Another fast-paced installment that does a serviceable job and settles into its village backdrop.
This recap of the K-Drama Netflix series Once Upon a Small Town season 1, episode 2, contains spoilers.
Once Upon a Small Town season 1, episode 2 recap
We begin with the village head waking up the residents of Huidong, watching as a disappointed Ja-young, who was awkwardly ignored last night near the river, doesn’t seem fussed over the warm welcome instructed to be given to Ji-yul. Here, we see that the two actually knew each other some time ago as “secret friends,” though now it is only the police officer who remembers those days. Meanwhile, the Seoul-based veterinarian properly begins his life in the remote village, attempting to accustom himself to the unfamiliar surroundings, as well as the extremely friendly locals.
During a jog, Ji-yul bumps into the Women’s Association, in a scene which establishes a petty rivalry between Huidong’s Jang Se-ryeon and Park Mal-geum of Majeong. Following that, the vet watches a young boy, Seon-dong, enter his home by sneakily unlocking the gate, yet is unable to properly confront the child due to the emergence of Ja-young. Instead, Ji-yul comes across negatively, upsetting the minor, who misconstrues the situation as a scolding, when asking him to knock in future. “I have committed a grave sin,” Seon-dong says, departing solemnly alongside the police officer with claims that the temporary resident has a skill of making the right thing sound mean, and that he is not as handsome as others have said.
After it’s established that there will be vaccinations for Mr. Yang’s pigs taking place during the day, Ja-young unsubtly tries to mask her desires to join in, before leaving the police station to assist a nervous Ji-yul with the admittedly large task. Expectedly, the job proves to be difficult, with the two helpers still irritated by each other, and the animals near impossible to round up. Eventually though, the jabs are completed, in part thanks to a noticeably efficient level of unexpected teamwork. Nevertheless, the police officer does clumsily knock Ji-yul down into faeces at one point, proving that things aren’t quite seamlessly rosy between the two for now.
When finished with work, Ji-yul follows Ja-yang to a remote cafe in search of some decent coffee. There, the vet meets Sang-hyeon, the man in charge of Huidong Young Men’s Association in addition to his own peach farm that finds itself advertised on the side of cups. “That face will be the one you see most often while you’re here,” the multifaceted worker tells Ji-yul at the culmination of their introductions, ensuring he is aware that Ja-yang will always be around. There’s a subtle nugget here too, as Sang-hyeon is noticeably energised when hearing that there’s a chance the police officer isn’t interested in the short-term Huidong townsman.
Unfortunately for Sang-hyeon, he does have to worry about the fact somebody stole a small sum of money from him. It’s the same kind of petty crime Ji-yul found himself accused of upon his arrival in the village, a fact which is humorously brought back up in conversation. Succeeding this, the vet leaves the cafe, somewhat taken aback by the act of “sterilisation” he ended up watching between Ja-yang and the peach farmer. When he’s gone, the other two talk about Ji-yul’s jerkish behaviour, but the police officer does appear somewhat deflated at the thought that her former “secret friend” will only be sticking around temporarily.
At the hospital, Ji-yul attempts to learn more about Ja-yang from Yeong-seok, and is told that she is “pretty much a human civil complaint window.” The Seoul-based doctor puts a different spin on the definition, believing that his frenemy is nosy, though this is a sentiment debated with. Suddenly, the vet is back on the job anyway, taking care of a baby goat frustrated by colic. Elsewhere, Ja-young is on hand to comfort an old woman who saw the silhouette of the red hat wearing thief fleeing after a robbery.
In due time, Seon-dong passes on the potential location of the culprit, kickstarting Ja-young’s attempts to catch them. However, all she does is draw the ire of Ji-yul, who believes that his house is beginning to become a hotspot for locals to pass through. With that being said, the frustrated vet is swiftly made aware of what is really happening, allowing for the thief to be caught at the end of a clunky escape at an exit. Labelled someone named Jun-ho’s friend, the pocket money stealer is taken away by the police.
To end the episode, Ji-yul refuses to accept Ja-yang’s offer of a helping hand, claiming that he has learnt his lesson. Yet he soon has no choice but to hold on to her grip, pleasing the police officer as she smilingly stares the vet down.
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