Once Upon a Small Town episode 5 recap and review

Once Upon a Small Town episode 5 sees Lee Sang-hyun and Ja-young talk about the last night’s events. Meanwhile, Sang-hyun confronts Ji-yul and tells him to back off.


The episode kicks off with an awkward interaction between Ja-young and Ji-yul. Both of them were present while Lee Sang-hyun confessed to Ja-young that he liked her and the awkwardness is still lingering.

Sang-hyun comes to meet Ja-young at the station with coffee. Ja-young wants to address the last night but Sang-hyun stops her, telling her to think on it and at least give it a chance — his wish was for her to start seeing him as more than just a friend who’s going to remain just that.

Ja-young is visibly conflicted and uneasy with this and asks Sang-hyun if he’s scared that one day they won’t even stay friends anymore. Sang-hyun is not sacred though, and he cites the reason why — his relationship with Ja-young is simply too profound to be simply confined to a tag of lovers or friends.

However, he still ends up imposing himself on Ja-young, which isn’t sitting right with her. Meanwhile, Ji-yul is visibly uncomfortable with the closeness that he observes between Ja-young and Sang-hyun. It’s evident that he has fallen for her and feels insecure about this closeness the two friends share, especially after the events of the last night.

- Advertisement -

Later on, Ji-yul arrives at the hospital to see Ja-young’s bicycle parked outside and after learning she has gone off to rescue the pups, he heads off to the rescue as well. He notices a scratch on Ja-young’s hand and is still miffed with her, which she notices and keeps trying to find the cause of.

Back at the hospital, Ji-yul bandages Ja-young’s scratch, and Ja-young asks if he’s mad at her for dropping his bicycle the other night. The two share a laugh and Ja-young heads off.

Later on, Sang-hyun brings Seon-dong’s sick dog to the hospital. Apparently, Seon-dong had fed the dog some chocolate. Sang-hyun then asks Ji-yul to talk in private and tells him why Ja-young didn’t come to the hospital with the dog.

He reveals that Ja-young fell from her bike and sustained some injuries because she had earlier repaired Ji-yul’s bicycle with one of the parts from her bicycle, resulting in the accident. Sang-hyun then warns Ji-yul to back off and not give Ja-young any ideas, since he’ll be leaving the village soon.

Feeling guilty, Ji-yul heads off to check up on Ja-young and sees her working on someone else’s task while being a patient herself. It only aggravates Ji-yul who lashes out at her, telling her that it’s self-abuse what she does for others.

A heated Ji-yul tells Ja-young it’s unhealthy to seek reaffirmation of her self-worth from helping others all the time. He also expresses his anger at the fact that she repaired his bike and in turn, sabotaged her own and faced injuries for it.

Ja-young responds in heat as well, asking him what’s so wrong with seeking appreciation from others, even if she gets hurt in doing so. A frustrated Ji-yul walks off and Ja-young arrives at the station not too long after that.

However, the Chief orders Geun-mo to ride her to her home and tells Ja-young to take proper rest. On her way, she receives a call from Seon-dong, who came to check up on his dog at the hospital.

Seon-dong hands the phone to Ji-yul who can not speak anything before Ja-young’s car crashes due to the heavy rain. Ji-yul runs off to the site of the accident and tries mighty hard to get Ja-young to wake up and get her out of the car.

Once Upon a Small Town episode 5 ends with Ji-yul trying to break the car with a stone and getting struck with instant flashbacks of a similar accident that he survived but his parents didn’t.


  • Once Upon a Small Town picks up some pace in episode 5, where Ji-yul finally lets out his frustrations regarding Ja-young’s extremely selfless attitude.
  • However, the real progress in the narrative is teased at the end of the episode, in the teaser for the next installment. The scene is set — Ji-yul will contend with his traumatic memories of his parents’ deaths soon.
  • With the repressed memory resurfacing, it becomes clear that in no time, he will also recall his experiences with Ahn Ja-young.
  • Short on the goofs and the gags, the show continues to be on the somber and sulking side, with frustrations being let out and a couple of accidents to boot. It’s funny in and of itself, how any progress in the plot is often made following a mishap of some sort.
  • Clichés and tired tropes aside, Once Upon a Small Town continues to be a great Kdrama, offering what it promises, albeit with not that remarkable of a flair.
  • Where Once Upon a Small Town drags each episode is the basic template upon which is builds its story and characters, often leaving much to be desired. Whereas it’s a refreshing dose of a slice-of-life Kdrama, it’s also a bit stale when it comes to over-use of old and tired tropes.
Once Upon a Small Town episode 5
Once Upon a Small Town episode 5 recap and review 1

Director: Kwon Seok-jang

Date Created: 2022-09-13 17:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Why doesn’t Han Ji-yul remember Ahn Ja-young in Once Upon a Small Town?