We have come to the end of a long, sappy, and rather romantic drama, and our hearts are overflowing with sweetness. One of the major reasons King the Land has worked the way it has is because there hasn’t been a drama, or a movie purely dedicated to romance in such a long time. Most love stories are dying to put unique spins on themselves, by either being retro, having out-of-the-box settings, or simply being too angsty. While all of that is well and good, the charm of simple, uncomplicated romance was being pushed back, and King the Land has brought it to the forefront once again. Now that the season has come to a close, let us take a look at a recap of it.
Pyeong Hwa And Da Eul
These two are Sa Rang’s best friends in the world, and they have been through thick and thin together. They all work for King Group, but while Da Eul works in retail, Pyeong Hwa works in airlines. Their role has always been to be there for Sa Rang while dealing with their own problems for five minutes in each episode. Da Eul is a capable worker who has had to deal with an unbearable supervisor. But coming towards the end, she shows her proof of her swindling money from the company by using it for her own expenses, and we are guessing that got the supervisor fired.
Back at home, Da Eul has had to take on the lion’s share of the housework along with her job because her in-laws and husband thrive on her unpaid labor. But when Da Eul discovers that her husband has been out of work for almost a year, she turns the tables by delegating all household chores to him and treating him the way he treated her all along. Da Eul was put through a lot, and she got her justice, but we struggle to say the same for Pyeong Hwa, who has been overlooked for her deserved promotion for way too long. When her junior, Mi Na, who was promoted over her, reveals that Pyeong Hwa got divorced, that flips something in her that allows her to not care anymore.
Pyeong Hwa was registered as married by her ex-boyfriend as a joke, but that turned out to have legal implications, leading to a divorce. Now that the secret she wants to protect is out in the open, Pyeong Hwa has no problem putting the harassing pilot in his place, and she happily starts dating Ro Un. It is annoying that justice for Pyeong Hwa only meant a boyfriend, but we suppose no story is perfect. In the season finale, we saw that Ro Un takes Pyeong Hwa to the gravesite of his long-dead mother, which means that he is rather serious about his Sunbae.
Gu Won’s Past
Gu Won and Sa Rang’s first meeting is a disaster, and they don’t meet again until seven years later when Gu Won returns from England to take over as the Head Manager of King The Land, and Sa Rang is a concierge at the hotel. They dislike each other almost instantly because Sa Rang cannot stand his arrogant manner, and he thinks of her as a phony because she always keeps smiling.
The fact is that Gu Won’s mother left him when he was a child, and he has never been told the reason for it. When she disappeared, everyone in the house denied knowing about her with a smiling face. Since that day, he has hated to see people smile. On the other hand, his stepsister hates him but is smiling and polite to him in front of their father, which further adds to his distaste for “fake” behavior. He comes to know later that his mother left because of his grandfather, who banished her when she tried to fight for the rights of the hotel workers. Won’s father did not take a stand for her, and she had to leave, having no choice. Won forgives his mother, and she is presumably back in his life for good. We also see the Chairman testing whether he still has a chance with her, and though she says nothing to him, we suspect he won’t stop trying.
Gu Won And Sa Rang
Words truly fall short when we try to describe their love story. It is one anecdote after another of them being there for each other, and Won’s eyes have done all the expressing in their tale. He starts falling for Sa Rang almost right away, during their work trip and while waiting for her to break up with her useless boyfriend. Once that happens, Gu Won is ready to dry her tears and position himself in her boyfriend’s place. After a heroic rescue and a few days spent in each other’s company, Gu Won finally pops the question: whether she would like to date him. Sa Rang doesn’t answer right away, but through some adventures and mishaps with a Prince and a foreign trip to Thailand, Sa Rang and Gu Won come closer and confess their love to each other. Eventually, their friends find out and give them their blessings, but the same cannot be said for Won’s family.
The Chairman wants Won to marry the daughter, Yuri, of another affluent family, and when Sa Rang learns of this, she is in shock for a bit but assures Won that she doesn’t think of it as reason enough to break up with him. Won tells Yuri to look for someone who would love her instead of setting her sights on him, and we suppose that is the end of their relationship. Meanwhile, Won also wins the war for inheritance and becomes the President of the King Hotel, which requires him to travel extensively for the expansion plans. Taking advantage of his absence, the Chairman sends Sa Rang to a run-down branch of the King Group. But again, when Won finds out, he rescues not only Sa Rang but the hotel as well.
Does Gu Won Marry Sa Rang?
Gu Won wants to pop the second big question to Sa Rang, and that is whether she would marry him. But before he can ask, Sa Rang announces a big life decision: she wants to quit her job at King The Land and open her own hotel. Frankly, good for her, because she was absolutely right in realizing that she had dreamed of much more than what she was doing.
This series is really more of a fantasy than reality because Sa Rang took out a huge loan to start her new business, but her grandmother gave her loads of money, some of which she had been saving and some that she had gotten from the sale of some wild ginseng that Sa Rang had gotten in one of the previous episodes. This money has to mean that half of Sa Rang’s business worries have disappeared. The hotel proves to be successful and is regularly booked to the brim. Meanwhile, Gu Won has promoted Sang Sik and is opening more branches of King Hotel across the world. On the weekends, he wants to help Sa Rang manage her hotel in the capacity of a part-timer. When Sa Rang agrees, he finally asks her whether she wants to marry him. It is not as if he was going to get a negative answer, and during King the Land‘s ending, Sa Rang says yes to his proposal.
Back with Hwa Ran, while Ji Hu is about to go back to the US, she does the first good thing that she has done all season, and that is to stop her son from leaving Korea. Ji Hu has always wanted to stay with his family, and Hwa Ran decides to work on the bond with her son so that he doesn’t grow up to be as lonely as her. At Gu Won and Sa Rang’s wedding, Hwa Ran runs into Won’s mother. The tension between them, along with our knowledge of Hwa Ran’s past hostility, indicates that she must have certainly hated Won’s mother and acted out against her. Years later, she seems to have decided to let go of her hostility, and she allows Ji Hu to hug his grandmother. Season 1 of King the Land ends with Gu Won and Sa Rang getting married in a dreamy wedding, at the very King The Land, where their romance blossomed.
Just a thought: Sa Rang’s wedding dress could have been better. On the other hand, our top episodes are the Thailand episode and the mountain rescue one. King the Land has been a delightful show, and we feel mentally richer for having watched it. We hope that Netflix chooses to invest in more such shows because they really are the need of the hour. Signing off on this is a little painful, but we can always keep rewatching it.