He Who Dances Must Pay The Piper
Episode 10 of Thirty Nine begins with the shop owner uploading the video of Mi-Jo and the girls smashing her shop window. The thing is, the story is covered positively, with the owner doing this to drum up publicity for her shop – and show what a heartwarming cause this was. It’s racked up over a million views so far and the women are starting to be spotted in the streets.
Chan-Young arrives on set for her movie shoot but finds there’s a whole big display for her, set up by Jin-Seok and the girls, wishing her luck.
Chan-Young is embarrassed, given she only has five scenes that she stars in and believes it’s a bit much. This embarrassment is only exacerbated when lead actor, Si-Wan, arrives and both Mi-Jo and Joo-Hee gain autographs. As they part ways, Si-Wan hugs her goodbye and admits he’s happy they got to work together.
The movie is due to come out next summer, which appears to be an important thing to note, especially if Jin-Seok’s meeting with Chan-Young’s parents is anything to go by.
After, Jin-Seok gets talking to his ex, who admits she’s leaving with Ju-Won for England. She’s got everything set up and decides to uproot the poor kid from his life in Korea for a fresh start in the rainy, miserable suburbs of England. Yay?
While Mi-Jo instills some words of wisdom to So-Won, pointing out the talents she was both with, Jin-Seok reflects on his changing future with Ju-Won. He’s worried about his son. Chan-Young arrives to see the kid though, handing over a book about him being reunited with his father eventually.
Back at the office, Mi-Jo is approached by a strange man who happens to know her birth mother. He’s pretty shifty and claims that Gyeong-Suk owes him something (it’s money, as we later find out.) After pointing out that Mi-Jo has a lot of allies, with Seon-u and Mi-Hyeon covering for her, he promises to see her again.
Mi-Hyeon is concerned and confronts both Chan-Young and Joo-Hee about what’s happening. It’s here that they reveal the truth about Mi-Jo visiting her biological mum in prison.
Mi-Hyeon curses and hurriedly leaves. When she does, Mi-Jo speaks to her adoptive mother about visiting Gyeong-Suk in prison. She admits that she knew where the woman was all this time too and apologizes for keeping it from her. Mi-Hyeon however, had no idea, hence her reaction.
The strange man is owed money by Gyeong-Suk but she’s sent the guy Mi-Ho’s way realizing that she can probably pay him off, given her business. As she sits with Seon-U and goes over her options, the pair eventually head out for food together. He bemoans not being able to do more but promises to be by her side until “death do us part.”
Meanwhile, Joo-Hee heads home and hears her mother on the phone to someone, talking angrily and demanding that “she not get in touch with her again” as that’s the only way she can repent.
Joo-Hee immediately heads off to see Mi-Jo, telling her what’s going on and admitting she’s worried. Mi-Jo reassures her that her mother did nothing wrong, and eventually opens up about how she’s really feeling. It’s also something we’ve known for a while as we’ve been watching.
Joo-Hee likens herself to a third wheel, being the tag-along friend who’s an afterthought compared to Chan-Young and Mi-Jo’s close ties.
It’s the best moment in this show in a while, and Mi-Jo is certainly taken aback by the way her friend feels. Apparently she’s got it wrong (and so have millions of viewers too I guess). Joo-Hee admits that she’s scared that when Chan-Young leaves them, the relationship between Joo-Hee and Mi-Jo will sever completely.
Chan-Young shows up at the memorial hall with Jin-Seok, admitting that she can’t see the other ladies without nearly crying, given what’s going on between them. Eventually he agrees to go with her and as the pair hold hands, they head inside.
That night, Mi-0Jo and Chan-Young head over to Joo-Hee’s place, where they end up talking to her mum. She reflects warmly on the time Mi-Jo first came to the snack bar. Even back then she could see the similarities between her and her birth mother.
Mi-Jo thanks the lady for keeping all of this to herself for so long, going on to bring up how many fond memories the three were able to make together. It’s a beautiful statement and after, Joo-Hee thanks her for the kind words.
Eventually Chan-Young and Mi-Jo leave together – because of course they do – completely brushing aside Joo-Hee’s earlier concerns about being left behind.
We then cut forward to Mi-Jo heading back to see her birth mother in prison, intending to clean up the mess she’s apparently caused, believing she’s the root cause of everything.
The Episode Review
Sorry guys, that was the worst episode of the whole season. Not only is there barely any noteworthy drama beyond a strange guy showing up, the character drama that is here completely flatlines. The romance between Seon-U and Mi-Jo has been awkwardly contrived all season long and it seems his character is completely wasted now, with no real purpose.
Likewise, Joo-Hee’s concerns are completely brushed aside at the end, despite her pointing out how she feels like a third wheel. So literally, in the next scene we see Chan-Young and Mi-Jo leaving Joo-hee’s place together. It just feels like a cruel sense of irony and it’s something we’ve all been saying for weeks on end that this show needs to address… and they haven’t.
Thirty Nine feels like it’s torn between allowing Chan-Young to row as a person and doubling down on Mi-Jo being the main character and I suspect that’s because of the star power she has.
Either way though, the story and writing in this show has been really poor and despite the series doing well ratings-wise, it’s certainly not a series to remember, which is a shame.