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My Secret Hotel: Episode 14

After a frustrating previous week, this satisfying episode delivers some decisive moments for several characters, both on the mystery front and (mostly) the romance, as well as bringing in, perhaps, the final key figure for the former. It turns out that madcap and nonsensical plans have their uses, and sometimes it only takes small moments to turn accepted truths on their heads, especially in matters of the heart. And if there’s a conversation we’ve all been waiting 13.5 episodes for, it happens — it finally happens and it’s glorious.

EPISODE 14 RECAP

Sang-hyo tells Hae-young she came back to live with him until the rumors about them quiet down. He reminds her she left even after he begged her not to — is she here now “for the hotel’s sake”?

He turns away from her, and shakes off her hand. He repeats her words back to her: “Let’s stop.” She cajoles for one more chance, but sad and resolute, he retreats to his room. Alone, he thinks about what a hard day he had: “I don’t want to get hurt anymore either.”

Sang-hyo can’t bring herself to knock at his door, but after a moment, lets herself in. She wants to talk, but Hae-young says there’s nothing to say. She complains how much courage it took to come back, and he says she should take that courage and leave.

She protests he’s never refused her — except for the day he left. She asks for this as a “last favor” to make up for that time. He won’t look at her, but as she turns to go, he catches her arm.

He asks again if she really came for the hotel’s sake, before dismissing the question himself — instead, he asks for five seconds, and pulls her into his arms. He think to himself that he’ll try one last time, “Even if I cry because of you again.”

Alone in his suite, Sung-gyum thinks back to his earlier conversation with Sang-hyo. When he asked if she was really being shaken up by Hae-young, she replied that she didn’t know. Although she likes Sung-gyum, whenever she’s with Hae-young, she keeps going back to her feelings from seven years ago, no matter what she tells herself. She tells him she needs to find out what her true feelings are. Sung-gyum asks what happens if it’s love. What would happen to him if she chose Hae-young over him?

A knock interrupts his contemplations, and Sung-gyum opens the door to Gi-chul, who has something to tell the director.

Hae-young outlines his conditions for Sang-hyo living there. First and most important: no skinship allowed with Sung-gyum in public or in private. If she wants to keep their happy marriage credible, she also can’t say she’s dating him.

Sang-hyo sulkily agrees but adds that he’d better not touch her either. She decides to use his parents’ room and it’s his turn to be nonplussed. He argues that they’re a married couple but she reminds him it’s a fake marriage. He finally cracks a smile.

Secondly: no working late. When she argues that sometimes she has to, he magnanimously allows it but adds the condition that she has to let him know, extracting another grumpy agreement.

His third condition? “Call me yeobo.” (An endearment for spouse, similar to “honey.”) Hahahaha. Sang-hyo sputters that she wouldn’t call him that even if they were married for real.

He starts to tell her the last condition, but she’s already fallen asleep. Gazing at her face, he says, “I love you, Nam Sang-hyo.” Kneeling down beside her, he drops a soft kiss on her forehead.

Sung-gyum broods on Gi-chul’s information that Team Leader Cha killed Hwang, and that GM Lee is in league with him. When the latter arrives to meet him, Sung-gyum asks what his relationship is to Cha. More specifically, did he order him to kill Hwang and Young-mi?

He shows GM Lee the letter Young-mi sent him, and says he didn’t kill her, so the culprit would have to be GM Lee. This causes the older man to take out his own letter. “If the card is true, one of us is the perpetrator,” he tells Sung-gyum.

A woman makes her way down the hotel hallway. Sang-hyo, passing, asks the stranger if she needs help. The woman introduces herself as Sung-gyum’s mother and asks for his office, and Sang-hyo leads the way.

The two women bump into GM Lee leaving Sung-gyum’s office and it is evident from their surprise and discomfort that the elders know each other, although they don’t let on. Hm. Mom hurries past him to her son’s office, while GM Lee throws a dazed look back at her.

Sung-gyum greets his mother with surprise and warmth, and Sang-hyo goes to get tea. While she’s away, he bashfully tells Mom he has someone he likes. Mom is thrilled, and he promises to introduce her to Sang-hyo. She starts at the name, and checks again if she heard right: Was it Nam Sang-hyo?

Eun-joo pumps Sang-hyo for information — that was Sung-gyum’s mom? She accuses her of trying to steal her mother-in-law, and the outburst takes Sang-hyo aback. But Eun-joo moves on and asks for a hair tie; she wants to make a good first impression.

Eun-joo — now wearing a properly demure dress and with her hair tied back — enters Sung-gyum’s office and welcomes Mom. She’s prepared a room for her and even had her luggage taken up. She notices Sung-gyum’s chuckling and he says it’s because her clothes and everything are so different. She insists she likes this style. Lolol, love her.

Mom asks Eun-joo to escort her to her room. On the way, she asks her if Sang-hyo is close to her son, and Eun-joo, bless her, says not at all — in fact, Sang-hyo is already married.

At Hae-young’s offices, the team present “Project: Sleep Together.” Uhh. Shi-chan complains that their work is disturbed by Hae-young’s mood-changes, which blow depending on how Sang-hyo’s treating him.

To solve his problems, they propose a housewarming party. They’ll engineer a spin-the-bottle drinking game to get her tipsy, then talk their boss up to her, and finish it off with a round of egging them to kiss. If she’s not drunk enough, they’ll stay and occupy the other room so she has to share with him. I don’t know why they think this is a) not morally questionable, or b) will work, but Hae-young is all, “Well if you really want to…”

Sang-hyo gets a call from her hubby, telling her about the evening’s plans and she gets worried. Shi-chan takes the phone to tell her to just order food and hangs up. Disgruntled, Sang-hyo grumbles they can order it themselves.

Everyone arrives together at the newlyweds’ place and Sang-hyo is a little anxious. She bars Hae-young’s entrance, demanding explanation, but he says he couldn’t stop them. When she holds up a fist to him in threat, he — HAHA — counters the “rock” with an open palm, calling “paper.” He grins at his own joke, and also because Sang-hyo just got pwned.

Sung-gyum looks for Sang-hyo in her office and is surprised to find out she’s already left, and hears about the housewarming party she’s having with her husband.

Sung-gyum’s mom, meanwhile, talks to someone on the phone about Sang-hyo: “It’s her, isn’t it?” She says her son can’t be with her, and that she can never accept her: “You know the reason why, General Manager.” Ohhh…

Sung-gyum overhears the tail-end of the call and asks her if she knows GM Lee. Shaken, she replies that she met him a couple of times long ago. It dawns on him that she knows more than she’s telling about his father’s death but despite his plea for information, she continues to insist it was a mere accident, and he should forget about it.

The housewarming plan is underway and the bottle lands neatly on Sang-hyo. She tries to beg off with the excuse she can’t hold her liquor, but the team start chanting — even Hae-young gets into it. She caves… and nominates dark knight Hae-young to drink for her. HA. Thus commences several rounds of the bottle landing on Sang-hyo, and Hae-young throwing back the drinks. Lololol.

The team now move onto “Compliment the Boss” stage, which starts off as planned, but gets derailed when she remarks that it must be tough with a boss like him. “His personality isn’t that great,” she says, and does a spitting-image impression of how he must tear into them at work.

Poor soused Hae-young is so out of it he has no idea what’s going on, and the team weepily drink up sympathy and beer, adoring Sang-hyo for understanding.

Eventually, the boys deposit drunk Hae-young into bed and leave Sang-hyo with him. She awkwardly has to stay in the room to maintain cover, so… the plan was a success?

Only the two of them now, she smiles at his sleeping form and puts a pillow into his arms. He clutches it and murmurs, “Sang-hyo, don’t go.” She sits down at the foot of his bed, and touching his face, she says, “The way you look sleeping… is the same as before.”

The next morning finds them asleep in the same position. Hae-young rouses first, and seeing her face, he echoes her words, “The way you look sleeping… is the same.”

Elsewhere, Sung-gyum’s mom has a sharp phone conversation with someone — GM Lee? — demanding he get Sang-hyo away from her son.

In the GM’s office, Sang-hyo questions why she should need to take time off when she’s already taking care of the rumor situation by living with Hae-young. Lee says that as long as she and Sung-gyum are in the same hotel, the rumors will persist, and so for his sake, she should go.

On her way out, she bumps into Sung-gyum. They sit down and try to catch up, but it’s awkward. She stiltedly tells him that she’s decided to take some leave. He tells her she needn’t stop working, since GM Lee is just trying to separate them. Instead, he’ll stay away from her for the time being.

He asks her to go somewhere with him one last time — he has something to say. She agrees, and GM Lee comes along just then and breaks things up, so she goes on her way.

Lee reminds Sung-gyum that he told him not to shake her up. Sung-gyum acknowledges the GM’s dislike of him, but asks if it isn’t too much to make her take leave. Lee replies that if they’re together, Sang-hyo would end up getting hurt. Sung-gyum contradicts his words and vows he’ll protect her, no matter what.

Back in his office, GM Lee discusses his frustration about the situation with Team Leader Cha, who tells him not to worry — he’ll take care of it. Ominous.

As Cha leaves the office, he crosses paths with Kyung-hee. He asks if she’s okay — the GM is worried about her. She makes to leave, but he catches her wrist and urges her to go to the hospital. Gravely, she asks him to just ignore her, so she can keep working at this hotel.

At the office, Hae-young is distracted by his morning’s memories of Sang-hyo. He puts his work aside and is about to leave when Shi-chan pops in and suggests going for a drink. Hae-young can’t, because he’s got a dinner to make: “Now… I’ll start doing things. The things I wanted to do for Sang-hyo all this time.”

He goes home with a bag full of groceries and calls Sang-hyo to tell her not to eat dinner and come home early — he’ll be waiting. On the other side, we see Sang-hyo’s with Sung-gyum, looking momentarily guilty.

They look at an apartment together, and since she likes it, Sung-gyum says he’ll take it. At her surprise, he jokingly asks if she thought he was asking for them to live together. He then admits his mom wants him to go back to the U.S. but he’s making it clear to her he’s going to stay because of Sang-hyo.

He signs the contract with Sang-hyo beside him, and asks her to dinner with him, promising it won’t take long. From a distance, Cha watches them from his own car, and follows.

Meanwhile, Hae-young concentrates on following a steak recipe on his phone. His efforts at chopping potatoes are clumsy and sincere, and he even gets a burn from hot oil.

Pretty pleased with his efforts, he sets a sweet table, complete with candles and wine. Finished at last, he congratulates himself and thinks that all that’s missing is Sang-hyo.

At the restaurant, Sang-hyo keeps looking at the time. Noticing her restiveness, Sung-gyum lightly suggests that tea could be better than a meal, and she agrees, with notable relief.

Sung-gyum remarks that it feels unfair that Hae-young gets the chance to do his best, while he can’t do anything but wait for her answer. He tells her that he wanted to show her for the last time, how sincere his feelings are for her — but his words are interrupted by Hae-young phoning her.

She doesn’t take the call, and Sung-gyum says that whichever way she’s wavering, he’s not giving up. He asks her to remember that he’ll be waiting, hoping that the three-month divorce rumor turns out to be true.

Outside, he leaves her at a corner while he gets the car. As he goes, Cha watches them, and catches her in his headlights like a rabbit. Sung-gyum looks back, and the car barrels towards her…

Hae-young is tired from waiting and wonders where Sang-hyo is. He tries her phone again, but someone from a hospital answers instead, telling him there’s been a car accident. Frantic, Hae-young knocks over the bottle of wine as he rushes out.

He flies through the hospital, desperately seeking Sang-hyo, who is in the ER. When he finds her, she appears unharmed — and he realizes she’s with Sung-gyum.

Sang-hyo is shocked to see him. Sung-gyum apologizes, but Hae-young interrupts his explanation with sharp words. Sang-hyo tells him that he got hurt saving her from the accident, which makes him turn back to the injured director and offer a formal thanks.

Hae-young tries to leave but Sang-hyo insists on staying. He tells her, “I’m really angry right now, but I won’t leave you.”

Sung-gyum also tells her she should go, since all three of them can’t stay. Sang-hyo leaves first, and Hae-young acknowledges Sung-gyum, expressing the hope that they don’t meet again.

When both of them have left, we finally see that Sung-gyum has been concealing a more serious injury. Aww.

Outside the ER, Hae-young has reached his limit. He asks Sang-hyo how she really feels. He questions whether she can’t trust his feelings because she thinks they’re light and fickle — but what about her? From the moment he met her until now, he tells her, his feelings towards her haven’t changed once.

“But you left,” she says. “You left without a word, did you forget?” Hae-young points out that he asked about her feelings, but she’s still busy blaming him. He asks, “Did I really leave you? It wasn’t you who left?” She didn’t follow with the plane ticket he’d left her, and in his most stricken voice, he says she didn’t wait for him — she didn’t do anything for his sake.

Sang-hyo flashes that she waited but he cuts her off — waiting two days or two weeks isn’t waiting. She didn’t wait until he came back. Angry, she calls him stubborn and accuses him of having had no thought of coming back, but he returns that she shouldn’t be stubborn either.

Worn out, he asks her again to look at her heart, and find out who’s really in it: him, or Sung-gyum?

The doctor stitching up Sung-gyum’s wound rebukes him for hiding it, but the nurse says it must have been because of Sang-hyo — she would’ve been too shocked. A flashback to the accident shows us that Sung-gyum had gotten Sang-hyo out of the way of the car in the nick of time, but landed on a glass bottle.

Finished, Sung-gyum gets gingerly into his car. He thinks of GM Lee’s words that Sang-hyo would end up getting hurt because of him.

At the police station, Detective Lee confirms Simon had an alibi that put him in a nearby teahouse at the time of Young-mi’s death, eliminating him as a suspect. Lee wonders how they’ll find the perp, but Detective Kim says he’s found who it is — now he just needs evidence.

It’s one of the two: GM Lee or Sung-gyum. With their rock-solid alibis (the GM at the wedding and Sung-gyum at the resort), Detective Lee wonders how it could be either. Kim says if Sung-gyum ordered Simon to kill someone, who might GM Lee have ordered?

He notes that to commit murder in a busy hotel, it would have to be someone who knew everyone’s comings and goings, and could manipulate CCTV footage at will. One person fits all those criteria: Cha Dong-min. He sends Detective Lee to find out the relationship between him and GM Lee.

GM Lee, meanwhile, shouts at the guard for his messy method that caused the accident and warns him not to get involved again — he doesn’t want any more trouble. Cha hangs his head but says he’ll take care of any problems.

Sung-gyum’s mom fusses over him — he insists it was nothing but she begs him to go back to the States together. He declines again; for the sake of the woman he loves, he can’t go back.

When Sang-hyo gets back to their apartment, she finds it just as Hae-young left it: dinner ready with candles still burning, and the bottle of wine smashed on the floor. She looks for him, but he’s not home — he’s busy drowning his sorrows in drink. Just as he passes out at a bar, Jung-eun comes and claims him.

Sang-hyo imagines the scene of his receiving the news about the accident and running out fearing the worst. She sits at the table, and seeing all his thoughtful efforts, his sincerity finally comes home to her. She cries, not knowing what to do now.

COMMENTS

THIS is the conversation I’ve been waiting for all this time. They use their words! They spit it out! It’s so messy and painful and angry and hurt, but it’s exactly what they need. They need to fight — to slice open each other’s wounds, and finally cut out the poison.

I’m so glad Hae-young finally didn’t let her off the hook there. I was worried after he let her back in that he would relapse, but he calls her out on taking advantage of his feelings this whole time — including in their past. It’s significant that he knew it, so his anguish is justified when he points out she never did anything for his sake. She got away with it because he let her, but it’s right — because he loves her — that he doesn’t let her.

When he tells her she should’ve waited until he came back, I think it’s a valid protest for him, because it’s all tied up in what he’s made of and how she misjudges him. That’s what cuts him the most — he depended on her to have faith in him, and she didn’t. She keeps assuming she knows what’s in his head, and keeps mistaking him. With this fight, Hae-young finally demands that she look at him and see him, but more importantly, look at herself and read her heart.

While her complaints about him are valid — he shouldn’t have left without a word — it becomes irrelevant, because she should’ve gone after him, if only for her own sake — to get answers, to punch his lights out, something. Her end-problem is passivity, and maybe even a sense of entitlement — she receives love but doesn’t return it in any of the forms the same love demands, whether in faith, service, or sacrifice.

In this episode especially, Sang-hyo is as childish as Hae-young has been. But it’s against the backdrop of her pouting and whining that we see Hae-young really bloom. For someone who’s spent most of the show taking refuge in immaturity, his constancy reveals a strength of character his flashes of gravitas already hinted at. This earnest, faithful man inside the flippant exterior is the reason why I’ve believed in him all along, even through his character lows — that deep pain that always gets me came from here. This is who I felt he could be right from the beginning.

Sang-hyo’s vacillation the last few weeks has bothered me — for better or for worse, she married Hae-young, and it was past time for her to own up to that decision. Even using the hotel’s cause as a front, we all knew the real reason was to address her regrets, so it was churlish and contradictory to agree to the charade but not play along. But what is great about the current reversal is that she now has to earn back Hae-young’s good grace, and working for it will force her to grow, and maybe even gain a new appreciation for him.

Now that she’s owned up to herself (and to Sung-gyum) that she has unfinished feelings she needs to examine, she can stop constantly fighting against herself whenever she’s with him and allow herself to feel whatever she feels. Admittedly, her frequent side-trips with Sung-gyum are confusing and unhelpful, but hopefully with her growing realization about Hae-young’s sincerity, I think we’ve just passed the point where he can compete anymore.

The mystery has picked up, although I think it just got more tangled. We all saw Sung-gyum’s mom coming, and I wonder what her deal is with GM Lee. My unimaginative speculation is an affair, and if we really want to make it makjang, Sang-hyo can be their biological daughter. Or Papa Jo’s. Or maybe the “accident” of Papa Jo’s death is their shared secret… which could make sense, but is boring, and wouldn’t explain the link with Sang-hyo. In any case, I want the reality to be more complicated and subtle than an uncomfortable birth secret and possible incest.

Given the obvious hints in the last two episodes, we’re probably meant to have realized the missing necklace doesn’t belong to a woman, which rules Mom out. The necklace is still both key and catalyst — first found in dead Jo Min-tae’s hand, then disappearing and turning up later to kill Hwang and Young-mi. We can only assume it’s now in the hands of the real killer.

The signs point too obviously to Team Leader Cha for the present murders, but I’m unwilling to believe it’s him — it’s too convenient. He’s too well-placed in that control room to miss anything, so unless he’s covering for someone (Kyung-hee?), he should have enough resources to pin the culprit down himself. Knowing Detective Kim’s modus operandi so far, it’s still possible that Cha is a last feint, to close in on the real culprit.

I haven’t let go of the idea that there are at least two murderers running around (because I like my crimes complex! Give it to me, Show!), so I don’t know how much credit we should give to Detective Kim’s shortlist — whether it’s those two for storytelling convenience, or because there’s a definitive reason to believe it.

Like everyone else, I wonder if it’s Sung-gyum — it would give a nice layer of complexity to his character, especially with how strong his feelings run for Sang-hyo. I was actually moved by his real fear for her in the accident, and his stoicism in hiding his injury. People with relatable feelings are so much more interesting as murderers than psychopaths. But on the opposite note, after his heroics this episode, I don’t want him to be a baddie. I really need Eun-joo to live happily ever after.

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I guess it's nice that the writer has found at lease ONE person who actually likes what they've done to the characters. HY is still an insanely possessive and jealous stalker, who by rights should be locked up, not applauded. His behaviour throughout this episode was as bullying and chauvinistic as it has been for the last 6 or 7, and that greasy smile just comes off as scary when it disappears so quickly to be replaced by abusive and physically controlling rage. If SH weren't such a pathetic character herself, I'd be a lot more upset than I am. Still hoping for a surprise ending in which the cool detective does the Drama a huge favour by killing everyone in the final scene, starting with the writer.

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With you on your thoughts on HY, right down to that "greasy smile". (And yes SH).

Even the dinner/hospital scene. While yes, he had painstakingly prepared that dinner from scratch but hey, someone else is genuinely injured and lying there on a hospital bed because of a scary accident involving someone you supposedly love.

I just don't enjoy HY's reactions in general.

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Jusash- I think that the hospital scene really helped me put my finger (better) on why I just don't appreciate Have Young as the "right" mate for Sang Hyo… It is more than his childishness and selfish actions. This scene kind of showed it. He literally stood right in front of a person that was injured saving the person that he claimed to love and 1.) Did not show that person enough real, genuine respect or appreciation for saving the person that he claims to love 2.) Showed horrible social/societal etiquette by arguing OVER A PAST lover in front of her current partner while that partner was a.) injured to save her life b.) in a HOSPITAL full of otherwise sick and unhealthy people that really just don't need to be burdened with his first-world issues…. and lastly 3.) Did not show any real COMPASSION for another human being that was injured. This last one really got me. Wow.

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Thank you both for reacting to the hospital scene as I did. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who didn't find him cute or romantic when he acted that way.

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Right on!

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I think there was an affair years ago. SH is their daughter, which makes her a half-sister to SG, which automatically eliminates him from the running. That way, she doesn't have to reject him, and she can go back to HY w/o feeling all guilty about hurting SG. The girl seems to need an out.
Why doesn't she make me feel that she is capable of being cut and dry about one of these 2 men? Oh well, I guess if any of us has to pick between Jin YH and Nam GM to marry, we'd be dithering till the cows come home too!

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Ok that's kinda gross. First, SG learning he passionately kissed his half sister not just once and having romantic feelings for her is makjang. Secondly, giving a reason to go back to HY because SH's first choice turns out to be her half brother is worst. If I was HY...I would save some pride and sanity...just leave her to deal with her issues.

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If I was SG, I'd have left her alone many eps ago, to let her deal with her issues and feelings for HY. But then there'd be no drama if chars could actually think straight.

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Yes, there could still be drama if that happened. The writer would just have to be creative and think outside the damn box for once!

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If makjang is the answer of SH's connection to the case, it'll be a big let down. Might as well stop watching it all together. But I'll keep an eye out for the recaps.

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Oh Gods. I was hoping it wouldn't be a Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia outcome. X(

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HY seems to have returned the emotional blackmail with the "when you left me" thing. While your explanations to their characters make sense, it didn't really restore my faith in him, though to be fair I haven't been siding with SY either. Just be over all ready is all I have to say since I can't manage enough care to analyze anymore.

Eun-joo's as awesome as ever and I liked how he was sorta subtly cracking up on the side. I wouldn't mind if the actress and NGM got paired together again that could be fun if she's as awesome as she is here. Though I'm beginning to have a theory that although we like certain actresses and actors and want them to have recognition and a fatter paycheck by being leads, we are most often disappointed because half the time lead characters become...like this.

HY's employees, they are all in junior high, I swear their collective age isn't above 15. And are really promoting him getting her drunk to win her? They saved it with the dark knight joke ahaha. I think they're supposed to be like a second retail team but err no.

Where's Soo-ah been? Did we drop that thread? Were we ever gonna find out what happened with (possibly) dying driver? I liked her ditsy-ness we could have substituted the reporter bits for her.

I'm with you on the murder and motives front it looks like they'll take the easy way out. Sad I had a tiny bit of hope.

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<Though I’m beginning to have a theory that although we like certain actresses and actors and want them to have recognition and a fatter paycheck by being leads, we are most often disappointed because half the time lead characters become…like this.

I wish K-dramas would let go of the iron-clad OTP rule. And the fact that someone always has end up in a couple by the end. Many dramas would be significantly better if the love triangle was a serious conflict (often it's not, it just fills up scenes because it has to be there) or if the more realistic ending came through – which sometimes means you don't get back together with your ex after a gazillion years and profound pain, but you just move on. Sometimes with the love rival, sometimes, with someone else entirely, and sometimes, yes, really, with no one.

For me, there's no reason here at all to cheer for Hae-young (I think he's immature, childish, possessive and creepy, with no respect towards SH's boundaries, and none of the "cute" things he does void that), Sung-gyum is shady and in any case I feel SH's relationship with him is too new and uncertain to proclaim them 'destined'. If they make him the murderer (or her half-brother), I think both those choices would be cop-outs. SH sadly has turned from a strong woman and professional to something else entirely (the whole twist with the fake marriage to save the hotel's reputation is just WTF to me).

Note, I'm just reading the recaps, because the whole fake marriage and HY's antics would just make me rip my hair out if I watched it in real time...

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I'm with you. And especially with this show, as it cries out for an "alternate" solution.

Sang-hyo grabbing her beloved hotel and the two of them rowing into the sunset would be fine with me.

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That is quite a big boat, Jon! lol But, honestly, I am with you. That would be great, wouldn't it?

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Sigh. If it weren't for the fact that it's ending so soon, I'd have given up a long time ago. TEAM EUN-JOO

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WHAT?? Am I reading this right!? Whoa what a mess, thanks writer-nim, well done! EW EW!

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So far I have been in agreement with most of the commenters. Personally, I would rather NEITHER of the male leads end up with SH, unless she and the man that she ended up with were BOTH happy. Meaning, she has JUST AS MUCH RIGHT to be happy and SATISFIED with the relationship as the male that is pursuing her to be in a relationship. Again, (personally) I would rather her keep looking for another mate (*gasp!* there are more men in Korea? The world?! Who could have thunk it?!) than to settle for someone that isn't right for her or treats her with enough respect. Just sayin' writers… Women are smarter in real life (I hope and pray) than having only two options. Another/ or third alternative is to let go and make your own happiness count.

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The writer has two fans at least. I like the characters, but it's largely because I see this writer as drawing inspiration from the screwball comedies of the 30s -- when the SH character would have been played by the late great Jean Arthur and Eun-joo would have been played by the late and even greater Eve Arden.

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Third fan. And Team Eun-joo all the way!

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Ah momma, what would we do without the kettle of fish you opened?

I sort of felt that with her coming, there would be a birth curve in here somewhere. Just what? Dead papa father of SH, by whom? Mom p.o. and did away with him after he bled her love dry, GM Lee? Is SG really the child of mommy dearest and GM Lee, or just who? Still soooo many possibilities here, and a really super short window of time left.

HY can, per me only (?) go and fly his kite somewhere else. Too little too late. SG needs to clean out his dark, or appearing dark corners, or let us in so that we know what is going on. SH needs to really take a NY second and pick a dude that is true and will be in it for the long haul (oh please, oh please SG??). EJ is a good character, but in a way just that, a character and still trying to push her own theme that has been shot down soooo many times before. Now the dogged reporter (name?) coming on the hammered HY, hum opens doors for some one (oh please, oh please!) to take him into the sunset and out of the way???

Dreams are nice, right . . . . . . . .

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The way HY says Sang-hyo melts me, and it's not even my name...

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Yes, I really swoon over the tone Hae Young uses when he calls her name. Even when it was just in her imagination, those two words held so much warmth and depth of feeling when he said them.

I really wondered how she could not have felt in earlier episodes that he might have been sincere. All along, after seeing what he did, and hearing what he said, plus hearing how he said her name, how could she never have considered that Hae Young really cared for her. How could she never have questioned what happened 7 years earlier. (Big hole in plot)

In hindsight, it was not only Hae Young who left, but Sang Hyo as well, or maybe it was only Sang Hyo who actually did the leaving. In fact, because Hae Young always intended to have her with him (when he left her the plane ticket and his NY address) and because he did return to look for her, he cannot be said to have truly left. Another big hole in this plot is why he did not call her from NY or find out that she was in hospital after she collapsed, or have any news about her through mutual friends.

On the subject of Sang Hyo, I re-watched parts of episodes that had her speaking to Hae Young and what I gathered was that she was very consistent in what she said, and I think that the writer wanted to make her actions consistent with her spoken intentions. All along it was her job and the hotel that was the real impetus for her actions with regards to Hae Young. The times when she did something not for herself or the hotel was for Hae Young's father and only on condition that the parents were present. So quite consistently, once the parents were gone or the threat to the hotel was no longer an issue, she returned to the position that she came from ie sans Hae Young. In that sense, I did not feel that she was stringing the guys along.

In the episodes leading up to Ep 14, she acted seemingly without ever believing that Hae Young actually cared for her and without the realization that she was hurting him badly. For me this is the part I find hard to accept. My frustration is not so much that she was indecisive, because in real life people can be selfish and can be like that, but that her character was never given the gradual realization-of-being-loved and growing-to-understand- Hae Young curve which would have impacted her decisions with Sung Gyum.

Now at last when she accepts that Hae Young meant what he said all along, will her actions follow her heart or will her heart be irritatingly consistent in going back to the hotel?

Her struggles are shown as merely selfish ie only between what she felt for Hae Young and taking the easier route by starting fresh with Sung Gyum, when what I was hoping for was a struggle between taking the risk with Hae Young and hurting Sung Gyum.

Her character was never given any more depth in caring for others, until Hae Young's father's health was made (deceptively) an issue. It's a pity her character was kept so shallow and with 2 episodes to go there's...

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... not much chance of growth.

I still hope to see the follow-up to Sang Hyo's crossed fingers during the fake wedding - from 'hope the ruse worked' to 'hope she does not succumb to Hae Young's charms' to 'hope that the marraige becomes real'.

Yes, I'd still like to see the sincere but immature love of Hae Young and Sang Hyo blossom ultimately.

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Another horrible case of a show that started off so well and ended up being a huge mess. It upsets me because I really thought this could be good with leads that have such explosive chemistry. Oh well...

Saya, whenever I read your comments, I feel like its all out and I have nothing left to say, then I end up saying even more LOL. I think the hospital scene needed to happen forever ago. When they got married and Sang-hyo claimed it was for the hotel, or when they were in their honeymoon, or when she stayed with him for his parents - they should've talked about what it was that made them such a failure in the past. Even if she didn't want to get back with him, they needed to properly communicate and hopefully not make the same mistakes with whoever they'll end up with.

Instead, Sang-hyo ran away from any confrontation. Even when Hae-young tried, she constantly changed topics or walked away. She was never ready to face the idea that maybe she was also at fault, maybe she was also a part of the reason why they are what they are today. Maybe its her fear that those seven years could've been avoided had she done something, but I'm glad Hae-young threw it at her face finally. That she is as much at fault as he was. That if only she tried, if she waited or went after him or even called him to ask for an explanation - then maybe she'd be living a happier life today.

Of course he was wrong. He shouldn't have done what he did, and he's admitted that - to himself, to her and to his friends. But since then, he's tried to make it right and she hasn't. If she didn't want to make it right, she could've told him straight up. Instead, she had both the guys dangle around her until she decides to face her feelings. It has gotten to a point where I find her way more immature, thoughtless and selfish than Hae-young can be.

Sang-hyo is such a huge disappointment from someone who was very sure about herself to someone who got so self-absorbed. She's stung along Hae-young and Sung-gyum when both the guys deserved for her to pick one and completely dismiss the other. If she wanted closure and her idea of that isn't proper communication, then she should've cut ties with Hae-young completely. Not got married to him in the name of saving the Hotel when it was obviously more; not staying with him because of his parents and definitely repeating that act again because of the Hotel. She knows he wants her back, that's like playing with his heart and Sung-gyum's as well - simultaneously. She's one of the worse female leads I've seen in a while...

I want to drop this so much, but there's only 2 episodes left and I'm curious how they'll wrap it up - if they even can. In any case, it had the potential to be good, instead it turned out to be utter crap.

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This is a good story that ended when the original writer passed away. After the first four episodes the entire character of Sang Hyo changes, from a self confident woman to an immature girl that acts naively (which is cute at first but has now become her excuse for the viewers to like her). She has strung Sung gyum in the worst possible way, he asked her if she really wanted to end it with Hae-young and she kept saying yes but her actions differ from what she is saying. She also takes advantage of Hae-Young feelings for her hotel. At this point I really want Sung gyum to be the killer to add depth in his character and for him to not fall in the "pathetic second lead who will not get the girl" role.

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But if Sung gyum is the killer, then Sang Hyo ends up with Hae Young... because Sung gyum is the killer.

It just defaults to Hae Young for no/little effort (since kdramas can't not have a couple)... which sucks. I can't cheer for a Sang Hyo + Hae Young just because Sung gyum is the killer (if he is). I don't know, I want better reasons for a couple to be together, and this show isn't giving any! Hae young hasn't done anything to compel me that he isn't just selfish/immature/possessive/creepy. (Same Sang Hyo's part. Not seeing "love" from her for either guy. Just wishy-washyness)

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I agree with the wishy-washyness part, but ...

Why can't Sang-hyo end up with Sung-gyum just because he was the killer? Killers have a right to be loved too, don't they?

Do you remember "It's okay, that's love", where the psychotic murderer ended up with the female lead?

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There's no kdrama that's going to allow the female lead to end up with a cold-blooded killer. They like their perfect happy endings, which cold-blooded killers don't fit into.

Huh? The psychotic murderer ended up with the female lead in "It's Okay, That's Love"? Not in the version I saw.

The male lead I saw was a minor that stabbed someone out of self-defense after years of abuse. The stabbed person did not die because of the stab wound, but because of a fire set by the the minor's mother.

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Well, technically, Jae-yeol committed grievous bodily harm in concomitance with denial of assistance with lethal consequence, and as a result developed an alleged schizophrenic psychosis. But the term "psychotic murderer" has that certain ring to it ..

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So you are calling him a psychotic murderer because it has a certain ring to it???

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That, and because he is close enough to count.

He picked up the knife with the intention to use it against his abusive step-father. That's the "willful and predetermined, with malice preparation" part of first degree murder. He didn't commit the act per se, but when he stabbed his step-father "by accident", he acted grossly negligent, mortally wounded his victim and abandoned him, left him to die. He would have died even if his mother didn't set the house on fire, he is, at least theoretically, a murderer this way. Of course, that doesn't make him a bad person.

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I agree that this was an compelling drama with leads that had explosive chemistry until the original writer had passed away. It started off with intriguing characters with depth and personality. Sang Hyo was confident and determined to make her way to the top on her own. Hae Young was stern and competent boss who seemed to have a minor quirk of straitening picture frames. Somehow all of that went down the drain and it seemed like the writer who took over had no idea what the original writer had imagined these characters to be and no idea where the storyline was suppose to go. Its really a shame because this drama had so much potential and the actors are doing a splendid job bringing the characters to life even as their personalities are doing a complete 180 of what we started with.

I have been waiting for Hae Young to take a stand 5 episodes ago and each time he does the writer just deflates everything that was built up to the moment in less than 5 min by having him accept Sang Hyo back for whatever reason. And don't get me started on the major plot holes in the logic of the storyline. The only reasons why I am continuing this drama is because Jin Yi Han is blowing my socks off with his heartfelt performance (I love the way he plays sleepy Hae Young, its exactly how I feel when I have to wake up) and because Eun Joo is probably the best second female lead ever! I would love to have a bestie like her!

I feel so sorry for the original writer who had her last work basically go down in flames and wished they would have found another more seasoned writer or one that shared the same sentiments as her in her love of the characters (I swear this new one hates all of her leads) to take over the drama. I hope this final week coming up will wrap up at least somewhat satisfactorily instead of leaving more questions and a bitter taste in the mouth.

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Yes, yes and yes to everything. I think the first 4 episodes were fantastic because everyone had a personality. I didn't like Sung-gyum even back then but I found him interesting enough and Sang-hyo and Hae-young were worthy leads that had a believable life of being in love, breaking up, creating a career for themselves and somehow running into each other with so much unresolved feelings. Now it feels as though the writer just decided it was romance vs hotel - love vs. career - which it really was not. It doesn't have to be a choice in this particular situation and yet it feels forced down our throats without a legitimate reason other that he/she has no other ideas. It really took away everything endearing about all the characters and made them look like children playing house - horribly.

I have lots of opinions, but I think this drama isn't even worth the effort. Its been such a disappointment and while it may not be intentional on the new writer's side, it feels as though the real writer would've been so upset at what this became. I'm also here for Jin Yi-han who's really killing the role like he did in Empress Ki. Sometimes, I stick around against better judgement because I love an actor or the chemistry between leads. I'm here for both but its been pretty exhausting.

I'm perplexed TvN didn't cut this down after its dismal ratings and lack of hype - I wish they did. It would've helped the drama so much to have this be only 12 episodes long.

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Thanks for the recap Saya.

Both Discovery of Romance and My Secret Hotel are TVN dramas that feature a love triangle (1 female & 2 males) with the male lead as a small business owner with staff that answer directly to him. Even so, their mindset, the work ethics of the male leads, the general mood at their offices, and the productivity of their employees is such a stark contrast when comparing the two shows with each other.

DOR --> Kang Ta-Ha inherited the family business. Tae-Ha owns a construction firm. The show makes a point of showing him at work focused and thinking about his projects regardless of whether he is getting along with Han Yeo-reum or not. He's firm and demanding when dealing with his staff and business partners/collaborators.

MSH --> Goo Hae-Young is from a Chaebol family and wanted to be self-reliant and go into business for himself. Hae-Young owns an architectural firm. However, the majority of his time has been spent daydreaming about Sang-Hyo. And playing hooky or lollygagging around instead of actually working is what his staff spends most of their time doing.

Still with the way Hae-Young manages his business, it makes you wonder how do they stay affloat?

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My two cents to the story is that SY is the illegitimate daughter of Papa Jo as she is the daughter of Papa Jo with his mistress....Kyung hee. But she is not the long lost half sister of Sunggyum because Papa Jo is not SG's real father but rather GM Lee. GM Lee and SG mom had an affair and Papa Jo learned about it. He died when he confronted the two. Kyung hee learned she is pregnant after Papa Jo's death. She asked GM Lee for help and GM Lee had made arrangements for SY to be adopted abroad. That's why is always on SY side due to his guilt but then, if his secret will be revealed to his son, then he is willing to let go of that guilt. I believe he is not the murderer but the mastermind on Hwang and Young Mi murder thru his lackney, security Cha. Yes, I do believe Sec Cha is the one doing the dirty work thinking he is protecting Kyung hee's secret.

And why GM Lee doing this, he does not want to reveal his own secret and he wanted to protect the woman he loved, SG's mother. And yes, I believe SG's mother is the real murderer of Papa Jo.

Now, that is the real makjang storyline.

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But why would GM Lee be so antagonistic towards his own son?

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I've never seen a show go downhill like this (or, well, I recently saw Temptation so maybe I should have an even higher bar for 'downhill'), and I'm not even sure what to think. But honestly, I find it very hard to root for HY in any manner or form. I was all for him in the beginning because I love the actor, but his character seriously creeps me out now-- especially because all the bullying and abuse seem to be covered and ignored because of the cutesy antics and because we're supposed to justify oh but he loves her so much.

The fact that HY in no manner respected SH's personal or emotional boundaries and constantly imposed himself on her when she made it explicitly clear that she didn't want to be involved, means that I find it very hard to support this couple even when she herself is leaning towards him now, because I feel like that's a cop out by the show. Getting into bed with her when she's sleeping, because he knows she won't allow him to do it when she's awake, when she's said she doesn't want him there, is outrageous. Making plans to get her drunk so she gives in, sexually or otherwise, is even beyond that. And no amount of cuteness or his being madly in love with her is going to mitigate that, it comes across as maddeningly childish, and immature, and often crossing dangerous territories.

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In the same context, what I found most interesting and different about SG was that, unlike most male second leads, he asked SH about her feelings. Usually male second leads act as entitled as the male leads and believe that they have the power to "let" or "not let" the female lead be with the male lead or at the very least they "give up" by the end, but here SG did not attempt to guess at or presume SH's feelings, but asked her- not once, but thrice, and then proceeded with the relationship or his actions on those grounds. That made me like him. That, in this episode, he hid his injury because he did not want to make SH feel obligated towards him, because his injury was, after all, not her fault, made me like him even more. By now, I am definitely rooting for him.

And I don't understand the outrage over SH coming back to HY for the "hotel's sake" (regardless of whether she actually did or not) and "playing with HY's feelings", because he too made her stay with him on the ground of his father's illness when she didn't want to. They both SAID they married for a specific reason, so if he can exploit that (and this was a fake count; he called his parents himself), I don't understand why she should get hated on for doing the same re: the hotel, which, after all, was her stated reason. Also, I just can't get into the whole 'sincerity of his feelings' shtick re: HY. I don't think SH was obliged to wait till he came back or to follow him. And since she wasn't the one who came back wanting to be together, I think that is a moot point anyway. Besides the idea of "sincerity" in a three month marriage, based on love at first sight (as opposed to any real understanding etc.) after SEVEN YEARS, is a bit much for me. I just watched Discovery of Romance and could understand the pull of a five year long relationship after five years, but my imagination just cannot stretch as far as three months over seven years.

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<I don’t think SH was obliged to wait till he came back or to follow him.

I don't think so either.

I totally don't get that line of argument, that she should have waited... how long? Two months? Two years? Two decades? The rest of her life? If you leave without saying a word, waiting two weeks is long enough.

She should have gone after him? Well, she could have, but she's certainly not obliged. If someone pulls a stunt (which is at best weird, and at worst passive-aggressive and controlling) like that, I can't blame Sang-hyo for not following. I wish she would have just moved on, but of course now they are making her long for him since the OTP must end up together.

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Can't say I am rooting for either guy but SG would get more of my vote if it came down to that because yes:
SG actually listens to SH and respects her boundaries. He actually problem solves, is considerate and thinks, unlike the one track ME and me only, immature self-centredness that is HY.

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You know watching Hae-young's employees throughout the show I say, no wonder he had to leave to save the company 7 years ago they don't do a thing if he's not there, especially Shi-chan.

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Despite all of this, i think Jin Yi-Han seems to be having fun with the role. He looks like he's making the best of it and he's enjoying himself. Well let's hope the ending is satisfactory.

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We know that Sung gyum's father used to beat his mother. Depending on how old he is now, is it possible that Sung Gyum killed his father by pushing him away from his mother (remember he fell from the second floor while drunk) and doesn't remember? That may be why his mother want's him to drop it and go back to America with her.

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