King the Land Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – who is Gu Won?

By Nathan Sartain
Published: June 17, 2023 (Last updated: June 19, 2023)
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2023 Netflix K-Drama series King the Land Season 1 Episode 1 Recap


A fun, breezy opener.

We recap the 2023 Netflix K-Drama series King the Land Season 1 Episode 1, which contains spoilers.

Packed with humour, King the Land’s opener was bright, colourful, and easily digestible. Its fast pace is certainly a strong selling point, as is the fact that both Lee Jun-ho and Im Yoon-ah are fantastic in their lead roles.

King the Land Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

How does Gu Won cope at work?

We begin in 2015 with a look at how Cheon Sa-rang received an offer for King Hotel’s traineeship. Despite not having the necessary qualifications, the young woman appeared to impress the interview panel with her smile and imaginary piano playing. Elsewhere, Gu Won parachutes to the wrong spot on his way to work.

Due to his wealthy background, Gu Won struggles in his sales internship working for his father, Gu Il-hoon’s company. So, he is taught the basics by his colleague, Sang-sik. Wear inexpensive clothing, arrive early, and always pretend to be completing a task.

When doing as told, Sang-sik ends up exploding an ink cartilage. What follows is a petty blame game, which sees Gu Won fired for standing up for his fellow intern and pinning the “mess” on those who gave out the initial instructions.

However, the rich upstart is soon pandered to when his true identity as the Chairman’s son is revealed.

After being scolded by his father for being unable to handle even an internship, Gu Won is banished from the house by his deceptively strict sister, who pays for him to stay at King Hotel instead. Her plan, it appears, is to ensure the rich heir stays away from Korea and their father’s business.

What happens with Sa-rang’s traineeship?

On Sa-rang’s first day of training, things seem promising. Alongside her colleagues, she’s brightly taught “the guest is King,” as well as the power of smiling at paying customers. But the reality of Sa-rang’s work is far from joyful, given she’s left to wipe the sweat off gym equipment.

As Sa-rang, Pyeong-hwa and Da-eul all struggle with their laborious jobs and fussy co-workers, Sang-sik begins life working full-time for Gu Won. Here, the former intern is told to apply for a passport, for he will be travelling to the UK with the wealthy heir.

Mistaking Gu Won for a somewhat perverse gym user because of their matching shirts, Sa-rang clumsily confronts the wealthy heir. He doesn’t get a chance to respond to her harsh words, though, given Hwa-ran (the hotel director and his older sister) interrupts.

Suddenly, the multilingual, diligent Sa-rang finds herself promoted to the King Hotel lobby as a concierge (Hwa-ran was impressed by her skills), with her one-month traineeship also being converted into a 12-month internship.

Meanwhile, Gu Won exits, ready to return to the UK without a firm plan to ever head back to Korea.

What does Gu Won decide when back to Korea?

In a montage showing the passage of time, plenty happens. Sa-rang continuously progresses in her career as a full-time employee, Da-eul gets married, and Gu Won lives lavishly in the UK whilst also managing to graduate from the university there.

In the present, Gu Won receives a strange package containing the personnel records of Han Mi-so, causing him to decide to make his way to Korea. Concurrently, Sa-rang is now running the King Hotel internship program and is fondly regarded by guests.

As Gu Won is instructed to return to his home, he decides to begin working at King Hotel, thus meaning he is directly competing with his sister. The rich heir, still flanked by Sang-sik, is subsequently made Head Manager at the hotel by his father.

King the Land Season 1 Episode 1 Ending Explained

When running an errand to find Gu Won’s phone in his suite and deliver it to the director’s office, Sa-rang concedes to temptation and uses his bathroom. But the rich heir had also travelled back to his residence to find some important papers, meaning the episode ends with the pair awkwardly staring at each other, Sa-rang still parked on the toilet.

What did you think of the K-Drama King the Land Season 1 Episode 1? Comment below.

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