Episode 4 of Thirty Nine begins with Chan-Young receiving her devastating stage 4 cancer diagnosis.
If she undergoes chemotherapy, she’ll be given a year tops. Chan-Young vehemently declines to get chemo and walks away. The thing is, even if chemo is successful, there’s a 0.8% chance she’ll survive. So instead, she sticks with the six month diagnosis.
Mi-Jo and Chan-Young fall out in the hallway of the hospital, broken up by Joo-hee phoning excitedly, revealing she’s come fourth in the lottery and that they should meet for drinks. Joo-Hee even rings Hyun-Joon too and tells him about it.
Given how much of a good mood Joo-Hee is in, Chan-Young decides not to tell Joo-Hee about this. It’s awkward though, especially when Jo–Hee questions why Chan-Young isn’t drinking.
Eventually Mi-Jo reveals the truth, telling her their friend has six months to live.
As this devastating news ripples through their friendship, Mi-Jo finds comfort with Seon-U, who ends up hugging her at the clinic. Mi-Hyun sneaks in though and spots them together. So naturally, she quietly leaves again.
Naturally, she tells her parents who find themselves curious about Mi-Jo’s new lover. Mi-Jo’s father even makes up an excuse to see him in the flesh, believing he and Mi-Jo are serious.
Meanwhile, Jin-Seok decides to divorce Sun-Joo, revealing that he only really married her because she was pregnant. Given how nonchalant she is to being a parent, Jin-Seok is also going to take custody of Ju-Won himself, telling her she has no right to raise him.
Elsewhere, Mi-Jo and Chan-Young go for a drive together. Mi-Jo is still unhappy with her friend refusing to get treatment and eventually she decides to get a cab home.
The thing is, Jin-Seok is already at her place and when Joo-Hee shows with some food, awkwardness ensues. Naturally, Joo-Hee decides to leave and in doing so, rings Mi-Jo, admitting she’s feeling tired and will just go home.
Joo-Hee doesn’t though, and ends up with Hyun-Joon at his bar. There, she too reveals the truth about Chan-Young and why she’s so sad and torn up.
As the pair drink, Hyun-Joon suggests they should meet up more regularly, without using honorifics. In exchange for her talking about Chan-Young, he’ll discuss his girlfriend and their woes.
It’s a really touching chat and one that obviously sows the seeds of future romance between the pair.
Mi-Jo heads home, where she finds Seon-U there with games and deciding to cook for her. Mi-Jo even manages to smile a little.
One person not smiling though is Chan-Young, who learns that Jin-Seok is getting a divorce and implores him not to. At least not for her anyway.
He also reveals that Ju-Won is not his biological son, which is when he started to drink a lot. Regardless of genes though, Jin-Seok is determined to raise the boy and take responsibility himself.
It’s here Chan-Young reveals her cancer, which absolutely devastates Jin-Seok, who starts crying and breaks down in front of her, uttering “Why you?”
After her night, Mi-Jo sits down with her sister and parents, telling them she’s not going to the States and instead will be looking after Chan-Young. Given they think it’s about Seon-U, the devastating reveal hits even harder for them.
When Mi-Jo heads over to see Chan-Young, Joo-Hee joins them and reveals she’s shredded her lottery ticket. Given how much luck that’s brought her,she’s going to try and project that luck onto Chan-Young so she can live for four more years.
Mi-Jo turns and tells Chan-Young she wants her to be the happiest terminally ill person ever.
The trio head to the club together and eventually all start dancing together. When they eventually leave, drunk and stumbling up the street, they bump into Seon-U who ends up trying to drag So-Won out the club, given she’s working there.
As he locks eyes with Mi-Jo across the street, the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
Thirty Nine bows out an emotional chapter with the news of Chan-Young’s terminal illness spreading across to all our central characters.
There’s a good deal of poignancy with this too, as several characters illicit a really heart-wrenching reaction. Jin-Seok in particular, breaking down the way he does, is a really touching moment.
Late on, the moments with Joo-Hee shredding the lottery ticket is equally heart-wrenching and this is definitely one of those episodes that tugs at the heartstrings.
After yesterday’s somewhat subdued chapter, this time we really get the emotional weight of these characters dealing with Chan-Young’s terminal illness.
That’s a big part of this drama of course and I’m sure there’s going to be more sad moments in the episodes ahead. For now though, Thirty Nine delivers a decent episode.