Once Upon a Small Town episode 4 recap & review

Episode 4 of comedy K-drama ‘Once Upon a Small Town’ sees Han Ji-yul warm up to Ja-young. Meanwhile, Sang-hyun is hitting unprecedented jealousy levels.


The fourth episode kicks off with Ji-yul finding that the dog he rescued is not in the protective cage. He soon learns that Ja-young has taken him for a walk, and soon enough, she returns to the hospital with the dog.

Ja-young then attempts to demonstrate how she has taught the dog to fetch now. However, at the moment when it counts, the dog doesn’t budge, and Ja-young is left to hilariously run off and fetch the ball herself.

This little ordeal and Ja-young’s cute shenanigans with the dog can be seen having a pretty evident effect on Ji-yul, who also smiles thinking about her being all cutesy and playful earlier. Later on, Ji-yul even tries to look for Ja-young while on a bicycle ride somewhere.

Some time elapses, and the two leads tag along to where Ja-young is heading off, in response to a complaint. On their way, Ji-yul tells Ja-young how she is so busy and knows so much about everything and everyone.

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The two share a really wholesome moment where they also grow ever so slightly closer. That’s until ‘Once Upon a Small Town’ episode 4 pivots and the third vertex of the show’s love triangle comes barging in with his truck.

In a euphemistic string of pointed words, Lee Sang-hyun makes it quite clear to Ji-yul that he’s not really warm to him, especially now that he’s getting closer and closer to Ja-young. The love triangle at the center of ‘Once Upon a Small Town’ keeps getting more and more dramatic by the day.

Later on, Ja-young dashes into the hospital asking for her Nurungji (she has named the dog) who has run off to somewhere after breaking his leash. Ji-yul runs off along with Ja-young to find and rescue Nurungji, and the two eventually find him, with his newborn pups.

Following the rescue, Ja-young and Ji-yul share some more wholesome moments that K-dramas like this are made and watched for. It isn’t that long after the rescue that Ji-yul learns about Jang Se-ryeon’s cow who’s having trouble delivering the calf.

It’s an emergency and a pulley is required to coerce the calf out of the mother. In the absence of a pulley, Ji-yul ideated a similar contraption he makes with the help of ropes. Ja-young lends a hand and the two successfully get the calf out.

To celebrate the successful delivery, Se-ryeon hosts a dinner and invites Ji-yul and Ja-young. At the dinner, Sang-hyun continues to provoke Ji-yul into putting up hilariously cringeworthy displays of masculinity, like drinking Se-ryeon’s home-brewed secret recipe liquor.

What’s interesting, though, is that Ji-yul keeps playing along with the jealous Sang-hyun, probably growing jealous of him as well, although his insecurity is nowhere near dire as Sang-hyun’s. Later on, Ja-young sings for the party and Ji-yul looks on in awe, and with what can only be described as the look of a man falling in love.

However, as soon as she’s done singing, Ji-yul stares on into nothingness, looking somewhat upset or uneasy, which Ja-young also points out on their way back to their homes. Ja-young asks him to accompany her the next day to rescue Nurungji’s pups.

Ji-yul suggests going with Sang-hyun and moments later Ja-young trips and makes Ji-yul drop his bicycle into the rice paddy fields. As they’re looking at the broken cycle, Sang-hyun arrives and continues throwing his aggressive and jealousy-laden remarks of suspicion onto Ji-yul.

Ji-yul takes a leave, with a subtle jab at Sang-hyun about him not being a love prospect for Ja-young at all. However, as soon as does, Sang-hyun turns to Ja-young and professes his affection to her, telling her she should see him as just one of the other men who might look at her in a non-platonic manner.


Once Upon a Small Town episode 4 is bigger on drama than comedy. The rift between Lee Sang-hyun and Han Ji-yul keeps getting wider as now even the latter has started seeing Ja-young in a more romantic light.

The episode shows a rather quick change in Ji-yul regarding his inner feelings for Ja-young. Perhaps it’s the haste with which he seems to keep falling for her that visibly made him a bit uneasy.

There’s a flashback scene depicting a wholesome exchange between Ja-young and Ji-yul when they were children. A small Ji-yul seems just as, if not more reserved and reticent as he is now, which might add more insight into the reason why Ji-yul doesn’t remember Ja-young from his childhood anymore.

With animal rescues, drastic deliveries, jealous lovers, and rom-com clichés aplenty, episode 4 of ‘Once Upon a Small Town’ is a solid follow-up to the previous three installments. While the dreadful love triangle keeps getting nastier, the show has enough supply of wholesome and cute moments to bear with the tropes and the cringe that follows them.

Once Upon a Small Town episode 4
Once Upon a Small Town episode 4 recap & review 1

Director: Kwok Seok-jang

Date Created: 2022-09-12 17:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Ahn Ja-young and Han Ji-yul’s secret friendship explained