Thirty-Nine (서른 아홉) is a Korean drama TV series directed by Kim Sang-ho and stars Son Ye-jin, Jeon Mi-do and Kim Ji-hyun, alongside other cast members. The series has 12 episodes and Thirty Nine episode 8 is titled When You Think It’s the End and has a runtime of 73 minutes.
Netflix describes the series as:
Leaning on each other through thick and thin, a trio of best friends stand together as they experience life, love and loss on the brink of turning 40.
– Thirty Nine episode 8 recap contains major spoilers –
It’s the day for answers for quite a few people in Thirty Nine but first we go back to the trip taking care of Jee-hoo’s ailing mother in the hospital. It’s evident that all three of the girls take care of her as if she were their own mother. It’s heartwarming to watch the camaraderie, love that we usually don’t get to see on screen. There truly are no conditions in the love that they have for each other.
Back to the present, Mi-jo is unable to sleep at night after getting to know her birth mother. She goes to her parents’ house and sleeps there, after her mother pushes her father off the bed to make room for her. The next morning, they talk about their bonds and her mother divulges to her how much she cared and still cares, for her. The conversation puts Mi-jo’s mind at ease and she is able to go to work without much hassle. Well, she doesn’t have a change of clothes, but that’s secondary!
Meanwhile, Seon-u must face some demons of his own. He asks his father to apologise to So-won but the former asks him to dump Mi-jo and return to the States with him. Seon-u, intimidated by his father, doesn’t say anything and in the present, seems distraught wondering what to do. Mi-jo finds him wandering in front of the office looking quite sad and asks him what’s wrong. However, he tells her that nothing’s wrong but also lets her know that he needs to go to the States to take care of his Green Card. Mi-jo has her suspicions about his mood, but that must be put on hold after Chan-young gets to play the lead!
They celebrate at Chan-young’s place, Jin-seok joins them too. However, their celebration is cut short when Chan-young’s mother calls the three of them to her place. Distraught and scared, the three wonder what’s going on and go to see her. At her parent’s place, Chan-young’s mother immediately goes on the offensive and starts berating the three of them. Acceptable, considering everything. This is when Chan-young finally tells her parents that she’s terminally ill. That goes down as well as anyone can imagine. Either way, Chan-young decides to stay with her parents for the night and the other two go back home.
Going back to Seon-u, he gives his father an ultimatum – if he doesn’t apologise to So-won, he will cut ties with him. His father tries to bring up all the money he spent on him, but he tells him that he will pay him back and that he doesn’t want any of the money he so dearly loves. He can enjoy it himself. Plus, he adds that Mi-jo is someone that he loves and he won’t tolerate anyone disrespecting her.
Unfortunately, though, Mi-jo isn’t happy with Seon-u’s previous behaviour and turns down his offer to have lunch. She, instead, goes out to have lunch with Chan-young’s mother to know about her mother and everything related to her past. She gives her an envelope containing all the information and leaves it at that. Meanwhile, Seon-u goes to have lunch with his little sister and tells her that he wants to protect her since he couldn’t be there for her previously.
Chan-young meets up with Seon-ju in the meantime to tell her to put up with her for some more time since she’s dying. Although Seon-ju doesn’t believe her at first, after realisation dawns on her, she seems to accept the inevitable. Mi-jo, on the other hand, is distraught with everything that is going on in her life. She goes on a run with Seon-u to clear her head but ends up asking him why he reacted that way when asked to meet her parents – she accuses him of having cold feet because she’s an orphan. However, Seon-u clears the air and confesses his love for her.
Meanwhile, Chan-young asks Jin-seok to not get divorced. Although he doesn’t want to entertain the idea, she tells him that she wants to part as friends, not lovers. Jin-seok promises to think about it and they leave it at that. Things are looking up for Mi-jo though. Seon-u proposes to her out of the blue and although she doesn’t answer, she promises to drink soju with him after her mind is more settled.
The next morning, in Thirty Nine episode 8, Mi-jo finally lets it spill that she knows who her mother is. She tells them that she wants to visit her mother in prison and asks them to go with her in case she has a panic attack. When she comes out of the prison, though, she looks rather pale and starts sobbing into their arms.
Final Thoughts: Thirty Nine Episode 8
Thirty Nine episode 8 is just the perfect episode to bring it all together. All the major characters take a step towards bigger and better things and try to figure out their lives. It’s heartbreaking but extremely hopeful. The series is doing a fantastic job at bringing some very difficult topics to the forefront while also keeping it light enough to keep the audience invested. Too much sadness can be a dud and the series knows that.
Of course, this isn’t like the frothier stuff that we see more often on TV, but the drama is controlled and is based on realism. The way all three major plots up until now were handled in this episode proves that the series isn’t trying to bite more than it can chew, which is something that I love about it.
Thirty-Nine is streaming on Netflix.
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