This summary of the first episode of the first season of the Netflix K-drama Once Upon a Small Town has spoilers.
Once Upon a Small Town Season 1 Episode 1 Recap and Review
We start with a vet visit for a dog with Brachycephalic Syndrome named Mr. Walnut. The doctor’s phone keeps ringing during the appointment, but he keeps going, calling the noises “spam” as he explains that the snorting animal needs to have its throat checked.
When Ji-yul finally gets to his phone, he leaves his job quickly and tries to call his grandfather while driving. Then, he goes to the elder’s house and calls the police to find out if there have been any accidents in Huidong. He seems worried about what might have happened. In the background, the police are ready to pounce on the vet, who they think might be trying to rob the house.
Unluckily for Ji-yul, an overzealous police officer accidentally knocks him out before the situation is clear, so he has to go to the hospital on the spot. When he wakes up, though, the vet finds out that his grandfather went on a cruise and that the “there’s not much time left” message was just a warning about his grandfather’s departure. The vet is then given the keys to the house and the hospital (which is run by Ji-grandfather), yul’s and he is told all of a sudden that he will be in charge of the village’s only veterinary hospital while his family is away.
When Ja-young gives the vet a ride back to Ji-temporary Yul’s address, things don’t go as planned. She ends up shocking Sang-Hyeon so much that he falls into a mud pit when she isn’t paying attention. The boy’s new shirt is so dirty that it needs to be washed a lot. Still, the trip is useful because a stop at Mr. Cho’s house shows that a “feral” dog that was caught needs to be treated for the wounds it got.
Ji-Yul asks why the police are always called when there is an animal emergency on his way to where he needs to be. He is told that this is the “quickest solution.” The vet doesn’t have much time to think about what Sang-hyeon said, though, because he soon ends up in the same mud as Sang-hyeon. So, when the goat gets hurt by the live wire, Ji-Yul has to do some dirty work.
Later, Ji-Yul finally gets to his temporary home. He is even dirtier than the last time we saw him. It’s clear that the worker has had a hard day at work, but the fact that three middle-aged women showed up out of the blue doesn’t help her relax. Jang Se-ryeon, president of the Huidong Women’s Association, is one of the guests. She gives the veterinarian some side dishes and a note telling him not to compare his life in Seoul to the one he will have here.
Se-ryeon gives the Women’s Association one last piece of advice as they leave: “If you say you don’t need something, we give it to you. If you say you do, we’ll give you more than you need.” This is how things work, and the young doctor from the capital city will have to learn it.
The ending Explained
Ji-yul gets a chance to read the note his grandfather wrote when he is by himself. It turned out that the old man wanted to make his 50-year-old wife’s dream come true by taking her on a trip around the world. He did this to make up for the hardships she had gone through after her children died. The fact that the young vet went to the animal hospital late at night to care for the animals there shows that he does understand.
During a walk, Ji-Yul sees Ja-young swimming in the river. The episode ends with both of them giving each other a look that says, “I know you!”
What did you think of the first episode of the Korean drama series Once Upon a Small Town on Netflix? Leave a comment.