Seoul is being inundated by a major storm. Suddenly, a clap of thunder and lightning strikes the top of Hera Palace. Its majestic crown sculptures come crashing through to the lobby and knocks the angel’s head right off. A lifeless man is floating face down in the fountain. That man… is Joo Dan Tae.
But it’s actually just a dream. Or more like a nightmare for Dan Tae who wakes up after a centipede crawls in and out of his nose. He is “safely” in prison. But he complains to a fellow inmate about how dirty and cramped this cell is. The inmate tells Dan Tae about a newly remodeled “penthouse”-like cell in the prison.
Meanwhile, Kyu Jin’s fellow inmates force him to clean their cell’s toilet despite his protests. When he stares inside the bowl, he sees his wife inside and reaches in, missing her so. When he disappears, he stuffs his pee-soaked hand in his mouth.
Over in the women’s quarters, his wife Sang Ah also misses him as she washes clothes. But Ma Ri on the other hand is having a much better time adjusting. She uses her excellent massage skills to endear her to their cellmates, especially the cell’s big boss (played by guest star, the awesome Jung Young Joo).
Sang Ah wonders how Ma Ri is adjusting so well in prison. But Ma Ri says she just needs better people skills. Anyway, both talk about how Seo Jin continues to get special treatment (like getting longer visiting hours with lawyers) and describe a Hera Palace-like hierarchy even here in prison.
Little do they know, her special treatment includes her actually getting a luxurious penthouse-like set-up while meeting her attorney who updates her on her stepmother’s movements with Cheong Ah. Seo Jin is shocked to learn her stepmother and half-sister have actually put the foundation up for sale and already has a buyer: Shim Su Ryeon.
Su Ryeon is currently presenting the contract to the mother and daughter. Su Ryeon says she never expected they would sell the foundation, let alone buy it herself. Cheon Seo Young asks Su Ryeon why she would buy the foundation after Seo Jin ruined its reputation so badly.
Seo Young wonders if Su Ryeon is just trying to profit off of the foundation by continuing bribes from prospective parents or to use it as a front for money laundering. Su Ryeon is disgusted, though not surprised by the admission that this is how the foundation had been run all along.
Su Ryeon asks them to look over the contract and hopes they can complete the transaction right away.
Later, Su Ryeon is at a restaurant with Seok Kyung who excitedly tells her about getting the recommendation letter that will get her a free pass to the School of Music at Seoul National University. But Su Ryeon says she doesn’t have to continue singing, assuming Seok Kyung only did it because of Dan Tae’s pressure. Seok Kyung, however, says she does love singing and needs to get into SNU in order to study abroad and become a top vocalist.
Su Ryeon says she wants Seok Kyung to just do what she loves instead of strive to be famous. This annoys Seok Kyung who says she actually respects her father’s philosophy of doing everything you have to in order to avoid living like pigs.
Seok Hoon arrives with Rona and apologizes for being late to dinner. Seok Kyung is annoyed even more that Su Ryeon would invite Rona to what is supposed to be a family dinner.
Seok Kyung gets passive aggressive by mentioning how Rona has lots of time to spare these days since she isn’t going to college after deciding not to take the CSAT. This surprises Seok Hoon and Su Ryeon.
Seok Hoon gets worked up and asks why Rona would decide that, especially when she won the grand prize. Seok Kyung tells her brother that Rona can do what she wants with her life.
To ease the tension, Su Ryeon orders their food.
Later in the restroom, Rona returns money that Su Ryeon gave her, saying she is making enough money on her own. Su Ryeon says she just wants to fill in for Yoon Hee until she gets out and adds that Rona shouldn’t give up on singing.
Rona says she isn’t so shameless to continue pursuing such a thing after knowing how she initially got accepted into Cheong Ah. Su Ryeon says none of that was her fault and Yoon Hee is already serving her punishment for the crime.
Su Ryeon wants Rona to grow into an amazing vocalist and says that would make Yoon Hee so happy. Noticing Rona’s bare neck, Su Ryeon gives her the scarf from her purse and says she should take care not to catch a cold before the exam. Su Ryeon insists Rona take the money and they walk out together.
Seok Kyung, listening to all of this from a stall, is so upset that her face twitches in anger.
Back at prison, it’s lights out for everyone. But Yoon Cheol gets up to sneak into the bathroom to continue sharpening the end of a toothbrush in order to slit Dan Tae’s throat when he has the chance.
Next morning, Dan Tae gets moved to the “penthouse” cell and brags to the officers that it was all thanks to money. The guard wishes Dan Tae luck before he enters to find Kyu Jin standing with a group of very big men flanking the cell’s big boss (guest star Park Sang Myeon).
Kyu Jin advises a livid Dan Tae to get down on his knees as a sign of respect. But Yoon Cheol does it for him by kicking the back of his knees.
Dan Tae remains defiant, believing he rules this cell after all the money he paid for it. But the boss insists he is in control and proceeds to assign everyone’s positions for the day, including Dan Tae to the bathroom. When Dan Tae’s balks at the idea, the boss sends him flying with just his fingers on Dan Tae’s crotch.
Elsewhere in the prison, Seo Jin is upset when the guard tells her she can no longer have special visits with her lawyer upon orders from the warden.
Ma Ri remarks that no one would visit Seo Jin anyway when her husband, ex-husband and daughter are all locked up. Seo Jin cannot believe Ma Ri would talk down to her. But Ma Ri says she can glare all she wants. Sang Ah tells Seo Jin to keep her head down.
Boss 1632 tells Seo Jin to sing to cheer her up. Seo Jin says she would rather have her tongue pulled out than to sing for a lowlife like her. Seo Jin spits on her and remains defiant asking the boss if she even knows anything about classical music.
The boss gets up and says she actually studied vocal arts at Ewha Womans University. She tells Ma Ri and Sang Ah to slap Seo Jin as hard as they want whenever she sings “Ah”. The boss proceeds to perform the Queen of the Night Aria and Seo Jin gets some sense finally knocked into her. Literally. After a decisive slap by the boss, Seo Jin finally performs for her cellmates.
Elsewhere, Logan meets with someone who has been forced to live as Baek Joon Ki by Dan Tae. Mr. Baek says Dan Tae is a murderer who killed his parents and ran off with their assets. Logan shocks this man by saying the real Joon Ki has been living in Seoul under Joo Dan Tae’s name.
Back at the prison while everyone is sleeping, Yoon Cheol tries to stab fakeDan Tae but fails miserably. Everyone wakes up to find them fighting and the guards come in to break them up. The big boss takes the sharp toothbrush and hides it, denying such a thing even exists when fakeDan Tae brings it up.
The boss turns it around and the others corroborate the story that it was Dan Tae who attacked Yoon Cheol in his sleep. The boss promises to discipline their new arrival and the warden warns Dan Tae that things will get real boring if he doesn’t shape up.
The warden and guards leave and the boss orders his men to beat Dan Tae. The boss takes Yoon Cheol aside and tells him how wrong his methods are. This isn’t the time to exact his revenge.
Logan gets updates from the prison and the next day, the boss chokes Dan Tae while in the shower until he is unconscious. Yoon Cheol tells the warden that he just collapsed on his own.
Later, Dan Tae meets with Secretary Jo who informs him about the boss. Bang Chi Soo ends up in prison often and will do anything for money. But this time, he came in voluntarily without being charged for anything. Secretary Jo thinks Dan Tae is being targeted and points out that his lawyers are all quitting as well.
FakeDan Tae believes it’s all the work of Logan Lee. He tells Secretary Jo to take his slush fund and use it to bribe the highest ranking guard he can to get him out of the hellhole cell.
Later, a guard approaches a now solitary Dan Tae and gives him a newspaper and milk. In the newspaper is a secret message saying D-9 until Logan Lee is “out.”
Nine days later, the inmates get some time outside. Dan Tae takes the time to mock Yoon Cheol for Eun Byeol being locked up in juvie. He tries to provoke Yoon Cheol and mentions how Logan now owns JohnBIO. FakeDan Tae vows to kill Yoon Hee and Ro Na as soon as he gets out of here.
Yoon Cheol and Dan Tae battle with Kyu Jin seemingly backing up the doctor. Dan Tae quite obviously grabs something out of his pocket and when Yoon Cheol charges at him, he is suddenly stabbed and loses consciousness.
Yoon Cheol is shocked to see the sharpened toothbrush in FakeDan Tae’s stomach. The warden accompanies FakeDan Tae to the hospital
Back at the prison, Ma Ri’s husband Yoo Dong Pil is released. He calls Jenny and says he’s finally back in Korea. She is excited to see him.
Secretary Jo pops up in front of Dong Pil who asks where the asshole is, but Secretary Jo doesn’t know who he’s talking about. Secretary Jo drives Dong Pil and says he was able to buy gifts for Jenny as if they are from Dubai in order to maintain the charade. When Dong Pil reaches for a mysterious bag, Secretary Jo startles him and says not to touch it.
Secretary Jo is tracking Su Ryeon on his smart watch and says he’s got a lot on his plate today.
Logan and Mr. Baek are in the plane en route to Seoul. realDan Tae is eager to meet fakeDan Tae after all this time. Logan says they will visit the fakeDan Tae after they visit with Su Ryeon. Mr. Baek vows to regain what’s rightfully his.
Upon arrival, Logan takes the keys from his assistant saying he will drive himself today. He calls Su Ryeon and they plan to meet at her store.
Before heading over, Logan makes a stop at a Bank of Seoul branch where he oversees the transport of an immense amount of cash and gold into a vault. Leaving his phone in the car, he does not know fakeDan Tae has been rushed to the hospital and is on the verge of death.
At the hospital, the warden handcuffs fakeDan Tae to the bed, but the doctor says they can’t do that until he is examined and goes into surgery. The suspicious doctor is obviously working with fakeDan Tae and facilitates his escape when the warden’s back is turned.
Secretary Jo picks fakeDan Tae up and says they need to hurry and ensure he’s back at the hospital within the hour.
At the store, while waiting for Su Ryeon, Mr. Baek excuses himself for a smoke, leaving Logan alone. realDan Tae passes the fakelDan Tae, in homeless man disguise, outside. Dan Tae leaves his cart next to the car which includes the bag Secretary Jo had earlier.
Su Ryeon gets bumped by Dong Pil who sneaks into the store to make a copy of Su Ryeon’s Hera Palace key.
Su Ryeon heads outside and she happily walks toward Logan. Both have flowers ready for each other while Logan has a ring in his pocket. fakeDan Tae smiles at Su Ryeon as they pass each other. And seconds later, fakeDan Tae salutes Logan who instantly recognizes him and realizes there’s a bomb in the cart.
The bomb goes off and Su Ryeon cries in agony. fakeDan Tae laughs. Mr. Baek comes running back, seemingly surprised by the scene.
Everyone in the store, including Dong Pil, come outside to see what’s happened. And Dong Pil notices Dan Tae riding in the passenger seat of his car with Secretary Jo in the driver’s seat.
Back at the prison, Yoon Cheol maintains his innocence. But all the evidence is stacked against him. Fingerprints on the toothbrush, witnesses corroborating the story. Because of this, Yoon Cheol’s appeal hearing has been cancelled, probation is out of the question and he will now stay in solitary confinement.
Kyu Jin watches from the adjacent interrogation room and sips his milk, apparently the witness who corroborated the story against Yoon Cheol. Kyu Jin mocks Yoon Cheol as he is dragged away. Turns out, Dan Tae promised to get Kyu Jin out of prison if he helped him with his plan.
Before returning to the hospital, Dan Tae storms the home of the Chief Justice who is having fun with his young mistress. Dan Tae threatens and blackmails the Chief Justice into getting him out.
Afterwards, Secretary Jo rushes Dan Tae back to the hospital. The warden and officers are rushing around the hospital searching for him, but Dan Tae is back just in time, pretending to have collapsed in the restroom.
Meanwhile, Seo Jin steals food from Sang Ah and they fight. When the food distribution inmates come by to offer more banchan for each cell, the Hera trio are shocked to see one of them is Yoon Hee. Ma Ri wonders how Yoon He could’ve gotten such a desired position so easily.
Ma Ri and Sang Ah beg for meat and Yoon Hee gives them some. Yoon Hee asks if Seo Jin would like anything and she says she wants more laver. Yoon Hee tells her to buy it herself.
Seo Jin implies it is all Yoon Hee’s fault that she is suffering here in prison. Yoon Hee grabs Seo Jin’s hand and asks her if she had anything to do with Logan’s death. Seo Jin denies it and Yoon Hee vows to kill her herself if she even tries to do something.
At the police station, the detective tells Su Ryeon that Logan is now suspected of being Na Ae Gyo’s murderer based on testimony from a crematorium worker. They also cannot find the man Logan traveled to Korea with and dismisses Dan Tae as a suspect as he was in the hospital.
The detective continues to lay blame of almost every crime on Logan, trying to paint him as an evil excuse of a human being. Su Ryeon won’t take this slander any longer. She guarantees Logan would never hurt anyone.
At the hospital, fakeDan Tae laughs watching the news as Logan is now public enemy number 1 and he is about to get acquitted of all crime. Some of the Chief Justice’s underlings at the firm come to kiss fakeDan Tae’s ass and explain their defense of each of his crimes during the retrial.
Later that night, a disguised nurse Su Ryeon comes to fakeDan Tae’s room and injects poison in his IV. But Dan Tae is one step ahead of her and ends up tackling her on the bed. He says that until Su Ryeon kills him, he will make sure everyone she loves will die as well.
Su Ryeon manages to get fakeDan Tae pinned down on the floor and vows to take matters into her own hands. She will no longer depend on the law to ensure justice is served.
The guards from outside the room come in and drag Su Ryeon out.
Su Ryeon heads back home to the penthouse where Dong Pil has been lurking about. He later stands at the foot of the angel statue and flashes back to a moment from when Hera Palace was still under construction and a woman is bleeding in the then-unfinished fountain.
At the prison, Seo Jin wakes her cellmates up with her singing and acting like she is in New York performing for adoring fans. Seo Jin seems to have completely lost her mind, scolding Ma Ri as if she is Eun Byeol and Sang Ah as Yoon Hee. Seo Jin begins slamming her head into the wall and screaming. She suddenly starts having some kind of seizure and is choking. The guards come in and the doctor immediately rushes in to inject her with medicine.
Over at Cheong Ah, the other students are mocking Seok Kyung for getting the free pass to SNU even with her horrible grades. Jenny says she should return it since the real owner of the free pass, Rona, is back. Seok Kyung says it’s not for her to decide and besides Rona turned down the recommendation and isn’t going to college anyway. Rona walks in to confirm what Seok Kyung is saying.
Seok Hoon gives Rona his notes and says she should still take the final exams.
Seok Kyung glares at Rona, but she gets a call from an unknown number. She answers it and it is her father.
Back at the prison, Seo Jin is in the doctor’s office and continues to experience delusions. The doctor asks Seo Jin to talk about her daughter. The guard says this is Seo Jin’s third attempt at suicide which triggers Seo Jin to rampage and then cower as if she is a small child.
Su Ryeon is also at a doctor who tries to help her remember the events of the explosion through hypnosis. She later meets with Logan’s assistant Mr. Hong who tells her about the realDan Tae, Mr. Baek who can tell her everything about fakeDan Tae’s past.
Back at the penthouse, Su Ryeon sees Logan’s clothes displayed in the living room. fakeDan Tae comes walking down the stairs just as the twins and Rona run in as well.
Su Ryeon demands Dan Tae leave, but he says he only stopped by to see the kids. She grabs him, but fakeDan Tae says he will take back all of this from her including the penthouse and his children.
FakeDan Tae leaves. Seok Kyung smiles while Seok Hoon and Rona seethe.
Seok Hoon comforts Rona and apologizes. He vows to never let fakeDan Tae show up here ever again. But Seok Kyung comes to their father’s defense and says even the police say Logan killed their mother.
“Are you dumb enough to believe that?!” Seok Hoon screams.
Rona excuses herself and Seok Hoon follows her out. Seok Kyung screams in annoyance and then sees Seok Hoon and Rona’s applications to Juilliard making her even more upset.
One month later at Seo Jin’s appeal hearing, the charges relating to Ae Gyo’s murder have been dropped. But taking into consideration her compensation to victims and her current mental state, her sentence is reduced to two years in prison and four years probation for the imprisonment of Su Ryeon and the murder of Seol Ah.
Seo Jin walks out of the courthouse, smiling. But a car speeds up and she is kidnapped by masked Yoon Hee and Su Ryeon. They drive to the river and drag her out to a cliff above it.
Yoon Hee confronts her about how she got out of prison so easily while Su Ryeon accuses her of murdering Logan. They corner her and Su Ryeon pushes her into the water.
How strange that that familiar Hera Palace theme playing at the start of the episode sounded so comforting. Penthouse? Comforting?! WTF? Lol
But really, it’s a strangely comforting moment to have this crazy, insane show back for its third (and final!) season. (Though they can certainly surprise us all with a fourth season of madness and we’d love it lol)
Let me first just say SBS has owned this timeslot so far this year. The network filled the slot between seasons two and three of Penthouse with the incredible Taxi Driver which itself was both a creative and ratings success. That series is also on track for a second season (hopefully). Perhaps Taxi Driver returns to this timeslot once Penthouse wraps up and we can have the two alternating for as long as they can. (YES PLEASE!)
Also, a couple of characters on Penthouse definitely need to call the Rainbow Taxi squad to help with getting decisive revenge on the demonic people around Hera Palace. Lol
Anyway, this season premiere definitely had all the things we love and love to hate about Penthouse. It’s as much a spoof and send-up of traditional soap operas as it is a pretty engaging character-driven roller coaster.
After the season two finale, there have been many rumors and lots of speculation about the types of stories that could pop up on season three. And a lot of the ideas were met with “WTF?! That’s so unrealistic!”
Umm… well then. That certainly shows that a lot of these people have never seen a soap opera before. lol It’s not meant to be realistic, people! This isn’t some slowburn, healing drama.
It’s an over-the-top, sensationalistic soap opera where anything and everything can happen and you just gotta roll with it. People will come back from the dead, absolutely. Twists and turns, predictable or not, will cause you whiplash.
But that’s all part of the experience. And really, the biggest reason Penthouse has been so successful. Daily and even weekend dramas are usually soapy types of shows. It’s just that mixture of heavy drama, emotional stories and ample sprinkling of romance and lighthearted moments. There’s a reason daily and weekend dramas usually get huge ratings. Double, triple or even quadruple the audience of flashier primetime dramas.
So when Penthouse mixes the glossy façade of a big primetime drama and the soapy suds of a daily morning or evening drama, you’ve got a buzzworthy, cultural phenomenon captivating the nation and the world.
Now to this premiere, as exciting and fun as the first half of it was, it did start to drag on a bit toward the end. It was absolutely exhausting, typical of the show of course. But they definitely moved very quickly here and didn’t allow much time to breathe. I’m sure they wanted to pack in as much as possible for the start of the new season. But they could’ve calmed down a bit while still having enough outrageous insanity to fill the episode.
I think my favorite parts of the episode were actually the guest stars. Park Sang Myeon is always a dependable character actor. And it was so awesome to see Jung Young Joo guest starring. I had to remember she’s actually an accomplished musical actress as well. So that scene where she sings and Ma Ri and Sang Ah slap Seo Jin silly was HILARIOUS. I exploded in laughter. So good.
The most interesting developments from this episode definitely is the mystery surrounding the realfakeDan Taes. Mr. Baek is probably the most mysterious character at the moment. Where do his loyalties lie? What’s his endgame? Who will he side with, if anyone. He looks to be the big driver of story, especially if it has to do with Dan Tae’s eventual downfall.
Yoo Dong Pil’s story seems more straightforward. He took the fall for something, but was promised compensation by fakeDan Tae. Though Secretary Jo seems to have been his right hand man before Dan Tae took him on. We know Dong Pil isn’t some innocent bystander, but he does have a bone to pick with Dan Tae.
Seok Kyung is back to her jealous ways of course. Which is not a surprise. Her potentially teaming up with her father is the way to go. With a show like this, you can’t rely on keeping everyone redeemable. And the way they’ve written Seok Kyung, she’s essentially just a more stable version of Eun Byeol, to be honest. So just let her descend into the darkness and never look back.
As for the fake outs, I think everything with fakeDan Tae’s plan and Seo Jin’s plan were very predictable. So that kind of took a little bit of excitement away from those developments. What saved them was Su Ryeon attacking Dan Tae in the hospital and the cliffhanger scene which for sure will be another fake out that is revealed next week.
Like I’ve said in my reviews of the first two seasons, I don’t want redemption for most of these people. I want to see them suffer and suffer hard. They can spread their evil as much as they want across three seasons. But by the end of this mad ride, these people better be burning in hell. There’s nothing wrong with an ending where everyone is f-cked. lol
Moving forward, some of my predictions include Seol Ah being alive somehow. But also, Yoon Hee being acquitted of all charges when it is revealed she didn’t kill Seol Ah, regardless of whether Seol Ah is actually alive or not. Oh and Logan will pop back up of course.
Otherwise, I’m ready to get angry and to cheer and to slap my forehead and to laugh my ass off for another wild season of Penthouse.