Melting Me Softly- Episode 1 Recap
Ma Dong Chan (Ji Chang-wook) walks down a dimly lit corridor and stops at a door. The door slides open and he walks in. Dong Chan looks at the Cryosleep Chambers in front of him with people in them. He looks at the two empty pods.
Dong Chan discusses the experiment with Professor Hwang Kap-Soo (Doctor in charge). Dong Chan asks if Hwang can make a better world if he helped him. Hwang assures him but asks how Dong Chan plans to help.
Dong Chan replies with a smile that he is going to make the project a success and show it to the entire world.
Later, Dong Chan and Go Mi-ran (Won Jin-ah) are asleep in their respective Cryosleep chambers. The scientist starts sets up the programme and starts the 24-hour timer.
The temperature inside the chambers start to drop and the freezing begins.
(Episode 1- Origin of Cryogenics)
July 28 1999, 02:17 Am
Son Hyun Gi (Lee Hong Ki) films the cryosleep chambers and narrates that this is the world’s first-ever cryonics experiment. He explains the experiment in detail. He goes on to say that the identities of 4 out of the 6 subjects will be kept confidential. He explains that one of the subjects is Ma Dong Chan, the PD (Production Director) of this program that is filming this experiment. Hyung Gi says Dong Chan is the one who planned this project. Before he introduces the next subject, the battery runs out on the camera.
Hwang tells Son Hyun Gi that they will be legends in 23 hours. Just then, Hyun Gi’s assistant runs in with a CD that has 4 autographs on it. Hyun Gi complains that Mi Ran had waited for it for so long and now they have to wait 24 hours to give it to her.
Go Mi-ran is in her room dancing casually. She receives a call saying that she isn’t selected in the interview she attended. The caller further states that Mi Rae did a bad job in the interview. Mi-Ran tells the woman to send a text message hereafter if this is how she is going to talk. The lady cuts Mi-ran off and hangs up. Mi-Ran is annoyed.
Later at the breakfast table, Mi-Ran’s mother tells her off for singing a Chinese song in the interview. Mi-Ran explains that she had applied for the foreign division. Her father says she should have majored in English while her mother says Mi-ran majored in Chinese because she is a fan of Leslie Cheung. Mi-Ran maintains that Chinese is going to be the next big thing. Her mother tells her to go on a blind date after she graduates and to get married. Mi-Ran refuses. Just then, they receive a call from a broadcasting station and Mi-Ran’s smile fades.
After some time, Mi-ran is getting ready for work. Her younger brother Go Nam Tae asks to tag along. Mi-Ran politely refuses but promises to take him next time. Nam Tae asks her to get Fin K.L’s autograph. Mi-Ran promises to do so. She asks him to promise her that he will let her know if someone bullies him next time. Nam Tae asks her what she does at the broadcasting station. Mi-Ran smiles uneasily.
At the broadcasting station, Mi-ran suits up and gets ready for filming the experiments “Water rocket”. It is an outdoor set up with a large pool. Son Hyun Gi is objecting to film as the camera position is very high.
Just then, everyone makes way as Dong Chan walks towards them. He walks to the crane and says he will shoot it himself. He gives the go-ahead and the shooting starts. Mi-Ran is hooked to a water rocket. She is propelled into the air and flies across the pool. She hits the water on the other end. The crowd watches in silence. She comes up for breath and smiles. Dong Chan finishes filming. She gives Dong Chan a thumbs up and he returns it.
At the awards show, Dong Chan receives the Variety Show producer award for “Infinite Experiment Paradise.” In his acceptance speech, Dong Chan thanks the test subjects for taking part in difficult experiments. He then thanks his girlfriend Na Ha-Young for being by his side always.
The MC says Dong Chan’s first two projects have been a mega-hit and asks about the third venture. Dong Chan says that he wants to do a program that only he must do while no one else wants to. The crowd breaks into applause.
Then the MC asks if Dong Chan’s girlfriend is here. Dong Chan smiles at Na Ha Young who walks up to him with flowers. The MC introduces her as the narrator of Dong Chan’s show. The crowd cheers as Dong Chan holds her hand announcing that she is his girlfriend. Na Ha Young is overwhelmed as she stands on stage with him while the cameras click away.
At the lab, Hyun Ki tells Ha-Young over the phone that Dong Chan just fell asleep.
Ha-Young objects to Dong Chan doing the experiment himself. Dong Chan says he has read the experiment for 3 days and 4 nights. He says this is revolutionary. She says it is reckless and he says that is the reason he is doing this. He explains he is doing this because no one else wants to do it. She calls him insane. He says this is a historical mission and not just a TV Program. She asks him why he isn’t using the test subjects and insists on freezing himself.
Dong Chan tries to convince her by saying he has never failed. He then shows her a video of the experiment conducted on a dolphin a month ago. He explains that the dolphin is healthier now. Ha-Young says that is a dolphin and not a person. Dong Chan says they are both mammals.
Ha Young says Dong Chan gets cold easily and doesn’t turn on the air conditioner even in summer. She says he doesn’t shower in cold water. He pleads with her asking her to wait for him for 24 hours. Hyun Ki tells them that there is no female volunteer yet for the experiment.
Dong Chan says he wants a female subject with a different body structure to make the experiment trustworthy. Ha Young calls him crazy. Dong Chan asks about the girl who did the water rocket experiment. Hyun Gi says her name is Mi-Ran. He tells Dong Chan off for not remembering Mi-Ran’s name though she is the top contributor and does all difficult experiments. (Montage of all the difficult experiments Mi-ran has done so far)
Hyun Gi meets Mi-ran at a Cafe. She says she participated in absurd experiments because they offered her a lot of money. Hyung Ki says everyone works for money. She is fuming as she says she feels like her human rights are violated. She says after the water rocket experiment, she had dreams of falling from the sky. She says in yesterdays dream, she went through the ground into the earth’s mantle and burned up.
She is about to break down asking if they think she is a joke. She yells at him asking if he thinks she is a frozen fish. He says he can prove that the experiment is safe. Mi-Ran says the director has only a pretty face. She asks Dong Chan to do it himself if he thinks it is safe. She is speechless when Hyun Gi says Dong Chan is doing it himself. She says he is insane. Hyun ki offers her 5000 dollars saying she can meet the doctor and then think about it.
Later at the lab, Mi-ran sees the dolphin video. She says it must be fabricated. Hwang walks in and says it isn’t fabricated as he plans on publishing this in the science magazine. He says that the fish in the South Pole never freeze because of the Cryoprotective protein present in them. He adds that there is a limited amount of protein that can be obtained from the fish so he created a new compound that prevents the modification of the fatty acid. He says this will minimise cytolysis (cell dissolution) when the humans defrost. He says it is the core technology in raising the percentage of survival.
She asks him if he is the only person who can defrost her, as he is the creator. The doctor confirms it. Hyun Ki asks her to consider it. Mi-Ran but refuses to do it.
At his office, Dong Chan looks at the Mi-Ran’s water rocket footage. He comments that she is bold. Hyun Ki walks in and says Mi-ran refused to do the experiment but agreed to consult a professional. Dong Chan is puzzled.
Mi-Ran visits a fortune-teller along with her friends to get a reading. She generally asks the fortune-teller if she should do the job or not. She doesn’t explain anything else. The fortune-teller asks how much is the pay and learns it is 5000 dollars. Mi-Ran’s friends are shocked. The fortune-teller says Mi-ran should do it and asks if she should take Mi-Ran’s place. Mi-Ran wonders if the woman can really see the future as she is basing her answers on the money. She points out that the woman used to sell insurance before she opened this place after she claimed to be possessed by a ghost.
Mi-Ran’s friend says the fortune-teller specialises in love. The fortune-teller again meditates and this time says she sees a huge ball of luck coming Mi-Ran’s way. She says Mi Ran’s life will change forever and asks her to take the offer. Mi Ran asks when her golden days will start. The woman starts praying again.
She says Mi-ran will meet the love of her life after 20 years but before that Mi-ran will be very cold. Mi-Ran says she will be 44 years old then. She asks if she will be without a job or money until then. The fortune-teller nods her head.
Meanwhile, Dong Chan asks if Mi-ran has a boyfriend. Hyun Gi says she does. Dong Chan says the boyfriend might object so she won’t be able to do it. He says no guy will allow his girlfriend to participate in an experiment like this. Dong Chan says he is confident about the experiment but others will think he is crazy. Dong Chan says he wouldn’t do it if people were convinced about the experiment.
Dong Chan realises that Hyun Gi has second thoughts about the experiment. He tells Hyun Ki isn’t fit to be the Assistant Director. He orders Hyun Ki to re-read all the materials and get his mind straight. He tells Hyun Ki to get off the project if he doesn’t believe in it. Hyun Ki pleads with him saying he believes in the experiment. Dong Chan smiles and asks Hyun Ki to join him in the other capsule in that case.
Hyun Gi immediately says he has a weak immune system and one of them has to be outside to finish the shoot. He says Mi Ran isn’t responding to texts. Dong Chan wonders who the professional is. Hyun Ki says it is a fortune teller. Dong Chan gives him a look of disbelief. He smoothly tells Hyun Gi to take her place if she doesn’t do it.
Dong Chan then goes on to tell that, when Professor Hwang was studying biology in the USA, his supervising professor was murdered. He says the problem is that Hwang refuses to talk about it even though Dong Chan asked about it many times. Dong Chan says something seems odd and he should look into it. Just then, Ha Young calls and asks to meet at the theatre later on in the day. Dong Chan agrees and hangs up.
Later Dong Chan and Ha Young go into the theatre to watch the movie.
Meanwhile, Ha Young and her boyfriend Byung Sim are also at the theatre. She tells him that the fortune-teller said she would meet the love of her life after 20 years. He is baffled but goes on to say he majored in psychology. He adds that fortune-telling is just a business to make money using a person’s weak mentality. They walk into the theatre.
Mi-Ran and her Byung Sim sit a few rows away from Dong Chan and Ha Young. As the movie progresses, both Mi-ran and Dong Chan are touched by it and comment, “How beautiful”.
As he walks Mi-ran home, her Byung Sim quotes Freud, “Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.” Mi-Ran says if Freud said things in simpler ways his books would sell more. He says it means we wouldn’t suppress emotions. He says they should kiss each other till they break their front teeth.Mi-Ran cringes but closes her eyes as he leans forward awkwardly. He suddenly notices Nam-Tae (with lips stained in red – ketchup) standing behind them staring. Byung Sim lets out a cry of shock and falls backwards.
Mi-Ran immediately walks up to Nam-Tae and suggests going inside. She waves to Byung Sim and closes the door after going in.
Meanwhile, Dong Chan walks Ha-Young home. She asks him why he lives such a difficult life and asks why he always does things that other people don’t do. Dong Chan says he does what his heart tells him to do. He says he listens to his heart rather than his brain. He says that way he won’t regret it when he dies. He says that is the reason he loves her so. Ha-Young steps forward and kisses him. She asks him to promise that he will come back alive and he promises that he will.
Dong Chan takes out a ring box and puts the ring on Ha-Young’s finger. He hugs her.
Hyung Gi’s assistant asks if he isn’t curious to see the other subjects. Hyun Ki gets up and walks up to the other subjects but Professor Hwang stops him. Hwang threatens to stop the shooting if Hyun Gi doesn’t stop this. Hyun Gi runs away after apologising.
Later, Hwang is in his lab and remembers his mentor being shot. He runs to the professor and holds him but someone sets the place on fire. Hwang catches a glimpse of the man who set the fire. At present, Hwang clenches his fists and there is a burn scar on his hand.
Dong Chan approaches Chief Director Kim Hong Suk to get the cryonics experiment approved. Kim refuses saying it doesn’t fit the criteria. Dong Cha doesn’t take no for an answer and tries to convince Kim. He says this is something no TV show has attempted. Kim says they should stick with what the public wants. Dong Chan says at least one broadcasting station should take up a show with a sense of duty. Kim talks about the budget and Dong Chan says that they should act as a catalyst and do this without foreign capital. He says the nation should cheer the doctor. Kim says many are against the doctor due to human rights reasons. He says if something goes wrong the government will step in.
Dong Chan slams the project on Kim’s table and turns away. Kim is furious. Dong Chan asks him since when the media cared about the government. He calls Kim an authority dog for laying low and sitting behind the desk. Dong Chan says they have to have their own identity. He reiterates that people should watch this cryonics project and learn as it is revolutionary for Korea’s biotechnology. He says they need the nation’s interest. He says this is going to be legendary and asks to record it.
Kim seems swayed by the word legendary. Dong Chan says this is the time to show the power of Korean Broadcasting.
Later, as they walk out, Hyun Gi commends Dong Chan on his persuasion skills. Dong Chan says they mustn’t forget their sense of duty as a creator. He says sincerity should be over money and honour. He gestures to Ha Young that it worked out as he walks by. Hyung Gi then talks about Mi-Ran. Dong Chan asks who that is.
Hyung Gi reminds him that she is the test subject. Dong Chan refers to her as water rocket. Hyun Gi says she refused to do it as it is life-threatening. Dong Chan asks where she is now. Hyung Gi says she is going to follow her friend taking a profile photo. Dong Chan is taken aback and asks why she does that. He then says he will persuade her.
Meanwhile, Mi-ran lazes on the blanket as her friends take photos on the park by the lake. When they ask her to take pictures, she says she will charge them per hour. As they agree, she starts taking photos. As she is taking photos, Mi-ran notices her Byung Sim on the paddleboat getting cosy with another woman.
Dong Chan and Hyung-Gi walk in the park searching for Mi-Ran. Just then, Mi-ran runs past them. Hyung-Gi runs after her as Dong Chan looks on.
Mi-Ran tries to catch Hwang Byung Sim’s attention but he seems to busy. She gets into another boat. Her friends join her too. they start paddling and ram into Byun Sim’s boat. Byung Sim is caught off guard and he starts paddling his boat in an attempt to getaway. Mi-Ran’s boat chases Byung Sim’s boat as Dong-chan and Hyung Gi look on.
They manage to catch up with the boat. Her friends try to stop her as she tries to jump over to Byung Sim’s boat. Mi-Ran says she is a human rocket who soared 30 m into the air. She says she will kill them today.
Dong Chan wonders what she is doing. He then grabs a binocular from the person next to him. He notices it is too small. He sees that it belongs to a kid and returns it. The kid gives him an odd look.
Mi-Ran then jumps up (to a dramatical height) and gestures for the other woman to move. The other woman leans back. Mi-Ran lands with a kick on Byung Sim’s face and he falls into the water. He starts yelling for help as Mi Ran throws her life jacket on him. The girlfriend calls the police.
Dong Chan asks if the guy Mi Ran kicked is her boyfriend. He says she has a lot of anger in her heart and needs to go someplace cold to cool down. He says she is the perfect candidate. Hyung Gi agrees with him as he has no choice.
Dong Chan and Hyung Gi follow Mi-ran and the others to the police station. The woman whom Byung Sim was with at the park notices that both Mi-ran and she are wearing the same T-Shirt with the word ‘Mate’ on it. Byung Sim is wearing the one with the word ‘Soul’ on it.
The cop asks MI-Ran why she hit Byung Sim. Byung Sim accepts that he had an affair. He tells Mi Ran that he loves her and says he has a dark and evil side inside him that made him do this. Mi-Ran asks if she hit him in the wrong place. Byung Sim says that he is a hot-blooded guy so he did this. He holds MI Ran’s hand and asks to overcome this together. The other girl interrupts him and he says he will talk with her once he is done with Mi-Ran.
Byung Sim then tells Mi-ran this wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t come to the park. Mi-Ran hits him again. The other woman asks why she is hitting him again. Mi-Ran says the girl claims to take entrance exam this year and points out she should be under-age. The girl says this is her 5th retake and is older than Mi-Ran.
The cop asks if they are going to settle the case. The girl tells him not to settle and Byung Sim starts crying.
The cop and Dong Chan are smiling at this point.
Mi-Ran asks if she can leave when Byung Sim starts bawling or if she has to wait till he stops crying.
It is dark outside when Professor Hwang notices that Hyung Gi and his assistant are fast asleep. Hwang closes the window next to him.
A hooded figure watches from the darkness.
Dong Chan meets Mi-ran later on. He passes her a drink saying Hyun Gi said she liked it. Mi-Ran says she only drank this because the company gives it free. She says she likes free stuff. She tells him that she hates this drink. Dong Chan’s smile fades.
Dong Chan apologises for not knowing her better. He asks her what is her dream. She says her dream is to earn a living and live a happy life. Dong Chan says they think alike. She says he looks pretentious as he is trying to convince her to participate in the experiment. She says he is having a hard time putting on a fake smile.
Dong Chan accepts that he wanted to convince her but he says the smile isn’t fake. He says he can’t put on a fake smile. He then tells her she needn’t do it if she doesn’t feel like it. He says he saw her at the park and says it was an impressive way to take revenge on her cheating boyfriend. He says he saw her spirit of anger and spirit that lies deep in her heart.
He says he was so impressed that she came in his dream last night. She says weird things impress him or he is a pervert. He smiles saying he has lived his life doing things that other people don’t do. He says his brain releases dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for making one feel happy) when he sees someone similar.
He says if this cryonics experiment succeeds, it can cure people with incurable illnesses. He says even if they can’t be cured now, they can be cured in the future. He says she can take part in it.
Mi-Ran becomes serious and asks if they can be cured. Dong Chan receives a call and he goes over to take it. Mi-Ran has a pensive look.
In a flashback, Mi-ran runs down the streets desperately searching for Nam Tae. She finds him sitting under a utility pole. She asks him why he is here as she was looking around everywhere for him. He keeps quiet. She sees that the shoulder bag he is wearing is tied to the utility pole using a jump rope.
This was the reason he couldn’t move. Mi–Ran is teary-eyed as she tells him he can remove the bag if it is tied to the pole. She says he could have left the bag and come home. She breaks down into tears and hugs him.
Dong Chang walks up to her and notices her wiping her tears away. He tells her not to do it if she doesn’t want to. He says he can do it by himself. Mi-Ran says she needs to get going and walks away.
Later, Mi-ran says she will do the experiment. Dong Chan refuses saying he will do it by himself. She asks him why he won’t allow her to do it. He tells her to ask her parents for permission. He says she shouldn’t do it if they don’t agree. Mi-Ran says she is not a kid. She asks what kind of parent would allow their kid to do it. She says she will do it under one condition. She asks for the autograph from all Fin K.L members, as her brother is a fan. She also asks Dong Chan to let her meet Leslie Cheung when he visits Korea next month.
Hyung Gi tells his assistant it was funny that Dong Chan didn’t want Mi-ran doing the experiment but Mi-ran insisted on it. He says they both again fought over it. He calls them both crazy. They note that they will wake up in 2 hours and 30 minutes and wonder how they will feel. Hyun Gi says Dong Chan would want to go to the sauna.
Professor Hwang rushes in asking them to go out. He tells them they can’t shoot the thawing process. He tells them to shoot outside and tells them to leave.
Kim is furious when he learns of this. Hyun Gi explains that Hwang doesn’t want to leak the thawing process. Kim asks if something is wrong but Hyung Gi says nothing is wrong.
Hwang gets ready to go out when his assistant Jo says they have to thaw them in two hours. Hwang says he will be back before that. He asks Jo to keep an eye on the capsules and not let anyone inside.
Hwang drives away in his car. Another car parked behind the bushes follows him.
At the broadcasting station, Ha-young goes over the programme script. She reads out loud the questions that she has to ask Dong Chan and Mi-ran once they wake up. She looks at the question that asks if the person was worried if they might never wake up. A shadow of worry comes over Ha Young’s face as she reads it. She takes Dong Chan’s ID card and dares him to come back.
She then sees the file and finds the news about Hwang’s superior, Doctor Johnson reported as missing. The article speculates if it was murder or not.
Meanwhile, Hwang is at a traffic light and he notices the hooded figure following him in the car. He increases speed to lose the tail but the car follows him.
At the lab, Jo grows restless as there are only over 7 minutes for them to thaw.
Hwang’s car races down the road and has a close shave with a truck. He manages to lose the tail and drives away. The hooded figure taps on the steering wheel as he sits calmly in the car. After driving a few feet, Hwang’s car explodes into a ball of flames.
At the lab, the alarms sound as the timer comes down to 00.00.00. Jo ruffles his hair, as he has no idea what to do. He watches helplessly as the temperatures rise in the chambers. A warning message pops up and the sirens sound all over the lab.
Outside, Hyung Gi wonders what is going on. Jo is nervous as he falls on the floor. Hyung Gi taps on the door saying they are ready to film. He asks if something is wrong. Jo runs over and closes the shutter on the door. This blocks Hyung Gi’s view.
Jo runs over to the control panel and pulls a lever. This shuts down the power supply to the lab. The emergency lights come on and the entire place starts to vibrate. The lights inside the capsule come on but Mi-ran and Dong Chan are still in cryosleep. The vibrations grow stronger and the photos on the walls fall. The panels and desks start shaking. The capsules shake.
The first episode was interesting and funny. It took its time in introducing the characters. The drama’s humour is smooth and good to watch.
Dong Chan comes across as a persuasive character but he isn’t forceful. He also has an empathetic side to him. It is rare to see a male lead who says he follows his heart rather than his mind.
Mi-Ran seems quick-witted and smart though isn’t able to land herself in a decent job. Her scenes are funny and lively. The scenes with her brother are well made as it has an impact despite having very little screen time.
It’s interesting to see the lead characters share similar traits though they are different in many ways. Their reactions to the movie were similar. They both are empathetic.
On the other hand, Dong-chan entered into the experiment confident that the concept would work. Mi-Ran entered the experiment despite not trusting the concept. She entered it hoping it may cure her brother.
Despite it being a romantic comedy, the mystery behind Hwang’s experiment and the murders arouse one’s curiosity.
I am looking forward to the next episode, which takes place in 2019.
-By Soul Sword-