If I could drop kick My Secret Hotel into space, I most certainly would. I don’t necessarily hate this drama but it’s gotten so pointless and frustrating I think a circle around Earth would do it some good to find its axis again. I’m not dropping the recaps at this late hour but I won’t hold back on my tipped over annoyance at this point. I’ve given it plenty of wiggle room to find it’s footing and plenty of leeway on the redundancy that has turned what was supposed to be a narrative one-way trip into a kiddie riding a wagon around and around a flag pole. Has almost every episode ended on Hae Young asking Sang Hyo to stay or the emotional equivalent thereof?
At least this episode finally reversed the position of the two leads but getting there was like being dragged by a truck on concrete so I feel fairly flayed alive. Sang Hyo deserves a slap and a cold water dunk to seriously do something about her waffling indecisiveness. She’s cute but cute doesn’t excuse inflicting emotional water torture on two guys even if both aren’t exact blameless. The murder investigation also got about a minute of screen time in this episode which is the only good minute around if you ask me. Not sure what else this new writer has in store for the remaining three episodes but it will need to be epic and groundbreaking to resurrect this drama from the grave of utter disappointment.
Episode 13 recap:
Sung Gyum and Hae Young get right in each other’s faces to actually fight over Sang Hyo. She can’t keep them apart so hugs Sung Gyum to beg him first before an angry Hae Young pulls her off him. Sang Hyo begs Hae Young to leave now and warns that if he doesn’t then she won’t go back to his house tonight. Sung Gyum overhears and is even more upset that Sang Hyo was with Hae Young last night.
Hae Young decides to cut his losses and leave for now since Sang Hyo needs to talk with Sung Gyum. He pauses as he drives off while Sang Hyo goes to grab Sung Gyum’s hand to talk with him. He pushes her hand off and gets in his car, not ready to talk with her right now. He also peels off leaving Sang Hyo all alone in the parking garage. She picks up her broken strap handbag and looks upset.
Sung Gyum walks into his office but not before telling Simon to let no one come in. He sits down and looks quite upset still. Hae Young arrives at work and he’s in no better shape as he remembers Sang Hyo trying to explain to Sung Gyum in the parking garage. He sighs and mutters an apology to Sang Hyo.
Sang Hyo remembers a scene with Hae Young on the phone back when they were married. He hears that he got an award and assures the caller that he’s doing well before saying a I Love You and hanging up. He explains to Sang Hyo that he was just talking with his dad, the person who has always loved and supported him the most, who is also his best friend. In the present Sang Hyo tells herself that she can’t let Hae Young lose his father because of her.
Sang Hyo runs into Sung Gyum by the elevator and he pointedly ignores her. She lowers her head and sadly gets into the elevator which is when Sung Gyum rushes back and asks to listen to Sang Hyo’s explanation.
Sang Hyo explains to Sung Gyum that she’s living at Hae Young’s place so his dad will agree to have heart surgery knowing that his son is finally married. Sang Hyo apologizes for not explaining to him earlier and asks for just one week’s time. Sung Gyum refuses to accept this or any explanation for her living with Hae Young. Sang Hyo says it’s important, she’s always wanted having a dad around and thinks it’s something that is important for anyone. She just doesn’t want Hae Young to lose his dad like that. Sung Gyum sighs and points out that he’s this upset because it’s Hae Young and not someone else.
Shi Chan is leaving a team meeting at work and everyone stops slacking off when Hae Young walks by. Hae Young notices they are behind schedule and wonders if they all took the day off yesterday when he was out? Shi Chan tries to assure him that they worked hard and from now on will work even harder to get things done. They will work until Hae Young is fine with their work. Hae Young stares and says it’s fine, forget working late since he’s got to leave now because his Sang Hyo is waiting for him at home. Hae Young leaves in a fine mood and even greets Jung Eun warmly as he passes her at the entrance.
Jung Eun asks Shi Chan why Hae Young is so happy and hears that he’s going home to see his Sang Hyo. Jung Eun screams in frustration and vows not to let things stand like this.
Hae Young calls Sang Hyo from the hotel parking garage waiting to pick her up. He gives her thirty minutes to come down before he picks her up. Hae Young then checks out all the selcas he took with sleeping Sang Hyo and grins happily. Sang Hyo packs up to go home but pauses remembering Sung Gyum being really upset by this. She gets a call from Sung Gyum refusing to let her go back to Hae Young and orders her to stay put as he’s going to meet her on the first floor lobby. Sang Hyo ends the call and wonders what she’s going to do? Hae Young continues to wait for Sang Hyo as she walks through the hotel and thinks back to the two men waiting for her in different places.
Sang Hyo makes up her mind and goes to Hae Young, getting into his car to home with him. She orders him to drive with a cute finger gun to the rib while Hae Young buckles her up and drives off.
Eun Joo goes to meet Sung Gyum and informs him that she sent Sang Hyo home with Hae Young. She orders Sung Gyum not to look sad because the person who is saddest right now is her. How can Sang Hyo that wench ask Eun Joo to take care of Sung Gyum! Eun Joo orders Sung Gyum to go drinking with her and when he declines asking to be alone, Eun Joo grabs him by the necktie and barks at him to come with her now!
Hae Young can see Sang Hyo rather down during the drive home and hears that she’s upset about Sung Gyum. He pulls over and demands that she never mention Sung Gyum in front of him again. She knows how he feels about her so don’t challenge his bottom line anymore when they are together.
Sang Hyo tentatively walks into the house ready to greet Hae Young’s parents only to hear from Hae Young and his parents are having dinner with his older brother tonight. She smacks him for not telling her and goes to plop down on the sofa. Hae Young takes out his phone to order food when Sang Hyo spots her picture as his background.
Sang Hyo hears he took the picture yesterday and tries to grab the phone to delete the picture but Hae Young refuses. She ends up sprawled on top of him trying to grab the phone which is when Hae Young’s parents walk into the condo. Mom immediately apologizes and suggests to her husband they immediately go take a walk, LOL. Sang Hyo tries to call them back to explain that it’s just a misunderstanding and then smacks Hae Young.
Everyone sits down for fruit and Mom is so happy to see Hae Young like this which reminds her of seeing her husband. He used to be just like Hae Young, happy to see his wife around. Dad hopes to see Sang Hyo more after his surgery and jokes that they should all go on dates. Sang Hyo smiles and takes a pear slice from dad.
Eun Joo and Sung Gyum are at a street stall drinking and Eun Joo declares that tonight they will say exactly what is is on their minds to relieve some stress. Eun Joo goes first and thinks Sang Hyo isn’t very pretty, merely passable. Sung Gyum says Sang Hyo may not be pretty but she’s cute. Eun Joo then calls out Sang Hyo for going to a man’s house and Sung Gyum speaks up that Sang Hyo is simply too kind. Eun Joo gets upset because Sung Gyum isn’t yelling at Sang Hyo. Sung Gyum calls Sang Hyo a black hole that makes a person fall in.
Eun Joo gulps down her soju before admitting that she was the one who pushed Sang Hyo to marry Hae Young again even knowing she was dating Sung Gyum. She knows it’s wrong but saw the opportunity. Sung Gyum appreciates Eun Joo’s honesty and they go back to drinking.
Sang Hyo is already in bed when Hae Young comes in and he checks that she’s sleeping before grabbing his pillow to sneak in bed with her. Before he can lay down is when Sang Hyo sits up and demands to know what he’s doing. Hae Young immediately feigns a back injury and then lays down. Sang Hyo beats him to get back on the floor while he yelps in pain. Sang Hyo starts to tickle his back which gets him to admit he’s fine. She keeps tickling him and he grabs her hands to beg her to stop. They stare at each other.
Flashback to Hae Young in bed as Sang Hyo sneaks home late at night. She apologizes for not keeping her promise tonight but an emergency arose at the hotel. Hae Young tells her to go wash up and claims that he’s not upset but turns his back to her. Sang Hyo starts to tickle him which gets him to sit up. Hae Young orders her not to tickle him otherwise he’ll get too excited since he’s sensitive in a lot of areas. Sang Hyo tickles him until he grabs her tightly in his arms to stop her. She apologizes again and he pecks her on the lips and stops being angry.
Sang Hyo gets off the bed to sleep on the floor, declaring it’s more comfortable than sleeping with him on the same bed. Hae Young bounds off the bed with a smile and tells Sang Hyo he was just kidding and will sleep on the floor. Sung Gyum stands in his hotel room brooding holding his phone. Sang Hyo stares at her phone and sees the last texts with Sung Gyum being him wishing her goodnight and Hae Young writing back for him to shut up and go to sleep.
Sang Hyo gets upset and demands to know if Hae Young sent that reply text. He claims he didn’t but she starts wacking him and pushes him off the bed. Hae Young starts howling that his back really hurts now but Sang Hyo doesn’t care and flops down to sleep. Hae Young smiles and wishes her goodnight and watches her fall sleep.
Sang Hyo gets dressed in the morning and stares at Hae Young sleeping with his pillow propped on the side of the bed. She sits down and stares at him a but before sighing. She picks up his cell phone to look through the selcas he took with her before moving to delete them. She pauses and stares at him again. Sang Hyo steps out of the room and Hae Young lifts his head from the pillow and immediately checks his phone to find all the pictures are still there and she hasn’t deleted any.
Hae Young comes out to find Sang Hyo prepared a big breakfast already. She’s feeling pretty accomplished while Hae Young goes to wake his parents up. He finds their room empty and a note from his parents saying that they left for the US because his dad’s surgery can’t be delayed any longer. Hae Young lies to Sang Hyo that his parents went to his brother’s house this morning and offers to show her the note. Hae Young wants to breakfast with her but she wants to go to work now because she doesn’t want to eat with him. She sticks her tongue out at him and he orders her not to make that face easily. She doesn’t understand why so Hae Young orders her to especially not make that face in front of Jo Sung Gyum. Sang Hyo agrees and decides to instead make a sexy lick her lips and pucker up face in front of Sung Gyum. Hae Young angrily chases after her ordering her not that use her cute little tongue like that!
Sang Hyo drives to work chuckling to herself over Hae Young’s latest issue with her. She then wonders if she’s amused by something involving Hae Young?
Gi Chul can’t believe that Manager Hwang and Young Mi are both dead and then flashes back to seeing Guard Cha hugging Gyung Hee and misunderstands that he’s going to kill her next. He tries to help but Guard Cha pins him against the wall ordering him to forget what he saw today.
Sang Hyo finds Gi Chul looking down at work but before he can explain what he saw Guard Cha walks in to tell Sang Hyo that Gyung Hee isn’t feeling well and won’t be coming in to work today. He shoots Gi Chul a look before walking out.
The detectives have pulling Sung Gyum’s dad’s case file to go through. Detective Lee brings up Sung Gyum’s dad supposedly not being a good guy back when he was alive. He supposedly had tons of women problems and even hit his wife. Detective Kim reads in the case file that Sung Gyum’s dad was found with a necklace clutched in his hand but the necklace wasn’t found after he arrived at the hospital. Detective Lee scratches his neck which leads Detective Kim to remember now that a necklace was found in Manager Hwang’s belongings which must have been what Young Mi got a hold of to continue her blackmail.
Gi Chul tries to tell GM Lee that Gyung Hee is dead and Guard Cha hurt her. GM Lee assures Gi Chul that he misunderstood but Gi Chul sees Guard Cha instead GM Lee’s office and freaks out even more thinking they are working on the same nefarious side.
Gi Chul finds Gyun Hee’s figure walking through the hotel and he chases after her thinking she’s a ghost. He finds her alive and well in the conference room and hears that she’s fine though she left work early yesterday because she wasn’t feeling well. Gi Chul hugs Gyung Hee to see her alive and well and she thanks him for caring about her.
Sang Hyo gets a call at work from Hae Young’s dad informing her that they have arrived in the US safely. He wants to thank her for being the reason he’s going to get the surgery. Sang Hyo asks him to take care and come back soon healthy. She ends the call and remembers Hae Young lying this morning about where his parents went. Sung Gyum comes by and asks to talk with Sang Hyo.
Sung Gyum wants to know if she just needs one week and admits his defeat when it comes to her. He agrees to let her do it if it’s just for one week. Sang Hyo says no, she’s leaving today because Hae Young’s parents have left for the US already. Sung Gyum offers to take her to pick up her belongings but she declines since anytime the two guys meet they might fight like kids.
Sang Hyo pulls up outside Hae Young’s place and calls him to inform him that she’s moving her things out now because her dad called to say he’s already in the US. Hae Young orders her to wait there for him and rushes out to speed back home. Sang Hyo tries to open the door herself since Hae Young didn’t give her the code and tries out various typical birthday combos to no avail. She wonders if it could be their wedding anniversary date?
Hae Young rushes home looking around for Sang Hyo but finding the place empty. He sits down at the dining table and flashes back to when he came back to their apartment in Las Vegas and found it empty with only a torn picture on the table. Hae Young starts to cry when Sang Hyo walks up to him.
Hae Young pulls her tightly in for a hug and begs her not to leave. He thought she left and doesn’t want her to leave again. Sang Hyo has no reason to stay but Hae Young can’t let her leave like this. He begs for her to finish up the week, just give him the whole week, can’t she do that? Sang Hyo stops herself and thinks to herself that it was the same 7 years ago, she fell in love with him in just one week. So she doesn’t have the confidence to give him a week this time.
Sang Hyo leaves and Hae Young sadly sits in the living room in front of their second wedding picture. He wonders why he’s such an idiot that he can’t forget as easily as she has?
Jung Eun sits in the coffee shop and goes for round two in trying to break up Sang Hyo and Hae Young. She writes an article for the wedding magazine she works for about Sang Hyo cheating on Hae Young with Sung Gyum. She cackles maniacally that she will make sure Sang Hyo stays away from Hae Young if she has to bet her writing hand on it.
Eun Joo is understandably furious with Sang Hyo and storms to confront her in the office with the magazine outing the Cinderella wedding at Secret Hotel as being one giant fraud. Sang Hyo reads the article that claims she’s actually dating the hotel’s Director Jo. Hae Young’s office is getting inundated with calls from reporters with his colleagues all covering for him and claiming the article is fake. Shi Chan sees Hae Young brooding in his office and asks if he wants to kill Jung Eun for doing this?
The hotel management team call an emergency meeting to discuss what to do about this latest scandalous article. The Vice GM is particularly amused by all this and wonders if Sung Gyum really sang a song battle for Sang Hyo at a restaurant? Eun Joo doesn’t have time for this and wants people to come out with solutions. The Vice GM doesn’t care if they are really dating but this is clearly bad news for the hotel and is an inappropriate relationship. Eun Joo agrees since if news gets out that Hae Young and Sang Hyo are living apart then once again another marriage ends in less than three months. Sang Hyo speaks up and agrees to take responsibility for this by living with Hae Young.
Sung Gyum doesn’t agree since this is not the right solution especially since the wedding shouldn’t have taken place to start with. GM Lee points out that all the hotel employees participated and sold the marriage to the reporters so if they come clean now the entire hotel takes an even worse hit. GM Lee asks Sang Hyo if she is really certain about Hae Young, that she doesn’t have rekindled feelings for him? He stares at Sung Gyum and orders him to stop making Sang Hyo waver.
Everyone steps out leaving Sang Hyo and Sung Gyum alone in the conference room. Sung Gyum asks if he is really making Sang Hyo waver between Hae Young and himself? Does she really have lingering feelings for Hae Young? Sang Hyo answers him but we don’t hear what she says.
Hae Young is working late into the night but all he can think about is Sang Hyo asking him to end things. He sighs and agrees to end things. As Hae Young leaves the office he sees Sang Hyo sitting in the corner smiling at him. He sadly turns his back on her and imaginary Sang Hyo disappears. Hae Young goes home and sees Sang Hyo standing outside the condo with him. He tells her that it’s over now and walks inside so imaginary Sang Hyo disappears again.
Hae Young sees Sang Hyo standing inside and tells this Sang Hyo it’s over now. But she doesn’t disappear since she’s the real Sang Hyo and she’s here to move back into his condo until the latest news scandal dies down.
Hae Young points out that she insisted on leaving even when he begged her to stay but now she’s coming back for the future of the hotel? Hae Young says no thank you and tells Sang Hyo that if she thinks he’ll take her back for this then she’s clearly mistaken. FINALLY! Hae Young shakes her hand off and walks into his room while Sang Hyo begs him to do this one thing for her.
Thoughts of Mine:
MSH has managed to do the unthinkable (to me at least when the first few episodes aired) of making me thoroughly dislike the central romances of the three leads. Nothing is working right now, zip zero nada. Not Sang Hyo and Hae Young when he puts his heart on a platter for her to continuously disdain and basically crap all over. Especially not when she can turn right back and ask him for cohabitation without sincerity when the hotel’s reputation is once again at stake. It makes no sense when Sang Hyo has been working there all of a few months so what gives on how she’s selling herself in marriage and romance for a pile of rocks. Sung Gyum and Sang Hyo don’t work either, forget his shadiness and questionable interest in her, even if he’s smitten to the nth degree then it still is an emotionally wasted romance when she keeps putting him second to whatever excuse Hae Young cooks up to keep her tied to him.
Sang Hyo needs a fresh start and no men in her life, or at least neither of these two men. Some women bring out the best in their men, sadly Sang Hyo appears the opposite in that being around her brings out the worst in Sung Gyum and Hae Young. If she’s scared of going back to Hae Young then just say no to whatever he asks. If she likes Sung Gyum sincerely then she shouldn’t be putting him second to whatever Hae Young asks of her. She’s basically screwing both men over for no reason other than she doesn’t want to make a firm and final choice. Not good, Sang Hyo, not good. I just realized the only bits of genuine romantic satisfaction in this drama comes from the flashbacks of the cute marriage between Hae Young and Sang Hyo, but a drama can’t sustain the audience’s goodwill forever dwelling on the past love without showing the present flame rekindled.
The murder mystery literally made zero progress in this episode, learning Sung Gyum’s dad had a bad womanizing and wife beating reputation before he died doesn’t shed any light on who may have killed him. Or perhaps it was meant to point the finger at Sung Gyum’s mom as either an abused wife who kills her abusive husband or someone who killed him to protect her. It’s way too late in the game to play so coy with the details with only three episodes left to unravel who did the killing in the present, much less tie it back to the secret that the deaths are meant to protect. I wished I cared more about the murder mystery at this point but since Young Mi died that thread has puttered the the same slow death as the love triangle. At this point even the happy flashbacks of the OTP do nothing for me since Sang Hyo turns around and cockblocks Hae Young’s overtures the very next second. I don’t need her to take him back, at this point I just need her to make a choice so all three leads can get a life.