Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 4/5
Last year, I started watching Korean Dramas and I truly had no idea how entertained I was going to be by them. I now watch around 3 or 4 different dramas a week and I can’t get enough of them. When the Camellia Blooms has become one of my favourites of the year alongside Hotel Del Luna – and what a ride it has been! The show managed to offer up an amazing story, filled with many memorable and diverse characters, all whilst blending humour, romance and suspense perfectly.
After a bit of a shaky start, the drama grew in popularity each week, with the story starting in Onsang as we see single mother Dongbaek arriving with her baby boy to open a bar, The Camellia. Struggling to fit in, she faces many challenges over the years mostly revolving around raising her child and running a business. When local police officer Hwang-Yong-Sik falls deeply in love with her, he does everything in his power to win her over. To complicate matters, Dongbaek’s ex-boyfriend, and famous baseball player, Kang Jung-Ryeol appears back on the scene, while a serial killer called the joker threats the peace of the community.
One of the strongest selling points of When the Camellia Blooms comes from its story and loveable characters. While the narrative is quite simple, the blending of different genres makes this one so enjoyable and easy to watch. The first couple of episodes were a little inconsistent but are soon forgotten as the show settles into a consistent rhythm. When The Camellia Blooms manages to successfully build suspense each week and keeps you guessing right up until the last episode, which makes things even more tense and thrilling.
The characters themselves are excellent too. In particular Yong-Sik, whose quirky and romantic mannerisms towards Dongbaek adds so much charm to the show. There were countless moments where I laughed out loud while watching and without giving anything away, Dongbaek’s character growth over the season makes this chase all the more satisfying. Starting off as a shy and insecure woman, Dongbaek eventually becomes a fierce and confident woman.
It’s also worth mentioning Dongbaek’s mum too, who gives an excellent performance in her role. Some of the later episodes explore this mother/daughter relationship and some of these scenes were so emotional and definitely made me shed a few tears. I could sit here and mention every character as they’re all interesting in their own way and I couldn’t think of a single one I disliked.
A great Korean drama wouldn’t be complete without its unjique soundtrack and When the Camellia Blooms offers us some excellent songs too with “Foolish Love” and “Loser” the stand-outs in the list. The addition of funk music whenever a character (mostly Yong-Sik) is facing a challenge, is a fun touch too and adds to the comedic flavour of this one.
Its been a week and I still miss my weekly fix of When The Camellia Blooms. Each week the show improved and the rollercoaster ride of emotions saw me laugh, gasp and cry – sometimes in the same episode! Admittedly, the show did end at the perfect time though and with the right number of episodes, enough to give us closure for all the characters and topping things off with an excellent ending.
With a great narrative and lovable characters, When The Camellia Blooms is an impressive series, one with plenty of twists along the way. I will certainly miss watching the fun antics of Yong-Sik and the rest of the cast but in the meantime, I strongly recommend checking out When The Camellia Blooms if you haven’t already, as this is one show I won’t forget anytime soon.
Verdict - 9/10