When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama Review

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kang Ha Neul and Gong Hyo JinWhen the Camellia Blooms is a romantic comedy thriller about a single mother (Gong Hyo Jin) who opens a bar in a small town and begins a relationship with a good-natured police officer (Kang Ha Neul) who is trying to catch a serial killer.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Gong Hyo Jin

Gong Hyo Jin plays Oh Dong Baek. She is a single mother who moves to a small countryside town and opens a bar. She is kind and warmhearted, but she is a pushover who is frequently misunderstood and is the center of town gossip.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kang Ha Neul

Kang Ha Neul is Hwang Yong Sik. He’s a good-natured and lovable police officer who tends to act before he thinks, which has gotten him into some trouble over the years. He falls head-over-heals for Dong Baek at first sight and is determined to win her heart.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kim Ji Suk

Next is Kim Ji Suk as Kang Jong Ryul. He is Dong Baek’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her child, which was unknown to him. He brings back old memories and complicates things when he suddenly comes back to town.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kang Ha Neul, Gong Hyo Jin, Kim Ji Suk

I was pretty hesitant going into When the Camellia Blooms. I knew it was a hit with fans both in South Korea and internationally, but I’m so picky with more simple dramas like this. But thankfully, I loved it!

This drama is so incredibly heartwarming, and the story is populated with so many quirky and interesting characters. I absolutely loved those first few episodes where we got to see Yong Sik being all kinds of adorable in his pursuit of Dong Baek. He was so determined but in a sweet way. He made me laugh so many times.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kang Ha Neul When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Gong Hyo Jin

And I can totally see why they chose Gong Hyo Jin for this role. She seems so natural as she plays these realistic and slightly awkward characters. Her mannerisms are just so spot on.

The town is then filled with so many great supporting characters including the gossiping women, the man vying for Dong Baek’s attention, that man’s wife who is onto his games, the woman always looking to get money, Yong Sik’s mother, as well as Dong Baek’s son and mother. Talk about a wonderful group!

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kim Sun Young and Kim Mi Hwa When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Go Doo Shim
When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Lee Jung Eun When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Son Dam Bi
When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Oh Jung Se When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Yeom Hye Ran

There are lots of little story lines going on and plenty of relationships to explore. The main relationship between Yong Sik and Dong Baek is all I could ask for in a romance. It’s super cute to watch develop, and I just loved how awkward it was. That makes it so fun. They were also very straightforward with each other with the relationship feeling so natural despite the awkwardness.

Yong Sik’s heart was so pure towards Dong Baek. He went all in for her and her son. He did all he could to protect her while at the same time listening to her wants and needs and respecting her. Their relationship was so tender and sweet.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kang Ha Neul and Gong Hyo JinWhen the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kim Ji Suk

We explored Dong Baek’s relationship with her ex Jong Ryul and how everything effected their son. I have to say, I really felt bad for Jong Ryul. Sure, he was selfish and did some wrong things, but this guy was just pitiful!

He didn’t know he had a kid and wanted to find a way to be part of his life, but he was trapped in an unhappy marriage, and then Dong Baek didn’t want him around at all. Jong Ryul was really struggling to figure out how to do the right thing, and he was so sad all the time and was just plain miserable.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Gong Hyo Jin and Kim Kang Hoon When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kang Ha Neul, Kim Ji Suk, Kim Kang Hoon

There were several parent/child relationships going on too. They explored quite a few interesting topics including how much a parent would do for their child. There were also the more strained relationships such as an unhappy married couple as well as other struggling people.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kang Ha Neul

Then we have a nice dark side to the drama with a small town serial killer lurking around. That added in some nice thrills and a mystery to spice up things up a bit. It builds up as the drama progresses and provides some very intense moments, particularly in the latter third. I thought it was worked into the story nicely without detracting from the charms of the drama. The overall tone was balanced wonderfully.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kang Ha Neul, Gong Hyo Jin, Kim Ji Suk

At its heart, When the Camellia Blooms is a feel good drama though. I laughed so much and loved these characters. This is one of those times where I got really comfortable with them and this little town and just enjoyed spending time with them.

They also experienced many sorrows, and the show tackled many real life issues from the many different kinds of relationship problems, to sexual harassment, to how society harshly judges people. These topics were worked in well and never felt preachy. Everything experienced felt genuine and relatable in many ways.

When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama - Kang Ha Neul and Gong Hyo Jin

When the Camellia Blooms is a simple drama in many ways with its focus on the characters and their relationships. Yes, it had the mystery surrounding the serial killer, but that felt like more of a subplot for the bulk of the drama. And this is a prime example of how a simple story like this can be just exciting as any more complex series or an action drama.

The show is written incredibly well, and it handled everything so beautifully. It peeled back the layers of the characters and their stories in just the right manner for maximum impact. It also dropped small hints at a variety of things early on and then tied everything together later in very satisfying ways. It pulled on all kinds of heartstrings!

I was thoroughly invested in these characters and their lives, so their experiences captivated me. This drama held my attention and charmed me from start to finish. What a lovely surprise it was!

My Rating: 9/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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18 Responses to When the Camellia Blooms Korean Drama Review

  1. ImGian9 says:

    I really loved this drama too.
    My biggest mistake was that fact that I watched it after it ended and even if I gave a 9/10 (in my personal scale) I’m thinking about the feels to watch an amazing drama, like this one. The emotions it gives you, especially the hype and the anxiety to have to wait the next episode to watch and to know what will happen next every weeks. Fortunately or not, when this drama aired another one aired at the same days, Extraordinary You, one of my favourite drama of 2019, I have hard times when I have to follow so many Drama when they are aired at the same days. Unfortunately, right now, during Mon-Tue period there are 3 amazing drama that I really love watching it, DIARY OF PROSECUTOR, BLACK DOG and ROMANTIC DOCTOR KIM 2. Right now, if I have to give them a score would be 8-9/10 for each of them.
    I have to say that 2020 it started greatly, last week Psychopath Diary ended and it was surprisingly funny, during Fri-Sat period it’s airing Hot Stove League, another exciting drama with a huge Namgoong Min.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      I’m glad you loved it too! It really was an amazing drama 🙂 If you like live-watching, I can see how this would have been a great one to watch as it was airing since it did have so much hype surrounding it. I don’t usually live watch and tend to wait until the week before a drama is over to start watching it. I tend to get more into the story when I can watch it all at once. But I do miss out on some of that fun fan interaction that way. Extraordinary You was a good one to watch though even if you had to wait a bit for this one.

      It’s definitely hard to keep up with all of the dramas, especially if there are several you want to watch on the same night. When several dramas I want to watch concluding in the same week, it’s difficult choosing which one to watch first! It sounds like you have a good crop of dramas going right now that you are loving 🙂

      2020 has started off pretty good! Yay, for Psychopath Diary! I’m watching it right now and am loving it. It’s so funny! 🙂


  2. Kate says:

    Your review captured the drama perfectly! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It’s so difficult when expectations are so high going in, to then have it live up to those expectations, but this was on of those dramas 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      It really was such a fantastic drama 🙂 I’m happy it was able to live up to your expectations with all of the hype surrounding it. Even though it was really popular, my expectations were pretty low going in since I’m so hit or miss with this type of drama. But after instantly falling in love with it, some of those expectations began to kick in since I was hoping it would be able to be just as good all the way through. And thankfully, it was! 🙂


  3. Cris Hermoso Espiña says:

    Gong Hyo Jin always have the best role and interesting show. Thank you for the review. I’ll watch it NOW ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Korean Drama Update for January 2020 | Kdrama Kisses

  5. MyKDramaticLife says:

    Oh em!
    I think I’m a bit late to continue watching this one (and I believe I’ll look into it again just for your incredible review).
    Well, I just had watched the first four episodes, and maybe the reason why I wasn’t able to continue it YET was I defocused for a little while,
    Thanks for your great review, I now have enough reason to continue. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      You’re very welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 And you’re never too late to continue watching a great drama, hehe. It really was such a wonderful series, and I just loved it. I hope you do too if you make your way back to it 🙂


  6. MyKDramaticLife says:

    When the Camellia Blooms
    Dong Baek’s story and journey as a single mother is quite unusual to see in the Dramaland – especially as a romcom. While I love Gong Hyo Jin – the main reason why I watched this, having read the plot of the drama saying ‘A single mother running a bar meets a good guy, a bad guy and a cheap guy’ sounds very unique to my ears. So I definitely looked forward to it for a very long time since its announcement. But watching its first few episodes got me bored – for some unknown reasons. So I temporarily put it on hold.
    Months after, my friend who also love K-Dramas recommended this, so I took a second look. And so glad I did, because it was so much fun.
    We got to see how Dong Baek grew in this drama. My favorite character is Hwang Yong Sik, of course. I love how he sincerely showed his feelings to Dong Baek unconditionally. And having him around her and Dong Baek’s kid is cute indeed. (And his voice sounds music to my ears eeeehhh cute 😍) Even the neighborhood ensemble in the town who I found very irritating at times became very likeable characters later on. Though they criticized Dong Baek so much, their care for her is still transparent.
    Having the thrill and mystery mixed in a romcom is either a hit or a miss for me. And gladly it hit me. 😊 Though it took me few episodes to finally warm up to it. And when I did it never stopped intriguing and keeping me interested. It gave clear and satisfactory answers to its mystery. While the drama exerted effort for the love triangle going on in the drama, I definitely did not like Kang Jung Ryeol here. At times I got irritated by him for his actions and choices of words especially when having conversed with Dong Baek. I did not see any sparks of him being a second lead, unfortunately. And some characters too that at first dislikeable became likeable on the process.
    All in all, if I could have liked this drama on my first try, I could have given it a straight 9. Though it took me a while, it was still very fun, very interesting, and definitely gave me sparks on its cute little romance with mixture of a well-thought mystery. 😊

    Overall Rating: 8.5/10

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      We were really similar on this one too! 🙂 I too loved Dong Baek’s journey in this so much. And Yong Sik was just a joy with his adorable puppy like personality. I’m glad the rom-com mystery worked out well for you in this case. I tend to do well with that combination, and it was definitely the case here! I like that is spices things up. Plus, we got a great ensemble cast here, and I too grew to like several characters I didn’t in the beginning.

      It’s great that you were able to come back to this one and end up enjoying it. Although it’s better to enjoy a drama from the get go, I think it’s better to slowly warm up to a drama and get better as it goes rather than the other option of it starting strong than getting worse. It leaves things on a good note at least 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. MyKDramaticLife says:

    There really are severals that started up really really good. Then just become too draggy and not getting any better along the way. Personal examples are: W, I Wanna Hear Your Song, Melting me Softly (I still liked it though).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      It definitely happens a lot. I think a lot of dramas just run out of steam and plot and tend to peter out towards the end. It’s nice when a show can build as it goes and end very satisfying instead 🙂


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