Episode 2 of Once Upon a Small Time starts with Ja-young waking up to recall the incident from the night before. Ji-yul had spotted her swimming in the lake late at night and instead of asking her about it, he awkwardly goes away.
She opens an old book and scoffs, stating how Ji-yul does not even recognise his secret friend from all those years ago that is Ja-young. Meanwhile, Ja-young wakes up with a back aching from sleeping on the floor.
He is finally understanding that living in a small town means sacrificing luxuries like coffee and the gym. He goes through the boxes of gifts he had sent his grandfather that the old man had saved.
As he goes out for a quick jog, the villagers recognise him as the vet’s grandson and greet him, making him shy and awkward around them. By the end of his run, he is all sweaty and he tries his best to avoid the people of the village.
He eventually runs into the women who barged into his house the night before who frustrate him with their antics before an old woman hands him some potatoes as a gift. Ji-yul is finally at his grandparents’ house when a young boy named Seon-dong who had opened the latch on his door and entered the house to take his football back.
The vet tries to educate Seon-dong about his wrongful action and asks him to ring the bell or knock instead. Just then, Ja-young arrives and attempts to deflect the situation by letting the child go.
Ji-yul intervenes and stops the boy instructing him to knock instead of just barging into the house without permission. Seon-dong starts crying and Ji-yul is startled. Ja-young mocks him and takes the child away after he has apologised.
Ji-yul rides a bicycle to the animal hospital and checks up on the dog from the night before. Yeong-suk arrives to work early too and treats Ji-yul to a cup of instant coffee in preparation for the day they will have ahead.
At work, Ja-young is trying to avoid accompanying the vet for his appointment later that day. She can’t get her way out at the villager tells her that there will be a lot of pigs to be vaccinated.
Ji-yul is on his way to Mr Yang, the villager who is vaccinating his many pigs’ house. He listens to instructions from his colleague from the city. He is exhausted pedalling his way through the village before he eventually reaches the pig farm.
He is joined by Ja-young and Ji-yul is not shocked about her involvement in anything related to the animals in the village. She tries to instigate him jokingly but Ji-yul is instantly spurred by her comments about his competency as a vet.
They bicker for a while before Ja-young states that since she is not a professional she will help him by filling the syringes and Ji-yul can administer the shots himself. After initially running behind the pigs the two finally find a way to make it work and eventually vaccinate all the swines one by one.
Ja-young trips over a pig and lands up on Ji-yul who was collecting vaccination shots. Startled by her actions she ends up pushing him before getting off him and he falls injuring himself on the back. Ja-young apologises to Ji-yul for injuring him.
The duo finish work and Mrs Yang offers to treat them to some cold coffee. Ja-young claims that she will be going to the cafe to get some coffee for herself and Ji-yul is intrigued. He follows her bicycle on his own and they walk for a long while before arriving at a makeshift cafe in the Huidong village.
Sang-hyeon arrives at the cafe and introduces himself to the vet. Ja-young gives Ji-yul the espresso he asked for and the vet is confused why she is working at a makeshift cafe despite being a police officer.
Sang-hyeon warns Ji-yul by saying that Ja-young is the one person he will be seeing the most around the village. Ji-yul claims that is unfortunate as she does not like seeing him often.
Ja-young is inspecting the money box at Sang-hyeon’s cafe as the farmer claims it was robbed by a local from the village. Sang-hyeon scolds her for mistaking Ji-yul for the thief when she first met him the day before.
Ja-young fidgets with the money box and injures her finger with a splinter of wood. Sang-hyeon immediately helps her with the splinter and awkwardly sucks on her wound. Ji-yul is shocked and offers to pay for the coffee as a change of subject.
Sang-hyeon states that the cafe was made for the people of the town to have fun and unwind at so he does not need to pay but Ji-yul insists since he is not from the town.
He states that Ji-yul probably does not know his way around town and asks Ja-young to accompany him but the vet declines the offer. She hides her disappointment and he makes his way away with his coffee.
Sang-hyeon wonders if he pissed Ji-yul off by his impulsiveness but Ja-young claims that the city folks are just built differently. When Ji-yul I back at the animal hospital, Yeong-suk sings praises of Sang-hyeon.
Ji-yul asks her if he looked like he was a conman and explains his concerns about Ja-young and how she seems to be in everyone’s business in the village.
Yeong-suk states that Ja-young is very loyal to the town since she was raised there. He claims that she is very nosy but Yeong-suk counters by saying that Ja-young is a very generous and warm-hearted person.
Ji-yul is about to take a lunch break when Yeong-suk sends him on an urgent call asking him to get moving quick. He rushes to the location as fast as he can with his bicycle.
Ja-young talks to the villagers asking them about the ‘tall’ thief while Ji-yul struggles his way to control the rabid goats who are running about out of control.
Ja-young is investigating the burglar when Seon-dong takes her to Ji-yul’s grandparents’ house telling her that he saw the thief there. She sends the kid away and tries to make her way into the house when Ji-yul suddenly spots her.
He calls her out for trying to enter his house without seeking permission but she asks him to slow down and pulls him down to hide him from whoever is inside the house.
They both enter the house one after the other and the thief tries to run. Officer Geun-mo helps them catch the thief and he takes him away.
The Episode Review
Country-based dramas always have a way of making me emotional and I am sure Once Upon A Small Town too will be such a short and sweet but emotional drama. Of course, we were bound to see the childhood-friends-to-adult-lovers trope with one individual losing their memory mixed in for good measure.
Ji-yul is really reserved and shy, whereas Ja-young is the exact opposite. It is obvious that he is interested in her but it will likely be a while before our shy guy comes to terms with his attraction. We can see that Sang-hyeon has a crush on Ja-young too but I wonder why he hasn’t acted on it for years.
Maybe the threat of Ji-yul swooping in and whipping her away has now instigated him to understand his emotions. Looks like the next few episodes will deliver a promising love triangle that we are looking forward to!