‘King The Land’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending, Explained: How Do Sa Rang And Gu Won Meet Again?


There is no doubt at all that King The Land is going to be pure mush through and through. That is why it felt apt that Im Yoon Ah had her Girls Generation moment early on in the first episode. We were also glad to see Ko Won Hee make a reappearance after Welcome to Waikiki and Love to Hate You. Either way, the characters are exactly what you would expect of them. The male lead is sufficiently tortured, and he has sensitive secrets in his past that will explain his behavior later on in the series. Even the female lead seems to be hiding things, and we bet that these two love interests will “find common ground in their pain and their differences” to fall in love over time, as it happens in every hate-to-love trope. Honestly, we are expecting something predictable but entertaining. The series has made no secret of what it is and what it hopes to deliver, and we don’t mind that. But King The Land Episode 1 was still a bit too slow regarding the protagonists’ lives. It is possibly a one-episode thing, so let us see what happens going forward. This is how Gu Won and Cheon Sa Rang meet, presented in this recap.

Spoilers Alert

Why Did Sa Rang And Gu Won’s First Meeting Go Wrong?

Wanting ten years of experience for your first job is not just a joke but a desperately sad reality. When Sa Rang goes for an interview, she is asked to play the piano without the presence of one since she has listed it as her hobby. We suppose the interviewers like to goof around sometimes to break the monotony of their jobs and the tiresome recruitment process. Either way, after what is clearly a very embarrassing interview, Sa Rang is hanging out with her friends, ranting her troubles away. Both of them also work in the service industry and are constantly annoyed by the unreasonable demands of their seniors and their guests. They ask Sa Rang to join them in one of their jobs, but she says that she prefers hotels.

The girls go partying that night, and the next morning, Sa Rang gets the good news that she has gotten the job. When she joins King Hotel, the first thing she is taught is to always keep smiling. Sa Rang is undoubtedly cute, and she has a bright smile which is a perfect fit for her as the hotel industry is her true calling. Currently, her job includes cleaning up after the guests and smiling at them whenever she sees them. But one particular guest tests her patience soon enough.

On the other side of things, Gu Won has been told by his grandfather to find his place in the company by working “from the ground up.” That is why he joins the King Hotel as an intern. However, it is clear that he doesn’t fit in because he is the boss, and he simply doesn’t care for the pretensions and politics of the regular staff. One of his fellow interns, Noh Sang Sik, tries to help him by teaching him the lay of the land and how to behave around his superiors. It is true that the politics of a workplace will get you far, but around the right people, even some peaceful sincerity can work, and that is what turned the tide for Noh Sang Sik. When his supervisor berates him for messing up a task, Gu Won stands up for him, which leads to his own identity being revealed. While leaving, Gu Won asks Sang Sik to come with him and promises to get him a full-time job at the hotel. Gu Won gets Sang Sik a permanent job as his secretary, and he goes back home in the meantime, where we get a glimpse of his tiresome family situation. Gu Won’s grandfather wants him to complete his studies, and his sister clearly tells him not to live in the house but in some hotel. This is the same sister that made Sa Rang play the fake piano. We don’t know what the tensions in the family are, but there seems to be something about the siblings having two mothers. Since Gu Hwa Ran is clearly older, we are guessing that Gu Won is probably the illegitimate child of his father.

Gu Won moves into the hotel, and this is where he runs into Sa Rang. Gu Won had purchased two similar t-shirts because he did not like others to wear what he did. Sadly, somebody had already bought the third t-shirt of that kind, and that man, in addition to being a very irritating person in the gym, also makes a pass at Sa Rang. But Sa Rang does not take that lying down. She has only seen the back of his head and the T-shirt he wore. Therefore, she mistakes Gu Won for that pervert when she sees him running on the treadmill since they were wearing the same t-shirt. Sa Rang gives a piece of her mind to a confused and angry Gu Won, and before he can react, she storms off. Hwa Ran, who has clearly seen this performance, predicts the benefit of having Sa Rang on her side. She tests her on her language and protocol abilities and promotes her to work in the lobby. This ruffles some feathers, and most of Sa Rang’s seniors are furious at her quick promotion. Regardless, she persists, and she succeeds at that. As for Gu Won, he goes back to the UK to finish his studies.

How Do Sa Rang And Gu Won Meet Again?

All of this happened in the year 2015, and by the time Sa Rang got her promotion, and Gu Won went back to the UK, it was the start of 2016. The years pass, and while Sa Rang is living her life, making progress in her job, and having fun with her friends, Gu Won is spending his days in unsmiling solitude. Sa Rang even starts dating someone, though Gu Won’s rule against smiling seems to have kept women away from him.

In the present day, Sa Rang has worked her way up to be an indispensable employee of the hotel who understands the unique needs of the guests. The fact that she gave a wake-up call to a once-famous singer in the form of one of her songs tells of Sa Rang’s attentiveness and care. But they say that to maintain balance in the world, something has to go wrong if something else is going right. Sa Rang is having some troubles with her boyfriend, and that has given her an upset stomach. Meanwhile, even Gu Won is back in Korea, and he wants to start working at the hotel. Their grandfather tells the siblings that their race for inheritance is starting now, and whoever does the best work will be his heir. Gu Won decides to live in the hotel for the duration of his stay, so we can only imagine what his second meeting with Sa Rang is going to look like. He forgets his mobile phone in his room and Sang Sik asks for one of the hotel employees to get it for him. That employee happens to be Sa Rang, who desperately wants to use the bathroom but has to finish her task first.

When she reaches Gu Won’s suite, she finds herself out of options and rushes to use his bathroom. Unfortunately for her, that is also when Gu Won decides to come back to his room at the end of episode 1 of King The Land. Sa Rang might have gone unnoticed if she hadn’t started playing with the bathroom screen that shifted between transparent and opaque at the touch of a button. That catches Gu Won’s eye, and he sees Sa Rang while she is sitting on the toilet. It is a very unfortunate second meeting and a sad story to tell the grandchildren in the future.

Final Thoughts

We already have an idea of what Gu Won’s past may look like. It is a K-drama chaebol family cliche. What we are interested in seeing is what goes on in Sa Rang’s head. Unlike other K-drama women in supposedly mushy series, her “bright” personality seems to have secret undertones. She is hiding something, and we believe that it is related to the hotel business. We wouldn’t even be surprised if it turns out that Gu Won and Sa Rang share a past in the style of What’s wrong with Secretary Kim?. After all, there needs to be something to compensate for the awful first and second meetings. These answers are many episodes away, and until then, we are just going to see these two bickering with each other, something we look forward to in King The Land.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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