Male Lead: Kang Ha Neul
Female Lead: Gong Hyo Jin
Secondary Lead: Kim Ji Seok
Also Starring: Ji Yi Soo, Oh Jung Se, Yeom Hye Ran,Son Dam Bi, Kim Kang Hoon, Go Doo Shim, Lee Jung Eun
Year Released: 2020
Number of Episodes: 20
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Romance, Romantic Comedy
Where I Watched It: Netflix
Recommended By: Kang Ha Neul
Who I Watched It For: Kang Ha Neul
“When the Camellia Blooms” is the story of Oh Dong-baek, a single mother who moves to the fictional town of Ongsan and opens a bar named Camellia. Six years later, Dong-baek meets playful Yong-sik, who declares his love for her. Dong-baek does not reciprocate his love, but Yong-sik persists in wooing her. When Yong-sik’s mother finds out about this, she strongly opposes it, as Dong-baek is a single mother with a son, as well as the fact that Dong-baek’s past lover and father of her child is trying to win her back. Yong-sik eventually gets Dong-Baek to fall for him. Meanwhile, a notorious killer sets out to claim Dong-baek as his next victim, and Yong-sik protects her fiercely, doing his job as a policeman and figuring out who the killer is.
The story centers on the romance between Dong-baek, a single mother who just moved to the small town of Ongsan and opened a bar named Camellia, and Yong-sik, a loud mouth police officer who transfers back to his hometown after being a cop in Seoul for a while. Right off the bat, Yong-sik likes Dong-baek but she ain’t got time for him. She’s a single mother with a business to run and that keeps her more than busy. Yong-sik isn’t deterred by her rejection, he plans to run the long game and stick around, hoping that he’ll win her over eventually. On top of the romance, there’s a mystery thread running throughout the show. Dong-baek gets caught up in a serial killer’s plan when he finds out that she was in the tanning bed when he shows up at the spa to kill his last victim. She’s a loose end that needs to tie so she becomes the most important target for him.
Kang Ha-neul was a great male lead and I really enjoyed his character. It wouldn’t have taken me that long to warm up to him. He was charming and so endearing that it was hard to not root for him. Dong-baek was a lot harder for me to connect with. She was pretty cold to Yong-sik at first and I understood it and even appreciated how honest she was with him but she frustrated me a lot because I thought it took her far too long to stand up for herself. She came off really weak in the beginning and throughout most of the show that even her son was fed up with the BS. I’m glad that I stuck with it and gave her a chance to grow because she really does grow over the course of the story. She grows in character, she grows into her feelings for Yong-sik and I was really glad for that.
This was an enjoyable show for the most part but I’ve got to be honest that as much as I enjoyed the show overall, there were times in the beginning where I really struggled with the pacing of the story being told. There were episodes where long parts of the episode dragged because there was too much telling and not enough showing. I hope that makes sense because that’s the only way that I can explain it, haha. I’m still glad that I watched this show and while it wasn’t a favorite, it was still a pretty solid show. I will also mention that I thought the whole serial killer mystery was pretty weak but still, if you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy with charming characters and a male lead that will crack you up, this is a good one to check out.
3.25 out of 5