27

Once Upon a Small Town: Episodes 10-12 (Final)

We’re at the end! And while it’s super sad to see this story go, the final episodes give us everything we need to move on with warm hearts, twinkly eyes, and great memories of summer. We get all the closure we deserve along with some new beginnings, allowing the curtain to close on Huidong like a balmy, orange and pink dusk (minus the mosquitoes).

 
EPISODES 10-12 WEECAP

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

I loved this show a little more each week right up until the final frame. It was actually my favorite kind of drama: relatively drama-free. It’s these simple stories that get to me and this one is packed to the brim with emotional conversations. All the relationships — not just the main couple — really shined through this week.

We pick up from the all-wrong kiss that Min plants on Ji-yool just as Ja-young approaches to witness it. Ja-young is startled and bails out. Ji-yool follows her only to falter and not explain anything. He looks as shocked as she is as Ja-young leaves him behind on the open road.

Ji-yool seeks advice from Yun-hyeong — who’s lingering in town and helping out with the vet practice. Yun-hyeong counsels him to confess his feelings to Ja-young. Sure, Ji-yool has a lot of reservations that have stopped him from admitting to himself that he likes her, but it’s pretty obvious — so just fess up already (good advice).

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12 Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

Meanwhile, Ja-young gets up the nerve to see Sang-hyun and finally give him a proper “no” to his confession. She cries and says she knows she’s been cowardly but she didn’t want to hurt him. She’s afraid she’ll regret her decision later if things change between them. He tries to lighten the mood: “Why are you crying when I’m the one being rejected?” He admits that his feelings are hurt, but he’s on her side. They both say they still love each other and he confirms he’s not going anywhere. These two have always been like family and though things got a little ugly after Ji-yool came into town and Sang-hyun confessed, there’s an obvious connection between them that goes deeper than a love relationship.

Sang-hyun finishes by telling Ja-young that his feelings are his to deal with, so she should let him deal with them. Then he jokes that she might regret it, when he starts liking someone else. I find this conversation very realistic for two people who have known each other their whole lives but run into a complicated situation. These two are thick as thieves and that’s not going to change. I also find it endearing that Sang-hyun knows what a people pleaser Ja-young is and expressly tells her not to feel bad just because he does. It’s a sweet way to say goodbye to our second lead (for anyone on that ship) and move on.

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12 Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

Next stop on the “get these people out of the way” train is Min. Ji-yool tells her to go back to Seoul ‘cause it ain’t gonna happen. Of course, he’s much kinder than that. He knows Min feels regret for what could have been, but also knows that’s not real love. He tells her he loved her so much that when they broke up he thought he wouldn’t love again. Now he thinks he can. (Oh my heart.) Min, grasping at anything, says that Ja-young told her she doesn’t feel the same way (which is true actually, since Ja-young did say that to Min). He stops her, “Min-ah, I’m talking about my feelings right now.” (That’s it. I love him. I’m done.)

Ji-yool’s comment produces a very honest moment between them. Min apologizes for making him choose between going with her to the U.S. or breaking up (which for me puts another spin on their breakup) and she leaves with finality. This interaction is very different than anything we’ve seen between these two before and gives me a sense of how much they really loved each other at some point. It also humanizes Min, putting her actions in better perspective once we understand their prior bond and Ji-yool’s role in the breakup.

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

With multiple obstacles out of the way, Ji-yool goes to the peach farm to look for Ja-young. She’s not there, but Sang-hyun lays down his pride and tells Ji-yool to wait because she’ll be there soon. When she arrives, Ji-yool chases her down and the two wind up amongst the storage shelves again. We already know that the storage area seems to bring the spicy out of Ji-yool, so while Ja-young says she has nothing to say to him, he confesses his feelings. He doesn’t want any more misunderstandings (but does seem to want a kiss). Ja-young, however, is not having it. She fell for him once when they were young — and then he left. She’s not doing it again just to have a repeat of before. She scoots out of there, but once there’s some distance between them, her heart is about to pop when she thinks about his confession.

On her way out of town, Min apologizes to Ja-young. This gives Ja-young a chance to admit she lied. She actually does like Ji-yool. Min laughs — Ja-young wasn’t fooling anybody. With that, and her realization that Ji-yool is leaving town soon, Ja-young hops on her bike and rushes to tell Ji-yool how she really feels. When she arrives, sweaty and breathless, he stutters that he knows it wasn’t right to confess when he’s leaving in fifteen days and he deserves to be rejected. He gets cut off with a kiss, leaving him wide-eyed and surprised. Ja-young backs up, “You don’t know anything.” And then, they’re kissing!

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

Afterward, Ji-yool wonders if they should keep their dating secret. Dating?! Ja-young finds him perfectly old school and adorable. And yes, she wants it to be a secret — you know how gossipy this town is. Ji-yool is holding her hands and doesn’t want to let go, but finally he does, saying “I’ll call you after work.” Omo. I know the kiss was supposed to be the squee moment, but this right here is it for me. Ja-young has the same reaction, her heart can’t take it.

After this they’re flirting and dating and all the tension has dropped away. Ja-young’s whole demeanor changes and the inauthentic smile that’s been plastered on her face becomes the bubbly excitement of a pre-teen girl. As soon as it’s official, they are completely comfortable with one another and it feels like their true personalities are finally shining.

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

The two go on a spur-of-the-moment date to Seoul one night, arriving at midnight after the four-hour drive. Ji-yool wants to shake off Ja-young’s worries about being in a long-distance relationship because it’s not that distant. Ja-young already had the same idea — she’s ready to make it work. What doesn’t work so well is trying to keep their relationship a secret back in town. They pretend to “accidentally” meet each other in restaurants, but they’re not very good actors, giving themselves away. Lol.

There’s a hilarious scene in the truck when Ja-young has just escaped her job to be alone with Ji-yool. He’s leaning over her in the passenger seat. (Fixing the seat belt? Who knows.) She is shy about this being her first dating experience. Ji-yool says he’s feeling awkward too — don’t be fooled by how smooth he seems. It’s high tension. My stomach is flipping. They’re about to kiss. There’s a knock on the window. Everybody screams. And it’s the two kids from last week, wanting to thank them for their advice — they’re dating now (in secret) and they couldn’t have done it without Ja-young and Ji-yool. But, “don’t tell the other grownups. You know how this town is.” Lol. The show does it again with these kids!

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

And more secret couples keep coming. When Yun-hyeong gets caught on a date with Ji-yool’s nursing assistant from the vet clinic, Ja-young starts to realize how much she doesn’t want to date in secret anymore. Their work lives keep getting in the way of their time together but Ja-young can’t tell her boss she wants to leave to see her boyfriend, so she gets roped into one thing after another. Plus, the whole town is used to calling on her for everything, knowing she always saying yes.

One night out with her cop colleagues, Ja-young gets drunk after many missed connections with Ji-yool. In that state, she announces over the town loudspeaker that she is dating Dr. Han Ji-yool. So, can people please be more understanding of her time! Stop calling for every little thing. She’s busy dating! Turns out everybody already knew. Haha. The good thing about all this is that we start to see Ja-young change. She doesn’t need everyone to like her anymore and stops feeling so needy for attention. Ji-yool’s attention is enough.

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

Before he returns to Seoul, Ji-yool is already talking about next summer and plans for the future. And then the show does an amazing thing by letting us actually see how they handle the distance. While Yun-hyeong and Ms. Nurse talk constantly and tell each other all the day’s details, our leads only talk once in a while — trying to keep busy to distract from missing each other. Neither wants to bother the other. It’s a sweet idea, but they run into trouble because there’s no opportunity to be supportive in times of need.

Working through their miscommunications, they make it to the next summer. Officer Ahn gets promoted to sergeant and Ji-yool takes over his grandfather’s veterinary hospital so his grandparents can retire. He’s decided to leave behind the clinic in Seoul so he can be in a nosy town with the person he loves. He shows up with matching rings.

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

Holy crap, I love this couple. They make so much sense to me and I totally buy that they’ll make it work. They seem so real — not like a TV couple but like people I know. And they both seem more like themselves when they’re together. Overall, I loved this show. There’s no melodrama here, no real villains, easy resolutions to the things that don’t matter and complicated resolutions to matters of the heart. It was great to see Ji-yool and Ja-young spend a year in their respective places and test it out. In the end, Ji-yool chose to go to Huidong full time, but I get the sense that he genuinely grew to love it. Nothing about this decision felt forced or tacked on.

Another thing I loved is that the show handled the “knowing each other in the past” trope really well. They met as kids and he blocked it out because it was the same year his parents died. But it wasn’t amnesia or something so serious, he just couldn’t think about that period of his life. Once he remembers, they don’t dwell on it. The not remembering doesn’t become a dragged-out crutch for the storyline. They remember each other halfway through so they still have a lot of time to get to know each other in the present. If only all childhood connections were so good.

A big selling point for me was also the relationship to the place, which solidifies throughout the episodes. While the side characters in the drama didn’t come to life as much as I’d hoped in the beginning, the Huidong setting became a kind of character of its own. It was so effective in evoking a light and airy feel that I left on cloud nine not just for the romance, but for the romantic idea of a prettier and simpler life.

Once Upon a Small Town Episodes 10-12

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , ,

27

Required fields are marked *

@dramaddictally thank you for this final weecap. I agree the village life was a big sell and added to the feel of the drama, the annoying Ajummas just needed to cut it out. I also felt annoyed that despite everyone knowing he was her first relationship and they continued to get in the way instead of being grown ups and letting her enjoy her time. She shouldn’t have had to waste time hiding or being dragged away from date night.

On the whole it was a great drama exactly what I wanted it to be and I am glad we had this little ray of sunshine during this dry spot with no decent rom coms.

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was left wondering if the ajummas legitimately knew about their relationship the whole time, or if they just said that afterward because they have a reputation for knowing everything that goes on in the town. They seemed a little too eager to tell Ja-young that she was silly for hiding it because of course they knew. In the end, I didn't really mind.

At first I thought it was silly that Ja-young wanted to hide the relationship at all, but then I was so in love with the parallel of them secretly dating when they had been secret friends before (she reread the message Ji-yul left for her in the book!) that I decided it was worth it! :)

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well, that was exactly as cute as I was anticipating. I really loved this little drama!

I loved loved loved the fantastic conversations that we got to see this week. I feel like dramas are doing this more and more, but it’s still rare that we get to see people being so considerate and respectful of each other this consistently. First we had Sang-hyeon gracefully accepting Ja-young’s rejection, and then Ji-yul’s gentle but assertive rejection of Min and both were so good! Ji-yul refused to be sidetracked by her hurtful (and also incorrect lol, I don’t care what Ja-young said, Min knows this is false) jabs that Ja-young didn’t feel the same way. He was firm and straightforward as he patiently told her that it didn’t matter. That the way he felt wasn’t dependent on anyone else, and that he wouldn’t feel differently about Min if Ja-young wasn’t in the picture. I loved this scene so much. And honestly there were so many others. Another favorite was Ja-young admitting that she was nervous and self-conscious about dating, and Ji-yul reassuring her that he was nervous too. They’re so adorable.

Other dramas would have spent lots of time being angsty about the long-distance relationship or skipped over it entirely, but I liked that we got a little taste of that and then they figured out how to make it work (thanks in part to our other adorable long-distance couple!). I also liked that the resolution at the end felt realistic – Ja-young was never going to be able to leave her home, and it made sense for Ji-yul to take over his grandfather’s business, but I also liked that it didn’t happen right away like I thought it might. It’s a big decision and I’m glad they took time for their relationship to develop before one of them relocated.

Shout out to Sang-hyeon for almost entirely redeeming himself this week. He wasn’t thrilled, but he was supportive, and still ready to be a good friend when Ja-young needed it. And eventually even a slightly reluctant friend to Ji-yul since they’re having secret game nights!

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

That secret games night was a nice touch.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

This show was warm, funny, and cute from beginning to end. I would have liked to meet the Grandpa, and could have done with less of the ahjummas and their nosy-ness and fighting. But all along these imperfections weren't enough to spoil this show. This was not a drama with great ambitions, but it was true to itself and never wandered off track. Lately, that's enough to win a gold star! I will miss having this drama to look forward to.

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

While we found the annoying ajummas unnecessary, they were really the only blemish on a wonderful show.

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I so agree with your comments - this was a great show. From the shorter episodes, to only 12 of them released 3 times a week, it was a perfect end of summer/start of fall show. My only quibble is that I wish they had gotten our main leads together a bit earlier because Ji-yul's happy smile was the best and I wanted more of it. Thanks for your weecaps as well.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Kyaaaaaa 😍

I was happy these episodes showed us their relationship. They were super cute together and Ji-Yul was completely in love with her.

This show was so lovely! The story was simple, the scenery was really beautiful, the animals were cute (the bunny 😍).

I really liked the ML. He wasn't like the typical ML who acts immature because he can't recognize his feelings for the FL like by forcing her to be his driver because she broke his bicycle. He didn't try to get between Sang-Hyeon and Ja-Young. He was honest with his feelings and let her know.

Ja-Young was cute. Her face was telling everything she felt, so it wasn't a surprise that everybody knew about them.

Sang-Hyeon was the immature one. But he never really looked dangerous and at the end, he accepted it pretty well. They even played video games together!

So I have one big disappointment, they didn't give them one real kiss scene without being interrupted by the villagers >_<

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This drama was almost out of my radar until I came across 'Missing you' ost on youtube yesterday.
"What's this catchy vibe song? An OST? Which drama? Oh, the main lead looks so handsome, but I'm not familiar with him before. Who is he? Joy is here too!"

Haven't watched the drama. I'll save it for this weekend! Can't waittt!

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ga, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the OST to this drama. Hong Daekwang, O.When, and Moon Sung-nam from Every Single Day. The best!

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have said this before but worth saying it again. Look for “You make me dance” to see a far more passionate depiction of attraction and how toned Choo Youngoo’s arms are. We was robbed!:)

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I did notice that his forearms are quite pretty.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

He stops her, “Min-ah, I’m talking about my feelings right now.” (That’s it. I love him. I’m done.)

Same reaction here! OMG! 🤭🤭

10
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Instant rewind to watch again. It was perfect.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Haha! So good.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

This was the first drama that I watched as it aired. Hi, I’m new to the KDrama world.
I needed something sweet and calm compared to the shows I watched previously. This hit the spot. A collection of oddball characters creating their own mayhem cause even their small town is susceptible to rumors and misunderstandings. Just to prove myself, my favorite character was the Huidong police chief; his reactions were some of the best.
I don’t think I have any complaints about the ML or FL or their combined chemistry. They did alright. Was I thinking, at one point, the show would end with the couple parting ways? Yes. And that intrigued me but their proposal at the end wasn’t a disappointment. I was not entirely satisfied with Sang-Hyun. Sure he accepted her rejection with stride but what does his life become after that? Does he ever find love? There aren’t a lot of single ladies in Huidong. Does he feel he did right by commercializing his Peach farm? Does he transform Huidong into a tourism spot and is everyone happy about it? I thought Sang-Hyun was protective, caring, and dedicated but got no reward for any of that.
Cue Justin Bieber🎵I get my peaches in Korea.
Favorite moment: The awkward but fun tension when Sang is refusing to sell the truck then insisting on selling the truck. He's jealous and I liked it.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome yo dramaland and beanie land.🥰

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved the police chief too! He was so caring and always knew when something was going on with his subordinates. I hope you enjoyed your first live-watch!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

This drama was a little oasis of peace in the week. I loved it. JY was fab, especially when he closed down Min's childish behaviour, so quietly and firmly. Like others, I fell for him again. It was also brilliant that they let us see farther into the relationship than usual, including the long distance difficulties, and contrasted it with his cousin's relationship, whose approach was so different and open.
Finally, the kids stole every scene they were in, I adored them!🤣

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

That was such a cute ride. It took sometime for me to warm up FL 😁I did much more likeed her after half of the show. This is a beautifully done drama that I can watch it once agsin with a hot cup of tea when I need something positive in my life.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This was a lovely respite from random murders lawyers, and too long episodes. Our lead were cute, the setting was cute, and the ambiance was just right.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I didn't love this quite as much as you, Dramaaddictally, but I agree that it's a pleasant, tropey snapshot of young romance in a small town. The setting is undeniably beautiful, and the cinematography captures it well. There were also moments of surprising poignancy, as when Ja-young had to endure that casual and calculated cruelty of those who could only see her as an abandoned child. The leads have some cute moments together once we got passed the grumpy ML phase, and I loved all the puppies!

The weaknesses of this drama were a few too many for me to declare my full love for it, though. For one, I don't want to rag on Joy, because she's lovely and has a sweet presence, but I do wish she could develop the ability to use her face and eyes to express emotion. She relies on one facial expression that's somewhere between minor disappointment and the realization that lemons are a little sour to convey everything from memories of childhood trauma, to jealousy, to confusion, to longing, to disappointment, and that limitation did make it harder for me to be emotionally drawn to the romance. I liked the ML, but sometimes he seemed wooden and awkward, although this may have been by design.

And I know this drama is only about the 10,000th that features this particular trope, but I'm so over dramas portraying little kids (10 years and younger) having adult-like romantic relationships. I remember having crushes at a young age, but I think it's weird when writers have very young children going beyond that into adult-like challenges and fights over miscommunications, or deciding to date. I understand that the conflicts between the younger couple were supposed to parallel and illuminate conflicts between our leads, but honestly, that's silly. Maybe I'm being crabby, but I feel like that reflects an overarching idea in a lot of media that says romantic love is something we all must pursue and receive at a very young age or we are less valuable and loveable overall. Kids should just be free to run around, play with a variety of peers, and maybe occasionally decide so-and-so in homeroom is cute without making them feel like they need to date and hold hands or quibble over what they remember about their shared history.

Rant over, lol.

I did watch this one to the end, and I appreciate the lightness and sweetness that pervaded it when so many other dramas are much darker and edgier, so I don't want to make it sound like I didn't appreciate what we got here. I would definitely recommend it for those looking for something lighter, pretty, and not too complicated.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This was a great introduction for me of Joy. She is the star I have been waiting for. Hope to see her in many more Kdramas.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dramaddictally, from your typing fingers to the drama writers ears, please: "It was actually my favorite kind of drama: relatively drama-free. It’s these simple stories that get to me. " More, more, more drama-free dramas!

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes! Let's start campaigning. We have our slogan ;)

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Few weeks ago, i dropped this drama after 3 episodes. I decided to pick this up few days ago because i saw spoilers from ep finale and the scenes were cute. I started from ep 4, skip ahjumas fighting scenes, skip the ex coming back to your life episodes (i blame Dinner Mate for this, i no longer can watch this kind of trope anymore, DM has left some trauma) and go straight to episode 10 to watch the male lead confess and when they kiss.
When FL suddenly kiss ML, my heart goes Aww that's cute! I'm glad they weren't hesitate on their first kiss (and their other kisses looked so natural) and they were never really shy on showing their feelings. And as a hug lover, i love their hugs too!
Besides those scene i have mentioned, i agree this is the drama-free drama we need. Very simple story.

And now i'm confused. Since i skipped 2 episodes, can claim my bean for this drama?😅

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This drama was my happy place the last few weeks, I'm so pleased with the adorable ending

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *