When The Camellia Blooms – Season 1 Episode 15 Recap & Review


The Reveal Of The Joker?

When The Camellia Blooms has certainly been a very pleasant surprise this year. The show has been getting better each week and this latest hour-long episode has been one of the best one so far, complete with more twists and emotional scenes involving Dongbaek’s mother.

We pick up where we left off with Dongbaek crying in Yong-Sik’s arms about her mother. After explaining what she just found about, Yong-Sik is outraged but tells her that she’s too nice to hate anyone. Later that night Yong-Sik worries, knowing that Dongbaek is alone after her Mum and Hyun-Mi have disappeared. He decides to keep an eye on her in his car next to her house. Realising he’s outside, Dongbaek brings him food and they end up talking about what it’s like to be a parent as she wonders what her mum is doing.

The next day at school, Jung-Reol discusses with the coach which students he’s going to train. Jung-Ryol insists on picking Pil-Gu as he finally reveals that he’s his son and wants to train him to reach the major league. During lunch, Pil-Gu lists all the reasons why he’s not happy with his Dad which leads to Jung-Ryol trying his best to make amends.

Determined to find the Joker, Yong-Sik continues with his investigation by visiting the different crime scenes. As he heads to the field, he comes across Yeon-Sim and asks for the security camera footage. Unfortunately he has trouble getting her to release it as the police had run-ins with her in the past.

Chan-Sook arrives at the Camellia to ask Dongbaek if she’s coming to the committee meeting. She replies that she’s not sure as Ms Kwak will be there while Ms Kwak herself as lunch with her son where she tells him not save her if she’s ever in a fire. Yong-Sik doesn’t understand why she doesn’t like Dongbaek anymore and announces that his engagement to her. Angry, she tells him that the more he acts that way, the more she will hate her.

 Ms Kwak decides to leave which prompts Dongbaek to follow her out, telling her she likes Yong-Sik a lot. Still unhappy with the situation, Ms Kwak replies that her son is stressed for the first time because of her. Yeong-Sim brings the footage to the police thanks to Ms Kwak’s encouragement. As Byun and Yong-Sik look through the footage, they see Hyun-Mi’s motorbike closely followed by Jung-Ryol’s car.

Jessica complains to her Mum about her life falling apart and admits to having hit Hyun-Mi while Gyu-Tae reveals the disappearance of Hyun-Mi to his wife, worrying about what they could find in the lake. We then cut to Jeong-Suk calling the police with a possible suspect.

Gyu-Tae arrives at the station to hand himself in where they realise it was 5 years ago exactly that Geom-Ok was murdered. This reminds Gyu-Tae that he was also present that day. We then flashback to 2014 where we see that the Hanbit academy was actually an illegal gambling facility shut down by the police. They then visit the Director in prison to ask him for the building security footage. Byun, Yong-Sik and Gyu-Tae finally view the footage and actually see two strange figures entering the building that fateful night.

We then cut to the past where we see Dongbaek’s mother confronting Heung-sik about being the joker, claiming that she saw him that day. Back in 2014, Dongbaek’s mum was working in Pil-Gu’s preschool and decided to meet her daughter that same night. This lead her to the beauty building right next to the academy where she accidentally bumped into Heung-sik just as he was about to enter the building. Worried about the strange figure, she followed him into the building and as she was unable to get into the room, we see that she was the one who set off the fire alarm and sprinklers.

As we jump to the future momentarily, Jeong-Suk tells Heung-Sik she has been suspicious for a while as she recognised the smell and his eyes. Being a mother and not having anything to lose, she explains that she’ll do anything for her daughter. Back in the present, Yong-Sik shows Dongbaek the footage which makes her realise that her mum has always been around.

The woman claiming to be Jeong Suk’s daughter arrives at the Camellia to show Dongbaek an insurance policy her mum has been saving up for all her life. As she accuses her of being a gold-digger, we see that Jeong-Suk has worked hard all her life to be able to give Dongbaek money before she dies where we leave things open and ready for tomorrow’s episode.

When The Camellia Blooms finally unravels the truth about Dongbaek’s mum and what an emotional episode that was! Seeing all the sacrifices her mother had to endure but also finding out she’s the reason Dongbaek wasn’t killed all those years ago certainly brought some tears to my eyes. The show has been building that story so well and seeing the relationship and character development blossom for our protagonists has been so enjoyable to watch and experience.

It’s worth noting that the music during Jung-Ryol’s scene was changed from the original for the Netflix version, for copyright reasons. The original Korean version uses Circle Of Life from The Lion King and for obvious reasons this wasn’t able to be used in the West. For those confused by the joke about The Lion King, hopefully this clears up some confusion!

When the Camellia Blooms is fast become one of my favourite shows, thanks to the fine-tuned balance of drama and comedy. The suspense behind the joker has always lurked in the shadows and while we may now know his true identity, I have a feeling more twists are just around the corner. One thing I’m really hoping for though is that Dongbaek will get the chance to see her mum again now that she knows the truth about her. Roll on the next episode!


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