A Thousand Nights Over and Over Again
Episode 9 of Thirty Nine starts in the past, with Mi-Jo at the orphanage. As the weeks and seasons pass, Mi-Hyeon shows up and acts as a sister to her, promising to bring her home.
Her soon-to-be adoptive parents appear and promise as much. As tears run down Mi-Jo’s cheeks, she’s not convinced it’s forever. However, they promise to keep her on for thousands of nights ad infinitum.
As we return to the present, Mi-Jo heads in to see her birth mother at the prison. On the slip of paper at the prison, she tellingly writes “acquaintance” rather than daughter.
MiJo’s birth mother is all smiles and points out she’s living healthier behind bars. She’s completely nonchalant to leaving Mi-Jo at the orphanage, not even bringing it up. When her mother claims she hasn’t seen her “in a while”, Mi-Jo clenches her fists and decides to leave, claiming she has a stomach ache. This explains why she left so upset at the end of the previous episode.
As the guys all fuss about how to make Mi-Jo feel better – and wonder whether her birth mother is really cold-hearted or not – Mi-Jo makes a decision. She wants to go and see her adoptive parents – her real parents.
Given her mum has hurt her arm, Mi-Jo is given tasks to do around the house. It’s exhausting work and after cleaning up the bathroom, she’s conked out on the sofa with her father on the one opposite. Mi-Hyeon returns home and the group have dinner together.
Meanwhile, Joo-Hee heads back to see her mum, reassuring her and pointing out how hard it must have been to keep Mi-Jo’s real mother a secret all these years. Carrying that burden alone must have been difficult; Joo-Hee is sympathetic with her plight.
Elsewhere, Chan-Young is greeted by her parents too, who shuffle over that night in the rain and decide to surprise her.
Chan-Young is delighted and even suggests they move in with her. When the subject of Jin-Seok is brought up, Chan-Young is quick to point out that they’ve decided just to be friends now. Interestingly, Jin-Seok happens to be at the door and he decides against knocking, hearing them conversing together.
In the morning, Joo-Hee joins her mother as they head to the bank. She has a balance of 50 million won and is going to give it all to Joo-Hee. Originally she was going to give it to her as a wedding present but instead, she just wants Joo-Hee to put it good use and do something that’ll make her happy. So naturally, Joo-Hee decides to look at different leases at the real estate agency.
Hyeon-Jun appears while she’s there and decides to help her out, even addressing her as Ms Jung. He also decides they should go out for food together too. Afterwards, Mi-Jo messages and she heads over, dropped off by Hyeon-Jun.
There’s a cheeky bit of product placement for Angelinus (something that was prevalent in the previous episodes too to be fair) as the ladies gather and discuss the afternoon’s events.
Joo-Hee is thinking about opening her own small shop. However, this is interrupted by Mi-Jo receiving a call from Seon-U’s father.
Mi-Jo speaks her piece and stands up for herself, deciding that she and Seon-U should keep dating and unless something untoward is to tear them apart, her being an orphan won’t be one of those reasons. However, this chat does clearly rattle her later on, especially when she heads out on a date with Seon-U.
Meanwhile, Jin-Seok’s ex arrives to see Chan-Young and apologizes for her behaviour. She also asks for a favour – to convince Jin-Seok to allow her to take custody of Ju-Won as her second chance. I mean, I’m not sure why they can’t just share custody and do what’s best for him but there we go.
Chan-Young does as she wishes but Jin-Seok is not happy. However, she eventually tells him they should stay together and he should get divorced just as he promised before.
Seon-u eventually takes Mi-Jo out for a romantic date, playing on the beach and eventually getting her beautiful rings for their relationship, signifying how much he loves her. Unfortunately, Mi-Jo is swayed by Seon-U’s father and his words continue to play on her mind.
Still, she accepts her ring and eventual heads back to the office. Unfortunately, Mi-Jo’s birth mother manages to find her office number and rings. Mi-Jo makes an excuse that she’s with a patient though and hangs up.
With Chan-Young’s mother’s birthday looming, Chan-Young decides to get her a cake. Unfortunately, she gets a horrible pain in her stomach, forcing her to the hospital.
When Chan-Young awakens and discharges herself, her heart drops when she realizes the shop is shut. So, with Joo-Hee and Mi-Jo together, they decide to vandalize the shop, breaking in to steal the cake.
While Chan-Young leaves, Mi-Jo and Joo-Hee stay behind and eventually phone the police, reporting themselves for breaking the glass. The owner is happy to settle and it seems everyone knows about Chan-Young’s terminal illness too, given she’s told to “stay strong.”
As the ladies head out and have drinks together, they laugh and joke around, living up to their promise of making this the best time for Chan-Young. But how long has she got left?
The Episode Review
So Thirty Nine’s longest episode is also the one that drags the most. While the first half shows some promising signs of comedy and plot progression, around the 20minute mark the brakes slam on and we get more drama involving Seon-U’s father who has, honestly, bogged this drama down.
Don’t get me wrong, the acting in this is fantastic and you can kinda see what they’re trying to do with this but the pacing is so slow that it disrupts the flow of both the comedy and drama.
The story is going nowhere in a hurry and the writers seem conflicted over whether this is the Mi-Jo or the Chan-Young show. Either way, this series has been a real disappointment. Let’s hope tomorrow’s follow-up is an improvement.