‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha’ is a romantic Korean drama that focuses on posh dentist Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-a), carefree jack-of-all-trades Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho), and their love story. Hye-jin leaves behind her lavish Seoul life and tries to adjust to small-town Gongjin. She also juggles her conflicting feelings towards Du-sik and the intrusive but kindhearted townsfolk.
Developed by Kim Je-hyeon and Studio Dragon and launched internationally by Netflix, the rom-com series explores at once the animated interactions between and traumatic pasts of Hye-jin, Du-sik, and several other characters. As the show progresses, one wonders whether the various relationships will stand against the burden of misunderstandings and emotional turmoils. Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha’ season 1. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha Season 1 Recap
In Seoul, brilliant, beautiful, and brand-conscious Yoon Hye-jin impulsively quits her job as a dentist after exposing the malpractices of her boss. She visits the seaside town of Gongjin and runs into man-of-all-work Du-sik, known as Chief Hong, who helps her out of a tight spot. However, he “forces” her to respect daily labor and hard-earned money.
After realizing that the small town has no dental clinics and that she is unlikely to find employment in the city, Hye-jin decides to move to Gongjin. As she sets up base, she frequently relies upon the kindhearted but cocky Du-sik for errands. She also gets irritated by his anti-luxury stance and all-rounder personality. Her best friend Pyo Mi-seon too shifts to Gongjin to assist her with the clinic.
However, Hye-jin finds herself at odds with the townsfolk, who shun her dental clinic due to her holier-than-thou attitude. She makes amends for her rude behavior and begins to appreciate the people of the town despite their meddlesome nature. With Yoon Dental Clinic now successfully running, Hye-jin and Mi-seon warm up to Gongjin and attend several town meetings.
Hye-jin’s love of luxury and Du-sik’s preference for the simpler things in life often become pain points in their ambiguous insult-and-flirting-based friendship. Mi-seon becomes attracted to an earnest cop named Choi Eun-chul. Meanwhile, the townsfolk have their own share of problems. Cheon-jae reminisces about his brief music career and deals with his troublesome teenage daughter, Ju-ri. Hwa-jung and Young-guk argue frequently post-divorce. A pregnant Yun-kyung battles her disappointment with her indifferent husband.
The three biggest mysteries in Gongjin are revealed. One, the reason behind Hwa-jung and Young-guk’s divorce; two, where Du-sik had been for five years before returning to Gongjin; and three, the unknown winner of the town’s 1.4 billion won lottery. Flashbacks reveal that Hye-jin’s extravagant lifestyle is due to the untimely death of her mother, her fierce need to be independent, and her toxic ex-boyfriend’s criticism of her appearance.
Du-sik has constant nightmares seemingly connected to his past. Hye-jin’s college crush and celebrity director Ji Seong-hyun arrives with his team to shoot a food television show in Gongjin. Gam-ri lets her house be used for filming. Hye-jin forgives Nam-sook’s nosy nature after finding out about the death of her child.
A love triangle develops between Hye-jin, Seong-hyun, and Du-sik as well as between Hwa-jung, Young-guk, and Cho-hui. Hye-jin’s parents visit Gongjin and take a liking to both Du-sik and Seong-hyun. Hye-jin finally confesses to Du-sik that she likes him; they start dating. A series of flashbacks reveal that Hye-jin and Du-sik had unknowingly run into and helped each other several times in the past. Despite their happy romance, Du-sik avoids revealing his past to Hye-jin. Seong-hyun deals with heartbreak. Hye-jin helps Yun-kyung give birth during a typhoon. Hwa-jung and Young-guk individually confront their relationship with Cho-hui, who has painful secrets of her own.
Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha Season 1 Ending: Do Hye-jin and Du-sik End Up Together?
Do-ha violently seeks out Du-sik to talk about his paralyzed father. It is revealed that, in the past, Du-sik had warned Do-ha’s father Kim Gi-un not to invest in a fund that had later crashed. However, Du-sik still blames himself for Gi-un‘s attempted suicide as he had not answered the latter’s calls during frantic work hours. Do-ha admits that he simply wanted someone to blame, and tells Du-sik that he should forgive himself. Yeo Hwa-jung and Jang Young-guk reconcile, with Cho-hui reinstated as their good friend. Seong-hyun reveals that his brother-in-law, who died in a car accident, had been Du-sik’s best friend and boss. Du-sik reconciles with Seong-hyun’s cousin, Seon-a. The two make peace with their past and the death of Park Jeong-U.
Gam-ri passes away in her sleep. The townsfolk host her funeral and Du-sik comforts Gam-ri’s son. Later, Du-sik allows himself to cry in Hye-jin’s presence. Seong-hyun comes back to Gongjin to watch the premiere of his television show with the townsfolk. Hye-jin turns down a Seoul-based job as she has grown to love Gongjin. Mi-seon discovers that Eun-chul had been the mysterious winner of the lottery. Hye-jin and Du-sik propose to each other at the same time. Seong-hyun and Ji-won start dating and plan their next show.
Hye-jin and Du-sik take pre-wedding pictures, with the townsfolk comically getting in their way. So Hye-jin and Du-sik do end up together, with a happy married life quickly approaching. Their polar opposite personalities do not get in the way of their relationship as they share the same values of kindness, compassion, and honesty. They accept each other’s pasts and work towards healing their deep-seated sorrows.
What Happened in Du-sik’s Mysterious Past?
Du-sik’s parents died when he was a child and his grandfather died during his teens. The townsfolk and Hye-jin know that Du-sik studied at the prestigious Seoul National University (SNU), but are unaware of what he did for five years after college. Hye-jin tries to make Du-sik open up but he seems to be afraid of losing more loved ones. Flashbacks show snippets from Du-sik’s college and corporate days. Ultimately, it is revealed that Du-sik had been working a high-profile desk job at his best friend Jeong-U’s Seoul-based YSK Asset Management. He had been close to his wife Seon-a and their baby as well.
Do-ha and Du-sik’s conversation reveals that Du-sik had asked Do-ha’s father Gi-un, a security guard at YSK, not to take rash financial decisions. However, the latter did so anyway by investing a large amount of money. Upon facing an enormous amount of debt after the stock market crash, Gi-un attempted to kill himself. When Du-sik and Jeong-U were on their way to meet the guard at the hospital, a horrific car accident killed Jeong-U and left Du-sik gravely injured. Later, Du-sik took care of Gi-un’s medical expenses and Do-ha’s education loan by selling all his assets. However, he still could not shake his guilt. He had even contemplated suicide but Hye-jin, then unknown to him, had saved his life by calling the ambulance.
Thus, due to a series of heartbreaking deaths that he unfairly blamed on himself, Du-sik decided to give up his well-paying career as a fund manager and moved back to Gongjin to repent for his mistakes. The townsfolk, upon noticing his despair, began to ask for him help. Becoming Chief Hong enabled Du-sik to give back to the community, embrace a simple lifestyle far removed from the glamor of his corporate job, and almost move past his traumatic childhood and Seoul days. His moral compass is so strong that he was unable to look past any of his mistakes.
Due to his abandonment issues and overwhelming guilt, Du-sik became an outwardly cheerful but inwardly distraught handyman, loved by all but fearful of falling in love. His penchant for minimum wage and dislike of lavish lifestyles is due to his catastrophic corporate past. But because of Hye-jin, Gam-ri, and others, Du-sik manages to overcome his trauma by accepting all the good he has done and all the good he could not do simply due to fate. Du-sik may not have any living relatives, but Gongjin is his family.
Does Seong-hyun Get Over His Heartbreak?
Seong-hyun grieves for a long time after Hye-jin’s rejection. His filming crew attempt to cheer him up with work and food. However, when Ji-won tells him that she’s leaving his team, he begins to reconsider his feelings for her. Later, she reveals to him that she has always been attracted to him and cites the same as the reason for quitting. Du-sik makes Seong-hyun realize his true feelings for Ji-won.
Seong-hyun realizes that he spent too long chasing after an old flame instead of noticing someone right in front of him who was the ideal companion. Ji-won shares the same values and interests as Seong-hyun — from a love of food and travel to a desire to work hard and honestly. Seong-hyun lets Ji-won know that there is no else he’d rather have as his lead writer as well as romantic partner. The season finale sees Seong-hyun and Ji-won as a couple, happily planning their next television show.
Do the Personal Problems of the Townsfolk Get Fixed?
Mi-seon and Eun-chul make plans for a spring wedding. Cheon-jae/Oh Yoon gets a chance to star in a popular televised singing competition. Hwa-jung and Young-guk remarry — their divorce had been an unfortunate byproduct of miscommunication and insecurity — and restart their life with son I-jun. Geum-chul becomes more helpful and empathetic towards Yun-kyung. Hwa-jung rekindles her friendship with Cho-hui and accepts her identity as a lesbian. Gongjin’s businesses profit after the airing of Seong-hyun’s show.
It is apparent that by being there for each other and investing in honest communication, the townsfolk manage to overcome their problems and come to terms with their pasts. Although things don’t work out perfectly, the townsfolk find happiness in their healed relationships and new ventures. Because Gongjin is such a close-knit community, everyone is always there to support one another through thick and thin. In the season 1 finale of ‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha,’ everyone ends up happy and content.