I am a bit iffy about When the Camellia Blooms. On one hand I want to watch it because it is from the Fight for My Way writer and I like Gong Hyo-jin. On the other hand, the second half of Fight for My Way kind of fell apart a bit, and I wasn’t really feeling the long teaser for When the Camellia Blooms. But, we are going to check it out and see how it goes!
Caution: Be wary of typos
Shorthand Character Chart: Coming soon!
How we do this: We update the post around every 10 minutes. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later depending on the scene. There will be typos which we have fantasies of fixing once the episode finishes airing. Also, there might be lovely updates at the bottom, so check back in!
Recap Countdown: Recap starts at 21:00 KST….check Twitter for updates!
KOREAN DRAMA WHEN THE CAMELLIA BLOOMS EPISODE 1 RECAP
We open on scenes from a rainy day near a body of water. There are police around a wetland area and a lot of people gathered behind police tape. A police man drives up, gets out of his car, and walks beyond the security barrier and into the crime scene. The camera scrolls and shows a woman’s arm who is presumed dead. She has a bracelet on her wrist.
Then we cut away to a woman folding her clothing at home who has on this same bracelet.
TITLE: THE WOMAN WITH THE GERMANIUM BRACELET
For some reason, delightful music starts to play, an we change scenes and days and tones to a bright morning at the seaside where market people are preparing for the day. There are several neighborhood people out and a new shop is about to open. Several people wonder who is going to open this shop.
Out walks Dong-baek in slow motion. All the men look at her and drop everything that they are doing. All the women gape at her, mostly because their men are losing their minds. One of the women, Park Chan-sook, asks her friend if this girl is pretty? Her friend says no. Chan-sook hits her husbands mouth to close it.
Everyone is gaping at Dong-baek. But then the conversation changes to Yong-sik’s mother who is running. They wonder if he made trouble? Another person says that he was stabbed this time.
Inside Dong-baek’s place, she talks to Kyu-taek about how she needs windows. But he says that she got this cheap deal because she does not have windows. He asks where her husband is so he can talk to hi about the money and the sink remodeling. Is he at work?
She tells him that she likes self service, you can talk to me about it.
Cut back to the ajummas talking about Young-sik and how he made trouble again. One of them is the mother, she is talking to a shaman and asks for a talisman for Young-sik. The shaman says that she can write a talisman, but she cannot change his fate.
they start to banter about this. The shaman says that when Young-sik was born, he was born as a guy that would overthrow the country. The mother tells her that she always talks bad about her son. But the shaman just says that he has big fate. the mother things, if I did not tell him to pay his school dues that day, maybe his fate would change.
Flashback to 2003, Young-sik sits in a room where he should be paying his utility bill. he is at the bank. But it looks like shady things are about to hapoen and he actually sees a man with a gun and a face mask on. But this guy is jsut sitting there with his gun and western looking desperado face mask, lol.
His mother gets a call about her son Young-sik so she goes to the police station. What happened is on the news. the son started to hit the armed robber with his lunch box, lol. the news shows this on the CCTV, but the gun ended up just being a water gun and sprays the camera.
Deok-soon tells her son that she did not give him money for that and asks the police if she should pay for the mans teeth? the polcie say that was a bit too violent to catch a criminal. The mother says that he is a student! Look at his uniform! That guy got his by a freshman in high school and asked for that money? Look at him! He has a lunch box! Look at his face and his eyes! The criminal should behave after looking at him! Why is he fighting a high school student!
Young-sik starts to eat candy so the mother starts to hit him over and over againn and says that she will be the first person in Korea that has to do teeth implant to a prisoner!
VO – His life is just fighting against crime.
Young-sik pees on the street and catches a motorcycle thief. then Young-sik drives a taxi and sees a thief while driving so he turns around to catch the criminal while a guest is in the car. Young-sik walks up the steps to deliver something, but stumbles upon a robber. Afterward, a man tells Young-sik to just call 2-1-1 (like 9-1-1). But oung-sik says that it was good timing, I saw him and got that feeling.
His friend tells him that this guy is not a little thief. We carry bullets to catch guys like this. (This guy is attempted murderer). But Young-sik tried to catch him with his bare hands. Young-sik asks if he got another award?
Cut to all of Young-sik’s awards for catching criminals. But then he becomes an officer. He tells the news that he just doesn’t think too much when he sees criminals, his body just reacts. When I see them, my body just waack!
He keps explaining this to the news team while his mom takes stress medication. The captain tells her that he is a police officer now, so its good. At least he is not a gangster.
The mother just sighs and takes her medicine. The police chief tells Deok-soo that he knew young-sik would be like this when he caught the bank robber with his lunchbox. She tells him not to be too close to her son.
In the present, Deok-soo is still talking to the shaman and says that her son went to Seoul to be an officer. the shaman says that she does not have to worry, when he meets the right woman, he will calm down. It is like a dragon meeting a rabbit. Young-sik will meet a dragon, he is the rabbit. To the east.
The mother is all like, you always say east, I dont’ even know where east is. the shaman points to the east and we see Dong-baek cming in with dessert to say hello.
Cut to Dong-baek taking the dduk dessert to all the people in the neighborhood with her business card about Camellia. they wonder if she is selling flowers? It will be hard to sell flowers here. Dong-baek quietly says that it is not a flower shop, it is a bar.
Chan-sook asks if it is a beer shop with her husband? Dong-baek says she is doing it alone, she has no husband and has never been married. The ladies are pretty thrown by this and asks whose kid this is? She says it is hers, you can have a son without a husband. Everyone is all like whaaaaaat? Dong-baek tells them all to come by if they get a chance.
Later on, all the local ajummas are washing vegetables and wondering why a single mother would open a bar. though there are no rules against it. They keep talking about it and also talk about their husband who are no use and only guard parking lots. Deok-soo tells one of them to pay her the money back that she borrowed.
then, a car hits another car in the parking lot, so everyones head turns.
Elsewhere, Dong-baek asks for half a box of cabbage. But it might have been a strange request because the delivery guy is all like, um? So she tells him, never mind.
Deok-soo tells all the ajummas that having a husband is no use. Your husband just scratches bumpers. Then the show the man who ran into the other car and is buffing the bumper.
Later that night, Yang Soong-yeok mutters about not getting any inheritance and wondering why he was born to work in this restaurant. He is currently cleaning the restaurant on a street where only daughters inherit restaurants.
We then see another man who is cleaning dishes outside. His wife gives him more work to do. He thinks, when your wife is your boss, then the work never ends.
Another man thinks that all the men here have no place to go drink (because all the restaurants are owned by woman). Ao all the men drink at the harbor outside.
Meanwhile, Dong-baek is cutting cabbages and is selling a lot of items, though we don’t really see her selling things. We cut to the reciepts showing that she is selling a ton. Then we see the days go by as the day turns to night and day again outside the restaurant.
All the women thought that if she survived 3 months as an outsider, then that is a miracle. But Dong-baek actually survived 6 years.
6 YEARS LATER
Now Dong-baek is cutting cabbages super fast and super well. It is 6 years later. We open on a man who is talking on his phone about being at a funeral. But he is actually at Camellia having a wonderful time with music and everything playing.
Dong-baek is upstairs trying to help her son study English. he has to pick an English name for class so Dong-baek is reading the letter the teacher wrote. Her son wants her to come to the parent-teacher meeting. She never has a chance to come. Dong-baek says that she will pick the name Diana, like the Princess of England or something. She looks smart and pretty.
Meanwhile, Young-sik is at the police department in the small town. His captain says that Young-sik told him he was going to meet a Diana like woman in Seoul, so why are you here? Young-sik tells him that he was relocated to this department. The captain berates him about hitting people, especially in front of a camera.! Why did you do that!
Cut back to a man who said that he killed his girlfriend because she did not behave well. he does not look the slightest bit sorry about it at all. So Young-sik comes up and knee kicks him right in front of everyone. Which is why he got sent back to the countryside.
Hi captain asks him why he likes Diana, so Young-sik starts to say the kind of woman he likes. A smart woman with a smart aura and intelligence, you know, the woman that looks like the top five in the class. Seoul woman, not a country woman. That kind of woman.
So the captain asks why he did not find a woman there? Young-sik says that Seoul does not only have Seoul woman, all the people he could talk to were country women. The captain says that is not strange, all the same people talk to each other. Young-sik smiles and says that all the people think he is from Seoul.
The captain tells him to shut up so they can have a welcome party. We have a Diana here. But young-sik says he will not go to a drinking place with women. The captain tells him that this is not what you think.
The bar is hopping as the music blasts and the men sit around with plenty of smiles. Kyu-tae is the smiliest of all and buys a lot of whisky. Though he is a bit nervous to talk to Dong-baek. Or perhaps he is nervous to have these men at his table? He asks Dong-baek for peanuts. The men think he might get it for free, but she tells him that it is $8. The men are all like, I thought you were oppa-dongsang?
Then the little boy approaches one of the men and angrily asks him why he is calling his mother Dong-baek (which is Camellia). he says that the name of the place is Dong-baek. So the boy asks if he calls the other woman, Crab and Soy Sauce (for the names of their restaurant). The man asks what he should call her? The son says CEO, because she owns this place. And don’t speak in banmal to her or no more popcorn.
The boy angrily walks away. the men wonder how a nice person like Dong-baek can have a cranky boy like that? Maybe he takes after the father. The camera scrolls to the television that is showing a baseball player with a baby. This is actually the father. He is being interviewed about his pretty wife who is sitting next to him as he holds the baby. He is asked about his pretty wife. He says his wife is pretty but being pretty isn’t the most improtant….thing…um.
Later on, we see Jong-ryeol and Jessica eating at home. It also looks like they are on a reality TV show about their relationship (Superman variety show). Jessica asks if they have to film her eating? Then we see that all she does all day is take photos of herself for Instagram and work out.
She goes back into the kitchen and tells Jong-ryeol that he is so selfish, how can you eat all day. He says that he has to eat in order to train. how can you stop me from eating at home? Your husband is an athlete. I am not asking you for anything, can you just not stop me from eating? I don’t ask you to cook or anything.
They get into an argument about why she married him. She actually married him in order to take pictures with him for her Instagram and celebrity news. She starts to get ready to go out of their building and to the next one so he tells her that she does not have to cover up her face and all that.
She tells him to let her know when the filming crew is there. He says they are not stupid, they know they do not live together. She removes her mask and tells him that she is a Jessica, she is a public figure. Didn’t you see the star on my Instagram? I have 77,000 followers. he tells her that she posts eating, sleeping, cleaning, taking a shower, everything. I would also follow you because it is so weird. Also, put on some clothes, do you think it is sexy? You are like a half eaten lollypop.
She tells him, whatever, it is not for you. Just stop thinking about things. Or just break your dream. He asks if she thinks pretty is the most important thing? She puts on her sweater and asks why that baby cries so much. he is all like, that baby? that is our baby!
Cut to him at home with the baby. It is night. He wonders about his life and tells his little baby that her appa is a thug. It looks like the baby is a little baby girl.
then we see Dong-baek walking in the town with her son, it is also night out. She walks happily with her son, but there are sinister shoes following her.
END PART ONE
That next day, there is a protest going on outside the police department. The captain and Young-sik walk by and wonder what is going on. It looks like it has something to do with the serial killer in their town. There is someone making a movie about it so the captain is pretty upset becuase it took 5 years for people to start to forget about that serial killer.
The captain and Young-sik go out to eat wit Young-sik’s mom. They talk about the serial killer and basically complain about not finding them. This serial killer is named “Don’t brag” becuase he leaves messages with his victims that say, “Don’t brag.” (this sounds pretty serious, but it is kind of played for comedy).
The captain and Yong-sik head out after eating and head to a garlic farm as Young-sik’s mother tells him to tuck in his shirt! The reason the captain wants Young-sik to go to this farm is becuase a dog is going to give birth so the captain wants him to go check on it. You have to go check on who owns this dog that the garlic farm dog mated with!
Young-sik is all like, are you for real? I want to catch the serial killer, not a dog Casanova. The captain tells him not to try and be a Miami CSI cop. But Young-sik is determined. He wants to go to the bookstore that has all the knowledge about the town! The captain is all like, um, just go to the garlic farm. However, young-sik is set on going to the bookstore and asks where it is.
The captain tells him to not just look around the bookstore and pick up a bunch of quotes. You are cooler when you use your physical body, not your brain, okay? Young-sik sighs and says that he does not want to say this from his own mouth, but people think he studied literature. He smiles at his captain. His captain just sighs and says, go to the bookstore.
Young-sik goes to the bookstore and starts to read books on criminal psychology. Classical music plays in the background. He looks like he is reading diligently, but he stands up and wonders if this is even written in Korean. That is when he sees Dong-baek.
Dong-baek is lit from behind like an angel as she grabs a book off the shelf. It is enough to give Young-sik pause as he thinks about a quote from someone who says that a bookstore weakens peoples hearts. Dong-baek is ready Harry Potter, she reads a part that says, “thats okay” while Young-sik tells us that he was attracted to her because she was pretty.
He slowly walks close to her and looks at her from the aisle over. It is a low aisle so he can just stare and see her entire body. But this also makes him look like a pervert. Dong-baek thinks this as well and starts to head out. He bumps into her on accident and says sorry, she says, That’s okay in English. That is enough for Young-sik to fall in love.
VO – The historic first words I told her where, I am single/virgin (it can be I am a single young man or it can be I am a virgin).
He stutters a bit and starts to talk about his tucked in clothing and says that he is not that kind of single (aka virgin) ha ha ha ha. He starts laughing and keeps laughing as Dong-baek thinks that he is a a crazy guy.
Dong-baek hurries out and then talks on the phone to someone about how it is not no money no service, it is no manners no service. She also says something that rhymes in Korean which is No Kyu-tae, No peanuts. Dont take his appointments.
She walks through the doors of a law office, so Yong-sik thinks that she is a lawyer.
Scene change to Young-sik and Seung-yeok sitting on a baseball field as kids practice baseball. it looks like Young-sik is the coach. they both talk about whether Yung-sik caused trouble again? Young-sik says that he saw a woman that is so pretty, it feels like he saw Diana in real life.
Dong-baek talks to the lawyer about her husband who is not picking up his phone and not paying his bar bill. The wife is a lawyer, she inspects the Camellia card that Dong-baek gave to her. The wife says taht seh is Dong-baek then…your skin is still tight….you don’t have wrinkles on your eyes.
Dong-baek is all like, huh?
Flashback to 10 days ago where the lawyer and her husband sit at home. He gave her a sampler of eye cream. it was the smallest and most expensive at the duty shop. She asks if this is all he got her? She checks the bottom, it says free on it.
In a voice over she says that her husband bought a beauty cream, he gave the big bottle to someone else and gave the sample to me. Now I know where the bigger bottle went. (She checks the credit card bills and sees Dong-baek show up on her husbands phone all the time).
In bed, the wife asks her husband if he knows what she specializes in? I specialize in divorce. He asks if she wants to get a divorce? She says that she specializes in collecting evidence.
In the present, seh greats Dong-baek as Kyu-tae’s wife. Dong-baek speaks to her but doesn’t ever finish the end of her sentences. So Ja-young calls her out on it, does she think it is cute? Dong-bae says that she doesn’t think it….And doesn’t finish her sentence once again.
Dong-baek asks if she should tell her husband not to come anymore? The woman tells her no, just smile and do your job as always. Dong-baek tells her that smiling is not her job. then a man comes in. She tells him that he should not come there and ushers him outside to talk.
In the police station, the captain talks about how rich Kyu-tae is as Kyu-tae stands there. they discuss how many buildings he has and how well connected he is. He is explaining all of this to Young-sik and says that he is the wealthiest man in the town. If you have a good relationship with him then your life is a highway.
Young-sik smiles and asks if he is a business man? Young-sik asks if he and his wife both have sa?(which means you are super highly educated in whatever your field is). Kyu-tae chuckles and says that they are sometimes called a sa couple. His wife is a lawyer and he is an optician (peole don’t accept optician as sa though).
Kyu-tae says that studying eyes is difficult. Young-tae is all like, ahhh, okaaaaay. Well, do all the lawyers around know each other? Kyu-tae says yes of course! She is super well known around town. People say that seh would be the best candidate as the mayors wife.
the captain asks if Kyu-tae will be the next mayor? Yes, you are almost like a potician! Kyu-tae just chuckles about politics and police corruption and walks away laughing, but the two cops are all like, umm…
In the town area, Dong-baek talks to some of the local ajummas about how she makes so much money. they heard that the high school reunion was at her place. Dong-baek says that it was hard because it was a last minute appointment. Chan-sook says that it was originally at her restaurant. Dong-baek is a bit embarrased and apologizes.
Chan-sook asks what her place has that she does not. It is a bit awkward. Chan-sook reminds her about their local rules and at least she should not be ashamed in front of her kid. Dong-baek does not know what to say to that.
In the bar, the bartender tells Kyu-tae that they will not take a reservation from peanuts, so stop coming here and stop hitting on Dong-baek.
Outside, Dong-baek tells Chan-sook that she is not ashamed to his son. She is sorry that they are poor and he does not have a father, but she is not a shameful mother, she has not done anything to be ashamed of.
Elsewhere, Young-sik and his captain wait in their police cruiser for the lawyer (DOng-baek). But she is not coming out. He thinks she is working late today. They start to talk about going to a the Camellia bar (Dong Baek bar). But young-sik does not want to go to a bar owned by a woman. The captain tries to say that it is a great place.
Cut to the officers trying to take young-sik to the bar. He wants to go to another restaurant, but they want to pull him to that bar. They only want to go to that bar, but Young-sik think there are so many restaurants around. However, all the restaurants are owned by a women that they know.
A sister in law or mother in laws friend and how they can’t drink at those places or talk about first loves or anything. All these places are related in some way. They are all spies! Do you want to drink at the place owned by your wifes spies.
VO – I was speechless. I realized that this town is still all related. So we went there.
They end up going to the Camellia bar. Young-sik really does not want to go inside. The other cops go in, Young-sik is the last one in and wonders why this place is so country-ish.
Young-sik is there and tells him that he should be there to talk to the local cops. Hyang-mi is a bartender there, but she is hitting something (a gas can?) so the captain and the other guy tells her not to terrorize them. She tells them that all the ajusshis who want to live long always die from something, I don’t want to live long which is why I live for today.
Young-sik asks who this gas bottle girl is. The captain says that Hyang-mi is a good girl, but she has sticky hands. Whatever she sees winds up in her pocket, but she is a good person. Young-sik mutters that he wants to go home.
Later on, they all start to drink and young-sik finds out that this is self-ervice (Hyang-mi will not be pouring the drinks for any of them). the men tell Young-sik that she is the queen of this town. Also, country people does not mean that they are all nice. Hyang-mi says that she is younger and prettier than Dong-baek.
But one of the men says that Dong-baek is still the Diana of this town.
Cue Dong-baek’e entrance to the bar. She walks in with a smile as an OST starts to play. Young-sik stands and stares at her dumbfounded. One of the men asks what the menu is today. She tells them it will be fish eggs and then says, “that’s okay” in English and walks to the back.
Another person mentions that she is this towns Diana, she is pretty right? Yong-sik is still dumbfounded and thinks to himself that his queen is this towns queen.
In the back, Dong-baek tells Hyang-mi that her hourly rate does not include opening beer at their table. You are the waitress, why do you sit on the table? This is not that kind of place. Hyang-mi asks her why she should work there if she does not have free drinks and only gets paid $8 per hour? Dong-baek sighs as if she understands.
Later on, Young-sik longingly looks at Dong-baek as she studies.
YS – (She is not a lawyer and is not fluent in English, but I realized that I am not attracted to her because of that. I have only one thought in my chaotic mind. She is pretty and that is a fact.) Did you used to live in Soul before?
He starts to chuckle at this thought he said to himself.
Dong-baek’s kid texts her about something so she has to leave. She goes to Kyu-tae who is stupid drunk and asks for free peanuts. She tells him it is $8. Hyang-mi asks why he talks about peanuts so much. Kyu-tae says that he is the only one that buys this expensive whiskey and he also owns this building, but you never give me any free peanuts. *very drunk*
She tells him that she has to leave now. But he tells her to just have one drink, you never have a drink with me. Just one shot. I won’t increase the rent until next year.
Young-sik is looking at all this and tells Kyu-tae that he drank this much. But then Dong-baek takes a drink and says that their rent is fixed, the police heard it. It was s sweet drink, I wanted to drink one today. thank you.
Kyu-tae stands and smiles and says to think of him as an oppa and give him free peanuts and drink with him. She smiles and then says all the price of all the side dishes. She tehn tells him that there is no price for her wrist and her smile. She only sells alcohol, so what you can buy here is only drinks.
Young-sik drops his spoon as his heart slowly melts.
Finally, the men all head out. Hyang-mi tells him he only paid $85 but it is $93. he says that he is not paying for peanuts! Peanuts are free! he starts to drunkenly walk out while saying that he has a grudge. take it or not. She takes it and goes inside.
The captain and he start to walk out with the captaint drunkenly telling him that he drank too much. Young-sik remembers how sad Dong-baek looked when she locked up. He is walking along behind them and yells, excuse me!
He walks up to them and tells him to give her $8! Give it to me! Kyu-tae is all like, for real? This is why our GDong-baek does not respect me, because the polcie officer looks down on me. What if I don’t give you the money? What are you going to do? Huh?
He shoves his head in Yong-sik’s chest as he asks him all this. Young-sik has enough and twists his arm around behind his back and somehow gets his wallet at the same time. The captain is all like, hey, you are pickpocketing, aren’t you going to put it back?
Kyu-tae tells him that the police stole the next mayors wallet! Yongsik is momentarily frozen but then takes off running.
At the bar, Dong-baek tells someone that she is coming (probably her kid) and starts to close up. That is when Yong-sik runs up and tells her that he has the money from Kyu-tae! Here is his wallet!
She asks if he came back to do this? Why? Yong-sik tells her that he is Hwang Yong-sik! I thought you were only pretty, but you are super cool too! When you said $8 for peanuts, I became a big fan! he gives her a thumbs up.
She asks him if he is drunk. He does not actually know but asks if he can come back tomorrow. he wants to come here every day! Can I!
She kind of thinks he is a strange guy and looks at him with hesitation. Then the lights come on around them on a sign that says, “I only love you.”
He continues to smile at her stupidly and she continues to look at him with hesitation.
SOME TIME IN THE FUTURE
Cut to the future where we see a woman with the bracelet pulled out of the harbor water. It looks like it might be Dong-baek? Yong-sik is one of the officers on the harbor. Someone pulls the covers off of the body to reveal the face and Yong-sik gasps back a breath and tries not to burst out crying.
Okay, so far so good! I was a bit worried about it, but I did like it.
One behind the scenes story about the serial killer, that we just found out, is that a serial killer was just found in Korea due to DNA evidence. He was the biggest unsolved murder case for over 30 years and it also happened in a small town. So it looks like this tv show might be inspired by that?
I really want this show to have a happy ending, but it started with a murder (which is possibly the worst way to start a romantic comedy by the way) so there might not be a happy ending in store. Though, I hope there is a happy ending!
DB – When I am the most embarrassed, you are always around. Don’t matter with my life (stay out of my life).
KT – Follow the law! Follow the law!
VO – If you are the guardian
CS – Do you know what Hyang-mi is doing in this town?
DB – People treat me too harshly
YS – Let’s do it! Can I be on you and Pilgu’s side in public?
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