Lovers in Bloom Episode 1 Recap

Moo Goong Hwa [Im Soo Hyang] is a hardworking police woman who struggles to raise her young daughter after her husband’s untimely death. She comes into contact with two different men. One is an upright police officer whom she butts heads with [Do Ji Han as Cha Tae Jin] and the other a spoilt rich playboy who has never known real love [Lee Chang Wook as Jin Do Hyun]. Can this single mother find love again?

Goong Hwa and her partner are patrolling in their car when a bulletin comes in about a motorcycle thief. Goong Hwa replies that the will apprehend the suspect much to her partner’s horror. Goong Hwa ignores this and checks that her weapon is ready while her partner turns on the siren and lights and goes to the stakeout location.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to our two leading men who are on a flight back to South Korea. Jin Do Hyun is drunk and causing a ruckus in first class. He wants more alcohol, stronger this time. The stewardess kindly explains that people get drunk faster in a plane and that he should not drink any more. Do Hyun doesn’t care and gets belligerent. When a fellow passenger starts filming this exchange, he goes after him. Cha Tae Jin has been trying to sleep in the normal class, but this exchange has him keeping an eye on what is happening. When he sees Do Hyun go to strike a fellow passenger, he intervenes.

Of course Do Hyun is high and mighty. Doesn’t this man know who he is? No and Tae Jin doesn’t care, either. Do Hyun has broken several aviation laws which will either result in a fine or jail time. Do Hyun laughs at this. A fine? Go ahead, it will be chump change for him. Jail time? Not going to happen. He tells Tae Jin if he touches him he’ll be dead. Of course since Tae Jin is an officer, he can easily take down Do Hyun and does so. He then turns him over to the flight staff and nonchalantly returns to his seat.

Do Hyun’s assistant Seo Jae Hee [Kim Jae Seung] comes to pick him up (could also be his friend…not 100% certain of their relationship yet). Do Hyun is still fuming over his embarrassment on the plane. He tells Jae Hee to make sure nothing is leaked out and to find out what the name of that man was and what he does. I’m guessing he will try to make Tae Jin pay, but good luck with that since he’s a cop. Jae Hee tells him to be good and go home, but Do Hyun will not listen. He wants to go to a hotel instead.

During the stakeout for the motorcycle thief, Goong Hwa has switched positions in the car with her partner so now she is behind the wheel. Her partner yawns and complains he is tired. He needs something to chew on to keep him alert. Goong Hwa offers to buy ice water and chewing gum. He scolds her for this way of thinking. She then says she will buy him snacks. This makes him happy. Goong Hwa holds out her hands for money, but is denied as her partner changes the subject saying the suspect can arrive at any time. Goong Hwa goes to get out of the car and her partner reminds her to cover up so people can’t see she’s an officer. While she’s in the convenience store buying snacks, her partner leaves his position to go to the restroom.

As she leaves the store, she bumps into a man getting off a motorcycle. She quickly runs the plates and sees that it is stolen. Of course her partner is nowhere in site so she apprehends the thief by herself once he leaves the store. He puts up a struggle, but our female lead is a kick butt officer and subdues him. As she handcuffs herself to him, an unseen partner pops up and attacks. At this time Tae Jin is going by in a taxi. He tells the driver to stop and rushes out. Goong Hwa still gets hit hard in the head with a helmet, knocking her out. Tae Jin then delivers a flying kick to the partner. The captured man tries to escape, but he is handcuffed to Goong Hwa. He tries to find the key and then goes to hit her. Tae Jin scolds him for trying to harm an officer and punches him out. At this time Goong Hwa’s useless partner arrives on scene.

Goong Hwa is rushed to the hospital with her partner panicking and calling her mother while telling Goong Hwa to be okay. Meanwhile as Tae Jin is leaving he gets a call telling him his grandmother is in the same hospital. Meanwhile, her mother Lee Sun Ok [Yoon Bok In] is out shopping for supplies for her dead son-in-law’s memorial service. Even while she’s irate at having to do this for him (since he left so young), she still boasts about her daughter being an officer. When she gets the call about Goong Hwa’s injuries, she freaks out and rushes to the hospital.

Tae Jin waits anxiously in the hospital when his grandmother is wheeled out. He asks how she is and his father Cha Sang Chul [Jun In Taek] said they have done x-rays and CT scans. His brother-in-law Kang Baek Ho [Kim Hyun Kyung] then says they are waiting on the results, but overall granny Na Yun Shil [Seo Woo Rim] has a broken hip. Grandma Na wakes up saying she doesn’t know what happened. Mr. Cha says it is a relief no surgery is needed, just basic treatment. Tae Jin then asks after his older sister Hee Jin [Lee Ja Young]. Kang says his wife has taken their son [Jung Yoon Suk as Kang Hae Chan] to an academy and hasn’t answered her phone—it must be dead.

Sun Ok arrives and frantically asks after her daughter. This catches Tae Jin’s attention. Sun Ok is told Goong Hwa went for a CT scan and is pointed in the correct direction. She rushes over and sees Goong Hwa pushing her partner in a wheelchair as he complains about his injured finger…how  in the world did he get hurt? Goong Hwa assures her mother she is fine and that she wasn’t hit by a motorcycle, but rather knocked out cold after being hit by a helmet. She gets a thorough scolding by her mother as her partner slinks off. Goong Hwa is then reminded it is her husband’s memorial today. It slipped her mind during the chaos.

Jin Bo Ra [Nam Bo Ra] is a chef on her way to teach a cooking class to housewives when she is knocked over by a rushing Moo Soo Hyuk [Lee Eun Hyung]. He is having issues and was not watching where he was going. He apologizes to Bo Ra. She tells him it is okay and that she is fine, but the strawberries are dead. He find the knife on the ground and says he could have been, too. Bo Ra lunges for the knife an exams it in dismay. Noticing Soo Hyuk’s uneasy stare, she clutches the knife to her chest and apologizes saying it is her favorite. Soo Hyuk grabs his phone and goes to leave. He turns back and hands Bo Ra his card. He is part of Dami—a PR company. If she should be in need of any services, just let him know.

We get to see Bo Ra’s skills in the kitchen. It honestly didn’t look like she was teaching, just cooking the dish for the women to try. But she tells them to cook dishes that please their husbands, too, not just the kids. After all, a woman gets a man’s heart by capturing his stomach. So cliché. Her phone rings and when she picks it up, Soo Hyuk is on the other end scolding her for only answering now. He says their phones were switched. Bo Ra takes a close look at the phone. She didn’t even realize this because it is the exact same as her phone. Soo Hyuk has his brother-in-law’s memorial so he cannot go get the phone today. Can they meet early in the morning tomorrow? Say at 7? Bo Ra quickly says 9 instead. Soo Hyuk agrees to this and tells her to go to the address on his business card. He hangs up and gives his worker back his phone scolding him for being the cause of the mix-up.

At the hospital, Tae Jin goes to take the stares and finds a man trying to light up a cigarette. He goes into police mode and lays out the fines as this is a no smoking place because of the welfare of the patients. The man tells him to ease off since his wife is being admitted, but Tae Jin won’t. The man gives up on his smoke and throws the cigarette away before leaving. Tae Jin picks up the discarded cigarette as Goong Hwa comes up the stairs collecting the used butts. She is on the phone to someone at the station. Since her partner Park Yong Soo [Ban Sang Yoon] injured his finger, she has to write up the report later. She hangs up and sees Tae Jin on the landing holding a cigarette. She immediately reprimands him and lets him know she is an officer and thus can’t let this issue go. Tae Jin hands her the cigarette and tells her to toss it for him as that will make them even. Goong Hwa is flummoxed by this.

Tae Jin returns to his grandmother’s side in time to hear her complain about spending two weeks in the hospital. She wants to go home. Mr. Cha tries to convince her to stay, but Tae Jin interjects that she can go home if she chooses. They talk about hiring a caregiver, but Granny Na is against this when she has her granddaughter Hee Jin. This startles Mr. Cha and Kang as Hee Jin is very busy and doesn’t have the time.

Hee Jin drops her son off after reminding Hae Chan to not skip out on the lessons. When she goes to check her phone it is completely dead. She wonders if her husband has taken care of opening the restaurant and heads back. Once she leaves her son sneaks out of the academy. Naughty boy. Hee Jin is livid when she finds the restaurant closed. She uses the phone inside to call her husband to complain and is shocked to learn her grandmother is in the hospital.

Hee Jin rushes home where Kang scolds her for not answering her phone. She asks after Granny Na and is not happy to hear they brought her home. She goes into the room to urge Granny to go to the hospital, but Na is adamant she won’t return. She’d rather be home. Besides, all Hee Jin needs to do is bring her three meals a day and help her to the restroom whenever she needs it. Hee Jin mentions hiring a caregiver and Na erupts. Fine, send her back to the hospital or better yet the nursing home. This has Cha send his daughter from the room.

Goong Hwa’s family is busy preparing for her husband’s service. Her daughter Woo Ri (KBS spells her name as Uri) [played by the adorable Kim Dan Woo] is using a walkie talkie to talk to her father asking when he will come. Soo Hyuk asks when her father will come and Woo Ri replies at 4:30. But it’s after 7 already. Goong Hwa says Woo Ri’s radio is better than hers as it allows Woo Ri to talk to her dad. Woo Ri asks for Goong Hwa to bring hers home, but Goong Hwa refuses.

Sun Ok then begins complaining about how she hates doing this every year as her in-law did nothing right by dying early leaving her daughter and granddaughter behind. She then tells Goong Hwa that it serves her right to be miserable like this since she never once listened to Sun Ok. Her mother storms off and Soo Hyuk follows her to calm her down. Woo Ri returns and gives her mother a big hug. The memorial service then commences and Soo Hyuk and Sun Ok drink. Sun Ok worries about her daughter. She had an administrative job at the department when her husband died, but foolishly gave up safety to become an active officer. I guess Soo Hyuk is older as Sun Ok also scolded Goong Hwa for treating her brother like she is the older sibling.

Do Hyun is in his hotel room when he gets a call from his father telling him to come home. How did his dad know he’s at a hotel? Jin Dae Gap [Go In Bum] knows his son all too well. He has a woman there, too, doesn’t he? Do Hyun admits nothing and tells his father he has a right to a private life. He hangs up. Out walks a woman who wants to see him again. Does the woman think she’s pretty? Do Hyun tells her to leave now as he’s feeling very sensitive. He [ goes to check out and the woman arrives again to say her farewell…right in front of Do Hyun’s father’s wife [Park Hae Mi as Heo Sung Hee]. This ticks Do Hyun off, but he puts on a show and leaves, just escaping his father’s notice. He does watch his dad and Sung Hee from afar with a complicated expression.

Soo Hyuk cleans up after the service and dinner while Goong Hwa tucks her daughter into bed. She goes out into the kitchen and takes a drink of water only to find it is really leftover wine. She spits it out and then thinks a bit before taking a small sip and swallowing. She goes back into her bedroom where she recalls her husband’s proposal. She was practicing her boxing when he arrives in uniform to let her know he has passed as an officer and been officially assigned to a station. He then handcuffs her to him asking her to marry him. She tells him it isn’t very romantic and he pulls her in for a kiss. How’s that for romantic? In the present, she scolds her husband, Bong Yoo Jae, for being unable to keep his promise.

Goong Hwa then gets called into work to fix the report from the earlier case. What to do? She yells for her mother and Soo Hyuk and Sun Ok come running. Have they seen the medicine she was given from the last time? What medicine? Apparently Goong Hwa has an allergic reaction to alcohol. She did not drink that much, so maybe she will be fine. She isn’t itchy or feeling like she has to vomit, right? Not yet. However, when she gets into work Goong Hwa’s face and neck have broken out. Her coworkers wonder what happened to her. Jang Eun Joo (Park Gyu Ri) says she must have been drinking…quite a lot to look like that. I guess they aren’t aware of her allergy. Before Goong Hwa can explain, Tae Jin arrives to report for duty. What a way to meet again.

I like this. As you might suspect, Do Hyun and Tae Jin will become rivals for Goong Hwa’s heart. Who do you think will win this single mother over? I vote for Tae Jin as he’s a good person to start. We don’t need Goong Hwa to mess around reforming a rich bad boy, right?


  • This is a good slice-of-life drama, or as slice of life as a kdrama with three intersecting family can be. It’s a slow burn and takes a while to get started, but after a while one is addicted to it. The heroine gets on the nerves a bit because she is so silent and close-lipped and the hero is also pretty restrained. But I think this drama is about restraint versus impetuousness so it kinda works. The rich family, all but the young daughter, are a handful and power-mad or money-mad. Glad you’re recapping this.

    • I’m enjoying it. On some levels plain and simple and on others, quite complicated. Goong Hwa has the spunk, but doesn’t show it often enough. At the same time…given our spoiled rich man, you don’t need more impetuous characters.

  • I agree. I’ve grown tired of the “true-love-will-change-the spoiled-jerk” trope. I’m rooting for the good guy. (I also liked that actor in Hwarang. He was the only thing in it that interested me.)

    • It gets old since the spoiled jerk usually does such awful things to the heroine that you wonder how she falls in love with him to begin with. I still don’t like Secret Garden for that reason although it remains a popular and favorite pick for almost everyone. He always complained that she never saw things from his perspective, but he never really sought to see things from hers and constantly belittled her.

      I haven’t watched Hwarang yet. Still on the fence about it.

      • Agreed. But I think the reason Secret Garden is still such a delight for Kdrama newbies is Hyun Bin’s character is shown to be ridiculous about that track suit as he tries to show random strangers the label and insists “each sequin was handsewn by a tailor in Italy.” His character takes himself seriously but we, like Ha Ji won, see him as ludicrous. We are also shown his, weaknesses as he recites a childhood nursery rhyme in an attempt to hold on to his sanity.

        I found his character delightful, unlike the lead in Boys Over Flowers which was only saved by the deliciousness of Lee Min ho. (not a rabid LMH fan but I lick my chops objectively when it’s called for). 😉

  • Oh, and I forgot to mention, watch Hwarang at your own risk. Nothing there but Park Seo joon (hope I got his name right). Hwarang’s story goes no…where. A much more entertaining watch is Fight for My Way aka Fight My Way, also with Park Seo joon and my own personal fetish – Kim Sung oh.

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