At this point My Secret Hotel is lucky leading lady Yoo In Na kissing her two equally hot leading men in alternating episodes. Then the random and randomly funny both add to the off-kilter feel this drama delivers, always making me wonder what the heck is really going on while enjoying the little bits dribbled forth. Episode 8 ended on an intense moment when Sung Gyum was so close to realizing he may have lost Sang Hyo even before he really won her, then the drama picks up with a bit of a lull until the action kicks into gear and Sung Gyum learns just how much a short business trip cost him. I still find him alternatively smexy and shady, and the shady increases exponentially here with tiny throwaway moments where I think he’s restraining this fierce anger inside of him. Whether it’s anger from a thwarted romance or more than that, we’ll have to wait and see and the waiting is starting to worry me since I like Sang Hyo’s interactions with both her guys so much. I have no problems with Sang Hyo kissing Sung Gyum and trying to move on from the crazy that happens whenever she’s around Hae Young.
That might be true love but it has proven absolutely devastating in the past and fell apart majorly at the seams. Sang Hyo is not being bitchy when she doesn’t give Hae Young a chance again, learning more about their break up reveals that it was immaturity on both their parts but Hae Young was the one who made the decision to put career over marriage when push came to shove. Sang Hyo’s hesitation and fear is understandable and there is nothing wrong with giving the hot sexy smart new guy in her life a chance. Hae Young has major work to do in winning back Sang Hyo’s trust because the love is still there but the worry of repeating the same mistake is the overriding wall between them. I loved everything about episode 9 from Sung Gyum and Hae Young’s epic mano-a-mano showdown in the hotel room to Soo Ah bonding in her way with Sang Hyo and then calling her unni. Soo Ah may have the brains of a sea urchin but she’s not manipulatively cruel and her self-absorption could be channeled to learning humility through the struggle for true love. I think Sang Hyo and Hae Young need more than his solo effort alone to succeed, it might actually take an entire hotel to bring this divorced couple back together.
Episode 9 recap:
Sang Hyo clocks Hae Young after hearing that he described her to Soo Ah as a man crazy flirt when they were married. She’s ready to call it quits with the charade regardless of how it affects Hae Young or the hotel but runs smack into Sung Gyum as she is about to storm off. Sung Gyum is stunned to see Sang Hyo here, and with Hae Young and Soo Ah no less. He asks her directly why she’s here on Hae Young and Soo Ah’s honeymoon?
Soo Ah is about to clear up Sung Gyum’s mistaken assumption that she’s the bride, and Hae Young is about to stake his claim on Sang Hyo as his bride, when Sang Hyo begs them both to zip it and allow her to tell Sung Gyum herself. She fairly pleads with Hae Young so he reluctantly lets her go with Sung Gyum. Soo Ah watches them leave and wonders how Sang Hyo is going to explain being a substitute bride to Sung Gyum. Hae Young corrects Soo Ah and says Sang Hyo is not a substitute bride, he got married to her for real.
Sang Hyo sits down and tries to explain to Sung Gyum the craziness of the last two days and all she gets out is that she got married. He was expecting her to shock him yet again with whatever she does that’s always surprising but this time he points out that she already told him that. Not unless there is another groom out there other than Hae Young? Before Sang Hyo can explain she remarried Hae Young, the hotel employee walks up to greet Sung Gyum and reveals that the Hotel Association Chairman happens to be at this hotel. Sang Hyo tries to avoid being seen by the employee who recognizes her as Gu Hae Young’s wife here on their honeymoon. Sung Gyum goes to meet with the chairman and brings Sang Hyo along to introduce as his girlfriend.
Soo Ah is understandably shocked to learn that Sang Hyo was Hae Young’s ex-wife, the woman that left Hae Young heartbroken when they broke up. She acts all piqued that Hae Young was emotionally cheating on her while they were planning the wedding. Hae Young points out to runaway bride Soo Ah that she’s not exactly in the position to be upset at him. Touche. Soo Ah is chastened and they head off together after Hae Young tells Soo Ah to be nice to Sang Hyo going forward.
Driver Ki Ho is hiding behind a tree watching them walk off and he tearfully mumbles to himself that he just doesn’t have the confidence to be the man for Soo Ah. He picks up his phone to make a call.
Back at Secret Hotel, Detective Kim sits down to grill Eun Joo as the suspect in Young Mi’s murder. Eun Joo explains away her fingerprints on the candlestick by her picking it up when she found Young Mi dead in the tub. Detective Kim asks Eun Joo why she was seen threatening Young Mi before she died and Eun Joo initially demurs because she doesn’t want to besmirch the reputation of the deceased but finally comes clean.
Eun Joo caught Young Mi blackmailing runaway bride Soo Ah with the pictures of her HK trip with Ki Ho. Eun Joo confronted Young Mi about it and demanded that she hand over the pictures. Young Mi was unrepentant and uncowed and refused to comply, telling Eun Joo to do whatever because she was going through with the blackmail. That’s the scene the shift leader saw of Eun Joo threatening Young Mi.
Detective Kim then reveals that he never considered Eun Joo a real suspect because Young Mi’s time of death was between 5 and 6 pm which was exactly Sang Hyo and Hae Young’s wedding ceremony which Eun Joo was caught on surveillance camera in attendance the entire time. Detective Kim then joking repeats Eun Joo’s MC description of Hae Young and Sang Hyo’s fated and miraculous reunion. He winks at her and gets yelled at in return because Eun Joo doesn’t find being grilled for no reason funny. Detective Kim just wanted to know why Eun Joo threatened Young Mi is all.
Eun Joo storms out of the conference room and bumps into the once again eavesdropping shift leader outside. Detective Kim totally sells him out as the guy who fingered Eun Joo as Young Mi’s killer and for that Eun Joo screams that he’s dead and chases after him. Detective Kim bumps into the guy from the last episode who asked Eun Joo for directions and the guy reveals he’s going to be working at the hotel soon.
Driver Ki Ho finishes talking to Soo Ah’s mom and tells her that amount of money is enough. After he ends the call he apologizes to Soo Ah. The clueless Soo Ah goes back to the tent and finds a note left for her by Ki Ho where he apologizes and says he doesn’t have the confidence to do this.
Hae Young is waiting and waiting for Sang Hyo to finish her talk with Sung Gyum and finally gets fed up and goes to look for her.
Sang Hyo is sitting with Sung Gyum and the chairman and his wife. Sung Gyum introduces her as his girlfriend and then whispers that Sang Hyo needs to be responsible for him now that their relationship has gone public.
Hae Young arrives and is annoyed to see Sang Hyo sitting beside Sung Gyum and smiling happily in a meeting. He calls Sang Hyo but she ignores his call so he texts her to come to him immediately and gives her the count of three. Sang Hyo ignores all three counts so Hae Young boldly strides up to the table and openly demands Sang Hyo leave with him.
Sung Gyum is once again confused and pissed and confronts Hae Young about his rudeness and why he’s constantly bothering Sang Hyo when he should be spending time with his honeymooning bride. Hae Young smirks before informing Sung Gyum that he’s doing just that because Nam Sang Hyo is the bride that he just married. Sung Gyum is floored while Sang Hyo can only apologize to him.
Before anything else can be said, a crying Soo Ah runs into Hae Young’s arms yelling that Ki Ho just left her.
Back at the police precinct, fanciful minded Detective Lee proudly informs his partner that he spoke with Sung Gyum’s mother and she claimed to be uninterested in whatever Manager Hwang was threatening to tell Sung Gyum so she hung up on Manager Hwang’s call that night. He also reveals that Sung Gyum’s dad died in the hotel 30 years ago. Detective Lee’s new theory is still Sung Gyum as the killer but for a different reason, to avenge his dad’s death at the hands of Manager Hwang 30 years ago. Detective Kim wants to smack his partner for continuing to conjure up his makjang theories and tells him to keep investigating how Sung Gyum’s dad died 30 years ago.
GM Lee meets with Guard Cha and sighs about how 30 years later things have come full circle. Guard Cha gets a text to meet Gi Chul.
Sung Gyum finally hashes it out with Sang Hyo over her sudden remarriage to Hae Young, asking whether she thought about how he would feel before she did it? Clearly Sang Hyo didn’t as all she thought about was the hotel’s future. Sung Gyum accepts that and takes some responsibility for leaving the entire situation in her hands in the first place. He asks Sang Hyo to pack her bags and come sleep in his room tonight. He can’t handle leaving her in the same room as Hae Young even if Soo Ah is also there and assures Sang Hyo that he’ll go sleep in the car after she settles in.
Hae Young watches over Soo Ah resting after her crying fit and wonders to himself what’s going to happen with him and Sang Hyo. Will he make things work simply by putting effort in? Sang Hyo comes back and packs her bags to go to Sung Gyum’s room. Hae Young doesn’t understand why he’s involved until Sang Hyo informs him that she’s dating Sung Gyum now. And if it wasn’t for Hae Young’s return into her world, she would be openly dating Sung Gyum now. Hae Young looks floored and stares sadly at Sang Hyo before telling her not to go.
Sung Gyum is waiting in his room for Sang Hyo to arrive and checks his phone wondering whether to call. The door opens and Hae Young saunters into the room to Sung Gyum’s shock. Hae Young smirks and wonders if Sung Gyum is disappointed that it’s not Sang Hyo. He didn’t want to come either so what’s up with Sung Gyum seducing someone else’s bride and making her leave? Sung Gyum snickers at Hae Young talking like he’s really married to Sang Hyo again.
Hae Young plops down on the sofa and Sung Gyum asks why Hae Young married Sang Hyo? Hae Young asks “the first time or the second time?” Sung Gyum’s hand briefly clenches around his suitcase edge in anger. Hae Young informs Sung Gyum “the first time was because I loved her too much, the second time was to get back the woman I loved too much.” Sung Gyum actually bursts into laughter before saying that Hae Young is bound to fail this second time around because this time Sang Hyo has Sung Gyum beside her. Booyah, that’s quite a challenge accepted if I saw one.
Sung Gyum heads into the bedroom and Hae Young follows. Sung Gyum offers to let Hae Young pick a bed and Hae Young tosses the offer back. Sung Gyum picks the bed by the window and when he moves to sit down he ends up sitting in Hae Young’s lap because Hae Young suddenly decided that he wanted that bed. Sung Gyum gets up and mutters “no wonder Nam Sang Hyo left you.” Ahahahaha.
Guard Cha meets with Gi Chul who asks point blank if Guard Cha also killed Young Mi? He already knows it was Guard Cha who killed Manager Hwang. Flashback shows us that Gi Chul was the wallet thief who picked Hae Young’s pocket that day outside the event planning office. Guard Cha happened to see it and confronted Gi Chul afterwards. Gi Chul handed Hae Young’s wallet over and begged Guard Cha for another chance. Guard Cha reluctantly gives him another chance when Gi Chul cries that people make mistakes.
Back in the present, Gi Chul wants Guard Cha to turn himself in but Guard Cha points out that Gi Chul would need to admit he’s a pickpocket first to report Guard Cha. But having the wallet found by Manager Hwang’s body isn’t enough to prove Guard Cha killed so he tensely tells Gi Chul not to get involved otherwise he could get hurt.
Sang Hyo runs a hot bath and encourages Soo Ah to wash up and she’ll feel better.
In a truly gratuitous shower scene, Sung Gyum’s ripped torso takes a long shower in the dark and when he wipes the steam off the window and stares at his reflection intensely when thinking of Sang Hyo marrying Hae Young again. I totally got the shivers. Please don’t be bad, Sung Gyum!
Hae Young is super grumbly that his time with Sang Hyo always has a third wheel – the first night there was a dead body, the second night he was with Ki Ho, and now the third night he has to spend with Sung Gyum. Hae Young is getting impatient with Sung Gyum’s long shower and calls for him to come out so he can shower. He’s about to unbutton his shirt when Sung Gyum walks out of the shower with just a towel wrapped around his waist.
Hae Young stares at his chiseled abs and buttons his own shirt back up, LOL. He sits down and watches Sung Gyum at the mirror and snarks about how Sung Gyum has the time to work out while he’s just too busy to worry about such superficial things.
The male posturing continues as Hae Young realizes he has one advantage over Sung Gyum and walks over to stand really close to show that he’s taller than Sung Gyum. Heh. He even announces “I’m taller than you!” Sung Gyum tries to get on tippy toes before he sasses back that Hae Young is wearing shoes while he’s in slippers. These two, I would tell them to get a room except they already got one!
Sang Hyo gets a snarky text from Hae Young later that night asking when she started liking men for their hot bodies! Sang Hyo ignores him but Soo Ah asks to talk and very sadly wants to know why Hae Young and Sang Hyo broke up? Does Sang Hyo think a man who left will come back? Sang Hyo declares that there is no reason to wait for someone who left.
Sang Hyo flashes back to 7 years ago in Las Vegas and one day she came home after work to find Hae Young had packed up all his belongings and left. On the table was a one way plane ticket in her name to New York. Sang Hyo collapses by the kitchen table and tearfully sits there day and night until she faints and is discovered by her friends and taken to the hospital.
Sung Gyum and Hae Young are each laying in their own beds and both thinking about Sang Hyo. When Hae Young asks why Sung Gyum isn’t asleep yet, Sung Gyum tells him straight up that he’s thinking about Sang Hyo before turning over to sleep. Hae Young pushes Sung Gyum’s bedside lamp closer to the edge so that maybe he will bump into it accidentally.
The phones are ringing in the event planning department as bookings for weddings are pouring in since Sang Hyo’s Cinderella remarriage to Hae Young. Eun Joo is thrilled her PR plan was a success and in a cute meta moment, Gyung Hee reveals that actress Lee Young Eun has booked their hotel for her upcoming wedding. Eun Joo is super happy (since Eun Joo is played by Lee Young Eun who is in fact going to get married in real life) and Gyung Hee teases Eun Joo for being so excited like she’s the one getting married.
Crazy stalker Jung Eun reads the newspaper featuring Hae Young and Sang Hyo’s wedding and starts loudly sobbing in the cafe.
When Hae Young wakes up the next morning he finds the room empty already. Hae Young rushes to the hotel restaurant to find Sung Gyum dining cheerfully with Soo Ah and Sang Hyo. He sits down and wonders why Soo Ah is all chipper now. Soo Ah reveals that her unni counseled her to get over a man who would leave her so she’s going to do just that.
Hae Young retorts that Soo Ah should wait but Sung Gyum butts in that there is no reason to wait and it’s the man who left that is at fault. Hae Young wonders if Sung Gyum and Soo Ah have ganged up on the same team? Sang Hyo gets up and hurries Hae Young to their press conference.
Hae Young is not in the mood at this press conference while it’s Sang Hyo’s turn to get really into it for the cameras. She pinches Hae Young’s cheeks like he did to her last time. Soo Ah stares and wonders if those two really don’t have any feelings for each other anymore? Sung Gyum doesn’t look happy and walks off to pull the car up.
After the press conference Hae Young is upset that Sang Hyo plans to go back to Seoul with Sung Gyum. Sang Hyo tells him that the wedding was just for the hotel and things ended between them 7 years ago. Hae Young finally tells Sang Hyo that he married her again sincerely and for real but she’s not interested. For Sang Hyo that means nothing since Hae Young married her the first time for real too but still he left her. Good point.
Hae Young sadly watches Sang Hyo leave with Sung Gyum. When Soo Ah asks if he’s alright, he admits he’s not alright and does she think he looks like someone who is alright?
In the car ride back, Soo Ah can see that Hae Young is in a bad mood so doesn’t bother him. She does wonder why Hae Young left Sang Hyo without even doing it in person. Hae Young mutters to himself that he did it because if he saw her in person then he wouldn’t have been able to leave. Hae Young flashes back to getting a call from Shi Chan hounding him to come to NY otherwise everything they tried to go is over. Hae Young promises to go soon but Shi Chan points out that he keeps saying that yet has delayed it 3 months already!
When Sang Hyo comes home that day, Hae Young brings up her coming with him to NY but she once again refuses. He suggest there are plenty of hotels for her to work at in NY but she insists the hotels are the best in Vegas and she’s already worked her way up here. She refuses to put her career second to his.
Sang Hyo is staring at her second wedding ring in the car ride back to Seoul with Sung Gyum before taking it off. Sung Gyum suggests listening to music since its awkward with her not talking. Sang Hyo makes the excuse that she’s tired and then tells him to turn on the music. Sung Gyum tells her to be prepared to be surprised and turns on trot music. He knows singing for her is even better but he admits he can’t sing. Sang Hyo is surprised there is something Sung Gyum can’t do.
Hae Young deposits a reluctant Soo Ah back home with her understandably furious mom. Soo Ah’s mom smiles to see Hae Young and acts like everything is fine towards Soo Ah. The moment Hae Young leaves then Soo Ah’s mom drags Soo Ah inside by her ear and screams at her that she’s paid off Ki Ho 3 billion won already!
Soo Ah isn’t upset and asks why her mom only gave Ki Ho oppa that little, does she want to take it with her when she dies? She knows the situation that Ki Ho oppa is in! Soo Ah runs inside crying while Ki Ho stares from the other side of the yard and sinks to his knees crying.
Hae Young’s colleagues are out carousing with Shi Chan leading the gang to slack off while Hae Young is away on his honeymoon. Shi Chan gets a call from Hae Young and he lies that they are all at the office. We see Hae Young standing around from the corner at the restaurant before walking over to shock Shi Chan and the rest of the employees who immediately sell out Shi Chan as the ring leader. Everyone runs back to the office leaving Shi Chan alone with Hae Young. Shi Chan tries to leave but Hae Young stops him and declares that he really dislikes Shi Chan today before asking “why did you call me back then?”
Sung Gyum drops Sang Hyo off at home and can tell that she’s feeling better? Sung Gyum admits that he has been trying to see things as fine but he can’t. He’s angry that something happened while he was away and he hates the feeling that something precious was stolen from him.
Shi Chan is shocked to see Hae Young is crying as he’s drinking. Hae Young cries as he admits to Shi Chan that he doesn’t know what to do because his heart hurts, it hurts so much like he wants to die. It hurts because he feels like this might really be it, this might really be the end.
Sung Gyum asks Sang Hyo to recharge him since he feels rather out of energy. Sang Hyo agrees and wonders what type of recharging he needs? Sung Gyum offers up a preemptive apology before showing Sang Hyo the recharge he needs as he pulls her in for a kiss.
Thoughts of Mine:
The love triangle in MSH is everything I want in a mature exes reuniting romance. The more the drama makes Sung Gyum a viable option for Sang Hyo the more this drama has legs to push the conundrum further. With how beautiful and talented Sang Hyo is, I’m surprised she didn’t move on long before returning to Korea and meeting Sung Gyum. There are moments when Sung Gyum reacts to how he’s always playing catch up that makes me feel how he really seems to want to win Sang Hyo because he is just that attracted to her. When he kisses her it just makes my toes curl. But it’s Hae Young that makes me want to bend over and cry with how flawed he was (is) and yet how simple his love for Sang Hyo is. It’s the kind of love that takes 3 seconds to form and burns so hot that Sang Hyo still can’t forget it 7 years later. But they both failed at making it last through the thing called marriage and now it’s all these past and present marriages and weddings that are keeping them together even as the spectre of failure still looms over them. Hae Young isn’t scared because he was the one who left first all those years ago so he thinks that if he really wants it this time then he can make it work. But Sang Hyo is right, his track record shows that it’s not just how much he loves that makes the difference, is how he’ll be trusted to never walk away that worries her. Both of them have my sympathies so what makes me happy is seeing how this drama continues to let them work through the past pain.
Having the leads off in the resort does make the action at the Secret Hotel slow down considerably. Thankfully Eun Joo is around to be her usual spirited self and her interrogation with Detective Kim was hilarious. I never thought she killed Young Mi so it was nice to learn that she was threatening Young Mi not to blackmail Soo Ah. We also learned that Gi Chul is a thief but likely not the killer or involved in any deeper conspiracy, but conversely Guard Cha is clearly way deep in whatever concealment GM Lee is trying to keep under wraps. This episode actually swung the pendulum for me back to suspecting Sung Gyum partially because he could be using his assistant Simon as his henchman and also because fanciful Detective Lee keeps picking Sung Gyum as the low hanging fruit murderer and it would be a nice twist if he really was the mastermind! That also would explain why I still get this odd sensation that, while he does like Sang Hyo, he also views her as someone to be won, hence the treasure that got stolen away comment. Maybe she really is the hotel heiress and he needs her to avenge his dad’s death. Who knows but the murder mystery remains nicely paced with plenty more secrets left to uncover. I was taken out of the drama a little bit with the overly comedic interlude between posturing Hae Young and Sung Gyum but I’ll cut those two hotties some slack after hearing how they have become buddies while filming the drama hence they must’ve had a blast doing scenes where they try to one up each other. Too bad Sang Hyo wasn’t in the room to roll her eyes and decide that she wants neither guy.