Hotel del Luna: Episode 10
It’s been made clear that our timid hotelier was brought into his employer’s life to help her move on from the pain of her past, but in this episode, she gets a chance to help him heal as well. They’re growing closer as they face their sorrows together, and a long-awaited confession will cement their determination to see this through to the end.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Chan-sung throws the medicine that would take away his ability to see ghosts into the spring and tells Man-wol that she has to keep protecting him — then his big dramatic moment is ruined when the water spirit magnanimously returns the medicine, LOL. Chan-sung snaps at the spirit in annoyance, but Man-wol takes the medicine and thanks the water spirit for his help.
She tells Chan-sung not to forget that he nearly died because of her, but Chan-sung says that if he takes the medicine, he won’t be able to see her anymore, and that she’ll only become more spiteful without him to take care of her. Thinking of his vision of Man-wol dissipating as an evil spirit, Chan-sung says he’s willing to get in trouble to keep that from happening.
They’re interrupted by the daughter of the hotel CEO, who asks why he’s at her father’s villa. He explains that CEO Wang agreed to let him use the pond, though he’s vague about the details. The CEO’s granddaughter JI-EUN (cameo by Sulli) is there too, and she shows her mother a photo she found of herself and her grandfather when she was a child.
Chan-sung tells them that they can write a letter to CEO Wang, and that his hotel provides a service to get the letter to him. He leaves with the letter and finds Man-wol waiting for him, complaining that she doesn’t like to drive. Chan-sung asks why she buys so many cars, and she says it’s because they’re pretty, and she’s planning to buy back all the ones he sold.
He asks her what money she’ll use, and she demands the Mount Baekdu painting back. Just to annoy her, Chan-sung changes the subject to a famous restaurant nearby, mimicking her voice as he says that the painting will never be hers if the restaurant closes before they get there.
Man-wol sulks as Chan-sung eats, glaring at him even as she takes pictures of the restaurant. He says she should move the hotel back to its old location because it’s too far from his house, but Man-wol just tells him to go back to his old job, since the director seemed to like him so much. He says he’s only interested in being liked by his current boss.
He loads up a lettuce leaf with a mountain of meat and wagers that if he can eat it in one bite, Man-wol will rehire him. She sneers that Chan-sung is no match for Kim Joon-hyun, but when he has the wrap half in his mouth, she tells him not to bother — she doesn’t watch Kim Joon-hyun’s shows anymore.
When they get back to the hotel, Chan-sung says he’s going to hang around to make it difficult for Man-wol to give up on him. Seo-hee breaks up the impending fight with the unwelcome news that all of the ghosts Hyun-joong and Yoo-na brought to the hotel were murdered and buried in the woods. The bodies have been found and the police are assuming it’s a serial killer, and the ghosts all describe their murderer as a young man.
Yoo-na wrote down his license plate number, but Man-wol dissolves the note, saying that it’s the police’s job to catch the killer since he’s alive. She instructs her employees to take care of the victims, even providing a TV and wi-fi so they can follow the news and get closure when their killer is caught.
Since Hyun-joong called the police, they’re very confused that the CCTV camera near the phone booth he used didn’t record anyone making the call. Mago’s sweet, older incarnation approaches Young-soo, Yeon-woo’s present-day reincarnation and detective in charge of the case, and asks to borrow a quarter for the phone booth.
She gives him a pen with a little crocheted heart in exchange, admonishing him not to lose it or he’ll never get married in this life (then trots off to take a call on her cell, hee). Young-soo almost throws the heart pen away, but he decides to keep it just in case.
The CEO is happy to get the letter from his granddaughter, who was abroad when he passed away. She’d included a picture, and CEO Wang sizes up Chan-sung with an eye to setting him up with Ji-eun. Chan-sung gets nervous and makes an excuse to leave, but Bartender Kim is more than happy to tell CEO Wang all about him.
He reports this to Man-wol later, having been instructed to get on CEO Wang’s good side. She thinks it’s awesome that he offered to help set up CEO Wang’s granddaughter, but her expression goes stormy when she learns that the prospective guy is Chan-sung.
She finds Chan-sung in her office, and when she hears Bartender Kim looking for him, she slams the door shut. Bartender Kim bursts in, causing Man-wol to shove Chan-sung to hide behind the door. When Bartender Kim leaves, Man-wol and Chan-sung stay where they are, pressed closely together.
Chan-sung speaks first, asking why they’re not moving, and for some reason Man-wol starts blabbering about how he likes dull, brown things. Chan-sung assumes this is her punishing him for not giving her the Mount Baekdu painting, and they get in a fight over his “greed.”
Man-wol yells at him to get out and storms to her bedroom, but Chan-sung follows her to call through the door that he’ll give her the painting. He also tells her to keep the medicine: “Let’s leave a way for me to run away and for you to abandon me, just to be safe.” He says he’ll wait for her call him to reinstate him, and before he leaves, he says he’d like to eat with her at that restaurant again sometime.
In the city, a husband worries that he hasn’t seen his wife in days. He goes to his car and notices something strange, and when he opens the trunk, he finds his wife’s body wrapped in plastic. Young-soo and his team arrive moments later, having gotten an anonymous tip, and they arrest the husband for murder.
A short distance away, the real killer, Ji-won, watches the police as they find a dirt-covered shovel with the body — ah, he’s setting the husband up as the serial killer. In the back seat of his car, the wife’s ghost screams, and Ji-won cuts his finger.
After the reunion, Mi-ra asks Sanchez why he hates Ji-won so much. Sanchez says that when they were studying in the States, a Korean student committed suicide in Boston. There was a rumor that she did it because Sanchez made her do nasty things with his friends, and Sanchez eventually learned that Ji-won was behind the rumors.
In flashback we see that Sanchez had confronted Ji-won, saying that all he did was offer her a job as a waitress at a party because she needed money. Ji-won had insinuated that the student did “other things” at the party, and he’d sneered that nobody would believe Sanchez because they’re all sick of his rich guy act.
Later he’d sent Sanchez a gun and a postcard telling him to kill himself, but Chan-sung had stopped Sanchez from harming himself. Chan-sung had taken the gun and gone to see Ji-won, and all Sanchez knows is that Ji-won returned to Korea soon after that. Chan-sung returns home in a foul mood, and Sanchez asks Mi-ra not to mention seeing Ji-won today.
Back at the hotel, CEO Wang approaches Man-wol about Chan-sung as a potential grandson-in-law. He wants to use the hotel’s dream service to visit his granddaughter while she’s sleeping and tell her about Chan-sung, and he even offers to pay in real money.
That night, Ji-eun dreams that she’s walking through a forest. Her grandfather greets her and tells her that he likes the man who brought him her letter, and that he hopes that man becomes her husband. He starts to tell her more about Chan-sung, but Man-wol hangs up the ghostly phone he’s using to talk to Ji-eun and makes up a rule on the spot that he only gets one call per day, hee.
It was enough to get Ji-eun to contact Chan-sung, but she grows nervous when she tries to tell him what her grandfather said. Chan-sung’s gentlemanly response to her nerves captures her interest, so Ji-eun invites him to dinner. He takes her to Sanchez’s pizza place, and it turns out that Ji-eun and Sanchez belong to the same yacht club.
Yoo-na and Hyun-joong are also at the pizza place, and Yoo-na sees a photo of the suspected serial killer, but she can tell it’s not the same guy they saw driving the car. They see Chan-sung enter with Ji-eun, and Hyun-joong tells Yoo-na that Chan-sung doesn’t work for Hotel del Luna anymore.
Later, Bartender Kim and Hyun-joong excitedly tell Man-wol that it worked, and Ji-eun and Chan-sung have met. She imagines Chan-sung having the time of his life on their “date,” and she grows genuinely alarmed to learn that they’re seeing each other again tomorrow. The guys wonder when Chan-sung will introduce Ji-eun to his parents, then realize that his father died and they don’t even know if his mother is still alive.
Two girls visit a library at night, looking for a haunted book that summons its ghostly owner when taken from the shelf. One girl films while the other tries to pick up the book, but it won’t budge. The girl that’s filming sees a female ghost on her phone screen, holding the book in place, and she passes out in fear.
Meanwhile, two of Mago’s sisters discuss the fact that Chan-sung still hasn’t taken the medicine and can still see ghosts. The grumpy sister says that she heard the older sister arranged for two incompatible souls to cross paths, and the older sister chirps that it’s fun to make past-life enemies meet again.
Mi-ra catches a cab, getting in just after Young-soo gets out, and she sits on the crocheted heart pen that fell out of his pocket. She hands it to him through the window, and for just a moment, she seems to recognize him. She stops the taxi and gets out to blame his pen for marking up her skirt, and she demands his phone number, ostensibly so she can have him pay for the dry cleaning.
He notes that the mark on her skirt is a different color from his pen’s ink, and Mi-ra slinks away, embarrassed. But Young-soo calls her back and offers to pay anyway since she returned his pen, and he looks adorably nervous as he asks for her number. Across the street, Mago’s older sister watches them and nods with satisfaction.
Ji-eun and Chan-sung visit the library together, which CEO Wang established, and they agree that CEO Wang brought them together for a reason. Man-wol and CEO Wang are watching them, and when CEO Wang says he’s happy, Man-wol leaves. Chan-sung spots CEO Wang and guesses that Man-wol must be nearby, and he finds her outside sitting alone.
She says she’s only here because CEO Wang paid to see his granddaughter, and she declines Chan-sung’s suggestion to tour the library. He insists and takes her to see the Mount Baekdu painting, which he decided to sell to the library. Man-wol smiles to herself to know that this is why Chan-sung is with Ji-eun, and not because he’s interested in her.
He and Man-wol leave together, and when the library director asks Ji-eun if she’s dating him, she says she wanted to, but that he told her there’s someone else.
Chan-sung takes Man-wol to the library cafeteria, saying that his father used to bring him here to eat even though the area was too expensive to live in. Man-wol asks if he always lived with his father, and he says he did, because his father was the only one who wanted him to be born.
Man-wol tells Chan-sung that his father didn’t sell Chan-sung to her to save himself, but so that Chan-sung wouldn’t be alone when his father died. He says he knows because his father was his only family, but he looks touched.
He wants to go look at the books, but Man-wol says that she’s not dressed for reading and wants to run home to change, ha. But Chan-sung says he doesn’t want to read – he’s looking for a ghost attached to a book. He tells her that the ghost was an elementary school principal who she died not long ago, and her family donated her books.
He believes the haunted book is precious to the ghost, but Man-wol thinks she’s probably hiding something. When they find the book, titled “Existence and Time,” Chan-sung says he’s read it but it was difficult to understand, and Man-wol admits that even she doesn’t understand existence or time after living for a thousand years.
She retreats a short distance, thinking that the ghost won’t appear if she’s there. As soon as Chan-sung tries to pick up the book, the ghost appears, and she’s surprised he can see her. She says she doesn’t want anyone reading the book, and when Chan-sung asks if she’s hiding something, she asks him to get rid of something that’s inside the book.
He says he can, so she allows him to pick up the book. Inside he finds some photos of a child – and one of them is the same photo of himself that Chan-sung has framed on his dresser. The ghost doesn’t notice his shock and says that this is the past she’s been hiding, and that her family must never find out.
Man-wol returns and slams the book back onto the shelf. He tells Man-wol that he hasn’t seen his mother since he was young and didn’t know his father sent her photos of him. He seems upset that the pictures were something she wanted to hide: “I guess she really didn’t want me to be born.”
Man-wol reaches out to pat his arm, but she stops herself. Instead she says harshly that he volunteered himself to go through trouble and this is what happened, asking snappishly if he wants to take his mother to the hotel. He says he doesn’t, but he also doesn’t want to put the pictures back and leave his mother’s ghost here.
Angry, Man-wol says that since he’s going through this because of her, she should do something for him. Chan-sung says he’s just disappointed that he can’t feel happy for getting to meet his mother, and asks Man-wol to just let him grieve. She grabs his sleeve as if she’s going to say something, but she lets go and says to forget it.
Chan-sung heads to Sanchez’s restaurant, but he just tells his friend he’s feeling a little sad. Sanchez notices that he’s lost a button on his sleeve and he guesses that Man-wol accidentally pulled it off. Mi-ra enters as Sanchez and Chan-sung are leaving to get a drink, but she says she’s meeting someone and can’t go with them.
Young-soo walks in, and Chan-sung immediately recognizes him as Yeon-woo from his dreams. Knowing what he knows, it’s a shock to see him with Mi-ra, and he wonders what’s happening. When Young-soo grows uncomfortable under Chan-sung’s stare, Mi-ra explains how they met, but Chan-sung says, “He died because of you…”
Man-wol returns to the hotel and orders the staff to tell her in Chan-sung ever told them anything about his personal life. None of them know anything, not even Reaper, who hilariously pretends he doesn’t care. Seo-hee suggests that Man-wol just ask Chan-sung about himself.
Chan-sung shows up looking very serious, and he tells Man-wol that he came back because he’s found someone from her painful past memories. He takes her to the police station, where Young-soo is outside talking with a coworker. Man-wol watches him with red-rimmed eyes, and she says proudly that he used to be a thief but now he’s a cop.
He can’t hear her, but she says to Young-soo, “You’re living a good life again. I’m so relieved.” Chan-sung asks if she wants to talk to Young-soo, but she says she doesn’t because she’s nobody. Chan-sung feels bad for bringing up her past, but Man-wol thanks him sincerely.
Young-soo looks up and sees Man-wol, and he almost seems to recognize her. They share a long moment, then Man-wol smiles tearfully, seeing him as her old friend Yeon-woo again, standing with her under their tree. Then she turns and walks away.
Young-soo’s partner gets his attention again by mentioning the serial killer case, wondering why the suspect keeps denying the murders when a shovel with dirt matching the burial spot was found in his car. Young-soo says that the guy doesn’t have a motive for the murders other than his wife’s, feeling that something isn’t adding up.
Elsewhere, Ji-won burns all evidence of his murders then removes the memory chip from the black box in his car. He watches the video later, which includes Yoo-na and Hyun-joong following him in the moving van. He calls the moving company and says there was a problem, and learns that Chan-sung is on file as having hired the van.
Chan-sung still has the photos of himself from his mother’s book, and he decides he’s in no condition to go to the hotel today. Man-wol visits the library after hours, and she wonders to herself if she reads the book, will she find a way to comfort someone whose existence and time were spent having been rejected.
The ghost appears, and Man-wol asks her if she’s worried her secret will be exposed. She tells the ghost that her son doesn’t want that, but that she wants to comfort him. She says she needs his mother for that, and offers to take her to Hotel del Luna.
She texts Chan-sung that he’s reinstated, and that he needs to come to the hotel to send off a guest. The hotel is back in its original location, and Hyun-joong is happy to see Chan-sung, but Bartender Kim is disappointed that he won’t be marrying into a rich family and instead ended up back at the ghost hotel.
Chan-sung keeps his composure when he arrives at the tunnel and sees that it’s his mother’s ghost he’s seeing off. She thanks him for coming, and he asks if he can keep the photos from her book. She says he can and that she’s sorry, then she gets into the limo and leaves. As it drives away, Chan-sung says softly, “Goodbye, Mother.”
He looks for Man-wol at the Moon Tree and thanks her for bringing his mother here, and for asking him to return. Man-wol says that she knows he came back for her, and that she’s decided not to give him the medicine. She admits that she’s actually been hoping he would return, and Chan-sung says he’s glad he wasn’t just being clingy on his own.
Man-wol warns Chan-sung that she plans to use him, because he’s brought Mi-ra and Yeon-woo back to her so she’s certain he’ll bring “him” back, too. Her voice goes hard as she says she won’t let him pass by unscathed, and that Chan-sung may end up used, abused and wrecked by her.
Chan-sung thinks she’s trying to drive him away again, but she actually asks him not to go, since he’s already said he’s willing to expose himself to danger. Even though that danger may lead to death, she asks him to stay by her side even if she goes crazy and disappears.
He steps closer and cups her face, and says, “No, I won’t let you disappear. Trust me.” He takes Man-wol in his arms, and she lets her tears fall as he holds her.
Above them, tiny blue buds open on the branches of the Moon Tree.
I know I’m supposed to be swooning over that hug, but for me the big emotional moment of the whole episode was the one where Man-wol and Young-soo got to see each other again, even if only for a moment. Part of Man-wol’s thousand-year suffering is her guilt over her part in Yeon-woo’s death and that she never got to say goodbye, but now, she’s finally gotten closure. She’s seen that his soul is okay and that he’s happy, and that’s all she really needed to know. I actually appreciate that there was no dialogue, because that moment when Young-soo looked at Man-wol and seemed to recognize her, and her sad smile, said more than words ever could.
I kind of love the idea of Young-soo and Mi-ra ending up together in this reincarnation — it feels like a cosmic balance would be restored. What Princess Song-hwa did to Yeon-woo was horrific and unforgivable, killing him just to get the man she wanted, but I feel like she’s paid for that. She didn’t get to live happily with the man she loved, and it was mentioned that she’s been reincarnated thousands of times and this is her first time as a human again, so she’s been paying her dues to the Universe. Young-soo also seems also be making cosmic restitution by being a detective this time around, so there’s something that just feels right about the thought of them falling in love and giving their souls a chance to heal from what happened in the past.
I like the way the “ghost of the week” always highlights whatever is happening with the Hotel del Luna employees, and how helping the ghosts help them solve their problems. But I felt like Chan-sung’s mother’s story was really rushed, especially since neither Chan-sung nor anyone else has ever mentioned her or wondered about her at all. But I appreciate that for once there wasn’t some secretly good reason for her hiding Chan-sung’s existence… she was just not a good mother. At least she said she was sorry and Chan-sung got some closure, which felt realistic — sometimes life just stinks, and all you can do is try to work through it.
I’m proud of Chan-sung for finally relenting and backing down, when he stopped insisting on sticking to Man-wol until she rehired him. I think that he realized that the more stubborn he was, the more it was pushing Man-wol away, so backing off and putting all the decision-making power in her hands, including the decision over whether he would take the medicine to make him stop seeing ghosts, was the best course of action. It allowed Man-wol the space to admit that she wanted to comfort Chan-sung and ask him to stay with her.
I still don’t get much of a romantic vibe from them, but at this point I almost don’t even want that. Man-wol is slated to leave this world soon, and although I said in the previous recap that I thought Chan-sung is Chung-myung, I’ve thought about it further and he actually feels more like a new soul to me. I would be really satisfied with an ending where Chan-sung helped Man-wol settle all of her spiritual debts and move on peacefully, while at the same time she leaves him as someone who’s not afraid to open up and love. I love a good happy ending where the main couple ends up together, but I feel as though a truer ending to Man-wol and Chan-sung’s story would be for them to let each other go in this life, having changed each other for the better.
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