My Secret Hotel: Episode 13
If you were hoping the show would make some progress in answering all the questions we’ve been wondering now for weeks (such as, who’s the killer? Who does Sang-hyo really love? Why don’t Hae-young and Sung-gyum act their age?), you’ll be disappointed. The show nearly goes back to square one in terms of plot, but it does remind us yet again what is Sang-hyo’s true passion and driving force behind her actions: The Secret Hotel.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Sang-hyo tries to stop the boys from literally fighting over her by flinging herself between them. Hae-young is especially taken aback when she throws herself at Sung-gyum to beg them to stop fighting, and tries to pull her away from him. She shoves Hae-young away, telling him if he doesn’t leave now, then yesterday was the last time she’ll ever stay at his his place.
Sung-gyum overhears this, and is surprised and disappointed to realize that Sang-hyo spent the night at Hae-young’s. But at least it gets Hae-young to leave, and he drives off in “her” car while she tries to make amends with Sung-gyum. He doesn’t want to hear her explanation, though, and drives off as well.
Both the men brood alone in their respective offices, but at least Hae-young feels apologetic to Sang-hyo (now if only he could say “I’m sorry” to her face).
Despite an initial cold shoulder when they happen to meet at the elevator, Sung-gyum decides to hear Sang-hyo’s side of the story. She explains how important Hae-young’s father is to him, and that in order to make sure his father gets surgery right away, she’s pretending to continue to be married to Hae-young for the week.
She apologizes for not telling him earlier. But he’s not quite that willing to accept that apology, even though she promises that she has no desire to be back with Hae-young. She’s only doing it because she’s always wanted to have a close relationship with a father, and she doesn’t want that to be taken away from Hae-young.
Sung-gyum clarifies that his difficulty in accepting this situation isn’t the fact that she’s doing this to save someone else — it’s the fact that “someone” happens to be Hae-young.
At Hae-young’s firm, his staff are worried about what will happen if he finds out they haven’t finished their project yet, and when Hae-young asks about it, they promise effusively that they’ll work extra hard overtime to get it finished in time. But instead Hae-young surprises them all by letting them leave early, since he’s a “family man” now and Sang-hyo’s waiting for him.
Or, rather, he’s waiting for her, as he calls from the parking garage to give her a ride home. She told him that she didn’t want him to pick her up, but he thinks it’s best “for his parents” if they arrive home together. He gives her the ultimatum that if she’s not at the car in thirty minutes, he’ll come up to the office and find her. While ultimatums may not be the best way to win back her heart, he does look super cute as he goofily grins at the photos he took of her last night.
Slowly, Sang-hyo gathers her things, and as she heads to the elevator, she receives a call from Sung-gyum. Now it’s time for his ultimatum: He’s not ready to give her up, and he’ll be waiting for her downstairs. Now she’s torn, as she paces from the stairs leading down to Sung-gyum, to the elevator that will take her to parking garage.
Both men continue to wait, and Sang-hyo finally takes decisive steps along the marble floor. Hearing the sound of high-heels, Sung-gyum perks up — but it’s just another coworker walking past. In the end, Sang-hyo chooses Hae-young, and gets into the car.
But she didn’t forget about Sung-gyum — she sent Eun-joo to break the news that she left with Hae-young. Eun-joo’s not exactly thrilled to be relegated to messenger, especially since it means that Eun-joo isn’t a threat to Sang-hyo’s relationship with Sung-gyum. He just wants to be alone, but Eun-joo isn’t letting him off that easy — she’s going to take him out for drinks whether he likes it or not.
During the ride home, Hae-young notices Sang-hyo’s distracted expression, and swerves the car over to a stop when she brings up Sung-gyum. He asks her to not mention Sung-gyum when she’s with him, because she knows how he (Hae-young) feels about her.
When they get to his apartment, his parents aren’t around — which makes Sang-hyo a little grumpy since she’s only there to put on a show for them. She stomps over to the sofa, where Hae-young joins her and pulls out his phone, suggesting they order in for dinner.
She spots the selca pics from last night and snatches the phone from him, determined to erase the photos. He grabs the phone back, and a wrestling match ensues that just so happens to end up with them in a very suggestive position when Mom and Dad arrive.
Just like before, the parents decide it might be nice to go for a little walk to leave the two newlyweds alone, despite Sang-hyo’s frantic protests that this isn’t what it looks like. Best in-laws ever, no matter how fake the marriage.
Later, over fruit and coffee, Mom says that watching the two of them reminds her of her early days of marriage. Aw, it sounds like they have such a healthy relationship. Dad’s completely taken with Sang-hyo, and says that as soon as he’s healed from his heart surgery, they’ll have to go on a father-daughter date. Is it wrong that I only want these two to stay fake-married just so Sang-hyo can have some family in her life?
Eun-joo’s made good on her promise to take Sung-gyum out drinking, and they sit at a pojangmacha, downing soju. For “cathartic reasons,” she’s trying to get him to curse out Sang-hyo (by following her lead, ha!), but he still somehow ends up complimenting Sang-hyo every time.
She eventually realizes he’s a hopeless case where Sang-hyo is concerned, and admits that she’s the one responsible for marrying off Sang-hyo to Hae-young — it was the only thing she could think of to get her out of the picture once she heard Sang-hyo and Sung-gyum were dating. It was a cowardly act, she knows, but she was desperate, and those who are that desperate don’t always think clearly. Which is, she adds, probably how Hae-young felt, too.
Sang-hyo’s in bed, asleep, as Hae-young quietly moves his pillow from the floor to the bed, trying to crawl in next to her. But not so fast — she sits up, demanding to know what he’s doing. He uses his hurt back (from the wrestling match — yeah, right) as an excuse to stay on the bed. But she starts to tickle him and it’s pretty obvious he’s just faking it as he sits up, giggling, trying to fend her off.
That sends both of them to another Las Vegas flashback, when Hae-young was sleeping — or, rather, pouting, because Sang-hyo had to leave to work at the hotel unexpectedly. She started to tickle him to bring back his smile, and despite his efforts to stay mad at her, he’s just too ticklish.
But he does warn her that if she keeps poking him, he’ll start to have some sexy thoughts. Which only makes her poke him more, pffft. Aw, they were so deliriously happy in love back then, making kissy faces at each other.
That memory gets present-day Sang-hyo to stop poking Hae-young, and she decides that if his back is truly hurting, then he can have the bed and she’ll sleep on the floor instead. He immediately springs up and tells her he was just joking, and returns to his spot on the floor.
Her phone chirps, and it’s a goodnight message from Sung-gyum. She smiles over it until she reads the previous messages from last night that Hae-young sent in her name. She yells at him for sending it, even though he profusely denies it, and pushes him off the bed (where he claims he really did his hurt his back now. Suuuure).
In the morning, Sang-hyo finishes getting dressed and quietly watches Hae-young sleep. She takes his phone and is about to delete the photos he took of her while she was sleeping, but hesitates, giving him one last look before setting the phone back down. He wakes up to check his phone, delighted to see she didn’t delete the photos after all.
Sang-hyo sets up breakfast, and Hae-young goes to fetch his parents — only to find a note. They’re headed to the States this morning since his father’s surgery can’t be put off any longer. But when he gets back to the kitchen, he bluffs that they went to have breakfast at his brother’s, and then flashes the note in front of her face as proof (but so fast she can’t read it).
He’s ready to eat breakfast anyway, but Sang-hyo decides to go to work instead. When he asks why, she tells him she just doesn’t want to eat breakfast with him, and then continues to needle him by sticking out her tongue in response to the rest of his questions.
Hae-young finds her expression unsettlingly cute because he warns her not to make it in front of anyone else, especially Sung-gyum. He tries to for the “it’ll make you look weird to Sung-gyum” excuse to get her stop, but she just plays along and agrees, saying that she’ll make a different face for him — such as licking her lips and then blowing a kiss. On the way to work, Sang-hyo giggles at how much she enjoying driving Hae-young crazy — a realization that which makes her stop laughing, because she shouldn’t be having this much fun doing anything that involves Hae-young.
At the office, a sad Gi-chul looks around at the empty desks, mournfully pointing out that Hwang and Young-mi have died — and even Kyung-hee, too. Wait, what?
In a flashback, Gi-chul and the new hire Sung-min hide around the corner as they watch Kyung-hee collapse in Team Leader Cha’s arms. He rushes around the corner, shouting that he’d promised to protect her, but instead gets thrown against the wall by Team Leader Cha, who makes him promise to pretend like he didn’t see anything.
Which means he gives some serious side-eye to Team Leader Cha when he arrives a few minutes later to tell Sang-hyo that Kyung-hee won’t be in that day because she’s not feeling well.
Detective Kim is still focused on Sung-gyum’s father’s murder, and as he flips through the incident report, the other detective fills him in on other gossipy details. From his sources, it seems like Sung-gyum’s father might not have been such a great guy after all — he had a lot of mistresses and beat up his wife. But because everyone one from that time is no longer around, the only one who could confirm it would be his wife.
The incident report also mentions a necklace that was originally found in Sung-gyum’s father’s hand, but then disappeared in the time that his body was transported from the hotel to the hospital. Detective Kim wonders if that necklace is possibly related to one of his mistresses, until he remembers the necklace that was found in Hwang’s things, the one that Young-mi was using to blackmail GM Lee and Sung-gyum. Which means if that necklace isn’t already in the hands of the killer, there could be another murder.
Like Kyung-hee, perhaps — Team Leader Cha reports to GM Lee, who asks if anyone saw him. But before they can go any further, a nervous Gi-chul knocks on the door, desperate to tell his side of the story. He tells the GM that Kyung-hee was killed by Team Leader Cha, but GM Lee reassures him she’s only out sick.
Gi-chul’s eyes grow wide when he realizees that Team Leader Cha is waiting in GM Lee’s office — which makes GM Lee part of the conspiracy. As he dazedly walks away from the office, he glimpses what he thinks is Kyung-hee and rushes after her. But it’s only a brief glimpse, and every time he gets closer, she’s gone. Another ghost?
No — it’s really Kyung-hee, in the flesh. Whew. Gi-chul is just as relieved as I am that she’s still alive and hugs her tightly, thankful that she’s still here. Aw, she seems grateful that someone cares.
Sang-hyo receives a call from Hae-young’s father, who wanted to let her know that they’ve arrived safely in the U.S., and that no matter what anyone else says, he’s getting this surgery for her. She wishes him a speedy recovery, but mostly she’s stunned to realize that Hae-young’s parents have already left Korea.
At that moment, Sung-gyum asks to have a little talk. He wants to know if everything with Hae-young will really be over in a week. But she’s ready to move out today, since his parents are in the U.S. now. He offers to help her pack up her things to move back to her apartment, but she’d rather avoid another fight between the two boys, so she’ll do it alone.
She calls Hae-young for his apartment’s passcode, letting him know that she found out about his parents leaving already. He hangs up before he can tell it to her and rushes out of the office. In the meantime, she tries to guess the passcode herself, trying all sorts of combinations until she finally lands on the correct one: their wedding date.
Hae-young runs into the apartment, shouting out for Sang-hyo before realizing that she’s already gone. Tears fill his eyes as he recalls the moment he returned to their old apartment in Vegas and discovered she was no longer there.
But a voice calls out, letting him know he just needed to give her the passcode — he didn’t need to come all the way here. He clutches Sang-hyo in a tight hug, much to her surprise. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he begs her to stay the week she had promised. She points out that since his parents are no longer here, there isn’t a point for her staying.
His voice breaks as he continues to desperately beg her to stay for a week, just for him. But she quietly tells him she doesn’t want to. “Let’s stop.” In a voiceover, she remembers that seven years ago, she’d fallen in love with him in the space of a week — she’s not sure she has the courage to go through that again.
Our intrepid stalker-reporter Jung-eun has found out about the little fake-marriage ruse, and in an effort to tear Hae-young and Sang-hyo apart, she gleefully writes an article revealing the truth behind their wedding — and the love triangle between Hae-young, Sang-hyo, and Sung-gyum.
Hae-young’s team fends off endless calls as they try to reassure everyone that it’s a false rumor and the couple is happily married. Ha, and Hae-young deals with the phone calls by just automatically hanging up on everyone. When Hae-young deadpans that he’d like Jung-eun killed next, Shi-chan freaks out — apparently he’s got a crush on her. Good luck with that, buddy.
We’re back to square one at The Secret Hotel, as they hold an emergency staff meeting that is strongly reminiscent of the meeting they held in the first episode, trying to figure out how to deal with the negative publicity. Only this time, Sung-gyum is willing to support Sang-hyo rather than blame her for the article.
But she takes the blame anyway, and promises to fix it. Until the reporters quiet down, she’ll continue to stay at Hae-young’s and keep up appearances as a happy couple.
Sung-gyum argues against this, but GM Lee steps in and reminds him that all the hotel staff were complicit in the fake wedding, and if it’s proved to be a fraud, it will ruin the hotel. GM Lee asks Sang-hyo one last time — is she sure that she has no lingering feelings, and she only married him to save the hotel?
Her silence is enough of an answer for him, and he leaves with one last warning to Sung-gyum to not harass her about her decision. After the rest of the staff leave, a shocked Sung-gyum asks if he’s really causing her to waver, and if she’s really being swayed by Hae-young. We don’t get to hear her answer, darn it!
Hae-young works late at the office, replaying in his mind her request for them to stop: “Yes, let’s stop, Nam Sang-hyo.”
As he makes his way home, phantom images of a smiling Sang-hyo continue to greet him, but he makes them disappear by repeating, “Let’s stop, Nam Sang-hyo.”
He bids adieu to the phantom-Sang-hyo in his apartment, but turns back in surprise when she speaks to him. It’s not a phantom after all; it’s the real deal. She tells him that until the rumor about the hotel and their wedding dies down, she wants to stay here with him.
Hae-young still has some pride, though, remarking that after all the times he’s begged her to stay, she’s only now agreeing to live with him in order to save the hotel — sorry, but he’s not the kind of guy to go along with that.
He repeats the magic words: “Let’s stop this.” She calls out to him, pleading, “Just this once!” — but he continues to walk away.
Honestly, I’m so done with these man-boys, and I want Sang-hyo to be done with them, too. The only reason why I can’t fully hate Hae-young is because it seems like Jin Yi-han is having so much fun with this role that I love watching him play around with it. He practically radiates this charming energy that I still find compelling, even if I really want to grab Hae-young’s shoulders and tell him to grow up already. His character is a total wreck, but I still find him so much fun to watch that I’m willing to roll with it.
At least he was willing to finally and officially let go of her by the end of the episode. I’m not exactly holding my breath that he’ll stick to his promise to “stop,” because he’s done all sorts of crazy tricks to try and keep her around as it is, and I assume he’ll be thrilled to have another excuse to keep her close to him a little longer. But it was nice seeing a little juxtaposition of her being the one begging for him to stay for just a little longer. If only it weren’t so contrived and forced! To his credit, Hae-young at least knew her motivation was, once again, to save the hotel. So maybe he’s learning.
Even so — these guys need to stop treating Sang-hyo like a prize to be fought over and won, and start respecting her as a person who is fully capable of making her own decisions. I rolled my eyes at the “ultimatums” they gave her, because that is one of my least favorite rom-com gimmicks ever. I would have much preferred for her to ignore them both and just take a taxi by herself (or, y’know, go out drinking with the girls, because the girls still seem like barrels of awesome-sauce, and I totally want to be BFFs with Eun-joo and drink soju with her).
Let’s focus on the mystery for just a moment, shall we? I’ve had Team Leader Cha on the suspect list for awhile, but thanks to Gi-chul, I’m assuming he’s not the murderer. (Btw, no love for that little Kyung-hee fake-out.) It seems like most people who’ve been pointed out to be the murderer end up having a different, less-deadly secret. Possibly he and Kyung-hee had a little romance going on? I’d like for her to have that much, considering she still hasn’t told anyone that she’s dying of cancer, and I’d be happy knowing Team Leader Cha is someone she could lean on, figuratively and literally.
So strike him off the suspect list. Which leaves… hmmm. I’ve actually been very curious about Sung-gyum’s mother ever since we first learned she was the last person Hwang talked to, and I’m hoping we get to learn a little more about her, since it looks like Detective Kim believes that cracking the old case about Sung-gyum’s father’s death will hold the secret to Hwang and Young-mi’s deaths. Even though the mystery remains one of the most compelling parts of this show, I’m almost at a place where I don’t care who did it — I just want it solved already, dang it.
Also it seems like there are tons of secrets left to reveal — considering how much emphasis has been placed on fathers, and how much Sang-hyo longs for a father figure in her life, I’m still betting on a birth secret — perhaps one of the many ladies Sung-gyum’s father wooed? Maybe one of them was Kyung-hee! Birth secrets, incest and a long-lost parent dying of cancer: a Dramaland trifecta! I kid; I kid. (Uh, I hope I’m kidding… d’you hear me drama gods? It’s a joke! A joke!)
Hopefully these last few episodes will pick up the pace and give us the real answers. Or at least make this drama as fun and interesting as it was in the beginning. Less moping; more murder!
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 12
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 11
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 10
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 9
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 8
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 7
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 6
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 5
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 4
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 3
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 2
- My Secret Hotel: Episode 1