The first two episodes of King The Land laid down the groundwork of what viewers should expect in the latest rom-com. The seeds for the conflict between our two future lovebirds – hotel chaebol Gu Won (Lee Jun-ho) and hotel worker Cheon Sa-rang (Im Yoon-ah) – were planted. We also got to see an inkling of the power struggle between Gu Won and his sister, Gu Hwa-ran (Kim Sun-young), established. Now, in King The Land Episode 3 and 4, we see these conflicts start to blossom.
At the end of episode two, Gu Won and Sa-rang traveled on location to promote the King Hotel property. First up, a livestream interview session. We already know something is amiss when Sa-rang is handed different questions at the end of Episode 2. An unknowing accomplice in Hwa-ran’s manipulations, Sa-rang proceeds to ask the questions during the live interview.
The questions touch a sore spot, touching upon Gu Won’s mysterious mother. This prompts him to walk off, leaving Sa-rang to think on her feet to save face. Surprising no one, Sa-rang keeps things flowing until Gu Won calms down. This is one of many blunders that Gu Won makes whilst onsite.
While the livestream accidentally becomes a viral success, Gu Won struggles further in promotional couple photos between him and Sa-rang. She is a consummate professional, but this experience highlights Gu Won’s lack of experience in this type of face-forward promotion and shows us his complicated struggles with smiling.
The young heir-apparent made it apparent in King The Land how he despises smiling. He connects it with a lack of sincerity, but he forgets that the act can indicate more: joy, pleasure, amusement, etc. He’s become so restrained that he doesn’t know or remember how to smile. Thankfully, for him, the photographers can edit it in after a lopsided attempt. But this is one of many examples of how his position has saved him, something that Sa-rang starts to point out to him.
Her honesty slowly starts to win him over, especially after an accidental detour for an overnight stay. A swindling attempt forces Sa-rang to step in, providing another teaching moment for Gu Won. Just because you have the money doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to be tricked. Her treatment of him as an equal is the spark needed for Gu Won to see her in a slightly new light.
In King The Land Episode 4, viewers get a closer look as to how the Gu family handles business. After the King properties have been bumped out of first place, Chairman Gu Il-han (Son Byung-ho) tells Gu Won and his sister they need to come up with a plan to get back to number one. To Hwa-ran, her brother is a threat. She doesn’t believe that he is uninterested in taking over the King properties.
With an iron fist, she sweeps through the worst-performing and best-performing sectors to ensure that changes are made. We see how disposable her employees are if they don’t meet her standards, many of which are superficial at best. When Gu Won gets wind, he recalls what Sa-rang told him. Between his growing crush on her, he has an invested interest in her doing well. He just has a long way to go before she catches onto his growing feelings and before he realizes how drastically different their socioeconomic positions are.
While Episode 4 lands on a promising note for our male romantic lead, there’s more to King The Land aside from the romance. What the writers of King The Land Episode 3 and 4, really nail is the disparity of treatment between the social classes. Sa-rang’s education is once again brought up when she receives a promotion and is used as a way for the employees of King The Land to treat her as lesser.
Gu Won is clueless about how his attention can be misconstrued by the other employees of his department, and it is Sa-rang that has to remind him not to do special things. Not to notice her or give her attention. With her presumed lack of qualifications on paper, she has more to prove. The target on her back is growing larger with each new step up the ladder because, despite all of her hard work, she is not good enough since she hasn’t hit certain societal standards of education.
This ignorance from Gu Won is natural given his position, but not inexcusable. At least, that’s the vibe painted in King The Land Episode 3 and 4. This contrasts differently from the previous episodes where his dismissive attitude towards authority felt refreshing. Since we’re starting to see how quickly Gu Won is starting to pick up on things after Sa-rang has pointed out things to him, the focus on class differences as well as pushing past them is more apparent.
Another theme that is starting to be more apparent after King The Land Episode 3 and 4, is how appearances are deceiving. That, and what is on paper doesn’t necessarily reveal the full extent of a person or situation. Sa-rang is shown to be capable and creative on the job. With her winning smile, she is the epitome of a top employee. Behind the smile, we see someone coming to grips with the failure of a relationship dating a man who treats her poorly and completely dismisses her when she repeatedly calls him out on his errors.
We also see this reflected in Sa-rang’s friend, Gang Da-eul (Kim Ga-eun). She has the perfect life according to Sa-rang and their mutual friend, Oh Pyeong-hwa (Go Won-hee). She’s married and has a wonderful daughter. She’s making decent money and has gotten her shop, the Allang Duty-Free Shop, to be the best-selling shop since taking over as manager. But not everything is silver and gold. The elders of her family take advantage of her, making messes and forcing her to cook and clean regardless of how she feels. Her husband appears to be mostly absent (possibly cheating on her, but this hasn’t been verified yet). All in all, Da-eul’s life isn’t as perfect as her friends think.
The focus on successful appearances can hide many flaws, but the failure to adhere to the illusion of success has its consequences. In the case of King The Land Episode 3 and 4, if you fail to meet up to specific visual standards, you can get demoted or fired. However, maintaining the illusion of a pleasant appearance is not what it’s cracked up to be. For Sa-rang, her amendable personality and pleasant appearance have opened doors for her, but it has led to her being dismissed by those closest to her. For Da-eul, maintaining the illusion may likely wear her down unless she decides that the illusion isn’t worth the effort.
While King The Land is a romantic comedy, already within the first few episodes we’re seeing there’s a lot more to dissect under the surface. King The Land Episodes 3-4 open the door wide for the relationship between Sa-rang and Gu Won. The hurdles both will have to jump have been developed naturally. You have the differences in their job positions, but also their socioeconomic positions to consider. Throw in a battle between heirs that Gu Won doesn’t even want, and the recipe for addicting conflict is set.
King The Land Episodes 3 and 4 continue what the previous episodes established easily. The tone and feel of the latest episodes carry over well, and the length – once again – is hardly noticeable. By keeping the storylines simple so far, we’re able to easily focus on the development between Sa-rang and Gu Won without any needless distractions. By the end of Episode 4, you likely will be silently in Gu Won’s corner. While he has a long way to go, it’s hard not to support his first-time crush. Let’s see if we feel the same way as King The Land ventures forward.
King The Land Episodes 1 through 4 are now available on Netflix, with new episodes airing on Saturdays and Sundays.
King The Land Episodes 3-4
King The Land Episodes 3-4 continue what the previous episodes established easily. The tone and feel of the latest episodes carry over well, and the length – once again – is hardly noticeable. By keeping the storylines simple so far, we’re able to easily focus on the development between Sa-rang and Gu Won without any needless distractions.