Another bittersweet episode as we see dad deal with the news of his illness and get a better glimpse of his happy family. Dad's love for his wife and daughter are so apparent and that's what makes it so tragic. He doesn't have the heart to share the devastating news and chooses, instead, to hold onto the happy moments in his life. He is in denial of reality and wishes to let the warmth of the past remain intact. I can only watch as dad burdens his death by himself and can only weep alongside him for the cruelty of the world and the impending shattering of their family's quaint happiness.
Episode 2: Pain
The doctor explains to dad that there's no treatment available and suggests that he quickly tell his family especially since in his case, the disease is progressing rapidly. She tells him that he'll have to prepare himself for the end and offers telling his family for him. Dad declines and says he'll do it.
He starts to ask questions, realization of the situation dawning on him. He asks if there really is no treatment available to get better and emotions start to rise as he questions the doctor how this can all make sense. He's only forty and with one kid, how can he be already at the end? Frustration overcomes him as he shouts out why after why. Dad falls silent, head hanging low, and slowly lifts his gaze to ask how long he has left. The doctor tells him he'll probably not see the returning season, and dad holds back his tears and sighs. He takes a piece of candy on the table and comments on its tastiness while still trying to process the news he's just met.
We return to dad on the bridge still reeling from the events at the hospital. He gets a phone call from his wife, and trying to compose himself, he answers. On the other line, however, is his daughter who cheerily asks when they're going camping. She complains that mom is putting away the tent and declares that she loves dad more. His face dissolves to the brink of tears as his daughter continues to talk, and he can barely stop from sobbing as he tells her that he loves her too.
His wife then comes on the phone and asks if he's alright. Steely himself, he tells her he's fine. He lies that the doctors told to him to drink less when she asks about his hospital visit and quickly tells him "I told you so" about the alcohol. He asks how their daughters doing, and she says Soo-jung is just waiting for him to come home. She tells him to bring home Together (ice-cream) and come quickly. He hangs up and composes himself on the bridge. Giving a pep talk, he reminds himself to not forget the ice-cream and to get through with this.
Dad comes home, ice-cream in hand, and is met with a surprise cheer. Ji-eun and Soo-jung congratulate him on his promotion. Soo-jung sings a children's song accompanied with hand motions as her parents watch with pride. Dad watches with a smile but wonders if his family will remember him once he's gone, will his daughter remember her father.
Soo-jung grabs her dad's hand and urges him to join her. He grabs his wife's hand and all three join in motions and all. They laugh and enjoy this moment as dad thinks again that his daughter is now only seven, an age where she could remember or forget.
They clink glasses and drink as dad thinks how Ji-eun is still so youthful. He stares at her and can read her like an open book. He says her meeting with her friend must have ended well. She can't hide her smile as she announces that she'll start work starting Monday.
He congratulates her, and the two hug as she expresses her nervousness and thankfulness. He says she doesn't need to be thankful for his support because she's sacrificed so much for their family and deserves it. She shares that she feels good about this, and he cheers her on. He pulls her into another hug but once his face is out of view, his expression turns melancholy.
He thinks to himself, "Wife, two happiness and one misery came to me today. However, I'm only going to remember the two happiness. I'll forget the other."
Adult Soo-jung reads the journal and is hit with realization of that day's events. She wonders why dad never told them that he was sick.
Dad goes to work like any other day, but while at his desk, everything starts to blur and spin. He goes to restroom and hurls in the sink. Returning to his desk, he looks up cerebral atrophy. The information only deflates him as dad can only sigh at his circumstances.
Dad sits by himself at the cafe from episode one. He stares off at another table and imagines a time when his family was there. He thinks to himself that Ji-eun married him, who had nothing, to the disapproval of her rich family. She stopped contact and now he's her only family. Dad sighs and wonders what will happen. He takes out the journal and starts to think about life without him. The worst thing to dad is to see Ji-eun suffering because of him, and if she found out about his condition and worried... He sighs getting a headache even thinking about it.
He decides to write a "to do list" before he dies thinking it'll help him accept the end. He writes down a few personal things when he thinks about his family together at the cafe before and decides to start over. He writes to walk Soo-jung to school until the day he dies. Dad stops, unable to continue, the meaning behind the words signifying that he really is going to die.
Adult Soo-jung stares at the journal and says he never took her to school, not even once. Jung-nam cautiously asks if he did take her to school like how he wrote that he wanted to, but she simply can't remember. She adamantly says never. The bitterness is apparent in Soo-jung as she recounts a story of a rainy day. She says only mom came to pick her up from school that day. Only her mom came to her high school graduation, and only her mom was there to congratulate her for entering college. To her, dad was never by her side.
She passionately hated, thought was unfair, and blamed her dad for not being there all those years. She confesses that's why she told herself that there was never a father in her life. She convinced herself that her dad never existed and forgot about him, but as she cries, she says the videos kept coming and she couldn't forget her dad. She longed for the dad in the videos. Soo-jung cries, and we cut back to dad at the cafe, the weight of his death just as heavy and burdensome on him as it was all those years for his daughter.
Soo-jung's bitterness, as she confessed herself, was really the fruit of her desires for her father back. She grieved for his presence, and seeing the past when all of them were together, it's no wonder the loss was so heartbreaking. Soo-jung's final mission seems more like a journey of realization. She learns about the details of her father's death, and slowly, she'll come to realize, again, just how much she was loved by dad. The actress playing younger Soo-jung is adorable, and I know she'll break my heart when she finds out about her father's death.
Though I wish dad would tell, I understand his hesitance at the moment, and it's undeniable that he acts out of love. His interactions with Ji-eun and the mundane events in their life have added weight and importance because he and the audience know that time and moments like these are precious. Dad knows he has responsibilities, and it's admirable to watch him place his family first despite the pain and difficulties he must be enduring.