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 9 is titled A Thousand Nights Over and Over Again and has a runtime of 76 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 9 recap contains major spoilers –
As we start Thirty Nine episode 9, we are greeted with a tender moment from Mi-jo and Mi-hyeon’s childhood when the latter had told Mi-jo to come home with her. The two share a very special bond, one that is evident right from the get-go. It’s a heartbreaking scene, one that proves how kind-hearted Mi-jo’s family truly is, especially her sister.
After this scene, we come back to the present where Mi-jo is filling out forms to meet her biological mother. She’s confused about what to expect and in the form writes their relationship as “acquaintance”. The interaction seems to be going great, better than what she was expecting, at least. After listening to her bio mother being a bit too candid with their interaction, Mi-jo gets cold feet and makes up an excuse to rush outside. Her friends are standing outside, along with Seon-u to comfort her as she breaks down crying.
These scenes just seem so personal that you’ll feel like you’re watching a very private moment of real people. It’s heartbreaking watching Mi-jo wonder how her mother could’ve remembered her not having double eyelids and laments at the way in which she framed the question. There are moments of humour in such a tender moment as well, however, and although you just want to hug Mi-jo and help her deal with her pain, you also laugh at the sheer dumbfounded expressions of the others in with her.
As Mi-jo laments the discussion with her mother, the latter, on the other hand, formulates a plan to find out where her daughter works. I am guessing to extort money from her, of course. On the other hand, Joo-hee tells her mother that they went to meet Mi-jo’s biological mother. She seems a bit shaken and apologises for not telling them sooner. At Mi-jo’s house, she tells her family that the four of them went on a drive and then just starts eating. It’s a warm moment, one that is in stark contrast to the absolute rollercoaster that she went through previously.
We get a glimpse into the lives of the others as well – Chan-young’s parents surprise her with a visit and she asks them to live with her. Meanwhile, Joo-hee gets a surprise when her mother transfers a lot of money to her. Later on, as the three friends meet, Chan-young proposes to celebrate her mother’s birthday in a grand way. As they are picking up a place to eat, Mi-jo gets a call from Seon-u’s father.
For some reason, he thinks that he has a say in whom Seon-u should get married to. He mentions that having someone like her marry Seon-u, his one and only child, is apparently not acceptable for him. He essentially tells her to break up with Seon-u, but she shows him his place and tells him that they are not breaking up – their hearts belong to them and no one can take that from them. Meanwhile, Chan-young gets called by Seon-ju who tells her some sob story about how she met Jin-seok.
Anyway, she asks Chan-young to persuade Jin-seok to not take her son from her. She wants a second chance with being a good mother and if she deviates from that, he can take him. I am continuously appalled at how brazen and boundaries stomping everyone is in this series. Like, is it proper for Chan-young to comment on Jin-seok’s divorce? Is it proper for Seon-ju to ask this from Chan-young? I am shocked at how people think this is ok, plus Seon-u’s father going behind his son’s back to have that disgusting discussion with Mi-jo. He almost sounds like a Disney villain at this point!
Anyway, Chan-young does tell Jin-seok about the conversation with Seon-ju that night. She doesn’t force him but does say that she wishes he would consider for his son’s sake. Also, Chan-young trying to control what Jin-seok should and shouldn’t do and control his feelings is just so annoying at this point. He’s an adult, let him make his decisions. It’s not like he’s a child who doesn’t know his actions have consequences. Anyway, Jin-seok probably thinks the same, and then some more. He tells her to stop saying that he’d be alone after she’s gone since everything that they do right now is precious to him.
The next day, in Thirty Nine episode 9, Seon-u goes to meet his father and tells him that whatever happens, he won’t leave Mi-jo and will spend the rest of his life with her. His father is annoyed, but hey, Seon-u is taking a stand for those he loves, so he’s not going to tolerate that bullshit. Anyway, Seon-u takes her on a drive to the beach and asks her to marry him at the café. The meticulous planning that he went through is beyond perfect and, of course, she thinks back to his father’s words. She asks him whether he’s willing to marry her even after knowing about her mother but he puts all of her worries to rest.
I love Mi-jo’s maturity. I truly do. The way she handled everything with Seon-u and his father is commendable and heartening and will definitely put a smile on your face. You celebrate with Mi-jo and Seon-u as they both put rings on each other’s fingers – the smile on their faces is so genuine. I must give it to Son Ye-jin and Yeon Woo-jin for doing an amazing job at bringing these characters to life with such tenderness and authenticity.
However, happiness is in short supply in Thirty Nine as Mi-jo gets a call from her biological mother. The panic in her eyes is just so apparent as tells her that she will visit when she is ready and cuts the call short, much to her bio mom’s chagrin. On the other hand, an extremely sick Chan-young faints while buying shoes for her mother and is admitted to the hospital. When she wakes up, she is heartbroken to find that she is late to pick up the cake that she had ordered for her mother’s birthday. She cries standing outside the door looking inside without a way to get in.
The three friends, of course, come up with a plan to get said cake – by breaking and entering. I, for one, am totally for breaking and entering if it means I’ll get cake by the end of it. However, the need for three bricks to break down one glass door seems a bit excessive. Mi-jo and Joo-he ask Chan-young to run off with the cake while they sit and wait for the owners to arrive and have a heart-to-heart discussion about everything, at the end of which Mi-jo decides to turn themselves into the police.
As the friends have dinner after the daring heist, they get to know about Mi-jo’s engagement and after some very snarky remarks, the three have fun with the news of Mi-jo finally getting matching rings with her beau at 39. Things seem good, at least for the time being.
Final Thoughts: Thirty Nine Episode 9
Ah, what an absolute joy it is to watch Thirty Nine! Although I hate the audacity of certain people with their boundary stomping attitude, it’s shocking how well the series takes its different stories forward, always intertwining with each other in one way or another. I love Mi-jo’s character, I think she’s the most mature of the three and is so empathetic and is able to judge situations with a cool head. Joo-hee’s character is the most underdeveloped, with her being the sweet klutz everyone wants to protect at all costs.
If the promo is to be believed, then this will come to a head possibly in the next episode. Either way, the series does a fantastic job at arresting us and keeping us entertained. You laugh and cry with these characters and how devastatingly relatable they are. The watchability of the series is extremely high, and although it is a bit sad and emotion-heavy, it has its heart at the right place.
Thirty-Nine is streaming on Netflix.
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