Home > When the Camellia Blooms > When the Camellia Blooms: Episode 19 (37-38) Live Recap

When the Camellia Blooms: Episode 19 (37-38) Live Recap

When the Camellia Blooms Episode 19 (37 & 38) Recap
When the Camellia Blooms Episode 19 (37 & 38) Recap, image Hancinema

I heard this episode was good so I am excited to watch because the last episode was such a bummer with the break up on the day that Gabuli was caught. Though there are still some question marks, like, what about the thing that was found in Hang-mi’s throat? She swallowed that for a reason, so what is that reason? I think this writer will tell us, she has kept a tight ship with the storyline so far so hopefully it comes out today (or tomorrow, I can wait).

If you are looking for another great watch (and I mean GREAT) then check out our recent post on The 8 Absolute Best Korean Dramas to Binge Watch on Netflix!

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Caution: Be wary of typos

Original Soundtrack: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Shorthand Character Chart: When the Camellia Blooms Character Chart

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: lunchtime….check Twitter for updates!




The camera shows is an awards room and focuses on a golden glove inside a display case.

JR – Teh golden gloves, the rookie of the year, I got all those things when I was young.

JR drinks his heart away.

JR – But that young guy doesn’t even try hard and gets everything. He just took life easy. Then I thought that life was like that.

He starts to think about Pilgoo and trying to be a father to him and how to introduce Dong-baek to everyone.

JR – I thought people would just automatically be next to me. If I got married, I thought we would just live automatically. But when I got punched today on my nose…I just realized…

Flashback to Dong-baek hitting him in the nose.

JR – I never protected anything with everything that I have. Maybe that is why appa is getting punished. 

The camera scans around to show that he is talking to his little baby girl.

Cut to Dong-baek softly touches Pilgoo’s hair as he sleeps. She comes out and her mother tells her that he probably feels good at home. He ate two bowls of rice and passed out. Tomorrow he wants me to wake him up as 6am to go see his friend.

Dong-baek says something to her mother, her mother says that she will brush his teeth so you can come home late. The mother is opening a box so Dong-baek tells her to stop buying something. Her mother tells her to go somewhere nice with Yong-sik later.

But Dong-baek tells her that she broke up with Yong-sik. her mother tells her to stop talking nonsense, did he break up with you? She says that she dumped him. Mother asks, did that stupid guy break up with you so easily? Dong-baek says yes, very very nicely.

Flashback to Yong-sik telling Dong-baek that they are broken up but he can’t just tell her to go home alone. They are standing in front of her place and his eyes are red from crying. She tells him not to be too nice, we just broke up. He tells her, okay, then goodbye…goodbye…

He starts to run off, basically sprint off. But then he sprints back and tells her, no matter what happens Dong-baek, call me, I am always on your side! Gabuli is caught, Dong-baek just live your life.

She asks, so you won’t tell me to be happy? Live a happy life? He says, why would I say that? Without me saying that, you will be happy, Dong-baek, because you are a cool and lovely person. She tells him, everything that you told me, for me, was like a spell. Because you say those things again and again, my world really changed. Thank you so much.

Yong-sik tries to keep his tears at bay so he blinks a lot and tells her so, we, really…really really…breaking up?

VO – I nver had a good break up with Jong-ryeol or you. I did not know that there was a goodbye.

Dong-baek is telling this to her mother and says that a good goodbye makes her sad. Especially because Yong-sik is so nice. Her mother asks her if she is doing this for Pilgoo? Dong-baek says that a long time ago thinks were so tough so she thought about dying with carbon dioxide poison. But then Pilgoo said, umma, umma. It is the first time he said Umma. It is a funny thing, but with only that one word, my Hell became Heaven. He is like god to me.

Her mother tells her that she will get lonely. Dong-baek tells her that she does not have time to feel lonely.

The next day they go about getting the vegetables ready for the Camellia and make kimchi.

VO – How come you can overcome your breakup sadness with kimchi?

VO – I am sad, but my body is busy.

Cut to Yong-sik cleaning his mothers place like crazy.

YS – I fake my brain by giving my body a physically hard time.

Dong-baek looks at bills at home

DB – I want to give up everything and have heart ache like dramas but…

Yong-sik keeps working as an officer

YS – That nice separation on TV is just on TV

Dong-baek cleans the dishes

DB – Even though breaking up discourages me, the rent encourages me.

Yong-sik wakes up early

YS – This mundane life that repeats everyday actually keeps me alive


Dong-baek and her mother go to Hyang-mi’s resting place and talk to her. Dong-baek is sad that Hyang-mi is not with her and mentions that she can ride a scooter now.

Cut to her riding the scooter happily on a coast road. But then it stops. Hyang-mii comes running up after her and tells her that she can ride all by herself! Good job! I ran up here from two stations away, just in case you fell, eunnie!

In the present, Dong-baek cries as she asks why Hyang-mi had to go out and deliver that night. if you took my money, just run away somewhere and hide. Why did you come back?

Dong-baek and her mother sit outside. Dong-baek sys that it still feels like Hyang-mi is not dead. Her mother tells her to let her go so she can rest in peace. Dong-baek tells her mother to not think she can rest in peace. If I have to conduct another funeral then I will collapse.

Her  mother tells her that she is giving her a headache. Dong-baek tells her to stay with her. Her mother says that she told her that she would not take her kidney.

Umma gets up to walk away.


Dong-baek follows her and tells her that they should walk away and hold hands. So they hold hands and she tells her that she just likes to call her umma. So don’t say anything and just stay with me.



Ja-young goes to the Camellia to have a meal. When she gets it she can’t really believe that this is one serving. Dong-baek says that she is the King of her place so she will give people the amount she wants. Ja-young asks if that is why she never gave Kyu-tae peanuts?

Dong-baek smiles and says that she never gave it to her. Ja-young asks how she can smile like that? That makes peoples hearts pound. They keep talking about being happy and if Dong-baek can be happy. Ja-young says that those people comfort themselves by asking if Dong-baek will ever be happy, but if Dong-baek smiles and is pretty then it makes them angry. That is why. So Dong-baek, just smile more and show everyone how happy you are.

She says that she gave up those things that mention how happy she is. If people think those things then that is them. I thought that happiness was like an SAT score, just watching the score and wondering where I was and where I should be. I had no answer about it, there is no answer. What should I do? Just put me in the line. I will just have my own score. it does not matter what people think. I am happy and that is it.

Ja-young tells her that she has her own flower bed. I was at the top of the SAT and went to the best law school but I did not find my own flower bed. Dong-baek asks if she can bring her own glass? Ja-yong asks if she has the whiskey that Kyu-tae drink?

Cut to Ja-young sliding into her car completely drunk. Kyu-tae tells Dong-baek that he has never seen her this drunk! Dong-baek tells him to take care of eunnie. Kyu-tae is affronted that she is calling his wife eunnie so easily and did not ever open up to him.

Then Dong-baek tells Kyu-tae that seh mentioned to eunnie that Hyang-mi is not that bad of a person. She would not sleep around with someone. I heard that there is an adjustment period. You are not 100% fired so if you come here with eunnie together then I will give you peanuts.

Ja-young claps with her heels. Kyu-tae almost starts to cry. Dong-baek just sighs and goes inside. Kyu-tae says that he will give her money for the store! Then Ja-young tells him that it is time to go.


On the baseball locker room, Jong-ryeol looks at his phone that ranks the list of searches 1) is Jessica, 2) is Gabuli, and 3) is Kang Jong-ryeol.

It looks like Jessica married someone else before she married Kang Jong-ryeol and lied about it. Jong-ryeol did not know about it. Jessica looks at the articles while feeding her baby at home.

The news is all about Gabuli. they talk about how he has a mental disease and might have a lower sentence or something like that. Yong-sik says that he does not feel good about this and asks if Hong-sik is really moving?

He goes to Hong-siks place and asks if he is really moving? Hong-sik says that no one will call him for work. Yong-sik says that he didn’t do it, it was your father. Hong-sik says that he is a co-conspirator. He knows that he fathers leg was healed and he knew that his father put poison in the cat food. He likes it quiet at night and hated to hear cats at night. he couldnt’ control his anger.

Yong-sik asks what he will do, he was born and raised here. Hong-sik just mentions that his father couldn’t’ even put on his glasses because of Yong-sik. Yong-sik asks why he is worried about that. Hong-sik says that his father is his father. So Yong-sik says to give it to him which implies that he will deliver it.


Elsewhere, Dong-baek follows her mother to get dialysis but her mother tells her not to follow her. They argue about getting a transplant and dialysis and all that. Her mother does not want to her to give her her kidney. Dong-baek says that she is only a 7 year 3 month mother to her! What kind of mother is that? How can I just forgive you with only that money? Have you ever been an orphan? You were with me all the time and hurt me everyday so I will not forgive you with that insurance money. I have to live with you 20 years. So keep living and pay that off to me.

So they go to the dialysis center together. the nurse tells Dong-baek that her mother needs to come on all the days she should come. if she misses then that is like committing suicide.

So Dong-baek stays with her mother and tells her that the head nurses emo died by missing only one day due to playing golf. So don’t gamble with your life. her mother says that dialysis hurts and changes her entire blood supply. She shoes a bruise on her arm and tells her that it feels helpless to rely on this machine to keep living.

Dong-baek says that she will get a date for the surgery. her mother asks her how her 7 years and 3 months was? Was it okay? Dong-baek nods. her mother tells her that she is too nice and too dumb. Dong-baek tells her, even if it is difficult, just survive, it is not for you, it is for me.


The police give Gabuli food to eat. One of them asks, why is it “DOn’t act up” Hong-siks father tells him to just give him more water.

Yong-sik is at the station and says that he wants to talk to the man that he caught! But they call him a neighborhood officer and to just leave. But Yong-sik wants to deliver the glasses and says that they should not limit the sons visits. then he tells them that he will call the human rights department.

That is enough for Yong-sik to be let in to see him. He also tells them to turn off the recording or that is a human rights violation! So they do it.

Yong-sik sits with Gabuli and tells him that Hong-sik is moving out. he only had his father who commits serial murders so why should Hong-sik not be able to make a living anymore. When I think of you, I don’t even want to talk. I am here for Hong-sik as a last errand. Goodbye.

He stands to leave. The father asks if people dont’ treat him like human because he is the son of a murderer? Yong-sik says that even though you are a murderer, Hong-sik says that appa is appa. He wanted me to deliver your glasses to you.

People know everything about Hong-sik while you don’t speak about anything. He is all buried. As a father, just serve your sentence.

Gabuli yells, THEY WERE ACTING UP! That is why they died.


Jessica tells Jong-ryeol that all these things were fake! it was all photoshopped! Umma will sue them! Jong-ryeol tells her to not look at her cell phone for awhile. Don’t go on SNS and don’t look at any supplies.

She asks if he thinks she is funny now since she wanted a divorce and now he has a reason to be divorced. He says that you don’t ditch someone who fails. Even if we get divorced, it won’t be now. I will not make you into a joke mother. I will take care of everything so just don’t search the internet.

In a flashback, Jong-ryeol talks to someone on the phone. It looks like it is a hyung. Jong-ryeol calls to him and tells him to take everything about his wife off. If you listen to me then I will renew my contract with you. But if you don’t then I will retire.


JR turns off Jessica’s phone. Jessica asks what about him? She just lied but at least she did not have a kid. he sys that he is a dog also, but we have to make sure of this. I knew that you were married before. If I know it then everyone that knows also knows it. So you didn’t lie, okay? 

VO – People show their real self when they break up. The warm face that is buried by an emotionless face.


Yong-sik talks to Gabuli

VO – The cold face is revealed that was buried by carelessness.

Gabuli – They could not even plunge their own bathrooms. Some people just blame us when their city gas is cut. Those people are still acting up, so what choice do I have? they deserve to die. We have to kill them.

YS – So that is why you started to kill them?

Gabuli – It is difficult in the beginning, but everyone can do it if you have to

YS – Did you kill Kim Song-hwa for that?

1st victim Song-hwa

Gabuli – That crazy woman, she doesn’t even know gratitude and acts up. Kim Song-hwa always sent a package to my store. That day the delivery was not paid so the delivery guy took $22.50 from me. But she did not take my change from my dirty hand. Her face…when I go crazy I hear a sound. I could not leave because it was so noisy. I could not even hear the clock sound.

Second person is Kim Sung-soo in her 50s.

Gabuli – The chairman for the HOA, she pretends to be clean but her bathroom was always blocked. I plunged her bathroom but she kept following me (and cleaning his foot prints).

3rd victim is a teenager. One of the kids says tat the ajusshi does not know anything.

Gabuli – I could not leave because of what he said.

YS – Did you kill Han Gum-ok for that reason also?

Han Geum-ok 30 year old female. She was walking with Gabuli and talked about someone who lent her umbrella, why did she do that when he does not like me? Why do I attract all the bad guys?

Gabuli – that crazy woman made me into a dirty fly because I lent her my umbrella.

Chinese Food delivery man. Han Choong soo, 20s

Gabuli – that delivery man, I paid him but… (he complains about why the man had to order one serving on a day like today).

YS – Gabuli was a monster created by an inferiority complex.

Gabuli – They were all acting up.

YS – Why did you kill Hyang-mi?

Gabuli – That was…I thought she was the one – Dong-baek.



Flashback to the night Hyang-mi died.

gabuli – Why did she come for delivery with someone else’s bracelet? 

YS – did you kill her at the fishing site and take her to the lake?

Gabuli – Yong-sik, if you throw a dead body in shallow water at the fishing site, it will only take two days to come up.

We see him in the middle of the lake dumping the body. he looks at his arm where Hyang-mi scratched him. He looks at it in the interrogation room as well and thinks that he should have removed Hyang-mi’s nails.

Yong-sik asks why he tried to kill Dong-baek? He says that she makes him angry.

In the viewing room, the cops are all watching and think that Yong-sik is amazing at this, they should use him often. Flashback to Yong-sik arguing with them about seeing him. Then all the detectives got together and started talking about how there are ways to build personal relationships. You ahve seen him since you were little. Murdered have attachments to their own son! Just make him say~.

Yong-sik quiets the mall and says that he gets it, he will summarize what they said. the key word is “son”. You guys be alert, be ready! He sits back and thinks.

In the interrogation room, Yong-sik tells Gabuli that he has confessed to all six crimes. The glasses can be something that he can hurt himself with. But whatever we had, it was just an excuse. I came here to see you. I will go to the end properly and want you to serve your sentence.

Gabuli sits forward and asks, so you think that will happen?

YS – Ajusshi, my grandmother really had mental trouble but she passed out killing a cow. I don’t understand anything about being under the influence or mental condition or anything. Normal people doing something spontaneously because they are angry just kick a tire. they don’t kill people. I don’t know anything about crimes committed under the influence of mental condition. Just don’t get a less sentence, serve your full sentence. I will be here until the end.


Dong-baek talks to the doctor about a kidney transplant. Dong-baek wants to set the date and asks if they need her agreement? 

Cut to the doctor talking to the mother about it. He says it is a safe surgery for the donor and recipient. Btu the doctor says that the daughter needs a checkup as well because kidney disease is inherited. Your kidney disease is inherited so your daughter has a strong chance of it as well, 50%. She is saddened by that. The doctor tells her that she got sick at 48 but usually it is difficult to detect before 35.

In the present, Dong-baek asks if he told the doctor that? We cut back and forth between the doctor talking to the mother and daughter about their conditions. The mother does not want to take her daughter kidney to do it. Dong-baek says she wants to do it, she can win the 50% chance. She can’t be that unlucky.

VO – I don’t know if this is good our bad, but I had enough unfortunate events in my life. Now I will get luck.

Dong-baek walks to the hospital dialysis area, but her mother is gone. She gets into a taxi and leaves. Dong-baek hurries out looking for her, but she is too late.

We hear a voice over telling Dong-baek that her mother did  not take the dialysis, she is a time bomb, get her back right away.

Dong-baek calls Yong-sik to help her find her mother, please! He tells her that her mother could go home, so go home to find her.

Dong-baek goes home and remembers all the little things that her mother did for her. She removed all the salt and soy sauce and all the salty things that taste good. It was all for Dong-baek. She even wrote a list about it on the wall.

Pilgoo wakes up and gives Dong-baek a hug. Dong-baek thinks that she is not enough of a mom compared to her mother.

Her mother puts on her dialysis bracelet so that she can be identified if she dies on the street. She puts the insurance in a safe obvious spot for her to find as well. And we see a  flashback where she hounded Yong-sik to give him her will. She almost backed him off a cliff to give it to him. 

Yong-sik told her that it is weird to hear a living persons will! But she says that she wants to give it to her. He tells her to think about how to live! Not about the money! She tells him that this is the heart of a mother that abandoned her daughter her entire life. She tells him that he is better than her daughter, you are a police man.

So she tells him her will. She says she has 2 more things

  1. Make her take the health check up every year.
  2. When Dong-baek is sick or something, whatever she says, don’t break up with her. Pilgoo will be a big burden and your mother will be a big burden, but it is nothing. if you two are strong then everything will follow. if Dong-baek says to break up, you should not. Be like a stone Buddha and wait for her.

He tells her that he has to do that. She holds his hand and tells him that her Dong-baek was very very very lonely so don’t leave her alone. Stop leaving her alone.

Cut to the mother laying in a motel that has disco lights going all around. She starts to sniffle and tear up and mutter this thing and that thing about how she should not have seen her. After seeing her she wants to live more.

She thinks about happy Dong-baek as a kid running to her to tell her about a dog that had puppies. She was so happy.

VO – Umma was so happy because you were here.

Dong-baek stays awake at home and then gets a call. She goes outside and Yong-sik is there. The police are there as well. But they can’t really look at her or talk to her.

Dong-baek grabs her bag and heads out in the police car. The Captain says that they found her in a motel. Yong-sik says that he is sorry, he found her too late.

Dong-baek opens her mothers that was in her bag and reads it. Her mother tells her that she was bad about men, she was not good about picking the right men. he was drunk and threw a soju bottle that hit Dong-baek in the head. It made her crazy so she left after hitting his head with the soju bottle. You kept growing up but I had no where to work with you. I worked at a bar because they told me that we can sleep in a small room. You learned how to say Oppa (like the woman who say Oppa all the time). her mother did not like it for her to say Oppa all the time. She would rather she did not say that at all! 

VO – I really hated that my daughter who could not even learn how to say appa, said Oppa first. I did a lot of work. I was only 30 years old and worked hard until m finger prints went away but it was so difficult to raise a girl.

We see the mother working very hard in a small communal house. The other women told Dong-baek to grow up and pay off all her mothers debt. The mother pulls their hair out and yells at them and leaves.

VO – But there was nowhere to go to. You would say that you were hungry many many times.

Dong-baek sees a kid eating ice cream and says that she wants to eat it.

VO – I don’t have money.

She gives Dong-baek an energy drink. Tehn we cut to Dong-baek snatching the energy drink from her mom as a woman.

In the past, little Dong-baek wants to take a taxi. her mother sys that taxi’s make her sick. Then the owner of the building tells her to take the energy drinks and not come back. That was when she had to sleep in a restroom and decided that she had to abandon her.

Flashback to the day the mother abandoned her. She fed her something nice and told her to tell the school that she is 7 and wants to go to school and her name is Dong-baek. if they ask you mothers name, say that you don’t know. I will make a lot of money, just wait for one year, okay?

VO – To me, who sent my own daughter to an orphanage, I could do anything.

The mother goes to work but is like a shell of a person so the places she worked fired her.

The mother almost goes crazy with missing Dong-baek and sings a song to herself in a restaurant. She sings a song about when the camellia blooms

VO – After sending you to the orphanage and started to ding at the bar. the person Jo Jung-sook died. 

We see her working as a maid for a family and taking old kids things.

VO – Poverty is like a little baby, you push it away and more and more come. I wanted to find you.

She asks someone where Dong-baek is, they tell her that Dong-baek went to LA. Her foster father was a professor and took her abroad. They are good people, Dong-baek is a lucky case.


One of the woman asks how they can get her permission? You abandoned your daughter here. This is not a daycare. The mother asks this person how Dong-baek was, was she happy? the woman says that she asked her one thing. Which was if a person that can’t ride a taxi can ride an airplane?

The mother starts to cry.

Later on she looks at the news that mentioned a rich family that adopted a little girl. They are so happy that they were able to do it.

The mother looks at a photo of Dong-baek with her rich family. then she is somehow able to contact her and meets with her. She says that she bought her a $400 hat at a department store. She gives it to the foster mother and says that she is so thankful to her. She wants to give her ten years of her life.

The foster mother asks if she would like to see her? My daughter would like to see you.

They meet with the daughter, but ti is not Dong-baek? It is another woman. The mother asks why she does not remember her name? It comes out that she is not actually her daughter. The daughter asks if she is going to find her real daughter?

The mother says that she does not deserve it. The mother says that she should. For someone like me, I have to earn my love. I was abandoned by my mother, that fact makes me try all the time. I try hard all day to get love. If I was hated then I thought I could have been kicked out like her.

Ah, so it looks like they kicked Dong-baek out. 

VO – Why did they abandon someone like you. I really wonder why.

She goes back to that woman and asks her why she abandoned her first one? The woman is wearing the hat and says, well, she was strange. She looked so dark so I background searched her. She grew up in a bar. The mom sold drinks. The daughter follows the mother. But my new daughter is so smart, I think her parents where educated. 

The mother yanks that hat off of her angrily and leaves screaming that Dong-baek should not follow her luck! 

VO – But after I found you, you were really selling alcohol as a single mom. I was so sad that you were taking after me.

She looks at Dong-baek who actually looks really happy.

VO – But after I saw you, you were smiling. You smiled. You were different from me. I went there to comfort you and feed you. But you embraced and hugged me. it was so warm next to you. the reason I tell you this is to not be forgiven, it is just to tell you.

We cut to Dong-baek reading the letter in the car. Yong-sik opens the door and asks if seh can see her?

VO – Dong-baek, everyone loves you. Don’t stay as a 7 year old who was abandoned, just live your life. Not 7 years and 3 months, but the entire 34 years. I loved you everyday of your 34 years.

Dong-baek goes inside the hospital to identify her mother. She cries as she looks at her, but we only see Dong-baek’s face.

Flashback to the mother doing dialysis. She whispers that Dong-baek should not says that she will give her her kidney so that she can see her more. Dong-baek walks up to her and asks her how her 7 years and 3 months was? Her mother says that, for her, it was like the savings account was due. To me, it was difficult, it was always tiring. Life was like being punished. But after 3 months with you, for this 7 years and 3 months, I lived my whole entire life for that 7 years and 3 months. They both keeps talking and kind of bickering and holding hands and smiling at each other.

Fade Out


Okay, this show is just straight depressing at this point. I feel like I can only recommend it if you enjoy poignant drawn out suffering for hours on end.

(And clearly a lot of people do because it broke 20% ratings).

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