Rating:
Average user rating 4.0
131

When the Camellia Blooms: Episodes 1-2

[Our newest group of recapper trainees has been hard at work for When the Camellia Blooms. We hope you enjoy the recaps and say hello to @fencejumper!–stroopwafel]

When the Camellia Blooms is off to a strong start and the premiere bursts with just the right amount of humor and charm. Set in a sleepy village, our two protagonists lead very different lives and don’t seem like a perfect match for each other. But sometimes love finds you when and where you least expect it.

 
EPISODE 1: “The Woman with the Germanium Bracelet”

We open on an idyllic landscape, but the idyll is quickly broken as we see that the location is actually a major crime scene. A police officer pulls up and though we can’t see his face yet we know that it’s our protagonist HWANG YONG-SHIK (Kang Haneul). He walks past the gathered crowd and crosses the police line as we hear people murmur that there hasn’t been a killing in a long while.

Yong-shik walks through the crime scene in a daze until he reaches two officers carrying away a covered body. When he stops them, a woman’s cut and bruised hand falls out from under the shroud. On her wrist is an unusual bracelet.

It’s a sunny day in the village of Ongsan as a moving truck arrives in an alleyway, piquing the interest of its residents. As a sign that says Camellia is installed, PARK CHAN-SOOK (Kim Sun-young) and the other residents wonder in amusement over why a flower shop would open in a food alley.

Just then, the new neighbor DONG-BAEK (Gong Hyo-jin) walks out of the store, (wearing the unusual bracelet from earlier) and pauses to pick up a stuffed doll. As she bends over, her straw hat falls off and we get a full-on glamor shot of Dong-baek.

In a hilarious montage, all the men immediately lose focus on their tasks, utterly taken by her beauty, mouths agape. The neighborhood ladies are not impressed–until they see that she’s a mom and breathe a sigh of relief. The men seem to regain their senses and go back to their work.

As the hubbub dies down, an older woman hurries through the crowd in a bad mood. Judging from everyone’s reaction, this is a common occurrence. As Chan-sook clocks her departure she comments that Yong-shik must have caused trouble again. Aha, so that’s Yong-shik’s mother KWAK DEOK-SOON (Go Du-shim).

Inside the Camellia, Dong-baek negotiates with the landlord, NO KYU-TAE (Oh Jung-se). She asks him to install a window, but he replies that his tenants have to be ‘self-reliant.’ He asks for her husband to discuss repair issues, but she retorts that she’s self-reliant and so he should discuss things with her.

Meanwhile, Yong-shik’s mother complains to her shaman friend that her son constantly gets into trouble and asks for a talisman instead of a fortune reading. She wonders if his life would be different if she had never asked him to go to the bank “that day.” We flash back to 2003–when it all began at a bank.

A teenage Yong-shik sits at a bank, looking rather shifty, as the bank’s workers get ready to clock off. He’s sitting next to bandanna-wearing man and begins to watch him closely, even imitating the man’s every action. The man pulls out a gun under some newspaper. Yong-shik reaches into his backpack.

We cut to a restaurant where Deok-soon answers a call informing her that Yong-shik’s at the police station. She rushes down and meets Detective Byun, who’s showing her something on his computer. Another officer walks in to turn on the TV for a breaking news report. It turns out a brave citizen, Yong-shik, stopped a bank robbery single handedly by attacking the armed robber–with his lunchbox.

She narrates that she must’ve been the only person in Korea to ever pay for a robber’s dental implants (compensation due to Yong-shik’s use of excessive force). Deok-soon laments that Yong-shik’s entire life has been a war on crime.

A reel of moments flash by accompanied by epic music: Yong-shik catching a motorcycle thief whilst peeing on the street, him catching a pick-pocketer whilst driving his taxi, and, finally, being appointed as a police office after he captures a dangerous escaped convict during his delivery runs.

At his appointment ceremony, it’s clear that Yong-shik is more brawn than brains. When reporters ask him about his most recent heroic deed catching that convict, he repeats the same thing over and over again.

In the audience his mom and Detective Byun watch him, questioning whether they should be happy or not. Detective Byun settles it by saying that if Yong-shik hadn’t joined the police he’d probably be doing something stupid. He tells Deok-soon proudly that he’d been waiting for Yong-shik to become a police officer since the day he stopped that bank robber.

Back in the present, Deok-soon finishes her narration by complaining about how Yong-shik insisted on moving to Seoul to be a cop and land a city girl but has nothing to show for his efforts. He’s still single and has nothing but a bunch of injuries thanks to his undying habit of running after criminals

The shaman throws rice to read Yong-shik’s fortune and tells Deok-soon not to worry–that a rabbit will meet a dragon. Deok-soon’s thrilled and exclaims that he’ll soar high once he meets a cute, rabbit-like girl.

The shaman though, says that Yong-shik is the rabbit and that the dragon lives somewhere in the east. As she points east, she ends up pointing straight at Dong-baek, who’s arrived bearing rice cakes as a greeting gift.

Dong-baek and a few of the neighborhood ladies convene inside Deok-soon’s crab restaurant to get to know each other. The ladies side with Dong-baek over having windows in her flower shop and ask whether she’ll sell camellias since her name means camellia. To their surprise, she says she’s actually opening a bar called the Camellia.

They take that in stride and carry on chatting. Over much questioning, Dong-baek mentions that she doesn’t have a husband, isn’t a divorcee or widow, and has never been married. At their bewildered expressions, she good-naturedly tells them that it’s possible to not be married and still have kids.

Later, Chan-sook and her friend gossip about Dong-baek, wondering how a single mother could open a bar. Deok-soon however, is not having any of it, asking them whether there’s a law that prevents a single mom from running a bar. If that’s the case, then she should close up shop too since she sells soju in her restaurant despite being a widow.

Deok-soon tells them not to be proud of their husbands since men are useless. Looks like Ongsan is run like a matriarchy.

Scenes of Dong-baek slicing cabbage intermingle with the alley’s marinated crab restaurants opening for business. The village men wonder why they were even born, since all the restaurants and recipes in the village are passed down through the women in the family, be they daughters or daughters-in-law.

Because all of the restaurants are family-owned, the men don’t have anywhere to go to relax or drink. But now with a new bar in town, they have their very own Switzerland. 6 year later, the Camellia is thriving and has overcome the odds to survive in a tough market.

Dong-baek’s son Pil-gu asks his mom to pick an English name for a school counseling session. After some hesitation she settles on Diana because she’s a fan of Princess Diana and how stylish and smart the princess was.

Meanwhile, Yong-shik has been transferred (demoted) back to the village police station after hitting an unrepentant murderer in front of a gaggle of reporters. He tells the other officers and Chief Byun (formerly detective) that he has no regrets save one–that he didn’t get a chance to woo his own Princess Diana.

Yong-shik informs them he’s not interested in country bumpkins; he’s searching for a city gal who’s intelligent and graceful, like Princess Diana. Chief Byun says they should celebrate by visiting Ongsan’s Princess Diana at her bar the Camellia, but Yong-shik assumes it’s a hostess bar and shoots him down.

Back at the Camellia, Kyu-tae boasts to his friends that he’s very close to Dong-baek. He calls her over using informal speech and throws out a casual request for free peanuts…only for her to be straightforward and tell him he has to pay for his peanuts, much to his embarrassment.

Similarly, Pil-gu goes around telling his mom’s customers to stop being so casual with his mom. He threatens that the free popcorn refills will stop unless they learn to address his mom by her proper title, CEO.

In the background at the bar, we get a glimpse of a celebrity couple on TV very awkwardly confessing how much they love each other (in a spoof of The Return of Superman). The wife, JESSICA (Ji Yi-soo) nibbles on an extremely tiny bit of cake as her husband, KANG JONG-RYEOL (Kim Ji-Suk) tells her that the audience is complaining about her pretending to eat.

It turns out she’s a social media fitness influencer and she gets very hissy (off-camera) whenever her husband eats. Jong-ryeok protests, saying he’s an athlete and needs to eat, but she shoots back by asking why he married her if he wanted a supportive wife. He replies that he’s not asking her to cook for him, just to let him eat in peace. When Jessica snipes that she didn’t marry him to cook for him, he gets the final word by pointing out they she married him for his fame.

Well, they’re definitely not a happy couple since it turns out they live apart and they’re just pretending to be one happy family for the TV show. Whilst getting ready to go home, Jessica boasts about her followers and celebrity status.

When their baby starts crying she just plugs her ears and asks why “the kid” keeps crying before she walks out, leaving Jong-ryeol alone in disbelief with their baby. The way he pats the baby to sleep is exactly how Dong-baek pats her son’s back as they walk home. Lurking behind them in the shadows however, is a suspicious figure who watches them go.

EPISODE 2

A protest is being held at the police station demanding that the police catch the “Joker,” a serial murderer who went quiet five years ago. Thanks to a new hit movie about the case, and unsolved murders–and the Ongsan police’s failure to solve them–are news once more.

Yong-shik and Chief Byun head to Deok-soon’s restaurant for lunch, and as they eat they worry about the village’s image. Ongsan had finally managed to make a name for itself and its marinated crabs, only for the movie to bring the focus back to the Joker. As they eat, Deok-soon and Yong-shik accusingly wonder why the police can’t catch the Joker, even the name’s a joke after all.

The chief tells Yong-shik and his mom that catching the Joker is exceedingly difficult and the name comes from the killer’s signature. After every murder, a note saying, “Don’t be a joke” was left behind at the scene. Yong-shik suggests he should catch the Joker because of his skills, much to his mom’s annoyance and worry.

He tells Chief Byun that he’s going to go after the Joker and his first stop will be the village bookstore. Chief Byun insists on sending him on a minor mission instead and tells him not to hang out in bookstores because Yong-shik’s much cooler when he’s not using his brain.

Cut to Yong-shik sitting confused at a bookstore and getting up to leave. Just as he’s about to go, he sees Dong-baek and is struck by her beauty. He’s transfixed by her aura and English while Dong-baek just thinks he’s a weirdo for his unceasing, slightly open-mouthed staring and the pregnancy books he’s clutching.

Trying to clear up his image he blurts out he’s a bachelor and laughs awkwardly until she leaves the bookstore. He watches her walk into a law office and assumes she’s a fancy lawyer. He later meets up with his friend Seung-yeob and discusses the woman he saw. Seung-yeob only half pays attention and ends up asking if Yong-shik’s gotten in trouble with a smart lawyer who’s lived abroad.

Dong-baek however, is at the law office to tell lawyer HONG JA-YOUNG (Yeom Hye-ran), that her landlord hasn’t paid his bills. Abruptly, Ja-Young points out that Dong-baek doesn’t have any eye wrinkles as she flashes back to 3 days prior.

Her husband Kyu-tae gave her a free sample eye cream as a gift and it’s obvious Ja-young thinks Kyu-tae gave the actual eye cream to Dong-baek. As she scrolled through their card statement on her phone, Ja-young cryptically told Kyu-tae that as a divorce lawyer it’s her job to collect evidence of affairs. Like receipts.

Back in the present, she tells Dong-baek that she’s Kyu-tae’s wife, and the atmosphere grows tense as Ja-young becomes passive-aggressive towards Dong-baek, especially regarding how often Kyu-tae visits the Camellia. Ja-young condescends to Dong-baek and tells her to do her job: smile and be nice to her customers. Just as Dong-baek starts to tell that Ja-young that smiling isn’t her job, Ja-young’s law partner rushes in and ends the meeting.

Speaking of Kyu-tae, he’s brought a welcome gift for the station’s newest officer, and it’s clear he’s a big deal as Chief Byun and the other officers are overly polite and gracious. Kyu-tae’s wealthy, well connected, and has political aspirations so he’s already treated like the next governor.

Upon hearing that Kyu-tae’s wife is an attorney, Yong-shik snaps to attention trying to probe for information on the mysterious woman he met at the bookstore. Yong-shik doesn’t learn much but Kyu-tae decides that a welcome party is in order.

As Dong-baek walks through the alley she greets some of the neighborhood ladies politely, but they have their backs up. Chan-sook is even meaner than usual as she accuses Dong-baek of stealing her customers.

She goes on a judgmental spiel and tells Dong-baek she shouldn’t do things that would make her son ashamed for her. Dong-baek, though polite, assertively states that she doesn’t do anything that would make Pil-gu ashamed of her.

In advance of Yong-shik’s welcome party, we see Kyu-tae enter the Camellia in a huff because Dong-baek has been refusing to take reservations from him. The Camellia’s part-timer HYANG-MI (Sohn Dam-bi) tells Kyu-tae to stop hitting on Dong-baek and obsessing over peanuts.

Yong-shik is not excited to have his welcome party at what he thinks is a hostess bar, despite the chief telling him that the Camellia isn’t that kind of place. In the end, he has no option since every other restaurant owned by some officer’s wife, mother-in-law or sister-in-law.

In other words, there are “spies” everywhere and a man can’t drink in peace at any of the restaurants in the village. Upon entering the Camellia, Kyu-tae is waiting to start the party but then Chief Byun and Yong-shik see Hyang-mi…banging a small propane canister against a table with all her might.

Chief Byun grabs the canister from her before she can do any damage and he admonishes her, saying she could have died. She casually throws back that she doesn’t think a long life is on the cards for her, so she prefers to live in the moment.

Chief Byun whispers to Yong-shik that Hyang-mi’s a kind person underneath it all–but a kleptomaniac. She only takes things that don’t have any value though, like lighters, so the chief warns Yong-shik to keep his lighter close.

Just then, Ongsan’s Princess Diana strides in. Yong-shik stares stunned as Dong-baek walks past him. While the others drink, Yong-shik throws admiring glances at Dong-baek as he plays darts by himself. He narrates that his mystery woman isn’t a lawyer or fluent in English. But he realized he didn’t fall for Dong-baek because of those things, but because she’s so pretty.

She receives a text from her son about his classes ending and goes to tell the group that she’s leaving. A thoroughly soused Kyu-tae stops her and demands some free peanuts. He emphasizes that he’s her landlord, grabbing her hand and telling her that if she takes a shot, he won’t increase her rent next year. She hesitates then suddenly downs the shot. As she hands back the empty glass, she states that he promised and smiles that she has police officers as witnesses.

Kyu-tae gets over-excited at her accepting his drink and takes the opportunity to tell her to smile more, serve him free peanuts and treat him in a friendlier manner. After a beat, she replies by listing what he’s ordered and the prices, and tells him she doesn’t serve smiles or the right to grab her wrist–only alcohol. Yong-shik looks awed.

The next thing we see is Kyu-tae leaving in a huff with Yong-shik and Chief Byun in tow while Hyang-mi trails behind them. She tells Kyu-tae he needs to pay for the peanuts, but he grumpily refuses. Dong-baek just tells Hyang-mi to let it go and the men leave.

As they walk, Kyu-tae complains while Chief Byun tries to calm him down. Yong-shik gets fired up though, and demands Kyu-tae give him the cash to pay for the peanuts. When Kyu-tae rudely refuses, telling Yong-shik to punch him, Yong-shik twists Kyu-tae’s arm and pulls back his fist.

At the last minute he drops his arm and pushes Kyu-tae away. Suddenly Yong-shik realizes that he’s managed to grab Kyu-tae’s wallet. After a pause he races back to the Camellia.

Shouting her name, he shoves the money for the peanuts at Dong-baek and assures her the money came from Kyu-tae’s wallet. Bemused, Dong-baek asks if he came all the way back to pay for the peanuts. Out of breath and working up a sweat, Yong-shik takes that question as an opportunity to introduce himself and fawn over her.

He gushes that he thought she was just beautiful but then he saw that she’s super cool too. Dong-baek politely asks if he’s drunk; in response he asks in total earnestness if he could come back tomorrow.

When she hesitatingly says sure, Yong-shik looks thrilled as he tells her he wants to come back over and over, every day. Dong-baek looks at him like she’s just met the weirdest guy ever.

We return to the crime scene and when Yong-shik sees Dong-baek’s germanium bracelet, his face begins to break. He pulls back the cover on the dead body and breaks down completely.

COMMENTS

Dong-baek is such a gem. It’s easy to see why everyone has fallen for her. She has this air of calmness and serenity but still stands her ground in the face of jealous accusations and the stigma of being a single parent. She’s resilient and polite, easy-going and accepting. It’s as if she’s got an inner flame that can’t be tamped down. Her son Pil-gu was also fantastic. I loved it when he stood up for his mom, demanding the customers call her CEO, with his tiny fountain ponytail–utterly adorable. Also it seems like Jong-ryeol might be Pil-gu’s dad!

It’s Yong-shik who stole the show for me though, with his awkwardness, hilarious facial expressions and country-bumpkin-ness. I was wheezing at how his face-first stupidity somehow morphs into ninja-fighter-flying-kick mode when he comes into contact with any evil. He doesn’t take himself seriously (the music and sound cues prove it), but he’s always willing to take a stand. It cracked me up how everyone automatically assumes he’s caught up in trouble. What’s more, Yong-shik is steadfast and righteous, relying on his strong morals to guide his actions. It tickles me to see him so besotted with Dong-baek, to the extent that he freezes, unable to form coherent sentences, getting tongue-tied at every little thing. Aww…he’s going to be such a fluffy, love-struck marshmallow–one that can beat up a thug using a lunchbox!

Kyu-tae has managed to annoy and disgust me simultaneously with his unwanted advances and willingness to lean on his privilege to get what he wants. But I’m more interested in what his wife might do. In the few scenes we saw her, she came off as menacing and unrelenting. She might be able to use her legal skills against Dong-baek or threaten her in some way. It just goes to show that the premiere did an incredibly good job in setting up all the characters we love, will grow to love and will possibly hate.

That ending scene gave me goosebumps–a complete 360 in tone from the scenes at the Camellia. I’m guessing it’s most likely the kleptomaniac part-timer Hyang-mi who died (which isn’t much better) because I doubt a drama would kill off the main character so easily. At least I hope so. I definitely wasn’t expecting the thriller aspect but I’m already intrigued about how it all ties in with the suspicious stalker and the Joker.

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

131

Required fields are marked *

Yay! A new minion and a recap for Camellia! Thank you, @fencejumper!

I totally did not expect this show to open with a murder mystery. I wanted to watch a cute and fun slice-of-life show but this show had to add in death in its opening and ending scenes and I honestly don't know what to feel about it. I am liking Dong-baek's son, Pil-gu a lot and Kang Ha-neul is cute in this so I'm still sticking with this show, for better or for worse.

12
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

I kinda expected another rom-com-thriller mashup when I noticed those tiny crime scene marker thingies below each character in the official poster: Camellia poster :(

I didn't expect to love the whole town though (annoying future governors, gossipy ajummas, henpecked husbands, and all).

And Dong-baek's (outward) timidity combined with Yong-shik's runaway awkward mouth is comedy gold. She's just being her usual quiet self, but then he struggles so much to fill in the silence and sound cool that he just ends up being dorkier by the minute.

Also, Pil-gu is the sweetest. I love that he's so mature but I hope he gets to relax and have normal kid worries in the future too. :')

13
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

..."Pil-gu is the sweetest. I love that he's so mature"...

He is only mature from the emotional lens of adults. From a child's perspective, Pil-gu is struggling, an outsider. He is being consumed by his mother's choices.

It looks more akin to a stereotypic behaviour response...just how people thought animals stressed in cages were repeatedly doing cute tricks...when it is a sign of stress.

2
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hence the second part of my comment...

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I did note that...but thought it would be unlikely given his mother is about to be murdered.

P.S. Unless her bracelet is on someone else - our kleptomaniac e.g.

1

@SadKdramaLama,

At least one adult -- Yong-sik -- knows exactly what Pil-gu is going through, and that's because he had a very similar experience when he was growing up. The boy has no father figure, and on the face of it thinks he doesn't need one. But the dorky cop who grew up fatherless knows the score in a way that the boy's mom and all the ajummas in town can never know. I loved how he intervened when Pil-gu got into a fight, and engaged him in video arcade therapy. Dong-baek chewed them both out for ditching the afterschool academy, but later Pil-gu gave it to her with both barrels in one of the most heartbreaking scenes I've viewed in a spell.

7
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oops! I'm so sorry! I got confused by the episode numbering scheme and jumped the gun a bit to eps. 3-4, alias 2.

1

@pakalanapikake
Regardless of which ep it was - that Pil-gu scene is so powerful. For such a young actor, Kim Kang-Hoon managed to walk a tightrope between rage, pain and love - so measured and assured. It reminded me of Han Seo-Jin's (young Eun-Tak) heart wrenching scene in ep01 of Goblin. To this day that scene turns me to a blubbering mess.

I think we viewers are being so swayed by the cinematography's sun-drenched pastel hues that we are not recognising whose view of the world that represents. I suspect it's not Pil-gu's.

P.S. You are so correct, Yong-sik is such an interesting character. His empathy seams to be part of his man-child innocence. It's like he is our Greek chorus calling out where cultural norms don't fit with our sense of right and wrong. That is a lonely road to walk but some can't not take it.

3

NANI!? I JUST REALIZED THE CRIME SCENE MARKERS OHMYGOD MARY. I thought the poster was cuuuute but didn't notice that. This changes how I view the drama!

I'm hoping Pil-gu will have a strong friendly relationship with Yong-shik (romance or no romance with his mom). They're just so adorable the town doesn't deserve them. I also hope that the Ahjumma's will be friends with Dong-baek and just frequent her bar since I think they're going to have a funny and adorable friendship if that happens. And I like Yong-shik's mom too!

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

@mary,
Oh, crap! I didn't notice those crime scene evidence markers in the poster, dammit! And now I'm really worried -- because Dong-baek herself doesn't have one. Does that imply that all the other "exhibits" are suspects? And where is Yong-sik's mom?! Dun-dun-dun.

It's too late. I've fallen for the denizens of Ongsan. I'm "dun" for.

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

@mary

OMG. Mary, that poster is so chilling. Particularly as Pil-gu is marked no 1.

I had not seen that poster and you have such a great eye for detail. It could just be indicating who are suspects, but if its body count...I don't think I could handle that blood bath.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

NOOOOOO NOT THE KID!!!

(Though being a suspect doesn't make sense for a little kid, maybe it's listing potential witnesses too?)

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome, welcome, welcome, fencejumper! And thanks for recapping this delightful show~

8
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yey! Baby minions! :DDD

6
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Minion has always been a fun term we use to refer to ourselves. People who apply to be minions know what it means. If someone is that bothered by that joke, they probably won’t apply to be a minion in the first place..?

I mean, there are lots of k-ent blogs with varying tones of voice. I imagine people who don’t find the minion/beanie thing humorous would apply there instead.

10
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

And @mary ought to know about minions... She's DB's resident IT Goddess. ;-)

3

I didn't see the deleted post, but I think I speak for all of us recappers when I say we are PROUD to be "minions!" It's a long-standing joke (the first call for new recappers asked for "minions") that we've taken on as a badge of honor, and we refer to ourelves as minions more often than not.

9

Yeah, "minions" as long as I've known this site, has only ever been used as an affectionate in-joke.

I do enjoy the hint of *MWAHAHA* that comes with it though.

2

Hi !! Thank you for your hard work!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oooooh, new minion!
And thank you for the recap, @fencejumper!

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@fencejumper, nice first write up! I’m intrigued too and the nice foreshadowing bit about the part-timer when she was hitting that propane canister was something that just hit me while I was reading the recap—I’m slow. She even says she doesn’t think she’s going to live very long. I’ll never get used to serial killers, murders. suicides, and kidnappings in the middle of rom-coms (or in this case, at the beginning). I was watching “Let me hear your song,” which also deals with murder, and although it started off quirky, I think I’m going to drop it to keep up with this one. However, I really wasn’t expecting such a dark story to introduce the whole drama and found it highly disconcerting. But, again, I think the love story will be adorable as Kang Haneul is totally selling his role and I’m buying it up. Bring it on show, I’m ready for you!

9
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I won’t say I like this drama yet. So far I like the characters. The characters are down-to-earth, which has been very scarce in kdrama lately.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

WARNING........SKIP THIS COMMENT if you are in a happy place with this drama
...................................................

I am wondering if we are heading into "Memories of Murder" (MoM) territory here?

This show told us at the opening - something is off - and confirmed it in that final scene. Yet even though we viewers have fully seen this is a murder - viewers are still focusing on romance and cute puppy eyes - like they can't break away from romance genre norms

MoM was the small town version of "Gothic suburbia" - behind that public face of normality we know it is actually infused with a darkness (I suspect WtCB may be this as well). This is the pitfall of our desire for romanticising that version a simpler life - for all the charms of village life, it is a suffocating mess of conformity, micro-power, and conservative morals used as weapons in close quarters by people who can't even meet that standard. These women fear the outsider and promulgate the "blame the victim" that is wrapped up in SK version of filial piety.

MoM was soul crushing in the way everyday Korean distortions of power and hierarchy both frame the innocent and allow the crime to continue. As of yet, we can't see what or who is involved. All we know is that Pil-Goo will have is mother taken from him.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

After some hesitation she settles on Diana because she’s a fan of Princess Diana and how stylish and smart the princess was.

And dead. Don't forget dead. Don't jinx yourself.

13
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

oof good observation, and not to mention the tragic way Princess Diana passed!

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

@lordcobol
Not just dead....this show is framing it as a murder.

I was chillingly struck by how close the colour palette for the murder scenes parallel "Decalog:_Five (Thou Shall not Murder)".

I am wondering if, when, and how far that green/black will overtake those bright pastel village scenes as this world gets ever darker. This may be a reverse Wizard of Oz.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

@lordcobol,
The foreshadowing is strong in this one. Lady Diana Spencer may have been stylish, but her family of origin was as screwed up as the royal one she married into.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Woohoo! Welcome, fencejumper! Thanks for recapping this!

To me, Gong Hyojin's role here is very similar to her character in Best Love. I liked her there, and I like here here. And, of course, my very first case of SLS (from Monstar) Kang Haneul is so cute here. Actually I like everyone in this, especially the kid.

I hope that you're right, that it isn't Dongbaek that dies, but I hope it isn't Hyangmi either -- I like her!

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you so very much for recapping WHEN THE CAMELLIA BLOOMS, @fencejumper. Manseh! <3 <3 <3

I jumped for joy when I logged on just now and saw it on the recap list. Welcome aboard! I look forward to your maiden voyage here at DB. Here's to an enjoyable journey with Gong Hyo-jin, Kang Haneul, Kim Ji-suk, Go Du-shim, et al.

First, the elephant in the room. In case you haven't seen it, there's been avid discussion of the opening episode’s disconcerting detour into serial killing that has thrown more than a few Beanies. I'll speak for myself here in strand #1 of last week's Open Thread that was started by my buddy @beantown:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/09/open-thread-622/#comment-3522641

Despite the homicidal element, I’m tickled to bits to tune into Kang Haneul’s comeback project and have been counting the days since his enlistment. I find Yong-sik to be an endearingly dorky character. If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s underdogs. He’s got plenty of company in that respect with his feisty mother and the single mom and her boy who reminds him of his younger self. And that’s just for starters.

I’ll be back after reading your recap. Just wanted to stop by and roll out the red carpet. Again, thank you and welcome aboard, newly-minted Minion @fencejumper!

8
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, I freely admit my first 'in' to this drama was its cast - Gong Hyo-jin AND Kang Ha-neul? Plus that writer? Sign me up!

(We'll worry about murder mystery later?

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

pogo!!!! I SEE YOU <333

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hey Saya <333333 (I've been associating that name with the Machiavellian version of Song Joong-ki over in Arthdal Chronicles for the last three months, nice to see the OG again <3)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome @fencejumper! I remember you have an awesome eye for quality in dramas, and can't wait to read more of your views as a minion. ^^

On Camellia though, I liked ep 1 but didn't get drawn in per se. I don't yet care about the characters, though I have to admit Gong Hyo-jin & Kang Ha-neul are powerhouses clearly ready to give it their all.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@fencejumper omg I think you totally called with the klepto girl being the murder victim! Excited to hear everyone's thoughts on the next eps, totally got me invested by the end.

9
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

In a perfect world, obnoxious peanut-moocher would have taken the bracelet (perhaps in an attempt to extort free peanuts). He doesn't seem like the type to actually wear it, but we can hope.

14
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

@lordcobol,
What a novel way of killing two birds with one stone. ROFLMAO!

Seriously, though, that wrist looks feminine.

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

While I'd prefer it to be the peanut moocher, too, I think the hand that was shown hanging from the stretcher looked decidedly feminine. That's not a 100% certainty, but I would be surprised if it doesn't belong to a lady.

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

totally snorted out loud at this comment, LOL!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

....one can only hope! Though I don't think his wrists are quite that delicate.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Congrats on achieving minion status @fencejumper 🎉🎉🎉

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, congrats Andy @fencejumper! It’s not every day a beanie reaches minionhood, and an Errand Boy too! 👏🏻👏🏻

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I liked the setting and characters, I'm not sure about DongBeak, she seems too timid to set and run a bar, I hope her standing for herself will be shown not just talked about. I usually like murder mysteries but I'm not convinced this show need this dark cloud looming over.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven’t been posting lately and was just lurking around on the site, but I really need to say that I ❤️ this drama. Love the small town setting, love the fierce puppy Kang Ha Neul, love Gong Hyo Jin, and I think I’m gonna love lots of character from the show, aside from the criminal. Will be looking forward for every episodes 😍 and hopefully the drama won’t be a disappointment.

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

enjoyed the first episode so much more than i expected to, kang ha-neul is an absolute delight!

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

thanks for the recap, done really well:-) i did find the show a bit slow at the beginning, and in my head i keep picturing that Gong Hyo-jin playing Dong-baek is like a character in a play who is playing a character...not sure how to articulate, but i find Gong Hyo-jin so vivacious since i have only seen her in Master's Sun, Producers & the Greatest Love, in my mind, whenever in scenes she looks down while playing Dong-baek, i imagine like she is trying to hold back her laughter/smile to play this timid character...i'm so looking forward to her transformation and all these Ahjummas become friendlier, hopefully...but best is the little kid and his protectiveness for his mum, that was so well done...and this is mine first time watching Kang Ha-neul in a show, and he plays this character so sweetly....i'm hopeful for this drama, so keeping my fingers crossed, i feel it would be good to watch a show without any rich chaebol leading man for a change...lol:-)

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This is so much better than what I expected. It's no easy feat to make me love both leads within the first few minutes of their appearances, and yet this drama did that smoothly.

Timid Dong-baek was so relatable. I love how the drama showed us clearly that she can stand up for her own and she knows excatly what to say, but she just needs more time preparing herself to say it out loud. She never raised her voice or being forceful about her opinion, but she said it in the way that broke no argument and made people respect her for it. And I love that.

It seems like this writer has a soft spot for a somewhat dim lead male (and apparently me too). Earnest and act-first-think-later Young-shik was simply lovable and funny. But what made me love him even more was the very fact that he fell for Dong-baek after she lectured her landowner that what he can buy is alcohol, not her smile nor the right to touch her. I love a man who likes intelligent woman who is able to stand up for her own.

The drama also did well portraying a small city life, where everyone know everyone else and people keep shoving their nose on everyone's business. The prejudice against Dong-baek made me wince. It's subtle, widespread, and persistent. And it's both horrifying and true-to-life that those 6 years did nothing expect normalized their behavior toward her.

11
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really can't stand the ahjumma's. Its not just their prejudice but also harassment that goes unpunished because its not illegal on paper.
I generally can't stand any form of bullying and this does trouble me, a lot.
I loved it when she shot back timidly about 'what do I owe you. I don't owe you anything'.
Small statements like 'why does she go to public bath, when she doesn't even have a husband'. Like a woman's entire purpose is to be married.
It makes me sad because am sure this is the reality for many women who have to survive against these prejudices and its women who bring them down at every turn.

10
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Me too. I didn't want to say much about this yet but what they did in the next ep was so crazy. I keep wondering if dramas like this exaggerate for dramatic purpose or if this could really happen in small cities ruled by mean, ignorant people.
This is also what is keeping me from liking DB more, I doubt she could on in this city for 6 years without taking a stronger stand against them. If what she needed was the support of YS this might be saying what she needed was a man behind her which is also troubling though it might be true.

5
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh shoot. I saw that the recap was Ep 1-2 and assumed its 2 episodes ... Guess in Korea, each episode in broken into 2, while in Netflix I see differently.

I think DB has a personality that is shy and not a fighter. She fights in her own way but not confrontational. You are right, I would hate it if it ends up like she needs a man.
I think its her son who is going to make her fight harder and not YS. May be YS will build her confidence by just being her friend.

7
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

It got me, too. Splitting episodes into 2 parts is something that started a couple of years ago so broadcasters could air commercials, which are not allowed to interrupt a show in progress. So turn it into 2 half-hour episodes and slip the commercials in between them. AsianWiki lists it as 32 eps.
http://asianwiki.com/When_the_Camellia_Blooms

4

I'm going to look at it as DB doesn't necessarily need a man, but she does need someone in her corner. She's obviously a successful business woman on her own, but she is lonely and burdened by all the things she cannot change on her own. I'm hoping this man is just a person who can swing some more people around to be on her side.

5

That comment made no sense to me. Is there a rule that only married women can go to public baths? I went to public baths from babyhood and nobody complained that I wasn't married.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think it’s jealousy. She is beautiful and she takes care off herself. And it bothers them. Also they think their husbands are going there for her, while in reality that’s their safe haven because she is unrelated and doesn’t gossip.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

@skidmoresy
Welcome to the very moment where your logic meets a very different world of SK Drama confucianism. They are working on a different measure with fundamentally different framework.

Your post is arguing from a point of logic (where every point is measured individually against logic). That is not a relevant measure in a SK Drama world of mini-fiefdoms. In that world it's about forcing others into the hierarchy via adherence to norms.

In that hierarchical culture, you can't start applying factual measure to assumptions that entrench that hierarchy or it starts to unravel. Arguments her are of convenience not fact...however, they do work even better if they sound true.

It may look like pettiness - but that is only the surface. These women are fighting to hold onto their positions in their world's hierarchy. They may be playing on a smaller field but the battle will be just as hard fought as any palace Sageuk.

Just as in a Sageuk, these women will use any smear and cause any amount of pain - because to their eyes and the eyes of those around them, protecting their position is the morally right thing to do and takes precedence.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for the recap!!

it’s amazing how good actors can elevate the show to a totally different level.
Such a pleasure to see Kang Ha-Neul after so long. He plays the awkwardly confident-doofus-like country bumpkin with so much confidence I can’t believe it’s the same actor who has played these serious roles. His body language is just incredible.
Gong Hyo-Jin brings the quiet grit beneath her shy personality with such ease. It didn’t take much to get her character. She just shines quietly like a delicate candle even when the wind blows.

I don’t know where the story will go. But am so happy to watch these two actors on screen.

7
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

@mayhemf,
I'm tickled to bits to see Gong Hyo-jin and Kang Haneul, too. Two of my faves. <3

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, this writer+PD team have a real knack for picking leads, all right. You're right that they really do elevate the show - a hallmark of good actors everywhere.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's crazy to me how just the way Kang Ha Neul is smiling and holding his mouth tells me about his character ~ he's open and honest and says whatever comes into his mind. His very smile is goofy but awkwardly confident (a perfect adjective for him!).

I've only ever seen him play serious/genius roles before so I'm loving this doofus.

Also Gong Hyo Jin is reminding me of all the reasons I love her ~ at first I was confused at her character, since I was expecting a "dragon" as the fortune teller said, but it's really this quiet inner strength and hope that is as mythical to many as a dragon would be ^_^

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

After seeing the second episode am blown away by Kang Ha-Neul.
How is he doing this. Is he a chameleon??

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Once I heard that the show had reeled in Kang Haneul, Gong Hyo Jin, AND Kim Ji Suk, it pretty much became a "must live watch" for me. If you check out the behind-the-scenes videos to date, you'll see how great a shoot set can be with industry veterans; everything runs so much smoother.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Case in point - when shooting the promotional poster involving the bicycle, the actors looked like they were running it as a little improv skit session with "pauses" for shots, so the photographers could keep shooting, and the improv session would just keep going as long as the actors could go. (Aside: check out how Kang Haneul fares with the travel gang in Youth Over Flowers: Iceland, when Jo Jung Suk starts random improvs throughout the whole trip.)

Another professional bonus: no flinching at the scenarios: when given the scenario, and told to be the interrupter of the date while showing off his "cute and professional baseballer" character, instead of being stumped by that rather vague description, Kim Ji Suk simply said "okay, I'll show you some/my cute pro". (Kim Ji Suk is also sort of reprising a recent role, since he just did Top Star Yoo Baek less than a year ago...)

I'm really looking forward to the awkward dorky country bumpkin Kang Haneul <3

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am so loving this drama; it wasn't even on my radar but Kang Haneul is showing such great comic skillz! Thanks for the recap!

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

He's astonishingly versatile, isn't he? Well, not that astonishing considering how long we've been watching him and it's been clear from day 1 how talented he is, but he really is a gem and he's cracking me up here (the lunchbox 😂).

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I had to look up who the writer was after this episode and was shocked (but kind of not shocked) to learn it is the person who wrote Fight My Way.

Not sure how I feel about the thriller element yet. It seems thrown in randomly during this episode because we are still setting up the characters and relationships. I am sure I will be more fond of it as the show continues.

I really liked the first episode and will continue to watch. The leads are lovable, as is the whole town.

3
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ooooh, thank you for looking that up! I am also shocked but not really ~ I enjoyed that drama a lot, so I think this gives me the go ahead to continue to tentatively hold out hope for this show to stay good ~

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, I was shocked that the writer of Fight My Way was going for a thriller twist. But, then the quaint little neighborhood with lovable characters is just like Fight My Way. I'm also holding out hope for this one!

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think one of the best parts of Fight My Way was the different facets to the characters, fierce sometimes and shy sometimes, careless yet caring too much. It made them seem like such real people, like how Dongbaek in this show is steadfast yet seems such a pushover too, depending on the situation and the person.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm hesitating on this one, because I don't want to invest in the romance only to have her murdered at the end. I was relieved when someone suggested that it was the kleptomaniac bar helper that was murdered (sad to say!), but if it was, then how could YS not know that his lady love was alive and well somewhere? And why did he burst into tears? Relief? Why would the drama choose to lead and close with such a heavy scene if it were only going to say, "Surprise! It wasn't her!"

2
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

@lingag latebloomer,
Maybe Yong-sik burst into tears because it's not Dong-baek wearing that germanium bracelet, but his mom. Dong-baek could have given it to her for her arthritis.

The questions that linger in the back of my mind are "What happened to Yong-sik's dad?" and "Was Yong-sik's dad a cop?" That might account for his righteously single-minded devotion to justice.

An even more disturbing thought: Could Yong-sik's dad have been an early victim of Joker?

5
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Interesting! That could pull the plot together along the lines of, "He lost his father to this killer, he lost his mother to this killer, he just can't lose his sweetheart to this killer." Ending with a rescue and an arrest. I could watch that drama.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

He seems to talk about the joker killer in a nonchalant manner (when he talks about catching him to the other cop), so I don't think his father was killed by the joker.
Unless of course, he doesn't know yet.

4
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Me (already sucked into this world): I wonder if we could look up his father's death in the newspaper and find out.

Also - if his father was an early victim, his death may not have been recognized as part of the serial killings. I don't know if it's true in real life, but in Watcher, one of the things we learned was that the first murder was different from the others. The killer hadn't developed his signature m.o. yet.

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Holy cow, @lindag latebloomer! Beanie mind-meld!

1

@pakalanapikake @lindag
Oh wow! The first murder being different. Makes sense.. great catch both of you.

2

@mayhemf,
My thought was that Yong-sik's dad could have died in an accident that really wasn't, or something along that line. If he were a very early victim, the perpetrator may not have yet developed a recognizable modus operandi, and hence may have been overlooked by investigators.

I'm also wondering about the 5-6 year gap in Joker's murderous activity. Perhaps he was in jail for some other crime, and has recently been released. -- Or he may have been out of the country for a spell.

(Land)"Lord" No's hobnobbing with those two national politicians made me wonder what's going on below the surface with his political aspirations -- and theirs. His wife, Madam Hong, Esq. is a scary piece of work.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

NOOOOOO I love his mum 😢

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pogo1,
The thought occurred to me that the murmurs about the serial killer could be red herrings. The deceased could have happened to expire of natural causes near the lake and fallen in. (That's why I wonder about those gold foil-wrapped pills Deuk-soon is always munching. Is she taking an OTC herbal remedy for a condition that is more serious than she realizes?)

As for the germanium bracelet, I'm sure it's not the only one in Korea, and maybe not even in Ongsan.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

First of all, welcome! @fencejumper and weldone. Thanks for the recap and thank you for making it as a recapper👍👍👍👍👍👊🏾👀👁

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm really curious about the murder mystery. If it's not DB it would not be so emotional for Yong-shik but if it's her how can this be a romcom?
The actors are doing a great job. I'm not loving DB yet, but I blame the writing, she is too timid sometimes and strong other times, I keep thinking she should be more confident after raising a kid alone for 6 years. This guy is always great of course, Yong-shik could easily become a superficial character but KH knows how to explore all details so he becomes a real person.

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

@lixie,
Dong-baek strikes me as very human and inconsistent. She's quiet and doesn't say much. She could be hanging by a thread after 6 years of being the sole breadwinner-head of household-chief cook and bottle washer CEO-single parent to a young son. And then there's the mean-spirited gossip and shunning she and Pil-gu experience at the hands of the Marinated Crab Matrons and their bratty kids.

Eps. 3-4 give insight into her background, but I still wonder what makes her tick.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

That's what I thought in the first ep too but in second she felt a bit strange besides we find out she did something terrible but let's talk more in the next recap because I know we can't talk about ep 2 yet eheheh.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

hehe, Marinated Crab Matrons...

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome welcome @fencejumper!

I don't know what to feel about the murder-mystery aspect of the show. But small town reminded me a bit of the neighborhood from Reply 1988. Although those Ahjummas need to visit Camellia and see for themselves what it really is. Lastly, the satoori, loving it!

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really did not like the opening murder scene when the show was touted as a single mother moving to a small town to start a new life rom-com. As I posted elsewhere, the flash forward, flash back then 6 year jump to the present was strange. After 6 years, I thought Camellia would have grown into the neighborhood and the mean women shop owners would have stopped their jealous hatred against her. It just sets up a long con of everyone in town being a potential suspect.
I already have a pretty clear idea about the murder victim, motive and killer but I would try to block out this story line but it appears it will be weaved in every episode. If the murder mystery was not a part of the plot, it would have been a better show.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome to DB @fencejumper!
I actually wasn't expecting to like this drama as much as i do and truly didn't expect the murder aspect as i dind't dig too much plot wise before the show started...I adore Go Hyo jin and Kanf Haneul a lot but can't say the first premise of the plot made me wow for it...And yet i liked the 2 episodes a lot and find Young Shik's inner monologue sooo hilarious...The little scenes about the murder did unsettle me even more with the bracelet scene but still its a rom-com,we can't go there for our heorine,no?
Now my mind tries to add the small clues and think who would be that mad killer as he clearly had Dong-baek as his target and lives among them....On the other side i can't stand that group of loud women!!!!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

One of the things that I find refreshing about WHEN THE CAMELLIA BLOOMS is the way in which it stands certain tropes on its head, in particular when it comes to the battle of the sexes. The women of Ongsan wear the pants, have the power of the purse, and rule their menfolk with an iron fist – minus the velvet glove. Heck, the guys are relegated to the kind of circumscribed existence that yangban women were doomed to in Joseon.

Holy moly, it just hit me that Ongsan is a hybrid of THE STEPFORD HUSBANDS and “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” with everyone gossiping and minding everyone else’s business. The bullying of Dong-baek by the Marinated Crab Ajummas is a depressing demonstration of the stifling small-town pecking order at work. Luckily Yong-sik’s feisty mom, widow Kwak Deok-soon, takes the wangtta under her wing and evens the score.
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/883321/

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for the recap, @fencejumper! Love it when we have new beanie writers! That means we have more recaps to feast on. Good job!

I like ep 1. I don’t believe that was Dong Baek that for killed. I remember when While You Were Sleeping fooled us.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I personally found this to be possibly the most cringe-worthy drama I have ever seen. I viewed both episodes (I guess Netflix is combining parts) but I seriously doubt I can handle this show. I will chalk it up to cultural gap... Gong Hyo-jin's character is such a doormat. She just needs to tell several people to go to Hell already. There's already been a few unwed single mom characters in dramaland who had more spine than this, so if it's supposed to be groundbreaking, the ground is located next door to where it should be. I was kind of shocked it had such strong ratings in the first week so if it continues to do well it'll just confirm to me it's a bad cultural fit. Plus throw in the tease that the lead character is going to maybe be murdered sometime during or at the end of the show? I'm just not here for it.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lol, I love it that kdramas are like a slow-cooking herbal soup - you kind of need to let the characters get there, and usually in well-written dramas, there's always good motivation and context for why they're the way they are - which is exactly how life is.

Let the complex flavours simmer and come out when they're ready. The bonus: this is a drama with pretty senior actors and actresses, which means they're going to work hard to get it right - even if the writing is wrong or bad.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Not watching this show but just hoping in to say "eeeekkkkkkk!!! *squeals* congrats @fencejumper !! Yayyyyy great recap!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

So I am not watching Camellia, but I had to come by and say thank you and warmest welcomes to dearest @fencejumper! I loved reading your words, and your hard work is much appreciated!! <3 <3

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks and welcome to minion-ing, @fencejumper! I hope you will enjoy recapping as much as we enjoy reading your work. Based on your recap, I now plan to watch this drama 😁

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was not surprised by the thriller part because I already knew about it. They said it in interview.

I think it was a good introduction episode of the characters and the town.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome @fencejumper! Loving this show and your recap! Looking forward to the next episodes!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

1. Aww @fencejumper is a recapper now. Yay & congrats! ^^

2. Db is recapping this show, thank you DB! \^.^/

3. Ok back to reading the recap XD

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was a little hesitant when i started the drama because i don't like a timid female lead but even though Diana isn't exactly sassy .. she is not afraid to confront the ahjummas and say what's on her mind. I do look forward to see her be courageous and gain more self confidence.
Pil gu is just ♥️
Right now i am interested to see how the story line develops so i guess i will keep watching it!

1
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I like Dong-baek too - she's not openly assertive and doesn't seem to defend herself against people she sees as not potentially malicious (the neighbourhood ladies may be conservative and suspicious of a stranger and unmarried mother in their midst but they don't seem to be a danger to her). But she does stand up for herself when she feels a line has been crossed

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

[contd] like she clearly does with Landlord No and his wife.

The peanut pricing is about way more than just that 8000 won, it's more like a symbol of her refusing to be taken advantage of.

5
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pogo,
I loved that scene as she's moving into the old dried fish warehouse and "Lord" No is telling her that it's such a deal at the equivalent of $800/month, so the tenant is responsible for any and all renovations (which improvements will be to the landlord's benefit since the tenant cannot take them with her when she inevitably leaves). He expects his tenants to be self-reliant. And stupid enough to maintain his building for him.

Then when he goes on and on about wanting to discuss sink repairs, etc. with her nowhere-to-be-seen husband, she tells him to discuss all property maintenance issues with her -- because she is self-reliant. ZING! Hoist by his own petard.

What a nickel-and-diming creep. Which is probably because Wife Esq. has him totally henpecked at home.

1
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

The society of that town is a true matriarchy, isn’t it?

1
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

@hebang,
Ongsan does indeed look like a matriarchy. Or maybe a female oligarchy. ;-)

1

@pakalanapikake

“Female oligarchy!” Even more apt description.

1

@hebang,

Or would "matron mafia" be even more accurate?!

2

Welcome, @fencejumper! Nice to have you in the minion corner, and a huge thanks for recapping this (so far) lovely and charming, and mildly disconcerting show!

I looked at the credits and it turns out the writers and director of this drama were also behind Baek-Hee Returned, and one of my all-time faves, Fight My Way. It explains why having a moose of a hero and a small-neighbourhood feel works so nicely in this drama, that's their setting wheelhouse and it's a delight. It's a perfect match for Gong Hyo-jin's acting style too (though there's nothing she doesn't match).

Also, on a shallow note: I am IN LOVE with that 40s-looking polka-dotted dress Dong-baek is wearing in the bookshop. It's exactly right for the character, but it looks so unholy levels of good on Gong Hyo-jin that I can't help but covet it even if I don't have her figure 😂

5
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Baek-Hee Returned Was a nice. Little drama. I really enjoyed it.

As you said, this SRAMs has a similar setting and feel. I wish the creative team success.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Drama not SRAMs... blankety blank autocorrect!

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I feel your pain re: the autocorrect!

(which my phone turned into 'autocorrelation', ha!)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is anyone else wondering about those gold-foil-wrapped pills Deuk-soon is always chomping? She told the mudang that she's been taking them for 20 years, and it almost sounds as if that is not a good thing? Does she have a chronic medical condition that she hasn't been able to afford to treat?

We don't get a good look at the bottle. Could anyone see any clues?

Dun-dun-dun.

2
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think they're just Korean herbal medicines, I've seen them in other dramas and unlike the usual associations with pill bottles, they don't seem to portend Major Illness.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

My guess is they're pills for anything from digestion to stress.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks, @pogo1. I assumed they were traditional herbal medicine of some kind. Deuk-soon just sounded unhappy that she's been slugging them down for 2 decades.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, wait. Maybe she is doctoring what she thinks is a minor discomfort... but it's not.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh show... you are so beautiful, I am already in love with you! Please don't break my heart and let the nice innocent puppy guy get the girl in the end!

5
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

And I am so excited for KHN's first lead role. Wednesday come sooooon.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Like you, I've been rooting for Kang Ha-neul to score a drama lead since 2013, so glad it's finally here!

(I know he's done movie leads but I wanted the drama!)

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome to recapping, @fencejumper! (and another fellow countrywoman of mine, I think!)

I haven't started the show yet, but I wanted to say hello!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This show had me at the lunchbox thrashing 😂

Re: neighbourhood ahjummas, I don't think they're bad people or would actually be happy to see Dong-baek leave, just somewhat conservative and don't get her/her life choices. Even Chan-sook (played by the ever-great Kim Sun-young)

It's a bit of petty mean-lady behaviour as opposed to outright bullying or persecution - and Dong-baek is no victim, she can and does push back when she feels someone's gone too far.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pogo1,
It was the consequences of the lunchbox thrashing that got me. Deuk-soon had to fork over her hard-earned cash to fix the teeth of the armed bank robber because her son used "excessive force" against someone who acted as if he had a gun. (Did he really? I got the impression that it was a loaded water pistol. The idiot should have surrendered if he truly were not armed. What a maroon. Give that guy a Darwin Award consolation prize, and pray that he hasn’t reproduced.)

There have occasionally been cases like that in the USA, i.e., homeowners sued by burglars who get injured while breaking into the premises, etc. In real life there are plenty of stupid criminals, as documented by http://www.thesmokinggun.com/.

There’s something infuriatingly wrong with this picture. (See separate post below.)

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It would really useful if someone familiar with SK laws would comment on these kinds of scenes...whether such things actually happen, are common or not.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

This may not be a popular opinion, but I felt that GHJ’s portrayal of the timid Dong Baek to be off-the-mark and unnatural in these episodes. DB appeared more intellectually-challenged than timid in those moments when the ahjummas were all over her, and the stark contrast when she stood up for herself vs when she was being “timid” just seemed jarring and unrealistic. There is this tingling sense of the acting being somewhat off-kilter if DB is in fact supposed to be a timid-yet-strong person.

But I’m still gonna reserve judgment until more episodes to see how DB’s character is portrayed. Hoping for more nuances in the acting to showcase more depth to DB’s characters

4
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Exactly my thoughts. I'd hope she keep portraying Dong Bae like when she first moved into the town. It's so much better.
I think it's just the way GHJ portrayed 'timid' characters, with unnatural gestures and expressions. I felt the same way about her acting in Master Sun, but the characters there are supposed to be comical so I still could stand it.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I feel that there's a reason behind why she's chosen to portray the character this way, so I'm definitely reserving judgement. I love GHJ.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

You must be right, because she totally nailed it on It's Okay That's Love. Pure talent and hard work there.
I don't think I can drop this even if I'm not into her portrayal. Both her and KHN are too good to be missed. Plus, I can't resist KHN's character as a total dork. x)

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@pogo1, cc: @ally-le

On a more serious note, I want to mention a thought-provoking talk I heard a few years ago by Korean criminal psychologist Mrs. Lee Soo-jung on episode 10 of JTBC's variety show AS I SAY aka TALKING STREET with hosts Hee-yeol and HaHa (airdate: 12/01/2016). Highly recommended – if you can still find it with subtitles. That is the same episode during which Shin Dong-wook made his comeback to TV and spoke of dealing with the medical condition that sidelined him for 6 years at that point. It was touching, and really inspiring.

The session's third and final speaker was criminal psychologist Mrs. Lee Soo-jung, aka “Bad Mom,” whose segment starts at roughly the 0:46:00 mark. (In the beginning of the show, each of the 3 guests was introduced. In the busking segment, Ms. Kim Se-jong of Gugudan led off as the first speaker.)

In her busking session, "Korea's best criminal psychologist," Mrs. Lee Soo-jung, aka "Bad Mom," delivered a live editorial in which she spoke of the rights of taxpayers to be protected by the government’s enforcement of the law. She noted that the human rights and privacy of criminals are often valued more highly than those of their victims, and that this is a problem. At a certain point, she realized that such preferential treatment of criminal suspects takes precedence over that of their victims, and that such is not the case in other countries. IIRC, she had that startling epiphany when she studied in the USA.

Aside: I suspect that the protection of suspects' privacy, etc., is a reaction against the murder, abuse, and lengthy imprisonment of political opponents, protesters, and innocent bystanders during the days of the military dictators – and harks back to the collective punishment of criminals’ families as depicted in sageuks. Meanwhile, the victims killed and injured (and their kinfolk) are outed in public and dragged through the muck on the internet while the people who have wronged them, and their families, are protected. This is sick. This issue was raised in YOUR HONOR / DEAR JUDGE, and maybe also in MS. HAMMURABI. [And if it wasn't, it should have been.]

At any rate, Mrs. Lee Soo-jung is a warm, witty, and wise criminal psychologist with a provocative message that deserves serious consideration and action. I transcribed Shin Dong-wook's remarks, and only wish I'd done the same for hers. They are definitely worth seeking out.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome @fencejumper and congrats on the promotion! Looking forward to more shows and more recaps with folk like you.

I'm here just to say - dorky country bumpkin Kang Haneul is really, really hilarious and totally worth watching this show for <3

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome aboard @fencejumper and thanks for the fine recap of episodes 1 and 2.
I am a little late to the party. I am current with watching CAMELLIA’s episodes but catching up on the recaps. Like some others I was a bit confused on the episode count since I am watching on Netflix.
Since I am unfamiliar with the three leads the reason I decided to give CAMELLIA a watch was because of the casting of character actress Yeom Hye-ran who plays Attorney Hong.
I am fully onboard and love Kang Ha-neul’s Yong-sik.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

A smiley character for Kang Haneul finally! This is like 1st time he had a not-serious character.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is Pil-gu 6yrs old?

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Or 7-8yrs old?

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great job on the recap!
I'm late to the party on this one but I'm absolutely loving it. I too came for a fluffy romance, but the murder mystery is interesting (just as long as they don't kill off Dong-baek.) Dong-baek is a refreshing lead in my opinion and Young-shik is just as awesome even if it's for completely different reasons. It makes sense for the athlete to be the dad otherwise that couple would be a weird shoe-in to the story. Can't wait to watch more!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *