a suspect. (But what I mean is not that Ko Mi-Sook couldn’t be guilty; she could still manipulate others into committing crimes.) However, Lee Joo-Young did indeed like reading books while Kyung-Ae didn’t even enjoy reading but still became a victim. Therefore my previous reasoning based on assuming these notes described victims cannot stand anymore. This may lead us back to speculate that “women who read books are dangerous” might describe why or how someone committed these crimes instead of describing any particular person as being guilty.

If either Baek Yoo-Seob or Baek Hee-Seob really were murderers, then at the end of Episode 8, when Baek Hee-Seob heard the voice saying “You two have to live well,” it was probably their mother. With the paper note in the matchbox saying “Women who read books are dangerous,” this could be a motive for the killer and also a truth that Baek Dong-Sik knows. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have gone directly to Baek Hee-Seob’s house himself; he must have been originally going there to confirm something but ended up hearing Baek Hee-Seob confessing his crime.

My Perfect Stranger Murder Cases Suspect

Regarding Ko Mi-Sook, who is very good at finding other people’s weaknesses, it would be reasonable to speculate that she is the true culprit manipulating people’s minds. This could also explain why Yoon Hae-Joon seemed to be arguing with the real killer when he was killed but still walked ahead of him boldly and angrily. The only possibility is that the real killer was one of his students whom he wanted to argue with.

Although Ko Mi-Sook likes to write suspense novels and all her killers are female, in the first episode she said that she just writes about what she knows well. Could her so-called “familiarity” be the source of inspiration for her writing? Manipulating others to commit crimes and then becoming inspired by them for her novels? In both episodes 1 and 3, Yoon-Young discovered that Ko Mi-Sook often lacked inspiration and had poor writing skills but knew how to use others. Therefore, perhaps these cases were sources of inspiration for her suspense novels – which may explain why she manipulated murders?

In episode 5, some common elements appeared such as Baek Hee-Seob giving Soon-Ae a red flower or Lee Joo-Young receiving a red flower with a note. It feels like someone behind-the-scenes is using these elements to manipulate events.

My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Recap & Theory Analysis

[Note] At that time, there were three male suspects on the list; this was probably used by Ko Mi-Sook as a way to manipulate others into being suspects (or intentionally acting as an executor). Additionally, I think we should also discuss whether “Baek Yoo-Seob” should be suspected along with Baek Hee-Seob:

➊Yoo Bum-Ryong(Ruled out as a suspect)

Yoo Bum-Ryong asked Yoon-Young to deliver a matchbox with a note that only said “Dear…” to Soon-Ae. However, it is questionable what was inside the item hidden by Yoo Bum-Ryong on the toilet wall because this could be a crucial piece of evidence for the police in identifying the killer. It is possible that Yoo Bum-Ryong was helping someone else send love letters and there may have been notes or matchboxes inside (as confessing with matchboxes was popular among male students). He mentioned having other things to write for transfer students, so his target audience wasn’t just Soon-Ae but many others as well. The suspicious thing about Yoo Bum-Ryong is that many items were spread from him, such as matchboxes and notes, as well as the bouquet in episode five which appeared to be sent by him to Lee Joo-Young. He often intersects with cases.

In episode six, he becomes more suspicious because his whereabouts overlap with Lee Joo-Young’s on the day of her disappearance and raises suspicion levels. On that day: ➊Lee Joo-Young finished class at 10 pm and went straight to a tea house (arriving around 10:10) →➋ She stayed there for 20 minutes where she met Baek Hee-Seob wearing a blue duckbill cap (at around 10:20), who seemed to argue with her until around 10:30; however, Baek Hee-Seob had arranged an appointment with Yoo Bum-Ryong instead of Lee Joo-Young and talked about how she was part of communist party activities.(Baek Yoo-Seob originally waited outside but gave his hat to Baek Hee-Seob before leaving without seeing Lee Joo-young; he likely followed her like hiding behind a tree) →➌ After that, Lee Joo-Young returned to the hotel. It is suspicious that she disappeared during this short three-minute journey (of course, Yoo Bum-Ryong went directly to the hotel and overlapped with Lee Joo-Young’s whereabouts). However, Baek Hee-Seob also appeared downstairs at the hotel and met Yoo Bum-Ryong. The reason why Baek Hee-Seob came back was because Baek Yoo-Seob instructed him to check if the lights on the second floor of the hotel were on.

I think Yoo Bum-Ryong is more like someone involved in an off-the-record case. Stealing girls’ things may be a kind of hobby for him, especially since he likes sending love messages to girls. Therefore, he may have been suspected but I don’t think he is as strong a suspect as Baek Yoo-Seob. He might just happen to have such hobbies and be mistaken for a suspect.

My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Recap & Theory Analysis

➋ Ko Min-Soo (Ruled out as a suspect)

Ko Min-Soo, who has scars on his hand, claimed that Baek Dong-Sik framed him for the murder case. He is someone who would act inappropriately towards women (and is also a habitual offender), but he insists that he is not the killer. In the epilogue of episode 3, when Yoon-Young was near the hallway tunnel, just after being released from prison, Ko Min-Soo happened to pass by this area. I speculate that at this time point Yoon Hae-Joon had just finished meeting with Ko Min-Soo after being released from prison and middle-aged Ko Min-Soo turned around to look at Yoon-Young because he had previously made advances towards her. Middle-aged Ko Min-soo returned home to find it empty but looked at family photos of himself with his mother and sister while displaying an eerie smile (this scene seems to suggest that he knows something about the incident involving Ko Mi-sook and may be planning to confront or expose her).

In episode 4 we learn that Ko Mi-sook reported on Ko Min-soo and even told Yoon-Young “Do you think I’m sad or ‘happy’ my brother got locked up?” In episode 5 she expresses happiness over there being no more violence from him since he won’t be able to demand money anymore. Therefore it’s highly likely that she intentionally framed him for the crime in question. In episode 6, Yoon Hae-Joon discovers that Ko Min-Soo lied because during their conversation thirty-four years ago when asked where he was during the incident, he said his mother sent him away deep into mountains without any signal so he wasn’t in Woojung Village; however, Yoon Hae-Joon finds out later on that indeed he was present in Woojung Village. Although Ko Min-Soo didn’t have the opportunity to commit the murder since he had no connection with Lee Joo-Young, and was actually beating up Ko Mi-sook at that time, he is still considered a suspect because of his history of violence towards women. It’s likely that Ko Mi-sook intentionally framed him in order to make him disappear from her life.

The continuous appearance of cases involving Lee Joo-Young and Kyung-Ae in episode 8 seems to prove that Ko Min-Soo is not the killer because when Kyung-Ae pushed him off the bridge, his hand was already injured and painful enough for him to be unable to tie up two struggling victims again unless there were accomplices involved or if he really wasn’t the killer.

➌Baek Hee-Seob & Baek Yoo-Seob

There was a matchbox in his bag (given to him by Baek Yoo-Seob, but it only contained matches and he probably didn’t know about the school’s trend). Yoon-Young understands the unfamiliar father of young Baek Hee-Seob: liking the feeling that young Baek Hee-Seob gives off will indeed give viewers a sense of what happened to make him drink and indulge in self-destruction. “All dads in the world want to teach these things, so I think your dad doesn’t want to miss out. There must be something difficult for him to express.” This sentence reveals that there is something difficult for Baek Hee-Seob’s character to express that will lead him down this path of self-destruction in future timelines.

【Process on day of incident】➊Lee Joo-Young went straight to the tea house after class at 10 pm (arrived around 10:10) →➋ stayed there for 20 minutes and met with Baek Hee-Seob wearing a blue duckbill cap (at 10:20), who seemed to have had an argument with her until 10:30. However, Baek Hee-Seob’s appointment was with Yoo Bum-Ryong, who talked about Lee Joo-Young being a communist sympathizer. (Baek Yoo-Seob was originally at the door of the tea house but gave his hat to Baek Hee-seop and left without seeing Lee Joo-young; it is likely that he followed her like hiding behind trees.)→➌ Later, Lee Joo-Young returned to her hotel room. Suspiciously enough, she disappeared from sight during this short three-minute journey (of course, someone whose movements overlapped with hers was Yoo Bum-Ryong going directly to the hotel). However, Baek Hee-Seob also appeared downstairs at the hotel and met Yoo Bum-Ryong. The reason why Baek Hee-Seob returned was that Baek Yoo-Seob instructed him to check if the lights on the second floor of the hotel were on.

Yoon Hae-Joon’s reasoning for someone who secretly watched Lee Joo-Young behind a tree is “Baek Hee-Seob,” but I originally thought that he went there because he discovered that her ring had been stolen. However, this does not make sense because Yoon Hae-Joon saw Lee Joo-Young wearing a ring on her finger the next day. Therefore, we still do not know why Baek Hee-Seob followed Lee Joo-Young at that time and why he returned to the hotel lobby.

Earlier, I mentioned that Baek Yoo-Seob’s character is suspicious even though he is not on the suspect list. But I remember that after the case began, Baek Dong-Sik suddenly resigned from his position as a police officer and disappeared for thirty years. In addition, Baek Hee-seop himself has an injured foot and appears depressed while drinking heavily; it is possible that Baek Dong-Sik resigned from his job as a police officer because he discovered something about Baek Yoo-seop and left so as not to face this cruel reality. Meanwhile, in this incident, Baek Hee-seop suffered severe trauma and darkness which made him completely different from his sunny self before (in episode six Soon-Ae also shouted: “If you’re like this then take care of him for life.” Therefore out of brotherly love, Baek Heeseop became self-destructive with alcoholism).

My Perfect Stranger victims

5/14 Lee Joo-Young; Lee Joo-Young, Kyung-Ae death case suspicion

The first victim, Lee Joo-Young (intern teacher): Yoon-Young said that she couldn’t possibly know this intern teacher. The director deliberately scanned the intern teacher’s entire outfit with the camera. Yoon-Young remembered seeing a description of Lee Joo-Young in Ko Mi-Sook’s novel. In episode five, when Yoon Hae-Joon touched her by the water, Lee Joo-Young shouted “It’s not me!” and wanted to hide her own experience~Lee Joo-young received a note saying “someone is watching you” and a bouquet of red flowers. She also said on the phone, “Who recognizes me?” So Lee Joo-young’s past may be why she chose to hide it from Yoon Hae-Joon. She has secrets or identities that cannot be revealed to the police. In this case, Yoon Hae-Joon believes that the man hiding behind the tree is most suspicious. However, in Lee Joo-young’s case, Yoo Bum-Ryong is more suspicious.

【Process on day of incident】➊Lee Joo-young went straight to a tea house after class at 10 pm (arrived around 10:10) →➋ stayed here for 20 minutes and met Baek Hee-Seob wearing a blue duckbill cap (at 10:20), who seemed to argue with her until 10:30. However, Baek Hee-Seob was supposed to meet Yoo Bum-Ryong instead and talked about how Lee Jooyoung was a communist spy.(Baek Yu-seob was originally at the door of tea house but gave his hat to Baek Hee-Seob and left without seeing Lee Joo-young. Baek Yu-seob was likely following Lee Joo-young at this time, just like the man hiding behind the tree.) →➌ After that, Lee Joo-Young returned to the hotel. Suspiciously, she disappeared on a journey that only took three minutes (of course, Yoo Bum-Ryong went directly to the hotel with overlapping movements with Lee Joo-Young). However, later Baek Hee-Seob appeared downstairs in the hotel and met Yoo Bum-Ryong. The reason why Baek Hee-Seob came back was because Baek Yu-seob instructed Bai Xi-xi to check whether the lights on the second floor of the hotel were on.

My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Recap & Theory Analysis

Lee Joo-Young and Kyung-Ae Case Suspicion

▶ Lee Joo-Young Case Suspicion ◀

Why was Yoo Bum-Ryong the first discoverer, and why did he have a wound on his forehead? (I think the wound on his forehead was because Baek Hee-Seob beat Yoo Bum-Ryong when he went to the hotel with Soon-Ae the night before. That’s also why Baek Hee-Seob had injuries on his face at the scene of Lee Joo-Young’s murder.) Yoo Bum-Ryong claimed that he met a teacher here after arriving as the first discoverer, chatted for a while, left, and then returned to find that the teacher had been killed.

Why did he call Yoon Hae-Joon? Because he didn’t dare report it to the police. He was afraid that if they found out about his discovery of communist spies without reporting it, they would notice his ring. So instead, he called Yoon Hae-Joon. Yoo Bum-Ryong got a ring from Lee Joo-Young again (although Yoon Hae-Joon had returned it to her). This means that Lee Joo-Young never left the village.

Did Hai Jing witness something? Her face looked serious; could she be the one who reported it to police? (This is just speculation.) Neither Yoo Bum-Ryong nor Yoon Hae-Joon reported it to police but Baek Dong-Sik received an attendance notification. Based on Baek Hee-Seob’s nervous or surprised expression at the scene, it is unlikely that he would be calling for help since if he witnessed anything, wouldn’t calling Baek Dong-Sik be more logical? Especially since in previous episodes we saw him hurriedly preparing some clothes as if they were meant for someone else. Therefore, Hai Jing might be the one who reported it to police, but she may have also witnessed the murder. So could Baek Yoo-Seob really be the killer?

▶ Kyung-Ae Case Suspicion ◀

There were signs of a heavy blow to the back of her head, and Kyung-Ae’s body was found in a relatively distant and abandoned shack that was not mentioned in Yoon Hae-Joon’s investigation report. The person who killed Kyung-Ae is unlikely to be Ko Min-Soo because he fell off a bridge before this incident and broke his hand; he would not have had enough strength to tie up his victim like this.

2021 Soon-Ae Murder Case

Currently, if we combine the motive behind Soon-Ae’s murder in 2021 with Ko Mi-Sook being the most suspicious culprit, it has been 34 years since the time of the crime. The timing of the murder is quite cleverly done by the screenwriter and director. They have made Ko Mi-Sook complain about her lack of inspiration and even discuss a novel that is impressive but lacks a murderer. Based on my own reasoning, Ko Mi-Sook manipulated others to commit murder because she lacked inspiration for writing novels herself. Furthermore, as Ko Mi-Sook’s first novel was brought up for discussion again, she may have felt threatened by Soon-Ae’s existence and decided to eliminate her to simplify matters.

However, this does not necessarily mean that Ko Mi-Sook killed Soon-Ae because she had a habit of peeking at people secretly. Once when Soon-Ae was bullied by classmates, Ko-Mi Sook also hid in bushes while spying on them; hence why her pants were dirty. Perhaps she was hiding nearby during Soon-Ae’s murder too? But then again, this brings us back to another question: Why did Ko-Mi Sook happen to be present at the scene where Soon-Ae was murdered? The only explanation could be that either she manipulated someone else into committing murder or knew who the real culprit was (and had been following them). However, since Ko-Mi Sook hated Ko Min-soo so much initially – perhaps due to jealousy – she pinned all blame on him instead.

My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Recap & Theory Analysis

2022 Yoon Hae-Joon

In episode two there are some questions regarding why Yoon Hae-Joon from 2022 would specifically investigate Woojung Village case if he hadn’t traveled through time himself? So why did someone target him specifically for death near water in Woojung Village? One possible explanation is that as a journalist, he was already investigating the case and thus became a target for the killer. The camera angle doesn’t reveal whether the real culprit is male or female since it’s from an overhead view. Therefore, we cannot rule out the possibility of a female killer. However, based on how the black-clothed attacker deliberately attacked Yoon Hae-Joon while holding something in their hand, I speculate that Yoon Hae-Joon didn’t know he was being targeted by someone else. Perhaps when he met with someone whom he suspected to be involved in some way, he discovered that this person was actually his assailant – someone unexpected and known to him personally – which made him angry and less cautious.

However, Baek Yoo-Seob couldn’t have been responsible for attacking Yoon Hae-Joon because during their high school days at Yoon-Young High School, Baek had been confined to a wheelchair; hence why it would have been impossible for him to walk up and attack anyone.

My Perfect Stranger Episode 8 Recap & Theory Analysis