King The Land – K-drama Episode 3 Recap & Review

Time For A Smile

Episode 3 of King The Land begins with a sharply dressed Gu Won reaching the venue for the interview which is the King Hotel at Jeju Island. Everyone is in awe including Sa-rang whose jaw falls open (partly because she was in the middle of eating macarons). But the interview is off to a rocky start as Sa-rang makes fun of his hair and he calls her out for being nervous.

The interview begins and the first few questions are all about his mother and how she is a co-founder. Hwa-ran who is watching the interview smiles. He walks off and Sa-rang tries to fix the situation by talking about her mother. Everyone comments on how she is a natural.

Meanwhile, Gu Won feels dizzy but he realises that Hwa-ran is messing with him and he returns. He tells Sa-rang to wing it. She comments on the sunset and they go to watch it. With their backs to the camera, her smile falls. After the interview, they face off and she tells him not to mess with her livelihood. He takes a step forward menacingly and asks if she even knows what she did in the interview.

An excited Sang-sik pops up in the middle as their sunset photo is trending. He comments on how they should go for a romantic concept for the photoshoot the next day and Gu Won declares only one shot per location is to be taken. He then sulks while looking at the broken pocket watch and recalling memories with his mother when he was young.

Meanwhile, at King Air’s headquarters, senior flight attendant Yoo Soo-hyun is busy taking the weight of the rest and mocks Pyeong-hwa who is 53 kgs. Soo-hyun, however, is all smiles for Ro-woon and even exempts him from the assessment. Unhappy with the way she is bullying the rest, he asks her to weigh herself but she runs off.

On their next flight, Ro-woon cheers Pyeong-hwa up who is told to go on a diet. She gives him a scarf for his mother as a thank you for helping her the last time. He teasingly asks where his gift is but she simply says he is a good son.

Things aren’t so pleasant at the photoshoot as Gu Won refuses to smile as he doesn’t feel like it. The photographer is at his wit’s end. Sa-rang calls him out for being a nepo baby and begs him not to get her fired just because he cannot do his job properly.

He boasts that he can do everything perfectly but when he cracks a smile, it is a one-sided ghastly smirk. Tough for Gu Won to not look so handsome all the time, but he does it as even the photographer is appalled! But the assistant is confident he can photoshop a smile. 

The next shot is on a boat with Gu Won holding a tiny fish and pretending it is big and heavy. Fed up with the commands, he just throws it back into the sea. The annoyed photographer heads back on a separate boat but Gu Won and Sa-rang’s boat breaks down. With a typhoon in sight, Gu Won panics but the driver refuses to rush the repairs.

Meanwhile, Manager Da-eul is shocked to see that her new rules to stop the bullying traditions at the duty-free shop have not been followed. Annoyed, she decides to go back to the old ways if this also means no holidays for the senior staff members. The seniors apologise and Da-eul warns them that it is their last chance to treat everyone fairly.

It is late at night by the time Won’s boat makes it back to land. However, they end up on the mini-island, Gapado. There is not a single person in sight nor any phone service. Afraid, but with no other option, Won follows Sa-rang. They start bickering again as Won claims he is not scared but almost faints when a chicken crosses him. He tries to compose himself by air boxing but faints for real when he spots a woman.

He wakes up in a traditional house where he sees talismans, masks and a couple with knives. His own clothes are replaced by a farmer’s outfit and he starts screaming for Sa-rang. Trying to escape, he falls out of the window only to see Sa-rang in a similar outfit. Turns out she carried him to the woman he saw, one of the owners of the ‘hotel’. The owners mistake them for a couple and they vehemently refuse. 

The couple bring out their special alcohol and Sa-rang teases Gu Won that he is probably a lightweight. Of course, this turns into a competition. In the first sip, they realise how strong it is but refuse to be the first to give up. Bottles later, they are drunk and fighting as Gu Won tells Sa-rang to stop smiling.

She smacks him in the face and gives him a lecture for going on power trips when everyone should be treated fairly. She nicknames him Snobby Gu and he calls her Phony Cheon for being fake. She, however, takes it as a compliment as it is not easy being polite to everyone every day. She finally asks him why he hates smiling and he says it is because people wear it as a mask. A memory flashes of the pocket watch falling and him screaming.

It cuts to the hotel staff eerily smiling at him when he was young. Sa-rang hopes there is someone sincere who has smiled at him. Her attention falls on a pinwheel and she drunkenly smiles. He is entranced by her and he suddenly slaps himself. He tells her not to smile even if it is sincere but she refuses. She smiles again while asking for a drink and he looks at her intently. 

They go to their rooms and crash. However, in the morning they realise that the only thing dividing their rooms is a curtain. And they find out in the most embarrassing way as Sa-rang tries to take off her socks while standing and falls into the curtain. It breaks and she lands on top of a sleeping Gu Won. She jumps off and he stalks up to her. She is suddenly nervous but he just opens the window behind her.

With the next boat back to Jeju being in a couple of hours, the owner offers his cycle for Won and his ‘wife’. Won doesn’t correct him and cycles up to Sa-rang. Of course, she refuses at first but he tempts her with the view and she hops on. They end up enjoying the island with Won smiling to himself. 

During the checkout, the owner suddenly pulls up a bill of over 650k won. Gu Won doesn’t mind paying but he doesn’t have his wallet. The boat captain shows up and is annoyed that a chaebol is refusing to pay. He ends up revealing that the owner is his mother and Sa-rang realises that they are being swindled. She calculates at reasonable prices and brings the bill down to 350k won.

She also wonders if the captain pretended the boat was malfunctioning to bring business to his mother’s hotel. On the way back, Gu Won wonders why Sa-rang put so much effort when he could have easily paid them. She feels that deception is wrong and money should be earned honestly to preserve one’s integrity. She also apologises for the interview as she realises he was hurt even if she doesn’t know why. 

Back home, the trio catch up over drinks. They wonder about Gu Won and Sa-rang says he is a stuck-up jerk. Da-eul then asks about Ro-woon and the gift. Pyeong-hwa claims he is a junior and brushes it off. They walk Da-eul home to her daughter and are amused that none of them own cars as they don’t earn much. 

As for Won, Chairman Gu is furious with the way he acted because of one question. He tells Won to stop looking for his mother as money is the only thing that matters. There is no such thing as love but duty for people like them. But Won says he won’t stop till he learns the truth. Gu storms off and Hwa-ran mocks him. Won says he was never interested in taking the hotel from her so she should have never messed with him.

At work, Chairman Gu pays a visit and he is impressed with the way Sa-rang handles a crisis. He promotes her to work at King The Land and she is delighted.

Meanwhile, Gu Won is going through the photos and smiles as he zooms in on Sa-rang’s. Sang-sik surprises him and he quickly changes the photo to his. This just makes him look like a narcissist but seems that is better than being caught looking at Sa-rang. Sang-sik reveals the photos have already been chosen for the campaign and it includes the one where Gu Won has been photoshopped to have a cartoonish smile.

He tells Sang-sik to get the photographer and once he is alone, he switches back to her photo. He looks at her and starts to smile before stopping himself. He suddenly gets an ad for a love test to see how he feels about ‘that person’.

He starts taking it with Sa-rang in mind. On the question of ‘I can’t stop thinking about the person even when I try not to’, he is conflicted before he answers ‘yes’. The results show that he has a crush on Sa-rang and to get into a relationship, he needs to ask her how she feels. 

The next scene has him walking in the lobby with intent as if he is about to do exactly that. However, the moment he sees her, he hides behind a plant. But he cannot stop looking at her as she clocks off. He spots some macarons and remembers she was eating them at the interview. He buys some and follows her. He is about to call her when Yu-nam hugs her. On seeing them, Won feels foolish and leaves.

The Episode Review

Phew, things picked up pretty quickly in episode 3 after all that fluff in the premiere of King The Land. We really need to know what happened with Won’s mother. Is she the co-founder or is it Hwa-ran’s mother? How is the broken clock related to her?

It seems she dropped it when she was killed or injured. The smiling staff may be from a scene at her funeral. But since Won doesn’t know if she is alive, she may be involved in a conspiracy with Hwa-ran. It may tie up with the missing Director Han Mi-so as it is probably the mother’s name.

And we finally get to the fun part of the enemies-to-lovers trope as the two people in the whole staff that cannot stand each other are forced to work in close proximity. If the K-drama is to take on all the rom-com cliches, it would be incomplete without the enemies being stuck in one room trope which was hilarious.

We also have Gu Won slowly falling for Sa-rang from staring at her to trying to understand her better. The quiz scene was cute plus eye-opening as we realise just how Gu Won truly feels about her.

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You can read our season 1 review of King The Land here!

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