One Absurd Day
Episode 2 of Thirty-Nine begins with Chan-Young preparing for a brand new start. At the same time, Mi-Jo composes herself and meets Seon-U at the restaurant. She breaks everything down, claiming it’s a professional hand-over but Mi-Jo is understandably nervous, downing a glass of water.
After their meet, Mi-Jo learns that Seon-U is on the verge of turning 40 as well. It’s a nice little inclusion, and one that eventually sees the pair say their goodbyes and prepare to work at the clinic the following day.
One of the characters we haven’t seen whole lot of is Joo-Hee, who appears at the new restaurant and gets talking to Park Hyun-Joon, who happens to be the chef and owner of this establishment. She points out his closing time is 8pm – a stark contrast to the much later time of the previous owners.
Interestingly, Jin-Seok is depressed after learning Chan-Young is giving him up, completely nonchalant to his wife and son when he heads home. She seems to suspect something, but for now that’s kept on the back-burner.
Mi-Jo picks up Chan-Young on the way home and the pair hang out, drinking beer and discussing the coincidences surrounding Seon-U. Although the pair giggle and try to keep things lighthearted, after-hours its clear that Chan-Young is suffering. She stares out her window, sadly, prompting Mi-Jo to show and wrap her arms around her friend, comforting her.
In the morning, Chan-Young is approached again by Jin-Seok, who asks her to reconsider. He also comes with a proposal for her to head off to art school but she’s quick to squash that and throw the papers in the bin. She’s not backing down but Jin-Seok is not making that easy.
The next day, Seon-U shows up at the clInic to work with the other dermatologists. He also has a chat with Mi-Hyun too, who takes a few jabs at Mi-Jo after confirming to him that she’s currently getting a full body check-up before leaving for the US. Mi-jo is not there alone though, given both Joo-hee and Chan-Young are with her.
After, they head to the new restaurant where they ogle over the new chef. Joo-Hee can’t help watching him, wondering how old he is and whether they’re compatible. However, a young lady shows up whom they believe is tied with the chef in some way. However, Seon-u of all people appears.
Mi-Jo tries to hide herself but her friends both smile warmly at him and encourage the guy to join them. Eventually she caves and lets him join them at the table for food and drinks. Apparently the owner of the restaurant is actually a good friend of his, hence why he’s there. However, Mi-Jo receives a call from her father and is forced to leave. She forgets her phone though, prompting Seon-u to head off and drive her there.
Mi-Hyun is already there when Mi-Jo arrives, and she’s quiet as Mi-Jo’s parents cook them dinner and prepare to hear their daughter’s concerns. Well, Mi-Hyun has actually told her that she’s been getting panic attacks and is taking a break in America for her own health. So her parents offer to come with her – which Mi-Jo is very quick to shoot down.
While this is going on, Seon-u heads on a night out with his sister So-Won, discussing her piano academy and how well she’s doing. As we soon learn, she actually ran away to Korea, and that’s what brought Seon-U here.
Seon-U took the KMLE, got a job and settled down to look after his sister. After their mother died, So-Won lost her way and he felt a moral obligation to be her rock. However, she’s still having a hard time making peace with this, not wanting to be part of their family anymore.
Seon-U heads back to the dermatology clinic and speaks to Mi-Jo about his concerns, echoing all of this. Mi-Jo admits that she too feels the same way at times, given she’s adopted. Her reassuring words help to cheer Seon-U up and he thanks her graciously.
Off the back of this, Mi-Jo apologizes for calling him an accident as the pair flirt a little over that night with the flowers. That night, Joo-Hee and Chan-Young are waiting for Mi-Jo at her place and tease her about Seon-U. When he rings, they both listen in as Joo-Hee ends up farting. Seon-U immediately thinks its Mi-Jo but he also comments how she didn’t use honorifics with him too.
That night, Seon-U admits to Mi-Jo that he likes her. However, this hangs over them both at work the next day as Seon-U contemplates how he broke the news to her.
However, all of this is squashed when Mi-Jo receives a call from the doctors. She suddenly bursts out the office, hurriedly arriving at the hospital. The test results have come back and they don’t look good.
Mi-Jo heads straight in to see Jin-Seok, calling him a jerk and promising to kill him. And as we cut forward in time, we see that same funeral again but this time with clarity over who the deceased is. It’s Chan-Young. Mi-Jo and Joo-Hee are both distraught as they mourn the loss of their friend.
The Episode Review
Thirty Nine returns with a solid follow-up, even if it does pull the trigger rather quickly in terms of revealing who the deceased is at the funeral. Personally, it would have been nice to see a slight reveal with different characters arriving at the funeral over time, keeping the mystery going and adding an extra element of tension.
However, finding out that Chan-Young is the one who’s going to pass away adds an extra bout of bittersweet drama to her scenes.
There’s really not a lot going on with Joo-hee yet though, while the main romance between Mi-Jo and Seon-U just hasn’t quite hit the right stride. I’m trying not to be biased here, especially given how crackling Hyun-Bin and Son Ye-Jin’s chemistry in Crash Landing was, but it’s still early days and hopefully they grow into their roles over time.
There’s a nice flow and vibe to this series though and to be honest, the best scenes are those involving the trio of ladies when they’re riffing or joking about. Their chemistry is so much more effective and enjoyable than the interactions with the men. That hug Mi-Jo gave Chan-Young at night is arguably the best moment of the whole episode.
The ending leaves everything wide open for next week’s follow-up though and it’ll be interesting to see what direction this one takes next.