The Secret Romantic Guesthouse – K-Drama Episode 2 Recap & Review

Episode 2

Episode 2 of The Secret Romantic Guesthouse moves 8 years back in time when the royal guards had still been chasing Lee Seol. Back then, Lee Seol was a teenager and had come to meet Eunuch Sung-gil. However, he learns that Sung-gil had betrayed him when he called the royal guards to capture and kill him immediately because he had been deposed. Just as the guards are about to kill Lee Seol, a man in a mask arrives just in time to save him.

The man kills all the guards along with Chief Administrator, Jang Tae-hwa’s son. Tae-hwa is shocked to see his heir dead and tries to attack Lee Seol and the man in the mask. However, the man fights Tae-hwa leaving a scar on his cheek as Lee Seol manages to flee.

Back in the present, the royal guards arrive at the Garden of Flowers guesthouse as Sung-gil takes a close look at all the scholars that were there.

He claims that Lee Seol was not one of the three guests and the guards leave after verifying the scholars’ identity. Won-ho is infuriated with Sung-gil for not being of any help but after the royal guards have left, Sung-gil looks back inside the guesthouse before leaving. Inside the guesthouse, Dan-oh chases after the debtors who claim that they were from the courtesan house.

Dan-oh is shocked that her father had anything to do with the courtesans while Shi-yeol gossips about Dan-oh’s father with Kang San. Shi-yeol claims that a loan of 100 silver coins is impossible for Dan-oh to pay off without turning her own guesthouse into a courtesan house.

The next morning at breakfast, Shi-yeol makes things awkward when he asks why Dan-oh was unmarried still despite having so many prospective grooms around.

Najoo-daek awkwardly leaves without answering the question and the four scholars are left to eat the bland dumpling soup. At the same time, Dan-oh is at the Buyounggak Courtesan House where she meets Courtesan Hwa-ryeong who runs the place. They discuss the 100 silver coin debt Dan-oh’s father had left behind and Hwa-ryeong claims that it was not the courtesan house that he was indebted to but actually Judge Jang Tae-hwa.

Dan-oh is troubled and Hwa-ryeong suggests that giving up her family house will help her settle the debt for good. Dan-oh refuses to do so and visits Judge Jang to discuss the debt. She asks for a written note to prove that her father really was indebted to the chief administrator. Judge Jang tells her that Dan-oh’s father had made a pact to marry Dan-oh’s older sister to Tae-hwa’s son once they were both of age in order to nullify the loan but since they could not be married, the loan still remained.

Tae-hwa claims that since his son had died, Dan-oh’s sister was to live in his house as his son’s widow but had lived in the Garden of Flowers till she passed away. Dan-oh is in tears on her way back to the guesthouse but Kang San manages to cheer her up after they bicker about how Dan-oh looks ugly when crying. Yoo-ha pays his step-brother, Jung Gil-joo, a visit and asks him for a loan of 100 silver coins.

Gil-joo mocks Yoo-ha for being an illegitimate child of the Jung family and refuses to help his brother with the money. Later that night, as State Minister Kim Hwan, a nobleman is leaving the royal palace, he runs into the court lady who was bringing in Consort Park’s mother for post-natal care. Kim Hwan is confused when he hears the sound of a baby crying from inside the chariot that Consort Park’s mother was in, as the child was supposed to be inside the palace.

At the palace, Eunuch Yoon tells King Lee Chang that the consort has delivered a healthy baby boy which suddenly makes him recall the palmist’s prediction. The next morning, Dan-oh is left perplexed when she gets another marriage proposal from Sir Ong who offers to pay off her debt in full if she agrees to marry him. Ong is the same man who Shi-yeol had saved Dan-oh from.

Dan-oh almost considers the proposal but Najoo-daek asks her to stay hopeful and that together they will find a way to pay off the debt. During lunch, Shi-yeol brings up the fact that Dan-oh has received a marriage proposal, and the scholars grow curious. Dan-oh avoids answering the question but Kang San seems concerned.

Later that day, Dan-oh accompanies Yoo-ha, Shi-yeol and Kang San to the market and Shi-yeol claims that the grumpy scholar, Kang San, seemed very happy around Dan-oh.

Kang San panics and goes in the other direction. Meanwhile, Dan-oh ends up reselling her old accessories in an attempt to make some money. Ong finds Dan-oh in the market and tries to force her to marry him. Yoo-ha gets furious and twists Ong’s hand, pushing him away from Dan-oh. Ong questions Dan-oh’s character for being around so many men which infuriate the noblewoman. She gives Ong an earful in the market and rejects his proposal causing the other marketers to mock him.

Back at the guesthouse, Dan-oh is worried that her house will be taken away from her if she does not pay the debt. She pays the dining home a visit to discuss what the royal guards were looking for a few nights before. The lady from the dining house tells Dan-oh that the royal guards were looking for a traitor. At the same time, King Lee is holding his newborn son in his arms.

Kim Hwan is also there but does not tell the king what he heard the night before. The king claims that now that he had an heir, it was more important for them to eliminate Lee Seol because he was a threat to the throne. Kim Hwan learns that Consort Park was living away from the palace because she was gravely ill. That night, Ong brings a few men to the Garden of Flowers in order to threaten Dan-oh.

However, Kang San threatens them on their way to the guesthouse and warns Ong to stay away from Dan-oh. The next morning, Dan-oh gets a hand-written apology from Ong who promises to stay away from Dan-oh because of ‘that man’s threat’. Dan-oh wonders who the person that threatened Ong is and concludes that Kang San, with his artisan skills, is the one. She runs into him and questions him.

Kang San is flustered and initially lies but ends up confessing that he had threatened Ong. Dan-oh is curious why Kang San tried to protect her but the scholar awkwardly leaves without answering. As Yoo-ha is leaving to meet his family, Dan-oh gives him a packed lunch along with the money he left at her door the previous day. She claims that she will manage to pay off the loan on her own and wants the scholar to focus on being a good guest to her like he always had been.

At the family meeting, Yoo-ha learns that the king finally has an heir after 10 years. The men discuss that the royal family was looking for Lee Seol in order to kill him. Yoo-ha appears concerned by the information. At the same time, Kang San starts practising his swordsman skills until he starts bleeding from his palms. Shi-yeol, on the other hand, is taking it easy as he gambles at the courtesan house.

Hwa-ryeong tries to learn everything about Dan-oh’s guesthouse from Shi-yeol but his answers throw her off. He asks Hwa-ryeong to stop taking so much interest in the guesthouse. Hwa-ryeong then chats with Won-ho who promises to kill Lee Seol before he can meet King Lee. The next morning, Dan-oh is waiting outside Kang San’s room to cheer him on before his exam that day. She offers him a special meal she made all by herself to wish him luck and Kang San is impressed.

The civil exam starts first with a martial arts exam where Kang San boasts perfect swordsmanship as well as a perfect archery score. Three courtesans come to Dan-oh’s guesthouse and demand to have rooms there for their accommodation. Najoo-daek is against having the trio there but Dan-oh claims that she will do her best to save the guesthouse, even if it meant having the trio boss around them to cause unnecessary trouble.

State Minister Kim Kwan appears at the civil exams to observe the scholars. He is able to witness Kang San on the horse and is amazed to see him pass the test. The three courtesans have another reason to live at the guesthouse. Upon hearing the legend of the virgin ghost, the trio want to see the ghost that lives in the annexe of the guesthouse.

Shi-yeol spots them going inside the annexe and instead of stopping them, follows the trio inside. Shi-yeol tries to take them outside but the noise from inside the annexe startles them all. Together, the trio and Shi-yeol run back to the guesthouse.

Later that night, Dan-oh pays a visit to Judge Jang while Kang San follows her inside the chief administrator’s house. He sneaks outside the room where Dan-oh tells Tae-hwa that she is willing to look for Lee Seol in exchange for her debt being nullified.

The Episode Review

This episode changes a lot of things in terms of what we can expect from the show. While I do believe that Dan-oh’s sister is still alive and living in the annexe to avoid living as a widow to Tae-hwa’s son, it seems highly unlikely for Kang San to be Lee Seol. Kang San could be the man in the mask that saved Lee Seol and it is possible that Lee Seol was Yoo-ha.

Since Yoo-ha’s father had brought an illegitimate child into the Yoon family, it is also possible that he could be the deposed heir.

Given the fact that the child born to King Lee is not his own, Kim Hwan becomes the only powerful person that could reveal the truth to the king. Keeping serious things aside, I absolutely love how Kang San behaves when it comes to Dan-oh. Shi-yeol really is a happy puppy dog that is just third-wheeling around the two. I hope Yoo-ha does not have feelings for Dan-oh because she seems to be interested in Kang San as well.

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