There's way more focus than usual on murders and murderous backstories here, mostly because the three leads are in absolutely no mood to discuss romance right now. Of the three Seong-gyeom has the best excuse. There's just so, so much going on his mind right now that being cute with Sang-hyo simply can't cut it any more. Relationship drama becomes a lot less fun once actual drama intrudes.
Weirdly, the best possible argument right now for Sang-hyo and Hae-yeong getting back together is their complete lack of ability to meaningfully engage on this front. While Seong-gyeom gets wrapped up in an actual subplot, Sang-hyo and Hae-yeong are stuck in their own little worlds, adamantly trying not to think of the romantic mess they've made of their own lives and thus, unsurprisingly, spending way more time in dull frustration than they really should.
As far as genre fusion goes this puts "My Secret Hotel" in an awkward spot, because while Seong-gyeom's romantic life is an effective mirror right now for the betrayals of loved ones and the way situations snowball until serious murder is involved, Sang-hyo and Hae-yeong are just, well, sort of there. I've noted before that it's never been all that clear what Sang-hyo's job actually involves, and that's an obvious issue here approaching the climax.
In any case I do like the answers we've been getting. So far they're mostly pretty indirect, but we actually do get to see one murder scene played out. I did find myself immediately questioning whether the chain of murders immediately following could be a particularly reasonable evolution of this early incident. From a legal perspective I'm not sure this was actually a murder.
But then, that's really the whole point. People lost control, they behave badly, and that's how we get to the present day, with nothing more than flashbacks that appear to indicate that all of these problems are cyclical and, well, who wants to be the one to break the cycle? It's going to be the first person willing to admit that they did something wrong. And while time in front of a judge may be the most tangible worry here, a lot of the characters in this drama are just plain frightened to face people they love or once loved and admit where the circle of lies really started. Technically it was a collective effort but still. Doesn't make it any easier.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "My Secret Hotel" Episode 15"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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