Once Upon A Small Town – K-drama Episode 12 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Episode 12

Do the villagers spot Ji-yul and Ja-young?

Episode 12 of Once Upon A Small Town picks up from when Ji-yul was kissing Ja-young in an alleyway in the village. The couple is startled by villagers and Ji-yul shields Ja-young with his body trying to hide her from the approaching villagers. The villager was not looking at them but at a car parked near the alleyway.

As it turns out, Dr Choi was sneaking around with Nurse Yeong-suk too. Ji-yul and Ja-young are shocked to discover that the two had been making out inside the car. Dr Choi and Yeong-suk confess that they were dating but Ja-young lies that she ran into Ji-yul on her way back from work. The villager is shocked that Yeong-suk is dating someone from Seoul.

At the clinic, Yeong-suk and Dr Choi are being handsy with each other but Ja-young and Ji-yul watch them from afar in parody. Ja-young asks Yeong-suk how it all went down while Ji-yul asks Dr Choi if he was only fooling around with the nurse. He claims that he is serious about being with Yeong-suk and wishes to make it work despite the distance.

What happens to the couple on their day off?

Dr Choi’s words inspire Ji-yul into accepting his feelings for Ja-young out in public. The next day, Ji-yul and Ja-young discuss how they would like to spend their day off and plan to go to the movies for the earliest show. They are getting dressed when Yeong-suk calls Ji-yul to tell him that he had an emergency appointment to attend that morning.

Ja-young also gets a call from Officer Man-sung who calls her in for a special case. The two plan on finishing their work as soon as possible and meeting up immediately after but they end up getting more and more occupied throughout the day. It is only later that night that Ja-young is free but Officer Geun-mo calls for a team dinner.

She tries declining but they convince her to join them. Ja-young is upset and texts Ji-yul that she will only be able to meet him after dinner. She is about to leave after having a bite when two drunken men break out in a fight. Ja-young is frustrated that she did not get to spend a minute of her day off with her boyfriend.

What does drunk Ja-young do?

She ends up getting drunk on Soju and asks Ji-yul to meet her outside the Public Address Office. Ji-yul arrives first and runs into the village women there. Ja-young is drunk but determined as she arrives. She makes it inside the PA office and makes a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to the entire town.

She claims that she is now dating Ji-yul and asks the villagers to think about her personal life and be understanding about her being busy otherwise. The couple leaves the PS office and the villagers tell them that the entire village already knew that the two were together. On their walk to Ja-young’s house, she is pissed that the couple wasted so much time hiding around when the villagers already knew they were dating.

Ja-young drags Ji-yul to her house and the couple tints their ring fingers using henna leaves like they used to do as children. The summer break is over and it has been two weeks since Ji-yul went back to Seoul. Yeong-suk wonders how Ji-yul and Ja-young are keeping in touch but the cop claims that they only text and call sometimes.

Why is Ja-young angry at Ji-yul?

The nurse tells Ja-young that she must spend time talking to Ji-yul over the phone or text him constantly to keep their relationship healthy. Ja-young makes a video call to Ji-yul and learns that he fractured his hand after falling off the stairs. She is upset with him for hiding the matter from her. Ji-yul apologises but claims that he did not want her to worry which is why he kept it a secret from him.

Ja-young lashes out at him for not giving her a chance to be there for him when he was in trouble and ends the call without giving him a chance to explain himself. Dr Choi tells Ji-yul that being considerate of one’s partner and their busy schedule should not keep partners from communicating about issues. He claims that the point of dating is to bother and nag your significant other.

Ja-young vents about her relationship issues to Sang-hyeon and claims that she is sad about Ji-yul being in pain. She regrets being angry with him but Sang-hyeon asks her to reconcile by visiting him. Both Ji-yul and Ja-young end up driving to each other. Once he reaches Huidong, Ji-yul calls Ja-young who shockingly explains that she was in Seoul at his clinic visiting him. Ji-yul is shocked and drives back to Seoul immediately.

Do Ji-yul and Ja-young reunite in Seoul?

Dr Choi hangs out with Ja-young at the clinic for a while and leaves her to wait for her boyfriend. A few hours later, Ji-yul makes it back to Seoul and the two reconcile. Ja-young claims that she can hang out with the villagers when she is bored but since Ji-yul only has Dr Choi, she wants to come to Seoul often to visit him.

They claim that the distance should not worry them since they have a long way to go in their relationship. The couple kisses and make up and end up flirting chaotically. Some time has passed and Ja-young helps tourists attend the peach-picking session at Sang-hyeon’s farm. The young farmer is pretty popular among female tourists and Ja-young hopes that he finds a partner soon. Sang-hyeon asks Ja-young to go to the vet clinic to let Ji-yul’s grandfather, Dr Han vaccinate Nurungji’s puppies.

Does Ja-young end up with Ji-yul?

At the clinic, Ja-young is shocked to see Ji-yul instead of his grandfather. Ji-yul congratulates his girlfriend on her promotion at work and informs her that he too was promoted to director. She is confused and Ji-yul explains that he had moved to Huidong for good and will be working as the vet in his grandfather’s clinic as the old man tours around the world with Ji-yul’s grandmother. Ja-young is shocked but hopes that Ji-yul is not making a hasty decision.

He tells her that he was doing this for himself and to be closer to the person he loves. Ji-yul points out that the henna tint on Ja-young’s ring finger has disappeared. He gives her a ring instead of proposing to marry her soon and Ja-young jokes that it would be impossible for Ji-yul to back out now. The couple sits outside the clinic and chats in peace as the show comes to an end.

The Episode Review

The episode was so wholesome and I honestly really miss the show already. As much as I loved the show, I can’t emphasize enough how much it would have been better for this to be a regular K-drama with hourlong 16 full episodes instead of what we got. Joy (Park Soo-young) as Ja-young is really cute and adorably nice. Drunk Ja-young took me out though.

I had last seen Yeong-woo in School 2021 and I think he is the new tsundere boy in K-dramas after Cha Eunwoo. This drama shows that Yeong-woo has the potential to be chaotic and I loved seeing him as Ji-yul. Can we all have a #JusticeForSanghyeon campaign if there isn’t one yet? Sang-hyeon being single by the end of the show is the only thing I am sad about after the end of this beautiful show that is wholesome and healing, to say the least.

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You can check out our full season review for Once Upon A Small Town here!

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