Another similarly brisk episode adds to the romantic drama.
This recap of the Netflix K-Drama series Once Upon a Small Town season 1, episode 9 contains spoilers.
With the addition of Min into the fold, Once Upon a Small Town has slightly tweaked its dynamics. Now, Ji-yul has his own decision to make over which person he will romantically pursue, all while Sang-hyeon is still left hanging over his confession to Ja-young. It’s all mildly dramatic stuff, if a little predictable. Though, positively, episode nine ensured that it aptly set up the final week of programming with a well executed ending.
Once Upon a Small Town season 1, episode 9 recap
Picking up where we left off, Ji-yul ends up bottling his confession, with the vet too flustered to talk when Ja-young asks if he’d came all the way just to tell her he’s single. As such, things are left rather awkward, until Sang-hyeon requests more information on who Min actually is. Following on from clarification that Min is Ji-yul’s ex girlfriend, Sang-hyeon smugly states that the visitor doesn’t seem to believe so, and sends the vet on his way so that he can continue talking with Ja-young. What follows is a rather tense conversation between the two men, bringing an end to the scene when the police officer decides she’s had enough with her walk.
Later on, Ja-young is enlisted to talk with Min who, while trying to befriend the police officer, wants help with winning back Ji-yul. Explaining the history between the former partners, the Huidong visitor says that she realised how foolish she was to end her relationship with the vet once it was over, so wants aid knowing that she can’t “rekindle” things on her own. Kindly, Ja-young smiles at the request for her to offer “active support” to the prospective couple, despite evidently being uncomfortable.
Elsewhere, Ji-yul rues the fact he interrupted Ja-young’s walk, with his woes keeping him awake at night. At the same time, Sang-hyeon stares at the earrings he was meant to give to his love interest, equally as disappointed by what transpired.
After some awkwardness involving Min borrowing makeup from Ja-young, as well as from an impromptu makeover given to the police officer, the two new acquaintances head over to the cafe van for some coffee. While there, Sang-hyeon compliments his crush for how pretty she looks, and notes how Ja-young appears to have become friends with Min. “I think she’s a nice person,” the police officer replies, adding that her guest is someone people can’t help but like. Then, the peach farmer offers his encouragement to Min, hoping that she can get what she wants out of her romantic pursuits.
Outside the hospital, Seon-dong accidentally puts his foot in his mouth, openly expressing to Min that he did not think she would be Ji-yul’s girlfriend because the vet is always looking at Ja-young instead. Flustering the Huidong visitor, the young boy continues by stating that he definitely believes that Ji-yul likes the police officer, which only causes more deflation. Meanwhile, Ja-young is teased over her more glamorous appearance by her colleagues, who interrogate her on why this sudden change has occurred.
In the midst of wondering about Ja-young’s sudden usage of makeup, Ji-yul is interrupted by both a coffee bearing Min, and a soaked Yun-hyeong. Then, Yeong-suk appears with news that the calf mentioned a while ago still will not suckle, and is severely dehydrated. There’s also a goat with a hernia that needs attention, meaning that Yun-hyeong has to be enlisted to help out with the workload. As such, Ji-yul goes to the calf, while his friend heads out to perform a herniorrhaphy.
Once she has delivered groceries to an elderly lady, Ja-young stops off at Mr. Han’s barn, hearing of the issues involving the calf that will not suckle. However, the police officer soon finds herself disheartened by the sight of Ji-yul fluidly working alongside Min to solve the problem, before her emotions turn to embarrassment when realisation strikes that the vet can see her smudged makeup. So, Ja-young quickly leaves without a word, clearing her face of cosmetics shortly after.
When Ja-young encounters Min again, it’s established that Ji-yul and his ex knew each other through work. Then, the police officer gets a call regarding a task that needs doing, one which requires a helping hand. Ji-yul offers to step in and assist, causing Min to feel quite down (she already seemed dejected when her former partner offered up a towel to Ja-young), but all three soon end up making peach wine together. Nevertheless, the tensions of a fresh love triangle exist here, with the trio each having moments of discomfort when looking at one another.
In time, Min tries to ease the anxiousness, so asks about the labels that Sang-hyeon makes. However, this doesn’t exactly please Ji-yul, who concerningly listens to the stories of how every girl at school had a crush on the peach farmer, including Ja-young. Ergo, when Min suggests that Sang-hyeon could be the police officer’s “last love,” the vet intervenes, dismissing such a lofty statement. Wrongly though, Ji-yul slips in a comment that perhaps the same labelling could also apply to himself and Ja-young given the fun they had in their youth.
As Ji-yul is sent away to the storage shed for damage limitation, Min talks with Ja-young about the latter’s past with the vet when he was a young boy. This buoys the Huidong visitor, as she actually thinks their history as childhood buddies explains the intimate looks Ji-yul affords the police officer. At that point, Min is summoned by the Women’s Association for some taste testing, leaving the returning Ji-yul alone with his former secret friend.
Following Ja-young to the storage shed, Ji-yul asks if she has given Sang-hyeon a response to his confession. When no answer is given, and the conversation flicks onto the fact the vet should be good to Min, the police officer is bluntly told that Ji-yul’s ex is in the past. “I feel nothing towards Min. No lingering feelings or regrets,” the vet adds, admitting that he is letting his ex be out of an understanding of the type of person she is, waiting for her to give up in her own time.
When the conversation moves back to whether Ja-young wants to date Sang-hyeon because she knows him so well (it’s said that this is still under consideration), Ji-yul gets confident. “Being used to someone is different from romantic feelings,” he states, before he questions the police officer’s thoughts on comfort by expressing his belief that love is “when your heart races so much you feel like it can’t take it.” Then, when Ji-yul asks if Sang-hyeon makes Ja-young feel that way, seemingly ready to declare his own feelings, a snack-based interruption once more stunts the confessional words from exiting the vet’s mouth.
With Ja-young excusing herself from eating with the women of the village out of her newfound shyness, Min goes to Ji-yul in the storage shed, and notices his dejection. So, while Ja-young gets a corn delivery from Mal-geum, who is irritated by the vet’s confronting of her comments about the police officer being without parents, Min gets ready to talk openly with her ex.
Trying to explain that she will work nearby Ji-yul when the two are back in Seoul, and that this will allow the vet to get feelings for her again, Min surprisingly goes in for a kiss with Ji-yul. And, while it wasn’t reciprocated, it’s enough to shock the appearing Ja-young into dropping her box of corn, bringing an end to the episode with everyone looking stunned.
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