My Secret Hotel: Episode 3
Now that we’ve caught back up to the point where the dead body makes an appearance, the murder mystery begins to get some major focus. As the investigation begins to deepen, it looks like the dead body played an important role in all our leads’ lives — now it’s just a matter of finding out who would be more desperate to kill in order to keep a secret from being revealed. Our investigating detective is a lot sharper than he looks, so everyone is going to need a little effort to avoid his piercing gaze, er, wink.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Sang-hyo quickly gathers her wits after Assistant Manager Hwang’s body falls to the floor. She delegates tasks to the rest of the shocked wedding coordination team to assist the panicked guests, until all that’s left in the wedding hall with the dead body is just her and Hae-young. He’s still in shock, but she urges him to go see his bride Soo-ah.
Sung-gyum is rushing to help oversee the chaos, but General Manager Lee stops him. He thinks that it’s important for Sang-hyo to learn how to fix this situation on her own, as a good test of her management skills. Sung-gyum doesn’t seem particularly convinced by this, but he stays put, nevertheless.
As she deals with making sure all the guests are safely escorted out of the hotel, Detective KIM GEON-BO (Ahn Gil-kang) arrives on the scene. His cowboy boots and casually unbuttoned shirt have the diligent security team ready to shoo him away as a curious onlooker, but after a wave of his badge, he’s allowed through to the wedding hall.
Marveling at Sang-hyo’s ability to smoothly take care of the wedding guests, Detective Kim cheerfully steps into the room to investigate the dead body. Sang-hyo is ready to drop in exhausted relief that everything is over and everyone has been safely taken care of, but Eun-joo radios with a cry for help.
The PR manager is busy reassuring the press that the death of a hotel employee is nothing to be overly concerned about — it could happen anywhere at any time. But one of the reporters at the press conference is Jung-eun, who smugly points out that bodies falling from the sky aren’t exactly a normal occurrence. Not to mention all the other crises that have happened at the hotel, such as all the previous managers leaving last year, the hotel’s worth dropping on the stock market, and, of course, the three-month wedding curse.
But as soon as Sang-hyo arrives to do the rest of the press debriefing, Jung-eun slips away to hide around the corner. She’s shocked to realize “that woman” is also the person who planned Hae-young’s wedding.
Detective Kim and his CSI crew are busy investigating the area around Hwang’s body. It’s determined that the murder weapon was the ice pick — one jab to the heart and instant death. The detective also finds something else surprising: a second wallet that was found near the body. He opens it up to reveal that it’s Hae-young’s wallet, and he realizes that this belongs to the groom.
Speaking of whom, he’s sitting with a sobbing Soo-ah who can’t believe her wedding has been ruined. She’s also annoyed that Hae-young isn’t upset or angry, but he unemotionally tells her he’s just as upset as she is, really. Her hysterical shrieks can be heard all the way down the hallway, and Sang-hyo steels herself as she prepares to enter the room and face the unhappy couple.
Soo-ah’s greeting is a literal slap in the face, as she demands to know what Sang-hyo is going to do about the disrupted wedding. Sang-hyo bows deeply in apology, but Soo-ah is still furious. She orders Sang-hyo to kneel and apologize. After all, didn’t she promise Soo-ah the perfect wedding?
She reaches out to give another hearty slap when it looks like Sang-hyo isn’t going to kneel, but Hae-young reaches in to stop her. Sung-gyum also suddenly arrives and puts himself between the two women, protecting Sang-hyo.
Sung-gyum insists Sang-hyo leave, and Hae-young recognizes him as the guy from the night before. The gentle way Sung-gyum reassuringly touches Sang-hyo’s shoulder doesn’t go unnoticed, either.
Sung-gyum charmingly soothes Soo-ah’s frustrations (all the while mentioning that hitting a member of his staff is no-no). Hae-young is more focused on the protective way Sung-gyum defended Sang-hyo. When Sung-gyum offers to apologize in place of Sang-hyo, he refuses, saying that Sung-gyum had better not do anything at all for her. Cue intense alpha male stare-down.
As they drive home in their elaborately decorated newlywed car, Soo-ah is over the moon at how handsome and cool Sang-gyum was when he declared Sang-hyo to be “his person.” When she points out that must be the same person Sang-hyo proposed to, Hae-young reaches his limit and pulls the car over.
He acts out his frustration by ruthlessly tearing off all the flowers, balloons, and other frou-frou “just married” decorations from the car. Soo-ah takes it all in stride though, assuming that he’s doing it because he loves her (since she thinks he’s jealous over her high opinion of Sung-gyum), proving that the wedding wasn’t just his parents’ idea.
Sang-hyo meets with Detective Kim who questions her about Hwang’s work habits. She’s taken aback when he says she must be glad to see her unreliable assistant manager gone, but he assures her he’s just joking. As he’s beginning to ask about Hae-young, Sung-gyum enters the office.
He’s there to once more play the rescuing hero as he excuses Sang-hyo, claiming she needs a break to rest and let the shock of the day settle in. The interrogation can continue tomorrow, and he wrist-grabs a stunned Sang-hyo to lead her out of the office. Ha, and Detective Kim totally wins a permanent place in my heart by snubbing the idea of a wrist-grab, sighing to himself that women don’t actually like that kind of thing.
But Sung-gyum continues to pull Sang-hyo through the hotel until he reaches an empty guest room (much to the surprise and disappointment of Eun-joo who sees them from down the hall). She finally frees herself from his grip, and insists that there’s still quite a lot of work for her to do. But he convinces her that she needs to rest, sweetly adding that she did well today, and she looks very beautiful.
As she finally lets the shock of the day overwhelm her, Sung-gyum reaches down to gently wipe away her tears. Their tender moment is interrupted by the arrival of the room service cart, and he leaves her alone to eat dinner and get some sleep.
A subdued Hae-young drops Soo-ah off at her house, and she does a cute little pout when he doesn’t immediately offer to open her door for her. She assumes that his grumpy demeanor is due to her talking about how handsome Sung-gyum was. Promising not to mention other guys in front of him again, she swears that he’s number one in her eyes. Just like Sung-gyum is probably the number one guy in Sang-hyo’s eyes — a fact that Hae-young doesn’t exactly find reassuring.
Sang-hyo tries to relax in the hotel room, but she keeps replaying the moment Assistant Manager Hwang fell from the skylight. She hears his voice in her mind, asking if she’s happy that he ruined the wedding. The shadows in the corners of the room make her jumpy (and me too, thanks to the creepy horror music). As she gets ready for bed, she turns around to see Hwang eerily standing before her, and she screams.
But it’s only a dream, and she tries to get a hold of herself… until she sees him sitting in the corner of the room; but it was just another dream. Now fully awake, she scrambles to turn on all the lights in the hotel room, praying that the ghost will keep far away from her.
She feels something tug at the covers she’s hiding under, and she whispers that it’s only a dream… until the duvet is completely torn from her grasp. Then she shrieks as she flings herself out of the bed, only to cause Eun-joo to shriek herself. She’s there to innocently make sure Sang-hyo’s awake, since it’s already late-morning.
Sung-gyum’s assistant has been doing some research in old personnel files, and reports on his findings: the only employees from 1984 that still work at the hotel are the now-deceased Hwang and GM Lee. Even though the GM is aware that the assistant has been snooping into the old files, neither managers mention it to each other when they happen to meet in the hallway.
Sung-gyum finds a moment away from the hotel to muse over the mysterious letter about his father’s death. He received it the same day Hwang was murdered, and Hwang is the only employee who was there when Sung-gyum’s father died. Could there possibly be a connection?
Detective Kim arrives (in his fancy boots!) at the wedding planning department to continue questioning Sang-hyo. She takes him to the garden so they can have some privacy, and he marvels in his “aw shucks” way at how beautiful it is, before immediately asking her if she knows Hae-young.
She stutters in surprise before answering simply that he was the groom on the day of the incident. The detective pretends that this is new information to him, but asks if that’s really all Hae-young is, since he heard that she gave him special attention. Sang-hyo quickly explains that it was for their publicity event, the one that was focused on profiling the elite couples.
As he writes down this information in his notebook, he inquires further into what kind of person Hae-young is, adding (with a little wink) that the groom must have made some kind of impression on her. Sang-hyo is saved from answering by a call from her team, and she excuses herself. And ha! It turns out the only thing Detective Kim wrote in his little notebook was that Sang-hyo is pretty and “just his type.” He’s also surprised because she’s the first person to withstand the power of his wink. Pfft.
At his architecture firm, Hae-young fends off his coworker Shi-chan’s constant barrage of questions about the failed wedding ceremony, and whether or not he actually went to go meet that woman the night before the wedding (like Shi-chan had recommended when they were at the bar). Hae-young finally admits that he didn’t meet with her. Since their relationship is long over, what’s the point of meeting, anyway.
He gathers the rest of his staff together to start the meeting, and Jung-eun barges in, shouting, “You met with her didn’t you?” Hae-young is surprised that she knew he met with “Las Vegas,” (aw, and Shi-chan is totally offended that he’d just been lied to).
Hustling Jung-eun to a place where they can have a conversation beyond the curious ears of his staff, Hae-young tells her that what happened is none of her business. But to her, anything related to Hae-young is her business, and she feels it’s her duty to warn him to stay away from Sang-hyo — because she’s a dangerous murderer.
By Jung-eun’s logic, Sang-hyo must have killed Hwang because he had found out about their previous marriage and would have threatened to reveal that she had gone through the “divorce curse” herself, which would ruin her career and reputation as a wedding planner. Which meant that Sang-hyo would have been desperate to keep him from telling anyone. So, of course, she killed him.
Hae-young laughs it off, calling her theory crazy. But she suggests that if the police find out about his past marriage, they’ll want to investigate it. Hae-young confidently tells her Sang-hyo didn’t kill Hwang. Jung-eun: “Then who did? If it wasn’t Sang-hyo, then was it you?”
Back at the hotel, Detective Kim ponders the blood stain left in the wedding hall as the other detective fills him in on all the information they found on Hae-young, which isn’t much other than the basics. When the rookie detective wonders why they’re spending so much time investigating someone who appears to have nothing to do with this case, Detective Kim pulls out the wallet he found.
The other detective assumes it must have fallen out of Hae-young’s pocket while he was walking down the aisle, but Detective Kim does a little martial arts action on the unsuspecting detective to prove that the only way it could have been under the body was if there had been a physical struggle.
Having overheard part of the detectives’ conversation, Sang-hyo is so focused on why they might be discussing Hae-young that she nearly jumps out of her skin when she mistakes one of her staff members for ghost-Hwang. But her coworker avoids a scolding when a text message from Hae-young has her sweetly begging Kyung-hee for another umbrella.
Except she only has a rain coat, and Sang-hyo pulls the hood down as far as it can go as she scurries to Hae-young’s waiting car. They drive to an isolated spot by the river. Oh, this can’t be good.
She demands that he just quickly tell her whatever it is he needs to say. But at his silence, she continues talking, saying that it’s okay if he came to apologize about Soo-ah slapping her, or for telling his bride that she shouldn’t have to deal with “women like her.” Or if he was just worried about her…
Hae-young finally speaks up, asking if she told anyone about their marriage. That was not what she was expecting, and she angrily informs him she’s never told anyone at all about their past relationship, not even the detective.
He’s alarmed to know the police are investigating him, and begs her to never ever tell anyone about their marriage. She furiously agrees before storming off to find her own way back to the hotel, fuming that he’s just wasting her time by being paranoid about the past. It starts to rain, but Hae-young continues to stand next to the river, deep in thought. Finally, he calls Shi-chan: “I need an alibi.”
A flashback shows the moment when Hae-young returned to the hotel after finding Sang-hyo and Sung-gyum sitting outside. We learn that Hwang admitted that he knew the two of them had been married before. Hae-young warned that if he did anything to Sang-hyo, he wouldn’t let it go.
But Hwang just cackled maniacally and brandished his trusty ice pick, asking what would he do, “Kill me or something?” Hae-young’s defense against the ice pick became a struggle between the two men until he managed to turn it around on Hwang, pointing it straight at the assistant manager’s heart.
Sang-hyo is the last to leave the office that night, and with all the lights off, it’s a little creepy. She’s ready to brandish her purse at any little sound, but the image of ghost-Hwang lying dead on the floor makes her scream in terror. Then she faints.
She wakes up in the hotel’s clinic, and the first thing she sees is Sung-gyum’s worried face. He escorts her back to the hotel room from last night, saying it’s late and traffic will be bad because of the weather. But the first thing she sees is the image of Hwang standing in the middle of the room.
Despite trying to play it cool, she ends up clutching Sung-gyum’s arm, admitting she’s too scared to sleep alone. He wryly asks if she’s seducing him, and she immediately lets go, insisting it isn’t like that, and manages to psych herself up to leave his side and enter the room.
As she walks nervously, expecting to see ghost-Hwang in every little corner, her phone rings — it’s Sung-gyum. He paces around his suite as he kindly offers her tips on how to not be afraid, including walking her through all the places where something scary could be hiding.
She diligently and cautiously checks each spot, but there’s no ghostly Hwang to be found. When he suggests that she get undressed to take a shower, she balks for a second, and he chuckles because he can’t give her step-by-step instructions for that. Besides, she hasn’t really been doing everything he’s told her to do, has she? Sang-hyo: “Of course not! I’m not stupid.” Hee!
But most importantly, she’s no longer scared. Even so, Sung-gyum keeps her on the phone for a little longer. The two get to hear about each other’s lives as they happily talk over the phone until Sang-hyo falls asleep, with the phone against her ear. Aw.
The next morning, a much happier and rested Sang-hyo is ready to bid ghost-Hwang adieu as she leaves a memorial flower at his desk.
Detective Kim makes a visit to Hae-young’s architecture firm. But before he can even say a word, Shi-chan practically throws himself at the detective, blurting out that Hae-young has an alibi — it’s him, he’s the alibi, they spent the night drinking together, honest.
The detective is here for another reason, though — he’s returning Hae-young’s wallet. Hae-young can’t remember where he lost it, and Detective Kim is happy to inform him that it was found under Hwang’s body.
Which makes Hae-young the most likely murder suspect.
I’m so glad we’re finally getting into the murder mystery. As cute as all the rom-com stuff was last week, I felt like I was getting a little whiplash as the tonality of the show bounced between the zaniness of Hae-young and Sang-hyo and the more melodramatic seriousness of Sung-gyum and his secret about his father. That’s not to say the rom-com element is completely gone — far from it. But it does feel like it’s becoming better integrated into the show.
Hwang’s body really does help to tie everyone together, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the secrets slowly become revealed once the detective begins to investigate. That’s probably another reason why the show feels a little more cohesive to me: Detective Kim. Or, to be more precise, Ahn Gil-kang. He’s such a perfect choice to bridge that gap between scary mystery and rom-com because he’s so excellent at playing to both types. I especially love that he’s not some bumbling detective, but is actually burying some excellent and intelligent observation skills beneath his goofy demeanor. Like a Korean Columbo, but with cowboy boots instead of a trench coat.
Of course, I don’t believe that Hae-young killed Hwang. Not just because he’s one of the leads (or because I still prefer him to Sung-gyum when it comes down to the love triangle). No, mostly because it’s the third episode and it’s much too early to have settled on the killer. Which means all those clues are red herrings, of course; but I’m still deeply interesting in knowing the truth behind those red herrings!
I think Hwang was actually sincere in wishing “good luck,” and didn’t mean it in the menacing way Hae-young perceived. Hwang seemed to have had genuine affection for Sang-hyo, for reasons that perhaps will be revealed later on in the show. Possibly for less sinister reasons — right now my spidey-drama-sense is tingling on a birth secret, since Sang-hyo’s birth parents are a mystery. It would be easy to write them off as a plot device to get her to America, but this is Dramaland — there’s always birth secrets, and at least this would be a legitimate one.
Although if it turns out Sung-gyum is her blood brother (or half-brother) and the reason they’re so good at what they do is because they both inherited the hotelier gene (which would also explain why GM Lee is so eager to praise her, beyond the fact he’s hiding his own shady secret about Hwang) — well, I’ll call shenanigans, because I’ve only just begun to admit that I kinda like him as a viable love interest. For the record, it was the ghost-hunt by phone that started to win me over.
As for the side characters, I love them, and I’m hoping this show gives them a little more depth. I’m especially curious about Jung-eun and her obsessed love for Hae-young — she’s suspicious to me, and I can’t wait until Detective Kim turns his sights, er, wink on her, because I want to know what her deal is. As I do with Soo-ah, because even though I really do want to hate her, her incessant cheerfulness (well, except when her wedding is ruined) fascinates me. There’s got to be more behind that bubbly persona of hers. I’m still astonished that her reaction to him ripping off the car decorations was to be delighted, taking it as a display of affection.
Or maybe I’m giving this show too much credit.
At the very least, there’s enough characters here to keep me interested — not to mention, plenty of secrets that will make for a fun and interesting ride as they eventually become unraveled (and our leads’ lives become more and more entangled).
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 2
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 1
- My Secret Hotel’s love triangle gets into its groove
- Falling bodies and marrying exes in My Secret Hotel
- First script read for tvN rom-com My Secret Hotel
- Rom-com mystery My Secret Hotel confirms cast
- Namgoong Min, Yoo Inna, Jin Yi-han for tvN’s next romance