King the Land season 1 review: Romcom distracts itself from a compelling narrative

Netflix’s King the Land follows King Group’s heir Gu Won and an aspirational concierge, Cheon Sa-Rang, who fall in love with each other while fighting their own sets of battles.

Story

King Group’s Il-Hoon brings his youngest child, Gu Won, from the UK to Korea to learn the ropes of business but Won isn’t interested at all. Meanwhile, Cheon Sa-Rang becomes a concierge at the King Hotel and climbs the success ladder swiftly.

Several years later, Gu Won returns and starts working at the hotel, while Sa-Rang has done tremendously well at her job. The two are like opposites at first but soon, see themselves falling for each other.

Sa-Rang helps make Gu Won observe the state of matters at the hotel and other subsidiaries of the King Group. Won stands tall against his half-sister, who’s hell-bent on defeating her brother while ruling with an exploitative regime as per her plans.

In the end, Gu Won ends up winning the presidency of the hotel as Sa-Rang decides to open a small hotel for herself. Won also meets his mother who disappeared when he was just a little kid. Sa-Rang’s new hotel turns successful, as the two finally get married.

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Performances

Lim Yoon-A brings an immensely adorable charm to Cheon Sa-Rang and a conviction that makes the other sides of her character’s personality seem just as believable and authentic.

Lee Joon-Ho makes the perfect opposite lead and his “gruff on the outside, cotton candy on the inside” persona is very fun to watch and follow.

Kim Sun-Young brings a menacing aura to her antagonist and is only ever defied by the writing. She nails the portrayal of the complex character that Gu Hwa-Ran is.

Positives

The characters at the center of the story and in the periphery are wholesome and one can’t help but root for them through the many challenges that present themselves.

The grander issues that inform the story draw from real-world issues regarding labor and rights. The protagonists are genuinely wholesome and much of the show focuses on their adorable relationship.

Negatives

King the Land fails to dwell and discuss more about the hotel staff and Mi-So’s unionizing work back in the day.

The supporting characters feel like they’re sidelined as their storylines are treated with far less articulation than they deserve.

The show can get a bit too silky sometimes and the quantity of it may deter it in a manner that ultimately hampers the quality of the show as it also fails to properly flesh out the better parts of it.

Verdict

King the Land is a wholesome affair and a run-of-the-mill adorable rom-com, with a lot of heart but not as much rhythm or strat.

This derails the narrative from more compelling aspects that offer insightful commentary on capitalism for romcom clichés that are more silly than fun.

King the Land season 1 episode 16
King the Land season 1 review: Romcom distracts itself from a compelling narrative 1

Director: Im Hyun-wook

Date Created: 2023-06-17 20:30

Editor's Rating:
3

Also Read: King the Land season 1 episode 16 recap & review