Solo Leveling – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

It’s Like A Game

Episode 3 of Solo Leveling starts with Sung waking up in a hospital bed and realizing the injuries he sustained from the statues are gone. Suddenly, Woo, the Hunter Association’s Surveillance Team manager and his partner Kang enter Sung’s room. They inform Sung he’s been unconscious for three days. They confirm Song may retire soon, Joohee’s undergoing psychiatric treatment, and only six survivors lived through the double-dungeon ordeal. 

Woo states the White Tiger Guild was alerted about the incident and went to the temple to save them. However, they only found Sung lying on the ground, with no statues or a temple in sight. Woo asks Sung if he experienced a “second awakening.” Sung wonders if that’s the case and places his hand on Kang’s mana meter to see if that occurred to him. Unfortunately, Sung’s mana levels haven’t changed. Woo and Kang apologize and leave his room. 

In his room, Sung’s shocked they didn’t ask him questions about the log in front of him. Sung tampers with the log for a bit. Suddenly, Jinah (Sung’s sister) enters the room and yells at him for making her panic about his safety. He realizes Jinah can’t see the log either and asks her questions concerning unread video game notifications and how to access them. Jinah tells him how and Sung learns he’s become “The Player” and must complete a daily “Strength Training” quest. 

Sung reads several notifications detailing important data concerning the “Player Development System.” It says if he fails to comply with the system’s demand, he’ll earn a penalty. Additionally, the system tells him he’s been rewarded with something, but Sung doesn’t understand what this all means. Sung notices the daily “Strength Training” quest notification and opens it up. Sung reads things he needs to complete today and laughs it off. 

Elsewhere, Woo informs Chairman Go via phone that Sung didn’t undergo a second awakening. Chairman Go understands and is thankful this expedition didn’t result in a dungeon break. However, he tells Woo that he’s going to list this matter as a “special case” that’ll be evaluated over time. In his office, Guildmaster Choi tells Cha he’d like them to participate in a B-Rank raid as an instructor. Cha’s hesitant about her instructor capabilities, but Choi says she just needs to tackle the raid as normal. 

After, a gate appears in the middle of the street, to many citizens’ dismay. At the hospital, the log informs Sung that he failed to complete his daily request. Sung winds up in a desert-like environment with a giant centipede looming over him. The log tells Sung he must survive this ordeal for four hours since he failed to complete his daily quest. Sung runs for his life, conquers the quest, and ends up back in the hospital.

At a loss for words, Sung faints as the log informs him that he received a reward for completing the penalty quest. In the morning, Sung tells Jinah that he might be able to leave the hospital soon. Jinah’s happy to hear this news and jokes about Sung taking her to dinner soon. At Joohee’s home, someone calls and asks her to participate in a D-Rank raid. Joohee declines the offer and the man informs her about Sung’s current condition. 

Joohee arrives at the hospital and eavesdrops on a conversation between two nurses. They’re discussing Sung’s bizarre infatuation with exercise as of late. Joohee spots Sung running outside and leaves to confront him. Meanwhile, we learn that Sung completed his daily “Strength Training” quest. Additionally, Sung rambles about what he’s learned about the Player Development System and the three types of rewards he receives for completing said quests.

These rewards consist of full recovery, ability points, and a random loot box (that often contains random items). Sung returns to his hospital room to see what’s inside today’s loot box. Sung receives a key that allows him to teleport to an “instance dungeon.” Sung questions what that is for a bit. After we receive a news report regarding several D-Rank and C-Rank gates appearing in the area, we cut to Sung visiting his mother’s hospital room. 

We enter a flashback involving Sung, Jinah, and their mother. In it, we learn Sung’s mother’s experiencing a disease called Final Rest, a type of eternal sleep disease that came into existence when the gates popped up. The doctor says it’s a rare disease people can theoretically obtain if they continue to expose themselves to mana. Unfortunately, the doctor says proper life support is the only thing they can provide Jinah and Sung’s mother with. 

We receive a montage of Sung completing his daily quests. During this time, he ponders his previous experiences with former co-workers and hunters. In his hospital room, Sung decides to devote most of his ability points to his strength stats. Then, Sung travels to Hapjeong Station and uses the loot box key to enter the “instance dungeon.” Suddenly, the dungeon closes and the log appears, informing Sung that he must defeat the instance dungeon’s boss or use a teleportation stone if he wants to return home. 

Sung encounters several goblins and defeats them. Suddenly, a Steel-Fanged Lycan arrives and lowers Sung’s morale. Sung’s worried because he knows he can’t rely on anyone to heal him if the Lycan wounds or kills him. The episode closes with the Lycan leaping toward Sung.

The Episode Review

After the brutal beatdown Sung received in episode two, many wouldn’t blame you if you chose to read the webtoon it’s based on. However, for those who’ve decided to stick with this anime’s adaptation, this episode provides them with decent world-building, beautifully animated fight scenes, and nice updates regarding Sung and his comrades.

This episode introduces several new topics worth discussing. From Woo and Kang’s interactions with Sung to the ways the episode explained the Player Development System, you’ll be left with many questions. Although it addresses certain matters effectively, there are instances sprinkled in this episode that’ll bug some audiences. 

For example, the penalty quest, while thrilling and unexpected, didn’t churn out a favorable outcome. Many would’ve preferred if we got to see Sung develop an excellent strategy to avoid the beast. Instead, we see him running from the beast until the time runs out, which makes his victory feel less genuine and too convenient. 

Besides that and other notable inconsistencies, anime fans will find this episode’s material intriguing. I hope the series will continue to throw new tasks Sung’s way that’ll make his future achievements feel earned and gratifying. 

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You can read our Season 1 Review of Solo Leveling here!


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