Calm Before The Storm
Hotel Del Luna returns this week with another dramatic episode, this time showing more history around Ms. Choi whilst progressing the narrative between Chan-Sung and Man-Wol in a compelling and satisfying manner, right through to the surprising cliffhanger at the end.
We begin the episode by learning Yoon Beom, the eldest grandson of a rich dynasty, has arrived at the Hotel and with him, the end of his family tree. Ms. Choi revels in the news, especially given she has unresolved issues with the man in a previous life. Some of this is thanks to messing with her daughter’s grave, but more surprising and sinister reasons are revealed later on in the episode.
Meanwhile Man-Wol speaks to Chan-Sung about the Bridge Of Sanzu in the after-life, specifically mentioning how time works there. Sensing her time in this life is drawing to a close, Chan-Sung holds Man-Wol’s hand and tells her to treasure these memories, until heading back out to attend to the affairs of Ms. Choi. After attending Yoon’s funeral and putting her issues to bed, she soon learns that Yoon has a baby in the belly of a woman out of wedlock, and as such, can’t leave this plane of existence just yet.
Using the tiger-print suit to try and cheer up Ms. Choi, Man-Wol comments on Chan Sung’s selflessness and becoming a tiger for her. As they discuss the jacket in her office, she tries to convince him to wear the outfit out again but he refuses, telling her the only way he’ll wear it is if she takes all his clothes off. Seemingly an innocent joke, Man-Wol seriously contemplates doing this as she turns her back to Chan Sung’s cheesy grin.
While trying to figure out what to do about Yoon’s potential offspring, Man Wol and Chan Sung run into Ma Go, a deity of wealth who shakes Chan’s hand. Back at the hotel more pressing matters come to light though, as the Grim Reaper tells Man-Wol about Ji-Won’s vengeful spirit that appears to be after Sanchez. Saving him at the last second, the Grim laments being unable to catch the spirit, but warns Man-Wol to inform the rest of the hotel. She invites Sanchez in and, after hearing his story, recommends he light incense candles in every room before being reminded about Mi Ra, who happens to have connections to Ji Won.
As issues with Yoon’s baby come to light, the ghost asks Ms. Choi for help who agrees to get assistance for his partner, only to run into Man-Wol instead. She explains the situation and Man-Wol simply tells her she can do whatever she wants and not receive any resentment for doing so. Upon seeing this woman in distress firsthand, Ms. Choi retracts her earlier statements and agrees to let Mr Ku call the authorities and help her. It’s here where the hotel worker’s past is shown in all its truth, as her child is starved of resources thanks to the Yoon family and Choi dies at their hands. This happens to be the blood vengeance Ms. Choi was determined to carry out and seeing the past certainly helps add some depth to her character.
On the hunt for Ji Won, Man Wol and Chan-Sung hurry to the local movie theater where Mi Ra was intending to meet her boyfriend. As the duo make it to the right screen, they find Cheong Myeong lying face-down on the ground. Mi Ra’s boyfriend happens to be Man-Wol’s friend from her previous life. As Man-Wol curses the heavens for bringing these two together, we jump back and see more of Man-Wol’s past, and in particular an emotional moment inside the palace where she kills him. With his dying breath, he tells her he’ll keep her in his heart and watch from afar, never forgetting her.
While Kim and Ms. Choi continue their banterous exchanges, a young boy walks into the hotel. It turns out he’s actually alive and his arrival may be a consequence of a previous dream call. His Mother happens to have left the hotel a day earlier, leading the workers to find Chan-Sung and bring him to the hotel. Determined to find the child, Chan-Sung heads to the Bridge, assuming the little boy has wandered that way. Unfortunately this proves to be false as the young boy shows up inside the hotel.
As the hotelier wanders aimlessly down the tunnel, he begins to feel breathless and dizzy, until the familiar sight of the solitary firefly arrives. As things fade and blur out, we cut back to Man-Wol who sees Chan Sung leave the Sanzu River. However, as he raises his hand to hold Man-Wol, his embrace mirrors that of Cheong Myeong during his final moments in the past. She senses it too, staring wide-eyed into the distance until stepping back and asking just who he is.
Once again Hotel Del Luna continues to deliver the goods, this time shifting the focus across to Ms. Choi in an effort to learn more about her past and backstory. It works pretty well too and building up to the dramatic finale, Hotel Del Luna certainly doesn’t shy away from some of the more shocking moments here. Choi’s past is harrowing and upsetting and given her vengeance through most of the episode, seeing these moments do actually help flesh out her character and showcase a darker side to her.
The emotional moment between Man-Wol and Cheong Myeong in the past is ultimately what helps set this episode apart. It’s a poignant scene, no doubt, and one that the show has been building up to for a while. Could the firefly have possessed Chan with his spirit, hence the awkward hug? And if so, quite how did a firefly merge with him in the first place? These are certainly good questions but I hope Hope Hotel Del Luna answers these sooner rather than later, especially given there’s only 3 episodes to go here.