Hotel Del Luna is fast becoming one of my favourite shows of the year. Between the brilliant acting from IU, the chemistry between the characters and the effortless tonal shifts woven through the episodes, this highly enjoyable Korean drama is going to be a tough one to beat this year. Despite all this, episode 11 feels very much like a filler episode and with the exception of the cliffhanger ending and a few poignant moments, there’s not much here that really drives the series forward in a meaningful way.
After a brief dream sequence in the past, we return to Hotel Del Luna this week with Chan-Sung waking up and finding a letter with one word printed inside – “Thank you”. After their emotional evening together, it’s revealed Man-Wol has gifted him a tiger-print suit, one of the promises she made to him back when Chan said he’d sell the painting. It’s here he learns that Man-Wol spoke to Sanchez regarding selling horses, which brings him straight to her chambers to discuss the special dream calls.
Chan-Sung decides to allow other guests the opportunity to dream call which leads to some pretty amusing scenes. Amusing that is, until the Father and Son from a few episodes back arrive, the ones killed in the car accident. The Father asks to speak to the van driver to apologize, and it’s here we see the man quitting his job, unable to live with the guilt of what he’s done. Only, this happens to be a dream. It’s pretty emotional stuff and as the driver breaks down in tears, the Father and Son smile, freeing him from his guilt. It’s a poignant moment and one that certainly humbles both Chan-Sung and Man-Wol.
After a particularly touching dinner date together soon after, we cut back to the investigators who find the source of the mystery, traced back to a website called Hello – a play on the word hell. Meanwhile, Yu-Na engages in her own investigation, looking into the murder for the ghosts she picked up. Chan catches wind of what they’re doing and asks Yu Na for more details. She gives him a post-it with a registration plate on and promises to show him the sketch after she’s finished.
As he returns home, three mysterious men ask Chan to follow them and he obliges, bringing him to an abandoned parking lot in the middle of the night. A mysterious lady asks to be taken to the hotel soon after, intent on visiting Hotel Del Luna and claiming to be the previous general manager. Chan watches on awkwardly as the workers greet Ms. Hwang soon after. Man-Wol watches on from the stairwell before filling Chan-Sung in on the history between them, including more details surrounding Room 404.
Chan-Sung learns from Sanchez that he’s going to propose to his girlfriend Veronica. However, he wants to do it at the hotel, which Chan talks him out of. With the hotel visible to humans for the time being, a couple arrive, greeted by the admittedly nervous Hyun-Joong. After a hearty meal, they’re shown to Room 404 where they spend the night.
Meanwhile, Sanchez worries when Veronica fails to show up, commenting it’s uncharacteristic of her. However, a bloody Veronica appears and we deduce that she’s dead. A car accident in Shanghai brings Sanchez back to the house, packing his things up ready to go. However, Chan-Sung spies Veronica, bloody and teary-eyed in the distance and he tries to talk him out of leaving. Sanchez bites back, pushing him away and hurrying off. However, Chan chases after him and, with the light of the lunar eclipse turning, tells him to join him in the hotel to see her off.
Clearly flustered, he takes Sanchez up to the Sky Bar and tells him the truth about the Hotel. With a limited window to see off Veronica, Chan-Sung vacates the room and lets the two share an emotional and heart-felt send off. As the eclipse fades, so too does Veronica who dissolves in his arms.
Yu Na consults her sketch out in the open, realizing the man who almost hits her on the sidewalk happens to be the same person responsible for killing the group of people at the hotel. As she phones Chan to tell him what she’s found, he rushes to the scene while Man-Wol spies the white flower from earlier, wilting in the glass. As she awaits Chan at his house, the female Grim Reaper appears and taunts her while Chan bites off more than he can chew, confronted by the one responsible for the murders.
As the petals begin wilting, we leave the drama this week with Chan-Sung’s life in danger and Man-Wol’s existence threatened.
I’ve commented before about the proverbial deep breath shows take before a climactic push toward a dramatic and tense finale and Hotel Del Luna’s latest episode certainly feels like that. With the end of the serial killer plot in sight and the flowers beginning to wilt, I dread to think how this one will end for our characters. Given how emotionally invested I am in Man-Wol and Chan-Sung’s story, anything other than a happy send-off will almost certainly tug at the the heart-strings of this reviewer!
Still, there’s five episodes to go before the ending and the door is left wide open for what could follow. For now though, Hotel Del Luna continues to deliver the goods and if it can nail its ending, regardless of a happy or sad outcome, this will be a serious contender for best TV show of the year.