When The Camellia Blooms – Season 1 Episode 16 Recap & Review

A Close Encounter

After last night’s emotional episode, When The Camellia Blooms returns with some truly tense moments. While we’re getting closer to finding out who the joker really is, his threat is becoming more evident as he slowly closes in on Dongbaek.

We begin at Lake Onsang with the team of divers looking for clues surrounding Hyang-Mi’s disappearance while Jung-Ryol asks Pil-Gu to give him a chance and to live with him. Unfortunately this upsets him and after giving all his presents back, he leaves, telling him he wants to stay with his mum. After a busy day at the Camellia, Yong-Sik promises Dongbaek he’ll find her mother before cutting to see her alive and lying in hospital but in a critical condition.

Meanwhile Jessica recalls the day she hit Hyang-Mi to her mum. In a flashback, we see a drunk Gyu-Tae trying to help Hyang out of the ditch while Jessica drives away from the scene. Hyang-Mi decided to deliver the food anyway despite the crash and tells Gyu-Tae that she’s planning to pay everyone back. This shows us that neither Jessica or Gyu-Tae are responsible for her disappearance. Panicked, Jessica called Jung-Ryeol to tell her what she had done, just as Hyang-Mi arrived at her destination where a strange man was watching her.

Back in the present, after Dongbaek takes a nervous Pil-Gu on his school trip, she tells Yong-Sik that she’ll close the bar as she’s not feeling well. Worrying even more about her, Yong-Sik is determined to catch the joker, prompting him to get help from a criminologist to identify the person from the video. After analyzing the footage, they come to the conclusion that he knew where the cameras were.

Following a montage of Yong-sik looking after a sick Dongbaek, they have dinner together where they both become emotional when Dongbaek recalls all the hardships she went through as an orphan. As Yong-Sik leaves her house in the morning, he sees that someone has left a green lighter on the bonnet of his car. Dongbaek then later receives a call about her scooter being left in the car park of a closed down mall. When she arrives, a strange figure steps out one of the cars and approaches her menacingly.

Meanwhile, Yong-Sik finds Jong-Ryeol at the scene of the motorcycle accident and decides to take him back to the station as his car was seen on the video footage. On the way, they discuss Dongbaek while Jong-Ryeol tells him that he has a lot of obstacles to overcome. As they arrive at the station, the news that Hyang’s body has been recovered in the lake reaches everyone. Yong-Sik and the rest of the police rush to the scene while a shocked Gyu-Tae is arrested. Ja-Young arrives just in time to stop them, asking if they have a warrant or any hard evidence. She tells them to treat him with more respect and to only interrogate him for 6 hours.

After leaving the lake, Yong-Sik frantically looks for Dongbaek, leading him to the abandoned mall. At the same time, we see Dongbaek running away from the joker and into the lift, where she decides to cut the power just as the joker forcefully tries to get in. After calling for help, she reads the note which reads: “You shouldn’t have come, she died because of you. Everyone who is close to you will die.”

We then flashback to last Christmas where Dongbaek told Hyang-Mi to stop stealing and that she’ll look after her as she’s family. As we cut back to the present, a determined Dongbaek turns the power back on and walks out of the building unscathed, much to the relief of the police and Yong-Sik. As she sees him, she vows to do whatever she can to find the joker and kill him. Surprised by her words, Yong-Sik recalls Pil-Gu’s words before he left for his trip too, which was a request for him to sleep at his house while he’s away and look after his mum.

While this episode wasn’t as emotionally charged as the last one, When The Camellia Blooms still delivered a very tense moment at the end of the episode as Dongbaek got close to being caught by the joker. This episode also crossed off a couple of characters from the list of suspects too as we learn that both Jessica and Gyu-Tae aren’t guilty. While the show points to Heung-Suk’s dad, I am still not convinced it’ll be him and I strongly believe it will be someone we know really well.

I’m really glad the show decided to extent its run-time for 4 more episodes as it allows more time for both the plot and characters to develop. Dongbaek has definitely undergone the biggest change here, growing from weak and always crying to strong and determined to overcome the obstacles thrown at her, despite all the hardships she has gone through.

Our couple still have more hurdles to jump over though, but Yong-Sik’s true positive and fun nature is bound to help them tackle what life throws at them for the episodes to come.


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