When the Camellia Blooms – Season 1 Episode 12 Recap & Review

Tick Tock

When The Camellia Blooms returns with an episode full of suspense, featuring a countdown timer ticking all the way through the episode towards the inevitable death of Hyang-Mi… or so we’re left to assume. We’re also given more truth and insight into some of the character’s past too as Yong-Sik is getting closer to finding out who the joker is.

We begin where we left off with Nak Oh being hit around the head. He then grabs Dongbaek but is stopped by Yong-Sik and her mother who claims that he tried to strangle her daughter. The fight ends with the mother hitting him around the head with a baton. At the police station, Nak-Oh cries to the captain but they all defend themselves by saying he tried to strangle and kill Dongbaek. He decides to drop the charges but not before threatening Dongbaek. Hyang-Mi follows and tells him to leave her friends alone as she’ll come back in a month.

As we see a clock counting down from 24 hours, Hyang-Mi reflects on her relationship with all of them while Yong-Sik decides to investigate the cat food Hoong-Seum has been placing around the neighbourhood, bringing some back to the station for testing. Jong-Ryeol sends a lot of toys to the bar for Pil-Gu which prompts Yong-Sik to mention to Dongbaek that he has money too and wants to help out.

Back inside the Camellia, Yong-Sik uncovers a stack of lighters which look like the ones found in the school. When mentioning the burn wall mark to Hyang-Mi, she tells Yong-Sik she saw a similar one in her friend’s house but refuses to say who. As the countdown ticks down to 11 hours, she receives papers from Jong-Reol who is trying to sue her.

Hyang-Mi receives a text from Gyu-Tae asking to meet at Onsang Lake. He tells her to lie to his wife about what happened and explains that he wasn’t really interested in her but just wanted to show her off. She then receives another mysterious call from someone asking her for 30 million won.

On their way back home, Pil-Gu and his grandma talk about the different men in his mum’s life. When asked which one he hates the most, he chooses Jong-Ryeol. Jessica and her mum suddenly turn up at the bar, ready to grab one of Pil-Gu’s hairs to test his DNA. Just as the mother in law is about to get one of his hairs, the grandmother stops her and throws her out. As she angrily confronts her, we notice that she might not have dementia after all.

As they leave, Hyang-Mi arrives at the bar and reveals that she was the one who started the rumour around Jong-Ryeol’s affair. She then blackmails Jessica in exchange for her silence but she refuses to give her any money. As she leaves, we see the clock has 5 hours left. After walking Pil-Gu to school, Hyang-Mi returns to the bar and takes the money out of the freezer.

Meanwhile, at the hair salon, Ms Kwak finds out from Jung-Gi that Pil-Gu has been taking the long way home to avoid her. This prompts her to meet him in the street and invite him to her restaurant for some food. Jong-Ryeol arrives at the bar soon after, telling Dongbaek he wants to give more money for Pil-Gu. As Dongbaek realises that her money is gone, Yong-Sik arrives and is not happy to see Jong-Ryeol. As they start arguing, Dongbaek breaks down, telling them someone stole her money.

With 2 hours and 35 minutes remaining on the timer, Hyang-Mi is on the phone again, explaining that she has wired all the money. As she tells him she wants to be with him, we finally see who she’s been talking to – her brother. He doesn’t want her to come over as he hasn’t even told his wife about her. She’s sad to learn this considering she has been paying for his lifestyle.

Hyang-Mi recalls her childhood with her brother and decides it would be best for him if they cut ties for now. We also find out that the real reason she wanted to go to Denmark was because the treatment for her sick grandmother is free in that country. Just as Hyang-Mi is leaving Onsang, she sees Dongbaek about to do a delivery. She tearfully gives her last minute advice while Dongbaek reveals that she knows she took the money but doesn’t seem upset. As they say their goodbyes, Hyang-Mi asks her not to forget her and tells her she will do anything she can to pay her back.

We see the countdown timer reach zero just as Dongbaek receives an order from a strange man with a familiar cough. As the episodes closes, the words on the screen read – estimated time of death between 10 and 11 pm.

his episode looks like to be the last one for Hyang-Mi as we finally see more about her past and she seems to say her goodbyes to everyone. The countdown was a nice touch, adding some suspense into the episode and it ended on a very dark note with the phone call to Dongbaek from the joker. Will she recognize the familiar cough?

We also saw that Dongbaek’s mother doesn’t really seem to have dementia which has been hinted at for a while. It looks like she’s been faking it to grow closer to her daughter and do her best to make amends for the past without being rejected. Just as Dongbaek and Yong-Sik were getting closer, they face another setback with Ms Kwak finding out who Pil-Gu’s dad is. Whether she’ll ever accept Dongbaek as a good enough partner for her son is still an uncertainty but in the meantime, the story of our two protagonists remains very enjoyable and fun to watch.


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