We honestly believe that if something is cliche, it is a compliment. Becoming a cliche is proof of the appeal of that thing, and doesn’t that mean that it was good if everyone wanted to do it? Cliches only annoy us when they are not done right. Take King The Land, for example. The series offers nothing new, but every interaction between Gu Won and Sa Rang has us swooning. There is chemistry between the actors, including the fact that their characters are well written, and the “cliche” circumstances they find themselves in are written and executed with soul. Old wine in a new bottle can be successful as long as people remember the secret ingredient: sincerity, and there is loads of it in the love story between Sa Rang and Gu Won. Therefore, here is a recap of it.
How Are Sa Rang And Gu Won’s Dates?
We would like to talk about Da Eul and Pyeong Hwa first. It seems that their purpose as characters is not just to be the support system of Sa Rang but also to remind the audience that whether you find the love of your life or not, your career struggles will always follow you. Pyeong Hwa’s supervisor blames her entire team for not meeting the sales target and being placed last once again. She wants them to work harder, and later, she criticizes Pyeong Hwa for not being promoted yet. Both of them had joined the company together, but Pyeong Hwa was left behind despite being the more competent worker. The supervisor further tells Pyeong Hwa that if she meets the sales target, she will put in a good word for her during the promotions. Pyeong Hwa may or may not believe it, but she has to comply. One thing about the supervisor is that she knows how to play people, and in the corporate world, that gets you a lot further than just regular good work. In the meantime, Da Eul has irritations of her own. The national mother, Seong Ae, visits their store, and her dog poops in it. Da Eul rightfully takes a stand and asks her to clean it up, but Seong Ae is adamant that she won’t. Her secretary finally cleans it up in the interest of not creating a scene, but we can expect a lot more nuisances from her end, hopefully comedic ones.
Coming to Sa Rang and Gu Won, remember how in episode 4, he saved her from falling down while holding an umbrella over her head in such romantic rainfall? It turns out that he was there after finding out that there was absolutely no record of his mother in the hotel. Since the beginning of King The Land, Gu Won has been asking his father for the whereabouts of his mother. In many respects, that seems to be exactly why he is still around the family, despite clearly disagreeing with them on everything and not even being interested in the family business. Hwa Ran would have done better to recognize this and just help Gu Won find his mother instead of trying to antagonize him every step of the way. She really chose the longer route instead of the shortcut. But her ego dictates to her, and when her husband, Dr. Yoon, asks her for a divorce, she is less concerned about her marriage ending and more concerned about how it would look while she fights the race for her inheritance. It looked like Dr. Yoon had been unfaithful plenty of times, and Hwa Ran had ignored it, probably to keep up appearances. Now that he wants a divorce and is not even demanding alimony, she still only cares about how it all looks. That is why she has the stomach to accept the cake and flowers given to her by the hotel staff for her wedding anniversary, even though she has just received news of her husband’s intentions for divorce. If Gu Won has grown up in such an environment, no wonder he hates and refuses to understand the importance of outward appearances.
He offers to drop off Sa Rang at her house, but when she falls asleep in his car, he takes the opportunity to buy her some clothes—a couple’s outfit, to be specific—along with some new shoes as well. We just loved how he made sure to buy shoes in her size. Men who pay attention to such details will always be hard to get over because they set the standard so high. It looks like sunny times are here for Korean content since we finally have such good romantic dramas ruling the roost. This time period, when King The Land and See You In My 19th Life are airing together, is going to be one of the most memorable eras in the years to come. But coming back to the story, Gu Won takes Sa Rang to a restaurant, where she is surprised at the care that he has shown towards her, though he brushes it off as nothing. The server even takes a picture of them, which Gu Won keeps very carefully with himself to stare at in his free time. When he drops her off at home, Sa Rang’s ex-boyfriend, Yoo Nam, is waiting for her to ruin a perfect night. He is as insensitive as ever and demands that Sa Rang get back with him. When she refuses and tells him to stay away, he is on the verge of following her, but Gu Won takes care of him. The night wasn’t totally ruined since Gu Won gifted Sa Rang the prettiest cake for her birthday and wished her twice, finally making her smile.
The next day, when her friends see the stuff that he has brought for her (clothes and shoes), they insist that Sa Rang treat him back. Initially hesitant, she takes the plunge and asks him whether he is free. It is funny seeing how Gu Won measures each and every one of his texts. Situations like this make us glad that we are women, and we can just run our texts by our girlfriends to check whether they are situationally appropriate. Sa Rang and Gu Won end up going out after she gives him a thank-you gift. While Sa Rang is extremely conscious of people watching them, Gu Won is a lot more confident. It is hard to describe the hotel scene where they go to have food. While Sa Rang continues to educate him on the differences between rich and poor, they continue to find common ground and more things to do. Sa Rang says she doesn’t want to go out with Gu Won again since it is uncomfortable, but he just tells her to get comfortable. This is what women mean when they say that confidence is attractive.
Does Gu Won Rescue Sa Rang?
Every year, the Operations team has to go for the Super Farmers’ Week, which basically means that they meet their vendors personally and get pictures with them as a way of good PR for the hotel. This year, Gu Won refuses to let the team go, as he believes that this is not their job. Sang Sik requests that he not be so stubborn since it is a tiny battle that has no actual relevance to the actual war. Gu Won is still adamant, but he gives in when he watches Sa Rang make calls to ex-guests of the hotel, asking them to come around when they can. She was simply following orders from her seniors to boost sales, but Gu Won was furious. He remembers his sister’s words that the employees will do anything for money, and he thinks that is what Sa Rang is doing. Growing up rich, Gu Won has no idea what it means to follow a system of hierarchy for a livelihood, and he has trouble accepting that Sa Rang is part of it. In anger, he sanctions the farmers’ week, and Sa Rang is assigned to go to Mount Jiri to meet the ginseng farmer. Being the youngest member, she was given the most tedious assignment. But Gu Won is worried about her when he sees the schedule she will have to follow. Sang Sik encourages him to call her, but Gu Won is still holding back until he sees that it starts raining, which means that the mountain terrain must be difficult.
As expected, Sa Rang has reached the farmer’s house, but he is nowhere to be found. He has been refusing to meet people from other hotels since he wants to stay loyal to First Hotel. But Sa Rang has come this far, and she insists on meeting the farmer. His wife guides her to the top of the mountain, where he is in a cottage, and Sa Rang sets off for there. This is when she gets a call from Gu Won, who tells her to come back down if it looks dangerous. Before Sa Rang can reply or heed him, she sees a ginseng plant and goes to pick it up, losing her balance in the process and slipping down the mountain. Gu Won has called her many times but can’t get through to her. At the end of episode 5 of King the Land, when Sa Rang finally comes back to consciousness, she doesn’t know what to do. Lucky for her, she spots a chopper, and Gu Won is there to rescue her. He jumps toward her, probably to bring her up or to just be close to her after worrying for so long. Sa Rang will be fine, and we suspect that she is going to start falling in love now.
Romantic cliches will never lose their charm as long as people know how to put their souls into their execution. It has been so long since we saw something mushy that did not make us cringe. We love how Korean dramas have come to the rescue for this genre, and this is precisely why we can never give up on them. This episode has made us very happy, and we can certify that there is no better way to spend a weekend night than to watch episodes of King the Land and See You in My 19th Life back-to-back. Maybe throw a Barbara Cartand book in the mix for good measure.