My Secret Hotel: Episode 4 Recap

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After this week a new writer will be taking the helm. The original writer Kim Ye Ri had written out the screenplay for episodes 1-4 before passing away from cancer in March. Kim Do Hyun (Goodbye Dear Wife) will be taking over for the rest of the series. Hopefully this writer will be able to continue the wonderful tone that Kim Ye Ri has set, and hopefully this drama does not decline.

(Apologies for a lot of the recap delays! I promise to catch up very soon with this and Joseon Gunman going forward!)

Hae Young refutes the possibility that he is Hwang’s killer by pointing out that Hwang could have picked up his lost wallet anywhere. That’s when Geum Bo hands him the picture – the “undeniable evidence” – that he found. Hae Young can only turn it over and cover it. Why Hae Young, why?!

Geum Bo explains his theory. He knows that Hae Young and Sang Hyo had a relationship. It could have been before the wedding, or it could have been during their time in the States. Either way, Hwang found out and threatened to reveal it, and that’s when Hae Young killed him. That’s the only way it would explain a worn photo of Sang Hyo from years ago, torn in half so you can’t see who she’s with, would be found in Hae Young’s wallet. Thank goodness Geum Bo is truly a capable detective, and not just a flirt!

Caught, Hae Young tells the truth. Seven years ago Hae Young and Sang Hyo eloped in Nevada as if marriage were a game. They split three months later, but because they never filed for a marriage license they’re legally unmarried. Hwang found out about their former relationship and Hae Young fought with him. HOWEVER, and this is where the flashbacks and memories get befuddled, Hae Young did not kill Hwang. He instead pointed the awl at Hwang’s chest, and forced him to drop it. He then left Hwang with a warning to never bother Sang Hyo.

At that moment, Geum Bo admits that he never suspected Hae Young as the killer. He confirmed with the police that Hae Young had reported his wallet missing at 8pm, when Hwang was still alive and eating dinner. He was merely curious as to why an about-to-be-married-man was carrying a picture of an ex-girlfriend. He returns the picture but takes the wallet back with him as it’s considered evidence. Un-bagged and full of Geum Bo’s fingerprints – ack! As he heads out, Shi Chan totally stumbles in insisting that Hae Young’s got an alibi. Heh! But there was no need for an alibi, and that makes Shi Chan think that Hae Young’s going to jail. “I’ll visit you,” he promises. “I didn’t think I’d get the director’s position this way.” PFFT HAHAHA!

Sang Hyo oversees the clean-up of the wedding hall and gets a radio call from Kyung Hee. Soo Ah is at the office to cancel her wedding contract, and wants to see Sang Hyo personally. Sang Hyo freaks out and grabs Eun Joo for some help. She wants Eun Joo to try to slap her just once. Oho – are you sure you want to ask Eun Joo for that?!

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Eun Joo winds up for a huge slap, since it’s her revenge against the girl who stole Sung Gyeom’s heart, but Sang Hyo ducks quickly. What was Eun Joo thinking for slapping so fast?! She wants Eun Joo to slap really slowly so that she can practice grabbing her wrist and then preventing getting hurt at all. Clearly she’s afraid that Soo Ah wants to see her to slap her again.

Except… that’s not what happens. Soo Ah instead apologizes for slapping her that day and asks her to be understanding since a dead body fell on her wedding day. Her sweet gesture turns sour when she also pats herself in the back for apologizing to the woman who ruined her wedding day. Sheesh. But she cancels the wedding contract, so what’s done is done. Now Sang Hyo has no reason ever to see Hae Young again.

Flashback to seven years ago. They’ve only been dating for a week but Hae Young wants to be with Sang Hyo forever. She’s unsure if they should get married when they barely know each other, but he is. He knows he wants to be with her forever. During their moment of pure bliss, a photographer comes up to them and asks if he can take a picture. That picture is what ends up being torn apart three months later when Sang Hyo leaves Hae Young, cleaning out her belongings and covering everything with a white cloth.

Hae Young arrives a little too late to stop her from leaving. He finds the torn picture and cradles the half with Sang Hyo. He really must have meant it when he said he’d love her forever; only time will tell what drove them apart. Unfortunately, he takes Geum Bo’s advice about the picture and burns it. A soon-to-be-married man shouldn’t be carrying around a photo of an ex-girlfriend/wife.

In the precinct, Geum Bo practices his wink (with that cute farting sound effect) while Detective Lee mulls over the case. There are no CCTV recordings, and no one but his coworkers who knew Hwang the best. Another officer comes by with the autopsy results: Hwang died between 10pm – 12am. Armed with this information Geum Bo and Det. Lee head back to the hotel to question Hwang’s coworkers.

Kyung Hee is questioned first. During those hours she was in the meeting room sobbing, but she claims to have gone home early for feeling unwell. She has no one to back up her alibi though, and she honestly admits that no one in the hotel got along with Hwang. This makes her out to be a stronger likely suspect.

Young Mi on the other hand sobs during her interrogation and claims that they got along. Truth is, Hwang was the guy who pulled her hair after he caught her listening in on his conversation with Manager Lee the night of the karaoke. He threatened to kill her if she doesn’t keep what she heard a secret, and it’s a secret she does keep from the detectives. When asked what she did during 10pm – 12am, she claims to have been walking around Myungdong because she was bothered by the bride being the same age and her. It seems that Young Mi holds a grudge over the fact that the poor can’t move up in society because if you’re rich and from a good family you will marry among the rich.

Gi Chul is the most nervous of them all and says he was out with Manager Cha drinking that night. They’re not very close but it seems like the two had things to talk about. Any witnesses? None, except for perhaps pedestrians. Poor guy spills water all over himself he’s so nervous.

Sang Hyo is next, and she wonders if she should reveal Hwang’s last words about messing up the wedding for her. Except that’s not what Geum Bo asks. Instead he has only one question for her: “Is it going to be Goo Hae Young or Jo Sung Gyeom?” Who does she like more? And she can’t lie to him. Forced to answer, Sang Hyo replies, “I… plead the fifth!” Haha! Geum Bo resigns himself (in his notes) that he won’t be able to hit it off with Sang Hyo today and dismisses her. But isn’t he going to ask her where she was between 10pm – 12am like he did with her coworkers?

Geum Bo already knows the answer to that thanks to Hae Young’s testimony. It shocks her that Hae Young knew where she was, and raises more questions for her as to why he was at the hotel that night. Certainly Geum Bo is not going to tell her. He leaves first and bumps into Manager Cha on the way out. He wants to verify Gi Chul’s alibi, but we’ll never know if what Manager Cha says is the truth, for Gi Chul is watching a little ways away. Manager Cha spots Gi Chul and gives an alibi similar to his – that they were out drinking discussing hotel matters. HMMMM – suspicious… 

Meanwhile Sung Gyeom sends Simon to track down all the employees from 1984 to see if any of them remember his father, Manager Lee, or Hwang. He bumps into Sang Hyo on the elevator down and invites her to be his drinking buddy for the night. Just as they leave, they’re caught by Eun Joo, who just “strongly advised” Manager Cha and the security team to “volunteer” for a charity marathon for the youth as it’s good for PR if all departments participate. The two of them don’t seem to get along very well, as it seems like Eun Joo’s pulling teeth to get Manager Cha to do anything. But when she sees her rival with her love, she’s suddenly Cha’s best friend and claims they were going to get a drink together.

Now all four have to go get drinks together. Haha!

Eun Joo compliments Sung Gyeom’s tie, which turns out is a gift she gave him welcoming him to the hotel. “Do you know what a tie means as a gift? It means, ‘Please be mine,'” she hints. Sung Gyeom replies, “Should I take it off then? Sang Hyo when will you give me a gift?” Oh man, as if Sung Gyeom’s preference wasn’t obvious enough! Eun Joo really flirts with Sung Gyeom, making Sang Hyo and Manager Cha really uncomfortable. It gets to the point where Eun Joo even tries to set the other two up, though they can see right through her.

They all leave the lounge and Eun Joo tries to get Sung Gyeom to drive her home. Sang Hyo opts to take the bus while Manager Cha decides to “figure it out” since clearly Eun Joo doesn’t want him around. So then Sung Gyeom closes the door on Eun Joo and bids his driver to take her home! Haha! Score for Sang Hyo!

(Actually I don’t know if I should really be rooting for them, but it is funny to see Eun Joo get outsmarted and fail.)

Manager Cha takes his leave, and Sung Gyeom walks Sang Hyo home. Since he’s gone so far already, she invites him to eat ramen together. HAHA! Oh man, it tickles my bones because in I Need Romance 3, his ex-girlfriend Se Ryung had seduced many men by inviting them over to eat ramen. Do memories of this make him incredibly uncomfortable?

If so, there’s nothing to worry about. Sang Hyo in fact does not bring him to her home, but just to a convenience store where they wait three minutes outside for the perfect instant ramen. Poor Sung Gyeom – he’s so disappointed. But then it also makes her more charming because she’s not as forward as Eun Joo. They part ways for the night outside her apartment, and Sung Gyeom soon calls to check in on her. They begin their ritual of checking all the possible places where a ghost could hide, and Sang Hyo plays along, amused. She’s led to the window, where she sees Sung Gyeom standing outside. He hadn’t left yet! He thanks her for a wonderful night, and their cute courtship begins.

The following day Hae Young visits the construction site to see how it’s going. He and the construction foreman have a good rapport going, and Hae Young even calls for food delivery for him and his men. The construction foreman thanks him, and ominously comments that he thinks the heavens are giving him a blessing in disguise by having a dead body fall and ruin his wedding. Unfortunately it looks like there’s going to be some trouble with the materials being sent in.

The angry call that the foreman has with the supplier reminds Hae Young of the call he overheard Hwang make. Just as he debates whether to tell Geum Bo about the call or not, he hears from Jung Eun. She’s at the precinct and just saw Sang Hyo being questioned; this further affirms her belief that the main suspects for murder are either Sang Hyo or Hae Young. Worried for Sang Hyo, he hurries over to the precinct, leaving Shi Chan to pay for the food delivery.

It’s actually nothing big – the detectives just wanted to return Hwang’s belongings to her since he had no family they could give it to. Sang Hyo then tells them something that’s been weighing on her mind recently: Could Hwang have committed suicide? After all he did say he could stop the wedding for her. Geum Bo thinks it’s ridiculous that Hwang would die for her, but he does find it interesting that perhaps Sang Hyo did want the wedding stopped.

Just then the detectives’ number one suspect, Hae Young, arrives. Geum Bo immediately dismisses Sang Hyo before she can ask any more questions, but now she’s left to wonder what Hae Young’s true reasons for going to the hotel that night were.

Hae Young’s trip to the station was all for naught as Geum Bo explains that they know Sang Hyo’s not the killer. CCTV footage is her alibi. So then Hae Young reveals what he overheard Hwang say (“If you don’t listen to me, I’ll talk to your son”) and that he saw Kyung Hee in the meeting room crying. Now this is interesting news for Geum Bo as he now has an unseen enemy and a lying assistant manager at the wedding hall.

As Geum Bo tasks Detective Lee with finding out who the unseen enemy is, they both witness just how cute Sang Hyo can be as she covers herself up and “sneakily” runs to Hae Young’s car. She thinks no one will recognize her in her get-up… hahaha… She forces him to drive to somewhere quiet with Hwang’s back scratcher, tickling him to submission. They don’t realize they were spotted by Jung Eun.

They end up at a park near the hotel and Sang Hyo asks if he really killed Hwang. After all he had no reason to be at the hotel the night before the wedding. Hae Young is offended that she would even entertain the thought, or ask him the questions. Truly hurt, he says, “You still don’t know me.” He never wants to see her again and walks away first.

Back at the office Young Mi offers to bring the belongings to Manager Lee, and tells him to stay strong. Though she doesn’t say that she knows of his relationship with Hwang, Manager Lee does suspect something off about her. In the bathroom, Young Mi then tries on a necklace that was part of Hwang’s belongings and is nearly caught by Kyung Hee. These two ladies seem really off, either colluding in something very suspicious or suspecting each other of something.

Jung Eun begins writing her angry article about Secret Hotel, which is primarily aimed at making Sang Hyo suffer because she is still hanging around Hae Young. It’s funny how she writes an article as if playing a piano masterpiece, with words whizzing around her like a Sherlock-ian mind palace.

The article is published and now Secret Hotel is under the spotlight again. Eun Joo swears on revenge and calls up Jung Eun, who’s chilling poolside at the hotel. Eun Joo wants to sue her, of which Jung Eun doesn’t care if she does. So Sang Hyo tries to reason with Jung Eun. However, she finds herself going up against someone unexpected: a reporter who knows everything about her past history with Hae Young and her cursed three-month marriage. Rendered speechless, Sang Hyo takes responsibility for this article.

Secret Hotel is not the only one getting an excessive amount of calls from the media – so is Hae Young’s firm. Everyone is forced to deal with prying reporters as Hae Young avoids all calls and is so ready to kill everyone out of frustration. Soo Ah is likewise bothered with calls and takes her anger out on her driver. “Are you happy now (that I didn’t get married)?” she asks, before slapping him. Their interaction is laced with subtext – looks like it is not just Hae Young who’s got a secret.

A meeting of all the managers is held and Sung Gyeom asks just how Sang Hyo plans to take responsibility for this scandal. With a heavy sigh, Sang Hyo offers to resign. That disappoints both Manager Lee (who had wanted Sang Hyo to take his job after he leaves eventually) and even Eun Joo (who’s all about suing for defamation). Sung Gyeom refuses to accept resignation as a solution because it won’t make the scandal go away. She can resign if she wants later, but first she has to resolve the scandal by making sure Hae Young and Soo Ah marry at their hotel. Only then will the rumors be put to rest.

Everyone agrees that this might be the best way to distance the hotel from the scandal, which only used initials in the article and doesn’t outwardly point to Secret Hotel. Great, now Sang Hyo is going to have to convince the couple to sign a new contract with the hotel.

After a late night at work, Hae Young leaves the darkened office to find Sang Hyo waiting for him. She occupies herself with tilting all of his perfectly straight picture frames, which now explains their differing personalities (he likes things ordered, and she more random). Hae Young thinks she’s there to apologize but she’s not. Instead she has a favor to ask: could he leave the wedding in her hands?

Comments:

We’re getting a bit of push and pull in these last few episodes, and I can see why it’s so important that Hae Young marries Soo Ah. The couple has to reach a point where they’re not going to marry, and having them back in the throes of wedding planning and in constant proximity of their true loves is the only way to make that happen.

I found myself really rooting for Sung Gyeom, which sucks because I don’t want to go through second lead syndrome. I am hoping that Sung Gyeom ends up becoming a “bad guy” of sorts, but then that would make Nam Goong Min seriously repeat his role from I Need Romance 3. I am also now really curious about Soo Ah’s driver, as it looks like Soo Ah and her driver had an affair. Or perhaps they are both really in love but Soo Ah and Hae Young’s parents encouraged them to get married as it would have been a good match.

I really like how the drama manages to balance romantic comedy with a classic whodunit. People in the hotel are suspicious enough that you aren’t sure of their true intents and thoughts, and those whom you think could be the culprit may not have done it at all. The obvious suspect (in the audience’s eyes) would be Manager Lee, while the show is trying to put Young Mi and Kyung Hee in the forefront of having possibly been the killers. I would like to be pleasantly surprised and find that it’s not Manager Lee who killed Hwang. But even if that ends up being the case, I am really enjoying this whodunit as it reminds me a lot of Harvest Villa.

Funny thing I noticed this episode was Yoo In Na’s earrings. She had really nice ones on, and one of them includes a style that Jeon Ji Hyun popularized while in My Love From Another Star. Heh, I wonder what her MLFAS character would have thought of following her rival’s fashion trends.

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