“When The Camellia Blooms” Is Not Interesting Enough To Be 20 Episodes Long, Here Is Why

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I was contemplating writing this article for a while now, but after last week’s episodes, I felt comfortable enough to talk about this drama.

Judging from the title you’re probably confused especially if you haven’t seen it yet, I have seen all of “When The Camellia Blooms” episodes so far, 16 episodes, and I’d like to discuss my thoughts on this drama.

As the title suggests, this is a subjective article. I will discuss my own opinion, feel free to disagree. If you can’t take opinions, please don’t bother reading this.





NOTE: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

“When The Camellia Blooms” is a tricky kdrama. Sometimes, I just love it and sometimes, I dislike it. It’s been a while since I have felt this way about a Kdrama. To make it easier for you to understand the title of this article, I will be discussing my issues with the script and the editing in details.

Personally speaking, I found the acting of everyone to be top-notch and have no complaints about it; the same goes for the directing.

Let’s discuss the script first:

“When The Camellia Blooms” is written by Im Sang Choon who previously wrote “Fight for My Way,” one of my personal favorite kdramas in recent years. He also has other kdramas to his name as well.

The biggest issue with “When The Camellia Blooms” is that it has 20 episodes. That’s my issue with it. This is why I am writing this article.

In a sense, we can consider Im Sang Choon to be experienced [judging by the credits to his name]. He’s been writing since 2014 according to various news sources.





As an aspiring writer, I think Im Sang Choon is very talented and admirable. I personally believe he chose the drama to be 20 episodes because he wanted to showcase the growth of the main and supporting characters throughout the drama runtime. At least, this is the conclusion I’d like to believe because of the way he wrote it.

Actress Gong Hyo Jin said she’d like to showcase the character growth as the drama progresses, she is a weak character who finds strength through various challenges she encounters. This also enforces the idea in my head, that the writer would like you to grow and learn with those characters.

Of course, there is the money factor, if the drama is successful, running more episodes means generating more profit. There is also that, but I highly doubt it’s the only reason.

“When The Camellia Blooms” wouldn’t have become this big without the serial killer side-plot. These days, a simple rom-com is not enough to generate profit; people are tired of seeing the same scenarios over and over again. Adding that serial killer who haunts the town enriches the drama and keeps you tuned in.





Despite what I believe to be the writer’s intentions, I still don’t think “When The Camellia Blooms” deserves 20 episodes. There are many filler scenes and unnecessary scenes that wouldn’t affect the plot much if subtracted.

When I reviewed episode 1-4, I talked about how strange the editing was, I think it’s due to the script format. The drama keeps teasing that a corpse has been found in a lake, they repeat the same scene adding 2 seconds each time for the first couple of episodes and just when you forgot about it, they remind you again that such a thing happened.

They did that with almost all of the episodes. Traveling back and forth between the present, past and the future is done in a sloppy manner [we’ll get into that in more details later]. Sometimes, it felt like they just added it there to keep things spicy while characters went about their way.

It also took Yong Sik and Dong Baek an eternity to actually start ‘dating’ and for their romance to blossom. She kept rejecting him over and over again so much so that it became rather annoying, I understand the drama is meant to showcase real-life and characters’ growth but being rejected 10 times becomes annoying to watch.





Also, Yong Sik goes from barely kissing her a couple of times to wanting to marry her instantly. I find that also difficult to comprehend given the circumstances. It took them an eternity to get started and when they did their romance took a dramatic upgrade all of a sudden.

My biggest issue is with Hyang Mi’s death which has been dragged since episode 1 and we only finally got to see the scene we’ve been teased with in episode 1 play out in episode 16. It took them 16 episodes to explain to us why it happened. 16 EPISODES.

This tells me the writer doesn’t have enough material to keep the drama going for so long, so instead, we get necessary and unnecessary episodes. It ends up compromising the plot because there is no consistency. The plot is not crafted well.

The ideas are interesting and the characters also are, but I feel that the writer is struggling to fill 60 minutes with content. There is so much going on back and forth about certain characters and it feels out of place sometimes, inserting scenes from the future or scenes from the past just suddenly there throws me off guard.

What I mean by that is that there are certain scenes about characters’ past that don’t fit the overall vibe of the said episode. It feels all over the place, the writer has a lot to talk about it but doesn’t know how to craft it well. It feels the writer knows how he wants to end this drama and has ideas about how to craft characters but throws things here and there as he recalls or find necessary.

It took them an eternity to explain why characters behave a certain way and it seems that it took them so long because they started running out of content so they started going back to characters past to connect them together.

For example, Jong Ryeol wife is idle in the first half but only becomes useful in the second half. We get to learn about her life and what led her to become like that much later on. The same goes for Yong Sik and Dong Baek moms.

Added to that, characters repeat themselves over and over again. Dong Baek continues to undermine herself and deprecate her accomplishments, whenever she says that you have Yong Sik who continues to pamper her, he’ll usually deliver a speech about how much of an amazing woman she is.

Seeing it for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th time is fine, but it’s been repeated so often that I no longer feel sorry for Dong Baek or want to salute Yong Sik for his kind words. In real life, this actually happens and it’s a cycle that repeats itself, however, it doesn’t mean that dramas should repeat such scenes over and over again so many times.

Each episode has certain repeated scenes. Each episode has Jong Ryeol hanging out with his son causing discomfort to everyone involved and so on. Dong Baek beating herself down and looked down upon and Yong Sik coming to the rescue every single time, and little bits of Yong Sik mom beating his ass or talking about how much he mistreats her.

There are great episodes in this drama and there are many many boring episodes as well. The drama stalls in every Wednesday episode and picks up with each Thursday episode. This gets people to come back next week because they wanna see what happened.

Episodes 7 to 11 almost made me want to stop watching, they were difficult to get through, I can’t remember much of what I saw of them because they really didn’t add much.

The editing

I think the editing is so jarring and weird because of the plot.

Editing isn’t usually an issue for me even with kdramas that I dislike, it has to be so bad for me to notice it and in “When The Camellia Blooms” it’s that bad.





As I said, they keep adding Hyang Mi’s death scene adding 2 second each time every single time at the beginning or the end of the episode, oftentimes, it wasn’t even necessary because nothing that happened warrants bringing up her death 20 times already.

There are also issues with scenes that took place in the past. They’re placed weirdly in each episode and could be used better if they’re placed in other episodes.

Usually, kdramas are written as each episode is produced. Writers would usually have the first couple of episodes written in advance for filming requirements but would write as each episode airs.

This is a flawed writing method because you don’t have enough time to proof-read your plot and make sure everything is exactly how it is supposed to be. This is why so many kdramas start out beautifully, they become boring by episode 6 to 10 and pick up from episode 11 or 12 and usually, the ending is rushed. The writer doesn’t cover everything the way they should.

Conclusion

“When The Camellia Blooms” has its ups and downs. Sometimes, it’s an amazing episode and sometimes I can’t stop looking at my watching waiting for the episode to end because nothing is happening.

“When The Camellia Blooms” would’ve been just as impactful and beautiful if it was 16 episodes long. The writer would still be able to deliver the message he wants in 16 episodes without sounding like he has no material to fill the episodes.

This doesn’t mean “When The Camellia Blooms” was flat out bad or awful but not as concise and consistent as I would’ve loved it to be, sometimes, it felt like they were wasting my time.

What do you guys think? Do you like “When The Camellia Blooms”? Do you agree or disagree with me?

22 COMMENTS

    • Technically speaking this article was intentional for us to read and comment on. The title itself had you thinking right away. But to those who’ve watch and appreciate good drama (No, make that best), do we have to be giddy and looking forward to the next episode if we don’t enjoy it that much? Anyways, this comment of mine is also subjective to the article at hand.

  1. Subjective refers to personal perspectives, feelings, or opinions entering the decision making process. Objective refers to the elimination of subjective perspectives and a process the is purely based on hard facts. Whether something is interesting or boring is subjective, therefore this is not an objective article.

  2. I didn’t finished reading your article but i totally agree. Sometimes i really dont feel some of the episodes cos it becomes boring. If not because of my curiosity of this killer, i will not continue watching this drama. I love both the main character, been a fan of Gong Hyo jin almost all her drama was a hit, plus her being a great actress in whatever role she takes. I 100% agree that this drama is not worth 20 episodes. This is the first kdrama that i watched wherein i got tired and bored of the story.

  3. I watched it on Netflix and there were only 18 episodes. Am I missing the last 2? Because, when it ends it shows Pil-gu grown up and talking to his mom and then it has a short preview of what looks like another episode. So, where can I watch the last 2???

  4. I agree with most of your views. The supporting cast members had depth, not like most dramas. They were cast with amazing actors/actresses. It should have been 16 episodes with a decent final episode. The end was terrible. I sat there dumbfounded, WTF?!

  5. Totally agree. I gave up this drama at ep 8 or something, it was so so boring and draggy, and Dongbaek cries and cries at every single thing. It’s soooo annoying. It should just be 10 episodes cos it becomes annoying when the plot is dragged for 40 episodes

  6. I do agree with your candid criticism but
    I think some part has to do with language.
    I am Korean and obviously could understand without
    subtitles. As someone who speaks Korean, one of the fun parts about the drama was the way characters talk: in regional dialect which sounds really rough but contains warmth inside. So, even though the whole synopsis may have been rather plain and dragged, every scene that led up to it was never boring. Synopsis was the 2nd reason for liking the drama, but rather how characters interacted and communicated in real, candid, warm way with witty ways including the dialects was the first reason why I liked the drama.
    Anyhow, I do agree to your points. But wanted to add this comment because despite your points I count the drama as one of the best Kdramas I have seen. Thanks to your points, I think I was able to see clearly why I favor this drama.

  7. Agree I’m not a fan of long, drawn out and repetitive themes. After a few episodes, I used the fast forward button to skip through scenes where Dongbaek would cry and whine her pity party with Yong-Sik. Same thing the very second she said “you abandoned me” to her mom. Couldn’t stand hearing her beat up everybody over her past and w-hi-n-n-e……so,so much. I know it’s part of the character but I lost sympathy because it was just too much. Also the repetitive montages and flashbacks were overused and added too little information to be worthwhile so I skipped around it. Honestly my favorite character was Ping-ul, the little boy. He had the most sense out of the bunch and the young actor is an amazing talent. Close by saying writer has some amazingly poignant scenes that are gut busting funny and sad simultaneously. A tighter script, cutting out filler would make this drama the best.

  8. ALL I CAN SAY TO THIS DRAMA IS, THE ENDING WAS SUPER CRAPPY HAAHHAHAHA WHY DIDN’T JOKER KILLED DONGBAEK AND SUDDENLY STOPPED TICKLING? WAEYO? WAEYO? THATS EXPLAIN HOW IMAGINABLY WARM DONGBAEK IS? UNBELIEVABLE AHAHHA EVEN IN REAL LIFE IT WON’T HAPPEN.

  9. I totally agree with you. The concept was really new. The male lead Hwang Yong Sik is not like those typical cold nature men in most of the kdramas. He is able to express his feelings to everyone. The others characters were also good but this drama should be of 16 episodes instead of 20. The 20 number really makes it lengthy drama.

  10. I disagree
    One of few drama that I have binge watched
    Both the lead takes up their role so well and i actually felt like a real life third person living there
    I had good laugh and tears too
    P.s your review is too long for me to read
    Thank you

  11. I actually loved that it was 20 episodes. I wanted to see the tiny developments in Dongbaek’s character from someone who easily shriveled up to someone who can take down a serial killer. I also loved Yong-shik’s dependable nature. I mean, their characters’ developments were the reasons I was there for the whole ride. The title is so apt!
    Admittedly though, your article was too long so I didn’t read all. So, I guess you would’ve had very good points but I guess I wasn’t as curious to those than I was with the drama. [I watched every second of it. I’m just waiting to forget some parts so I can then watch it a second time.] Of course, this is entirely my opinion. We all have favorites.

  12. I had to reply. Thanks to your article, I now know which writer to look out for. Im Sang Choon, writer for Fight for My Way and When The Camellia Blooms. I actually think that the way the ending is delivered here is better than his previous work. I’m waiting for more of his work.

  13. Agreed with your assessment. There were great moments then their were really boring moments that dragged on. Dongbaek constantly putting herself down and her constantly crying is really annoying.

    What really annoyed me about the plot was how Dongbaek wouldn’t allow Jong Reol to have a relationship with Pilgu. I feel like although Jong Reol wasn’t prefect, he was really trying to be in his child life. He didn’t know about this child until recently but Dongbaek keeps holding her history with him against him. I still have 2 more episodes left, but I am hoping Pilgu will have some sort of relationship with his dad.

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