When The Camellia Blooms – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review


The Joker

After yesterday’s slice of drama, When The Camellia Blooms returns today with another episode, one that sticks to the same quirky, visual style as before whilst progressing the storyline for our characters.

The episode starts where the last one left off, at the scene of the crime where they find a note in the victim’s pocket reading “I told you 5 years ago not to be a joke”. From here, we cut back to Yong-Sik and Dongbaek, where he tells her he’ll stay with her in the street as he’s worried about her wandering off by herself.

The next day, Mr No arrives at the police station to take legal action for the theft of his wallet but Captain Byun quickly convinces him to drop the charges. Both Byun and Yong Sik have a chat and Byun tells him that all he needs to do to be in Mr No’s good books is pay him some compliments. He also explains that he’s probably the way he is because of his know-it-all and bossy wife. Yong-Sik goes back to apologize and tries to be nice to No but soon changes his tone when the Governor starts to bad-mouth Dongbaek.

Dongbaek has a nice moment with her son soon after where he asks her to buy him a game console because his friend’s dad sent him one. She asks if he is starting to wonder about his dad to which Pig Lu replies that he doesn’t, but that having a game taken away is worse than never having one and that he’s more fortunate than his friend.

Yong Sik’s mum finds out from her other son that Yong is dating a lawyer and can’t believe it, knowing what her son is like. Meanwhile, Chan-Suk finds Camellia’s credit card statement and goes to confront Dongbaek, when she sees that Dongbaek has served her husband, despite warning her against it. Yong Sik’s mum quickly comes to her rescue though and puts Chan-Suk in her place.

As Pil-Gu gets bullied about his mum’s occupation, Yong Sik stumbles upon them and scares the bullies away. Reminded of himself when he was younger, Yong Sik suggests to Pil Gu that he skip school to go and play at the arcade instead. They then have a deep conversation where the boy tells him that he has never seen his father. Pil Gu invites Yong to come to his mum’s bar later on and it’s then that his mum arrives, looking for him where she immediately berates Yong Sik for letting her son skip school.

Dongbaek finds out that the famous baseball player, Jong Ryeol, is visiting her son’s school which causes her to rush there. As she arrives, she sees her son talking to him. Jong Ryeol recognizes her though and after this unexpected reunion, it’s revealed that they used to date, where she confirms to him that Pil Gu is his son. He confronts her about the secret she’s kept all these years before we flashback to when they were dating. It’s here that we see that it was Jong Ryeol who gave her the famous bracelet.

The next day, Chan Suk confronts Hyang about receiving money from her husband. She explains that she needed the money but Chan Suk complains to Dongbaek. She tells her that everything is her fault and that she should shut the bar. As the rest of the neighbourhood rally against her, Yong Sik comes to her aid, just as Pil Gu arrives soon after and pushes the women away from his mum.

In the evening, Dongbaek gives Yong Sik free peanuts for helping Pil Gu with the bullies. Yong Sik follows her out again and this time to a station. They discuss her dreams and she explains that she wants to get a job at the National Railroad Administration. She explains that she wants to work here to have people thanking her. As they walk back to the bar together, he asks her if they can be friends as he wants to be on her side whenever she needs him to be.

Walking through the front doors of the Camellia, they find Jong Ryeol and Mr No there waiting for Dongbaek, which prompts her to grab Yong sik’s hand to make them think they are dating, to which they both believe to be true.

The episode then ends with a flashback to earlier in the evening where we see that one of the messages written on the wall of the bar reads: “Dongbaek you also need to stop being a joke”.

The second episode of When the Camellia Blooms brings a slightly slower pace than its pilot did and shows some more character development too. There are some nice touching moments with Dongbaek’s son Pil Gu, especially when speaking about the game console where I couldn’t help feeling that he was actually talking about his dad. After all, if a child’s parent was taken away it would be worse than having never met them. These are quite grown up themes discussed and coming out of a child’s mouth definitely adds more depth to the series.

Talking about his father, the episode also reveals who he is and it will be interesting to see where the show goes with that new plot twist. The ending shows Dongbaek stuck in the middle of all three men and I’m guessing that new dynamic will play an important role in the episodes to come. While this episode was a little slower, it still had some interesting developments, especially with the clues around the joker still hanging in the air. Whether the show continues on in the same direction though remains to be seen but there’s certainly promise here.


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