TVN’s latest new drama When My Love Blooms started this weekend with a decent first episode. While a little slow, the new drama sets the scene quite well with what is to come, introducing us to the interesting characters we’ll be following over the weeks. While we don’t fully know yet just what happened in the past, the drama is set to be quite the emotional one given what we’ve seen so far.
Episode 1 of When My Love Blooms begins with Yoon Ji-Soo playing the piano as we fade out to a road on fire and a man, Jae-Hyun, walking towards her. She asks him if he knows when it was and he replies that he knows how long it lasted. We then cut to Jae-Hyun coming out of prison after four years and is surprised to only see Joon-Woo there. He tells him that everyone is in a meeting while at the same time, Ji-Soo shops in a small store for bottles of water.
In a flashback from 1993, a much younger Ji-Soo watches students protesting with her friend Hye-Jung. After her friend leaves, things get out of hand when someone starts throwing Molotov cocktails in the street around them. Ji-Soo is caught in the commotion and pushed on the floor. She gets helped by a young Jae-Hyun who takes her to safety.
After making sure she is okay and cleaning her wound with his handkerchief, he leaves but drops a tape on the floor. After looking for Jae-Hyun for days, she eventually tracks him down in the law department but he closes the door when he sees her.
As we jump back to the present, Jae-Hyun’s chauffeur has to abruptly stop the car to avoid a woman who has dropped her shopping. It happens to be Ji-Soo who apologies and leaves, dropping the same handkerchief from 1993. Jae-Hyun then tells his chauffeur to drive him to the chairman. As he arrives at the company, he is greeted by protesters and we see that Ji-Soon is giving them drinks.
Jae-Hyun arrives in the chairman’s office who tells him that now that he is back from four years in prison, he wants him in charge of the supermarkets and to get rid of the female protesters.
That evening, Ji-Soo turns her TV on and sees the movie Love Letter is playing. This then reminds her of the past as we see a flashback of 1993 where she tried renting the movie at the same time as Jae-Hyun. She suggests watching it together but he refuses. She eventually wears him down but the whole time they are together, Jae-Hyun acts very coldly towards her and turns her down when she suggests dating. However she tells him that she won’t give up. We then see him coming to watch her another day while she plays the piano.
In the present, Jae-Hyun finishes the movie just as his wife comes in. We learn that she is now the CEO and asks him to pay more attention to their son as he needs his father. Jay-Hyun replies that he will do his best but that he wants to have fun too.
The next day, he meets with Jung Yoon-Ki who tells him how unfair it is that the chairman only made him in charge of the supermarket. He then shows him pictures that he took of his wife with another man. Suddenly, he recognizes the music played by the pianist which reminds him of Ji-Soo playing it in college. He tries walking towards her but she is nowhere to be seen as he reaches the piano.
While at a meeting with wealthy mothers from her son’s school, Ji-Soo receives a text revealing Hwa-Jin is dead. As we cut to the funeral, Jae-Hyun arrives to pay his respects and sits with his old friends. Her late husband, Kyung-Ho, berates him for getting Hwa-Jin involved and blames him for her death.
We then see a flashback of Hwa-Jin asking him for money. He refuses as it was her civic group who reported him and the company which is where his money comes from.
Later on, Ji-Soo meets with Joo Young-Woo and learns that Hwa-Jin died of cancer as she couldn’t afford the surgery. She tells him that she regrets cutting ties with her old friends but he replies that she didn’t have any choice. Jae-Hyun meanwhile, has drinks with Dong-Jin and tells him that he’s been looking for Ji-Soo everywhere but hasn’t been able to find her.
Back home, Ji-Soo invites Hye-Jung over and while they eat, Ji-Soo explains that she is not going to be able to carry on with the protests this year as she has too much on her plate between her son, jobs and meeting the mothers from school. She explains that the reason why she wears a mask while playing is to make sure she isn’t recognized by them.
The next day, the protesters find out that Ji-Soo is leaving. We also learn that her son has won a scholarship thanks to his excellent grades which is how she is able to afford sending him to an international school. We then cut to Young-Min who is involved in an incident with another boy.
Back in the hotel, Jae-Hyun sees the masked woman play again. He then gets a call from his wife telling him that his son, Jun-Seo, got hurt. Ji-Soo comes out soon after as she has received a call from the school saying that Young-Min has thrown a chair at another boy. Unbeknownst to her, the other boy is none other than Jun-Seo, Jae-Hyun’s son.
In a flashback, we see Ji-Soo getting a divorce in court. She gets custody of Young-Min but refuses to accept any child support or alimony. As she leaves the court house, her ex-husband Se-Hoon comes after her and warns her that he will always be around.
Jae-Hyun arrives in hospital to see his son who calls Young-Min a loser and poor. He tells his father that he is crazy but his father seems to have doubts regarding his claims. He heads to speak to the headteacher next and Ji-Soo arrives soon after. As she apologies, Jae-Hyun recognises her but he leaves the room without looking in her direction.
The head teacher follows outside where Jae-Hyun tells him he doesn’t want to pursue the matter. Ji-Soo then speaks to her son to try and find out why he did it but he remains tight-lipped.
After leaving the school, Ji-Soo walks towards the station and is followed closely by Jae-Hyun. As he starts talking to her, she recognizes him and is unable to stop the tears from running down her face. As we see them look at each other with snowflakes falling around them, we then see another flashback of the two meeting in 1993 amongst cherry blossoms which closes the episode.
As with the previous TVN weekend drama Hi Bye Mama, When My Love Blooms’ main cast gives some very good performances throughout. The premise is interesting enough with some mystery added as well. Just what happened to our main couple in the past seems to be quite dramatic and I am looking forward to discover it in the upcoming weeks.
There is also quite the big contrast between Ji-Soo and Jae-Hyun as we look at the past and present. From what we can already see, both have changed quite a bit and it will intriguing to see why they broke up and how their relationship will develop. In the meantime, When My Love Blooms starts its runtime with a slow but easy to watch first chapter.