Episode 1: Today
Someone enters the room and brushes the top of an aged box. The hand opens it and takes out a journal. Opening to the first pages is a picture of two females with the words, 'to the ones I love the most'.
Soo-jung hands over the letter to her fiance who reads the note for the future son-in-law. The father expresses his confidence and love for his daughter and requests that he solve the mission alongside her. Soo-jung is quiet but wonders out-loud how her father thought of such a thing. Her fiance Jung-nam (Baek Hyun) asks if her father died when she was six. She says he did, but she only realized his death when she was eight. She says that in her memory, her father was wearing a tuxedo and riding a limousine as he threw balloons into the air and left to go abroad. Jung-nam jokes around, wondering if there might be hidden clues in the letter, successfully lifting Soo-jung's spirit and making her laugh.
They leave the cafe and find the letter's address. It feels nostalgic yet Soo-jung can't quite remember this place. As the couple enters the old house, the memories flood back as she reminiscences to blissful days with her dad.
Little Soo-jung plays hide and seek with her dad as he counts to ten. She scurries under the table, and dad pretends to look for Soo-jung while telling his wife that it sounded like their daughter went upstairs. Soo-jung grabs her dad's leg, and he throws her up into a hug, the small room being filled with laughter and warmth.
Adult Soo-jung stares at the now covered furniture and smiles to herself. She tells Jung-nam that this was her old home in the countryside. They climb upstairs and wonder why her mom kept the house all these seventeen years. The couple enter a room and see the box that was shown in the beginning.
They open it, and Soo-jung immediately recognizes her cat doll she thought she had lost ages ago. Next, they take out the journal, and as Soo-jung flips to the first page with the sketches of the two females, she tells Jung-nam that this is her dad's. She says the girl in the drawing is her and wonders why her mom would leave this here. Jung-nam asks to see the journal and flipping a couple of pages, a photo falls out. Soo-jung takes it and says her mom never danced. She flips the photo over and reads "Erica, I love you forever".
Soo-jung tells Jung-nam that her mom once mentioned that dad loved Erica, all his life. Jung-nam, confusedly, asks if her dad had an affair to which earns him a glare from Soo-jung. He averts his gaze sheepishly, and Soo-jung answers that she doesn't know. She could never ask because her mom always cried when it was about Erica. Curiously, Soo-jung says that this Erica always sent a congratulatory video on her birthdays and graduations, but they were always messages from her dad. Jung-nam says that this seems worthwhile and suggest that Erica might be their first clue. Soo-jung seems to agree as she mentions that she always wanted to ask her why her father loved her so much.
We return to the past as dad walks down the sidewalk and worries about the lipstick mark on his shirt. He goes home and washes it while sending side-glances to his wife sitting at the table. He thinks to himself that his wife Ji-eun (Yoon Joo-hee) has become suspicious. He wonders if she's figured out that he's been taking secret dance lessons. Ji-eun asks why he's doing the laundry and says, passive aggressively, that husbands who suddenly treat their wives well are usually cheating. She asks if he's cheating, and he laughs that he wished he had the time to cheat.
In the present, the couple continues to read the journal, reliving dad's moments. Back in the past, dad walks dejectedly on a snowy bridge and looks towards the horizon. He thinks to himself that just last night, he was on top of the world. The scene cuts to a bar with a female coworker congratulating dad on his promotion. Their team leader happily congratulates him, also, and dad gives a modest speech saying none of this could have happened without everyone's input.
Dad begins to cry on the bridge as a woman's voice asks if he didn't bring along a guardian. A female doctor tells dad his results reveal that he has cerebral atrophy-his brain is slowly deteriorating. Dad sits in disbelief; the weight of her words having yet to truly sink in.
It's short, and I love it because it is short. This episode is more like a prologue, the introduction to the set the stage for what's to come. Nothing major gets revealed, since we know dad has already passed away, but the small, mundane events that sprinkled this man's life and the devastating news at the end, work as a wonderful start to this rich narrative. Granted, I've seen past episode one, so my view is biased. Thus, I think judging this drama by the first episode does it injustice, but then again, if you don't enjoy a bittersweet story dictated by the small moments and discoveries that were already apparent in the first episode, I doubt treading further will make you enjoy it more. Furthermore, I can't guarantee that the drama will be satisfying since it's not over, but for anyone who wants a simple and beautiful story that'll make your vision blur, I welcome you to join me!
Small note, I like calling this drama To My Dearest (as seen on the opening title sequence) rather than the bulky Love in Memory 2 - Father's Note. The first one just conveys the meaning and the connotations better in English than the direct translation in the latter. I just like the soft ring of "To My Dearest" than "Father's Note". It works in Korean for me, but in English, the other sounds sweeter and more intimate. Well, this rant was just so people would know when I said To My Dearest, I'm still talking about the same drama because if you're reading this, you are going to watch this, right?