There is finally some straight up good news about My Secret Hotel. Episode 14 was the best episode so far since the fantastic starting episodes, finally getting around to revealing important feelings and facts. Sadly this also confirms that the entire middle section of the drama can be erased and the audience wouldn’t be missing out on anything. Anyone notice that Soo Ah (and her driver love line) has basically disappeared? Or that all the supporting characters exist to either break Sang Hyo up or push her together with either of her two men. Sang Hyo isn’t a chew toy that people can toss fetch to puppy Hae Young or hound Sung Gyum, yet that is exactly what happens because Sang Hyo appears to see herself as a chew toy that can be moved and manipulated.
Where is her agency in this story, the ability to make important decisions and stick with it? I’m thrilled that Hae Young has reached wit’s end with her and takes a stand to demand that Sang Hyo figure out what SHE WANTS. It’s not hard Sang Hyo, either you want to bang Sung Gyum or sleep with Hae Young, pardon my French. It’s one or the other and, no, a threesome is not an option. The murder mystery also took a giant critical step forward with the arrival of Sung Gyum’s mom and some much needed exposition from the detectives. At last the suspect list is narrowed down, and sadly for folks wanting some surprise it’s just the same two main suspects as before. Can we toss a coin to vote on the killer to be revealed in episode 16?
Episode 14 recap:
The tables have turned and it’s Sang Hyo’s turn to ask Hae Young to cohabit and play house together. She admits doing it for the hotel to quell the scandalous news gossip but Hae Young actually gets a backbone and turns her down. Sang Hyo resorts to pleading with him do this one thing for her but Hae Young ignores her and goes into his bedroom. Hae Young sits down sighing that he suffered so much today to let her go so he can’t take her back because he doesn’t want to be hurt again.
Sang Hyo goes into the bedroom and asks to talk it over with Hae Young but he doesn’t want to listen anymore. Sang Hyo brings up how he never says no to what she asked of him, except for the day he left. So this is the last time she’s asking something of him. What he wouldn’t agree to do for her then, can he agree to do for her now?
Hae Young reaches out and stops Sang Hyo from walking out of the room and asks again if she really came here for the hotel? He doesn’t wait for her to respond and asks for five seconds of her time to pull her in for a hug. Sang Hyo lets him hug her but points out the hug went past 5 seconds. Hae Young thinks to himself that he has to give it one final shot, even if he has to cry for her one more time he wants to take this last chance.
Sung Gyum is brooding his sorrows away in the hotel room and flashes back to Sang Hyo’s answer about whether she’s wavering because of Hae Young. She admits to not knowing how she feels – she likes Sung Gyum and sincerely wants to start anew with him, but when she’s with Hae Young she naturally goes back to 7 years ago. She isn’t sure if this is residual longing or still present feelings, and she’s tried to ignore it by pretending it’s not there but she can’t stop herself. Sang Hyo has decided to stop ignoring it because it’s not going away like that, she wants to actively confirm her feelings now.
Sung Gyum tentatively asks what she will do if she confirms her feelings are love for Hae Young? What will happen to Sung Gyum in that case?
Sung Gyum is jolted out of his brooding by a knock at the door. He opens it and a man in black wearing a hat barges in. It’s Gi Chul and he apologizes for coming like this but he has something to say to Sung Gyum.
Hae Young gets around to wondering how Sang Hyo got into his condo without knowing the passcode. Sang Hyo scoffs that it’s totally Hae Young to program a passcode that is 0000. Hae Young lays down the rules for Sang Hyo to live here with him – she’s prohibited from skinship with Sung Gyum whether in public or private and she has to stop bringing up dating Sung Gyum. He orders her to hold it in for the next few months and she agrees but lays down her own rule requiring Hae Young not to touch her. She’s also moving into the guest room.
Hae Young accepts her terms but reminds her to come home straightaway from work every day. They glare at each other until Hae Young backs down when she needs to work late but she has to call him beforehand. Hae Young throws down one final requirement that Sang Hyo call him “yeobo” (honey) which she totally refuses since she wouldn’t do it even if she was really married to Hae Young. Sang Hyo then falls asleep as Hae Young continues to run through his cohabitation rules. He pauses upon noticing she’s asleep, leaning in to softly kiss her on the forehead before saying “I love you, Sang Hyo.”
Sung Gyum is at the hotel and totally tense as he thinks about what Gi Chul told him last night, that Guard Cha was the one who killed Manager Hwang and he’s working with GM Lee. Sung Gyum calls GM Lee to ask what his relationship is with Guard Cha? GM Lee doesn’t answer so Sung Gyum gets straight to the point and asks if GM Lee had Guard Cha kill Manager Hwang and Young Mi?
GM Lee assures Sung Gyum that he’s mistaken but Sung Gyum hands over the letter from Young Mi pointing her finger at GM Lee if she dies. GM Lee shows Sung Gyum his version of Young Mi’s letter which points her finger at Sung Gyum if she dies. Both men stare at each other.
Sung Gyum’s mother arrives at the hotel and runs into Sang Hyo who offers to escort her to Sung Gyum’s office. GM Lee is leaving Sung Gyum’s office and happens to cross paths with Sang Hyo walking Sung Gyum’s mom over. GM Lee and Sung Gyum’s mother clearly know each other and awkwardly exchange greetings before Sung Gyum’s mom quickly hurries past.
Sung Gyum and his mom happily greet each other with smiles and hugs while Sang Hyo watches on. Sung Gyum has his mom sit down while Sang Hyo takes her leave. Sung Gyum’s mom asks how the job is coming along and hears that it’s the same as any hotel job. Sung Gyum instead wants to tell his mom that he has a woman that he likes. It’s the girl who just left and it’s currently a one-sided love from his part at this time. He’ll introduce her properly next time and then reveals her name is Nam Sang Hyo. Sung Gyum’s mom’s almost spills her coffee upon hearing the name.
Eun Joo hears from Sang Hyo that Sung Gyum’s mom is visiting him in the hotel. She chides Sang Hyo for not handing her off to Eun Joo since Sung Gyum’s mom is going to be her future mother-in-law. She rushes off to change before going to properly greet her.
Eun Joo makes an excuse to enter Sung Gyum’s office to politely greet Sung Gyum’s mom. She sits down and informs Sung Gyum’s mom that she arranged a room close to Sung Gyum and had her luggage brought up already. Sung Gyum laughs at Eun Joo’s solicitous and overly ladylike attitude and attire and Eun Joo claims she’s always like this. Sung Gyum’s mom asks to go rest and Eun Joo walks her out.
Sung Gyum’s mom asks if her son is really close to Nam Sang Hyo? Eun Joo says no because Manager Nam is already married, and for the second time.
Hae Young’s colleagues schedule a meeting to plan Project HB (project sleeping together) claiming that getting Hae Young back together with Sang Hyo is critical for Hae Young to deliver better work. The plan starts with alcohol and one colleague has practiced spinning the bottle accurately so it’ll always point at Sang Hyo. After getting Sang Hyo drunk, they will start complimenting Hae Young before chanting for the newlyweds to kiss. Finally they will help schlep the drunk Sang Hyo to bed before quickly leaving for the night to give them privacy. They ask Hae Young what he thinks of their plan and he smiles before telling them to go ahead.
Sang Hyo gets a call from Hae Young calling her home tonight for a housewarming party that his colleagues insist on having. Shi Chan takes the phone and tells Sang Hyo to just order a few items and they’ll be over tonight. Sang Hyo doesn’t want to bother with it but of course ends doing arranging the party. Sang Hyo opens the door to welcome Hae Young’s colleagues in but bars Hae Young from entering wanting to know what the heck is this? Hae Young insists it was his colleagues idea so just enjoy it.
Sung Gyum goes to find Sang Hyo and is disappointed to hear that she’s left work already and it was to attend a housewarming party. Sung Gyum sits in his office and stares sadly at the heart shaped rock he found at the resort.
Sung Gyum’s mom is talking to GM Lee on the phone and confirming that Nam Sang Hyo is “that child”. For that reason Sung Gyum’s mom will never accept Sang Hyo with her Sung Gyum, and GM Lee knows exactly why. Sung Gyum overhears the tail end of the conversation and asks how his mom knows GM Lee? Sung Gyum’s mother claims to have met him a few times many years ago, that’s all. Sung Gyum realizes that his mom knows the truth about his dad’s death and demands to know it. Sung Gyum’s mom insists the dad died in an accident and for Sung Gyum to accept that. He refuses and will find out the truth.
The housewarming party has segued into the game of spin the bottle and right on cue the bottle points at Sang Hyo. She insists she can’t hold her alcohol so everyone chants for her to drink. Sang Hyo is about to drink when she smiles and hands her beer to her knight in shining armor Hae Young. He has no choice but to be chivalrous and drink for her. Shi Chan whispers to Hae Young about not drinking but he can’t say no to Sang Hyo when she’s this pretty!
Soon Hae Young is raging drunk when the plan moves to phase two where the colleagues compliment Hae Young on being the most handsome man around. Sang Hyo suggests Hae Young isn’t all that, he hates to lose and always wants things perfect and will make everyone work extra hard until they get it right. Sang Hyo points out that Hae Young is prone to yelling at his poor subordinates and knows it must be tiring for everyone to work with Hae Young. Everyone toasts Sang Hyo and cries about how hard it is to work for Hae Young.
Shi Chan deposits a drunk Hae Young in bed before all the guests quickly take their leave. Sang Hyo hears drunken Hae Young mumbling for her not to leave. Sang Hyo arranges him comfortably with a pillow before sitting down next to the bed to stare at him. She traces his sleeping face before breaking into a beaming smile, wondering why his sleeping face still looks exactly the same?
Hae Young wakes up the next morning and sees a sleeping Sang Hyo on the bed beside him. He smiles and says that her sleeping face looks exactly the same.
Sung Gyum’s mom makes a call to keep Sang Hyo away from Sang Gyum as soon as possible, she can’t stand seeing her around anymore. She’ll handle Sung Gyum so Sang Hyo needs to be removed. GM Lee calls Sang Hyo into his office to inform her that she’s placed on leave for now until the scandal dies down. It’s terrible news for the hotel that the director is caught in a love triangle with a wedded couple who got married at the hotel so she needs to avoid further impropriety.
Sang Hyo bumps into Sung Gyum in the hotel and they sit down to talk. Sung Gyum asks about the housewarming party and notices that Sang Hyo is awkward around him now. Sang Hyo brings up being asked to take a leave of absence and she agrees to do it for the hotel. Sung Gyum knows GM Lee asked Sang Hyo to do it to keep her away from him. He’s fine with that for now until things are all resolved. He asks Sang Hyo to go somewhere with him after work so that he can confirm something. After this he won’t ask more of her. Sang Hyo agrees which is when GM Lee storms over to speak with Sung Gyum privately.
Sang Hyo walks away and GM Lee demands that Sung Gyum stop making Sang Hyo waver. Sung Gyum knows GM Lee cares of Sang Hyo and also doesn’t like Sung Gyum, but asking Sang Hyo to take a leave of absence is crossing the line. GM Lee insists nothing good will come of Sung Gyum being with Sang Hyo. Sung Gyum refuses to accept that.
GM Lee unloads his frustration on Guard Cha who offers to take care of this matter for him. Guard Cha runs into Gyung Hee in the hallway and asks if she’s feeling better? She claims she’s doing better now but Guard Cha asks her to let GM Lee know if she needs anything. He asks her to go to the hospital but she refuses because this is her only way to keep working at the hotel.
Hae Young declines Shi Chan’s invite for dinner because he’s going home to cook dinner for his Sang Hyo. Hae Young sets a big bag of groceries down on the kitchen counter with a smile wondering what to start first? He calls Sang Hyo to ask where she is and asks her to come home as soon as possible and without eating dinner.
Sang Hyo is currently with Sung Gyum who takes her to a model home open house to ask her opinion. Sang Hyo likes the place so Sung Gyum wants to sign an offer for it. He plans to have Sang Hyo live with him in the future so her opinion matters. Plus he wants to stay in Korea but his mom is insisting he go back to the US so he wants to tell her that he’s staying for Sang Hyo.
Hae Young is hard at work preparing dinner while waiting for Sang Hyo to quickly come home. Sung Gyum invites her out to dinner and she hesitates but he assures her it won’t take too much of her time. Sang Hyo gets into Sung Gyum’s car and we see Guard Cha following them. Hae Young’s pretty inexperienced in the kitchen but continues excitedly preparing dinner. He sets the table complete with wine and all that’s left is for Sang Hyo to come home.
Sung Gyum notices Sang Hyo keeps checking her phone at dinner and offers to just have drinks with her instead. Sung Gyum breaks the awkward silence and points out that it’s not fair. Hae Young is doing everything in his power to win Sang Hyo but Sung Gyum can’t do anything but wait. That’s why Sung Gyum wants to make one last attempt to show her how he really feels about her. His speech is interrupted by Hae Young calling Sang Hyo’s phone. Sung Gyum knows she’s affecting by Hae Young but that doesn’t mean he’s conceding defeat and giving up on her. He wants Sang Hyo to remember that he’s going to be waiting for her. For once he hopes the hotel legend is true and couples who marry there divorce after three months.
As Sung Gyum is walking Sang Hyo out after dinner, Guard Cha suddenly speeds his car right towards Sang Hyo but appears to brake at the final second.
Hae Young is still waiting for Sang Hyo to come home and calls her one more time. A nurse at the hospital answers Sang Hyo’s phone saying there has been a car accident. Hae Young rushes to the hospital and drops the bottle of wine from the dining table and smashes it.
Hae Young worriedly rushes into the ER only to find Sang Hyo is fine and hovering over Sung Gyum who is the injured one. Hae Young walks over and demands to know what she is doing here? Sung Gyum tries to explain that Sang Hyo was headed home before the accident. Sang Hyo explains Sung Gyum saved her so Hae Young reluctantly thanks him and wants to take Sang Hyo home. She doesn’t want to leave until Sung Gyum’s tests come back.
Hae Young refuses to leave her here and go home alone. He’s angry but doesn’t want to just leave. Sung Gyum tells Sang Hyo to go home which makes Hae Young even angrier since he doesn’t need Sung Gyum’s permission. Sung Gyum just doesn’t want to have the three of them standing around here. Sang Hyo asks to speak outside and Hae Young tells Sung Gyum that he hopes to never have a reason to see him again. After Hae Young and Sang Hyo leave the ER, a nurse comes by asking if Sung Gyum is alright and he shows her a bleeding injury on his back.
Hae Young asks Sang Hyo straight up what she really wants? Does she want to stay with Jo Sung Gyum, or are her real feelings wanting Hae Young to always make her stay with him? Is she afraid of his feelings being fickle and impossible for her to trust? Then what about her feelings? Since he’s known her, his feelings for her have never changed. Sang Hyo says “But you left, you left without saying anything to me.” Hae Young corrects that he wants to know what she really feels right now. But if she’s still angry about the past, then wasn’t she also the one who made a choice back then? She could have left with him, she could have used the plane ticket he left to leave with him. She didn’t do that and she didn’t wait for him. She didn’t do anything for him so how can she say that he didn’t do anything for her.
Sang Hyo claims she waited so Hae Young asks how long did she wait? She didn’t wait until he came back which means she didn’t really wait. Now he’s really tired so it’s up to Sang Hyo to really figure out what she truly feels. Is it Hae Young or Sung Gyum? Hae Young turns and walks away, leaving Sang Hyo standing in the hospital.
Sung Gyum is getting his back injury cleaned and stitched up while the doctor chides him for not revealing the injury earlier. The nurse suggests it’s to not startle the lady he was with. A flashback shows Sung Gyum pulling Sang Hyo out of the way of Guard Cha’s speeding car but as he falls he lands on a broken glass bottle. Sung Gyum drives himself home after being stitched up. He can’t help thinking of what GM Lee said to him, that nothing good will come of Sung Gyum being with Sang Hyo. If he insists then someone may get hurt.
Detective Kim hears that Simon has an alibi for the time of Young Mi’s death, he was at a coffee shop near the hotel where witnesses place him there. Detective Lee wonders who the killer is now that they have come to a dead end? Detective Kim is certain he knows who the killer is and all they need is evidence. He takes down Sung Gyum and GM Lee’s photos and is certain the killer has to be one of them. If Sung Gyum used Simon to kill for him, then who did GM Lee use to kill?
The entire hotel is kept under surveillance so to kill someone without bringing attention requires manipulating the CCTV footage. To do that, the person has to be Guard Cha. Sung Gyum is walking back to his hotel room when he pointedly stares up at the CCTV on the ceiling where Guard Cha is in the security room watching the surveillance. Detective Kim orders Detective Lee to find out what the relationship of Guard Cha is to GM Lee.
GM Lee is upset that Guard Cha almost hurt Sang Hyo in his misguided attempt to keep Sung Gyum from her. He orders Guard Cha to do nothing else from now on, he doesn’t want Guard Cha to get into any more trouble. Guard Cha insists that he will take full responsibility for everything.
Sung Gyum’s mom tries to persuade Sung Gyum to go back to the US but he refuses because for the woman he loves there is something he must do. Sang Hyo takes the bus back to Hae Young’s condo and walks in to find the table set for a romantic home cooked dinner. She notices the broken wine bottle on the ground showing how quickly Hae Young ran out. She looks around the entire condo but Hae Young isn’t home.
Hae Young is drinking alone at the bar and getting totally wasted. He passes out which is when Jung Eun arrives and declares to the bartender that she’s his good friend. She strokes Hae Young’s back and stares at him sleeping. Don’t you dare touch him, crazy witch! I don’t have time for any misunderstanding shit to arise if you meddle again.
Sang Hyo sits down at the dinner table and starts to cry as she confirms that Hae Young sincerely does love her. She cries and asks herself what she should do now?
Thoughts of Mine:
What should you do, Sang Hyo? I can’t fucking answer that for you, girl, and from the looks of it you don’t have a freaking clue either! A very important reflective moment at the end of episode 14 should have come much much earlier, probably around episode 8 when she married Hae Young for pretend but discovered he wanted it for real. At that moment she needed to ask him “for god’s sakes WHY?” and hear what he has to say. Then she needs to tell him if she feels the same way about him or not. It’s not that hard to figure out whether she still loves him or not, and her acknowledgement that she was basically ignoring the pink elephant in the room for episodes on end just chafes.
This whole mess got messier because she didn’t want to make tough decisions to hurt one of two men or she ended up hurting both. Good one! Hae Young’s means may have been less than the ideal way to win back a wife but at least he’s always been honest with Sang Hyo. She basically still gives the man a sliver of hope by always acquiescing to him in the end. It’s the same way she leaves Sung Gyum believing he still has a shot with her. I hate to say she’s stringing two men along since both men knows it and willingly participate, but this love triangle should have ended episodes ago which is why it feels like Sang Hyo prolonged this tedium due solely to her avoidance technique. That’s also the contributing reason for the marriage ending when she left Hae Young without waiting to hash it out with him either by confronting him in NY or waiting for him to come back.
I’ve never been so grateful to see the arrival of a meddling mother in the form of Sung Gyum’s mother. Sure she also opens the birth secret can of worms regarding Sang Hyo, what with her immediately freak out upon knowing who she is and that Sung Gyum is interested in her. If this was a j-dorama then I totally call them as half-siblings, even with all the kissing earlier, but this being a K-drama that simply is a taboo the writer won’t touch. At most she’s the daughter of someone Sung Gyum’s mom hates. I suppose dragging on the murder mystery does have the benefit that I really haven’t a clue who is the killer. It’s just as likely to be GM Lee as it is Sung Gyum so next’s week grand finale does have a bit of surprise forthcoming when the truth comes out. I wished I cared though at this point, earlier on I would have been sad if either one was the murderer.
Now I just want to know the big secret from the past even if it’s sure to leave me feeling disappointed that people had to die because of something that will turn out to be not a big deal. The failure of MSH lays squarely with the writing and I can’t say it’s due to the lack of talent in the second screenwriter. If the first one laid out the entire story outline and wrote the first four scripts, the replacement had the daunting task of filling in the blanks in someone else’s story. What resulted was like pushing a square peg into a round hole, awkward and uncomfortably like the new writer couldn’t recreate the mood of the original story and ruined it even more by pushing out a lackluster copycat. It’s hard enough to churn out good writing, it’s even harder to do so writing in the form and style of another writer. MSH tried but sadly couldn’t overcome a nearly impossible mountain to climb.