Melting Me Softly: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread
Our cryogenic couple is alive, awake, and raring to go in 2019 — except what they find in their futures is more sobering than anything else at this point. Wait, is it sobering or is it hilarious? Melting Me Softly tries to do both simultaneously. Am I the only one that is amused, but also confused?
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP
I was trying to give this show the benefit of the doubt last week, with what was definitely a rough start — the prolonged lingering in 1999, the lack of any storytelling around the actual cryogenic plot line, and the strange leap of our leads from the bunker to stumbling around meeting their families in 2019. Were these things intentional? Would the storytelling get tighter? Why do I feel like the most important parts of this story are the ones not being told?
Going into the second week of the drama, though, knowing what to expect in terms of tone helped me enjoy the drama more. I could freely chuckle over Dong-chan’s awkwardness in using honorifics when talking to Hyun-gi, fumbling with the latest Samsung, or mistaking his brother for his father, over and over. The key to Melting Me Softly is: watch it lightly.
At the same time, the comedy often cuts into the emotional angle the drama is also going for. Almost every single scene that pulls out what Dong-chan is feeling in his soul (his missing twenty years, the death of his father, the lost time with his fiance) is upended by the comedy. It’s okay once or twice, but after a while I started to get the impression the drama doesn’t want us to feel anything much at all, and instead just gallop along. So, we gallop.
In contrast, Mi-ran’s storyline around her return has a bit more pathos and a little less comedy. The scenes where she reunites with her little brother and her family, and sees how they’ve been waiting for her all this time, is quite touching.
While Episode 3 was mostly focused on Dong-chan and Mi-ran meeting their families and realizing that they’ve been out cold for twenty years, Episode 4 adds another layer to that, and first delves into them re-meeting their romantic interests.
Here, it’s Dong-chan’s storyline that has more of the romance and pathos, while Mi-ran’s has the comedy. Her two-timing boyfriend from the past HWANG BYUNG-SHIM (first played by Baro and now transformed into the typecast-but-always-hilarious Shim Hyung-tak) discovers her on campus and basically loses his mind. Watching him stutter and stare and stand on jelly legs is pretty funny. He also married one of her besties, hah.
Our hero and heroine charge back into their lives straight away. Questions about how they got frozen for twenty years, and all the things that obviously went wrong for that to happen? Those can wait.
Mi-ran re-enrolls at her university and starts taking classes immediately. She sticks out like a sore thumb, catches the eyes of some campus cuties, and almost gives Byung-shim a heart attack. She also reunites with her besties, who immediately suspect she’s either had some hardcore anti-aging treatment in the U.S., or was frozen in time.
Dong-chan heads back to the broadcasting station, where he quickly learns how much television (and the world) has changed in the last twenty years. Between the meta, the PPL, and the social commentary — it’s pretty entertaining. It doesn’t take much for everyone at the station to be suspicious of him, though, and he’s quickly linked to the disappearance of his former self, twenty years prior.
For me, the show is strongest when Dong-chan and Mi-ran are onscreen together and interacting. Whether they’re squabbling in Dong-chan’s “vintage” car, or getting hot and bothered at a meeting with Hyun-gi and Hong-seok, their screen time and developing relationship were what kept me watching.
Thankfully, both Mi-ran and Dong-chan are starting to realize that what they just experienced is not normal, and they start to get suspicious. Mi-ran automatically confronts the broadcasting station for compensation, while Dong-chan starts to dig into the case of his “disappearance” only to realize the cover-up that occurred.
The plot slippage in Melting Me Softly might be bigger than the Great Divide, but by the end of Episode 4, it feels like the drama is heading in the right direction. Not only did we finally get to see some establishing shots around the cryo-bunker, but Dong-chan also returned with some decent questions.
There were also some interesting developments around their altered body temperature (which we already knew from the synopsis), and the fact that some other people were also frozen and woken. The plot thickens… which suggests that there IS a plot!
Last but not least, some shout-out moments that must be mentioned: Princess Ari (Oh Ah-rin) from An Empress’s Dignity playing Dong-chan’s sassy niece. Mi-ran’s imaginary Kill Bill moment. Dong-chan heroically opening the car door for her with a pathetic-looking old key. And let’s not forget Professor Hwang’s mental shampoo commercial.
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