Melting Me Softly Episode 1 – Origin of Cryogenics
1999…Director Ma Dong Chan (Ji Chang Wook) enters a room with people pods, two of which are empty. Doctor Hwang Kap Soo head of the science team explains (we can’t hear) the theory. Dong Chan states if this science will make the world a better place, then he’s willing to be part of an experiment to prove it to the world.
Dong Chan and Go Mi Ran (Won Jin Ah) are placed into the people pods. A 24 hours clock is set, and they are put in a cryogenic state.
Assistant Director Son Hyun Gi films the people pods and discusses the 24-hour experiment. He identifies Director Ma and then his battery dies. A young man rushes in with the signed CD that Mi Ran wanted with her, but it’s too late.
Mi Ran gets a call from the HR department about a recent interview. She didn’t get the job. The HR manager points out the Chinese song she sang didn’t help. Mi Ran tells her to text the bad news next time.
Over a meal Mi Ran admits to her family (mother, father, brother) she sang a Chinese song during the interview because it was for the foreign division. Her mother tells her not to do that again. Her father wishes she’d learned English. Her mother notes Mi Ran choose Chinese because she has a crush on a Chinese star. Mi Ran declares Chinese is going to be the rage one day. She gets a call from a broadcast company.
Shy Ko Nam Tae who speaks with a stutter asks her sister to get an autograph at the broadcast station. Mi Ran agrees. Mi Ran tells her if he’s bullied again to let her know.
At the broadcast station, Mi Ran acts as the test subject for a show “Infinite Experiment Paradise”. Director Ma takes the crane camera himself. As Mi Ran is shot across a pool with the “jet pack” of water bottles, she splashes down, and surfaces with a thumbs up. Applause all around from the crew including Director Ma.
At the Korean Broadcasting awards, Director Ma wins the award for producing “Infinite Experiment Paradise”. Director Ma thanks the viewers and gladly accepts the award. He thanks his girlfriend for being by his side. He’s asked what his next show will be. Director Ma states it will be a show no one else would make, but he must. He’s asked if his girlfriend is there. He smiles at her and Na Ha Young (Yoon Se Ah) comes to the stage. She’s the narrator of the show. She presents him flowers. Director Ma introduces her as his girlfriend and takes her hand.
Director Ma has just fallen asleep in his pod when his girlfriend calls. She’s told he’s already asleep and can’t be woken.
Ha Young argues with Dong Chan about the cryogenic experiment. He’s adamant that it must be done. She’s adamant he doesn’t need to be the test subject. Dong Chan begs to differ. Ha Young counters he’s only thinking of himself not her. Dong Chan shows her footage of a dolphin that has been cryogenically frozen, coming back and being healthier than ever. Ha Young points out that’s not a human. Dong Chan wonders who the female test subject should be. Hyun Gi recommends Mi Ran reminding Dong Chan that’s she takes on the toughest experiments.
Assistant Director Son offers Mi Ran the cryogenic experiment assignment. She’s not interested. She only does the experiment for money. She has bad dreams about an experiment. She declares Director Ma can do the experiment himself. Assistant Director Son states Director Ma is doing the experiment. She calls Director Ma crazy. Assistant Director Son offers 5,000. That gets Mi Ran’s attention. He wants her to talk to the doctor.
Assistant Director Son shows Mi Ran the dolphin video. She interested but suggested it is fake. Doctor Hwang enters and dismisses the false claim. He explains the science of his new cryogenics. She listens. She tells Hyun Gi she won’t do it and flounces out.
Assistant Director Son tells Director Ma that Mi Ran refuses to be the female test subject until she speaks with an expert.
Flashback…Mi Ran goes to see a fortune teller. Her question is simple, should she take the job. When the fortune teller learns the pay is 5,000, she tells her to take the job. Mi Ran presses the fortune teller to do her job. The fortune teller looks into the future and states Mi Ran will meet the love of her life in 20 years and good fortune will follow. Mi Ran isn’t excited about waiting until she’s 44 to meet the love of her life.
Director Ma wonders if Mi Ran has a boyfriend that is prohibiting her from participating. Assistant Director Son admits he’s not 100% sure the experiment is safe. Director Ma counters he’s sure. He notes if Assistant Director Son isn’t, he’ll find another AD. Assistant Director Son changes his tune and says he’s convinced it is safe. Switching topics, Director Ma doesn’t like that Doctor Hwang’s supervisor professor was killed during Doctor Hwang’s university time in the United States. Director Ma wonders why Doctor Hwang won’t talk about it even with repeated inquiries. Assistant Director Son confirms Doctor Hwang won’t discuss it with him either. Director Ma determines to investigate it further. He’s all smiles when Ha Young calls about their movie date that evening.
Dong Chan and Ha Young are all smiles as they enter the movie theater. Arriving at the movie theater, Mi Ran tells her boyfriend the fortune teller told her she’s meet the love of her life in 20 years. He’s started. He tells her the fortune teller is a scam. HR asks if he’s started teaching Professor Kim’s doctor. He confirms this stating she’s more physical than cerebral. Both couples see and enjoy the same movie. Both Dong Chan and Mi Ran find the closing voiceover beautiful.
Walking Mi Ran to her house, her boyfriend states they should express their feelings. He declares he’s going to kiss her. Unfortunately he lowers his head with the fish lip position. Mi Ran steels herself. But he’s started to find Nam Tae watching them and the moment is broken. Relieved, Mi Ran heads into the house after giving him a quick wave goodbye.
Walking Ha Young to her house, Ha Young asks why Dong Chan must take all these chances. Dong Chan replies he listens to his heart not his head. He admits he loves her from his heart. She gently kisses him. She asks him to promise he’ll return alive. Dong Chan does so. He puts a ring on her finder. They hug.
Assistant Director Son and his cohort wonder about who are in the other people pods. Assistant Director Son walks around and stares at a man in a pod. Doctor Hwang startles him and reissues the warning; do not approach the other pods or filming stops.
Doctor Hwang heads into his office and looks at a photo of his former mentor.
Doctor Hwang’s mentor is shot in the head. Doctor Hwang enters the room and finds him. He looks at the door and sees the assassin who throws a lighter on the gasoline-soaked floor.
Director Ma goes to his boss Chief Director Kim Hong Seok to get approval for the show. He wants to make shows the public will lap up, not an education in cryogenics experiment. Director Ma manages to persuade him that this show could be the key to the future of Korean Biotechnology. Chief Director Kim acquiesces. As he and Assistant Director Son stride away, he sees Ha Young and gives her the thumbs up.
Assistant Director Son states Mi Ran won’t be persuaded. Director Ma decides to speak with her personally and turn her no into a yes.
Mi Ran and her friends hang out at a park. She takes photos of her friend for a match making site. She zooms in with the camera and sees her boyfriend kissing another woman in a paddle boat. That doesn’t sit well.
Director Ma and Assistant Director Son arrive at the park. Mi Ran and her friends rush past them to the lake. They jump on a paddle boat and bump her boyfriend’s boat. He’s shocked and like anyone caught he tells the other woman to start peddling. Mi Ran and her friends pursue. Then HR leaps to the other boat and kicks her boyfriend in the face knocking him into the water. Director Ma, Assistant Director Son, and the gathered crowd can’t help but watch it all. Director Ma tells Assistant Director Son she’s the perfect test subject for the cryogenics experiment.
At the police station Director Ma and Assistant Director Son watch the drama unfold. Mi Ran’s boyfriend tries multiple excuses then admits to the police officer he had an affair. The office informs him, the fault is his. He begins to cry. Mi Ran can’t believe it and asks if she can leave. Director Ma chuckles.
Mi Ran and Director Ma sleep in the pods. Assistant Director Son and his cohort sleep too. Doctor Hwang looks outside and pulls the window covering over the windows. A man watches from outside.
Dong Chan talks to Mi Ran while they walk. She cuts to the chase; she knows he wants to convince her to be a test subject for the cryogenics experiment. Dong Chan confirms this. Dong Chan shares he saw her dispatch her cheating boyfriend yesterday and he was impressed with her passion. That’s the kind of person he wants for this experiment. He appeals to the potential of cryogenics. Maybe people with diseases that can’t be cured today can be healed in the future. That gets Mi Ran’s attention. Dong Chan steps away to take a phone call.
Mi Ran thinks back…After searching for Nam Tae she finally does and sees the backpack is tied to a pole. She instructs Nam Tae to slide from the backpack should this happen again. She cries.
Dong Chan returns to find Mi Ran crying. He tells her she doesn’t have to do the experiment. She walks away. Later she tells him she’ll do it and doesn’t need her parent’s approval, pointing out no parent would agree. In return she asks for autographs from her favorite band and an introduction to her favorite Chinese star.
Assistant Director Son tells his cohort Director Ma didn’t want Mi Ran to do the experiment and they fought. Eventually she prevailed. Assistant Director Son looks at the countdown and wonders what Director Ma will want first once first once they are unfrozen in 2.5 hours. Doctor Hwang rushes in and orders them not to film anymore and leave. Doctor Hwang is firm, no shooting during the unfrozen process. Once that is done, they can return.
Chief Director Kim is livid with the filming ban. He worries something could go wrong. Assistant Director Son assures him all will be find and Doctor Hwang didn’t want to share the proprietary process.
Doctor Hwang rushes to his assistant and states he’ll be back in 2 hours. His assistant points out they’ll begin the thaw process in 2 hours. Doctor Hwang assures him he’ll be back. He orders his assistant not to let anyone in the lab. Doctor Hwang rushes to his car and drives away. The man that was watching the building follows in his car.
Ha Young practices the narration for the episode. She grows pensive and hopes he returns. At Dong Chan’s desk she stares at his badge. Then she sees the background research on Doctor Hwang. She’s dismayed to see Doctor Hwang’s mentor was murdered.
Doctor Hwang realizes someone is following him. A car chase ensues. He manages to elude his chaser. But it’s to no avail. The chaser counts down and Doctor Hwang’s car explodes, flipping then engulfed in flames. The chaser walks to the burning car.
Back at the lab the countdown is down but Doctor Hwang is nowhere to be found. Doctor Hwang’s assistant doesn’t know what to do. Warning lights go off throughout the building. Assistant Director Son bangs on the door. The assistant rushes to the power switch and turns it off. The pods go black. Then the power is restored to Dong Chan and Mi Ran’s pods. The earth begins to shake…it’s an earthquake!
The opening episode set the stage. Writer Baek Mi Kyung relied on flashbacks to frame this episode. Director Ma is successful and passionate about doing more with a TV show, enter the cryogenics experiment. Mi Ran initially resisted joining the experiment but the possibility of helping her brother changed everything. There was a lot of cute in this episode that is too difficult to capture in a recap, suffice to say it was there and overall worked though it isn’t my favorite. Doctor Hwang added the real mystery to the story. Doctor Hwang appears to be dead after that fiery explosion. Why has his mentor killed? Who was the man in black? Finally on the love story aspect. Dong Chan is committed to his girlfriend Ha Young. But he’s drawn to Mi Ran’s go for it spirit. As they spend time together, things will evolve. I look forward to it.
Director Ma Dong Chan (Ji Chang Wook) is successful and confident. Let me say Ji Chang Wook looks good and I’m pleased to have him back after his stint in the military. Dong Chan wants to produce content that matters. How he got hooked up with Doctor Hwang and why he overlooked the mysterious death in his background is for another episode. But I felt Dong Chan’s enthusiasm and he almost sold me that this was an experiment worth participating in. His romance with Ha Young was shown to be quiet and supportive. Mi Ran is a completely different kind of girl. That should make it interesting.
Go Mi Ran (Won Jin Ah) has moxy. When she leaped and put her foot in her cheating boyfriend’s face, I was pleased. None of this, I don’t know what to do, something must be wrong with me. No, her boyfriend was a cheat and he was going to pay. She was lucky to avoid the fish lip kiss thanks to her brother. Her obvious concern and caring for her younger brother also scored.
Na Ha Young (Yoon Se Ah) got a ring. When Dong Chan explained his passion for the project, she countered that he was only thinking about himself not her. I can understand her concern. Who among us would tell the man we love to do this? On the flip side, she didn’t appear to see it from his perspective as a growth opportunity for himself and future medical science. Right now she’s nice but boring.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as good. My rating chart is below: