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.