In Episode 3 of Once Upon a Small Time, Ji-yul is at the police station with Ja-young reporting the burglary at his grandparents’ house. The parents of the young boy that was stealing apologise to him and ask him to forgive their son.
The boy is from the neighbouring village, Majeong and was stealing in order to buy gifts for his girlfriend. Ji-yul tells the cops that he is not sure what the missing items are as the house belongs to his grandparents. The woman with the young boy tells Ja-young she is being biased toward a Majeong resident.
The women of Huidong village fight with the Majeong villager and they drag Ji-yul in the middle of their fight. They ask him to date Ja-young as part of their Majeong vs Hiding banter but he blurts out that he has a girlfriend in Seoul shocking everyone, including Ja-young.
Ja-young runs outside following Ji-yul and offers to help clean up his house that was compromised due to the incident. They discuss his dejection with the people in the village and Ja-young asks if he has no good memories from his time in Huidong as a child.
Ji-yul says that he did not have any good memories of the village and Ja-young is taken aback. She agrees to his request of maintaining a distance from him and leaves. That night, Ja-young vents about Ji-yul with Sang-hyeon and tells him how the vet was her secret childhood friend. She mentions that he had forgotten her completely.
Sang-hyeon tells Ja-young that he is the person who remembers everything about her but she takes his feelings lightly. Ji-yul cleans his house when he gets a call from Dr Choi and they chat about his time in Huidong village.
He tells Dr. Choi how he got rid of Ja-young but he claims that Ji-yul should be more open-minded and let people into his life rather than pushing them away. The next morning he finds Ja-young taking Seon-dong to school when Ji-yul and she have an awkward run-in. She tells him she was not here to intervene in his life and was here to see Seon-dong and walks away.
The child asks Ja-young if she fought with Ji-yul but she denies it. Ja-young tells Seon-dong she is only complying with the vet’s requests and giving him the space he needs.
Ji-yul has a busy day and appears to be looking to meet Ja-young but feigns ignorance when Officer Geun-mo tells him she is busy. He is leaving Majeong village when he spots Ja-young with the women of the town.
The women, particularly Mal-geum are badmouthing Ja-young’s mother for abandoning a girl like Ja-young. Ji-yul overhears their conversation which embarrasses Ja-young. She takes leave following Ja-young. He offers her a ride back inside the town but she declines the offer.
Sang-hyeon watches the two from a distance on his truck and leaves. Ji-yul is concerned about Ja-young and keeps looking at her as she walks to Huidong through a shortcut.
Back at the animal hospital, Ji-yul tries to enquire about Ja-young but is unable to frame his questions. He then visits the coffee shop and makes himself a beverage. Ja-young meets him there and the villager assumed that Ji-yul will be joining them to help at Sang-hyeon’s peach farm.
The entire village has gathered up to cover peaches to protect them from the harsh weather. Ja-young helps Ji-yul and the two bond after Ji-yul apologises for his harsh words from the day before. The village women warn Sang-hyeon and tell him that Ji-yul could snatch Ja-young away if he did not act fast.
After their work is done, Ji-yul tells Sang-hyeon that he would like to purchase a truck from him. The villager’s joke that Ja-young and Sang-hyeon have been beating around the bush for years but have still not started dating.
After the villagers leave, Ji-yul and Sang-hyeon negotiate a deal for one of his many trucks. Sang-hyeon states a very high price for the truck Ji-yul is interested in.
Ja-young states that the was a different truck shop that offers discounted rates for couples. She offers to be Ji-yul’s pretend wife. Sang-hyeon states that he is willing to reduce the price of his truck to save them both the hassle and agrees to sell his truck to Ji-yul at his favourable price.
After Ji-yul has left in his car, Ja-young reassures Sang-hyeon and tells him that she was not going to stop being friends with him just because of Ji-yul.
The Episode Review
Ji-yul is such a typical introverted K-drama character. He likes Ja-young but wants to make it seem like he is unbothered. I love how Ja-young is trying her best to keep her emotions at bay and deals with him and the rest of the village politely.
The story so far is very predictable and I hope the show progresses into something better. I sympathize with Sang-yeon so I hope the makers are working on a different romance angle for him.
Ji-yul is slowly warming up towards Ja-young and the intrusive Huidong people. I feel like by the end of the show, he will surely leave Seoul and return to the small town to live there.