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Daily Helping for July 1st, 2021 – When the Camellia Blooms

A photo still from When the Camellia Blooms. Lead actress Gong Hyo-jin is sitting at a table, head in her hands, smiling as she looks off to the right.

That’s right. It’s time for another Kdrama. Because I’ve come to the conclusion that you never can have enough Kdramas in your life. This one came to me through a rec, and once again, I was blown away by just how much plot they managed to fit into one show. In this case, When the Camellia Blooms is about a single mother who moves to a small seaside town to run a bar and raise her son. At least, that’s the short version of the plot. It’s also about the local policeman who falls in love with her at first sight. And the large and sprawling cast of secondary characters in the small town. And her ex-boyfriend who suddenly discovers that he has a son. There’s also a murder mystery thrown in there for good measure, because why not? As I said, just so much plot.

And yet, that’s never a bad thing. Yes, there is a lot going on in this show. But it also takes the time to tell each story properly and with the right amount of depth. Each and every one of the sprawling cast of characters is fully fleshed out, and it’s clear that their character arcs were carefully planned out. I don’t know if every Kdrama is like this, but the many narratives of When the Camellia Blooms definitely sneaks up on you. It wasn’t until I was over halfway through the show that I realized just how many plot threads I was following and how many characters I truly cared about. In my opinion, screenwriter Lim Sang-choon deserves all the awards for this masterclass in narrative pacing.

The performances were also terrific across the board, and lead actors Gong Hyo-jin and Kang Ha-neul were incredible. In particular, Kang managed to play the most earnestly in love human I’ve ever seen onscreen without ever becoming annoying, which is quite the feat. He’s also possibly the most aggressive talker I’ve ever seen onscreen as well. To be clear, I mean aggressive in delivery, not content. But now I really want to see him in something else just to see if that was a character choice or if that’s just the way he talks. Because wow. That was some aggressive talking.

All in all, When the Camellia Blooms is an amazing Kdrama that will hook you from beginning to end. I absolutely need more of this in my life, so if you have a suggestion for what I should watch next, please let me know.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!