Since Twenty Five Twenty One’s premiere on February 12, 2022, we’ve all been lying awake at 3 AM with one question in mind: “Who on earth is Kim Min Chae’s dad?”
Because the daughter’s last name is “Kim” (which is neither Yi Jin’s nor Hee Do’s last name) and she doesn’t recognize Baek Yi Jin (Nam Joo Hyuk) from old photos, fans have been losing their minds over the past few weeks trying to figure out a reasonable explanation for it all.
Good news, Twenty Five Twenty One Nation, there are plenty of theories that prove our #BaekDo ship is sailing to the land of happily-ever-after.
Here are 10 theories that prove Baek Yi Jin and Na Hee Do (Kim Tae Ri) are endgame!
THEORY 1: Min Chae Doesn’t Recognize Yi Jin Because He Looks Way Different Now
The moment Kim Min Chae didn’t recognize Yi Jin in the old photo albums, we all felt like it was game over. Or is it?
K-drama enthusiasts who’ve watched the series 18 Again would know how shows love depicting characters as completely unrecognizable after just a few years. Maybe present-day Ji Yin looks nothing like 20-something Yi Jin, which explains why Min Chae did not recognize him at all.
*Keeping our fingers crossed that present-day Yi Jin is still pretty, nonetheless*
THEORY 2: Baek Yi Jin is Adopted
In episode 10 of Twenty Five Twenty One, we were all probably too busy bawling our eyes out at the touching conversation between Baek Yi Jin and his dad to notice every single detail.
When his father said “You were my greatest consolation 10 years ago, and you still are now,” fans began to assume that Baek Yi Jin is adopted. Considering he was 23 years old at the time of the conversation, it could mean that he was adopted and became part of the Baek family 10 years ago.
To support the theory that #BaekDo is endgame, there’s a possibility that Baek Yi Jin’s real last name is “Kim,” which explains why the daughter is named “Kim Min Chae.”
THEORY 3: His “Kim Do Hee” Pseudonym on the Newspaper
Props to the eagle-eyed fans who spotted this vital Easter egg here. If you zoom in on one of Twenty Five Twenty One’s promotion stills where miniature #BaekDo is posing on top of newspapers and diaries, you can see that one article was written by “Kim Do Hee.”
(Sorry, some of us have bad eyesight and are still at level one in our online Hangul lessons, which explains why not everyone could’ve spotted this. Mianhae…)
Who could have possibly written this news article if not Twenty Five Twenty One’s resident reporter himself, Baek Yi Jin?
Fans think “Kim Do Hee” is an alias that Yi Jin uses later on as a reporter, clarifying Min Chae’s last name.
THEORY 4: The Child in the Background that Says “Appa”
Proving that the Twenty Five Twenty One Nation isn’t just eagle-eyed but also eagle-eared (really, we’d give the FBI a run for their money), fans were quick to notice an audio snippet from episode 14 that might prove Baek Yi Jin is Kim Min Chae’s dad.
During the interview that seemingly shattered all hope for #BaekDo shippers, there was actually an inconspicuous Easter egg that might just revive our broken hearts.
During the interview, Na Hee Do asks Baek Yi Jin “Have you been well?” Before he gets to say “yes,” you’ll hear a baby in the background that says “appa.” Fans think this is baby Min Chae at two years old (since she was born in 2007) who tagged along with Baek Yi Jin to the NBS studio and recognized him on the screen. Since her mom, Na Hee Do, was abroad for a tournament, she had to come with Yi Jin to the studio.
THEORY 5: The Last Name “Kim” Was Used To Protect Their Reputation (H2)
We know what you’re thinking: If Baek Yi Jin really is the dad of Kim Min Chae, what’s with all the fuss and him congratulating Na Hee Do on her wedding during the 2009 UBS News interview?
This all has to do with the fact that a sports reporter being involved with a national athlete would be heavily frowned upon and would be called a “scandal” *major eye roll*. This could explain why #BaekDo decided to name their daughter “Kim Min Chae,” to protect her from public scrutiny and to carry on with their careers without being mocked by judgy people.
THEORY 6: Baek Yi Jin Dies (H2)
Okay, so we know this got dark so quickly and that this article was supposed to give all the theories that point towards a happy ending for #BaekDo, but this is one theory that could explain why Kim Min Chae did not recognize Baek Yi Jin in the photo album — while justifying the fact that he could still be her dad.
Baek Yi Jin is alive and well in 2009, when Min Chae was two years old. The reason why her 14 year-old-self doesn’t recognize Baek Yi Jin in the photos could be that he died when she was still too young to remember his face clearly.
There’s a possibility that Na Hee Do, taking after her mother (Shin Jae Kyung) who tried to erase all memories of her late husband, does the same when Yi Jin passes away. Perhaps Na Hee Do remarried and never really told Min Chae much about her real dad. (Jebal, tvN, please don’t do this.)
THEORY 7: Kim Min Chae is Adopted and Baek Yi Jin Works Abroad or for NASA
Another theory that explains it all would be if Kim Min Chae is actually adopted. In an earlier episode, she receives a ballet dress from her “dad” who is seemingly not very present in her life.
One possibility could be that Baek Yi Jin is extremely busy working abroad as a reporter or finally landed his dream job for NASA in outer space. The reason why Min Chae doesn’t recognize him from old photos is because she’s yet to meet her adoptive dad in person.
THEORY 8: Na Hee Do Never Told Baek Yi Jin That They Have A Daughter
If Na Hee Do had the audacity to do this, we’re canceling her this time (Last week, we canceled Baek Yi Jin. Read our review of ep.14 to know why!)
But seriously, what if Kim Min Chae is Baek Yi Jin’s daughter, but Na Hee Do never told him because of some dream job opportunities?
We all know that it’s Baek Yi Jin’s goal to be successful enough to bring his entire family back together, and this could be the reason why Na Hee Do doesn’t want to hold him back.
Then the finale could be all about present-day Na Hee Do and Baek Yi Jin finally meeting each other again, and the latter discovering they have a daughter. This would be an ending that we’d all frown upon *yawn*, but you never know what might happen! (Jebal, tvN, please don’t do this either.)
THEORY 9: Kim Min Chae is Ko Yu Rim’s Daughter
Twenty Five Twenty One Nation has been looking at the possibility of Kim Min Chae being Ko Yu Rim’s daughter after seeing this painting in Na Hee Do’s childhood room in 2021. The artwork seemingly depicts one woman handing over her baby to another woman.
Fans began to speculate that Ko Yu Rim passed away and it was her wish that her close friends Na Hee Do and Baek Yi Jin take care of her daughter. (We got goosebumps just thinking of this scenario. We’ll never survive the pain if this happens.)
THEORY 10: Kim Tae Ri and Nam Joo Hyuk Were Filming at a Women’s Hospital
Back in October 2021, it was reported that Kim Tae Ri and Nam Joo Hyuk were spotted filming for Twenty Five Twenty One at Cheongra Good Hospital in Incheon, which is a maternity hospital.
Because we believe #BaekDo should materialize against all odds, this easily points out that this is where they filmed the scenes of Kim Min Chae’s birth. Unless Baek Yi Jin is the dad, what on earth would he be doing at the maternity hospital? We doubt he’d be there for “moral support” for Na Hee Do and her husband. We all remember how jealous Yi Jin gets when Na Hee Do talks to other guys, right? The tale of the abused, innocent table umbrella, anyone?
Grab Your Popcorn and Your Tissues
With the finale of Twenty Five Twenty One arriving soon it’s time to decipher which theories will turn into facts.
So, grab your popcorn and your tissues (really, the fantastic writers have made us spend so much on tissues from the very beginning) and find out where our emotional investment in this incredible series will take us!
Will #BaekDo really be endgame? Or will we spend the rest of our lives crying over the best fictional couple in K-Drama history that never happened? Whatever happens, our hearts belong to #BaekDo —and #BaekDo only. (Jebal, tvN)
Find out when the finale airs on April 3, 2022 at 11pm KST!