Hotel del Luna: Episode 3
Curiosity can be a dangerous thing and despite his urge to run away, our hero keeps finding himself wanting to know more about Hotel del Luna and it’s ethereal mistress. Each new discovery sparks more questions and if he’s not careful, Chan-sung may discover more than he’d bargained for.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Staring up at the ancient tree in the hotel, Man-wol thinks back to Chan-sung’s question as to whether or not she’s alive and laments that she’s just stuck. A flashback takes her back to her life before the hotel as she sits atop a cliff overlooking a convoy below. She nods to one of her companions, whose name is YEON-WOO (Lee Tae-sun), and he leads an attack on the party.
Man-wol remains on the cliff and watches as Yeon-woo is disarmed by the head guard, who’s name we’ll learn is GO CHUNG-MYUNG (Lee Do-hyun). She draws her bow and fires at Chung-myung, who senses it in time to knock the arrow away. The two stare at each other for a charged moment and then Man-wol whistles for her team to withdraw. Chung-myung gives chase and manages to catch up with Man-wol, tackling her from her horse.
He’s stunned to discover that the ringleader is actually a beautiful woman giving Man-wol the opportunity to knock him out. She takes him prisoner, but Chung-myung doesn’t seem particularly bothered as he rides behind her all tied up. He asks her to release him on the grounds they hail from the same homeland, but Man-wol doesn’t take kindly to his familiar speech and kicks him to the ground.
Chung-myung warns her he’s a lowly foot soldier and won’t fetch a ransom, but Man-wol smirks that the noble woman in the carriage had seem more concerned about his safety than her stolen possessions. He cheekily suggests that he can persuade the noble woman better if Man-wol unties him. Man-wol wonders if cutting out his tongue will lower his price.
Something spooks Man-wol’s horse but when she starts to chase after it, she finds herself caught in quicksand. Chung-myung wanders over to the pit and Man-wol throws out her scarf, shouting for him to pull her out. He suggests she throw her sword instead, pointing out he’s still bound and calmly warning her not to struggle since it’ll only make her sink faster.
Out of options, Man-wol throws her sword and Chung-myung cuts his ropes. Man-wol throws out her hand for help and cries out as Chung-myung saunters away. She frantically tries to fight her way out, sinking ever deeper… and then Chung-myung reappears with a rope he’d tied to the horse. Once out, Chung-myung holds Man-wol’s sword to her neck and declares her his prisoner now.
Chung-myung further reveals that the woman he’d been escorting was a princess and he’s actually the captain of her guards. Man-wol stares up at him with angry tears but he suddenly crumples to the ground as a rock smacks him in the head. Looking up, Man-wol smiles to see Yeon-woo grinning back at her.
In the present, Man-wol’s reverie is interrupted by Mago, the deity that left Man-wol in charge of the hotel. Mago wonders aloud whether Man-wol is looking at this moon… or the one from long ago. Man-wol quips that they’re all the same and Mago coos that the flowers around the ancient tree are beautiful — indicating Man-wol has done well as the hotel’s proprietress.
Mago tuts that she noticed Manager Noh had passed on and Man-wol wonders when it’ll be her turn. Mago chides that Man-wol isn’t dead yet, rather her life force is tied to the tree and the flow of life and death has stopped for her. Man-wol demands when Mago will release her, but Mago says Man-wol is keeping herself chained.
Indicating the tree, Mago says that it’ll blossom once more and time will return to them, suggesting Man-wol leave something pretty behind. Man-wol snaps that she has no such thing and Mago watches sadly as she sashays out of the room. Turning back to the tree, Mago makes a branch bloom which she then places on Chan-sung’s chest (as he’s sleeping in Man-wol’s office after his run in with the vengeful spirit).
In his dreams, Chan-sung sees Man-wol from her life before, smiling brightly as Chung-myung and Yeon-woo run towards her with drinks. She holds out her hand and Chan-sung wakes up… the flower has vanished. We pick up in the hotel lobby, and Chan-sung stares up at Man-wol with new eyes.
Chan-sung thanks Man-wol for saving him and she says if he’d been wearing his ugly brown shoes, she wouldn’t have. She reasons that he wore the shoes she’d picked because he was waiting for her, citing his text message about the tiger as proof he was thinking of her. Chan-sung worries Man-wol cast a spell on him and she snorts when he admits he’d dreamed of her.
Looking at her now, however, Chan-sung can’t imagine she’s the same girl that smiled sweetly in his dreams and dismisses the idea. Man-wol assumes it was a dirty dream and ignores Chan-sung’s protests. He wonders how she brought him to the hotel and a flashback reveals she’d called the bellhop, Hyun-joong to possess him and walk back to the hotel. Hee.
Man-wol gives Chan-sung a tour of the hotel and reveals that while the hotel exists in the real world (and pays real taxes) its presence is vague so that it’s only noticeable in bad weather or to people with a strong sixth sense. She adds that there are some people that search out the hotel and they have a special room for humans that insist on staying.
Standing in front of the room, Man-wol ominously says those that check in, don’t check back out. She dares Chan-sung to enter and he reaches towards the door… but is only too happy to move on when she suggests there are other things to see. Man-wol leads him to the pool area and Chan-sung gapes at the ocean stretched out before him.
Man-wol simply explains that time and space are different in the hotel. As they stand on the roof, she adds that nothing in the hotel exists in the real world, no matter how beautiful. Chan-sung questions whether the same applies to her and with a sad smirk, Man-wol admits that it does. He pokes her shoulder, but it’s solid and he quickly changes subjects to ask if he’d still die if he fell from the balcony.
Grabbing his arm, Man-wol warns him to be careful since he’s still alive. She puts her hand on his chest and feels his heartbeat, adding that he needs to live and serve her. Chan-sung asks if she’ll push him over should he refuse, but Man-wol just takes her hand away. Chan-sung says he requires good benefits and declares he’ll choose his own shoes.
He admits there’s no point running anymore and thinks it might be fun.”I want to know more,” he concludes, “about you and this hotel.” As they stare at each other, neither sees a shooting star streak across the sky. Man-wol smiles and says she wasn’t going to release him, anyway, as he’d caught her fancy.
As she saunters back inside, Chan-sung is rooted to the spot as he realizes it really was Man-wol in his dream. He turns back and nearly jumps out of his skin as a ghost asks for a coffee refill. Hee. Meanwhile, a schoolgirl falls from an overpass onto a passing vehicle. Her fingers twitch as her classmate, Kim Yoo-na, looks down from the overpass.
The couple in the car call in the accident and Yoo-na runs home as the other girl’s eyes shut. By the time the ambulance arrives, it’s too late. Yoo-na lies in bed, frowning at a silver dream-catcher necklace. A drop of blood falls on her cheek and she looks up to see the ghost of her classmate hovering on her ceiling.
The spirit falls onto her and Yoo-na rolls onto the floor… only to look back and see herself lying on the bed. Her body sits up and Yoo-na looks down to see she’s now translucent. The ghost in her body holds up the necklace and announces, “This is mine.”
Back at the hotel, Man-wol announces to her team that Chan-sung is the new manager. Guest manager Seo-hee and Bartender Kim are dubious and suggest Man-wol wait and choose one of the other two candidates she’d selected as Manager Noh’s replacement. Man-wol grips her champagne glass angrily and snaps that the first candidate ran off to catch a ghost.
A flashback reveals the first candidate to be a priest, (cameo by Lee Jun-ki!!!). Man-wol had watched impatiently as the priest attempted to exorcise a spirit from a man tied to a bed. She’d attempted to interrupt but the priest had shouted at her to leave him to his work and she’d declared him too scary. Heh.
Man-wol grumbles that she’d given him the ability to see ghosts and he’d run off to chase them all down. Hyun-joong asks about the other candidate, an astronaut (cameo by Lee Shi-un) who refused to go back to earth with Man-wol. Seo-hee says Manager Noh cleared out his office for Chan-sung and the three are obviously disappointed by Man-wol’s lack of emotion.
Once they’re dismissed, however Man-wol stares sadly at her wall of photos and firmly declares that Manager Noh was only the 48th human that worked there… and Chan-sung will only be the 49th.
Chan-sung checks out his office and smiles at his nameplate. He wonders why he caved so quickly, noting it’s unlike him, and flashes back to the roof when Man-wol had put her hand over his heart. The other three employees drop by to greet him and Chan-sung learns that Bartender Kim has been here the longest, having died 500 years ago right after taking the civil servant exam.
Guest manager Seo-hee declares she had been the eldest daughter-in-law of a prestigious family 200 years ago, but they’d murdered her. She’s now waiting for the last member of that family to die. Hyun-joong cheerfully announces he died in the Korean War and he’s just waiting to pass on with his sister, who’s still alive.
Bartender Kim explains that they all came as guests and extended their stay by working. Chan-sung asks if Man-wol was the same, but Bartender Kim says she’s just serving out her punishment. Chan-sung asks what he means and Hyun-joong starts to mention the tree, but Seo-hee cuts in that they can’t leave their posts unattended any longer.
They take their leave, but Chan-sung asks Seo-hee where the garden is, since Man-wol didn’t show him. She says it’s unnecessary and he rightfully guesses there’s a connection between Man-wol and the tree. Seo-hee asks how long Chan-sung plans to stay and when he replies as little as possible, she warns him not to get curious, then. Seo-hee adds that she and the other men will handle the guests, Chan-sung’s job is to deal with humans.
The next morning, Chan-sung’s housemate asks if he’s leaving for work, but Chan-sung replies he just got home, adding that he’s changed jobs. In his room, Chan-sung reminds himself that this is the real world and not to get confused. His finds a petal in his suit pocket and it disappears in his hand.
Back in the past, Man-wol sits around a fire with her thieving companion, Yeon-woo , and royal guard, Chung-myung. She passes Chung-myung a bottle and he notices a symbol on the side: a circle with a slash through it. Man-wol explains it’s the moon, to show it belongs to her. Chung-myung suddenly grabs her hand and after dipping it in water, shows her how to write her name.
Chan-sung wakes up from the dream and sees his phone ringing with a call from del Luna. Man-wol snaps at him for picking up late and says she has his first job. Chan-sung bolts up when she declares she wants to sell the painting of Moung Baekdu.
At the hotel, Chan-sung demands what will happen to the tiger if she sells the painting, but Man-wol assures him the tiger already left. Chan-sung accuses her of just wanting the painting and not caring about the tiger, but Man-wol argues that she does care… which is why she’s wearing cheetah print tights. Hee.
She offers to get Chan-sung a matching suit if he sells the painting for a good price. He’s not interested and Man-wol whines that he likes tacky brown things, adding that she bought a new brown car just for him. Chan-sung is stunned but Man-wol just tells him to sell the painting today so they can go pick up the car.
Yoo-na stands at the overpass, but it’s actually her body with her classmate’s ghost still inside. Yoo-na’s spirit stands nearby, screaming at the girl to return her body. Chan-sung drives past on his way to the gallery and his eyes lock with Yoo-na’s spirit. He swerves when she reappears in the street in front of him and looks up to find her in the passenger seat, pointing towards her body as it walks away.
Chan-sung brings her to the hotel and Man-wol gripes that she sent him to sell a painting, not bring a troublesome spirit. Man-wol confirms that he saw Yoo-na’s body walk away and says he brought a living spirit who’s body was stolen by another ghost. Meanwhile, the spirit in Yoo-na’s body cries over the memorial on her desk while Yoo-na’s friends mock her for acting remorseful when she bullied the dead girl the most.
Man-wol has Chan-sung bring her to Yoo-na’s house and she smiles wickedly at how rich the family is. Chan-sung asks if she plans to extort them and Man-wol nods towards the car outside, saying that’s the brown car she was going to buy. She tells Chan-sung that the spirit resides in the necklace Yoo-na was holding and they just need to get that.
Chan-sung wonders why this happened if the girls were friends, but Man-wol waves it off as unimportant. The spirit arrives and immediately bolts so Chan-sung gives chase. He manages to stop her just before she jumps off the overpass, and demands why she’s trying to kill her friend. The girl cries that they aren’t friends… Yoo-na killed her.
The girl’s name is JANG SOO-JUNG (Kang Mina) and a flashback to that night shows Yoo-na had ripped the necklace away from her, chiding that she lives on welfare but spent money on the necklace. Yoo-na had called her a waste of tax money and held the necklace over the railing, daring Soo-jung to snatch it back if she could.
The girls had grappled and Soo-jung accidentally hit Yoo-na. Enraged, Yoo-na had rushed her and over the railing Soo-jung went. Meanwhile, Yoo-na shows the necklace to Man-wol and assures her that her parents will do anything so Man-wol just needs to get her body back.
Man-wol sits down with Yoo-na’s parents and calmly tells them Yoo-na’s classmate that committed suicide… was actually murdered by Yoo-na. Holding up the necklace, Man-wol declares it to be evidence. Yoo-na’s father asks what she wants and Man-wol smiles that she wants a reward.
Soo-jung cries at Chan-sung that she’d wanted to live and she can’t allow Yoo-na to return to her body like nothing happened. Chan-sung’s grip on her wrist loosens for just a moment but then he tells her to wait for him to get the necklace, and then she can just live in Yoo-na’s body.
He turns to find Man-wol waiting and screams at her to give him the necklace because it’s all too unfair. Man-wol coolly replies she already handed the necklace over and we see that she’d given the parents two options: either hand the necklace over to the authorities and apologize to the dead girl’s spirit, or destroy the necklace and sweep it under the rug.
Yoo-na’s father promised to pay any price for the necklace to be handed over quietly and Man-wol grinned that they’ll have to pay a big price. As they walked out, Man-wol assured Yoo-na everything would return to normal… however Soo-jung’s grudge was deep and burning the necklace will forever destroy Yoo-na’s chance to ask for forgiveness.
Yoo-na says it doesn’t matter but Man-wol corrects that it does because once the necklace is gone, Yoo-na will never regain her body and her spirit will die without anyone noticing. She races back inside to stop her parents as they toss the necklace on the fire and agree that the other girl is already dead so Yoo-na should live well like nothing happened.
They wonder what Man-wol meant when she’d warned them their decision would kill their daughter’s soul just as Yoo-na’s spirit runs up and cries at them to pull the necklace out. As the necklace burns, so does Yoo-na’s soul and she vanishes in ash. Meanwhile, Man-wol tells Soo-jung to live out her life in Yoo-na’s body.
Afterwards, Man-wol gloats over her shiny new gold bars while Chan-sung admits he feels bad for Yoo-na. Man-wol quips that she’s just getting what she deserves and Chan-sung recalls Bartender Kim’s comment that Man-wol is serving her punishment. He asks if that’s true and Man-wol simply replies that she is. “Someone told me that I’m arrogant and foolish,” she adds, “Although I don’t agree with it.”
She wonders if Chan-sung is looking down on her, but he clarifies that sometimes he just sympathizes. The moment is ruined, however, when Man-wol receives a text from the car dealership that her reservation was canceled. Chan-sung winces as she calls and snaps at the sales assistant on the other end to put her through to someone in charge.
That evening Hyun-joong leads Chan-sung through the wine cellar to fetch champagne since Man-wol is in a bad mood. Hyun-joong lets slip that Chan-sung was actually third in line for the position and Chan-sung gripes that he wasn’t even the first choice for the job. Hyun-joon hands Chan-sung a box of Man-wol’s champagne and the symbol seared into the lid is the same from his dream.
He finds Seo-hee in Man-wol’s office and tries to ask her about Man-wol’s life before, but Seo-hee repeats that he shouldn’t be curious if he plans to leave quickly. Chan-sung peruses Man-wol’s photo wall and his eyes land on a drawing of the tree. He sets out to find it and does, musing that it has no leaves.
Man-wol finds him there and confirms that it’s the same tree his father touched and why Chan-sung is paying back that debt now. Miffed, Chan-sung barks that he’d heard he was third in line for the job, wondering why she’d said he’d caught her fancy and made him believe it had to be him. Man-wol blinks back that there were other candidates, but he’s not in third place… but zero.
She repeats that he did catch her fancy and it had to be him. Man-wol asks if he’d like to drink with her as a reward for selling the painting and Chan-sung asks if the tiger saw what he wanted in the painting. Man-wol guesses that he left because he did, musing that he was able to return to the past like a dream.
Chan-sung guesses Man-wol has things from her past she misses and admits he saw some of it in a dream. He tells her about seeing her smile under a tree and someone offering to build her a house, and then drinking around the fire and learning how to write her name.
Man-wol stares in disbelief and Chan-sung guesses that the man he saw is the one Man-wol misses and has been waiting for all these years. Memories flash by of Man-wol waiting outside the hotel over the years. She demands why Chan-sung saw such things and he admits he doesn’t know and is afraid there will be a price.
However, ever since he started seeing her, Chan-sung has been thinking of her a lot. “Jang Man-wol, you are consuming all my nights and dreams.”
The more we delve into this magical world, the more enamored I become. IU is absolutely killing it in this role and I’m ashamed that I ever doubted her. Man-wol has my favorite kind of chaotic energy because she’s a total badass with her own set of rules, but she’s not heartless (not to mention her entire aesthetic). I love how she handled this episode’s ghost issue because she gave the parents and Yoo-na a choice to do the right thing and they took the easy path, not realizing it had greater consequences. She reminds me of genie legends where they grant your wish… but on their own terms. I am completely fascinated by her and the peeks into her past are so compelling that I find myself just as interested in her past love line as I am with her present… although I suspect they’re actually one and the same.
Speaking of, I’m amazed at how quickly we’ve reached a confession. At this stage, it’s not a love confession, but Chan-sung is admitting Man-wol has an effect on him and it’s so refreshing when characters communicate their feelings! Man-wol is very forward about all emotions except caring, because while she certainly does care for the people around her, living for a thousand years while everyone else passes on wears on the soul. She didn’t seem very good at expressing affection prior to her punishment and it seems to have only gotten worse over the years as everyone she’s cared about has left her behind.
I’m curious what Mago meant when she said Man-wol is keeping herself tied down. My guess is that Man-wol has already atoned for her sins… but she still hasn’t forgiven herself for whatever happened all those years ago, so she just keeps waiting. So far I love everything about this show and it reminds me why I loved the Hong Sisters in the first place. I’m afraid to say more for fear of jinxing it, but I have high hopes going forward and can’t wait to see what fate awaits our leads. All I know is it better be a good one because after centuries of hurting, I think our girl deserves it and I’ll fight anyone that says otherwise.
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