Once Upon a Small Town (K-drama), Season 1, Episode 9 Recap & Ending Explained: Episode nine has become more gripping with the entry of Choi Min into the romantic triangle of Ji-yul, Ahn, and Hye-on. While Min wants to rekindle her love story with Ji-yul, the young doctor is still one step behind in communicating his feelings to Ahn.

At the same time, Hye-on is looking forward to what his best friend has to say after spending her entire life with him and knowing how he feels about her. The show, at this point, makes you want to shake the characters to convey their true feelings to the right person at the right time. But the story of the picturesque Huidong has so much more drama to unfold in this episode.

In this article, I discuss the significant happenings in episode nine. Spoiler alert, please read at your discretion.

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Picking up from the last episode, when Sang Hye-on and Ahn were walking by the peach farm, Ji-yul noticed them talking. When Nurungi tries to run away, the three leads of the show come face to face only to reveal one more confession that makes the character develop more tension between them.

Even after Ji-yul’s friend has different reasons to explain Choi Min’s return to his life, Huidong’s vet doctor in charge can’t keep his head straight with the entire idea. He tells Ahn and reveals that Min is not his girlfriend, nor does he have anyone else in his life. Ahn finds it weird that he came from the hospital to share this detail with her in the presence of Hye-on.

At the same time, Sang hey-on is not too pleased with this information. He wants to know more about Min and how her presence makes things different here in the town. However, Ji-yul is least bothered by the question, and the two start to get into a tiff. Ahn is tired of their constant clashes, so she leaves with her dog.

Upon reaching her house, she notices Min waiting for her. It seems Min wants a female perspective – someone of her age, to tell her if she is doing things right in her life regarding rekindling her love story with her college flame. Min wants Ahn to listen and make her feel encouraged to do what she wants to do at this point. Ahn keeps a straight face while listening and observing her, even though deep inside, she is affected by Min’s thoughts.

On the other hand, Ji-yul feels foolish for haphazardly sharing his thoughts out loud in front of Ahn and her best friend. At the same time, Hye-on is silently contemplating new developments in his life with his friend.

In the next scene, we see Huidong has a new day. With that, Min has a new agenda planned for her. She notices that Ahn is getting ready for work and putting on makeup. Min suggests wearing makeup as well to look pretty for Ji-yul. Considering that Ahn has never used most of her beauty products, Min starts applying them to herself. Min feels that Ahn must use the products first, so she does her makeup. After wearing makeup, even though she looks beautiful, Ahn realizes that she has never done heavy makeup, so feels shy about the way she looks.

After the girls get ready, Min asks if a coffee shop is nearby; hence Ahn takes her to Hye-on’s coffee place. Hye-on asks Ahn if she has become friends with the new girl in the town. Ahn shares that Min is lovely, and there isn’t anything wrong with her. While pressing some freshly brewed coffee for Min, Hye-on notices Ahn is wearing makeup. He compliments her and quickly takes a photograph with her. Ahn wants him to take down the picture from the group he shared. While the two get into a friendly fight, Min notices them and smiles.

While handing the coffee to Min, Hye-on asks her if she is visiting Ji-yul at the hospital. Min happily says that she will act according to what she feels is right with Ji-yul. Though Ahn pats on Hye-on for his edgy push to Min’s motive – Hye-on wishes Min good luck and hopes she gets what she wants as soon as possible.

Later, we see that Seon-dong is curious to know if Choi Min is dating Han Ji-yul. When she asks what made him question her, he tells her that Ji-yul looks at Ahn in a way that indicates he likes her. And if Min and Ji-yul are a couple, it would complicate things.

At work, everyone looks at Ahn differently. One of the officers even comments if she is wearing makeup to woo a man into her life. However, Ahn points out that as a 27-year-old independent woman, she can wear makeup for herself.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

At the hospital, when assistant Lee gets a frantic call from Mr. Han about the calf not suckling on her mother, she suggests Ji-yul to go there immediately. However, overlapping two different appointments at two other places makes Ji-yul tense about which one to commit to first. The presence of his friend, who is also a ‘decent’ veterinarian, makes things easy for him. While his friend can attend one of the appointments, he decides to go to Mr. Han’s livestock barn to treat the calf. Choi Min sees this as an opportunity to be with Ji-yul, so she requests him to take her along.

In the meantime, Ahn delivers groceries to the neighbor beside Mr. Han’s barn. While driving past his house, she notices Ji-yul has come for an appointment. Just when she thinks they might have a chance to speak to one another, she sees Choi Min along with him. She looks at them diligently, doing their job and talking to one another passionately about their work.

When Ji-yul gets up to speak to Mr. Han about the calf, he sees Ahn outside the barn. Since the weather is scorching, Ahn wipes her sweat off her face with her hands. While doing so, she mistakenly wipes off the lipstick she was wearing. Embarrassed that Ji-yul saw her that way, she rushes to wash her face.

After treating the calf, Ji-yul and Min come outside to find Ahn by the barn. Min notices that Ahn is no longer wearing the make-up she did in the morning. Ahn tells her that she washed her face because of the heat.


Ahn soon gets a call from the peach farm, and we see the trios packing peach wine for Mrs. Gang-hwa. Ji-yul makes a silly comment while cutting the peaches, and even though Ahn finds it cute, she doesn’t express her thoughts on it. Min notices that her ex-boyfriend and town officer share unspoken chemistry.

Min tries to make small conversation to ease the nervous energy they share while packing peach wine. She asks about the business owner who deals with making cute labels they were using on the wine bottles. Ahn mentions that Sang Hye-on makes these labels besides handling the cafe.

Min points out that Hye-on must be very popular because of his good lucks. Ahn agrees with her, sharing that every girl in the class had a crush on him in school. Min probes her further in knowing if she also had a crush on him; Ahn mentions that he was her first crush.

While listening to the conversation, Ji-yul smirkingly tells Min how she can assume who Ahn’s last love was. Taking his example with Min, he adds that since things tend to change after one grows up, there is hardly any chance – Ahn must feel the same. Both the women look at him in surprise, and Ji-yul realizes that he has spoken his thought again.

Ahn quickly gives jars of packaged peach wine to Ji-yul so that he can keep it inside the storage, saving him from the uncomfortable situation. While keeping the jars, Hye-on realizes that Ahn mentioned her first crush and smiles to himself.

The two girls are now by themselves, and Min asks if they know one another from before. Ahn tells her about Ji-yul staying in the village for a little while after his parent’s death. Min now understands why Ji-yul looks at Ahn in a way that she often finds intimidating. Since he doesn’t open up to people quite quickly, it is hard for her to see him see Ahn with so much intimacy.

In the next moment, we see, Hye-on’s mother calling Min to taste the wine she is preparing. Ahn takes two more jars with her to store inside and finds Ji-yul lost in thoughts. The increased tension and the fear of conveying their feelings engulf these two, who are visibly infatuated with one another.

Han Ji-yul wants to know if Ahn has decided to share her decision with Hye-on. However, she is still contemplating her feelings. Ahn tells Ji-yul to be good with Min as she is a lovely person. She also shares that she will be a good fit for him as they both share the same profession and understand one another quite well. However, Ji-yul feels different about this and tells her that Min was his past and would never have the same feelings towards her because they don’t share the same mindset about life.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Since Min decides to do what she feels, Ji-yul lets her be as she is. He is also waiting for her to give up on her attempt to woo him back into her life. Ahn feels that Ji-yul knows her too well since they have been together for a long time, and probably that’s why Hye-on also knows her too well. Ji-yul wants to know if Ahn wants to date someone she knows too well. Ahn tells him that being comfortable is the epitome of a romantic relationship. He explains that being used to someone is different from romantic feelings.

The show, at this point, indicates that Ahn is comfortable with Sang Hye-on and the relationship she shares with him. However, Ji-yul makes her nervous, and her heart beats fast whenever he is around her. She likes Ji-yul, but at the same time, she is confused that if she should romantically get involved with Hye-on. Ji-yul slowly conveys to her that he likes her; however, it is up to Ahn who she decides to go with.

The two soon get called in for a snack, and Ahn quickly excuses herself from everyone after sharing a strong and intense moment with Ji-yul. Min notices this, and later, in the hospital garden, when Ji-yul is collecting himself from the moment he shared with Ahn, Min decides to share her feelings with him.

She tells him she has decided to work at the vet hospital near his workplace in Seoul. She is optimistic that seeing her day-to-day at work will change his heart about their relationship. Min also feels that since he meets Ahn regularly, developing a feeling toward her is bound to happen in the village. Ji-yul seems to feel tired of Min’s decision, and when he turns to speak about how he thinks about everything, Min kisses him.

Suddenly we see a box of freshly picked corns that Ms. Mal-geum delivered to Ji-yul in the hospital to thank him and Ahn for treating her dog, dropping on the ground. However, he had sent the corns to the police station to give it all to Ahn. Hence, Ahn had come to the hospital to visit him and give his share of corn to him. This means, she witnesses the intimate moment between Min and Ji-yul. The episode ends there with Ahn freezing upon seeing them share a kiss, even though we see Ji-yul not reciprocating it.


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