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Thirty-Nine: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread

In the wake of the tragic news, our clinic director struggles to cope and her strange behavior begins worrying those around her. Her almost-beau steps up to the plate and does his best to console and support her as she tries to figure out how to break the tragic news to her friends. Meanwhile, our cosmetics counter manager gets closer to her neighborhood restaurant owner.

 
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

Before picking up where we left off last week, we get a retroactively sad flashback where the trio talks lightheartedly about who will hold their funerals and decide that Chan-young will live longest. Then, we’re back to Mi-jo stumbling out of Jin-seok’s office.

Sun-woo makes me like him even more this week with his gentle care in the wake of Mi-jo’s concerning meltdown. He follows her out because she’s obviously not okay and in no state to drive safely. She wants to see Chan-young, so he drives her there without question.

Sohn Ye-jin does a great job conveying Mi-jo’s shock and pain through her dead-eyed stare and volatile emotions. She goes from numbness to rage after she arrives at Chan-young’s and overhears Jin-seok’s wife KANG SUN-JOO (Song Min-ji) berating Chan-young for her relationship with Jin-seok. When Sun-joo makes a comment about Chan-young needing to live well in her remaining years, Mi-jo physically attacks her.

Needless to say, everyone around Mi-jo is concerned for her at this point with her out-of-character behavior and soulless eyes. She insists she’s fine which is an obvious lie. It’s Sun-woo who manages to get the truth out of her the next day and does what he can to support her emotionally while she figures out how to tell Chan-young.

I find it disconcerting that, for some reason, the duty for telling Chan-young about her terminal illness falls to Mi-jo rather than Chan-young’s doctor. And why was she told before Chan-young anyway? She’s not even a family member!

Regardless, knowing the truth, it’s hard to watch Chan-young happily visiting her parents and talking about how she’ll care for them when they get old. When Mi-jo finally does tell her, Chan-young takes it in stride. Chan-young did order a CT scan, so she seemed to know something might be up. She stays calm even when her doctor tells her she has a less than 1% chance of survival.

One note on filming style – what is with the jerky camera work? It was particularly noticeable during the scene when Mi-jo tells Chan-young about her diagnosis. That should’ve been a very emotional scene, but I was so distracted by the shaking camera that it lessened the impact. I even checked to see if it was my computer. There are some artsy tendencies in the filming, so maybe it’s an attempt at flair gone awry.

Moving on, Chan-young and Mi-jo once again butt heads, but this time it’s because Chan-young decides she won’t get chemo. She chooses to live her estimated six months as normally as possible rather than spend them in a hospital, especially since chemo would only buy her an extra six months.

Meanwhile, Joo-hee is obliviously having a streak of good luck. Her mom, who had cancer but has been in remission, got a clean bill of health. Adding to her good mood, Joo-hee even won about $7,000 in the lottery.

There’s an odd sense of detachment with Joo-hee’s character, as if she’s in another drama. She feels like a side character, which has been bugging me. She hasn’t gotten nearly the depth and attention Mi-jo and Chan-young have, but I started to think that might be intentional.

When Mi-jo and Chan-young meet up with Joo-hee after the hospital appointment, she knows something’s up. Joo-hee calls them out for always keeping her out of the loop and is annoyed that others treat her like she’s fragile. I hope this signals that she’ll get her own time to shine and won’t be forever relegated to the sidelines.

After learning the truth, Joo-hee ends up bonding with Hyun-joon over drinks at his restaurant after hours. Despite her drunken scene at his restaurant nights prior – apparently, Joo-hee has a habit of getting overly drunk – he’s still friendly with her, and they decide to be each other’s neighborhood confidants.

She tells him about Chan-young, and he tells her about his relationship troubles. Honestly, I like their strange friendship and don’t know that I want the drama to couple them off. It probably will, but we’ll see.

Meanwhile, in an ironic twist, Jin-seok chooses now to ask his wife for a divorce. He’s finally had enough, especially after she starts causing more problems. She pressed charges against Mi-jo for the assault, although Jin-seok gets her to drop them with some ominous threats about knowing something.

It turns out, that something is quite huge. The entire reason Jin-seok married Sun-joo was that she got pregnant, but he later discovered the child isn’t biologically his. Even knowing the truth, he’s kept quiet for years. In fact, Jin-seok only stayed married to Sun-joo because he doesn’t trust her to raise their son – she’s apparently not a great mom.

I have to admit, Jin-seok won major points with me this week. Not saying his behavior towards Chan-young wasn’t selfish, but his love and dedication toward his kid make me think he’s not all bad. He’s even planning to fight for custody in the divorce.

He tells Chan-young the truth about his son and that he’s getting a divorce. She can’t believe the timing and begs him to reconsider, telling him about her diagnosis. Jin-seok completely breaks down in grief, and they hold each other while they cry.

In the following days, Mi-jo drives Chan-young crazy by following her everywhere – driving her places, making her meals, calling her all the time. Joo-hee, in a sweet yet horrifying move, rips up her winning lottery ticket in the hopes of passing her luck to Chan-young.

Although Mi-jo has a really hard time accepting Chan-young’s decision to forgo treatment, she finally comes around when she’s convinced it’s what Chan-young truly wants. And then she goes all in. Mi-jo announces that she’s not going to the States. Instead, she’s using her sabbatical to make Chan-young the happiest terminally ill patient ever by ensuring she gets to do everything she’s ever wanted to do.

I’m so glad the drama isn’t taking the depressing, wallow-in-despair route. It looks like we’re instead in for sad-yet-uplifting with our trio deciding to live in the moment and enjoy their time together while it lasts.

One side plot I haven’t mentioned yet but becomes relevant has to do with Sun-woo’s sister KIM SO-WON (Ahn So-hee). She didn’t handle their mother’s death well and has distanced herself. When she left the States and settled in Korea, Sun-woo followed soon after out of worry.

Sun-woo discovers that she’s been lying to him about teaching piano and is actually working at a hostess bar. He storms into her job, dragging her out of the room while she’s on duty, but she refuses to leave with him. (Not how to handle that, sir.)

Mi-jo, Chan-young, and Joo-hee happen to pass by and see him getting thrown out of the club. The episode ends with Mi-jo locking eyes with Sun-woo and noting his tear-stricken face. It looks like it might be Mi-jo’s turn to do the comforting and offer Sun-woo a shoulder to cry on this time.

 
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I also found it very weird that it's Mi-jo's responsibility to inform Chan-young, but maybe she's listed as her guardian since Chan-young doesn't have family in the city?

Jin-seok's circumstances certainly don't excuse his behavior but man, what a devastating twist. To finally decide his son would be better off without his mother and to choose his own happiness over perceived duty, only to be immediately hit with tragedy. Lee Moo Saeng tore my heart out.

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The only highlight was Lee moo-saeng crying.
I do question how the director choose scenes to convey the story arc: Just weird, useless, feel like filler 🤷
Mi jo shopping scene 😏, MI jo confront Jin seok 😏, I think more will come.
Mi jo sister and father are on roll. Love them!

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Jin-seok should have divorced his wife 6 years ago. The son could have his natural father (does he even know?) The wife’s marital entrapment is unforgivable; but Jin-Seok hanging Chanyoung out to try is just as bad.

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“Dry”

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Meh!!

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I like this drama, but i don't know if i can handle crying every week. Cause man it tugs at the heart. And i fully understand Mi-jo's reaction once she found out. I was in a similar situation with my best friend whom i have known for 23 years.(she pulled through) the minute i got off the phone i broke down like Mi-Jo. It's the helplessness you feel in that moment is the hardest. Her portrayal of that emotion was spot on. Its gonna be an emotional ride so have the tissues ready!

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I mentioned this last week but it bothered me that the doctor told Mi-jo the results instead of his actual patient. It also annoyed me that Mi-jo told Sun-woo before Chan-young and the drama spent the better part of two episodes making Chan-young’s illness all about Mi-jo.

The scene between Chan-young and Jin-seok was very good. They have the most interesting story even if I think it was a copout that the writer made Jin-seok’s wife a liar and bad mom. It doesn’t make Jin-seok and Chan-young any less wrong, it just gives them an excuse to be together before she dies. I do like their chemistry though.

Joo-hee continues to be an afterthought. Most friend groups have pairs that are closer and here that is definitely Mi-jo and Chan-young. The problem is it doesn’t feel organic, it just feels obvious that Son Ye-jin and Jeon Mi-do are the bigger stars.

Sun-woo and Mi-jo still aren’t really working for me. I do like that Sun-woo is surprisingly straightforward at times but also kind of shy and awkward. I don’t like that he is literally everywhere. Kdramas would be nothing without coincidences, but it’s a bit much here. I would like it better if he was just a friend Mi-jo could talk to because it's uncomfortable whenever he mentions his feelings.

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Oh, this! Making Chan-young's illness all about Mi-jo. I nearly didn't make it through these episodes because Mi-jo was annoying me so much. No, it's not all about you, no you don't have to share the information with Joo-hee just because it suits your feelings, no you don't have to decide that Chan-young can't drink alcohol and on and on. Seriously, the way she took Chan-young's agency from her without blinking made me grimace more than once.

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I see it differently. Perhaps Jin Seok was hanging on to Chan Young entirely because of his situation at home. Because his wife was a liar and a bad mom. If all was rosy and he lived in a nice home with a wife who loved him (as he also confirmed) and a beautiful son, I don't think he would have needed to seek comfort elsewhere-hence Chan Young. This is not to justify his cheating by any means. But I do understand the plot line with this perspective. It seems to me that Chan Young was a NEED. He knew what they were doing was wrong and unfair to both parties, but he just couldn't let her go. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

I agree with all your other points on the drama :)

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But it is like shifting the blame to the other party when he is the one who has an affair (unless the wife takes him hostage, so he can't appeal for divorce, but he is a free man). Getting involved in an affair is more reflecting the person who does it than his or her spouse. 🙂
Unlike divorce, that you can not blame just one party because it takes two to tango. I can always understand why people divorce. It is not a sin or thing to frown upon to. You make mistake, you fix it. But cheating is another thing, I can't hardly understand it. If you think there is something wrong with your relationship, you face it and fix it or you leave it. Dragging it for so long will never give anybody advantage.

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You are 100% right. Cheating is never okay regardless of the circumstances. The blame is squarely on Jin Seok's and Chan Young's shoulders for this, and the true victims in all of this are the wife and son. I guess I'm saying I understand Jin Seok's character and motivations a bit more now. I don't thonk his wife turning out to be horrible is just a convenient or lazy plot point.

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Personally, it didn't bother me that Mi-Jo was the one telling it to Chan-Young. She's a doctor and overall she's her friend and family.

I liked the fact they let everyone knowing it. At least, there is no secret about it. But the scene where Mi-Jo went to tell his family she won't go to USA to stay with Chan-Young was weird. They should focus on Chan-Young and not Mi-Jo.

My favourite scenes are between Chan-Young and Jin-Seok. When he made his wife dropped the charges, I knew he wasn't the father. His love for his son is really nice to watch.

Joo-Hee is not interesting. I guess she will have more depth when we know more about her mother's illness. But for now, she's kinda weird, she talks in a weird cute way, drinks way too much and the way she always confronts Hyun-joon is not very funny. The lottery ticket part was so dumb from her...

I don't like the story arc of the little sister neither.

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The whole time Mijoo was comtemplating on how to break the news to Chan-young, all I could think about is ... where’s her doctor??? That’s his responsibility not Mi-joo’s. Even if the doctor is MJ’s sunbae and all that.

I’m slowly losing interest but I wanna continue for the cast, for now.

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I agree - why was Mi-Jo the one informing Chan Young? My assumption is that Mi-Jo is the ordering doctor since she was the one who dragged her friends for the check up...she's listed as Chan Youngs primary doc?? Otherwise, makes no sense. What bothered me more though was that she told Sun Woo before her friend. Major violation of personal information. She should know better and the writer shouldn't assume the viewers are stupid.
That being said - man did I cry. Lots of tears. My heart broke when Chan Young and Jin Seok told each other their "dark secrets" and he broke down in her lap. I know he's getting a lot of hate but I actually really love how his character is panning out - I think he really redeemed himself once we found out why he was sticking around with his wife. More than SYJ, Jeon Mido is really bringing Chan Young to life - enjoying the performance she's putting on!

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If there were a few things I found memorable about last weeks installment, it was the fact that Chan Young's first breakdown was with Jin-seok. Sharing her first tears and worries with him, then his own tears coupled together, the punches were pulled right.

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Chan young is the story’s centerpiece but the production is focused on SYJ (and her personal popularity). Chan young is 1B while Joo-hee 2A which is a shame since KJH is playing well the super shy introvert character. She has the only natural relationship so far with the chef.

I see the story being Mijo unable to save her best friend, but saving So-won.

I agree that the show’s editing and direction is a little choppy. The production is going to go full emotional rollercoaster. I wished we had more three friends friendship moments before the angst bombs.

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Thanks quirkycase for the recap. I chose to believe that Mijo is the emergency contact of sorts. Her senior contacted her to ask her to advise CY to go for further tests right?
MJ telling SW about CY's condition isn't in a capacity of a DR revealing a patient's condition, it's more of a person telling an acquaintance about the condition of her bff. Is a Dr not human too? Have you ever been in a situation that you need to consider if the news that you're telling is going to be an emotional baggage for the listener? Terminal illness trope is boring yes but is it rare for people to die from terminal illness in real life?
This show is narrated by MJ so I'm not surprise if it's MJ centric and the core of the show is really about human emotions imo and when it comes to that it's meant to be imperfect :)

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What I find interesting is the romance between Mi-jo and Sun-woo at a time when they are both struggling with grief and the feeling of helplessness. I wonder if they feel that it is not the right time to fall in love when their main concern is/should be the other people they care for.

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And a Mijo here, and a Mijo there, everywhere a Mijo.. at least Mijo’s family is a hoot. I like them and i’m also keen on Jin Seok’s story with his kid, but I don’t think we’ll get much on that.

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