Hotel del Luna Episodes 1-2: The Unwilling Manager

What can we expect from a hotel that serves the dead? The first two episodes of this series gives us a quick introduction to our main cast and the world of “Hotel del Luna,” but it doesn’t answer all of our questions. Will Chan Seong (Yeo Jin Goo) be stuck managing this otherworldly inn for the rest of his life because of the deal his father struck when he was a child? What exactly is Man Wol (IU), and will she be able to find peace? How many cool and creepy ghosts will we get to meet? Join Wendilynn and me as we discuss the first two episodes of “Hotel del Luna.”

Wendilynn: These first two episodes did a great job of introducing the hotel and its guests and employees. The Hong Sisters have started an intriguing ride, and I’m excited to see if Man Wol can get Chan Seong on her side as her new manager. He’s not going to come easy, though. I see him kicking and screaming the whole way.

Kate: I’m enjoying the tone and the genre so far, too. For me, it’s striking some of the notes of a few series I’ve really enjoyed over the years. In particular “Master’s Sun” — with it being a Hong Sisters production, that is no surprise — and “Goblin.” Man Wol reads to me a great deal like a cross between the two main male characters of each of those series. I’m looking forward to learning more about the tragic backstory that has led her on this path.

Chan Seong will have to do a lot of kicking and screaming to keep up with her, so I’m glad he’s got some fight to him. I thought it was interesting that the former manager, Joon Seok (Joeng Dong Hwan), was the only character to judge Chan Seong as strong. So many other characters pronounced him weak because he’s not scared to disagree with Man Wol. It’s important that he be able to stand up to her!

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Wendilynn: I really liked the older human manager. He was such a dear. I admit his story made me tear up a little. Man Wol feels like a blend of “Master’s Sun,” “Goblin” and “Scarlet Heart.” She looks like she really knows what she’s doing with that sword, and there is a dangerous vibe to her that I totally buy. They commented that she was far more dangerous than any vengeful ghost. I had no trouble buying that. I.U. is doing a fantastic job of playing an obviously complex character. She comes across as money-hungry and frivolous, but she is clearly anything but. 

Kate: I enjoyed the older manager character too. Though I’ve probably seen too many dramas in which Jeong Dong Hwan is the villain. I always instinctively distrust any character he plays. I still hope he shows up in a flashback or ghostly visitation. I’d like to see more from him. And yes, Man Wol means business!

I enjoy IU’s performance and characterization so far as well. She seems flashy and almost fun but with an edge of danger. It’s a fine balance that works. It’s also a good mix with Chan Sung, who seems a bit uptight and a rule-follower. With his dad, I’m not surprised that he would be very concerned with following the rules and trying to do things by the book.

Wendilynn: I think there is more to Chan Seong than meets the eye. I fully believe those flowers were the tree’s gift to point Man Wol to the manager she needed. His upright and forthright manner will be a tremendous asset. It stems from his caring manner. If that hotel is about healing, an honest heart is needed. I’m curious as to why Man Wol has been the owner of this hotel for so long. What healing is she getting out of this? 

Kate: Some healing, I’d wager, but also a lot of atonement. She must have done some serious damage in the past. Much worse than the corrupt governor she shot with her ghostly gun!

Though seriously, Wendilynn, does Kim Won Hae have some kind of contract that he’s in half of the dramas South Korea produces each year? Or do I just happen to pick all of the dramas he’s in? He’s everywhere! Not that I mind. He’s a great character actor. I saw Chan Seong’s caring more in child Chan Seong than adult Chan Seong, but he’s dealing with a lot in that second episode. Seeing ghosts would knock anyone for a loop. Still, I do bet that MBA of his will help him invest well and keep Man Wol in plenty of champagne.

Wendilynn: That girl does seem to like her champagne. Lol. I’m with you on Kim Won Hae. He is a total chameleon and can play anything. I love it when he shows up because I know I’m going to be treated to an interesting character. As for Chan Seong, you have to remember he’s been told to run from the “hotel ghost lady” for 20 years. That’s going to put someone’s dander up. It’s like he’s always waiting for the next scam to drop with her. After all, she made his dad sell his soul to her, so to speak. He’s expecting “conman,” and she is anything but what he’s expecting. 

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Kate: I’m interested to see what structure the show will take as we move on. A focus on building the relationship between Chan Seong and Man Wol as they help to heal each ghost-of-the-week? Friendship or love story? A big, bad ghost that will be the main antagonist and get more attention over time? There are clues there that suggest each of those is a possibility. I’m a little worried about that warrior ghost that showed up near the end of episode two. Man Wol did say vengeful spirits could be incredibly powerful.

Wendilynn: I hope they don’t introduce a love story. I sort of want this to stay a heartfelt business relationship. Who knows, maybe Chan Seong will be the next owner? I do know that I’m going to adore having P.O. be the hapless bellhop. Can he get any more adorable?

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Kate: Bae Hae Sun is playing my favorite side employee. She’s got a strong warm and nurturing character that I really enjoy. I bet she has a sad backstory that motivated her to choose to stay in the hotel, like a child that died young. I’m not gung ho for a love story for Man Wol, but I might be convinced. Wherever it goes, though, I think this series is off to a good start.


The story has begun and there is plenty to intrigue a viewer. What did you guys think of the start of the story?

(Viki.)


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