Home > When the Camellia Blooms > When the Camellia Blooms: Episode 20 (39-40) Recap

When the Camellia Blooms: Episode 20 (39-40) Recap

When the Camellia Blooms final recap episode 20 (39-40)
When the Camellia Blooms final recap episode 20 (39-40), image Hancinema

Okay, my thoughts before watching: The last episode was so depressing so I’m not really expecting anything on the happy front for this episode. I’m pretty sure Yong-sik and Dong-baek will reunite. But will it be a long drawn out slug to get there? Will we get a million flashbacks of the mama? Will we have a super long funeral? Will Pilgoo cry and cry and cry and hate Yong-sik and his life? Will Dong-baek rehash her miserable life up to this point? Will Yong-sik cheer her up about it? Will Deok-soon regret how horrible she was to Dong-baek and have another cry fest? … I’m not really looking forward to finding out – hopefully it all ends well.

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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!




Dong-baek walks into the hospital and looks at where her mother is. Her mother is still alive on ventilators. Dong-baek tears up over her and goes to her bedside to cry. 

We hear a flashback where the doctor says that they cannot do the transplant, they can only do dialysis right now. She can’t leave right now to do the surgery anyway. But the surgery would have to be in Seoul. They are waiting for a miracle.

Dong-baek tells them that there is no miracle in my f-ed up life.


In the shop area, the ajummas talk and Pilgoo and his best friend play street video games outside. Then Deok-soon hits Pilgoo and says that now is not the time to play video games.

So they go to her place to eat. She tells him that it might be the first time he got hit but it is also the first time she hit someone elses kid. It you were someone else’s kid then I would not even hit you. She smiles and chuckles with him

On the news we see Jong Ryeol announcing to everyone in a press conference that his wife is his wife and a mother so please do not destroy our family with rumors. The reports all ask questions about his wife already being married. He asks if that is a crime? he starts to talk to the reporters about how it is not a big crime? She did not lie to me. You are not the judges.

But the reporters all write bad headlines regardless. Jong-ryeol tells them not to have fun writing about this rumor and then ask for forgiveness later. We will draw a line here. If you touch my family then I will sue you all.

One of the reporters says to himself that Jong Ryeol has become an adult.

At home, Jessica is taking care of the baby pleasantly. Her mother shows an article that that reporter wrote about how Jong-ryeol is defending his wife and how he says that he only needs his wife. She starts to cry and says that he is crazy. The mother says that her daughter is better than her. You know more about guys.


Yong-sik tells Dong-baek to close her restaurant for now. Pilgoo will stay with Chan-sook now too.  Then Detective Kim calls again. Dong-baek tells Yong-sik to go, you look busy. they bicker about that for a moment.

He finally leaves and talks to the detective. They tell him to ask the son to bring the glases. he dos not know what is happening, he is not saying anything anymore.

Cut to the team interrogating Gabuli. They ask him about what his foot size is and why put sawdust in the mouth and why put the yellow thing in the throat? Gabuli does not say anything. He asys that he wants to see his son. Tell him to bring his glasses.

In the office, one of the cops tells Yong-sik that he just asks for the glasses. He just wants to talk to hong-sik.


Cut to Hong-sik trying to get a new job. The owner is understanding but also says that no one wants to see him. Hong-sik also understands. he then goes to the market ladies. They pay him for everything and looks pretty sad for him. They also ask him if he really didn’t know?

Dong-baek looks at this and has a flashback to how they treated her. So Dong-baek goes up and says that she will take Hong-sik with her because she did not pay him her their other job. So she takes him to lunch and says that she will give him food as a last service since he is a regular customer.

He asks if she saved him from the ajummas. She says that their parents may be troublesome but if you think that it is nothing then it becomes nothing. he thanks her for that and is also sorry. But he asks her one last thing that he always wondered. 


In the police station, Yong-sik tells Gabuli that they cremated Hyang-mi. She looked peaceful now. But they had to take out the glue from her throat for 3 days. Her liver had plankton in it. That means that when you put her in the water, she was still alive.

Gabuli asks what he is talking about, what do you want! Yong-sik says that you put a dead person in the water and put glue in her throat and sawdust in her mouth. So what was wrong with Hyangmi? He yells that she was so noisy! I had to do it! Why did she…she…

Cut to Hong-sik with Dong-baek. She asks what he is curious about? He says, why did you give me free things?

Flashback to her giving him free things and noticing someones dirty shoes and someone writing on the wall. It was all Hong-sik.

In the present, Dong-baek asks, did I? Then she tries to turn on the gas on the burner, but it does not turn on. She gets a text and says that her supplier will come soon.

He smiles and chuckles and corrects her Korean and then starts to have that tick and cough and asks if she gave him that free stuff because she pitied him?

In the police station, Yong-sik opens the glass case and sees an ear tip. He wonders what that is? Then he looks at something else in his drawer and notices that it is the same. 

VO – Hong-sik wanted to tell you something. What came out of Yong-siks throat was not glue. And that Hyangmi did not die in water. It was all lies. She died before. Why are you so shocked? You are not someone that can kill a person.

the father grabs the eyeglasses and sees the ear plugs in the case.

VO – I think Hyang-sik wants to tell you what shse swallowed before she died.

In the camellia, Hong-sik tells Dong-baek that her supplier has come quickly. he keeps coughing and we hear the phone ringing.

VO – That strange coughing sound.

We see a lot of flashbacks with the cough and what is happening at home with the ather looking at his sons psychopath diary and how there is a camellia flyer and how she bugs him and instigates him and how he wants to kill her and all that. Then the father hears his sons voice and asks why he is reading his journal. he last thing in the journal says, just wait, set the trap and wait.

Cut to him cleaning up the crime scene. His father helped him do it. the father tells him that they have to call the police. They go to the lake and we see the scratch mark on the father. Hong-sik tells him that the have to pull off the nails. the father tells him that he thought he liked Hyang-mi. Hong-sik tells him that she was just like a lost cat.

the father tells Hong-sik to stop once appa dies. You always wear my shoes when you kill someone. Hong-sik stands and tells his father, did you fall from work because I pretend to be like you and kill people?

Cut to the news that talks about a person who fell from a construction building.

Hong-sik asks if he just wanted to kill himself? You should not pretend like you can’t walk anymore. I was faked for 5 years.

The father tells him, when you killed your first cat when you were young, did you think that if we went back to that time that anything would change? Hong-sik tells him that he does not know well whether he became like this or whether he was born like this.

In the interrogation room, the father starts to cry and says that he could not take care of his son because he was so busy making money. He did not have friends and always killed cats. That is why I let the cats go and told him that I threw the cats through windows. I tried everything that I could do, but his ears are too sensitive and his heart is too much like stone.

Yong-sik, it he is a monster, I made him that  monster.

VO – So why did you go to that parking lot? I have been wondering from there. it seems like you warned Dong-baek.

Father – If she left then this would nto have happened at all.


In the Camellia, Hong-sik keeps coughing. He asks Dong-baek why she looks like that, you make me feel strange.

Dong-baek tries to stay clam and says that she will give him some water. She gets up get it but he grabs her arm and starts to twitch like the monster is coming out. 

On the way out, Yong-sik asks yet tells the captain if he can fire a gun today. then he hops in his car.

He also thinks about all the clues about how he did not feel right about how the sign said that he saw Dong-baek everyday. he thought that was strange.

VO – Subconsciously, people put important things on their favorite side, which means that the killer is left handed

We see that Hong-sik is left handed.

VO – I thought I could protect Dong-baek.


Hong-sik leaves the camellia and mutters that she makes him mad. then we see flashbacks of him with all the victims right before he killed them. he would start his cough with all of them. His father also noticed things were wrong with him.

Hong-sik goes around bowing to everyone in the town and people feel sorry for him. But then Dong-baek comes back out and hits him with a glass bottle.

In a flashback, all the ajummas start to text Dong-baek and say that they are on their way there with dduk and other items for her which makes Hong-sik let go of her wrist. Hong-sik tells her that he will give her advice. Don’t pity anyone too easily, you shoul dnot do that to anyone. He gives her money and leaves.

In the present, we see Hong-sik on the ground after the bottlee cracked over his head. theh ajummas are so stunned! Dong-baek says, you killed Hyang-mi! I will kill you if you act up!

She starts to curse up a storm and all the cops run up.

VO – I tohught that I could save Dong-baek.

DB – What the F! Are you Gabuli! You can’t do anything in front of people. Gabuli? What the F!

Then the ajumma avengers come up with all their mops and bats and weapons to beat up Hong-sik.

The police come running in from the other side to protect Gabuli and protect the law while the ajummas run at him from the other side to beat the #%@$ out of him.

It is a super fight. Dong-baek walks away cooly. 

YS – (Those story of heroes start with them killing something like a tiger).

DB – (Magots wont be able to break the pot. The real scary thing is not something like Gabuli, it is that I can’t protect someone).

She goes to see her mother.



Dong-baek sits with her mother and asks the nurse how things will be. The nurse tells her to call he family members so that other people can see her. Whoever her mother would like to see, just let them come. 

Dong-abek thinks that there is no one. Mom does not have anyone to call, what should I do?

Then Deok-soon and Pilgoo come in. Yong-sik is also in the waitng area nervously trying to peek in.

Dong-baek cries to them about it.

We see a flashback with the mother telling Deoksoon that she has her death day coming. She likes Hong-sik, but she actually like Deoksoon a lot more. So please embrace Dong-baek. She keeps saying nice things about Dong-baek.

In the present, Deok-soon talks to Dong-baek about how she should be happy so that her kid will be happy. She tells her that she will accept her as a precious person in her life. This makes Dong-baek happy. She says that Yong-sik is warm because Deok-soon is his mother.

Inside the hospital, Yong-sik sits with Pilgoo. he asks why Yong-sik is not going into the room. Yong-sik says that he just followed his mother, it is not his place to go inside. Pilgoo tells him that is not improtant. When I hear my mother crying, I run to her. If it was another ajusshi I would not tell this to them.

Pilgoo then leaves with Deoksoon. they walk away and talk about how Pilgoo should eat well, that is the best thing that you can do. She tells him that he is her kid now so Halmoni will protect you forever.




Dong-baek waits in the hospital for her mother to wake up. She waits and waits and waits and we watch her waiting. Yong-sik shows up and asks if he can wait with her? he mentions that it is difficult for me to see you like this. Can I just sit next to you?

She puts out her hands and they both cry and hug it out.

Dong-baek cries and tells Yong-sik that she won’t pretnd to be good or anything. I work hard! They both sob as she talks between breaths about her life and all her struggles and how even Mario gets coins so why don’t I get anything I am sick and tired of it and there is no mirable, F miracles.

But the light starts to blink so it look like a miracle might be coming. Yong-sik yells that even dogs get snacks but not even Dong-baek gets anything. 

The doctors start to run quickly to a room. They wheel the mother out. Yong-sik asks what happened? The nurse says that they are not sure yet.

They rush Halmoni onto an ambulance and want to give the surgery a try. SO they all rushh away to the big hospital. The nurse calls her eunnie who is one of the market ajummas. The market ajumma then tells the other ajummas about what is going on. 

Flashback to one of the market ajummas calling around and asking the other market ajumma to call around and see if they cann help in this situation.

Cut to the captains making all the lights in the town green so that the ambulance can go quickly to the airport. Kyu-tae got them the best 4 wheel drive ambulance in Korea. 

Basically eveyone in town that we have seen in this show help in some way or another to get the ambulance to Seoul as quickly as possible.

Ja-young even shows up because she helped the famous kidney doctor that we see on TV get two successful divorces due to Ja-young.

Chan-sook takes care of Pilgoo during all for this so he gets to hang out with his best friend who prays for his grandma.

The news talks about miracles and how people come together to do amazing things in the community. people give little favors as well that mean a lot and we see these little favors that people do to make peoples lives briight.

While Dong-baek waits in the hospital, she gets a lot of texts from the team that says that they will help her in any way possible.

While the mother gets her surgery, we see a flashback of the moment that she abandoned her daughter. She thinks that in her dream she would choose a different choice. Sh runs back to her daughter and hugs her and says that she was crazy. Her daughter would say that it is okay.

VO – I thought that I would wake up in Heaven after resolving all my wishes.

She wakes up in the hospital to a bunch of noise. the nurse is reprimanding Dong-baek and Yong-sik about two people sleeping in a one person bed.

The mom wakes up and gets their attention so Don-baek asks why she slept so much II was scared. the mother sees her daughter wound and tells her that she should not do this! Happy bubbly music plays and Dong-baek hugs her and says that her daughter is not that unlucky. Of course I will win this 50% chance. I got a DNA test and they said that I am okay. So I can give you my kidney. 

They bicker and all is happy in the world.


Cut to Kyu-tae taking care of a very drunk Ja-young. She goes home and tells him not to dare come in. he looks at her shoes on the ground and remembers back to 2019 when she was wearing those same shoes.

That is the day they went on their first date together. It was a blind date so Kyu-tae mentions that is mother wanted him to date her. She mentions that she knows him, they went to the same prep-school for college. But he does not remember her.

Kyu-tae isi his norma talkative bright self and tells her that she can open a lawyer office in Ongsan. She asks if he has a blind date to have a human network? I went on this blind date because it was you. Would you like to go in your car of my car?

Cut to her telling him to hop in her car on various occasions. So it looks like she was the one coming on to him a lot. She picked him up in his soccer gear and mentions that they can sleep in a place together and then mentions that they can get married in March. DO you like it? He says that he likes it. So she smiles and asks for his hand. He gives her his hand and they walk away.

They walk along the beach and happily pull each others noses. She tells him that he is crazy!

In the present, Ja-yong lays on the couch and thinks that Kyu tae does not have any guts. Then outside we see Kyu tae walk along the house and grab her shoes and take them inside. Then he throws the shoes and tells her – Ja-young!

She looks at him and then pulls him by his suspender to the couch and then kiss.


At the police station, all the cops dry peppers and talk about marriage and weddings and how they would like heir weddings to be. Yong-sik says he will pick the biggest venue in Ongsan! He will give the bouquett to *some girl*. the captain says to give it to Youngsim (the lady with the dog). So they all think that the captain loves her. The captain hurries off embarrassed.

Then they get an article text about another person who killed a ton of people with poison because they are acting up. they sigh. Then an officer comes to Yong-sik and says that someone wants to see him. Yong-sik is all like, seriously? Again?

He meets Hong-sik. Hong-sik tells him that he did not kill the Chinese delivery guy, someone pretended like it was him. Yong-sik asks why he is telling him this?

Hong-sik says that it is because Yong-sik is so innocent to the world so it makes him angry. So he wanted to tell him that Gabuli is everywhere, anyone can be Gabuli, they will keep coming out. he smiles and huckles and says that one guy killed 10 people with poison, so it is like that.

Yong-sik tells him that he maebe wanted to leave some kind of feeling in the end so I will give you my answer. The music kicks in.

YS – Who do you think is more? You are more or we are more? Bad guys are only a few. Good people are many. We are always coming. Even in the end, police always come in groups. There are so many of us together, so whatever you Gabul, you will not be able to win over numbers. That is the law of numbers. You guys are always nothing.

Cut to the market ajummas talking about how they are always behind Dongbaek, when it is out numebred they will not be able to do anything!



Dong-baeks umma buys the building from no Kyu-tae so the boiling where the Camellia is inis theres now.

It also seems like Dong-baek realized her dream of having a kind of lost and found. She made a Camellia Delivery service. If you are not at home then Dong-baek will take your delivery andn you can come pick it up.

Everyone is happy to see Dong-baek and get their deliveries from her and tell her thank you. 

Yong-sik asks how many times she heard thank you? She tells him 7 times today.

Cut to Jong-ryeol showing up and giving them a credit card with $5,000. He wants Dong-baek to take it. Yong-sik tells him that he has millions of dollars, why are you so cheap?

JR tells Dong-baek that this will always have $5,000. If you spend everythng it will be replenished. If you spend $1 it will be replenished. It will refill forever until Pilgoo goes to the major leagues. I will support him with this forever.

The grandmother comes up and takes that. JR says that this is not for their marriage though. This is 100% child support, okay? So spend what you want. He leaves happily.

Cut to Ja-youngs mother-in-law calling and telling her that she made bone soup for her just in case she wants to eat it. Ja-yong might be pregnant because the thought of it makes her gag. She tells her omoni that Kyu-tae likes this cartilage soup. I like Gomtang.

Cut to Kyu-tae buying mandu from Yong-sik who is selling it in a Camellia cart outside of the Camellia. he tells him that a very improtant person will eat it. Someone who will provide a 3rd generation son! They continue with their usual bickering. Kyu-tae tells him why are you using banmal to me! Yong-sik says, when I am close to someone I want to use banmal! So Kyu-tae tells him to just use banmal then.

Then we see Jessica and Jong-ryeol whose relationship is starting to et better. He asks her to take a picture for SNS. She says that she stopped SNS. She says that people says they envy me put some people also pity her and want to cheer her up, she does not want to hear that. She just wants to hear that they envy her.

Jong-ryeol tells her that that happens a lot. When he does not do well in baseball people always tell him, fighting. It is easy to support and pity people, it is hard to admire them. But admiration and envy are close to the same thing.

So she agrees to take a photo for SNS. He tells her not to cry in the photo. He says that he can send her messages that says I like you, eunnie you are pretty, thumbs up. She smiles.

Inside, the mother slaps the #^$% out of Jessica’s father for eating well while his daughter is having trouble.

Cut to Dong-baek and her mother talking about going on a trip right now and how they had a happy ending. Her mother says that Cinderella and Gong Ji Pa ji (Korean version of Cinderella) are all stupid. Just live happily now. Be happy right now, not later.

DB tells her that that is her problem, why try so hard to be happy. Happiness is just enjoying, not chasing. Just look around right here. See, there are so many flowers.

VO – My life was an apple tree in sand.

Her mother starts to look at the flowers with her.

VO – The waves kept coming and I did nto have any soil to grasps or any trees to rely on. But now I hve people around me and share roots with them. I feel so stable.

She has fun with the Neighborhod ajummas

VO – Now with all the grains, I also saw the super pretty sky.

She sits on a bench and happily greets Yong-sik who is running to the park to see her. He says he was so surprised while running here to see Dongbaek, is she a human or a flash light?

She laughs and asks if he likes her this much? he hugs her happily and says yes.

She asks if he thinks that meeting her is a miracle? He asks if she believes in scratch lotto tickets? She says no, I trust myself. He says me too, I trust you.

Then he kisses her quickly and laughs. They walk away in the park and kiss and laugh. He says that they should close Camellia early.


Pilgoo walks along a hallway and tells her mother that he loves her and if you miss me just turn on the TV. he opens the door to a stream of photographers. He is a super duper major league baseball player in the USA.

Yong-sik and Dong-baek hold hands as they look at him on the TV. They are super proud of him. Dongbaek sheds a few tears. Yong-sik says she is crying again. Dong-baek tells him that seh thinks her life is a miracle.

He holds her hand warmly and the caption says Thank you for watching.



It ended nicely, though honestly the journey was not worth it for me. Way too heavy handed.

But it did get 23% ratings so it was definitely loved in Korea.

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  1. Anonymous
    November 22, 2019 / 4:44 pm

    I loved this show !!! A catchy main character, completely different from what we see on most shows! He is both vulnerable and strong, not afraid to show his feelings. And of course, what women !!! They occupied all the drama, a show with so many strong, independent women I had not seen. The story made me laugh, made me cry, made my heart warm in the end. I was able to perceive the social criticism that the drama makes but not in a way to victimize the protagonist.

  2. Jane M
    November 22, 2019 / 6:35 pm

    I am so confused…. anyway, it doesn’t matter. I loved most of the female characters, but Dong Baek cried so much it really put me off. The whole thing was just about worth it for Kang Ha Neul’s amazing performance as Yong Shik! Somehow he was able to convey goofiness, masculinity, and native intelligence all the while wearing his heart on his sleeve. Another actor might have been unable to make this character as compelling, which would have ruined this story. Bravo, King Han Heul!!!!

    • Anonymous
      November 22, 2019 / 6:38 pm

      Autocorrect strikes again – of course, I meant Bravo, Kang Ha Neul!

      • V
        November 22, 2019 / 8:01 pm

        Yes! Kang Haneul was amazing in this!

  3. Anonymous
    March 17, 2020 / 3:03 am

    Pls help me what the soundtrack played when they transferred dongbaek mom to another ospital. Sing by duet.

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