Melting Me Softly: Episodes 15-16 Open Thread (Final)
Melting Me Softly is ready to conclude its tale, but before our cryo-couple can be left in peace with a happy ending, they have to endure a final round of suffering. One might ask why. To act as another testament to the strength of their love? To prove the humanitarian necessity cryogenics? To get the audience to stick around for two more hours?
EPISODES 15-16 WEECAP
There’s a psycho killer on the loose, folks! Last week, Lee Hyeon-du (imposter baddie), though imprisoned, enticed his henchman to help our cryo-couple meet their maker. This week, he spares no effort to make that happen. Despite being on every watch list, this nasty fellow finds a way to get at Mi-ran. Luckily, the first time he strikes she’s faster than this highly-trained killer, and tases him in the neck meat.
Outside of the imminent danger to Mi-ran, most of Episode 15 is concerned with Dong-chan and his journey as his body temperature is slowly transitioned to normal. In other words, he’s getting “melted,” just like the now-infamous title of our drama. Maybe that’s why the story lingers on this plot arc for so long? Everything else has been rushed through or glazed over, but here, we stall. We watch the long process of defrosting. The needles in the lab. The fevers and vomiting. The thrill when Dong-chan can go for long runs and drink hot coffees without getting dangerously ill.
While we’re watching this drawn-out process of Dong-chan’s, he starts keeping a vlog, and I have to say, I love this element. The drive to document and narrate and talk about his experiences makes sense for a production director/genius, and it fits well with the aesthetic of the drama as well.
This begs the question: why didn’t they use this throughout the entire drama? I, for one, would have loved it to be a deeper, more psychological look at what it was like to be away from the world for twenty years, and to hear it all through his voice, rather than watching the dumb things we have been for the last eight weeks.
Also a bit mismatched is the universal rejoicing when Dong-chan is no longer a cryo-man. Why is this a bigger deal than when he returned after missing for twenty years? Was it really that rough to use AC a lot and drink iced coffee instead of hot? Apparently it was, because all he and Mi-ran can talk about is when they get to be like “normal people” again. (I’d like to argue that they’ll never be normal because of, you know, two decades in a cryogenic sleep, but that’s neither here nor there.)
The final burst of drama in our drama is either: a) the emotionally-charged and much foreshadowed event that brings all the narrative arcs together into a meaningful climax that will end the drama; or b) a forced, needless, and ridiculous last bit of excitement to keep us from tuning out for the last week. I’ll leave it to you to decide which description is most accurate here.
As for the shape of that final burst of drama, Mi-ran saves Dong-chan from a killer blade and is effectively stabbed by the evil henchman. It’s actually a really good scene! However, the complications are quite dire.
Dong-chan is thawed, but Mi-ran is not. She’ll die without surgery, but if they try to perform surgery with her current body temperature, she’ll also die. The only solution? Put her back to cryosleep. This is a bit of a head scratcher for me, since thawing = dying and dying = thawing, but Dong-chan says that while she’s in cryosleep they’ll make a new formula to fix her body temperature so they can operate and save her. And with that, into the cryo-pod she goes.
This is all very ridiculous. I mean, I can see the drama intended to go here and pull their foreshadowing together and even have us all rally around the life-saving nature of cryogenics — but as a story it’s frustrating. Good thing they only have one episode left to pull this thing together. That means it will be fast.
In our final episode, we’ve got a roller coaster ride through the sadness and depression of “losing” a loved one, the cryo-professors hard at work, and a handy three-year jump to make it all come together. As with most time jumps, we have reversals of fortune, army service stints, new hair-dos, and new living situations — the best of these being that Dong-chan has become a de facto son-in-law of Mi-ran’s parents, and a fixture in their household.
It’s no surprise that after a few false starts, Mi-ran survives the treatments, surgery, anesthesia, and eventually returns to the land of the warm and living. Her parents are precious, and so is Dong-chan’s devotion, and I enjoyed their snowy reunion complete with tears and a delicious embrace. If the drama cut here, I would have been okay.
But, no, it goes on into an obnoxious epilogue wherein Mi-ran cares more about going overseas for training to become a director than she does spending time with the people who have adored her, waited for her, and wrapped their lives around her. It’s not until Mi-ran reads Dong-chan’s journals while she was frozen for the second time that she realizes she can’t leave him. And long story short, they leave together, start a travel vlog, and live happily ever after. Pfft.
To everyone who’s stuck it out with me and watched this drama from start to finish, or even just came to the weecaps to share the, uh, experience — pat yourself on the back. It’s a challenge to get through a drama that’s not only a big disappointment on both premise and cast, but falls short of what it could have been.
Still, there’s so much to learn from stories like this. Dud dramas teach us what makes a good drama, and being able to articulate what woulda/coulda/shoulda happened to make it better is actually an awesome exercise. And speaking of that, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s great ideas about the different pathways this drama could have followed, and how different the story would have been. Better luck next time, everyone!
- Premiere Watch: Miss Lee, Melting Me Softly
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- Lee Moo-saeng joins Ji Chang-wook drama Melt Me
- Yoon se-ah to play Ji Chang-wook’s first love in Melt Me
- Ji Chang-wook to return to dramaland as cryogenic man for tvN