Hotel del Luna Episode 3 Recap

This entry is part 3 of 16 in the post series Hotel del Luna Recap

Man-wol (IU) stands staring at the moon in front of the ancient tree and mulls over her existence as someone who is neither alive nor dead. A flashback into her past informs us that she used to be the leader of a group of bandits who attacked and stole from noblemen. On one particular mission, Go Chung-myung (LEE DO-HYUN)—one of the guards of the group they had attacked—follows Man-wol. She takes him hostage by hitting his head with a rock, but later in their journey, when she gets caught in quicksand, she has to cut loose his ropes so he can save her and ends up becoming his hostage. He then reveals that he’s not some low-ranking officer but the captain of the guards, but before he can bring Man-wol to his masters, her partner arrives and rescues her.

In the present, flower seller aka Goddess Mago (SEO YI-SOOK) interrupts Man-wol’s introspection by remarking that the the moon looks exactly like it was on the night they met for the first time, a thousand years ago. Man-wol says that she’s tired of not dying, and Mago points out that her spirit is tied to the ancient tree. When she became the owner of Hotel del Luna, time stopped flowing for her. Man-wol rebukes her for talking nonsense and leaves.

Mago remarks that Man-wol’s arrogant nature hasn’t changed one bit, and decides to help her. She sets some flowers blooming on the ancient tree through mere touch, the same purple blooms which Chan-sung’s father tried to pick. She places the purple flowers over unconscious Chan-sung’s chest. We see Chan-sung (YEO JIN-GOO) dream about Man-wol smiling at the guard who saved her life. When Chan-sung wakes up, however, the flowers have disappeared.

Chan-sung finds Man-wol and thanks her for saving him, and she quips that it was only because he was wearing the shoes she gave to him. Chan-sung remembers seeing her in his dream and asks if she cast a spell on him. But then he compares the relaxed, smiling Man-wol in the dream to the cranky version in front of him and decides that it couldn’t have been her. Man-wol takes this to mean that he had an inappropriate dream about her that he cannot share and hilariously teases him.

He can’t figure out how Man-wol single-handedly brought him to the hotel, and a flashback tells us that Man-wol had called Hyun-joong (P.O) to inhabit Chan-sung’s unconscious body and made him walk all the way to the hotel. Hyun-joong had thrown a tantrum when it was time to leave the body, and Man-wol had to literally slap Hyun-joong’s spirit out.

Man-wol gives Chan-sung a tour of the hotel, explaining that while it doesn’t appear to ordinary humans, people with a developed psychic sense can sometimes see it. To deal with the curious humans, they have a special room that allows them to check in but they can never leave. When they get to the swimming pool area, Chan-sung is stunned to see a private beach in the middle of Seoul. Man-wol informs him that the area inside the hotel isn’t part of the real world, and maps and phones are useless within the premises.

Finally, they end up in the sky bar. Chan-sung marvels at the view from the top, which isn’t real as well. He wonders if Man-wol is real and gingerly touches her. She puts her hand over his heart and is fascinated by what a beating heart feels like. By this point, Chan-sung is curious enough about both Manwol and the hotel to agree to work there. She suddenly smiles at him, and he’s transported to the image of her smiling in his dream.

On a busy road, a girl falls over a car from an overpass. Another girl named Kim Yu-na (MINA runs away from the same overpass. Yu-na gets home and fiddles with a necklace in her room. She then feels blood drops on her face, and looks up to see the spirit of the girl who fell. The spirit steals Yu-na’s body by pushing her spirit out of it as Yu-na screams in terror.

Man-wol is celebrating finally getting a new manager, but her staff seems less than excited that Chan-sung, who was third on their list of candidates got the job. Man-wol revisits her previous attempts to recruit a manager, starting with a priest (hilarious cameo by Lee Joon-gi) who became too obsessed with exorcism after Man-wol gave him the ability to see ghosts.

The second candidate was an astronaut (cameo by Lee Si-eon), who pushed her out of space. Sun-bi (SHIN JUNG-GEUN) tries asking how many managers Man-wol has had since she took charge of the hotel, but she acts like its not a big deal to her that she’s outlived all her managers. When the staff leaves, however, we see her sadly remembering Manager Noh. She also remembers exactly how many managers she’s had, and notes that Chan-sung is the 49th one.

Hotel del Luna’s staff officially introduce themselves to Chan-sung. Sun-bi used to be a reputed scholar who died 500 years ago, and is now a bartender at the hotel. Seo-hee (BAE HAE-SUN) was a noblewoman, killed by her own family around 200 years ago and is lingering so she can watch the last member of her family die. She’s the head of housekeeping. Hyun-joong, the youngest of them, was a soldier who died during the Korean war and is waiting for her sister to pass on with her. All of them came to the hotel as guests and later extended their stay by working.

Chan-sung wonders if Man-wol was a guest who later became the hotel’s owner. Sun-bi starts to tell him about how Mago bound Man-wol to the spirit of an ancient tree in the hotel as punishment, but Seo-hee stops Sun-bi from saying more. She asks Chan-sung not to be too curious, because the more he knows the more he’ll become tethered to the hotel.

Night turns to morning, and in his room, Chan-sung reminds himself of the real world but then finds the magical blue flower which Mago placed on his chest. The flower vanishes in his hands, and with an ominous feeling, Chan-sung realizes that his and Man-wol’s worlds are colliding.

He goes to bed and has another dream about Man-wol and Chung-myung, who are happily sipping alcohol around a campfire this time. The guard notices the sign of the moon that Man-wol uses to mark her possessions, and grabs her hand to teach her how to write her name.

Man-wol’s call wakes Chan-sung, asking him to come to the hotel. She gives him his first task as the manager—selling the Mount Baekdu painting that the tiger crossed over into. Chan-sung is worried about the spirit of the tiger, but Man-wol reveals that it left after a few days. She is dressed up head to toe in extravagant jewels and promises to buy something for Chan-sung if he sells the painting at double its original price. Irritated, Chan-sung calls her a money ghost and proceeds to roar hilariously at the painting to make sure the tiger’s spirit is gone.

On his way to sell the painting, Chan-sung spots Kim Yu-na’s spirit on the same overpass her friend fell from. Yu-na realizes that Chan-sung can see her and materializes in front of his car, making him break suddenly. She explains her problem to Chan-sung, who brings her to the hotel. Man-wol is frustrated that instead of bringing money, Chan-sung has brought a guest.

Yu-na’s dead friend, Soo-jeong, who is in Yu-na’s body, visits her own memorial at school. Her classmates are surprised upon seeing Yu-na remembering Soo-jeong since she used to bully Soo-jeong when she was alive. Man-wol and Chan-sung visit the house of Yu-na’s parents and Man-wol immediately senses an opportunity to make money, seeing as Yu-na is the only child of wealthy parents. She realizes that the grudge of the dead girl’s ghost is operating through the necklace. Chan-sung follows Soo-jeong to figure out why she’s stealing her friend’s body, and discovers that while bullying Soo-jeong and trying to steal her necklace, Yu-na happened to push Soo-jeong from the overpass, killing her.

Man-wol, meanwhile, speaks to Yu-na, who asks her to get her body back from Soo-jeong. Man-wol explains that deep seated grudges like these don’t heal so easily. She goes straight to Yu-na’s parents and reveals that their daughter killed someone. Not surprisingly, Yu-na’s parents offer money to keep Man-wol quiet. She visits Chan-sung, who is moved by Soo-jeong’s story, but refuses to let her destroy Yu-na’s body. He sees Man-wol and begs her to give back the necklace to Soo-jeong so she can keep living in Yu-na’s body, but Man-wol reveals that she has already returned it.

In a flashback, we see that Man-wol had offered Yu-na’s parents two choices—send an apology to the dead girl’s parents or pay an exorbitant price for the necklace, which is the only evidence against their daughter. Her parents assume that the the price Man-wol mentions is money, but later, Man-wol tells Yu-na that if her parents burn the necklace, she can never receive forgiveness, which means she can never go back to her body. Yu-na runs to stop her parents from destroying the necklace, but can only scream in terror as her parents carry out their plans. Her soul turns to ashes.

Man-wol allows Soo-jeong to live in Yu-na’s body and admires the gold she snagged from Yu-na’s parents, but Chan-sung is worried about how Soo-jeong will feel feel living in her killer’s body. Man-wol carelessly remarks that everyone has to pay a price for their choices and Chan-sung asks if she’s also paying the price for an evil deed by being bound in the hotel. She turns serious, but refuses to elaborate and throws a tantrum about her reservation for a new car being cancelled.

Back at the hotel, Hyun-joong advises Chan-sung to always have champagne on hand to deal with Man-wol’s temper. He brings a carton of champagne from their stores and Chan-sung notes the sign on it, which is the same sign of the moon he saw Man-wol use in his dream. Chan-sung realizes that his dreams aren’t random, but actual insights into Man-wol’s past.

Chan-sung looks through Man-wol’s photos through the eras and comes across a sketch of the ancient tree her spirit is tied to. His search for the tree leads him to the garden, which is where Man-wol finds him, staring at the tree. Chan-sung realizes that this is the tree his father made the mistake of touching, which he’s paying the price for.

He tells Man-wol that he’s been having dreams about her past, and surmises that she’s stuck at the hotel because she’s waiting for the man she loved. Man-wol freezes when Chan-sung mentions details from her past and we see flashbacks of her in every era, waiting for someone at the hotel. Chan-sung confesses that she’s taken over his thoughts, both when he’s awake and when he’s asleep, as she stares at him in stunned silence.

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IndoorEnthusiast

Indoor Enthusiast (Esha) is a staff writer at Kdramapal. She is responsible for bringing all the latest happenings in Kdramaland, as well as features and recaps of currently airing dramas, to the readers of the site. As a gender studies student, she loves analyzing K-dramas through the lens of gender politics and social justice. You're most likely to find her droning on and on about how Ji Hae-soo from It's Okay That's Love and Sung Bora from Reply 1988 are the best heroines to ever grace our screens. Her favorite dramas tend to be thrillers like Secret Forest and Signal, as well as heartwarming shows like Misaeng. When not in the mood for either of those, you can find her binging on shows about female friendships a la Age of Youth or rom-coms that come with sprinklings of feminism, like Because This Life Is My First. She lives in India, spends all her free time reading books, and would love nothing more than to meet Gong Hyo-jin and sign away her life's earnings to the actress. Indoor Enthusiast can be reached at [email protected]