Thirty-Nine: Episodes 7-8 Open Thread
While our leads continue to deal with unprecedented hardships, they do find things to celebrate, too. Our terminally ill heroine works to fulfill one major wish for herself while she still has time. Meanwhile, our clinic director learns a huge secret that she doesn’t know how to process. Thankfully, she’s got a great group of people around her who aren’t about to let her shoulder things alone.
EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP
As usual, before picking up where we left off, we open with a flashback. Joo-hee’s mom is dismayed when Kyung-sook (Mi-jo’s birth mother) drops by unannounced. It seems she’s been keeping everyone in the dark about Mi-jo’s identity because Mi-jo happens to be over at the time, but she and her birth mother greet each other without any idea they’re related.
Jumping back to the present, Sun-woo takes Mi-jo to the hospital after her fainting episode. She’s medically okay, but in dire need of some rest, so Sun-woo takes her on that camping getaway after all. Mi-jo admits that she feels guilty toward Chan-young for not pushing harder for her to get treatment. Sun-woo is supportive as ever and reminds her it’s not all on her, encouraging her to take care of herself too.
I know I’ve said before how much I like their relationship, but I realized this week one of the reasons why. I’m all about the relationship development, which is why I’m typically more drawn to friends-to-lovers romances since they often focus on that gradual development. Sometimes, it feels like emotional intimacy is sidelined when the characters jump right into a relationship. Mi-jo and Sun-woo are a great example of how those relationships can be just as well-developed when done well.
In the aftermath of the awkward dinner at Chan-young’s, Jin-seok meets up with Mi-jo – he heard that his wife showed up – while Chan-young meets with Sun-woo to find out what’s going on with Mi-jo. Sun-woo tells her about Mi-jo’s panic disorder and assures her that Mi-jo’s condition isn’t her fault.
Sun-woo gives Chan-young the idea that they should all go golfing, and Chan-young jumps onboard enthusiastically. She guilts Mi-jo into it, and then Mi-jo gets all competitive after hearing Sun-woo is good at golf. It ends up being just Sun-woo and Mi-jo, though, because Chan-young finally decides to do something for herself and goes on one last audition.
We learn that she almost had her acting break when she was younger, but she lost her shot due to a car accident. (Jin-seok was driving and can barely calm himself down enough to drive her this time.) Chan-young does great and gets the part, even after telling the panel that she has cancer and needs to shoot her scenes early.
In other news, Joo-hee is outed as unemployed to both her mom and Hyun-joon, but her unemployment proves very temporary. Hyun-joon is short a part-timer and convinces Joo-hee to work for him. (She’s there all the time anyway.) Needless to say, Mi-jo and Chan-young are thrilled by this turn of events as they’re still rooting for Joo-hee and Hyun-joon to date.
And it looks like that’s closer to being a possibility because Hyun-joon’s girlfriend kicks up a fuss about him not wanting to go back to work at the hotel restaurant. She storms in during the celebratory dinner he throws in honor of Joo-hee quitting her job, making for yet another awkward group meal.
His girlfriend calls him outside and then whines that if he doesn’t take this higher status job, he must not love her. Yeesh. Thankfully, Hyun-joon holds his own and makes the mature decision to break up with her. He’s extremely nice about it, convincing her that they simply want different things and won’t be happy together.
Elsewhere, So-won makes the surprising decision to move back into the orphanage. The sweet director happily lets her stay and wheedles out of her why she’s so set on disowning her family. She even wants to pay “the assemblyman” (what she now calls her father) back and support herself.
From the little we’ve seen of him, it’s no surprise that the assemblyman flat out asked her to disown their family. When Sun-woo finds out, he’s devastated and asks his father to apologize to So-won. Naturally, his father refuses and defends making So-won sign away her inheritance: “Why would I give my hard-earned money to an adopted child?” Can this man get worse?
Indeed, he can. He then tells Sun-woo to stop hanging around orphans, obviously meaning Mi-jo, but Sun-woo isn’t having it. He says he loves Mi-jo and warns his father not to speak ill of her. Then, Sun-woo announces that if his father won’t apologize to So-won, he’ll cut ties with him, too.
Given his father’s attitude toward orphans and terrible disposition in general, Sun-woo perhaps a little too forcefully turns down Mi-hyun’s suggestion that their families should have dinner together. Mi-jo doesn’t say anything about it right off, but it clearly bothers her.
It ends up leading to their first fight because Sun-woo isn’t the only one sensitive over his family. After Chan-young started encouraging Mi-jo to find her birth mom, she got curious again. Mi-jo brings it up with Joo-hee’s mom who can’t take the guilt anymore – in tears, she admits she’s always known who Mi-jo’s birth mother is.
But it’s not just Joo-hee’s mom who’s in on the secret. We learn that Kyung-sook has been contacting Mi-jo’s mom from prison, asking for money. It looks like she’s been extorting the family for a while.
Mi-jo, particularly after learning her birth mother has been in and out of prison her whole life, gets even more insecure about her family life. She unloads on Sun-woo, accusing him of saying no to dinner because he’s embarrassed of her and uncomfortable with not knowing who her bio parents are. But their fight doesn’t last long, and soon they’re crying it out together as he tells her it’s his father he’s embarrassed by.
They’re both in pretty deep at this point, and Mi-jo has even told her dad about their relationship. Sun-woo takes it a step further and actually proposes (which causes Mi-jo to do a literal spit take). But, you know, he doesn’t want Mi-jo to feel pressured by his dream of marrying her and adopting a ton of orphans. Pfft.
Meanwhile, Sun-joo continues scheming and being awful. She steps it up a notch by actually going to see Chan-young’s parents and telling them about her affair. That is low. Chan-young’s mom is horrified and demands to see the trio.
They think Chan-young’s parents found out about her illness, so they’re blindsided when she starts raging at them. She’s especially mad at Joo-hee and Mi-jo for not stepping in and accuses them of making a fool of her. Chan-young ends up telling her parents the truth: she’s dying. The way Chan-young and her parents try not to cry in front of each other the next day somehow makes it more heartbreaking.
As for Mi-jo, once she’s ready, she sits Sun-woo, Joo-hee, and Chan-young down to tell them what she learned about her bio mom. She does it in a hilariously dramatic way, making them all face her and even telling them to link arms. That ends up being to hold down Joo-hee, though, after she learns that her mom’s been lying this whole time.
As always, they rally around Mi-jo and all insist on accompanying her to the prison to see her bio mom. They wait anxiously outside while she visits. Mi-jo comes out and bursts into tears. The episode ends with Chan-young, Joo-hee, and Sun-woo all holding her while she cries.
I’m glad this drama mixes in some sweet and light with the sad because these characters are going through it. This drama is really about family in all its forms – biological, adoptive, chosen – and I appreciate the sweet mother-daughter moments peppered throughout, as well as the sibling love. I’m just glad to see that our trio has such a strong support system because we know they’re going to need it as Chan-young’s illness progresses.