My Secret Hotel: Episode 11
Now that Sang-hyo’s made her decision, Hae-young struggles to come to terms with what it means for her to officially be dating Sung-gyum, and if it’s even possible for him to actually let her go from his life. In the midst of all the emotion, however, the mystery takes a baby-step forward as we narrow down the two most likely candidates for Young-mi’s murder — as selected by Young-mi herself.
EPISODE 11 RECAP
After Sung-gyum’s sweet serenading of Sang-hyo that totally won her over, Hae-young goes out with his work team for some chicken and beer. Even though Hae-young seems unaffected by the fact that Sung-gyum “won,” the rest of his team awkwardly try to reassure him his performance was truly the best.
He quietly reminds them that Sung-gyum still beat him, though, and he downs his beer and gets ready to leave. A concerned Shi-chan offers to keep him company, but Hae-young turns him down and coolly leaves the bar. But he’s not as calm as he looks, since he takes out his frustration on the bar’s inflatable sign, treating it like a punching bag.
Sung-gyum walks Sang-hyo home, and she teases him about the fact he won’t look at her. It’s because he’s embarrassed about singing in public, but she compliments on his singing skills, joking that it isn’t so much about the rhythm and pitch, but feeling, anyway. He’s in no joking mood, however, and she pulls him back by sincerely telling him that he was really great.
He confesses that he did it because he was scared he might lose her, and asks her to promise to never waver again. Once Sang-hyo nodes in agreement, the two of them are all cute smiles and giggles again.
When she returns to her apartment, she sees the two flower bouquets waiting for her on her coffee table. She picks up the one from Hae-young and tells it (and him) “good-bye” before stuffing it into the trash can. Then she stops and realizes she can’t remember which exactly bouquet came from which guy. Ha!
But she must have picked the right one, because back in his home, Hae-young sighs that he feels like someone just threw him in the trash. As he mournfully reclines on his sofa, he hears the doorbell ring…
…and it’s Sung-gyum and Sang-hyo’s apartment. She’s surprised to see him, but he asks to be invited in because there’s something else he needs to tell her. He’s not interested in her offer of a cup of coffee, though, and gets straight to the point: “Can I stay the night?”
Sensing her rejection, he’s ready to see himself out the door, but she holds him back. Reminding him of her promise to not waver, she pulls him back down on the sofa. Sung-gyum gently takes the clip from her hair. Gently caressing her cheek, his hand then goes lower to slowly unbutton her shirt. Whoa. Things are about to get serious and sexy.
Except it’s all happening in Hae-young’s mind, and he shakes the image out of his head, reassuring himself that it would never happen. But one can never be too sure, and he immediately calls Sang-hyo, demanding to know what she’s doing right now.
Turns out she’s at home, alone, and annoyed at his call. He warns her that the most dangerous guys are the ones who seem innocent and awkward when singing Kim Dong-ryul ballads (like Sung-gyum). But Sang-hyo puts him in his place when she asks if the trustworthy guys then must be the ones who show off as they perform Park Jin-young songs (like Hae-young).
Chastened, Hae-young at least asks her to promise him that she won’t give her whole heart to Sung-gyum until she at least knows him as well she knew Hae-young. But Sang-hyo tells him to stay out of her business, adding that the only reason she bothered to pick up the phone at all was to tell him to never call again. Then she hangs up on him.
Frustrated, Hae-young is ready to chuck his phone across the room. But the image of Sang-hyo seducing Sung-gyum persists despite all his attempts to stop it. He tries calling her again, but it goes straight to voicemail. Forlornly, he curls on his sofa, realizing that finding something that was once lost is pretty difficult after all.
Meanwhile, Sung-gyum receives a package from the resort. The attached note asks if this was the item he lost, and he discovers his missing white heart-shaped rock. It’s not so hard to find a lost item when it’s mailed directly to you, apparently.
The next day, Sang-hyo is accosted by the other hotel employees, who are happy to congratulate her on her relationship with Sung-gyum. Except for Eun-joo, of course, who’s still annoyed she “lost” Sung-gyum to her.
Or GM Lee, who asks how Sang-hyo can be so rash — after all, she just went through the wedding with Hae-young, and now she’s dating Sung-gyum? He thought she actually felt something during the wedding, but she reminds him that she did it just to save the hotel. He warns her to stay away from Sung-gyum.
She leaves his office, perplexed by his angry reaction, and runs into Sung-gyum. He’s happy to see her until he notes her expression — and whose office she just exited.
Concerned, he asks her if something happened with GM Lee. She tells him that the GM is like a father to her, and even though she knows it’s difficult for the two men to see eye-to-eye, she asks Sung-gyum if he can somehow get along with GM Lee. Even though Sung-gyum wants to support her, there’s no way he can get close to GM Lee, and he tells her it’s pointless for her to ask. Furthermore, he wishes she wouldn’t get too close to the GM, either.
Detective Kim studies the murder evidence board while his partner reveals that regular amounts of money were transferred from GM Lee’s bank account to Hwang’s, which means Hwang must have been blackmailing the GM. As for Young-mi, she was blackmailing the couples who were having affairs at the hotel, and apparently picked the wrong person to blackmail. That means the evidence points to GM Lee being Hwang’s murderer — even though the other detective is still convinced Sung-gyum is the killer.
Sang-hyo sits idly in her office, lost in thought over the respective warnings for her to stay away from GM Lee and Sung-gyum. Her phone buzzes — she sees that it’s from Hae-young and hits “ignore.”
But it buzzes again, and this time it’s an unknown number, which turns out to be Lee Seon-kyun calling from his radio show, “Pump Up The Volume” (which, ha, is Yoo Inna’s radio program in real life). She’s totally thrilled (and more than a little bit fan-girly) to have been called by one of her favorite actors to give advice on a listener’s story about how to win back a lost love.
Don’t get too excited for a cameo, though — it’s actually Hae-young imitating Lee Seon-kyun, and doing such a brilliant job that she doesn’t catch on and instead immediately launches into an explanation why the guy should let his ex go, since he was the one to leave first.
She thinks that this guy is being too clingy, adding an aside about knowing a guy just like that — which makes Hae-young crack and accidentally drop the Lee Seon-kyun voice. That’s when she realizes who is really calling her, despite Hae-young’s attempt to continue to pretend he’s a celebrity radio host, and she yells at him for his childish prank call before hanging up on him.
Hae-young mopes at the office, and when Soo-ah appears, he listlessly tells her to get out. But she’s worried about him, especially after seeing him be humiliated last night at the club. She’s there to help him get back Sang-hyo, and her grand plan is to seduce Sung-gyum so he’ll break up with Sang-hyo. Pffft.
Detective Kim meets with GM Lee, and in his genial way, gets straight to the point: Was Hwang blackmailing him? GM Lee explains that he and Hwang came from the same hometown, and he was only helping out like a sunbae would for a hoobae.
The detective then asks if Young-mi had sought his “help,” and GM Lee flashes back to a meeting he had with Young-mi where she warned him that if the necklace fell into Sung-gyum’s hands, it would be bad for him, so he should pay up as soon as possible. She’d warned him that if he decided to kill her like he did with Hwang, she had written a letter that would be sent to Sung-gyum upon her death.
But he tells Detective Kim that he’s there to support his employees in their work, not in personal matters, and didn’t “help” Young-mi. After Detective Kim leaves the office, his detective partner calls him, letting him know that Young-mi’s last phone call was to Sung-gyum, and that they spoke numerous times on the phone in the days leading to her death. That means Sung-gyum is still high on the suspect list.
Young-mi’s letter-from-the-dead is delivered to Sung-gyum, and it says that if he wasn’t the one who killed her, then the killer must be GM Lee.
Simon offers to try to once again find the necklace, but Sung-gyum says he’ll look for it himself. He calls Sang-hyo, asking if wouldn’t mind going with him right now to return Young-mi’s things to her home. The fact that the managing director would offer to do such a menial task causes Sang-hyo and the rest of the wedding department staff to think it’s a thinly veiled excuse for a date.
As Sung-gyum prepares to leave the office, Detective Kim stops him for a moment, and bumblingly asks if Sung-gyum and Young-mi had been dating, “or something.” When Sung-gyum politely denies it, the detective wonders why they had spent so much time talking on the phone, then. Sung-gyum goes steely-eyed for a second before reassuring the detective he was just helping out one of his staff who had some concerns about her job.
Sung-gyum carries the box of Young-mi’s items to his car, and is about to open the lid until Sang-hyo rushes up. She’s still focused on her coworker’s suggestions on how to best take advantage of this “work date,” so when Sung-gyum leans over, she thinks he’s going in for a kiss. But instead he’s just reaching around to buckle her in.
Once he realizes why she tried to stop him, he grins and gives her a peck on a cheek. Which gets her even more flustered and she ends up accidentally hitting the lever to put her seat back, which makes Sung-gyum jokingly ask if she’s trying to seduce him. Aw, this “work date” would be super cute if Sung-gyum didn’t seem so suspicious.
In GM Lee’s office, Team Leader Cha reports on Sung-gyum and Sang-hyo leaving together. Ohhhh, it turns out GM Lee got a letter from Young-mi, too: only this one says that if he didn’t kill her, then the killer must be Sung-gyum. Oh, no!
Sung-gyum and Sang-hyo finally arrive at Young-mi mother’s home and he conveniently realizes they forgot to bring any sort of gift for her mother. Using the excuse that he’s tired from driving, he sends Sang-hyo off to buy some fruit at a nearby market. With Sang-hyo not around, he rifles through the items in Young-mi’s box, frantically searching for the necklace.
But Sang-hyo forgot her wallet in the car, and returns to catch him in the middle of dumping out Young-mi’s purse. He explains that he had accidentally dropped the box and the items had fallen out, which Sang-hyo seems to take at his word. But the little side-eye she gives him makes it seem like she’s not completely convinced.
Slimy Manager (remember him?) arrives at the police station, eager to tell the detectives that he knows who killer is. But he’s milking this moment for all it’s worth, much to their annoyance, until he finally whispers that it’s Sung-gyum.
Young-mi’s mother is grateful for Sang-hyo and Sung-gyum’s visit, and invites them to stay for dinner. Sang-hyo politely declines, but Sung-gyum surprises her by immediately accepting, so she goes to help Young-mi’s mother in the kitchen.
This gives Sung-gyum a chance to investigate Young-mi’s room, and he pulls out drawer after drawer, pawing through the contents. But Sang-hyo returns from the kitchen earlier than expected, and she stands in the doorway of Young-mi’s room, bewildered by once again finding Sung-gyum going through Young-mi’s things.
Meanwhile, Detective Kim reminds Slimy Manager that they’ve confirmed Sung-gyum was on his business trip when Young-mi was killed. But Slimy Manager is convinced that it’s a made-up alibi because he saw Simon near The Secret Hotel that night. He thinks it’s suspicious that Simon, who’s Sung-gyum’s right-hand man, didn’t go with his boss to the resort and was instead at the hotel.
The only conclusion he can come up with is that Sung-gyum ordered Simon to kill Young-mi. Which means Simon is technically the murderer, but Sung-gyum is the mastermind. The other detective is thrilled that his pet theory must be right.
Sung-gyum and Sang-hyo drive back to the city in silence.
Outside Sang-hyo’s apartment, Hae-young sits in his car, waiting for Sang-hyo to return from (what he assumes is) her date with Sung-gyum. He considers her “advice to the lovelorn” for his fake radio program, and decides that she’s right — he’s being an idiot. He drives off just as Sung-gyum drives up to drop Sang-hyo off.
Before she enters her apartment, he tells her that he knows he must have seem a bit strange back at Young-mi’s house, and even though he can’t explain why right now, he promises he will tell her everything soon. Until then, he asks her to please wait for him.
Hae-young’s determination to let Sang-hyo go didn’t last very long, because he sits in his car and watches Sung-gyum drive off. He tells himself that he doesn’t care if it makes him seem clingy or cheesy, because when he sees her with another man — he fights back tears, feeling like he’s going to go crazy.
Back home, Hae-young remembers the look of joy on Sang-hyo’s face as Sung-gyum serenaded her, and as he sighs when he realizes that his beer can is empty. But Sang-hyo’s voice makes him sit up, and he sees her sitting next to him, telling him that it’s time for him to give up — the two of them were over seven years ago.
He tries to reassure phantom-Sang-hyo that he won’t hurt her again, but she doesn’t believe him. He promises that he’ll find a way to make her trust him again, but phantom-Sang-hyo questions whether or not they’ll be able to be together again.
In the morning, a groggy Hae-young blearily wakes up to the sound of his phone ringing (and he tries to answer his slipper first, ha!). It’s his mother. Uh-oh. He speeds over to Sang-hyo’s apartment and catches her just as she’s leaving for work. His parents are coming over, and he begs her to come back with him to his place. Sang-hyo doesn’t know what that has to do with her, but he reminds her that even if their wedding was fake to her, it wasn’t to his family.
She tells him that it’s better for him to be honest with them right away, but he pleads with her to play along for just one week until they return to the U.S. But she doesn’t even want to do it for a day, and continues walking. Frantic, Hae-young yells after her: “What if my father dies!”
Sang-hyo stops, but doesn’t turn around. He explains that the only reason he agreed to marry Soo-ah was so his father would finally get heart surgery, which he refused to do until he saw his son get married. She continues walking, and he pleads with her once more, desperation in his voice.
“One week.” She turns around. “Just for one week.” Grateful, he runs over and hugs her tightly.
Oooo, this could be fun. I’d set aside my rom-com hopes for fake!marriage shenanigans once the truth came out last week and it looked like the show was headed in a more serious (and slightly more realistic) direction with Sang-hyo and her two men. But not gonna lie — I’m more than a little happy to know there will be more bickering and forced closeness between these two because I really love their fun chemistry.
This was a pretty heavy episode for Hae-young, and even though it was occasionally annoying dealing with the constant “woe is me” mopey Hae-young, I was really impressed with the way Jin Yi-han totally brought me there with him emotionally. Despite the fact that I know his attempts to get Sang-hyo back are utterly childish and should be scorned, there’s just something about the depth of feeling that Hae-young has buried just beneath his ridiculous antics that make me feel for him.
Although, I did find the beginning of the episode to feel slightly “off” in its pacing, especially with Hae-young’s obsessed fantasy about Sung-gyum staying the night with Sang-hyo. That was a joke that lasted almost ten minutes (yes, I timed it), and it was cute at the first cut when we found out it was just in Hae-young’s mind. But the longer and longer it dragged on, I was like, “Okay, we get already; let’s move on.” Not to mention his near-soliloquy as Hae-young spoke into the camera was slightly off-putting (and for a moment I wondered if I’d accidentally switched to an episode of Discovery of Romance). That isn’t a style the show has used previously, and it felt awkward and misplaced. Even if it was pretty hilarious.
To be fair, I actually teared up a little during the scene on the sofa just at the end, when he was trying to convince phantom-Sang-hyo that he would be able to earn her trust again and prove he’s worthy of her love. Because despite his words, his expressions were that of a man utterly heart-broken, knowing that he has to say “good-bye.” In the hands of a lesser actor, I might be dismissing Hae-young as one of the standard annoying childish leads who believes that pulling a girl’s pigtail is the best way to say “I love you,” but instead I want to root for him to get past his scared acts of bravado and learn how to truly love Sang-hyo. Not like the selfish whirlwind love of his youth, but to learn to love her sincerely, deeply, and yes, even sacrificially.
Honestly, I’m beginning to think that Sang-hyo would be better off without either men in her life, since Hae-young’s antics only seem to drive her crazy, and she now has just cause to be suspicious of Sung-gyum. Not that I truly believe he’s the murder, but even if he’s just investigating his father’s murder, he could at least come up with better explanations than just ‘Trust me now and I’ll explain later.” Sang-hyo deserves that much, especially since their now-public relationship has repercussions for her job (and we all know the importance she places on her career).
I’m still irked that he immediately shut down her attempts to at least try to get him to see how important GM Lee is to her, and why it would be good if they could get along. Sure; GM Lee may be the murderer (of everyone, including Sung-gyum’s father), but Sang-hyo doesn’t know that — all she sees is a father-figure that her boyfriend hates and refuses to try get along with. So even though I finally believe that Sung-gyum truly loves Sang-hyo, I’m still not fully supporting him because there’s a controlling side to him where he demands Sang-hyo believe or trust him, without offering reasons why.
Honestly, if it weren’t for my love of fake!married shenanigans, I’d be wanting Sang-hyo to dump both men and continue to focus on her career. And maybe befriend all other women who’ve had men treat them badly on this show (which seems to be everyone so far). I’m just imagining a Girls Night Out with Sang-hyo, Soo-ah, Eun-joo, and Kyung-hee where they can just be like, “Boyfriends and fiancés and husbands are overrated!” and then drink all the beer (and then Jung-eun shows up to crash the party for no reason, because that’s apparently just what she does).
I do really love the ladies on this show, and I’ve been enjoying seeing them grow from one-dimensional second-leads that existed solely to be a hurdle for the men to pursue Sang-hyo, to awesome women who aren’t afraid to take down a man (I literally cheered when Eun-joo practically twisted Slimy Manager’s arm off). I actually find myself wanting more than just the brief glimpses we get of Eun-joo, Kyung-hee, and, yes, Soo-ah (don’t ask me why I totally love her now, but I do). Especially when it means they get to actually relate to each other and not just the guy (or guys) assigned to them.
That said, I still really love this show and what it’s set out do, this delicate balance of rom-com and mystery and drama. Despite a few pacing issues and my desire to finally get a few steps ahead in the mystery, I really appreciate how the actors have made me fallen for all of our leads, even with all their secrets and childish schemes.