It’s 1999 in South Korea — a world on the cusp of a booming digital age, flip cellphones were still a thing, and the possibilities for scientific progress are endless. Melting Me Softly tells the tale of 2 people who wake up 20 years after being frozen in a cryo chamber🥶 The plot reminds me of the Hollywood movie, Passengers, where the leads also went into hibernation only to be awakened with no one to tell them what really happened to them. The similarity ends there though as Melting Me Softly applies a different setting, time, and angle.
Going into the 1st episode, I wasn’t sure what to expect but thankfully, any hesitations went away as Ji Chang Wook’s charm as Ma Dong Chan is simply irresistible, hee. I first watched the actress Won Jin A in her previous kdrama, Rain or Shine, and I’m happy that she’s portraying a spunkier and more outspoken person here as Ko Mi Ran.
I liked how they depicted the 1st episode through flashbacks and not a linear story telling style. In the first few minutes alone, we see both Ma Dong Chan and Ko Mi Ran participate in a cryogenics project of a Doctor Hwang, freezing themselves in a chamber for only a period of 24 hours. How they got to this point unfolds piece by piece when we see glimpses of Dong Chan and Mi Ran’s life before getting frozen.
Dong Chan is as a talented and out-of-the-box thinking PD (Production director) directing a very popular variety show. He is passionate, hardworking, talented, and has an equally supportive girlfriend. He veers away from the ordinary and prides himself in doing things that no one in TV land has done before. He is very interested in cryogenics as it is a very new technology in 1999 and wants to be the first one to show the world its revolutionary effects. He volunteers to be a test subject himself to make it more believable for viewers and enlists the help of another person to go in with him.
Enter Mi Ran, a 24 year old woman who takes the dangerous jobs that no one dares to do in Dong Chan’s variety show because it pays a lot of money. She is enjoying her youth while struggling to find a permanent job in between participating in the show’s experiments, happily hangs out with friends, and takes care of her little brother who gets bullied from time to time. She is initially reluctant to volunteer but when Dong Chan mentions that an effect of cryogenics is curing diseases, she thinks of her brother and is all in with the project.
Something goes wrong as the Professor is chased by a car and supposedly killed on the same day that both go into the chamber. He is the only one who can unfreeze both Dong Chan and Mi Ran to administer a special shot to prevent their bodies from reacting negatively to being frozen for a day. With the Professor still alive 20 years later, he finally sets them free…with a consequence that their body temperatures must be maintained at 31.5 degrees Celsius🤒
Both Ji Chang Wook and Won Jin A portrayed their frenzied and pale 2019 selves very well when the former calls his assistant PD to continue shooting and the latter trying to find her family. They are in for the surprise of their lives when they both finally realize that so much time has passed since their awakening! They can’t exactly resume their lives as if nothing has happened and have to adjust to a more progressive Korea and an older generation of their loved ones.
Melting Me Softly is an intriguing korean drama that combines sci-fi elements with romance and comedy. There hasn’t been much interaction between our 2 leads yet so let’s anticipate the temperature of their love to heat up and see how they navigate their 2019 together!😊
How do you say goodbye to someone you love? This is the lingering question that stays with you while watching Hotel Del Luna‘s last episode. There’s no shortage of tears as each of our main ghosts have to separate from each other, but knowing that they can finally go to the afterlife is an end that they all individually want and deserve😢 This reminded me of Goblin since it also touched upon reincarnation and star-crossed lovers but the approach of both shows is different.
I didn’t expect to love this kdrama, especially IU, she was so great here as the feisty and determined Jang Man Weol. Her RBF was on point anytime she would strut down the hotel halls or when she had a bone to pick with her enemies. Even though she was commanding and icy, her hard shell cracked open when she fell in love again and helped her friends find peace. Yeo Jin Goo was no doubt amazing here as well as he portrayed the loyal, hardworking, and forever good guy Ku Chan Seong.
Their chemistry as the show’s OTP was not sizzling and apparent at first; instead, it was a slow flame that grew and burned brightly into the night. Their playful banters, Chan Seong’s insistence to control Man Weol’s expenses, and how he didn’t try to change her but rather, was patient with her anger is a wholehearted kind of love that the kdrama illustrated perfectly.
Check out my first impressions post for Hotel del Luna if you’re interested in starting this kdrama (And you should!) 😊
A Bittersweet Farewell
Each and every one of our lovable staff left Earth with their unfinished business ticked off before the next full moon.
Mister Kim was able to prove his innocence for being known as a disgraceful scholar and was the 1st to leave the hotel. He may not have been able to clear his name as a historical figure, at least even in a novel, he was depicted as a noble man who studied hard and was able to write great literature.
Hyun Joong waited for his sister (Hyun Mi) to pass away so they can reunite and cross the bridge together. This was hard to watch as he had to finally say goodbye to Yu Na. Even if she was heartbroken about this, seeing him reunite with Hyun Mi was all she needed to let him go. It’s the plight of being the one left behind but I know that Yu Na will be able to live a good and happy life regardless.
Ms. Choi was the last one to leave as she talked with the girlfriend of the last heir of the Myeongju Yoon family. I envisioned an ending for her that the unborn child is a daughter so her resentment of the baby being able to carry the family line as a boy would finally be put to rest. But this conclusion to her story was much better. Ms. Choi realized that it doesn’t mater what the child’s gender is because he/she is the child of a loving mother that will do anything to protect him/her. She is able to let go of her burden and move on the afterlife.
Somewhere in Another Lifetime…
I believe that the the Ku Chan Seong and Jang Man Weol in this last scene is a version of them in another lifetime already. I did at first think that Chan Seong would meet a reincarnated Man Weol in the same lifetime, perhaps in New York, but she wouldn’t be the exact same person that he fell in love with so I don’t think that’s it. Their love story was always on borrowed time, but nothing short of magical. The voiceover of them talking about meeting again in the future is exactly what unfolds before us🌛
Letting go and honoring one’s happiness is such a major theme for this kdrama as it focused on the beauty of such an act. There was a chance for Man Weol to remain on the realm of the living when Yu Na gave her the wine that could make her into the owner of the new hotel. Chan Seong calmly answered that he wanted to be the last human steward for Man Weol and that extending her life once more wouldn’t make her truly happy. He was devastated to lose her, of course, but he wasn’t selfish to keep Man Weol from attaining peace after a long time of searching for it.
It’s not always about staying together to prove that you care for one another — choosing yourself (For Man Weol) and choosing to respect such a decision (Chan Seong) is the most profound kind of love that anyone can give.
Who is the next owner of Hotel Del Luna?
A cameo by Kim Soo Hyun was made to signify the new owner and a brand new Guest House of the Moon, or in this case, Hotel Blue Moon. He looks so hot here (hee😙) and the plot possibilities for a 2nd season are endless given the show’s success.
I hope they explore the idea next time since I read that there are no plans for the kdrama to extend a 2nd season just yet. But if that happens, can the leading male & female end up together in the present timeline?🙏🏻
I cried too with everyone’s parting, but to know that they are leaving with a fulfilled heart was the perfect send-off for them. There’s nothing wrong in being sad when we are separated from the person we care about — whether by mortality, distance, or some other reason, the hope that we’ll be able to meet again is a promise worth taking. If not for the other person, it’s a chance for us to build self-love and prioritize our own desires✨
Though we may not achieve all our unfulfilled desires (like the ghosts) or get everything we want, Hotel del Luna conveys to us that we’ll always find a way to live well after a parting — finding love, forgiveness, and a chance to start anew🌷
Hae Ryung and the historians may have won the fight against the King, but the war isn’t over yet as he deploys his own tactics to punish her. After everything she’s been through, no matter who she’s up against, don’t expect our rookie historian to go down without a proper fight😈
The loud banging on the Goo residence was not of a dangerous kind, but a summon back to the palace. Apparently, the King has requested the royal family along with Hae Ryung to greet the Queen Dowager in the wee hours of the morning. He apologizes for not visiting her as often and from now on promises to go at the same time everyday to see her. It’s an odd proposition given their estranged relationship, but things get weirder when the King joins in on the daily lecture of the Crown Prince; even telling Prince Lee Rim to participate in as well.
It is the Second State Councilor who reads the lesson for the day and an awkward silence ensues when the King asks if he has ever portrayed any of the 6 traits that a King must abstain from. I don’t know what kind of answer he was expecting when he asked Prince Lee Rim, but despite the Crown Prince signalling him to not say anything, he speaks up his mind declaring that he has engaged in at least 3 of the taboo behaviors. Instead of taking offense, the King laughs at his answer and does not scold him in any way.
There is a truth to the Prince’s words as Hae Ryung has been tasked to follow the King and be his historian moving forward. I was pleasantly surprised that the King had this comedic side to him and that they downplayed the punishment he intended for her. It wasn’t child’s play, but his scheme was something that Hae Ryung could battle against. In a hilarious scene of events, she wrote down what he specifically ate, spoonful for spoonful. This in turn gave the King a stomachache where he had to walk around in circles and take a dump later. Poor girl as she was instructed to take his 💩💩 to the medical bureau as an obvious attempt to make things hard for her.
Taking a break from the King, it’s the Crown Prince who gets to have some fun today. He is dressed to go outside as he permits Sa Hui to tag along with him. He plays with kids, strolls along the market, and has a delicious meal in a tavern. Crown Prince Lee Jin is beaming with happiness and tells Sa Hui that he grew up outside of the palace. Doing an undercover inspection reminds him of his simpler times so that he doesn’t forget the feeling. Before returning to the palace, Sa Hui asks him that the reason he probably had her join him was that so he could ask her what Hae Ryung wrote in her sachaek to get the King so angry. This time though, it’s the Crown Prince who looks hurt with what she said but he simply gave her a gift he bought in the market and left.
Poor Hae Ryung as she only gets back to the office at night and has to start work very early the next day. Officer Min treats her bruised hand and offers her advice to avoid incurring one again next time. I want to say it’s a love triangle tease, but that’s a misdirect. Both of them are truly friends as he feels bad for her and says that there’s no shame if she gives in to the power struggle between the historians and the King. Come on, do you even know who you’re talking to?😼 Hae Ryung is determined to power through the King’s mind games, a trait befitting her strong and sometimes rambunctious persona.
Karma’s a b*tch and it’s time for Hae Ryung to take her sweet, silent revenge on the King. In another royal lecture, the King is asleep even when the Chancellor is reading the book aloud, haha!😴 His early visits to his mother prove to be his downfall and Hae Ryung gets to record such mishaps on her end. His Majesty is shocked when his eunuch wakes him up at 4AM and that Hae Ryung is already there inside his room.
Later that day, the King employs a new tactic trying to get her drunk to spill what she wrote in her book. Hae Ryung informs him that her alcohol tolerance is very high and the latter gets frustrated with her hardheadedness. He offers her 2 propositions: Either she can get rid of what she wrote secretly or he’ll grant her anything she desires. Her interest is piqued on the latter idea but we don’t get to see what she decides on just yet.
A letter is sent to Officer Yang written by his Majesty himself. It’s an apology for not acknowledging a historian’s true worth and that they will now be able to roam around in the palace to record daily life/history without any restrictions. She gets a vigorous name chant from her peers as she smiles and cheers in triumph.
It’s the King who reminisces about their conversation and we find out that Hae Ryung told him the truth that she actually wasn’t able to hear anything that day. She shares that she thought he was a good King because he still withdrew his order to check the administration record and instead of threatening her to spill what she wrote, he tried (in his own way) to ask her about it instead. Granted it wasn’t a sincere talk but like I mentioned above, I was amazed that he didn’t do anything harmful to have his way with her. Hae Ryung did a good job of telling the King to not hate historians anymore because they don’t just record the mistakes of the royal family, but that they also write down their good traits. It was enough to make him contemplate and give a little smile at how interesting she is.
To celebrate their victory, the historians went out that night for a drink. Two of them find Prince Lee Rim (Who they still know as Clerk Yi) skulking around near their table and insists that he join them for drinks. Hae Ryung ends up saving him by drinking all of his cups because he might not be able to hold his liquor. It’s the 1st time that they aren’t divided by their gender; they’re all just genuinely having fun, singing, and dancing the night away.
Hae Ryung escorts the Prince back to Nokseodang, but he makes her warm honey water outside to help her sober up. Hae Ryung is inside his room as he prepares the drink and happens to see a piece of paper sticking out in his main drawer. As she opens the paper, it’s actually the poem that she requested him to write for her. Prince Lee Rim heads to his room but wonders seeing Hae Ryung sitting outside. Without warning, she begins reciting the poem to him. Aww, this is her official admission of her feelings for him!🎉 Before the Prince can say anything further, she plants a tender kiss on his lips💏
Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung does a good job in balancing out the serious moments and funny breathers and these 2 episodes were no exception. Not all fights need to be violent and Hae Ryung’s solution to appease the King was just brilliant. Of course this could have gone another way if he was really ruthless and unforgiving, but it just proves her belief that his Majesty can listen to other people’s opinions. Her honesty most of the time gets her in trouble, but it is what redeems her and the other historians this time to be accepted and understood😊
I’m happy to see Sa Hui smile and loosen herself up in the palace but the moment between her and the Crown Prince is puzzling to me. How about the story with the Crown Princess? Does that simply go away now?🤔 I’m a fan of the Crown Prince’s character, but I hope we don’t get strung along a possible romance that gets sidelined in the end because it doesn’t serve the kdrama’s overall direction. I also like Sa Hui’s character and she doesn’t need a man to let her character shine⭐️