Heh, Jin Yi-han (Secret Hotel, A New Leaf) usually plays such put-together, gentlemanly types that it ought to be fun to watch him play a loser in a weekend family drama. After a frustrating previous week, this satisfying episode delivers some decisive moments for several characters, both on the mystery front and (mostly) the romance, as well as bringing in, perhaps, the final key figure for the former. 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? It’s got to be asked: With a week to play with, does Hae-young have a plan, or is his grand plan to wing it?
This is an episode packed with character developments (and regressions…) and focuses largely on the love triangle of Sung-gyum and the newlyweds. So far at The Secret Hotel, we have: one definite murder, two possible murders, several serious suspects, an elopement, a marriage, and far too many secrets to count.
Subscribe to HanCinema Pure to remove ads from the website (not for episode and movie videos) for US$2.99 per month (you can cancel anytime). The first step is to be a member, please click here : Sign up, then a subscribe button will show up. After Sung-gyum discovers Sang-hyo, he wants to know why she’s with Hae-young and Soo-ah on their honeymoon. Hae-young is reluctant to let them walk away, but watches them go as Soo-ah wonders if Sung-gyum will be angry to discover that Sang-hyo was the substitute for her wedding.
He thinks she’s referring to her wedding to Hae-young seven years ago, and then wonders if perhaps she has another marriage in her past — to someone other than Hae-young? Immediately, Sang-hyo begins to panic, because she remembers him as the hotel employee who knows her as Hae-young’s bride.
Watching them from afar is a sad and lovesick Ki-ho, who sighs that Soo-ah is too beautiful for him. Eun-joo is also surprised that he knows she threatened Young-mi, and refuses to tell him more because it will harm the reputation of the deceased. In a flashback, Eun-joo pulls Young-mi aside, asking how she could blackmail one of their clients, demanding that she hand over the photos. After Eun-joo explains what happened, she asks if Detective Kim thinks she’s still the killer. She ignores Hae-young’s attempt to call her on the phone, so he sends her a text, telling her to come out at the count of three.
Sung-gyum is utterly gobsmacked and looks to Sang-hyo for confirmation, but she just helplessly apologizes.
At the police station, Detective Kim sighs that they’re still without a lead on the killer.
Unable to stand the thought that she would share a room with Hae-young even if Soo-ah is there, Sung-gyum orders Sang-hyo to pack up her suitcase and use his room. Meanwhile, Hae-young makes sure Soo-ah is taken care of, and she cries in her sleep as he tells her family that she’s okay.
The first time was because they were in love; the second time is to get back the woman he loves. Team Leader Cha meets with the person who sent him the text — it’s Gi-chul, and he asks if Team Leader Cha killed Young-mi, too.
Because the wallet was then found next to Hwang’s body, Gi-chul assumes that must mean Team Leader Cha is the murderer. Hae-young channel-surfs in the hotel room, sighing over the fact that the first night of his honeymoon he shared a tent with Ki-ho, and now he’s sharing a room with Sung-gyum (not to mention on his wedding night, there was a dead body in the bathroom). Sang-hyo stops pretending to be asleep and tells Soo-ah not to wait for him — he won’t come back.
Seven years ago, Sang-hyo had returned to their apartment, shocked to discover that all his stuff was gone.
Hae-young wakes up with a start (and the cutest bedhead), wondering where Sung-gyum has gone. He’s surprised at this response, saying she should give him a second chance — they have so much history together, how could she forget him so easily? Sung-gyum butts in to point out that the person who left is the more cowardly one, and Soo-ah agrees: Why did he leave, anyway? Sang-hyo tries to ignore him and just eat her breakfast, but Soo-ah and Sung-gyum aren’t convinced that something could be more important than leaving behind the woman you love. She’s all smiles for the reporters as she tells them how special their honeymoon has been, but he continues to sulk.
As soon as the interview is over, Sang-hyo is ready to go back home, and she waits for Sung-gyum to bring his car around.
Hae-young says she should have waited for him, but she points out that he was the one who left. A very-much not-okay Hae-young drives Soo-ah home, and she tries to be quiet to not disrupt his brooding over Sang-hyo until she realizes that she’s being silly.
Not for the first time, Hae-young asks Sang-hyo to move to New York with him — she could find another job there. Hae-young drops Soo-ah off at her home, but she’s not ready to leave the car, convinced her mother will beat her to death. The employees at Hae-young’s architecture firm have decided to take the evening off and go out for drinks.
But Hae-young suddenly appears behind him, and the rest of the staff scatter, leaving Shi-chan to take the blame. As much as I groaned when Soo-ah returned (because I sincerely thought after she eloped with Ki-ho, we wouldn’t see her again), I kinda love that Soo-ah and Sang-hyo have gone through the same experiences, impulsive-first-marriage-wise. Which is why I loved the second half when the guys’ attention was more on each other than Sang-hyo (although, admittedly, it was because of her).
As for the mystery side of things, we’re still moving along at the slow-and-steady pace. But honestly I’m not in a crashing hurry to have everything solved right away, so long as we continue to get closer and closer to figuring things out. I was even more on his side after episode 10, but I’ll save that comment for the recap to come. Even when Namgoong Min plays a less lovable character, he always brings out the deeper feelings and forces the viewer to sympathize.
Reminded me of how so many nice guys are hurt by females always chasing after the movie star looks type. All of last week I watched Monstar instead and that line that Kim Nana says in there reminds me of your comment.. Haven’t been watching the show, but have been reading recaps and watching WGM which Namgoong Min is in. I guess I have a lot more to say about the next episode but I really loved the ending to this one. I watched this episode through my fingers, because I knew Sung Gyum was going to have his heart stomped on.
Sang-hyo begins to panic, because she remembers him as the hotel employee who knows her as Hae-young’s bride. Sung-gyum really won me over this episode (apart, of course, from that entirely gratuitous (and totally gratifying) shower scene). This is why I’m ready to be persuaded that Sung-gyum is a better partner for Sang-hyo, in that he can meet her where she is now, career and all. But then the writers want me to give a free pass to SG’s unilateral decision making and frequent micromanagement of SH. I’m curious as to why you think the writers want us to give a free pass on that, though. About the way he keeps pressing on even though he knows (even without Hae Young in the picture) that Sang Hyo isn’t really all that into him, I get the impression that this is supposed to come across as… misguided? HY does love Sang Hyo, but he just has such a terrible way of expressing it (and terrible timing). I guess I’m having a hard time seeing HY as the unfair controlling person that they’re trying to make him out to be.
I don’t think the show is trying to sell him as controlling so much as a little self-involved and terribly uncommunicative. But when he came back after that, he was a broken man — in a spasm of grief, he tore apart their office and raged at Shi-chan for calling him away. Back at the station, Detective Kim remains unconvinced that Cha Dong-min killed for GM Lee. About to part ways in the hotel lobby, she turns back to him and asks him not to come looking for her again, even if she’s sick.
That night, Sang-hyo takes the wedding ring out of her dresser and slips it on, amid falling tears. The next day, Kyung-hee packs her belongings and gives Gi-chul and Jjajangmyun encouraging words that sound awful lot like a goodbye. Kyung-hee visits Cha in custody, and smiles that it reminds her of the first time they met when he was 18, and she and GM Lee had come to see him. Later that night, Detective Kim informs a shocked Sung-gyum of Kyung-hee’s role in the two deaths.
She realized Young-mi had the incriminating necklace and tried to get it back, resulting in an accident when the latter tripped and took her fatal fall. She apologizes, but he says it’s his own fault for trying to hold onto her when he knows her true feelings. In one last effort, he tells her that if she asks him to stay because she needs him, only then will he take her back.


It’s back to business as usual at The Secret Hotel as Sang-hyo meets new wedding clients — and Soo-ah! She shares what he said when she pestered him to marry her: Would she be okay if he never loved her? Sang-hyo struggles with this startling revelation, and a just-arrived Detective Kim chimes in that it sounds like the truth.
That night, Hae-young regards the photo from his wallet, which he didn’t manage to burn after all.
Staring at Sang-hyo in disbelief, he roars at Jung-eun, who hightails it out like a coward.
Curled up together, Sang-hyo and Hae-young can’t apologize to each other enough for all the misunderstandings.
Sang-hyo and Hae-young are about to sit down to an alfresco dinner out when Eun-joo takes them by surprise. Kyung-hee’s last words to Sang-hyo were moving, falling all the more deeply knowing her days are numbered.
Whether they successfully integrated the romance with the mystery is probably a matter of opinion. Oh come on, just because Jung-eun tries to stick close to Hae-young, get him drunk, sleep with him in his appartment and run around in his clothes doesn’t mean there is anything going on between them.
Hae-young is way too honest and unsuspecting to think that Jung-eun might actually try to do anything that might not be acceptable by his potential girlfriend.
About Hae Young getting into her place, I’d assume that out of concern for her, he could get the landlord to open up the door with a master key. His easy going acceptance of so much nonsense from Jung Eun, Shi Chan (lying for him), even Soo Ah and Ki Ho, is also to blame for so much of the angst, wasted time, interruptions and misunderstandings and for nullifying the few little steps forward in the OTP relationship – in fact in setting it back many big steps. I would have liked a more 50:50 ratio between mystery and romance, with both Sang Hyo and Hae Young either together or separately helping Detective Kim along, and in the process growing closer together. The forced wedding put me off from the episode it was introduced and it prevented me from liking the show and keeping up regularly.
I agree, Hae Young really was too dense for tolerating Jung Eun’s delusional, meddling and stalkerish behaviour for so long.
Or, given that she’s not a very realistic character to begin with, maybe the writer was too dense for not showing JE the door long ago?
Why did Goo Hae Young hang around Joo Jung-Eun all these years (from NY, at his office, at his residence, to Secret Hotel) and think nothing of it?
The mystery of Papa Jo’s death now unraveled, the big questions that have been piling up remain: Who killed Hwang and Young-mi?
We also learn who killed Young-mi and Hwang, although the jury is still out as to whether that’s not just another cover-up for the truth.
The male posturing continues, ranging from comedic and petty to crushing, and more than one heart is trodden on as things come to a head. New clues point to new suspects, but also keep raising more questions and widening the web of players. What is good is so delightfully strong in content and execution while what is bad is draggy and dull.
Sang-hyo prevents the other two from explaining what happened, as she and Sung-gyum step aside so she can tell him in private.
But to Hae-young, she was no substitute, and Soo-ah is surprised to discover that he genuinely wanted to marry Sang-hyo. Hastily she reassures him that’s not it (which is no lie), but before she can explain any further, the resort manager appears to check in with Sung-gyum. The oblivious Sung-gyum introduces her to the employee as his girlfriend, and she tries to greet him all the while keeping her face turned away so he can’t recognize her.
She rages that he must have been two-timing her, having promised to marry her while really in love with another woman.
She’s offended that he thinks she could have actually killed someone, and explains that she dropped it in shock after she found Young-mi dead. But Detective Kim reminds her that it’s more important that she clear herself of suspicion so they can catch the murderer. Hae-young finds them in the dining room and ducks around the corner, suddenly flustered that she’s just sitting there, smiling and having fun. She ignores his texts, and when he counts down to one, he strides to their table, demanding Sang-hyo to follow him.
He wonders how, even if she were in a difficult situation, she could have married him like that. He finds the letter that Ki-ho left behind, and wonders what the outcome will be for him and Sang-hyo. But surprise, surprise, in saunters Hae-young, nonchalantly rolling his suitcase into the corner.
When he hears Sung-gyum leave the bathroom, he gets ready to wash up, too — but is stopped at the sight of Sung-gyum’s six-pack, and buttons his shirt up again.
Eun-joo is pleased her plan went so well, but Jung-eun has a different response, as she wails at the news article about the wedding.
But there’s no more time to argue, since Sang-hyo and Hae-young have another press interview. Hae-young tries to protest her leaving, but she reminds him that she married him only to save the hotel.
Letting loose her own frustration, she tells him he’s the one who made the mistake of leaving without at least saying goodbye face-to-face. But she refuses, saying that the best hotels are in Las Vegas and she’s worked too hard to get where she is to leave it all behind.
But as scary as Mom looks, she’s surprisingly pleasant as she asks after Soo-ah, letting her know how worried she was about her. Shi-chan buys another round, happy that they’ve married off their boss — who calls him on the phone. Which Hae-young wants to put on him, but not for going out drinking when he should be working — for the phone call seven years ago that broke up his marriage. But it does drive home the point that Hae-young and Sang-hyo never had closure about their relationship. I know that Soo-ah is created to be an unlikable character, but there’s something about her that draws me to her.
Because that gives me a little hope that somehow Hae-young and Sang-hyo can work out their problems, too, now that Hae-young realizes how clearly Sang-hyo prioritizes her career. In the meantime, I’ll just hope that somehow everyone will find a way to be happy and stay alive until the end of the show.
I feel like a horrible human being for saying this but the actor gives me the impression of having his skin too tight around his face, if that makes sense?
She is a person not an item, so he should talk to her and explain whatever he has to say, the reasons he has to think that this time it will be better. I love that Hae-young finally broke down and admitted he may just lose Sang-hyo all over again. I’m really glad that tvN and the writers are making this a real relationship, rather than having a Second Lead male who never really had a chance with the girl to begin with. Sang Hyo doesn’t want to, workplace romances tend to be frowned upon, and it would expose her to accusations relating to favouritism (the future of the hotel!). Because he keeps trying to make it happen, instead of either letting it happen or acknowledging that it’s just not going to happen.
Still alone, and now curled up on the floor, Sang-hyo collapses, just like seven years ago, noting to herself she’s doing it again. At her door, he rings and knocks, calling out her name, but she’s still passed out on her floor.
Sung-gyum cuts their tete-a-tete short, asking if they’re not ashamed to be consoling each other, when one of the two certainly killed his father — are they now trying to renew their past love? Hae-young explains he came to investigate when she didn’t show up for work the day before. She wants to trust him because he seems sincere when he’s in front of her, but when she looks back at him, that sincerity seems like a lie. She tells him that while it may be easy for him to come and go, it’s really hard for her. To Sang-hyo, she hands in her resignation, which the young manager doesn’t want to accept. She knew it wasn’t exceptional treatment, since he was good to everyone, but that made her like him even more. Kim finds the idea of GM Lee using the guard to kill people out of character for a man who forgave him for killing his own nephew. Detective Lee says it must be love — why else would he make a false confession if not to protect a beloved? Kim tries the handle, and inside, they find no sign of her until they simultaneously discover the note and the necklace on the table…and Kyung-hee’s body in the bathroom, with her wrist slit.
In her suicide note, she wrote how she came back to the hotel that night and witnessed Hwang threatening her beloved GM. Again, Cha covered for her, deleting the CCTV and ultimately taking responsibility for it all. In an oblique acceptance of the elders’ relationship, he asks Lee to take good care of Mom.
They meet, and Sung-gyum tells her he resigned, and plans to return to the States after a little break.


In his life, he had only loved one woman, and even though they broke up, she’s the only one in his heart. Soo-ah also tells her that he went back to Las Vegas to look for her, but she was already gone, and the landlady told him she’d left with another man. He came by to tell her the case is closed, and also reveals that he saw the old photo of her that Hae-young still carries in his wallet.
Word for word, the scene replays just like New York as Jung-eun asks her if she wants to come inside.
The doorbell rings again and she tries to stop him from getting it, but he snaps at her to get dressed.
Sang-hyo says she’ll go with him to New York if he wants her to, or wait if he wants her to wait, which makes him draw her into a wordless embrace.
At the airport, he tells Sang-hyo his work might take a while, and she promises she’ll wait until he comes back. He wipes the tears from her cheeks, and smiling into each other’s eyes, they finally kiss.
She’s back from studying abroad, and is delighted that her fake couple are still together. This episode did a lot to bring us back from the pre-finale makjang upswing and return the show to a better place. In a straightforward regression, Hae-young’s reappearance in her life throws her back to that traumatic transition period. I think they dovetailed at best — the same world and set of characters, but different stories. I guess the substitute writer didn’t have the same vision or any vision for that matter. I would have much preferred something with more dark-murder-mystery and the romance taking a backseat, rather than the other way around! He of all people MUST know what Jung-eun is doing because he tried the EXACT SAME THING with Sang-hyo during their forced cohabitation. It sends the wrong message to men and women watching that show (and almost every other kdrama). I’m sorry to say the ending feels so wrong to me, the main character lost all her sass and, well, she lost herself.
After 7 years, when Sang Hyo is finally about to start fresh, he had the nerve to barge in and try to ruin things.
It’s kinda trite to set up the damsel in distress scenario, but at least it would have made for a more compelling show if there was even the remote possibility that their lives might be on the line.
The mere fact that she gets interfere and insert herself in their relationship and simply walk away freely without receiving any type of punishment or having to atone for her actions is a horrible message to send out. We finally learn what happened in Las Vegas seven years ago that caused them to break up — despite all of Hae-young’s best efforts, is history doomed to repeat itself? But Hae-young points out that she’s one to talk (what with her running off with Ki-ho).
Immediately convinced, she leans in and whispers that she caught Young-mi blackmailing Soo-ah. When she arrives to collect her suitcase, Hae-young wants to know what kind of guy Sung-gyum is to order her around. They have too much history together for him to leave forever, so she decides she’ll wait until he comes back.
She counsels Soo-ah not to waste her time waiting, or wondering what she did wrong, or if he loved her. When he mentions that Soo-ah should still be grieving over Ki-ho instead of wolfing down breakfast, Soo-ah tells him that after talking things over with Sang-hyo, she’s decided to forget about Ki-ho. He confesses that he married her out of genuine feelings, but Sang-hyo says they were finished seven years ago when he left her.
She remembers everything about how they broke up, and she doesn’t trust him or his casual feelings.
She’s not going to sacrifice her career for him, just like he refuses to sacrifice his career for her. As soon as Hae-young leaves, though, she grabs her daughter by the ear and drags her inside. This is the first episode where I’ve finally come around to the idea that Sung-gyum might actually be good for Sang-hyo (although I still desperately want to know what his secret is!). Normally this is something couples discuss before they get married, but the passionate young love between Hae-young and Sang-hyo meant that they obviously didn’t stop to talk through the big issues before they got hitched. It seems like the more we see of her, the more we peel back a little bit of her superficial layer to discover a scared young woman who wants to do the right thing, but was brought up to not be responsible enough to manage life on her own.
One of the things I love about this show is how independent and capable Sang-hyo is, and how fiercely she defends that independence in not just herself, but other women, too. I want them to become begrudging buddies, if possible, and to needle each other in silly little ways that make each other realize how they need to step up if they want to truly be men worthy of Sang-hyo. I think subconsciously I have been preparing for the eventual 2nd lead heartbreak which has made me fall behind on this show. A small bit of childish jealousy can be cute, if the guy knows how to be serious the rest of the time.
It’s adorable, and I hope the drama has much more of that since JYH and NGM are very close in real life. As Sung-gyum leaves, he thinks of his apology to her the day before for not being able to wait for her, and he’s glad Hae-young is at her side. Overcome by anger, she stabbed him and ran away — and Cha, seeing events from the security office, took care of the body. They sit down together, and the ring she casually shows off immediately catches Sang-hyo’s attention: Is she getting married? The problems in Sang-hyo and Hae-young’s relationship boil down to 1) communication, and 2) trust, where the failure to communicate causes the loss of trust. Thankfully, it didn’t lead to a plot-implosion, but it did drag it down, because the show was so busy keeping the mystery a mystery that it failed to develop it properly. Which didn’t work out horribly per se, but it made for uneven pace…but then she had to kill herself? There were crossovers from romance to killing and back, but they were two fairly distinct trajectories, that converged more at the end.
With a misunderstanding so big, spanning years and continents (lives ruined, blood shed…oh wait, wrong show), I would have liked a bit more denouement to give depth to that resolution.
What id she hadn’t been sick in her appartment but showering or masturbatin or having sex with someone else or crying her her heart out or cooking pasta or not here at all? And if your loved one does that when you like being left alone, well, it means they don’t have boundaries. I understood that she changed to protect herself and all, but really, I didn’t like the way the show turned out. It is like a bad case of ex-boyfriend who still thinks he owns Sang Hyo even though they broke up 7 years ago. As Mom continues to drag her inside the house, Ki-ho watches from a distance, and then falls to his knees in emotional anguish. Yes, she’s shallow and vain, but I do believe she deeply loves Ki-ho and wants to make it work.
Team Leader Cha has been on my radar for a few episodes now, although I haven’t been able to figure out a motive. Probably in real life Sang-hyo would report her ex-husband stalking ways to the police and fall in love with the attractive, thoughtful Sung-gyum. But here the writers are sticking to that childishness all the time, and I cannot imagine any woman falling for this.
Who wants to live life with the one she loves but doesn’t quite know how to do it without demanding for materialistic possessions. He doesn’t ask Sang Hyo how she feels, what she wants, or how he can make up for their previous disaster of a relationship.
She didn’t know what happened to Hwang until his dramatic plummet at the first wedding. The boys high-five, and throwing an arm around Sung-gyum, Hae-young says, “Jo Sung-gyum. Actually, this was something this episode did well: to take high drama elements and wind them down into something quieter and everyday, imbuing eventual weight through emotion rather than melodrama. And so he finally threw out Jung-eun… but how do even get into a situation where a woman stands there in her underwear and your shirt?
It does happen an awful lot in so many countries around the world and it usually doesn’t end well. Couldn’t he just TEXT, CALL or WRITE to Sang Hyo and tell her that he will be back after work? Sit down and really discuss what went wrong and how avoid that from ever happening again if you were to get back with the other person.
Did he not know any of his wife’s colleagues and could at least ask for her whereabouts?
Hae Young clearly loves Sang Hyo, and the looks he sneaks at her are heart-tugging, but then Sung Gyum gives her his little sneaky smile and I’m back on the SLS train.



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