Thirty-Nine season 1 episode 4 recap & review: Choice

Thirty-Nine is a Korean drama streaming on Netflix. Episode 4 was broadcasted on 24th February and narrates how all the characters deal with the news of Chan-young’s terminal illness. 


The episode starts with Chan-young receiving news about her stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She refuses to undergo chemotherapy because even if it’s successful, the chances of her surviving are less than 0.8%. She instead opts for the 6-month treatment. 

Mi-jo and Chan-young are in hospital, still processing everything when Joo-hee calls them. Unaware of Chan-young’s illness, she excitedly tells them about the lottery she has won. To celebrate, all of them decide to go for drinks. 

Seeing Joo-hee in a good mood, Chan-young decides not to tell her about her condition. But Joo-hee quickly catches on that something is wrong when Chan-young refuses to drink. 

She gets upset, claiming that they never tell her anything. Eventually, Mi-jo informs her about Chan-young’s condition. Joo-hee looks disheartened. 

Later, Seon-woo comforts a sorrowful Mi-jo in the clinic. Mi-Hyun, Mi-jo’s step-sister, spots them and tells their parents about it.

Meanwhile, Jin-Seok decides to get a divorce. He tells his wife that he only married her because she was pregnant but seeing that she isn’t a good mother, he will no longer stay with her. He also plans to take complete custody of Ju-won, their son. 

Jin-Seok goes to Chan-young’s house to give her the news about the divorce. He has an awkward confrontation with Joo-hee, who was there with food.

Joo-hee decides to leave and meets Hyun-Joon at his bar. The pair drink together, and she finally tells him about Chan-young’s illness. Hyun-Joon comforts her and expresses that they should meet more often to discuss their problems with each other. 

At the same time, Mi-jo reaches home and finds Seon-woo there, cooking for her. He convinces her to play a game with him, and Mi-jo finds herself smiling after ages. 

Chan-young, unlike her two friends, isn’t having a happy evening. She tries to convince Jin-Seok not to seek a divorce because of her. Jin-Seok eventually reveals that Ju-won is not his biological son. But he still considers him as his child and wants to raise him. 

With a lot of reluctance, Chan-young tells him about her terminal illness. The news completely shatters him, and he breaks down in front of her. 

Mi-jo informs her parents and sister about Chan-young’s diagnosis. She also tells them that she is cancelling her sabbatical and staying here to take care of Chan-young. 

Later, the three friends decide to meet. Joo-hee tells them that she has shredded her lottery ticket because she wants to project her luck to Chan-young. All of them are very emotional. 

Mi-jo tells Chan-young that she wants her to be the happiest terminally ill person ever. 

The episode ends as the three go to a club and enjoy the night. 


  • The character that gained viewer’s sympathy in this episode was Jin-seok. It was highly heart-shattering to hear him talk about his past. 
  • After learning about Chan-young’s illness, the scene where Jin-seok breaks down was very well done and left the viewers emotional. 
  • Another scene that was sad to watch was Joo-hee shredding her ticket. Viewers hadn’t been given a lot of chances to explore their friendship before, but with this scene, it was confirmed how deeply the three friends loved each other. 
  • The episode ended positively, promising that upcoming episodes will be about Chan-young living her life to the fullest before her diagnosis catches up on her.

Rating: 4/5

Also Read: Thirty-Nine season 1 episode 3 recap & review: Something I had never thought of

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