Kolorful Palette: Mysterious [My Secret Hotel]
As far as I’m concerned Queen In-hyun’s man and Nine: Nine Time travels were two of the most memorable dramas from the last couple years, so I was pretty excited to see tvN bringing back Yoo Inna and Lee Jin-wook this week, albeit in two different shows. It’s hard to say which one I like more at this point, but I can confidently say I’m loving them both.
I’m a fan of whodunits, especially when they’re a little atypical (The Usual Suspects, Memento, etc). A K-drama rom-com with a divorced wedding coordinator and architect as leads certainly doesn’t follow any formula I’ve seen, so I’m pretty sure I can file My Secret Hotel in the atypical category. It’s fun and fresh, and the storytelling style doesn’t serve us anything on a silver platter (which is just as it should be when it comes to mystery).
I’ve come to the conclusion that I really quite like Yoo Inna as an actress, although I think she is much stronger as a lead than she ever was as an antagonist. When I first saw her years ago I thought she seemed a bit vacant, but she’s either improved a lot or her talents weren’t showcased fully. I find her mannerisms very unique but natural, which gives her a certain onscreen charm, and she switches deftly between comic and serious moments while managing to sell both equally well.
Switching tones is something this drama does very well overall, and I think that’s a big part of why I’m enjoying it so much. One minute I’m laughing, the next I’m feeling genuinely sympathetic, and the next I’m glued to the screen trying to watch for any little detail that might unveil some mystery. I think the camera work and the music are a big part of why the transitions work so well, and I can just enjoy the ride without feeling like I’m being jolted around between genres.
I love that the murder isn’t the only mystery on this show, and even the past romance between our two leads has me curious. I drew this pretty scene from their wedding because it was a gorgeous flashback and I liked getting a little glimpse of how Sang-hyo and Hae-young were together, but there’s so much else I want to know about them. When Hae-young left her behind on the road after they fought in this episode, she complained to herself about how long she waited for him. When he returned to find her later he commented that of course she wouldn’t wait. Obviously there was a miscommunication of epic proportions in their past, but that’s all the information we’ve been given. We don’t even know why they had an impromptu Vegas wedding in the first place, never mind why they separated. Even though I want to know everything, I hope this drama continues to tease us a bit more and makes us guess. The more mystery the better!
This drama has also pleasantly surprised me in some little ways. For example, instead of hating each other, it seems that both leads have already acknowledged that they have leftover feelings for one other. Doesn’t that usually take 10 episodes? Sang-hyo also already told her boss about being divorced, which is an honesty we rarely get to see. Writers usually save that sort of thing for future misunderstandings and forced drama. so it’s nice to see them not using lazy tactics, and Sang-hyo’s character is only more likable as a result.
As far as the murder mystery goes, I hope it’s complicated and full of red herrings that keep our heads spinning. I like an intricate web, so hopefully this is something that plays out slowly over the course of the drama. Between murders from the past, pickpockets, shady employees and crazy exes, I’m feeling very optimistic.