Hotel del Luna: Episode 12
This episode is full of emotional moments and surprising revelations as our long-lived heroine begins to face the fact of her own mortality. It’s not so much death that she fears – she’s been around death for a millennium – but the pain of leaving someone she loves behind to suffer and grieve. Unfortunately, their fates have long since been determined and all there is to do is accept it, but that’s turning out to be much more difficult than it seems.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Dark Mago informs Man-wol that she’s in danger of losing the person who made the flowers grow on the Moon Tree. Man-wol just laughs, thinking that Dark Mago is waiting for her to admit to being afraid so she can drag her off to the afterlife. She challenges Dark Mago to bring “him” to her now and they can finally end this.
Dark Mago tells Man-wol that Chan-sung will be the one to bring “him” to Man-wol. Man-wol asks angrily why she’s involving Chan-sung, but Dark Mago says it’s not her: “It’s the one that wants you to leave in peace. You’ve endured for the past thousand years, and all you wish is to cease to exist. The price that Chan-sung needs to pay in return is very unfair.”
Man-wol claims that Chan-sung is the one who insists on staying with her, and Dark Mago calls her wicked. She says that because of Man-wol, Chan-sung had to encounter the person that hurt him most (his mother). She asks how much more Chan-sung will have to suffer, and Man-wol finally looks afraid.
Meanwhile, Chan-sung hurries to help Yoo-na, who’s followed Ji-won to the wine bar he owns and recognized him as the serial killer. Chan-sung comes face-to-face with the ghost who’s been trailing Ji-won, then Ji-won himself appears to say an ominous hello.
Ji-won acts like he’s just an old school buddy greeting Chan-sung, and Chan-sung is wary but he goes along with it. He asks if Ji-won came back to Korea because his father (a judge) gave up on him becoming a lawyer, and Ji-won says his father actually passed away so he’s doing what he wants now.
Chan-sung asks to try the wine Ji-won sells, and when Ji-won steps away, Chan-sung quietly asks the ghost, “Was it him? Did he kill you?” and she nods. Ji-won decants the wine, then opens a drawer filled with syringes and vials of drugs.
When he returns to the table, Chan-sung has moved to a curtained-off area of the room. Ji-won follows him and Chan-sung asks point-blank if Ji-won’s hobby is murder. Instead of answering, Chan-sung lunges at Chan-sung with a syringe. Chan-sung fights him until he drops it, but Ji-won grabs the syringe and goes after Chan-sung again.
Man-wol paces her office as she tries to call Chan-sung, worried that he didn’t meet her like they agreed. Seo-hee tries to calm her down, and when she asks Man-wol why she’s so restless, Man-wol can only think of Dark Mago’s threat of losing Chan-sung.
Yoo-na is also growing worried for Chan-sung, and when she sees the police and an ambulance at Ji-won’s bar, she calls Hyun-joong in a panic. Hyun-joong tearfully tells Bartender Kim, Seo-hee, and Man-wol that Chan-sung has been killed by Ji-won, but Man-wol refuses to believe it. Soon Chan-sung walks through the hotel’s front door, and Man-wol approaches him slowly, then reaches up to feel his face.
Her eyes fill with tears as she puts her hand over his heart, then she turns to the rest of the staff as they wait anxiously to hear if Chan-sung is alive or dead. Man-wol snarls a curse at Hyun-joong and attacks him, and Bartender Kim and Seo-hee hold her back while Hyun-joong runs around her to grab the very much alive Chan-sung in a big hug.
Man-wol storms off angry, leaving poor confused Chan-sung to get hit or hugged by the others, depending on their emotional reaction. He’s surprised that they thought he was dead, so Hyun-joong explains, and Chan-sung tells them that he’d called Young-soo before he went into the bar to confront Ji-won.
Young-soo had come in just as Ji-won was about to drug Chan-sung, but Ji-won had broken a wine bottle and taken the sharp glass to his own throat, though he didn’t die. The ghosts bicker over who was more scared that Chan-sung was a ghost, then they agree what they really have to worry about is Man-wol’s inevitable bad mood.
Chan-sung takes a bottle of champagne to Man-wol’s office, but she comes in behind him carrying shopping bags. When she dumps out her bags on the table, Chan-sung is amused — it looks like she bought out an entire pharmacy. He enjoys letting Man-wol fuss over his injuries, even when she puts constipation cream on his face, hee.
He asks her how she, of all people, wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead, and Man-wol admits that she was afraid. She gripes at him for embarrassing her in front of her employees, so Chan-sung suggests she take some medicine too, to calm down. He wraps her in a hug, and although she complains, Man-wol doesn’t pull away.
Young-soo and his team search Ji-won’s bar and find the drugs he used to subdue his victims, and bottles of wine with the website name “Helllo” on the labels.. Young-soo tells his partner that he got a tip regarding the real murderer, but he’s confused at how the wrongfully accused man’s dead wife could have called him.
Man-wol tells Chan-sung to take everything she bought and take the day off, and she even includes champagne and caviar. She tells him to use one of her cars, and she’s so surprised when he asks for the red one that she actually gives it to him. Chan-sung gloats that she likes him more than she likes her cars, hee.
Chan-sung says that he’ll have to explain what happened to Young-soo without mentioning the ghost, and Man-wol sighs that Yeon-woo was very scared of ghosts. She tells Chan-sung that Yeon-woo’s mother raised her after she was found dying in the wilderness, and she and Yeon-woo grew up like siblings.
Man-wol notes with a tiny smile that she hasn’t told Chan-sung about her past before, and Chan-sung says, “Maybe it’s the blooming flowers,” as at the same time, Man-wol says, “Its time must be up soon.” Oof. They both become very aware of time running out, and Chan-sung suddenly leaves without taking the medicine and other things with him.
Chan-sung sits alone, tormented by memories of Mago telling him to look after the flowers on the Moon Tree so he can see Man-wol off well, and Man-wol telling him not to feel too lonely after seeing her off.
Ji-won manages to slip his police guard, and a flashback shows us that in the bar, Chan-sung told Ji-won that his seventh victim was there with them. He’d known that the “Helllo” wine bottles were filled with samples of the victims’ blood, and exactly which bottle held the blood of the latest victim.
Ji-won had called Chan-sung crazy, but Chan-sung had proceeded to place the wine bottles of blood in order of the murder victims. He’d said that the seventh victim was next to Ji-won at that moment and that she also told him what Ji-won had behind his back, and Ji-won had startled at the feel of a cold touch on his hand holding the syringe.
Young-soo calls Chan-sung because Ji-won is on the roof and is refusing to speak to anyone but him. Chan-sung finds Ji-won balanced on the ledge, and he asks Chan-sung if he’s being helped by another ghost now. Chan-sung says that a spirit is always watching over him and cuts his eyes to the side, where Man-wol is lounging against the railing.
She asks casually if she should give Ji-won a push, but Chan-sung says he needs to pay for his crimes. Ji-won can’t see her, and he demands Chan-sung’s attention to blame him for his life falling apart. Chan-sung says that was all Ji-won’s fault, and another flashback takes us back to their Harvard days.
Chan-sung had confronted Ji-won with the gun he’d sent to Sanchez. Ji-won had gloated that there was no proof he was the one who sent it, but Chan-sung had retorted that only one person needed to believe him — Ji-won’s father. He’d asked who Ji-won’s father would believe, an unreliable son he sent away or a straight-A Harvard student.
He’d spun the gun on the table like a crazy game of spin-the-bottle, and the weapon had come to rest pointed at Ji-won. Chan-sung told Ji-won to leave quietly before he told his father what he was up to. Now Ji-won sneers that he should have pulled the trigger, and Man-wol realizes that Chan-sung and Ji-won know each other.
Chan-sung approaches Ji-won and tells him that his deeds won’t end with his death — he needs to stay alive and pay for his sins to save his soul. Ji-won argues that he was only doing what other people (from the Helllo website) asked him to do, so those deaths aren’t his responsibility. Chan-sung says that people visit that website to vent their worst thoughts, but that nobody actually wants those thoughts put into action.
He bellows at Ji-won to get down, but Ji-won tells him that he made a post on Helllo expressing his hatred of Chan-sung. He says he hopes it receives a lot of support, smiles an eerie smile, and topples backwards off the roof. Chan-sung tries to catch him, but he can only watch helplessly as Ji-won falls to his death.
As Chan-sung runs downstairs, Man-wol remains on the roof, and she picks up the phone Ji-won was holding. Ji-won’s ghost appears in front of her, able to see her now, and his smile is gruesome as he says that death really isn’t the end.
Man-wol says coolly that Chan-sung didn’t want this, but that she was eager for Ji-won to die because she’s not allowed to harm living humans. She stabs at Ji-won with her black fan, but a shadowy shield stops her. Ji-won giggles, crowing that his hatred and resentment are protecting him, and we see that his post on Helllo has already gotten hundreds of hatefully supportive responses.
Man-wol growls that she’ll get rid of the hideous power protecting Ji-won and rip him to shreds. Ji-won just replies that he’ll become uglier and more powerful, then dissipates in a cloud of black smoke.
Young-soo has Ji-won’s post taken down from the Helllo site, but he tells Chan-sung that he couldn’t fix the ones that had already gone viral. He asks if there was a woman with Chan-sung at the wine bar, because he got a call from a woman saying she was the wrongfully accused man’s dead wife. Chan-sung says he believes in spirits so it could have been her.
He goes back to the roof to tell Man-wol that Ji-won is dead. She says that she met Ji-won’s soul, and that he’s become a vengeful ghost who resents Chan-sung. She admits that it’s a big deal, and she forbids Chan-sung to leave her side until they catch Ji-won’s soul.
Back at the hotel, Yoo-na worries that Man-wol will ban her from the hotel for putting Chan-sung in danger. Hyun-joong assures her that it won’t happen, since she also allowed his victims to reveal their wrongful deaths. He says there’s a new guest who wants to meet Yoo-na, and awww, it’s the first ghost that Yoo-na saw in Ji-won’s car. I’d wondered what happened to her.
Yoo-na takes Hyun-joong to the columbarium where her original body’s ashes are interred. She says she’s been afraid to come here since she was also murdered, but she feels better after helping with the other murder case. She asks Hyun-joong where his body is buried, but he says he doesn’t have a grave, he only knows his body is on a mountain somewhere.
Yoo-na offers to share, and she shows him a sketch she made of his face. She puts it beside her picture, and when Hyun-joong doesn’t say anything, Yoo-na assumes he doesn’t like it. She pouts that he ignored her confession, but he says sadly that he didn’t ignore it… he just thinks that she should have a boyfriend that’s alive.
Startling them both, Yoo-na impulsively kisses Hyun-joong on the cheek. Yoo-na says that she likes Hyun-joong and asks why he can’t just like her back, but he cuts her off with a real kiss.
Man-wol holds a fan to Chan-sung’s face and watches him sleep, and he wakes up to see her smiling sweetly at him. The spell is broken when she gripes that he’s sleeping in his office. He complains that the only other rooms he can sleep in are 404 and hers, and the last time he entered Room 404 he ended up in Incheon. PWAHAHA.
She tells him to sleep in her room, but he argues that he wouldn’t get much sleep, making Man-wol rawr at him. Chan-sung takes that as a challenge and says he’ll happily sleep in her room with her arm as a pillow, and it’s Man-wol’s turn to look alarmed.
She sticks the fan in his face to cool him down, but Chan-sung just grabs her hand and pulls her closer. He turns the fan on her and tells her she’s blushing, then wanders off to look for her room. Man-wol collects her wits and suggests acupuncture instead, by a famous doctor of oriental medicine.
His waiting room is packed, and Man-wol tells Chan-sung that the doctor is keeping someone alive who should have been dead three years ago. She says it’s time for them to take that patient back to their hotel, and that Reaper asked her to kill the patient in exchange for Reaper bringing Ji-won’s vengeful spirit to her.
Man-wol admits to Chan-sung that it may be her fault a vengeful spirit is stalking him, telling him that Mago said he’ll have to pay the price for making her flowers bloom. Rather than make Chan-sung pay, she promises to take care of it herself. She gives Chan-sung an ad she ripped from a magazine and instructs him to tell the doctor this is why he came.
When he’s finally called back, the doctor (cameo by Lee Seung-joon) tells Chan-sung that his indigestion is causing stress, which he can cure with acupuncture and his special herbal medicine. Chan-sung argues that the source of his stress is money, and he gives the doctor the ad, which offers an astronomical amount of money for one centimeter of Chan-sung’s lifeline.
After they leave, Chan-sung asks Man-wol if it’s even possible to buy part of someone’s lifeline. He asks if the doctor is selling lifelines to wealthy people, and Man-wol gets an odd look on her face.
Back at the clinic, the doctor tells his wife that he’s found someone willing to sell their lifeline. His wife is worried about the money, but the doctor says it’s worth it.
They go into an adjacent room, where their sick son lies in a hospital bed. His name is Hyun-jin, and a jagged line runs from the end of his own short lifeline and halfway up his arm. Man-wol doesn’t take pleasure in telling Chan-sung that the life they must end is that of the doctor’s young son.
Mago admires the beauty of the Moon Tree (and Man-wol’s soul). Reaper asks her if the Moon Tree will die when the blooms fall, and Mago says it will, since Man-wol’s life and the life of the tree are chained together. She says it’s been too long for Man-wol, and the man who was forced to remain as a small light, and we see the firefly flitting among the Moon Tree’s flowers.
Mago tells Reaper that when she was escorting “him” to the afterlife, he turned back, and has been here all this time. We see a series of moments between Man-wol and Chung-myung, including him waiting by their lake for her with a moon-shaped ornament, then Man-wol screaming as Yeon-woo is hung to death.
Chung-myung had still been holding the moon ornament when he accompanied Princess Song-hwa to witness Man-wol’s downfall. He’d thought to himself, “Live your life as a traitor, that way Man-wol can live.” He’d gripped the ornament so tightly that blood ran from his fist.
Reaper says that he didn’t take the firefly because Mago asked him not to, impressed that a human spirit has survived this long as a small light. Mago sighs that it’s a curse Chung-myung cast on himself because of a promise he made to Man-wol.
Reaper tells Mago that Man-wol made a deal with him to lesson Chan-sung’s burden, and she says sadly that Man-wol still doesn’t understand the price Chan-sung must pay. “Once she finds out, she will be sad and scared.”
When it’s time for Chan-sung’s surgery, Man-wol teases him and reassures him that he’ll live a long life. She takes his hand in hers and promises to protect him, so he doesn’t lose any of his lifeline.
In the doctor’s office, Chan-sung gives the doctor pause by asking if he’s buying lifelines to give to his sick son. The doctor explains that his boy was very ill, so he tried this surgery out of desperation, and it worked.
Meanwhile, Man-wol goes in to talk to little Hyun-jin. He asks if she’s the Grim Reaper, since every time his father does this surgery on him, he sees a man in black in his dreams. Man-wol tells him that she and Reaper have completely different all-black concepts, hee.
She cuts to the chase, telling Hyun-jin that she’s here to do a similar job, but that she can’t take him against his will so he needs to hear her out and make a decision. She points out that his parents have aged a lot, because they’ve been donating their own lifelines to Hyun-jin.
Chan-sung also tells the doctor that he knows they’ve been giving their own lives for their son. The doctor says he doesn’t care as long as his son lives, but Chan-sung tells him that it’s Hyun-jin’s decision now, and that his parents must let him go.
The doctor jumps up and runs to his son’s room, but Hyun-jin is already gone. As his parents scream and beg him to come back, Man-wol, Chan-sung, and Hyun-jin’s spirit watch unseen from the doorway.
Later, Man-wol sits in the sky bar with Reaper, who thanks her for handling the situation before he was forced to take the entire family. She still seems shocked, and she says that Hyun-jin’s parents may have preferred that.
Hyun-jin had known that his death would make his parents sad, but Man-wol had told him that such things are for those left behind to worry about. She had gently wiped the long lifeline from his arm, and he’d said in a shaky voice that he was afraid. She repeats the word “afraid” now, and Reaper promises her that he’ll find the vengeful spirit soon.
Hyun-joong helps Yoo-na with her homework in the hotel lobby, giving her forehead-flicks when she gets an answer wrong as Bartender Kim and Seo-hee watch them like indulgent parents. Seo-hee says that a man and woman are bound to catch feelings when they work closely together, but Bartender Kim says it’s never happened between them, and Seo-hee is all Not in your wildest dreams, lol.
Sanchez returns home early from Veronica’s funeral, believing that Veronica is still at Hotel del Luna. Chan-sung tells Man-wol that Sanchez was so distraught that he lied that Veronica is still there, and he begs Man-wol to go along with the lie just until Sanchez feels better.
She doesn’t say anything when Sanchez thanks her for letting him say goodbye to Veronica, and she agrees to take the pizza that Sanchez makes for Veronica to the hotel for her. But being Man-wol, she also offers to pass along any shoes or jewelry he wants Veronica to have, or maybe even a car or a yacht.
Chan-sung barks at her, but she retorts angrily that if Sanchez isn’t better soon she’ll clean him out. Chan-sung storms off in a fury, dragging Man-wol out with him. Man-wol says that she’s doing this because Chan-sung is lying to Sanchez, sick and tired of catering to people who buy lifelines for sick children or make pizza for their dead girlfriends.
She warns Chan-sung not to turn into those people, but he asks why she assumes he’ll be any different when he doesn’t want to let her go, either. He asks how she can tell him to be okay, and Man-wol admits that she needs to hear he’ll be okay or she’ll be too scared to go.
Chan-sung reminds her that he once said he was afraid of paying the price for staying by her side, and that this is what he meant — becoming a nuisance she despises. He goes back to Sanchez, who hasn’t moved since they walked out. Through his tears, Sanchez gasps, “She’s not there anymore, is she?”
Man-wol stands under the Moon Tree, looking up at the flowers. Petals begin to fall, which Dark Mago had warned would happen when she became afraid.
When Chan-sung eventually returns home, Man-wol is waiting for him. She smiles at the memory of him being so scared of his first ghost, and she admits that today, she’s the one who’s scared because the flowers are falling off the Moon Tree. Man-wol says that the petals disappear before touching the ground, and that eventually nothing will remain.
Chan-sung says that maybe the flowers are falling onto him, and he promises to bear the weight so that Man-wol doesn’t have to be afraid to leave him behind. He says it’s an act of love by a fragile human, made with all his heart.
With tears coursing down her face, Man-wol says it’s heartbreaking to be a flower petal that’s bound to vanish. She steps closer to Chan-sung and gives him the gentlest of kisses, but when she starts to back away, he pulls her back for a longer, more emotional kiss.
Awww, not one but two kisses in this episode! We finally got a real kiss between Chan-sung and Man-wol, which just broke my heart because it felt more like a goodbye kiss than one of a love just beginning. Chan-sung and Man-wol have known from the start that they would be parted, but that doesn’t make it any less painful or frightening now that the time is growing nearer. As a super sweet bonus, there was also the first-love kiss between Hyun-joong and Yoo-na, which was also bittersweet. I’m heartbroken that one half of each couple is leaving soon — Man-wol will die when her flowers eventually wither and fall, and Hyun-joong will not be allowed to stay once Man-wol and Hotel del Luna are gone.
It’s so sad that Man-wol and Chan-sung are finally admitting their feelings to one another just as they’re realizing that they don’t have much time left. Man-wol is changing and opening up so much, but the tragedy is that it’s exactly that opening of her heart that’s causing her time on Earth to run out. All she really has left to do is to confront Chung-myung — she’s already made peace with the reincarnations of Song-hwa and Yeon-woo, but Chung-myung was the worst betrayal and the most painful hurt that Man-wol has been carrying in her heart for a millennium.
Chan-sung’s purpose was to help her let go of her pain so that she could forgive, and once she can find and forgive Chung-myung, her reason for being stuck in spiritual limbo will be gone and it will be time for her to move on. I still don’t think that Man-wol and Chan-sung are meant to be together at this point in time, but I can see them having a similar fate as the lovers from Arang and the Magistrate, with Chan-sung sacrificing himself to go with Man-wol so that they end up together in the next life with clean souls. It makes sense that everyone else from Man-wol’s past got a chance to start over, so I wouldn’t mind seeing her get the same opportunity.
It’s finally confirmed that Chung-myung is the firefly that’s been hanging around Man-wol, but it’s a shock to realize that he’s been with Man-wol all this time. I wonder if it’s because he loves her, or because he wants to atone for betraying her, though it’s probably a combination of both. I’m eager to learn the rest of what happened back when they were both alive — why Chung-myung was waiting for Man-wol with the moon ornament but was gone when she arrived at the lake, and the real reason he tricked her and killed her people.
The parallel between Chan-sung’s encounter with Ji-won and Man-wol’s inevitable final confrontation with Chung-myung wasn’t lost on me. Both Ji-won and Chung-myung caused harm to someone Chan-sung and Man-wol cared about, and there’s unfinished business between both pairs of acquaintances. I’m glad that Man-wol was there to witness Chan-sung face-off with Ji-won, because Chan-sung demonstrated that you can hold someone accountable for their actions while still extending compassion, and letting them make the choice to pay for their sins. For a thousand years, Man-wol has been anticipating seeing Chung-myung again someday and going scorched-earth on him, like she did the first time by (we assume) ending his life on his wedding day. But now she’s seen through Chan-sung’s example that cosmic balance can be achieved without endangering one’s own soul. I hope that she’s able to offer Chung-myung forgiveness and compassion, because I’m afraid that that’s going to be the final test of whether she leaves this world peacefully, or dissipates forever as a vengeful spirit.
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