Hotel del Luna: Episode 5
Our hero is finally settling into his new role just as everyone else seems determined to send him away. Well, maybe not everyone. Despite all the verbal barbs, the bond between our hotelier and his enigmatic employer only seems to grow stronger. The question remains, is this a bond that’s meant to last or be broken?
EPISODE 5 RECAP
In a desperate effort to keep Chan-sung from looking at the guest in Room 13, Man-wol pulls him into a kiss. When they part, Man-wol’s attention is back on the guest, who snickers wickedly from the wardrobe. Man-wol explains that Chan-sung will go crazy if he looks at her, and orders him to run when the door opens.
Not needing to be told twice, Chan-sung bolts for the door as soon as it swings open. The guest gives chase, but Chan-sung manages to slip through and slam it shut before she can reach him. She bangs angrily at the door before turning on Man-wol, who coolly apologizes for the disturbance. Man-wol manages to convince the guest to return to the wardrobe, but as she turns to leave, she hears her own voice echo from the wardrobe, calling Chan-sung’s name.
Man-wol scoffs at the guest, informing her that Chan-sung is too much of a coward for that trick to work… only for the door to fling open and Chan-sung reappear. The guest leaps from the wardrobe and Chan-sung rushes to pull a stunned Man-wol into a protective embrace. Ignoring the couple, the guest makes a break for the door and zips past Bartender Kim and guest manager Seo-hee on her way out of the hotel.
Chan-sung continues to hold Man-wol tightly, his eyes firmly squeezed shut, until Man-wol assures him the guest is gone. He releases her and shakily admits he’d caught a glimpse of the guest before asking if she’s okay… and then breaks into a laugh, revealing he’s only teasing. Man-wol’s face isn’t amused and Chan-sung realizes she wasn’t lying about the sight of Room 13’s guest driving people mad.
Cowering behind Man-wol, Chan-sung asks if the guest is really gone and whines that Man-wol should’ve been able to handle it. She snaps that she had before he’d run back in and left the door open. She stalks away, leaving Chan-sung dumbfounded and unaware of the amused smile tugging at her lips.
Chan-sung returns the incense to Bartender Kim, apologizing for having done it incorrectly and upsetting the guest. Bartender Kim waves it off, instead blaming Seo-hee for not managing the guests better. Chan-sung doesn’t seem entirely convinced but he politely excuses himself. Turning to each other, Bartender Kim and Seo-hee are stunned Chan-sung didn’t notice their plot and agree to postpone bringing in their fourth candidate for hotel general manager.
Meanwhile, front desk attendant, Hyun-joong, is already meeting with said fourth candidate, Kim Yoo-na, as she leaves school that evening. She belatedly realizes Hyun-joong is a ghost when her classmates walk through him and the other girls whisper nervously about the rumor that Yoo-na is possessed by their dead classmate, unaware that it’s true.
The girls are further spooked when Yoo-na’s foot slips on the steps outside and she’s suspended in midair. They run away screaming as Hyun-joong, invisible to human eyes, pulls Yoo-na to safety in a heroic fashion. Yoo-na demands to know why he did that, snapping that letting her fall would’ve looked more natural.
Yoo-na stomps off and Hyun-joong follows, grumbling at being chastised for helping. She suddenly turns and brandishes a cross, noting that regular ghosts can’t interact with humans. Hyun-joong gently tells her that he’s a spirit that has the right to linger with a place to belong and even a job. He tells Yoo-na he works at the same place as the people that gave her the body she’s using, Hotel del Luna.
Her interest is piqued when Hyun-joong adds that he came to fetch her as the fourth candidate, but just then a text rolls in from Bartender Kim saying their plans are currently on hold. Yoo-na is disappointed and moreso when Hyun-joong doesn’t add his contact information to her phone. She storms off, but then her phone goes off and she smiles to see a text from Hyun-joong.
Upon returning to the hotel, Hyun-joong congratulates Chan-sung on retaining his sanity. Chan-sung pouts that it seems everyone was banking on him losing his mind and Hyun-joong’s awkward laugh only cements his suspicions. Meanwhile, Bartender Kim and guest manager Seo-hee pitch alternative schemes to drive Chan-sung away, but Man-wol declares he’s here to stay.
The pair anxiously remind Man-wol about the tree changing, but Man-wol points out that Mago sent him for a reason. She waves off their worries about the tree blossoming, daring the flowers to force her to cross over. After she’s gone, Bartender Kim gripes over her mood swings while Seo-hee is just thankful Chan-sung hasn’t picked up on their scheming…
Meanwhile, Chan-sung confronts Man-wol about his suspicions and is appalled when she breezily confirms the plot to drive him crazy. Chan-sung whines that he’d thought they were his friends and Man-wol offers to reprimand everyone, but Chan-sung barks that she was in on it too. Man-wol just gripes that he always asks questions he already knows the answers to.
Realizing she’s missing an earring, Man-wol orders Chan-sung to check the floor. Annoyed at her flippancy, Chan-sung kicks it under a cabinet instead. He demands to know why they tried to drive him out and Man-wol explains that the tree changed after he arrived and everyone is nervous that their time here is almost up.
Chan-sung asks why Man-wol saved him, then. She admits she wasn’t going to… but then a leaf changed her mind. Plucking his dream leaf from his pocket, Chan-sung asks if that’s what she meant. Man-wol agrees that a part of her the size of a leaf is what changed her mind and Chan-sung proudly asks if he won her over with just that.
Annoyed at his continued questioning of things he already knows, Man-wol barks at him to find her earring. Chan-sung cheekily wonders if finding it would be worth another leaf and Man-wol snaps at him not to bother. Her cynical nature has Chan-sung questioning whether it’s a product of old age but Man-wol says she’s always been that way.
Chan-sung says she’s sweet in his dreams, noting her affection for Yeon-woo (her bandit comrade). Man-wol’s face falls at the mention of his name and she asks if Chan-sung had seem him too. Chan-sung confirms he has and Man-wol bitterly asks if this time he thinks he might be Yeon-woo. Admitting it crossed his mind, Chan-sung says he doesn’t think it’s likely.
“Yeon-woo is the one who loved me the most,” Man-wol whispers, “So do you love me too?” A heavy silence follows and finally Chan-sung says firmly that he doesn’t. Man-wol dismisses him and disappears into her room. Sitting on her bed, Man-wol flashes back and now we see the person who’d promised to build her a house out of a tree was Yeon-woo.
Man-wol teases that she won’t live with him, but Yeon-woo argues she’s getting older and he doesn’t want her living in a tent when she’s a granny. She points out their livelihood was high-risk and she has no delusions of living a long life. Yeon-woo claims the fortune teller predicted he’d live 100 years and offers to give his time to Man-wol. She says he’ll die, then, and Yeon-woo promises he’ll happily die for her.
In the present, silent tears streak down Man-wol’s face and Chan-sung stares at her closed door for a moment before heading home. Elsewhere, a couple watches anxiously as a shaman prepares a red pouch for a recently deceased young woman, promising the couple to marry her off in the afterlife. As the couple release the pouch on a floating lantern, they tearfully pray a good man finds it so the woman, Su-min, won’t be alone.
Su-min’s spirit watches anxiously. Unwilling to marry a stranger, she turns and runs. Chan-sung runs into Seo-hee on his way out and she notes that he’s taking his job more seriously. He admits that he opened his heart to someone and that he’s really a softie that returns favors tenfold. Despite his smile, Seo-hee interprets it as a threat to get back at them for Room 13.
Outside, Chan-sung meets Su-min’s spirit and she pleads for help before passing out… only to end up on Man-wol’s couch, leaning on Chan-sung’s shoulder. Fuming, Man-wol demands why Chan-sung continues to bring guests directly to her. She tries to separate them and balks when Chan-sung assures her it’s fine. Instead, he fills her in on the ghost wedding.
Man-wol doesn’t think anything of it and says that it’s really for the living and suggests Su-min go along with it, adding the hotel provides a wedding package. Displeased, Chan-sung offers to take Su-min to her room, scooping her up bridal style much to Man-wol’s chagrin.
Man-wol and Seo-hee inspect their wedding hall and Man-wol gets a mischievous glint in her eye as she relays Su-min’s expensive dress indicates a wealthy family. She muses she’ll need a new dress, accessories, purse, and shoes… and sing-songs that Chan-sung will have to hurry and get the money from the painting soon.
Chan-sung gets up the next morning for some PPL coffee and a chat with his roommate, Sanchez. He admits he didn’t sleep well since he was waiting for someone in his dreams. Sanchez guesses Chan-sung’s ex, but he clarifies that he was actually expecting the ex of a woman he knows… maybe two exes.
Sanchez doesn’t know what he means, but says that he did miss a phone call and Chan-sung almost does a spit-take when Sanchez refers to Man-wol familiarly. Alarmed, Chan-sung questions whether Man-wol threw a fit at him calling her by name, but Sanchez says she agreed to do the same with him and that they even follow each other on social media. Hee.
Chan-sung is further baffled when Sanchez muses that Man-wol is really nice, but chalks it up to the fact that Sanchez is wealthy. Meanwhile, Man-wol continues to plan for the wedding and is angered to hear that Chan-sung has gone out to find the red pouch. Furious, Man-wol storms out to find him.
At the park, Chan-sung wanders around looking for the pouch. Sanchez offers to help, but Chan-sung quickly declines. Instead of the pouch, though, Chan-sung finds Man-wol. He knows she’s not there for a picnic like she claims, so Man-wol snaps that she’s there to see him and declares she doesn’t want him looking for the pouch.
He guesses Man-wol doesn’t want him getting married, and confidently says that she’ll take care of it. Man-wol snorts at his brazen attitude and pulls out a pair of opera binoculars. Looking through them, she sees Sanchez and it’s probably safe to assume she facilitates his bike crashing next to the pouch.
Sanchez makes it home and opens the pouch only to find a red string wrapped around his finger. He follows it with his eyes and passes out when Su-min materializes at the other end. Chan-sung returns home to find Su-min there and Sanchez huddled in a corner, too scared after seeing Su-min to move. Before he can do much, Chan-sung’s phone rings and the caller is the couple that had the pouch made.
Chan-sung meets the couple at the hotel and takes them to Man-wol, who happily sells them on the wedding package for their daughter. When asked about the groom, Man-wol replies that they’re forcing someone to marry against their will, so it’d be awkward to meet him. The parents reluctantly agree and entrust Man-wol to plan the best wedding money can buy. She promises to conduct a ceremony that satisfies everyone. Hmm.
Afterwards, Man-wol cooes over the black credit card the parents had given her. Frustrated, Chan-sung demands to know her plan and is upset when Man-wol simply replies, a wedding. He argues that Sanchez is wigging out and Man-wol says that’s all the more reason to get the ceremony over with and send Su-min on her way, assuring him that Sanchez will be fine.
The man in question, however, is currently too afraid to even go to the bathroom and takes advantage of an antique vase. Meanwhile, Man-wol goes full-on Breakfast at Tiffany’s and I love this so much. Chan-sung joins her and is appalled to realize her browsing is for her personal collection and not the wedding at all.
He balks that the parents gave her the card to spend on the wedding. Man-wol says she is and that the parents will feel more comfortable the more she spends. Chan-sung suggests they return the card and just burn the pouch, but Man-wol warns him that doing so will just leave Su-min attached to Sanchez for eternity, unable to pass over.
Chan-sung asks why Man-wol can’t just sever that tie, but Man-wol frowns that she’s not a deity and doing so is very difficult — it’s easier to just go through with the ceremony. Unsatisfied with that response, Chan-sung sets out to find Mago with the business card she’d given him. He locates the medicine shop easily enough, but the woman running the shop isn’t Mago… but her sister.
Another sister comes in and they all look so similar, Chan-sung assumes they’re triplets, but the youngest says there’s way more than just 3. She has Chan-sung tell her his problem and she agrees with Man-wol that it’s easiest just to go through with the wedding. However, she does suggest he could try finding a dead groom among the hotel guests in place of Sanchez.
She giggles that this way the bride can go with her groom to the afterlife. Chan-sung agrees that it seems like a good bet and on his way out, the first sister offers him a medicinal tea to help with his sleeping problem.
Back at the hotel, the employees help Chan-sung round up some grooms for Su-min to choose from. When it comes time to pick, however, she hands the pouch to Chan-sung saying she wants to go alone to the afterlife so either he takes it or she continues with the original plan of marrying Sanchez. Unable to think of an alternative, Chan-sung takes the pouch.
Hyun-joong relays the news to Man-wol and she orders him to get Chan-sung’s replacement ready. Meanwhile, Chan-sung waits nervously in a tux. He pumps himself up but when he tries to leave, the doors open into a bedroom instead. A bride sits on the bed and when she removes her veil, it’s Man-wol from her warrior days. Cold fury burns in her eyes and blood drips down her hand onto the floor.
She stands and walks towards him and Chan-sung asks if she’s getting married… but that was only a vision and the current Man-wol snaps that he’s the one getting married. Chan-sung starts to say he must’ve been dreaming again, but Man-wol cuts him off to growl at him for daring to get married without her permission.
Chan-sung doesn’t understand the problem and snaps back that she should’ve just helped from the get-go when the bride said she didn’t want to get married. With a sigh, Man-wol explains that the pouch holds the desperate wish of the dead… not the living. At the same time, Su-min is visited by the younger of Mago’s sisters and presented with a gift and the advice that people get married to be happy.
Man-wol tells Chan-sung she’ll handle it and he wonders how since they can’t destroy the pouch. With a wicked smile, Man-wol says they’ll just bring the groom Su-min actually wants. A young man sits outside a hospital room, rubbing the ring on his finger. Yoo-na stalks up to him and holds out a picture of him with Su-min and tells him he has to come now or his girlfriend is going to marry another man.
Yoo-na leads him to the hotel while Man-wol explains the change of plans to Su-min, although neither woman looks happy. Chan-sung passes the pouch to the boyfriend and he walks into the chapel. Up in the bar, Man-wol tells the hotel trio that when the ceremony is over, that groom will die and join Su-min in the afterlife.
She wonders if Chan-sung realized and from the way we see him racing through the hotel, it’s likely he has. Man-wol explains that the couple facilitating the ghost wedding aren’t the bride’s parents… but the groom’s. We see that the groom is actually in a coma and that the parents feared Su-min would take their son, so they arranged for her to be married.
Chan-sung pounds on the chapel door, begging Su-min not to go through with it. The couple lean in to kiss, but Su-min pulls back and she tells her groom to run. He’s confused so she morphs into a terrifying ghost to scare him away. The groom drops the pouch as he runs from the chapel and Su-min watches sadly as the red string stretches further as the groom races down the halls.
Su-min holds up a pair of sewing scissors and we see that they were the gift from Mago’s sister. She severs the string and as it falls limp, her boyfriend wakes up from his coma. “I love you,” Su-min whispers, “Please be happy.” Out in the lobby, Yoo-na tells Hyun-joong that she wants to start working immediately. He tells her they still have Chan-sung, so she demands they start training her as an intern.
At home, Sanchez cleans his vase, apologizing for what he’d done. A woman walks up to the house and Sanchez seems surprised as he identifies her as Mi-ra. She smiles and says she’s here to see Chan-sung.
At the tunnel to the afterlife, Su-min hands her scissors to Chan-sung, thanking him for helping her sever the tie so she could pass on. Man-wol guesses that Mago’s sister gave her those scissors and wonders how she came to the hotel without her noticing. Reaper informs her that it was Chan-sung that sought out Mago’s help.
Man-wol snorts that they’re all helping him now, but Reaper corrects that Mago is helping her. “He’ll be the one to see you off,” Reaper says. After sending Su-min off, Chan-sung tells Man-wol that he used to feel proud sending guests from the hotel, but now he feels lonely. Man-wol tells him it’s because he knows he won’t see them again.
She suddenly tells him that he’s doing a good job and that Mago chose well. Chan-sung says Mago entrusted Man-wol to him so that the leaves grow and flowers bloom. Man-wol asks if he still dreams of her and we see that the vision of Man-wol on the bed had continued to show a man enter and Man-wol grip the hilt of her sword… though we don’t see his face.
Presently, Man-wol tells Chan-sung to take care of her in his dreams and then see her off. Because that’s what Mago wants. “I’ll become your last customer…” Man-wol says, “because I like you.” She tells him not to feel lonely when she goes.
I’m not sure how each episode manages to be more compelling than the last, but it does and I’m all for it. This episode probably had the least flashbacks so far and yet I’m more invested than ever in the tragic past. I’d be lying if I said I’m not totally bouncing between which man from Man-wol’s past was her lover. But maybe it doesn’t even matter. Whether the men loved her or she loved them or in what way, those ties were significant enough to leave a scar that has lasted for centuries.
Romantic or not, Man-wol cared deeply for Yeon-woo and it’s hard to say if her sorrow now is over a lost love, guilt because he made good on his promise to give his life for her, or both. Right now I’m wondering if Chung-myung loved her and things went south from there. His expression when he saw her with Yeon-woo was a little darker than I’d like, but we just can’t know without more clues and I’m curious who was the man in the bedroom with Man-wol. Was it Chung-myung? Or someone else entirely?
Chan-sung will need to take a lot more naps to unravel this mystery, although the “medicinal tea” Mago’s sister gave him seems to be opening his mind to conscious visions as well. It’ll be interesting to see if it has a lasting effect and I’m excited to see more of the deity sisters. I’m also glad to have Yoo-na come back around. I had a feeling we hadn’t seen the last of her and the hints at cotton candy romance in store with her and Hyun-joong was especially fun. So far, Hotel del Luna is killing it and although my time filling in on the recaps is done, I’ll definitely still be watching.
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