When the Camellia Blooms – Season 1 Episode 11 Recap & Review


Painful Memories Of The Past

After last week’s reveals in When The Camellia Blooms that Hyang-Mi may well be the next victim, this latest episode gives us more insight into her difficult past, giving more depth to her character and making for quite the emotional viewing, as we’re left to assume that Dongbaek has a history with her.

The episode starts where we left off with Captain Byun and Yong-Sik discussing the murder of Hyang-Mi and the disappearance of Dongbaek. We then go back to where we left Hyang-Mi, talking to the person who has been feeding the cats. After being invited to their place, she’s shocked to find strange marks under the table just as someone else walks into the room.

The next day, Jessica complains to her mum about the rumours surrounding Jung-Ryeol having an affair. Her mum tells her to stay quiet and wait for evidence to use to her advantage in case they get a divorce.

At the bar, Yong-Sik wonders why Dongbaek is not going to her son’s baseball game. She explains that she was always shunned when she went to school and called an orphan and doesn’t want to same to happen to Pil-Gu as he has no father. We then flashback to her time at school and see how isolated and bullied she was. We also see that she had a friend just as unfortunate as her who everyone called “forget me not”. After recalling those painful memories, Yong-Sik tells Dongbaek to go to the game as it would be worse for Pil-Gu if she didn’t go.

Dongbaek, her mother and Hyang-Mi head to the game and after watching Pil-Gu strike twice, the pitcher purposely throws a bad ball which hits him in the leg. After collapsing, Pil-Gu sees the other kid sticking his tongue out. This prompts Pil-Gu and his team mates to start a fight with the opposite team. As the coaches rush in to break it up, the pitcher’s dad blames the whole things on Pil-Gu, slapping him when he accuses his son. Suddenly, Yong-Sik appears to save the day as he’s been filming the whole time with his drone. Later on, Ryeol also confronts the father and threatens to make sure his son never gets into any baseball team if he lays a hand on Pil-Gu again.

Meanwhile Yong-Sik and Byun continue their investigation and notice that in 2013 there was a CCTV camera on the building opposite the beauty parlor. He then heads out to interrogate a woman about the building sign, indicating that it used to be an academy. However, she explains that no kids ever entered it and that Gyu-Tae always used to hang out with the Director.

Back at the Camellia, a desperate Guy-Tae asks Dongbaek to fire Hyang-Mi, in exchange for him not increasing her rent. At the same time, Ja-Young is waiting outside and as she sees Hyang-Mi, she almost runs her over. As she confronts her about Gyu-Tae, the latter arrives and Ja-Young mentions that she would actually be grateful if she took her husband away from her.

Yong-Sik relays his findings about Gyu-Tae to the women of Onsang soon after. Looking at the building’s pictures, they notice that some of the windows were covered by cardboard, potentially to stop anyone from looking inside them.

A worried Hyang-Mi then jumps on the phone to someone, explaining that she wired all the money she had and is not sure where to get more. We then see a flashback into Hyang-Mi’s past and to the day she first came to work at the Camellia. After meeting Dongbaek for the first time, she mentioned her new job to her friend, Mi-Sun, and asks her not to tell Nak-Oh where she is if he calls asking for her. As we cut back to the present, Nak-Ho suddenly arrives at the Camellia. With a smirk on his face, he tells her how easy it was to find her and how if she were to die, no one would even come to her funeral. He tells her to come with him as she will have to work for him for the rest of her life. Dongbaek suddenly gets up and tells the man to leave her alone.

After seeing the doctor for an allergic reaction to his fingers, Yong-Sik realises that it may be due to touching the cat food scattered around the neighbourhood. He arrives at the Camellia just as Nak-Oh drags Hyang-Mi out the bar. Dongbaek surprises everyone by coming out and hitting him around the head with a saucepan, saving her friend. As Yong-Sik watches on, we see Hoong-Sik leaving a shop with cat food in his hands.

The Camellia certainly delivered a strong episode this week, chock full of emotional moments and moving the story forward well. There’s plenty of character development here too and this time the spotlight shines on Hyang-Mi; it looks like she may have been the friend who defended her back at school which is a really nice touch, even if they don’t realize it yet. The new sinister character Nak-Oh created quite the commotion too but Dongbaek was the hero coming to her friend’s rescue, surprising everyone.

Speaking of heroes, Yong-Sik has scored some points with Pil-Gu too when he saved the day by arriving with the proof. This was a lot of fun to watch and as usual Yong-Sik was a real scene stealer. The episode ends with hints towards Hoong-Sink being the one feeding the cats too. Does that mean he’s connected to the joker? Looking at the beginning of the episode, he looks to be the one who invited Hyang-Mi to stay over too. We’re just over half-way through the drama and now that we know who the next victim is, it’ll be interesting to see where the show goes from here and if the joker will claim many more victims.


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