Episode 6 of When The Camellia Blooms brings us more backstory into Dongbaek’s past, introducing her long-lost mum but also showcasing some development into her relationship with Yong-Sik. There are some really touching moments here too and with each episode, this romantic drama is fast becoming one of the better Korean dramas of the year.
The episode starts where it left off with Yong-Sik catching up with the dark figure. We then cut to the next day where Dongbaek is having breakfast with Pil-Gu while Hyang-Mi receives a threatening text from someone she borrowed money from. Panicking, she tries to find more money so she can run away to Denmark. She suddenly sees Kyu-Tae, who is attending a festival on the beach. As she runs towards him, she tells the crowd that she’ll be his wife one day. This then leads to her blackmailing him to pay for her hotel room.
Yong-Sik brings the suspect, an older woman, to the station and as the morning arrives, the other policemen discover who he caught. Yong-Sik explains that she’s suffering from dementia and he couldn’t identify her as her fingerprints have been rubbed off. While Deok-Soon and Dongbaek discuss the current situation, the latter receives a call from the station. It turns out that the woman in question is in fact her mother who abandoned her when she was 7. Dongbaek later decides to abandon her at the bus stop as revenge, but ends up feeling remorseful and comes back to pick her up in the evening.
After receiving a text from Hyang-Mi with a picture showing them in the lobby of the hotel room, Kyu-Tae decides to meet her to find out what she wants. She explains that she wants to move to Copenhagen but needs a lot of money to do so. She tells him that paying her the 100 million will still be cheaper than him getting a divorce if his wife sees the pictures. This leads to Kyu-Tae visiting the psychiatrist for stress, all the while deliberating over getting rid of the problem entirely -Hyang-Mi.
While Pil-Gu and Dongbaek share a nice moment together, we see Jong-Ryeol trying to buy the Camellia building. Dongbaek’s mum helps around the house but still doesn’t know who her daughter is. She ends up giving her money she hid and while Dongbaek hasn’t forgiven her yet, she tells her she can work at the Camellia.
We also find out that Dongbaek doesn’t know when her actual birthday is either, as the orphanage used the day she arrived there instead.
Dongbaek tells Hyang-Mi that Dong-Sik shouldn’t be in her life now that she has her mother-in-law with dementia living with her. Suddenly, Yong-Sik bursts into the room shouting how much he missed her. Dongbaek rejects him again because of her situation but as always, he tells her that it doesn’t matter to him. She tells him she needs to find someone that doesn’t know of her past as she doesn’t want anyone feeling sorry for her. After telling him not to come back he leaves, looking very sad.
After Kyu-Tae gets drunk at the Camellia, he gets annoyed with Dongbaek leading to Yong-Sik arriving and seeing red, leading to a hilarious fight between the two. Captain Byun arrives to take him away and berates his actions. However, he refuses to explain himself as he’s worried the people of Onsang will gossip about Dongbaek even more.
After all the commotion, Dongbaek finds arrows on the floor left by Yong-Sik, leading her to the roof. There, she finds petals and candles everywhere along with a birthday cake and a card, saying that even if she doesn’t know the date of her birthday, she can have one every day. Her mother arrives too, saying that there were a lot of camellias around on the day Dongbaek was born.
With a new sense of determination, Dongbaek grabs her ledger and heads to the police station to press charges against Mr No for sexual harassment and verbal violence. Yong- Sik then ends up crying again, as she realizes Dongbaek just defended her. The episode then ends with another flash-forward to the discovery of the body and the police realizing who the victim is. As the episode closes out, we see Yong-Sik looking devastated.
When The Camellia Blooms has been a real sleeper hit and has certainly improved with each episode; this latest installment is no exception. It was quite an emotional one too; Dongbaek is reunited with her mum who abandoned her all those years ago, starting the chain of unlucky events in her life. While she still hasn’t forgiven her, the end of the episode is quite touching when her mother mentions about the camellias growing on her birthday.
Yong-Sik is still just as funny and persistent when it comes to making Dongbaek happy. The presents he left for her on the roof is just what she needed to finally make her react and realize how important he is for her. Unfortunately, given what we know about the future, a happy ending for our two protagonists may be off the table as we’re left to assume that Dongbaek might be the future victim of the Joker. In the meantime though, the show is still fun and enjoyable to watch, fast becoming one of the stand-out Korean dramas of the year.