Hotel del Luna: Episode 4
Our hotelier and his new employer still can’t seem to get on the same page. As soon as he starts to see that working at Hotel del Luna offers some pretty unique perks, she decides she no longer wants him around. He’s threatening the status quo, and although Man-wol claims to be weary of this life, the thought of change can still be more terrifying than any ghost.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Chan-sung tells Man-wol that he saw her in a dream, saying mean things to someone who said they’d build her a house, but that she’d looked happy. He asks if the man who taught her to write her name is the person she misses during her long stay at the hotel, but Man-wol just asks darkly why he’s seeing these things.
He days he doesn’t know, but he guesses there’s something she’s failed to learn, and wonders whether he’s here to help Man-wol figure it out. He turns to the ancient tree and touches a branch, and the instant he does, it begins to sprout leaves.
It reminds Man-wol of Mago saying that the flow of life and death has stopped for her, but when the tree grows leaves and flowers, time will begin flowing for her again. She tells Chan-sung with awe that he might be a lot more special than she expected.
As Mago leaves Hotel del Luna, she comes across Reaper attempting to take the soul of an old man who refuses to go because his dog has been trapped in his home with his dead body for a week. Mago opens the door to the man’s home so the dog can escape, then tells Reaper that the soul will eventually find his way to the Hotel del Luna. They agree that Man-wol hasn’t changed in a thousand years, but Mago grins that she sent someone to help.
Back at the hotel, Man-wol says that she thinks the tree changed because Chan-sung brought up old, forgotten memories. He complains that he didn’t sign up for dreaming as well as seeing ghosts. He thinks she should be glad the tree is alive, but Man-wol snarls, “You saved something that shouldn’t have been saved.”
He asks if she’s embarrassed that he saw her past, and she admits it, then grabs Chan-sung’s tie and shoves him backwards. They’re suddenly in a bedroom, Chan-sung lying on the bed with Man-wol looming over him. Chan-sung gets the totally wrong idea, but Man-wol only wants him to go to sleep and dream again so she can see if he’s telling the truth. Chan-sung argues that he can’t make himself dream, so Man-wol decides that he’ll just have to sleep beside her every day until he does.
She says she’ll kill him if he’s been lying, but Chan-sung says grumpily that he’s not going to tell her anything even if he does dream. Man-wol seethes for a moment then leaves the room. She goes to her office to guzzle wine directly from the bottle, and Chan-sung follows her, feeling guilty. He asks if the memories he revived are that painful, and who the man was that he saw.
Man-wol asks if he’s curious because he thinks it’s him, and Chan-sung admits that he did wonder if he was seeing a memory from his own past life. Man-wol says there’s no way he’s him, because when she puts her hand over his heart, she feels nothing.
Chan-sung says he’s glad he’s not the man she used to like, and Man-wol tells him to shut up or she’ll make him suffer. He keeps going out of frustration, so Man-wol puts him in charge of all the ghosts from now on.
After Chan-sung nearly cries when the first ghost he sees is a woman who looks like she’s been dead for quite some time, Hyun-joong steps in and smoothly takes over. Chan-sung asks Hyun-joong what happened to Man-wol that got her stuck at the hotel — is she waiting for a lover, perhaps? But Hyun-joong has no idea.
Hyun-joong gets a sense that a lot of customers are on the way and asks if Chan-sung can handle it, and Chan-sung says confidently that he cannot. He heads up to the skybar instead, where Bartender Kim says that new customers are often in bad shape, but by the time they come to the skybar, they’re all nicely groomed.
Chan-sung asks Bartender Kim where they get the things that the ghosts eat and drink, so Bartender Kim explains that when they send souls to the afterlife, positive energy is left behind that makes the flowers in the garden bloom. Mago then takes the flowers and sends them the supplies they need for the hotel guests. Chan-sung asks why Man-wol needs to earn real money, and Bartender Kim says it’s because of her lavish lifestyle, clearly disapproving.
Man-wol stares at the ancient tree, suspecting that Mago is playing a trick on her. She remembers a day when she was truly alive… she’d been holed up in a barn with a leg injury, hiding from soldiers. One had entered the barn and Man-wol had attacked, but he’d stopped her hand and she’d seen that it was Chung-myung.
She had backed off, and Chung-myung had told his soldiers that she wasn’t there. He’d gone back later to bandage Man-wol’s leg and tell her that he guessed it was her gang when he heard the slave market was attacked. He’d asked how she intended to repay him for cutting his precious face, and she’d grumbled that he’d have difficulty seducing the princess from then on, ha.
They’d heard a commotion and had seen that Yeon-woo, Man-wol’s second in command, had been captured. Chung-myung had stopped Man-wol from recklessly trying to help him, and she’d only calmed down when Chung-myung promised to save Yeon-woo. He had kept his promise, and Man-wol had run into Yeon-woo’s arms and hugged him tightly before shooting Chung-myung a look full of gratitude.
In the present, Man-wol decides that the ancient tree looks ridiculous. With tears in her eyes, she hurls a champagne glass at it, and the glass shatters when it hits the protective barrier surrounding the tree.
On the subway ride home, Chan-sung nods off, then wakes up knowing that one of the men in his dreams with Man-wol was named Yeon-woo. Mago is standing in front of him with her basket of flowers, and she giggles that she’s already given his flower. Chan-sung suddenly remembers Mago as the flower lady from his birthday all those years ago.
She admits that she may have nudged events so that he would end up working at Hotel del Luna, then complains that a tree she planted has grown thorny and unwelcoming. She asks Chan-sung to take good care of the tree, giving him her business card in case it gets difficult then disappearing.
Chan-sung tries to find her when the train stops, and he ends up in a park. He sees a man holding a white lily, and watches as a limo pulls up and the man gets in. A little dog barks at the man, and Chan-sung opens the limo door to show the man that his dog is nearby.
The man is happy to see his dog, and we see that the dog stayed with his master’s body and died in his arms. The man carries his dog into the limo with him, and they travel to the afterlife together. Chan-sung hears Bartender Kim’s voice saying that Mago hands out flowers to the souls who are going to a good place.
In a professional kitchen, a baker feels a ghostly hand touching his arm. He sees the dough kneading itself and runs screaming out of the building, right past Chan-sung’s roommate, Sanchez.
Sanchez tells Chan-sung that there was a ghost sighting at the bakery, and that he’d bought the bread that was supposedly kneaded by a ghost. Chan-sung complains that he’s in no mood to talk about ghosts, then nearly chokes when the eyeless ghost is suddenly standing right next to him.
He asks her why she’s back, freaking out Sanchez, who can’t see anything. She nods that she followed the bread, and Chan-sung sighs in defeat that he has to go back to work. At the hotel, Bartender Kim learns that the eyeless ghost is the one who kneaded the bread. It’s strange because she can’t eat it, and she’s supposed to be moving on to her afterlife today.
Guest manager Seol-hee snaps at Hyun-joong for not keeping track of the guests, making him and Bartender Kim wonder why she’s so cranky. Bartender Kim figures out that it’s almost the 25th of the month, and he tells Hyun-joong that if there’s a repeat of events that happened on that date forty-two years ago, she’ll be taken to the afterlife against her will.
Chan-sung asks Man-wol for permission for the eyeless ghost to stay at the hotel a bit longer — she was blind in life, but now that she can see, she wants to see a certain person’s face just once. She doesn’t know his name either, but she knows what his hands feel like.
Man-wol waves Chan-sung away, calling that nonsense. But Chan-sung catches her hand and reminds her that she claimed to know he’s not the man she loved by touching him, so if it’s really not possible, then she’s talking nonsense, too.
Man-wol says softly, “You’re definitely not him…” but she doesn’t struggle when Chan-sung holds her hand as she signs, the same way Chung-myung once held her hand and showed her how to write her name. Chan-sung says he feels responsible because the eyeless ghost is the first guest he brought to the hotel, so he’ll find the person she’s looking for.
Man-wol tsks that he’s being used by a ghost who can’t even pay him, but he just says that if he were stronger, he wouldn’t be here at all. He’s decided that it’s probably just his fate to be at the hotel, and not that Man-wol forced him. He gives her some water for her hangover, and he’s being so nice that Man-wol is suspicious.
He just says that you never know what might happen if he takes care of her — flowers may even grow on the ancient tree. Man-wol snaps that she’s a dried-up, thousand-year-old tree, but Chan-sung shrugs that it has leaves, so… Man-wol is so annoyed that she releases him, but he says he ruined his reputation by quitting the job at the other hotel so he has nowhere to go.
She tries to make him angry by saying that he really was her third pick, but Chan-sung continues to be cheerful, saying that those guys aren’t here and he is, so he’s going to do his job. Man-wol snarls that she doesn’t like him, but he says he’d rather not be liked because he’s bothering her than be liked because he isn’t.
Chan-sung takes his ghost girl to the bakery, and she remembers that in life, an employee had brought out the chestnut bread she could smell. He’d taken her hand and let her feel that it was warm from the oven, and she tells Chan-sung that he held her hand every time she was there.
She’s sure that she’ll know him if she touches his hand, so Chan-sung offers to lend her his body. He gets all all grabby-hands with the bakers, making them think that Chan-sung is a looney, but no luck.
When he gets to the last guy, the bakers surround him and look like they may beat him up. Sanchez walks in and vouches for him, but Chan-sung is banned from the shop. Chan-sung insists that he had a reason for grabbing everyone, so Sanchez offers to help him with whatever it is.
Bartender Kim, Seol-hee, and Hyun-joong visit the ancient tree, where they see the leaves that have sprouted. Bartender Kim sees this as a sign of impending doom, since if Man-wol’s punishment ends (one way or another), they will have to take the bus to the afterlife, and they still have things to do here.
Since Sanchez has been visiting that bakery for ages, he’s able to tell Chan-sung that a former employee works at a new place now. Chan-sung points him out to his ghost girl, who hitches a ride in Chan-sung again, and he approaches the baker (cameo by Hong Kyung) and asks to shake his hand.
The baker thinks him strange but complies, and the ghost girl is finally able to touch his hand one last time. She leaves Chan-sung’s body, and he tells her to take her time and come back to the hotel when she’s ready.
Outside, Man-wol is waiting by another new car, and she asks if it was worth it. Chan-sung says it was, then asks about the car, and Man-wol says she likes the red better than tacky brown and then licks her finger and touches the car to “claim” it, ha. She tells Chan-sung to come sleep with her, making him yelp that it’s inappropriate for a boss to sleep with her employee.
Man-wol pouts that he said he would take care of her, which includes making sure she sleeps. He caves, and they stop for dinner at a place that Man-wol says is trending on social media. It also happens to be Sanchez’s place, so Chan-sung warns Man-wol not to say anything about ghosts to him.
He introduces Man-wol as a colleague, so Sanchez starts blabbering about how stressed Chan-sung has been because of his new maniac boss. When he leaves the table, Man-wol is smirking and Chan-sung looks like he’d love to burst into flames. He says he never called her a maniac, but she says there’s nothing wrong with being a maniac sometimes.
She asks how things went at the bakery, and when Chan-sung says the ghost found the man she was looking for, Man-wol says that ghosts sometimes only remember what they want to remember. We see that the ghost girl stays to watch her baker until he’s leaving for home, and when he gets on his motorcycle, she seems to recall something she’d forgotten.
Man-wol says it’s strange that the ghost remembers hands that only gave her some bread, when a ghost’s most important memories are of when they died. We see a crash, and our ghost girl lying bloody in the street as the baker limped towards her.
She’d grabbed his hand, begging for help. But when he’d realized there were no witnesses, he’d pulled away and fled the scene, leaving her to die alone. She remembers now, and she climbs onto the back of his motorcycle, wrapping her arms around him as her face changes back into an eyeless horror.
Chan-sung runs from the restaurant, but the bakery is closed and the baker is gone. He runs in circles until he finds the baker and throws himself in front of his motorcycle. The baker swerves and narrowly misses Chan-sung, but lays down his bike, and when he stands up, Chan-sung punches him.
Chan-sung tells the ghost that if she harms the baker, she’ll turn into ashes and disappear, and he promises to make sure the baker is punished for killing her. Her face slowly changes back, and Chan-sung relaxes. He looks up to see Man-wol watching him, but she walks away without a word.
Chan-sung takes the baker to the police station to report his hit-and-run, and as he’s leaving, the ghost girl is waiting for him… holding a white lily. Chan-sung smiles, satisfied that she’s going to a good afterlife.
He’s proud to tell her that she’s the first ghost he’s sending to the afterlife. She says that she was foolish to remember the baker’s hand as a warm memory, but Chan-sung says that she was probably someone who tried to see the best in people.
Back at the hotel, Chan-sung offers the coffee ghost a refill without being asked, and he smiles at the female ghost who scared him before, now looking much better after a makeover. He welcomes a father and son, and Hyun-joong tells him that they came here together after the boy’s ball bounced into the street, and the father tried to shield him from an oncoming truck.
Seol-hee tells Man-wol that they’re all very nervous after seeing the leaves on the ancient tree, and Man-wol tells her and Bartender Kim that the person Mago said will help her leave must have arrived. Bartender Kim asks what will happen to them, but Man-wol says coldly that that’s up to them — they can go to the afterlife, or roam as vengeful spirits.
Seol-hee insists that they need to stay at the hotel for a while longer, so Bartender Kim suggests they let Chan-sung go. He says they have another candidate for his job ready anyway, and Man-wol looks at him sharply.
He’s thinking of Soo-jung, the spirit of the murdered teenager who now lives in her killer Yoo-na’s body and who can see ghosts, since technically she is one. Man-wol likes the idea, as she can use the fact that she helped SJ keep Yoo-na’s body, plus her parents are loaded.
But she sighs that she already tried to get rid of Chan-sung and he won’t leave. They can’t kill him without risking their chance at the afterlife, but Seol-hee says that Room 13 is occupied right now by a ghost who hates even the sound of a human breathing. One glimpse of this ghost drives humans insane, so they think that if Chan-sung saw this ghost and lost his mind, he would refuse to return to the hotel.
Man-wol finds Chan-sung sleeping peacefully in the garden, leaning against the ancient tree. She muses that she actually did like him, but she hates that he can see into her. She reaches to pick off a leaf that’s fallen onto his shoulder, and Chan-sung opens his eyes and sees her there.
He laughs, asking if she feels better having watched him sleep. Man-wol asks nervously if he dreamed of her, so he pats the spot next to him and offers to tell her. She gets angry that she’s considering it instead of threatening him, and when he mentions that she let her guard down to reach for the leaf, she says he’ll pay for her moment of weakness.
She says he’s responsible for anything that happens to him, but Chan-sung confidently replies that he’s sure she’ll protect him. He says that he knows she’s the one who stopped the baker’s motorcycle, and although Man-wol swears she had nothing to do with it, Chan-sung just asks her to keep protecting him.
Man-wol snarls that she’s going to kick him out, but Chan-sung gets to his feet and leaves. He thinks about the dream he had, in which he saw Man-wol sleeping beneath the large tree. A leaf had fallen, and he wonders if the one that fell on him is the same leaf from the dream.
Seol-hee asks his help with a long-term guest, and Bartender Kim gives him an incense stick to burn in Room 13. He apologizes for inconveniencing Chan-sung, and after he leaves, Bartender Kim murmurs to himself that he feels like he’s given up his virtue as a scholar.
Chan-sung unlocks the door to Room 13 to find a long hallway, and the door slams shut behind him. He makes his way to a large empty room, where a wooden wardrobe stands. Chan-sung lights the incense in a burner on the table and tucks his leaf from the ancient tree into his pocket, wondering where the guest is.
He hears a noise from inside the wardrobe, and turns to see the doors slightly open and something peering at him from inside. He seems to go into a trance and steps closer against his will, as the something in the wardrobe grins evilly.
Suddenly, Man-wol’s voice snaps Chan-sung out of his trance. She puts a hand on his shoulder and tells him not to look, or to let the ghost hear him breathing. The ghost opens the wardrobe doors wider, and Chan-sung starts to turn, but Man-wol grabs his face in her hands. At the sound of his voice, the ghost lurches out of the wardrobe. Chan-sung reflexively starts to turn around again, and to save him, Man-wol kisses him.
Very well done, Show! I rarely get surprised by drama kisses anymore, but I genuinely didn’t see that coming. And I actually find it plausible that the only thing Man-wol could do in that moment of panic, and with no time to think, was to kiss him to keep him from turning and to shut him up, since she’d already told him twice and he didn’t listen. And hey, it worked!
Things between Man-wol and Chan-sung have really changed in quite a short amount of time, and I like their new dynamic a lot. Chan-sung seems to have found an unexpected source of sway over Man-wol through his dreams of her. My primary source of frustration in the first two episodes was that Man-wol had all the power, and Chan-sung was too off-balance to really stand up to her. Now he knows some very private things about her, and that knowledge keeps her off-balance, putting them on far more equal footing. Combined with Chan-sung’s growing confidence around the ghostly hotel guests, Man-wol is going to find it impossible to get him to leave, especially now that she’s saved him from the one thing that might have succeeded. And she can’t blame anyone but herself for the fact that she’s stuck with a manager who won’t be handled.
It’s interesting that Man-wol has spend a millennium hating Hotel del Luna and wanting to be free, yet now that the person has come along that can give her what she wants, she’s balking hard. I don’t think she’s ever been much for self-examination and introspection, so it probably never occurred to her that freedom from her curse would necessitate facing the very thing that had her fleeing from her own life. And I don’t believe her when she says that Chan-sung isn’t the person she misses, because her denial is so strong, she’s likely just convinced herself that he’s not him even if she senses differently.
I know the show wants us to think that the soldier Chung-myung is Man-wol’s lost love (and Chan-sung’s previous incarnation), but I actually think it’s Yeon-woo. I’ve thought so since Episode 3, but the way Mw panicked when Yeon-woo was captured and ran to him when he was rescued cements my belief that he’s the one Man-wol loved. She has never said the name of the man Chan-sung is seeing her with in his dreams, so at this point it could still be either of them. My guess is that whatever got Man-wol trapped at the Hotel del Luna has to do with Yeon-woo’s death, which she probably had a direct hand in, which is why she’s being punished. It’s just a theory and it doesn’t explain everything, like why Man-wol is so resistant to her own redemption and why she keeps saying she doesn’t feel she deserved to be punished. It’s still very early and I’m sure there’s a lot more to Man-wol, Chung-myung, and Yeon-woo’s story, but for now that’s where my instincts are leading me.
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