This recap of the Netflix K-Drama series Once Upon a Small Town season 1, episode 1 contains spoilers.
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Once upon a small town summary of season 1, episode 1
We begin with a veterinary examination on a dog named Mr. Walnut, who has brachycephalic syndrome. The appointment is constantly interrupted by the sounds of the doctor’s phone, but he perseveres, calling the disruption spam as he explains the need for the sniffling animal to have a throat exam.
When Ji-yul manages to access his phone, he ends up rushing out of his workplace, nervously trying to reach his grandfather while driving. Afterwards, he arrives at the elder’s house, asking over the phone if there have been any reported accidents in Huidong, clearly worried about what might have happened. In the background, the police wait, ready to pounce on the vet who they believe may be robbing the house.
Unfortunately for Ji-yul, an over-eager cop unintentionally knocks him out before the situation is properly cleared up, resulting in an impromptu visit to the hospital. When he is awakened, the vet learns the truth, however, that his elderly relative has gone on a cruise and the ominous message “not much time left” was only a reference to his grandfather’s impending departure. dad. Afterwards, after being given the keys to the house, as well as the hospital (Ji-yul’s grandfather is the manager), the vet is suddenly informed that he should be left in charge of the sole village veterinary care facility while his relatives are away.
On the way back to Ji-yul’s temporary address, Ja-young’s move to take the vet doesn’t quite go as planned. She eventually, when distracted, stuns Sang-hyeon by falling into a sea of mud, staining the youngster’s new shirt to the point that it needs a heavy wash. Nonetheless, the trip proves worthwhile, as a stop at Mr. Cho’s address shows the need for a captured “wild” dog to be treated for injuries he has sustained.
Afterwards, Ja-young and Ji-yul bicker over the dog’s rights, with the former believing he should be sent to a shelter once treated, while the latter disagrees due to his belief. that such a thing would only lead to the euthanasia of the animal. . Irritated, Mr. Cho also throws his two pennies in the ring, stating that the dog will only return if he is released, disappointed that the vet is not looking at his chickens at his original request.
In time, Ji-yul expresses her desire to temporarily take the dog to the hospital, to at least check if he has a microchip. Then, he leaves, warning his police acquaintance not to be lenient with Mr. Cho just because he is his neighbor.
At the vet, it’s revealed that the dog avoided a broken bone, but Ji-yul quickly focuses on something else. Noticing the looks Ja-young was giving him, he wonders if there is something she needs to say, hearing in response that there is, though she prefers not to vocalize it.
When a problem involving a goat comes up, which means an increase in work for Ji-yul, he notes that it’s time for him to go home. Unfortunately for the vet, he is informed that this is a hospital with its workers always on call, so the luxury of leaving work will be in short supply for the next few months. “This way, you go where and when they call you,” adds his new colleague, somewhat shocking the man accustomed to life in Seoul.
While attempting a shortcut on the way to where it’s needed, Ji-yul asks why the police are always called for animal emergencies, and is told it’s the “quickest solution.” Thoughts on these words are not allowed, however, as the vet soon suffers the same fate as Sang-hyeon and falls into a mud stain. As such, Ji-yul is required to work dirty facing the goat injured by a live wire.
Later, Ji-yul finally arrives at his temporary home, even more seedy than when we lost him. Clearly it’s been a tough day at work, but the worker is further unable to relax thanks to the unexpected visit of three middle-aged women. Huidong Women’s Association president Jang Se-ryeon is one of the guests, offering the vet side dishes along with a message not to confuse his life in Seoul with the one he will live here.
When the Women’s Association leaves, Se-ryeon gives another wisdom: “If you say you don’t need something, we give it to you. If you say you do, we give you more than you need. It’s the lay of the land, something that will have to be learned by the fresh-faced capital doctor.
Alone, Ji-yul has the opportunity to read the note left by his grandfather. It turns out that the old man belatedly wanted his 50-year-old wife to come true by traveling the world, in order to repay the hardships she had faced while living through the deaths of her children. Understandably, the young vet seems understanding, as evidenced by his late night visit to the hospital to tend to the animals kept there.
While out for a walk, Ji-yul spots Ja-young swimming in the river, with the episode ending with a look of recognition between the two.
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