The pleasure of My Secret Hotel stems from the characters and situations both capturing my fancy so that I care what happens to them. The story line is all sorts of haphazard and preposterous but works nicely as a murky backdrop filled with secrets and danger. I just realized the drama is basically the game of Clue transplanted as a K-drama setting with intrepid Detective Kim as the player trying to solve the murder. So far we have Manager Hwang with an ice pick in the ballroom followed by Young Mi with a brass candle stick in the bathroom. Clearly the murder spree is nowhere near over but hopefully none of the endearing or bratty characters like Soo Ah or Eun Joo bite it. A few lesser hotel employees can be sacrificed in this fictional realm to up the stakes for Detective Kim and drop more clues as to the big secret the deaths are all trying to conceal. Episode 8 was as wonderfully entertaining as the last episode when Hae Young and Sang Hyo got married again. He thinks it’s for real while she is insisting it’s just for show, but what’s undeniable is how the whirlwind marriage gives them ample opportunity to spend time together.
Too bad every time they get close to an important discussion or to hash out issues then someone will interrupt. I don’t find Sang Hyo’s attitude with Hae Young annoying or too extreme, she has every reason to want to keep her distance from him and to question his motives and actions. This is a man who was about to walk down the aisle with another woman and then turned around and asked her to marry him. On top of it all remains their break up 7 years ago and all the unresolved baggage that still haunt them both. Sung Gyum has returned to being inscrutable for me despite displaying all signs of being a lovesick swain when he thinks about Sang Hyo. There is an underlying authority to him that skews towards menacing at times, and whatever the connection is between his mom and Manager Hwang, it does not bode well for writing him off as the murdering mastermind at this point. It was a refreshing change of scenery to get the action out of Secret Hotel and over to the resort setting, and hopefully with it Hae Young and Sang Hyo keep chipping away at their complicated attraction for each other.
Episode 8 recap:
Sang Hyo gets up to use the bathroom and lets out a blood curdling scream upon seeing the dead Young Mi in the bathroom.
The next thing she knows, Sang Hyo wakes up in the hotel infirmary with Eun Joo sitting beside her. She immediately asks about Young Mi and Eun Joo claims Young Mi is working right now and whatever Sang Hyo saw must’ve been just a dream. Sang Hyo wonders when her dreaming began and asks if she also dreamed that she married Gu Hae Young? Eun Joo laughs at her wild dreams and tells her to go get changed now.
Sang Hyo changes and Eun Joo drags her to a press conference assembled in the marketing department. Eun Joo deposits Sang Hyo besides a waiting Hae Young and asks the reporters to be gentle with the bride in asking questions since she’s not feeling well. The reporters have been sold on the couple’s love story and are swooning over the couple.
Sang Hyo asks Hae Young to pinch her cheeks so she wakes up from this dream. Hae Young complies and pinches both cheeks while calling Sang Hyo adorable. The reporter cameras click away at the cute skinship between the newlyweds.
Up in the honeymoon suite, the room is cordoned off as a crime scene and Detective Kim is leading a CSI team to gather evidence as Young Mi lays dead in the tub still. He sighs about never getting used to crime scenes no matter how many he sees. The lead CSI finds the murder weapon which is a brass candlestick which struck Young Mi behind the head. Detective Kim remembers Young Mi bitterly wanting to be Cinderella but in the end she ends up dead in the hotel. He closes her eyes to let her rest in peace.
Sang Hyo is being called a Cinderella by the reporters since she was adopted overseas and ended up married to the third son of a chaebol family. Sang Hyo keeps insisting she’s not a Cinderella and didn’t aim to become one by marrying into a rich family. Eun Joo ends the interview by whisking the newlyweds off to their honeymoon. Sang Hyo tries to avoid the trip by claiming Hae Young is too busy at work but he quickly interjects that he made time for a three day two night jaunt.
Eun Joo fairly tosses Sang Hyo in Hae Young’s car and warns her to go through with the honeymoon since the reporters are expecting them to take it. She even arranged an interview at the end of the honeymoon at the resort. Since Sang Hyo went through with the wedding she can’t ruin it now. Eun Joo whispers to Hae Young to use the honeymoon time wisely to grab onto Sang Hyo. Hae Young smiles back and assures Eun Joo that he plans to do just that. Eun Joo watches the newlyweds drive off and sincerely wishes Sang Hyo happiness in the future. She also wonders with a smirk how Sung Gyum will react when he finds out Sang Hyo got married.
Sung Gyum is still at the resort runs into the lady who mistook him for her husband Gong Min oppa. He helps her look around the yard for a rock shaped like a heart that supposedly will make love come true. He finds it quickly and offers to give it to her but she doesn’t want it since the rock needs to be found by the person. She tells him not to lose the rock, since she lost her rock which is why there are problems in her marriage to her Gong Min oppa. She tells Sung Gyum to consider her if he loses his rock in the future.
Sang Hyo is grumbling during the car ride about how she got turned into a Cinderella while Hae Young gets to be the Prince. He teases her Princes are not made, one is born a Prince. Heh.
Sang Hyo asks how she fainted yesterday and Hae Young’s flashback shows us that he ran to the bathroom after hearing Sang Hyo scream. He saw her unconscious and Young Mi dead in the tub. Hae Young lies now and says Sang Hyo sleep walked into the bathroom and fell asleep. Sang Hyo retorts that she didn’t sleep since she was in the same room as Hae Young the ravenous beast. Hae Young thinks Sang Hyo can’t forget their married life together and is looking forward to the honeymoon and promises to drive faster to get there.
Detective Kim wraps up the crime scene investigation and has Young Mi’s body carried out. He notices the name tag in the room congratulating Nam Sang Hyo and Gu Hae Young on getting married. He hears from Guard Cha that Sang Hyo married Hae Young and mutters to himself that he will never know her answer now to his question.
Gi Chul is sobbing in the event planning office about Young Mi dying so soon after Manager Hwang. Gyung Hee worries how Gi Chul will react if she dies as well and Gi Chul tells her not to say stuff like that. He promises to protect Gyung Hee and announces that he knows who the murderer is.
The hotel employees are all gossiping about Young Mi’s death and some claim to know who the murderer is but play coy for now. The Vice GM is especially certain he knows who the murderer is and plans to clear his name.
Sung Gyum plays with the heart shaped rock and almost loses it when two kids bump into him. He’s relieved to still have it and decides to believe in the love fate with the rock. He plays with it all the way back up to his hotel room and just misses the arrival of Hae Young and Sang Hyo at the same resort.
Sang Hyo is complaining all the way into the hotel about how her luggage is so heavy and big. Hae Young takes her bag so she doesn’t have a reason to keep grumbling. Sang Hyo is dismayed to hear the resort is sold out and she can’t get a separate room from Hae Young.
The newlyweds arrive at their suite and Sang Hyo asks Hae Young to follow the rules of their pretend marriage. She got married for the sake of the hotel and him to not be publicly embarrassed so during this honeymoon he can’t cross the line with her. Hae Young asks if she really got married for the sake of the hotel and Sang Hyo claims that’s the only reason and she has no lingering feelings for him.
Sang Hyo grabs her luggage to unpack and unzips the suitcase to find it full of sexy lingerie. She quickly zips it back up and puts it aside. Hae Young wonders why she’s not changing and tells her to change. Sang Hyo insists she will never ever wear it so Hae Young goes to unpack his suitcase. He immediately zips it back up as well and then sits on his suitcase.
Sang Hyo gets curious about his reaction and pushes him off the suitcase to open it and find the inside full of male virility enhancers. Ahahaha. Hae Young’s coworkers are all gathered together giggling about how they all snuck various virility medicine and drinks into Hae Young’s suitcase. Sang Hyo laughs at how Hae Young packed like a virgin for his first night. Hae Young insists he didn’t pack his suitcase and his coworkers packed it for him. He goes to call them to prove to Sang Hyo that he didn’t pack it.
Sang Hyo discovers a bottle that looks like medicine as Shi Chan tells the rest of the coworkers that he put a bottle of viagra in the suitcase. Hae Young quickly tussles with Sang Hyo to grab the bottle back.
The two of them end up on the bed with Hae Young on top and they just stare at each other like that. Hae Young is about to ask to start over again when the someone knocks on the door and ruins the moment.
Hae Young goes to the front door to have Soo Ah walk right in. She’s all ready to throw hugs at Hae Young who avoids her embrace and asks why she’s here? Soo Ah sees Sang Hyo and is shocked to hear that Hae Young married her. Soo Ah summons her driver boyfriend inside as well and this sure is an awkward foursome.
The resort manager reports to Sung Gyum about how their resort has higher occupancy then the nearby hotels. Sung Gyum is informed that Gu Hae Young and his new wife have checked in and he goes to greet them.
Turns out Soo Ah has her credit cards cut off so she remembered this resort was booked for the honeymoon so she came not expecting Hae Young to bring a substitute bride here. Hae Young tells Soo Ah to leave but she refuses and wants Hae Young to take his substitute bride and leave.
Sung Gyum arrives outside Hae Young’s hotel room just as Sang Hyo is sick of being called a substitute and is ready to leave. Hae Young goes to grab her back and Sang Hyo just misses seeing Sung Gyum walking up to the room.
Sung Gyum can hear Hae Young and Soo Ah fighting inside the hotel room with him trying to make Soo Ah leave but her refusing to go. Soo Ah storms to the bedroom and pulls the sexy lingerie out of Sang Hyo’s luggage. Hae Young asks Sang Hyo to wait outside for him and promises to get rid of Soo Ah. Sang Hyo leaves and Soo Ah asks Hae Young when he and Sang Hyo stopped speaking formally with each other?
Sang Hyo takes a walk through the resort and snaps a selca to remind herself not to forget the embarrassment of today. Her phone rings with a call from Sung Gyum which she answers hesitantly. She claims to be at work and pretends to order Gi Chul and Young Mi around again which Sung Gyun calls her on. She admits it and he teases her for being so honest with him. He invites her to dinner tomorrow after he gets back. Sang Hyo is a bit hesitant so Sung Gyum quickly makes the excuse that Simon is calling him and ends the call with her.
Hae Young arrives and gets a kick in the rear from an annoyed Sang Hyo. He tells her to stop getting all physical and just talk to him but she gets all handsy again claiming that he never listens. Sung Gyum notices Hae Young tussling with a girl in the distance and thinks the girl is Soo Ah.
Eun Joo finishes writing up the hotel PR post on Hae Young and Sang Hyo’s wedding. She flashes back to running into the honeymoon suite to see Hae Young carrying an unconscious Sang Hyo out and telling her to call the police because there is a dead person in the bathroom. Eun Joo wants to call the police when suddenly Young Mi gets up and whacks Eun Joo with the candlestick. Eun Joo wakes up at her desk from the nightmare and then freaks out when she sees a shadow walk past the hallway.
Eun Joo hears the sound of a woman crying which naturally freaks her out as she runs through the hotel in the darkness. She bravely follows the sound of the crying voice and finds Jung Eun sitting in the event planning department crying. Jung Eun is heartbroken that Gu Hae Young married that woman again! Eun Joo recognizes Jung Eun as the crazy lady from the wedding and demands to know why she’s here. Jung Eun claims to be here to check if Sang Hyo actually went on her honeymoon. Eun Joo tosses her from the hotel and then quickly runs after Jung Eun since it’s scary to be alone.
Hae Young and Sang Hyo are camping in the resort since he can’t get rid of Soo Ah from the hotel room. Hae Young is clearly enjoying the time alone with Sang Hyo and asks if she doesn’t think the mood is really nice right now. Sang Hyo goes inside the tent and tosses him a sleeping bag before zipping him out of the tent. She opens it a slit to adorably stick her tongue out at him for good measure before zipping up the tent again. All that gets is a smile from Hae Young who is just happy to have her around.
Hae Young asks if Sang Hyo is fine sleeping alone since there are bears and rats around out here? That gets Sang Hyo’s attention and she quickly runs out of the tent screaming for Hae Young. He pops back up and Sang Hyo grabs him tightly for a reassuring hug. Ha, he sooooo knows how to push her buttons. Hae Young smiles at her hug and asks if she thought he left her alone?
Hae Young looks at Sang Hyo and says “Sang Hyo-ahhhh, I’ll never abandon you alone and leave again.” Their nice warm staring moment is interrupted by the arrival of Soo Ah’s boyfriend as the brat is making him sleep outside in the tent. Oh poor dude.
Soo Ah is crying in the hotel room upset that her boyfriend left just like she told him to. Girl, stop being so passive aggressive! She hears the door opening and thinks her boyfriend is coming back and is surprised to see Sang Hyo standing there.
Hae Young and the driver boyfriend end up sleeping in the tent. Hae Young fights off mosquitoes but is in a good mood still. He asks the boyfriend what he plans to do in the future with Soo Ah? The boyfriend doesn’t know since Soo Ah needs to live the good life even if she is swept up in the elopement now. Hae Young encourages him to stick with it and he plans to.
Soo Ah engages Sang Hyo in girl’s talk and asks whether Sang Hyo thinks her Hae Young oppa is as perfect as Soo Ah sees him? He’s smart and handsome and rich, and since Soo Ah was small she always wanted to marry Hae Young oppa. But strangely she never fell in love with Hae Young and ended up falling for her driver Ki Ho oppa. Life is strange that way, isn’t it?
Soo Ah admits she’s envious of Sang Hyo, if Sang Hyo liked Ki Ho then no one would think it weird. But since Soo Ah is a rich girl then it’s weird for her to like her driver oppa. Too bad she wasn’t born into a common family like Sang Hyo. That gets Sang Hyo fed up with Soo Ah and snores loudly to pretend to be asleep so Soo Ah would stop blathering. Soo Ah turns over and is promptly asleep.
Sang Hyo wakes up in the morning after sleeping poorly due to Soo Ah’s snoring, but the self-absorbed Soo Ah claims Sang Hyo’s snoring was what kept her up.
Detective Kim thinks back to Young Mi’s murder and the new information that Manager Hwang called Sung Gyun’s mom the night he was killed. He wonders what Manager Hwang was discussing with Sung Gyum’s mom? He draws a triangle between Sung Gyum, Manager Hwang, and Young Mi as he wonders what the connection between the three is? His partner decides the connection is a love triangle, Sung Gyum likes Young Mi but she liked Manager Hwang. So Sung Gyum killed Manager Hwang and when Young Mi still didn’t like him back, he then killed Young Mi. Detective Kim derides his partner for being such a terrible detective in his skills of deduction.
The cops go watch the CCTV footage from outside the honeymoon suite and discover that 51 minutes of footage was deleted from the time Young Mi entered the honeymoon suite and when she died. He asks Guard Cha what happened and hears that the murderer must have entered the records room to delete the footage. Guard Cha claims the hotel was in a tizzy that day with Manager Nam unexpectedly getting married and all his guards were at the ballroom keeping order. As Detective Kim leaves the meeting, a hotel employee waylays him to whisper that he knows who the murderer is.
Sung Gyum keeps playing with his heart shaped rock and smiling. He puts it down to write a congratulatory card for Hae Young and Soo Ah on their marriage and asks the bellboy to deliver it to their room. Sung Gyum then packs up and checks out of the resort.
Sang Hyo gets dressed quickly in the morning which earns Soo Ah’s admiration for her not needing to worry about what to wear every day. Hae Young comes inside the hotel room and Sang Hyo leaves him to hang out with Soo Ah. He keeps trying to run after Sang Hyo but Soo Ah keeps bugging him to take care of her. He moves to slap her but instead hands her the credit card in his hand and tells her to use his card to go find her boyfriend.
The bellboy hands Sang Hyo the congratulatory card from Sung Gyum meant for Hae Young and Soo Ah which alerts her to Sung Gyum’s presence at the resort. She quickly ducks behind the front desk to avoid Sung Gyum as he walks through the lobby.
Detective Kim goes out to the hotel courtyard to talk with shift leader Kim about who he believes is the murderer. Shift leader Kim claims the killer is PR Manager Eun Joo because he saw them arguing and Eun Joo threatening Young Mi. Detective Kim then gets a call from his partner saying that a fingerprint was lifted off the brass candle stick and it belongs to Eun Joo.
Eun Joo takes the reporters on a tour of the honeymoon suite which has been all cleaned up. She’s a tad nervous to show them the bathroom where Young Mi dies but steels herself to go inside with the reporters. After Eun Joo sends all the reporters off, she’s heading back to her office when a man steps off the elevator and asks directions to the event planning department. After she points him the way, Detective Kim arrives and asks to speak with her.
Sang Hyo hides behind a beam in the resort driveway watching Sung Gyum’s car drive off. She feels so apologetic to him knowing that he’ll find out she married Hae Young once he gets back to the hotel.
Hae Young arrives and gets shoved by Sang Hyo who blames him for her current situation. As Sung Gyum drives off he keeps thinking about the legend of the heart shaped rock and how it brings love to the person who finds it.
Hae Young finally stops Sang Hyo to calmly ask her what is going on? Sang Hyo wishes the wedding was cancelled when Soo Ah ran off. Soo Ah runs back and sees Hae Young and Sang Hyo arguing. She asks Sang Hyo to grab her cell phone left in the hotel room and Hae Young goes to get it seeing that Sang Hyo looks annoyed.
After Hae Young leaves to get Soo Ah’s cell phone, Soo Ah calls herself a bad woman for breaking her Hae Young oppa’s heart, especially after his first failed marriage. She brings up how Hae Young’s first marriage was with a horrible woman, she was not of the same class as Hae Young and worse yet was a big flirt. That first wife flirted with men all the time and ended up with another man.
Sang Hyo sees Hae Young walking back and storms over to sock him in the face. Hae Young doesn’t know what’s gotten into her as Sang Hyo demands to know how he dares to call her a shameless flirt who got together with other men!
Sang Hyo is done with this farce and is about to storm off when Sung Gyum walks up and asks what she’s doing here? Sang Hyo stares between Sung Gyum and Hae Young as the two men give each other a very territorial stare.
Thoughts of Mine:
I love this drama so damn much even if it makes as much sense as Santa Claus hosting a luncheon for the Tooth Fairy. It’s hilarious that Sang Hyo spent the entire episode not knowing that Young Mi was dead. Or that Eun Joo and Hae Young managed to convince her that she had a nightmare and then whisk her out of the hotel despite a murder investigation going on. I assume Young Mi’s time of death was exactly when Hae Young and Sang Hyo were saying their vows and the police easily confirmed it so don’t need to interview the two people who discovered Young Mi’s dead body in the tub. Eun Joo was too composed early on and made me wonder if people in that hotel deal with employee deaths just that nonchalantly. But then later her freak out that night made sense either as the incident finally erupted or she may be involved in Young Mi’s death. I hope it’s not the latter and I think it isn’t. Eun Joo arguing or threatening Young Mi has many plausible explanations and unless she’s got her nails in deeper with the hotel’s secrets it doesn’t make sense for her to kill Young Mi. Eun Joo is great in pushing Sang Hyo towards Hae Young, helping Hae Young the same time she helps herself out with Sung Gyum. I also think the person who killed Young Mi was very methodical and could be more than just one individual in the way the tracks are being covered with deleted CCTV footage and what not. The murder mystery is becoming more fun to suss now that I’ve gotten the Clue vibes from the set up and execution.
I was surprised to see Soo Ah pop up at the resort but clearly her character isn’t getting written out of the drama just because she eloped. She’s also pretty harmless despite her raging superiority complex, she isn’t interested in Hae Young so won’t be trying to keep to the OTP apart and she works as a needed exposition fairy to relay information about Hae Young to Sang Hyo. Her poor beleaguered driver clearly has his hands full with her but who says he can’t be trained to help her run the family business one day and be accepted by her rich parents. I hope they work out since Soo Ah’s presence in this drama continues to serve as the catalyst to push Hae Young and Sang Hyo back together. Poor Sung Gyum spends yet another episode wandering around the resort alone while his new girlfriend got married and is on her honeymoon all without him knowing. All he gets for his time is a heart shaped stone and yet another call to try and connect with Sang Hyo only to get pretty much hesitation from her side. It would help if the drama didn’t keep him mysterious like a prime suspect and the way he acts is also quite inscrutable so I end up worried that Sang Hyo giving him a chance might be more dangerous than simply arousing ex-hubby jealousy. Thank god Hae Young remains as certain and enduring as ever, at least this time around. There must be more than we know about the hows and whys of the final break up between the exes to cause Sang Hyo to be this antagonistic and wary towards Hae Young. She’s not overreacting or unreasonable even if her penchant to wallop him does skew towards excessive physical explosions.
I find Sang Hyo already very good towards Hae Young under the circumstances. A terrible marital break up leads to her crossing paths with him 7 long years later when he’s marrying another woman. Her earlier anger was called for. Later on she tries to make amends and just do her job and in those interactions she’s been nothing but trying to keep it professional between them. Then when the shit hits the fan and Hae Young uses the opportunity to marry her again and thereby secure time to spend with her, Sang Hyo may be incredulous but ends up going through with it. She even reluctantly goes on the honeymoon and only when the arrival of Soo Ah continues to irritate her does she lose her cool around Hae Young. But it’s always temporary and playful between them, at least until the end of the episode when she hears from Soo Ah that Hae Young called her a shameless flirt. That is clearly a sore point with her, not just her pride but also calling into doubt her sincerity towards Hae Young when they were married. She probably flipped her lid too quickly before asking if he really said that to Soo Ah, but this drama has always skewed towards the explosive emotional outbursts and this one worked like a charm to dial up the intensity. Which also makes it perfect timing for Sung Gyum to arrive on the spot and stare down Hae Young and wonder what the heck is happening with Sang Hyo. Girl needs to have a long conversation with the new boyfriend, and an even longer one with the ex-husband, and then decide which guy she wants to give a chance to going forward.