After last week’s reveal, When the Camellia Blooms returns with another new episode, this time centred more on Dongbaek and Yong-Sik’s developing relationship rather than the threat of the Joker.
The episode starts with Jong Ryeol about to drive away before Hyang-Mi stops him to ask what he’s really doing there. She takes him inside to see Dongbaek who’s busy talking to Yong-Sik about the writing on the wall. While Jong-Ryeol eats dinner, Yong-Sik recognises him and asks him for an autograph, not knowing he’s actually Dongbaek’s ex and Pil-Gu’s father.
The latter walks Dongbaek back home again after work where she tells him she could face the Joker on her own but she’s a little scared. Yong-Sik suggests that she closes the bar for a few days but she refuses, especially given she didn’t do that when the incident happened 5 years ago. He then tells her how brave and bold she is and jokingly says that she doesn’t really need protection from him.
Meanwhile, Hyang-Mi gets ready for bed at the Camellia but forgets to lock the main door. Just as she’s thinking about how much money she needs to save; we see a dark figure entering the bar.
The next morning, Yong sik and the Captain arrive and notice that the message on the wall has been burnt off. Captain Byun then asks Dongbaek to see the security camera footage which angers Yong-Sik as he doesn’t want her to worry.
The next day, Pil Gu eats a snack in the playground at school on his own and Jong Ryeol comes to see him, discussing the upcoming baseball trip to China. He replies that he’s very good at baseball but doesn’t want to go on the trip. After more probing, Jong Ryeol finds out that the real reason Pil-Gu doesn’t want to go is because the trip costs a lot of money and doesn’t want his mum to work more to pay for it.
Meanwhile Mr No becomes a volunteer at the Ongsan club in a bid to be nominated as a candidate. After making a fool of himself with the president of the club, he berates him for his lack of knowledge in the Korean language, going on to tell him acting that way will not get him a nomination. Captain Byun and Yong Sik arrive to ask Mr No for the security camera footage soon after but it’s here he reveals that the cameras are fake as he didn’t think they were needed in a street like that.
Jong Ryeol decides to take Pil Gu and his classmates to lunch at Yong-Sik’s mother’s restaurant. While they eat, he realizes that they both share similar tastes in food. Outside the restaurant, he speaks to the coach and offers to pay for their training camp in China.
As Yong-Sik and Dongbaek walk together, she tells him not be near her around the market, as she’s worried about people talking, especially given she’s a single mum running a bar. Not giving up, Yong-Sik tells her that he likes her and he’s proud of it. She’s touched by his words as she’s never been anyone’s pride before. While she tries buying radishes from the market, Yong-Sik comes and help her barter the price. This prompts all the women to come out and start embarrassing them, saying that Yong-Sik is always following Dongbaek around which won’t please his mum. Yong-Sik decides to confess his love in front of everyone to stop the women gossiping about Dongbaek but unbeknownst to him, his mum is standing inside the shop.
In the evening, Jong- Ryeol comes to the Camellia to talk to Dongbaek. He tells her that he doesn’t understand why she chose that kind of job. In a flashback, we see her telling Hyang-Mi that the reason she’s selling alcohol is to give her son money once he graduates. She tells Jong-Ryeol not to worry and that he can just carry on with his life. In reply, he tells her he’ll be unable to now he knows how she lives and that he has a son.
Yong-Sik arrives at the Camellia and consoles a crying Dongbaek, who’s upset as she was the only orphan at school and now the only single mum around. Yong-Sik, ever the optimist, tells her that she’s lucky as she’s managed to raise Pil Gu so well while building a successful business. He also tells her that she’s the strongest and most admirable person he knows. This makes her cry again as she’s not used to receiving so many compliments. Sobbing, she asks him what he’ll do if she actually ends up liking him back.
The episode then ends with a flashback of Yong-Sik painting the walls of the Camellia. However, someone sitting at a table nearby is watching, playing with a lighter. However, as the camera remains static, all we see is the gloved hand.
The latest episode of When the Camellia Blooms is little slower than the previous one, focusing more on Dongbaek and Yong-Sik’s relationship. While Yong-Sik carries on with his funny and determined persona, Dongbaek remains to me the weaker character, acting rather blandly and not bringing much excitement to this drama. Still, Yong-Sik really stands out here and it’ll be interesting to see where the story goes between them two, especially with his mum now knowing about his interest in the bar owner.
While we didn’t get much development with the Joker’s story, the flashback does help shed some light on the past, especially given he’s been visiting the bar and was there when Yong-Sik was renovating the place. Could this mean that we know the murderer? Each episode always ends with a flashback giving us a reveal and that is a nice touch, adding more suspense and intrigue.
When the Camellia Blooms remains an enjoyable Korean drama, it has enough romance and comedy to make it entertaining but it is really the diverse characters that make the show worth watching. I just hope that more of Dongbaek’s character shines through because right now, she’s definitely the weak link.