Hotel del Luna: Episode 7
Gods and their will center this episode, as the staff of Hotel del Luna try to grapple with a particular deity with many faceted faces. Our new hotel manager has seen the compassionate face of that god, but he must now see what happens when the wrathful side comes to the front to bring order. Our hoteliers face down the question: how can there be injustice in the world if there are gods to look over us all?
EPISODE 7 RECAP
We begin our episode in the past, as Royal Guard Chung-myung greets Princess Song-hwa, who has come to see him at his post on the wall. But Chung-myung is distracted as he spots a certain thief walking the streets of the city, her face covered in a scarf.
It isn’t long before he makes his way to Man-wol, to ask if she’s come to see him. She scoffs that she’s here to steal, but Chung-myung smiles when he sees that her only “loot” is her own wine jug. Now Man-wol is defensive, and suggests that Chung-myung was too busy tonight flirting with the princess. Chung-myung deflects that the princess was the one flirting with him, not the other way around.
Man-wol congratulates him for getting drinks from a noble, but he says that he likes Man-wol’s alcohol better and confiscates the jug from her. “It seems like you already stole what you were here for,” he says as he pats his chest, and leaves Man-wol in the streets.
And now the dream of the past fades to the present day, where Man-wol sits under her tree, new buds threatening to bloom. She smiles to think how smug Chan-sung will feel about its progress.
Meanwhile, the vengeful ghost that escaped Hotel del Luna is ready to claim another victim. A man sits in a public ladies restroom to watch, what he discovers, is not a sex tape but the ghost’s video. The ghost emerges from the phone and drags the man back into the stall as the lighting turns blood red. By the time the paramedics find him, the man is dead, his eyes red and burnt.
Yoo-na happens to be in the building and goes to investigate the bathroom. She finds the man’s abandoned cell phone and wonders if it’s possessed. As she turns to leave though, an unearthly woman dressed all in black grabs her by the neck and slams her into the wall. The woman looks like another sister of Mago, but this one is decidedly more severe. She also knows that Yoo-na is really inhabited by Soo-jung’s spirit, and she means to destroy her soul entirely for this trespass.
Yoo-na’s throat begins to sizzle where the Dark Mago holds her, but before the destruction is complete, Reaper arrives to stop Mago’s hand. He explains that this isn’t the act of a vengeful spirit, but rather Man-wol’s decision to let Soo-jung’s spirit live on in Yoo-na’s empty body.
Dark Mago releases Yoo-na and sends her running from the bathroom. She tells Reaper about the ghost she’s seeking, the one who just killed the man in the bathroom. Dark Mago sneers when Reaper tells her that Hotel del Luna is also involved in that situation, since the Vengeance Ghost was a long-term stay at the hotel until her recent escape. This version of Mago doesn’t seem to like the idea of a resting place in between life and death, and especially not when it’s been entrusted to an “evil spirit” like Man-wol. When Dark Mago hears that Man-wol may also pass on to the other world, she shares her belief that Man-wol will hurt humans again and be sent on as an evil spirit.
Back at the hotel, Chan-sung welcomes a new guest, a backpacker who wandered the earth searching for his wife before finally making his way to the hotel. But the man finds his wife after all: she wanders into the hotel lobby, her arms around a much younger man (wearing clothing definitely better suited to the 80s). It seems that she also died when her husband did, but she found the hotel right away, where she was reunited with her first love who died when they were young. Oh no.
Now, the ghost wife wants to move on with her first love, not her husband. The backpacker yells at her to get away from the younger man, but it turns out that if he had lived, he’d be three years older than him, haha. The two men move to fight with one another, while Chan-sung does his best to separate them. As he does, the backpacker throws him forcefully to the ground, Chan-sung flying much farther than if he’d been tossed by a mortal.
Fortunately, Man-wol watches from the stairs, and she arrives to deliver her signature brand of reverse psychology. She says that it should be no problem for the couple to kill each other over and over again since they’re already dead, and she passes out weapons to them to spar with. Completely put off by her response, the couple set the weapons on the floor and the fight resolves, though it’s clear everyone is still unhappy.
The backpacker retreats to the bar, where Bartender Kim and Seo-hee discuss the last time someone arrived at the hotel ready to fight. Seo-hee turns to deliver bingsu to the wife who wants to recreate her first date with her first love, while Bartender Kim offers soju and seaweed to the blubbering backpacker, who has no one else he loves to wait for.
Chan-sung retreats to his office with Hyun-joong. Hyun-joong says that the blow Chan-sung could have been dangerous, since he was hit with the powerful resentment that the ghost was feeling. But Hyun-joong also says that all is well because Man-wol was looking out for Chan-sung. This seems to take a hit at Chan-sung’s pride, especially since he’s been feeling so much more confident with the ghostly guests lately. As he leaves, Hyun-joong recommends sprinkling some salt to be sure all the evil vibes are gone.
Chan-sung turns to the mail, where he finds a glossy magazine with images of the ocean. He thinks about the moment on the beach with Man-wol, and how she said that she felt sad to see its beauty. But then Chan-sung notices the yachts in the magazine, and immediately seeks out Man-wol.
He finds her lounging, painting her toenails, and he asks if she found the sea sad because she didn’t have a yacht. It’s a reasonable assumption, especially when Man-wol confirms that she just ordered her new yacht to fill up the room left empty by all of her sold cars. They bicker back and forth, Chan-sung eventually offering to take her fishing at Wolmi Island if he can cancel her yacht purchase. As he leaves, Man-wol gleefully turns to pick out a new nail polish color that would go better with their trip to Wolmi.
As Chan-sung passes through Man-wol’s office, he lets a small smile slip when he spots the autograph from Kim Joon-hyun, now framed and on display. Chan-sung heads home where he promptly starts tossing salt over his shoulder and into his hair to wipe out those bad vibes. Sanchez spots him, and without much questioning helps his friend season himself, heehee.
Sanchez asks if Chan-sung is trying to banish Mi-ra with the salt and asks if she stole his credit card again, or borrow money in his name without his knowledge again. Then Sanchez asks if Man-wol is still buying the yacht, which apparently came recommended from Sanchez after she spotted his own yacht on his Instagram.
It seems that Sanchez plans to invite her to his yacht club as well, and he asks if he can set Man-wol up with some men there. Chan-sung is immediately flustered, and turns down all the handsome blonde men Sanchez shows him as prospective introductions. As Chan-sung darts off for the pricier Himalayan sea salt, just in case, Sanchez nods to himself that Chan-sung must like Man-wol. He then notices that they’ve been sprinkling sugar, not salt, on Chan-sung all this time.
Yoo-na has made it to school, her neck still bruised and burned from Dark Mago’s touch. As she sits in art class, hungry ghosts show up, eager to try to take possession of Yoo-na’s body themselves now that she appears weak.
Yoo-na struggles away from them, as her classmates watch her scramble from seemingly nothing. Yoo-na crawls into the cupboards at the back of class and shuts the doors on the room. “Step aside,” Hyun-joong says as he walks through the crowd of hovering students. He crouches down to reassure Yoo-na and coax her from the cupboard. As she opens the doors, he lifts her into his arms and carries her to the nurse’s office. There, he spots the marks on her neck and wonders what happened.
Back at the hotel, Man-wol stands with Reaper at the tunnel to the afterlife and asks if it was the Fourth Mago who injured her intern. Reaper demands that she not number the deity, since they are all just different faces of the same great plan. Man-wol asks how great a plan it can be, if they appear to humans in ways that they don’t want.
Reaper explains that this Mago just wanted the vengeful ghost, and Man-wol can’t help but note that one of the other Mago’s wants to help the spirit, while this one wants to destroy it. Man-wol notes that she herself is in a similar spot, with two Mago deities with different plans for her, and she wonders who is stronger, the first or the fourth. Reaper warns again that they are all united in one goal.
The hotel staff have gathered to take a look at the phone Yoo-na recovered from the bathroom. But to lure the spirit in, they need human bait, and Man-wol says that they’ve only got one piece of human bait at the hotel.
Chan-sung joins the group in their conference room, where he immediately refuses to watch the video. He reads the group chat on the phone and can see that this is clearly a sex tape taken without consent, and he says that it’s not just criminal to film it, but also to watch it.
Man-wol gives him a slow clap, and the staff reluctantly join in. She sarcastically congratulates him on his integrity, but explains that he needs to take a look so that they can catch the Room 13 ghost. Chan-sung steels himself, but when he looks at the video, it’s just an empty room.
As he and the rest of the staff keep watching, Man-wol pops into the room on screen. She says that this video wasn’t a viral sex tape, but something created by the vengeful spirit’s anger. And Man-wol suspects that the ghost sent the video to specific targets, and may have a list of more.
And indeed, a man fumbles with his phone while his wife cooks dinner and holds their baby. He moves to his office for some privacy to check out the video in his group chat, and soon he finds himself face first in his hot noodles, slammed over and over again until his wife finds him dead on the floor.
To determine who might be next on the ghost’s list, Chan-sung meets with the girl’s sister. Her sister tells him that it’s been five years since the incident, and yet the non consensual video is still online. Chan-sung asks if those who distributed the video get punished, and the sister says that they just paid small fines, all while her sister was ridiculed by her classmates daily. Not only that, but the guy who filmed and sold the video now owns a video-sharing company and is making tons of money.
The sister says that she hopes at least that her sister’s spirit can rest in peace now that she’s dead, and Chan-sung earnestly tells her that he hopes so.
Man-wol joins Chan-sung outside Jung Eun Seok’s office, the guy who filmed and sold the tape. As they watch CEO Jung get out of his expensive car and head into his high profile offices, Man-wol can’t help but noting just how well the guy is doing, enough that she wants to kill him. Man-wol is certain that the ghost will target this guy eventually, and so all they need to do is steal his phone before the video can be sent to him.
Chan-sung and Man-wol make it inside to CEO Jung’s office, and the ceo asks if they’re there to ask about advertising on his site. Chan-sung says that they’re there on behalf of a client, a client who holds a lot of resentment towards the CEO. CEO Jung seems shocked, and he says he can’t think of a single thing that could make someone resent him. Oh, wow.
The CEO gets quite agitated though when he spots Man-wol photographing his framed photos, which feature all of the amazing destinations he’s traveled to. He stands to lecture her about how rude it is to take photos without permission (geez, dude), and that’s when Man-wol turns from the framed photo of a sunflower field and snaps a picture of his wedgie instead. She asks how much money it would cost to upload it to his site, and how many it would take to buy a yacht and travel the world like he has.
While the CEO is distracted with Man-wol, Chan-sung grabs the man’s cell phone. While CEO Jung threatens to call security, Man-wol issues her own threat to invite him to the hotel one day. As they turn to leave, Man-wol can’t help but scoff at the framed work on the man’s wall with an inspirational quote: “Always do your best and god will take care of the rest.” Man-wol asks what it means if god would award this kind of life to this kind of man.
Man-wol and Chan-sung hurry back to the hotel, but the video isn’t popping up on CEO Jung’s phone. And then the staff realize that there are other ways to get a video to someone online other than a phone.
Back at his office, CEO Jung realizes that his phone is missing and demands the CCTV footage, except… that also seems to be missing, totally erased. As the man slumps at his desk in frustration, the desktop of his computer begins to ripple…
At the hotel, Chan-sung insists to Man-wol that he should return to CEO Jung’s office, while Man-wol tells him that they’ve done all they could. “The rest will be taken care of,” she says, and tells Chan-sung that the rest is in Mago’s hands. But Man-wol doesn’t know which version of Mago will appear.
An alert pops up on CEO Jung’s computer with a link to the video, and the ghost appears on screen as he opens it. The CEO tries to shut down his computer, but the power button isn’t responding so he just closes the lid on his laptop.
But as he walks through his building, the computers at the workstations light up with the video. He turns away from it, but the ghost is everywhere, even in the reflection in the glass windows. The ghost begins to emerge, her arms outstretched, and then the glass shatters all around the CEO. He falls, stunned, but then scrambles up and runs out of the building.
The ghost remains on the floor, her eyes wide as bits of bright orange ember begin to light up on her arms. She braces herself as her ghostly form begins to burn to nothing.
Chan-sung is on the way, running through the building, but when he arrives, Mago is already there, and she casts the spirit into the sky into tiny bits of ember, completely destroying the spirit. The embers float into the air and eventually out into the sky and up past the rooftop, where Man-wol stands and watches. “Why don’t deities come in the form that humans want?” she asks herself.
At the hotel, Bartender Kim pours a flaming drink in the destroyed spirit’s honor, for the one they lost before they could help her. In his office, Chan-sung receives reassurance from Hyun-joong, who tells him that he couldn’t have stopped Mago even if he had arrived sooner. Chan-sung realizes that it’s possible for any of the ghosts working at the hotel to meet this same sad fate if things go wrong while they linger in the real world. Hyun-joong smiles though as he says that they’re willing to take the risk, and try to behave.
It seems that Man-wol isn’t done with CEO Jung yet though, and she sends Chan-sung to deliver an invitation to the hotel. As soon as the CEO receives the invitation he throws it away, but that doesn’t stop the magic hidden inside. The ink lifts off the page and follows the CEO out to his car and absorbs into his GPS.
The invitation leads him now to the hotel, complete with voice directions from Man-wol, and Chan-sung greets the CEO inside and offers to see him to the room they’ve prepared. Chan-sung leads him to room 13, but instead of the shadowy catacombs, the two walk into a simple bedroom.
CEO Jung recognizes the room because it used to be his old room before he got rich. A flashback of memory shows the CEO adjusting the hidden camera in the tissue box that he’s mounted, and he waves to the camera before turning to the woman asleep on the bed.
When Chan-sung explains that the CEO is in a hotel somewhere between life or death, CEO Jung rejects it and exits out the door. Instead of the halls of the hotel, however, he’s met with a blinding light, and then he finds himself in his car, Man-wol in the passenger seat.
CEO Jung asks if he was dreaming, and Man-wol tells him that she’s brought him here, a space between life and death, to ask once more if he remembers the woman who was looking for him. Man-wol accuses him of killing her, and he says that he never killed anyone. Man-wol responds that he stripped her naked and threw her outside for others to stab, and that’s how she was killed.
As Man-wol presses him, CEO Jung realizes that his car is parked on railroad tracks, and soon a train comes lumbering down the tracks. She demands that he remember the woman, tells him to try harder, and eventually the CEO squeaks out that he can’t remember the specific woman, because he filmed so many different women in that room.
The CEO closes his eyes for impact, but when he opens them, he’s in his car and Man-wol is gone. While he considers it another dream, Man-wol has returned to room 13 where Chan-sung waits. He asks why she sent the CEO back to the living, since he didn’t give them an answer, but Man-wol wasn’t interested in that. She just wanted to show the gods what kind of man he was, and now leaves it up to them to decide his fate.
CEO Jung sits in his car, and finally he realizes the girl that Man-wol must mean. Yoon Ga-young, he finally names, and he recalls pointing and laughing at her while he and his friends watched the video on his phone in class. He remembers now that he’d heard she’d died by suicide, and shrugs as he goes to start his car.
But the car doesn’t start up, and he’s still parked right in the middle of the train tracks. Mago, the one in black, arrives and stands watch as the train barrels down and strikes CEO Jung’s car, sending it hurtling off the tracks. The news spreads quickly of CEO Jung’s accident. Additionally, the news confirms that he was already under investigation for illegal pornography distribution and embezzlement.
Hyun-joong sits with Yoo-na at the hospital, but she reassures him that she’s feeling better now after seeing a doctor, and gives the excuse that she just didn’t want to go to school. Hyun-joong of course encourages her to make an excuse for her behavior and go back, and she tells him to just come to school with her since he likes it so much. But Hyun-joong says that he can only appear visible for so long, and it’s hard during the day.
As they talk, an old blind woman is pushed in a wheelchair down the hallway. She’s escorted by a man, whom Yoo-na says is the founder of the hospital. Interestingly, she says that he has the same name as Hyun-joong.
As Hyun-joong watches her pass, he recognizes her and thinks of the last time that he saw her, when he was alive and she was still his little sister. He gave her a piggyback through town, teased that she loved him as much as the number of her loose teeth.
In the present, Yoo-na calls out to the distracted Hyun-joong, and instead gets the attention of the passing doctor who shares his name. When she turns back to Hyun-joong, he’s disappeared.
At the hotel, Bartender Kim and Seo-hee are on topic as usual, and discuss the latest that they’ve heard of Hyun-joong’s sister, and that she’s lost her sight and her health is deteriorating. But they’ve also gathered to see off the backpacker ghost and his wife and her first love, who are ready to get aboard the bus to the afterlife.
Chan-sung finds Mago, the sweeter one, at Man-wol’s tree. He notes that she seems upset, and she responds that she and her sister are upset about the way Chan-sung and Man-wol tested them. He tells her that he would have welcomed her if she had shown this version of herself to their guest to help, but Mago says that no one puts in the effort if you show up as the version they want.
Mago then notes how the flowers on the tree are going to bloom soon, and tells Chan-sung to keep doing a good job. Chan-sung immediately thinks of Man-wol and her reaction to the ocean, and now he expresses how lovely the flower is, and how it makes him sad.
Meanwhile, Man-wol lounges as she watches the news of CEO Jung’s investigation, and soon Chan-sung joins her. The news announces that the CEO’s secret stash of money was hidden in a field on a sunflower farm, and Chan-sung puts it together that the CEO didn’t like Man-wol taking photos of his framed pictures because the sunflower field was one of the framed images. Man-wol now laments that she had the answer to where his millions were stashed all along, and now “her” money has slipped away.
Some time later, Sanchez meets with Chan-sung’s ex Mi-ra, and she’s surprised to hear that Chan-sung has borrowed his yacht to take his boss out. Mi-ra asks why he’s entertaining his boss like that, and Sanchez says that he suspects that it’s a date.
At the docks, Man-wol is still pouting about the loss of “her” money. Chan-sung takes a photo of a yacht and present it to her, saying it must be her yacht now since you own something as soon as you photograph it, haha.
He tells her that she’d be a thief if she wanted something that wasn’t hers, and she scoffs that she was a thief, and wonders if he hasn’t seen that in his dreams. Chan-sung tells her that he assumed that she was well-off, since he saw her getting married to someone of high status.
Man-wol knows what scene he’s talking about, and she mutters that it wasn’t her dress, but someone else’s. She turns to Chan-sung and tells him that she was a bad person, and that she’s worried that he’ll see just how bad she was as his dreams continue.
But then Chan-sung gets a phone call, and the call prompts him to look up to the docks, where Mi-ra is approaching. Man-wol squints up at the approaching figure, and then her face freezes as she recognizes the face of Princess Song-hwa, reborn. A slew of memories are triggered at the sight–of her first encounter with Song-hwa and Chung-myung, Man-wol held by a circle of swords, her wine jug shattering on the ground, a glower from Song-hwa, a different flash of Song-hwa and Chung-myung both dressed in wedding reds and smiling at one another, a rope around Yeon-woo’s neck, Man-wol tearfully pushing through a crowd, and something sharp crushed into Man-wol’s fist, drawing blood.
In the present, Man-wol stands frozen as Mi-ra approaches her and Chan-sung.
You bet that I flipped through my screencaps of those last few moments obsessively several times so that I could over-analyze all of the new clues we saw regarding Man-wol’s past. Those flashbacks went by quickly, but it seems like Man-wol may have dealt some deadly vengeance against the princess, and it looks like it was retribution for Yeon-woo’s death. I’m guessing that Yeon-woo got the chance to keep his promise and die happily for Man-wol, and that sent her on a path not unlike our vengeful ghost from room 13.
There’s also Man-wol’s wine jug. Last we saw it was in Chung-myung’s possession, so I’m wondering if perhaps he was caught with it and her royal highness had some questions. If the princess came for Man-wol when she discovered it, and instead took Yeon-woo’s life, I could see how Man-wol could have blamed both the princess and the man she was starting to love for his death.
I know that Lollypip has mentioned her suspicions that Chan-sung may be the reincarnation of Yeon-woo, not Chung-myung, but I’ve got another long-shot theory to throw out here: what if Chan-sung is Chung-myung reincarnated, but Man-wol is afraid of facing him because he lost respect for her when she committed her heinous acts? Mago has been stressing that Chan-sung is here to send Man-wol off, not reunite with her. Finding a lost love is a trope we are very accustomed to in dramaland, but if the backpacker ghost and his wife are supposed to give us any thematic clues, I think it’s that true love doesn’t always go the way that you think. Sometimes things end unhappily, and you have to make a decision about how to react to that. Especially following these flashes of memory, it’s unclear what Chung-myung’s relationship to the princess was, and if Man-wol killed her, even if she felt justified in it, his reaction might not have been to come to Man-wol’s aid.
From the very first scenes of this show, what it really seemed like Man-wol needed was forgiveness. She needs to be able to forgive herself, and perhaps receive forgiveness from him. A man whom she trusted, who was her friend, and whom she possibly loved. Someone who she betrayed the most might be the best person to send her off at last, and show her that there are alternatives to wrath in response to pain.
For a while, it’s been difficult to see through Man-wol’s cool exterior to guess at what could keep her at del Luna for so long, but now with the arrival of Mi-ra, we’ve got the catalyst for her undoing. Chan-sung’s evil ex-girlfriend has returned with the same face as the princess from Man-wol’s past, and Man-wol may see it as her chance to finish her vendetta and punish the woman again. Especially since it sounds like this woman has not been kind to Chan-sung in the past.
It hurts me to think of Man-wol and Chan-sung at odds with one another again, because this was the episode where it felt like Chan-sung finally got Man-wol’s brand of reverse psychology and sardonic responses. He never questioned her as she handled the lover’s tiff, nor the way she maneuvered CEO Jung to reveal his crimes to Mago for punishment. They felt like a real team, even if his managerial duties still seem to include returning yachts to their sellers.
I’m glad that we’re getting to the real conflict here, because as much as I love the aesthetic and the chemistry, I haven’t been super enthused about the main plot yet. I love the lore and the world-building of this show, and the Hong sisters do so much of that through the side characters and cases of the week that it often ends up being the side characters and one-offs that I care more about. I’ve cried so many times while watching this show, but it’s only been in the small moments, like when the tiger went back to its mountain, or the dog died alongside his master, or when Hyun-joong saw his little sister in the hospital in this episode.
But the vengeful ghost and her fate brought me back to Man-wol and her plight, and now I think we can really start to sympathize with her and what moving on to the afterlife might be like. Especially since now we know there is the risk that her soul will be destroyed forever. It’s not just the unfortunate fate of pork soup that could await Man-wol.
And that brings me to this episode’s theme and the way that it was able to unpack a lot of emotions from a very current, relevant issue. In the recent reports of the non-consensual sex tape scandals that have been in the news, there has been a lot of focus on the perpetrators exclusively. But there was a magic moment in this episode, when Chan-sung stated in no unclear terms that even the act of watching a video like that, even if you weren’t the one who took it, was a crime. It was played a bit for a laugh, but that laugh never took it so far as to invalidate his position. When the ghost, whose name was finally revealed only in the end, took her own life, it wasn’t just CEO Jung’s actions that got her there. It was all of the people who knew about the video and didn’t report CEO Jung. It was all of the anonymous internet users who copied and redistributed it so that it lived long after she did.
In a show where there is magic and gods, the writers couldn’t help but ask, why would something like this happen? How could someone do something so horrible to someone else, and benefit so much from their pain without any interference from a deity? The show demonstrates how powerless victims can feel in these circumstances, and how that neutered feeling can permeate all the way through the justice system and to their loved ones. Man-wol can’t leave things entirely in Mago’s hands in the end, and she makes a big show to bring about justice, even if she’s unable to save the soul of the girl most hurt by CEO Jung. But I can’t help but notice that the news also said that CEO Jung was already under investigation for embezzlement and illegal pornography. Is it possible that Mago had already started their own brand of retribution, and Man-wol just demanded a more immediate and satisfying resolution?
And so the question lingers: did the ghost deserve to be destroyed? Are there traumas so painful that they justify killing another person? So far, the show’s answer is no. Anything done by spirits to the living is considered a major crime that is swiftly punished. It would seem that vengeance is for god alone to deal out to those who deserve it. And so of course we have to wonder, as Chan-sung does, what that all means for Man-wol.
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