Twenty-Five Twenty-One: Is Yi-Jin Min-Chae's Father? Theory
Will Hee-Do and Yi-Jin End Up Together on "Twenty-Five Twenty-One"? Fans Are Worried
Watch out! This post contains spoilers.
Netflix's latest Korean romance drama "Twenty-Five Twenty-One" has us hooked already! The series follows Na Hee-Do (Kim Tae-Ri), an 18-year-old high-school fencer, and her budding love story with Baek Yi-Jin (Nam Joo-Hyuk), a diligent 22-year-old college dropout who's struggling amid a sudden financial crisis that bankrupted his formerly ultrarich family.
The story begins in 2021 as a present-day Hee-Do's teenage daughter, Kim Min-Chae (Choi Myung-bin), learns about her mother's high-school life in 1998 through her old journal. While there's a lot we don't know about the present-day Hee-do, the biggest question on fans' minds is who's Kim Min-Chae's father? Did Hee-Do and Yi-Jin make it throughout the years, or did "the times" pull them apart? Is Baek Yi-Jin still in the picture?! Tell us already!
While we might have to wait a few episodes (or even until the end of the series) to get the full picture here, we have some theories about the identity of Kim Min-Chae's father and whether or not Hee-Do and Yi-Jin end up together. Let's break it down.
Is Baek Yi-Jin Kim Min-Chae's Father on "Twenty-Five Twenty-One"?
Kim Min-Chae's family name, Kim, instantly tipped viewers off to the possibility that Hee-Do and Yi-Jin may not end up together and that Yi-Jin isn't Min-Chae's father, since Yi-Jin's family name is Baek. Should we really take it as a clear sign that he's not Min-Chae's father?
While it stands to reason Hee-Do may end up with someone other than Yi-Jin, some fans are convinced that this is a surprise twist written into the show to keep Hee-Do's eventual husband's identity under wraps until the finale and that Yi-Jin is, in fact, Min-Chae's father despite her not sharing his family name.
See, when we jump back to 1998 to follow Hee-Do and Yi-Jin's story in the '90s, we learn that Yi-Jin comes from an ultrarich family that was forced to declare bankruptcy following the 1998 IMF financial crisis. In the blink of an eye, Yi-Jin goes from living lavishly and attending one of the country's top colleges to picking up meager part-time jobs and barely getting by. In episode two, men financially ruined by Yi-Jin's father's business crumbling accost him in an effort to find his father. Considering this, fans believe Yi-Jin will eventually change his name in order to distance himself from his family's reputation and succeed professionally. If that's the case, it doesn't feel like a coincidence that Yi-Jin's mother's family name is Kim. So there's definitely still hope that Yi-Jin is indeed Min-Chae's father.
Is Baek Yi-Jin Dead on "Twenty-Five Twenty-One"?
In episode four of "Twenty-Five Twenty-One," Hee-Do's mother, Jae-Kyung, asks Min-Chae if she knows Yi-Jin while they look at Hee-Do's first photo with Yi-Jin and her friends, to which Min-Chae responds no. Later, Hee-Do and her mother discuss the photo together. Hee-Do fondly says, "[Yi-Jin] was only 22 back then," but her face becomes stricken when Jae-Kyung says, "I met him last month."
Considering Min-Chae says she doesn't recognize Yi-Jin's photo and Hee-Do's reaction when Jae-Kyung mentions "meeting" Yi-Jin a month ago, there's a chance he's dead in the present day (explaining why Min-Chae doesn't know of or recognize him). They believe that when Jae-Kyung says she "met" him a month ago, she means she visited his grave.
If Yi-Jin is dead in present day, he and Hee-Do may have ended up together early on and had Min-Chae together, but he dies shortly thereafter.
Does Hee-Do's Mother Have Dementia on "Twenty-Five Twenty-One"?
There's always the chance all the dialogue hinting at Yi-Jin's death may be a red herring. Some fans pointed out that people may be misinterpreting Min-Chae and present-day Hee-Do's reactions to Jae-Kyung's questions about him, with one eagle-eyed fan theorizing that their stricken reactions may actually be because Jae-Kyung has dementia, and the women avoid talking about present-day Yi-Jin because it may confuse Jae-Kyung.
While this may seem like a stretch, some of Hee-Do's dialogue does suggest Yi-Jin is in her life far beyond the age of 22. If he wasn't, why would present-day Hee-Do say he was "only 22 then" fondly while looking at the photo? Her expression only darkens for a moment when Jae-Kyung mentions meeting him a month ago and brightens again when she discusses her relationship with Yu-Rim. Could this mean Hee-Do knew Yi-Jin when he was significantly older than 22, or even that he's still in her life? In this situation, it's possible Hee-Do and Yi-Jin did end up together, and Jae-Kyung just doesn't remember it at times, explaining why Hee-Do's face darkened when Jae-Kyung mentioned seeing him a month ago (perhaps Hee-Do knows she's seen him often within the past month).
If that's the case, how does one explain Min-Chae not recognizing Yi-Jin, her own father, in Hee-Do's photo? Well, accepting the theory that Yi-Jin has changed his name entirely, it's possible Min-Chae, believing he's someone entirely different than her father, just doesn't look hard enough and doesn't recognize the young Yi-Jin. And, sadly, it's also possible Yi-Jin is alive and well but did not end up with Hee-Do and is just not Min-Chae's father.
So, Will Hee-Do and Yi-Jin End Up Together on "Twenty-Five Twenty-One"?
Even if Yi-Jin ends up not being Min-Chae's father, that doesn't necessarily mean Hee-Do and Yi-Jin don't end up together. After all, "Twenty-Five Twenty-One" is a drama that spans well over 20 years and just about anything can happen in that amount of time on a K-drama. Fans will really just have to wait to see how the plot unfolds across its 16 episodes.
New episodes of "Twenty-Five Twenty-One" drop on Netflix every Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to tune in to see how the mystery of who Min-Chae's father is unfolds.