“When The Camellia Blooms” is the newest KBS drama on the block led by Kang Ha Neul, Gong Hyo Jin, Kim Ji Suk and many other talented actors.  

The drama gained attention for being Kang Ha Neul first drama since his military discharge; he was discharged earlier this year. He’s known for picking interesting project, it’s the same with Gong Hyo Jin as well, it marks his first drama since 2016. 





Today, I’d like to briefly discuss my thoughts of the first and second episode of When The Camellia Blooms.” 

Note: spoilers of episode 1 and 2. the review is subjective.  

The drama goes the typical rom-com route. It does more than well in introducing the main characters and gives enough exposition to keep us in the loop. It has its cringy moments as well.  

So far, each character is very typical, there is nothing particularly interesting about any of them individually– yet; however, when combined together, they make a great team. They’re typical people, boring at time and interesting at others.  

There are certain cringy moments given that Kang Ha Neul’s character Yong Sik is smitten with Dong Baek since day one, it is expected to see lots of moments we’ve probably already seen reenacted a hundred times already. 

Despite all of that, I had lots of fun watching it. There were many interesting moments and funny parts. Time flew by. I also liked how direct Yong Sik was and how sure he was of his feelings, instead of pondering and hesitating creating unnecessary drama, he’s pretty upfront. Too often, we see cocky rich male characters leading kdramas, I am glad it’s a bit different here. 

The drama does try to surprise us. At the beginning of first episode, we see officer Yong Sik running towards what appears to be a dead body of a woman wearing a unique bracelet. When he sees the body, his heart drops. 

At first glance, and given the drama direction and clues, you’d assume that it is Dong Baek. However, there are also clues that suggest otherwise, like Yong Sik’s reaction to the body in the second episode. 





After seeing him fall head over heels for her character, its kinda difficult to imagine him reacting like that, I imagine a worse reaction. He’s very driven and righteous; it could be a female character he knows with the same bracelet or someone who stole it from his lover. 

I’d be pleasantly surprised if it turns out to be Dong Baek, that would be a twisted turn of events and something new, but I hardly doubt the writer would go that route.  

The drama knows it won’t be able to glue you in completely with its average plot during its first week, its not like they can jam everything interesting about this drama during the first week alone either. So, it plays the same scene when Yong Sik discovers the body over and over again to remind you that there is something more to it adding a couple of seconds each time.  





I found it excessive that they played the same scene too many times. I understand their intention, but it seems a bit too desperate and choppy. I have a feeling “When The Camellia Blooms” will be the type of drama where we see our main characters gradually change and grow, change doesn’t happen so fast in real life and it seems that the writer doesn’t want to rush it either, which explain the same horrific rough cut scene playing three times, its so out of place but necessary at the same time. I honestly don’t blame them; I don’t like it but I don’t blame them.   

I had worries going in because I checked out the video teasers; they were less than thrilling to me. It just sounded like another typical romance-comedy, not that it’s bad but underwhelming. I expect something better from both Kang Ha Neul and Gong Hyo Jin. 

A love triangle and a struggling single-mother [the damsel in distress] isn’t really something I’d particularly look forward to, however, I do realize that a lot of kdramas fans don’t mind the old classic rom-coms. They keep making them because they sell.  

Personally speaking, I am looking for a drama that has spice, something different and worthy of my time. I have been watching kdramas for a long time and have seen 100s of them, needless to say, I became pickier with time… and I know that’s not always a good thing.  

I get a feeling that the writer wants to take us through their individual journey. A lot of fans weren’t particularly pleased with Dong Baek character but I personally liked it because its something that Gong Hyo Jin doesn’t do often anymore.  

She’s used to playing feisty over the top characters, so its nice to see her play a weak character for a change. In a recent interview, she explained that she wants to show us her character growth. It’ll be interesting to see how she changes and decides to follow her dream. 





Regarding performance, everything is a 10, especially the child actor. They picked a good one, thank goodness. He’s an integral part of the plot so we need someone who can handle the job. 

Overall, the layout also kinda reminds me of “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon.” Its also a rom-com with a psycho serial killer on the loose, it switches back between horrific and cute to keep things interesting. 

It’s a clever choice because I don’t think rom-coms with their original formats are doing that great in ratings these days in South Korea, people are generally looking for something new and exciting. You need to amp it up if you want to compete.  

I still have worries and I wonder if the drama has enough material to last 16 episodes but I also know its too early to judge. I’ll be able to judge that by episode 6. I do trust both actors and I seriously hope that they chose well. 

What did you guys personally think of When The Camellia Blooms first and second episode? did you like it?