Episode 3 of The Penthouse begins with Su-Ryeon confronting her husband over the Anna Lee situation. She calls him immature, prompting anger to course through his veins – so much so that he smashes the cup in his hand.
Lee (or Seol-A I guess) staggers home after her horrible ordeal with the kids, sporting cuts and bruises all over body. She holds back tears, bemoaning her luck given all she tried to do was work hard.
The next day Ma-Ri gets a banner put up for her daughter, congratulating her on getting into Cheol Ah. When Ro-Na finds out, she walks past them all with a brave face, sending Jenny after her to tease Ro-Na over being on the reserve list.
Even worse, Jenny even goes on to tell her that “kids like her” will never get into the Art school despite being on the waiting list. It’s at this point she realizes the competition was a big scam. Given Eun-Byeol messed up her recital, her familial connections meant she was getting in regardless of the horrible audition.
Ro-Na is beside herself with anger, eventually confronting Seo-Jin around exactly why she wasn’t accepted. Seo-Jin claims she’s not good at music and is caught out, essentially admitting that students are picked before the auditions even begin.
Tellingly, Su-Ryeon watches everything unfold from afar, including Ro-Na yanking Eun-Byeol down to the ground and hurting the girl’s arm.
Unfortunately the CCTV footage from that incident – and also inside Seo-Jin’s penthouse – don’t paint Yoon-Hee or her daughter in a particularly favourable light. Kyu-Jin tells them he’s heading straight to court with this… unless Yoon-Hee can cough up 100,000 dollars of course.
When Yoon-Cheol finds out what’s going on, he becomes suspicious of his wife – even more so when she rocks up wearing the necklace Joo got her. On her way to school, news breaks around Seol-A’s antics and social media is ablaze with people looking to take her down.
None more so than Seo-Jin though, wo wants to get rid of her and Ro-Na at the same time with one fell swoop. Yoon-Hee is wise to what’s happening though and even drops to her knees in front of her foe, begging for help in getting her daughter accepted in.
Only, Seol-A is not giving up without a fight. She tells Seo-Jin she’s not leaving the school and given she got in fair and square (outside the forgery and fake ID of course) she refuses to sign the papers and pleads with Seo-Jin to let her sing. As she compares herself to Eun-Byeol, Seo-Jin splashes her face with water.
Thankfully, Seol-A is clever. She mentions the 35th floor of the Palace and decides to fight fire with fire. She tells Seo-Jin she’s going to attend no matter what – especially if she doesn’t want news of the affair leaking out.
When Seol-A mentions the video, Seo-Jin’s face drops. Honestly, this is the most satisfying moment in the entire drama so far.
Even better, all the kids get their comeuppance later on. It turns out Seol-A was recording the entire incident with the bullying and the car, sending them all audio clips from the hazing. Now the tables have turned and for all their money, they’re now at this orphan’s mercy. At least until they call a meeting and try to talk to her.
It turns out Hye-In’s condition at the hospital has worsened. When Joo finds out, he slams his fist on the table and decides to stop the treatment completely. This all happens because things take a turn for the worse in his marriage.
Su-Ryeon breaks it off and tells him not to contact any time soon. With his marriage a mess, Joo then receives a call from Seo-Jin who discusses the video and how they need to get rid of it.
With Seo-Jin’s words echoing in her mind about killing a student, Yoon-Hee follows Seol-A and contemplates pushing her down the stairs or stabbing the girl with a red-hot poker. In the end she decides not to and walks away, just as Yoon-Cheol happens to be watching from afar. She takes pity on the woman and there’s hints (especially during a later conversation with Kyu-Jin) that she may be his first love.
Back at the hospital, Su-Ryeon checks on her daughter but receives a letter from an anonymous source revealing that Joo is fooling her. It turns out the DNA test results for Hye-In conclude that Su-Ryeon isn’t even her real Mother. If that’s the case then…where is her daughter?
As we cut back in time, we see Joo forcing all of this to take place. He killed Su-Ryeon’s husband in cold blood and forced Su-Ryeon to become the Mother to Joo’s twins. With the severed finger of his lover in Joo’s office, the mystery man phones again and reveals that her daughter is alive.
If she can follow his rules then both Hye In and her daughter will show up alive. The first port of call is Hope Orphanage.
When Su-Ryeon arrives there the next day, it seems to have moved, prompting her to hire help to find the real location. Eventually she does and uncovers some shocking information… which is kept hidden from us for now.
Seol-A is forced to head up to the 50th floor where Joo and Seo-Jin tie her down and search through her bag. The phone isn’t there though but they gag her mouth and leave the girl on the floor. This is all a despicable plan to torture the girl into talking and revealing the location of her phone.
Yoon-Hee receives a call confirming that Seo-Jin has dropped the charges. Only, Ro-Na is not in the forgiving mood and decides she’s not going to sing anymore. She claws at her neck until Yoon-hee heads in and tells her to stop.
This catches us up to that fateful night at the Palace we started episode 1 with. The evening’s events are a blur, a glimmer of what’s to come. Yoon=-Hee shows up angry and starts downing drinks while looking at Seo-Jin with murderous eyes.
Sporting blood-stained knuckles, Yoon-Hee awakens in the morning and receives a call from Cheol Ah school. They’re delighted to offer Ro-Na a place given one of the students has been murdered. Wondering whether she’s the one who caused all this, the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
So who did kill Seol-A? It seems likely now that there are numerous people that could have done this and for many different reasons.
The kids obviously hate Seol-A for taking their place at the singing competition and blackmailing them with the audio. Seo-Jin and Joo are both more than capable of this act too, especially the latter whom we’ve seen acting very conniving and nasty across the season.
Or perhaps it’s Yoon-Hee? Throwing Seol-A over the edge after finding out she was the one who won the competition.
Or is there another person? I’m calling it now though – Seol-A is actually Su-Ryeon’s real daughter. She’s an orphan no less and doesn’t know her parents – this could also be backed up by Joo acting so coldly toward her – then having to deal with his own confliction over his own flesh and blood being killed.
As this drama starts to move into thriller and murder mystery territory, it’s a bit of a shame that one of the most likable characters is about to be killed off. Hopefully we’ll see some real character shifts after this event though as characters do some soul searching after treating her so poorly.
For now though, the melodrama simmers slightly for a shorter episode but one that packs a good old punch of soapy entertainment nonetheless.