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Thirty-Nine: Episodes 5-6 Open Thread

It’s hard being so loved. Our ill protagonist finds herself with almost no time to herself thanks to her exasperating yet endearing friends who refuse to leave her alone. In turn, she’s determined to ensure her friends are taken care of when she’s gone and does her best to nudge them in the right direction in life and love.

 
EPISODES 5-6 WEECAP

After witnessing Sun-woo fighting with his sister So-won outside the hostess bar, Mi-jo decides to give him some space. When she gently brings it up with him the next day, he honestly tells her what happened, but he (badly) plays it off like he’s fine.

Sun-woo doesn’t give up on trying to reconnect with his sister, and she does end up meeting with him. So-won rejects his offer of living together and insists she can provide for herself, although she does say she quit her job. It’s hard to tell if she’s just trying to ease his worry or if it’s true, but either way, Sun-woo believes her and is relieved.

I couldn’t figure out why So-won keeps insisting that they’re not family anymore, but after being introduced to their father, it makes more sense. He comes to Korea in search of Sun-woo and berates him for being “obsessed” with finding his sister, acting like their rich family merely did a poor orphan a favor by adopting her. It’s gross.

Sun-woo gets sick from the stress of his family troubles, but there is a silver lining – when he asks Mi-jo to be his girlfriend in his pitiful state, she says yes. Now that they’re official, he asks to introduce her formally to So-won, and the three happily meet up.

But then the siblings’ awful father shows up to ruin their day and make everyone super awkward by insisting they all go for dinner. He constantly snipes at So-won who holds her own, but Mi-jo can’t stay silent and shares that she too is an orphan, explaining the feelings of inadequacy that come with it.

Earlier, Mi-jo shared her own adoption journey with Sun-woo. It turns out that her current family is her third. Her first two returned her to the orphanage because she had the audacity to be traumatized into silence and acted “cold.” (What the heck is wrong with some people?!)

It took a month for her to speak after her forever family adopted her – her first conversation with her mom was about Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 which was playing at home. Now, the piece makes Mi-jo feel safe.

Back to the dinner, when So-won leaves, Mi-jo follows her out. Sun-woo isn’t long after, and the three end up heading off on their own for drinks. Mi-jo takes a liking to So-won, seeing her younger self in her, and they bond over “graduating” from the same orphanage. It’s cute. Thanks to Mi-jo, So-won even ends up visiting their old orphanage to meet with the sweet director who’s thrilled to see her.

We get a little more character development for Joo-hee this week as she goes through her own life crisis. She’s sick of dealing with terrible customers at her job, but she feels too old to quit. She shares this dilemma with Hyun-joon during another bonding session.

He’s pleasantly surprised when Joo-hee finds the fact that he quit his fancy hotel chef job to start his own restaurant amazing. His girlfriend seems to be embarrassed by it and is lying to her friends about his job, which Hyun-joon takes too well, honestly.

At work the next day, a particularly obnoxious and belittling customer pushes Joo-hee over the edge. The woman literally throws her receipts and credit card in Joo-hee’s face, after which Joo-hee lets her have it and quits on the spot. Go, Joo-hee!

Meanwhile, Chan-young is busy deciding how she wants to spend her remaining days. She comes up with a wish list, but rather than personal bucket items, it’s full of things she wants to do for her loved ones.

First up is setting Joo-hee up with Hyun-joon, although her and Mi-jo are unsure how to make that happen given the age gap and the fact that he already has a girlfriend. Still, Chan-young is determined. So she and Mi-jo are thrilled to hear Joo-hee has been spending more time with Hyun-joon. That is, until she shares she’s been giving him relationship advice and helping him make up with his girlfriend.

Chan-young is also set on helping Mi-jo find her birth mom. When Mi-jo was a teen, she went looking for her and coincidentally met Chan-young in the subway on her way to Joo-hee’s mom’s restaurant which was listed on her adoption papers.

Joo-hee’s mom insisted she didn’t know why that address was on there, but that seems to be a lie. She gets all shifty when Joo-hee asks her about it now, and we later see her pull out a letter from a Lee Kyung-sook, an inmate.

Another wish of Chan-young’s is to reconcile Jin-seok with his wife, although she might want to rethink that one. Jin-seok has already told their son about the divorce and moved out – he seems freer now and content with his decision. Through tears, Jin-seok begs Chan-young to let him live with her, promising to stay out of her way if she’ll just let him stay near her.

But he’s not the only one wanting to live with Chan-young – Joo-hee and Mi-jo are driving her crazy with their constant presence. They show up all the time, make her eat healthy foods she hates, and crash at her place uninvited.

Although Chan-young complains, her little smiles show she’s grateful for their care, even if it’s sometimes stifling. She vulnerably admits to Mi-jo that she’s scared of dying and asks her to stay by her side through this. They’re all trying so hard to stay happy, but it’s impossible to ignore Chan-young’s impending death hanging over their heads.

Chan-young also wants to say goodbye to her parents, but she can’t summon the courage to tell them she’s sick. As an only child, she’s worried about leaving her parents alone. Mi-jo promises she and Joo-hee will take care of them and even promises to hold their memorial every year as a surrogate daughter.

When Chan-young and Mi-jo show up for a surprise visit to her parents, her mom knows something is up. Soon after, she ends up making a surprise visit of her own to Chan-young’s and finds Jin-seok hanging out in the living room. That leads to the second awkward dinner situation this week.

After Mi-jo cancels their camping trip last minute – Joo-hee called to say she quit her job – the ever-patient Sun-woo takes her to Chan-young’s where Joo-hee is waiting. Since it’s already an awkward party, Chan-young invites Sun-woo to have dinner with them too.

As if that weren’t enough, Jin-seok’s wife Sun-joo also drops by. She had an investigator snap photos of Jin-seok and Chan-young and is ready for another confrontation. Mi-jo answers the door and literally drags Sun-joo outside, begging her to leave.

Mi-jo goes so far as to kneel in the parking lot, and her desperation gets through to Sun-joo who angrily walks away. But Mi-jo looks awful and ends up fainting on the spot. Sun-woo, with drama hero timing, shows up right as she drops and runs to her. The episode ends as Mi-jo narrates that she’ll protect her friends, even if it means going against her principle of honesty that’s guided her throughout her life.

Mi-jo is taking way too much on herself at this point, and now I’m worried about her health. On top of the panic attacks and insomnia she mentioned to her psychiatrist, she’s even fainting. Thank goodness she has Sun-woo to sweetly bring her puzzles and coloring books to ease her stress.

 
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I wish this show was much more about Chan Young than Mi Joo. The dying friend plot is not new and usually the one dying is not the main character, however, that works well in film than it is here. Nonetheless the show still manages to make me cry and I'm not liking the drama enough that I could call that catharsis. It's a drop for me for now, can't believe I'll do that when I waited for it since it's first news.

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K-netizens: a) really HATE the emotional affair story; really DISLIKE that the show is not a fun girl trio slice-of-life drama but too centric on Mijo; really LIKE SYJ’s performance but part of that may be her career high wave of popularity.

I was correct in my assumption that Mijo would save So-won because she cannot save Chan-young. But then again, she really did not do much. She did not become the Big Sister So-won needs.

Chan-young’s cool facade is beginning to melt as she faces the scary truth of dying. But she wants to help her friends live well after her passing which is a noble goal. I just get the haunting feeling that nothing will work well for any of the girlfriends as Chan-young hopes. The writing direction is clearly a quicksand of despair, dread and sadness.

Joo-Hee friendzones the chef to the disbelief of Mijo and Chan-young. But it shows how timid, naive and innocent Joo-Hee is. It was more realistic than Mijo’s scene becoming Seon-U’s girlfriend with a wooden kiss. And his acknowledgement and acceptance that Mijo has all the power in the relationship is wrong and unhealthy. A milk toast man is not a relationship partner in that dynamic; he is a fashion accessory. And it appears as the series moves on, Mijo will push him away to be closer to Chan-young.

I don’t like the way Mijo’s natural mother story arc is going to go. Actually, there is no reason for it to be in the story line except for more screen time and angst for SYJ’s acting skills.

Jin-seok’s story is still very bad. Yes, he has a loveless marriage but he made that choice. He stayed in it for 6 years after knowing his wife’s scheme. Yes, he has regrets about what he did to Chan-young, but to divorce to be with her for 6 months is a selfish way to wash away HIS guilt. He is a pitiful coward. After six months, what is his plan after wrecking “his” son’s life (we presume the vindictive wife will brainwash the child into hating him)? And his barging into Chan-young’s house was deplorable. It creates another cascade of lies for Chan-young to deal with when she is trying to cope with her own fate.

The series still continues to be a wedding hiatus highlight reel for SYJ. But the best moments continue to be just the three girlfriends hanging out together and interacting like old friends. But those moments are getting less and less air time as the tangent arcs continue to intrude on us.

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Two summary points:
1. Jin-seok has not told his son about the divorce. He told him he was going on a business trip.
2. Adoption in Korea is strange. It can take up to three years for a child to get officially court adopted even if the child is living with the applicants.

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As much as I love Sohn Ye-jin & Jeon Mi-do I too am not enthusiastic about watching this drama any further. I thought I could look beyond the inevitable and concentrate on their close and loving friendship but realty is always front & center. I'm actually glad this drama is on hiatus for one week...gives me a break from all the crying and sadness. I may decide to skip this one.

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Me too...I.really thought it will be a fun drama as I also will approaching 40 series soon. But dang stories 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️, the storyline just throw me off the roof. By episode 4, it was too much crying for me and I decided to just take a hiatus (bye2 SYJ).
I am depressed to see Woo Jin's character as he is so much better than this (I do not feel any chemistry between him and SYJ here 😭). Plus, why making MuSeng so pathetic namja 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️...he is way more versatile than just victim-of-pregnancy-marriage-adultery trope 😓. What a waste of talent here, giving me such a high hope for anticipate it in Netflix show 😖😖😖

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I really, really wanted to like this show but it's not working. There's just too much of SYJ's character being involved in *everyone's* business. And while I don't dislike Mi-jo, as other have noted before, this causes the whole drama to revolve around her, which ironically causes the main plot of Chan Young's illness to take a backseat. I'm not buying the romance either, and it's such a shame as I like SYJ and adore Yeon Woo-jin, but just not together. There's zero chemistry and Sun-woo's cute but over-the-top attempts to cheer Mi-jo up would make more sense if she's the one dying. In fact, I think the whole show would work wayyyy better (and justify her excessive screen time) if Mi-jo was the one with the terminal illness - grappling with her own mortality while learning to let go would make for a much more cohesive story.

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I'm still mostly enjoying the show but there are a lot of bizarre writing choices. I wish screen time was divvied out more evenly between the three friends and they'd all stop pushing their own agendas onto each other. And I have no idea why the women are trying to set Joo Hee up with the chef, who they know is taken. Chan Young's to-do list is mostly a mess tbh.

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Hmmm... I really like this show and look forward to it. I have no problem at Mi-ju being the main character. It may shift some as we go along, but it may not. I am wondering if she's pregnant. The fainting seemed weird. I mean, it's a Kdrama so getting emotional can make you need an IV drip... So it may not be that, but I could see that working towards a speedy wedding.

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The fainting was over the top i think.

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The writer gave us her diagnosis of panic attacks. But fainting is not a symptom or result of a panic attack. In fact, with all the stress and anxiety, no actual panic attack was shown to us.

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It’s so frustrating to watch them go in a circle pushing their wills on to each other - Mijo/Hee Ju to CY, CY to Jin Seok, JS to CY, it’s practically a damn circus. And it’s so unfair for CY parents to not know what’s happening when the rest of the world knows. And i have issues with the terminal patient not looking particularly sick, other than having seemingly ‘lost weight’. What a mess 😩

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the terminal patient not looking partculary sick -> so true in that
you know why many patients in terminal illness like cancer at the end choose to be hospitalized and recive treatment including Chemoteraphy because their pain is unbearable, so living their limited times like normal person just 'having fun' until the time is coming is not optional.

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Yep, they’re not showing her struggles at all so it’s kinda hard to connect. I also don’t believe someone that young only has 2 things on her bucket-list and that it doesn’t event relate to her directly.

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I feel like the impact of the terminal illness was handled much better in NWABA. There, Song Hye Kyo was also the much bigger star but they didn't make it all about her character.
Of course they acknowledged Song's sadness but most of the fear, pain and everything that came with the diagnosis was seen through the eyes of the actually ill friend.
Here it feels like Mi Jo is the one who is unwell, except she is not.

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I agree, the terminal illness story in NWABA was the only highlight of that show. It was done well and the actress did a great job conveying the mixed emotions of her cruel fate and her decisions.

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Yes NWABA had many faults lol but that storyline was my favorite and I agree that the actress did so well.
Jeon Mi do could also handle it if her character was written well

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39 - the title gave me the impression we would be watching a cool, 21st century modern struggles, clever repartee and slice of life warm friendship.

Instead, the screenwriter unimaginatively decided to wring tears from the audience in the most obvious contrived unoriginal ways such as:
- terminal disease - check
- orphanS - not 1 but 2 - check
- adultery - check
- birth secretS - not 1 but 2 - check
- over the top, groveling on socks, begging on knees, dragged to the street - calculated to wring a drop of tear from the audience - for something that can be resolved with a simple explanation “Just let them be. She only has few months to live”.

Well guess what. I was completely dry eyed, completely pro-wife and just a little bit annoyed at the setup.

I certainly don’t want to see more screen time for Chan Young - the way her story has been setup and her convoluted thinking. Find SYJ birth mom- ok, I guess that is higher priority vs telling your parents about your terminal disease. And i have zero sympathy with her on the adultery.

I do still find Son Ye Jin’s scenes interesting to watch. Kudos to SYJ for making it compelling despite train wreck script.

I won’t miss this in hiatus.

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It's really hard to be watching this show at the same time as 25-21. The latter is so authentic with dips of genuine highs and lows in each episode that the manufactured feeling-pushing of 39 is even more apparent.
In terms of emotional storylines, I actually think JS and CY have the most realistic interactions. It's a complicated relationship that feels unwieldy because it should be (and would be in real life). The rest feels like setup and melodrama that tries to force feelings on the audience rather than allow them to bubble up organically.

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Mido and jihyun, their acting is what's keeping me watching tbh.....

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