King of Baking, Kim Tak Gu Episode 7

There are so many problems with a “12 years later” thing that I don’t even know where to begin. See, a lot can happen in 12 years, especially if you’re a child. You gain experiences, change your personality…all that good stuff. But there is a second problem: you have to change the actors. Although it was only 6 episodes on the childhood, the child actors have made a huge impression on me. The adult cast…I’m not so excited about. Maybe they (the characters) changed in 12 years. Maybe the scriptwriter wanted different personalities. Maybe the adult actors can’t convey the same emotions. I mean, how do you get to 12 years later?

Episode 7 recap

As expected, we revisited some scenes from the childhood days, as some sort of a summary. We go back to that fateful morning when Il Jung was expecting Tak Gu, and only Ma Jun turned up instead. Il Jung goes to Tak Gu’s room, and finds it neat and empty. On the desk, there is a short letter, apologizing but he has to leave. He wants to be Kim Tak Gu. While Il Jung despairs, In Sook celebrates.

We revisit the parting scene between Tak Gu and Grandpa Baker. As he watches Tak Gu leave, Grandpa predicts that fate will let them meet again.

In case there was any doubt, we see that Mi Sun washed up on shore.

And a voice over helps fill in the blanks about Tak Gu’s life. Tak Gu has been fighting his way around South Korea, trying to locate the man with the windmill tattoo, and earning himself a reputation along the way. Under orders, the recent batch of hooligans from the market place left Tak Gu a message at the coffee shop bulletin board. Thus Tak Gu shows up at a warehouse, greeted by a bunch of thugs who try to beat him up. Not exactly my idea of a warm welcome.

Inside the warehouse, we see the hooligans, and the boss. Since it’s 12 years later, we don’t know if the man has changed, but when we finally see it, the windmill tattoo is different. Wrong guy. But it’s not like Tak Gu actually knows what the windmill should look like. Seeing the tattoo, he thinks that he’s confirmed his prey. But the boss tells him that he doesn’t know anything. He does have the tattoo, but he’s the wrong guy. He had other reasons for inviting him. Thinking to beat the truth from him, Tak Gu confronts the boss with pro-wrestling fight moves, which are returned in kind. And I thought the boss was too old to fight.

Tak Gu finally pins the boss down, and asks him where his mom is. The boss repeats that he doesn’t know anything. He only got the tattoo recently. He met a man in prison 7 years ago, who made an impression on him. He decided that he wanted a similar tattoo, but his tattoo is different. Disappointed, Tak Gu asks where he can find the man from 7 years ago. It seems that he is now working in famous Pal Bong Bakery in Incheon.

There is something unique about how Tak Gu is so furious and badass looking, yet crying at the same time. He’s gotten arrogant, and rough. He doesn’t notice the boss moving to hit him, and the fight continues. Eventually, Tak Gu staggers out completely covered in blood. Despite his injuries, his only thoughts are about his mom, and he will go to Pal Bong Bakery.

We get introduced to new characters at the Pal Bong Bakery. It’s filled with middle-aged men, who seem to have worked together for a while. They have a certain rythm and trust each other. They appear to be shorthanded, and there is a missing young person. That young person turns out to be Yang Mi Sun, not really a baker, but an aspiring patissiere (she is passionate about cakes). They find her in the cold room, tasting a cake.

It turns out she made a cake last night, and wanted to taste it before resuming work. The head baker is not impressed. During working hours, she should be working. She insists that he tries her new cake, but he dismisses it as being all showy and decorated with cream and no substance. He pushes it aside, but he pushes too hard and it falls on the floor. Everyone looks awkwardly at the cake. The head baker tries to brush it off, but Mi Sun declares she has no mood to work and storms out.

Once outside, Mi Sun finds a bloody and unconscious Tak Gu, and screams. Her screams bring the bakers out, and they check that he’s still alive. I can’t believe that he came straight to Incheon in the same messy state that he was in.

Our first glimpse of the Gu family 12 years later is In Sook. She’s just landed at the airport, and is being picked up by one of the drivers, not Manager Han. She demands to know where he is, and whether he knew of her arrival. She is not pleased.

At the company, Il Jung is talking to a young woman, finalizing the anniversary party, and she addresses him as father. It seems that a certain Senator Kim won’t be arriving, which the young woman thinks is a good thing. He’s fallen out of favor within politics. Il Jung disagrees. Senator Kim has always been a supporter, and there is no reason to turn their backs on him now. Given one of two possibilities, we are unsurprised that the young woman is Ja Kyung. She is now the Head of Public Relations.

Il Jung complains to Manager Han about how young people have no business mixing politics with business. He walks into his office, and is surprised to see In Sook. In Sook warmly embraces him, which causes Manager Han to look away. She throws a look at Manager Han. In Sook tells Il Jung that she shortened her trip to be back in time for the anniversary party. She also saw Ma Jun in Japan. Il Jung is uninterested in the details. In Sook presses him — is he not interested in finding out how Ma Jun is doing?

Il Jung obliges and asks if Ma Jun is well. In Sook says that everything is well with Ma Jun. Il Jung informs her that he won’t be able to have dinner at home, which gets In Sook upset. She hides it, but can’t help asking him for some sort of acknowledgment since she has been gone for 2 months. Il Jung says that he has a meeting in 10 minutes. I think this was the longest perfunctory conversation I’ve seen between them and they are finally admitting that it’s an unhappy marriage.

In Sook heads out, and Manager Han has a word with her. He apologizes for being too busy to pick up her up from the airport, and noted that she looks fine. He was worried because the trip took longer than expected. Ah…the very words she wanted from Il Jung. She confesses to him that things are not well. ma Jun is missing and she’s tried looking for with no luck. Apparently, he has quit school and left. She thinks that he’s in Seoul, and they have to find him in time for the anniversary party. Manager Han tells her to go home to rest. He’ll take care of it.

Manager Han had actually received a call from Ma Jun before he went missing. He told Manager Han not to look for him. He’s going to somewhere for a holiday, somewhere where even Manager Han can’t find him.

So what in the world is Ma Jun up to? We see him packing his bag and heading somewhere. That somewhere is (coincidentally I believe) Pal Bong Bakery. He’s there to take an exam. This is quite different from what I was expecting. He’s actually pretty serious about this baking thing, even though he may not like bread. He looks pretty serious too.

An unconscious Tak Gu is being tended to by Mi Sun. (From now, Yang Mi Sun is Mi Sun, while Tak Gu’s mom will be referred to as Tak Gu’s mom.) It seems that they decided to keep him at home instead of handing him over to a hospital. He is dreaming, and in his dream he is young again and his mom is with him. He tells his mom that he had a terrible dream, that she had been abducted and he never found her again. The dream makes him cry, and Mi Sun wipes the tears off his face.

Opening his eyes, Tak Gu gets a huge shock — where is he? Who is she? What’s going on? Mi Sun explains that they found him unconscious on the street. She asks him if he’s okay, but But instead of being thankful, Tak Gu tells her that it’s none of her business. He proceeds to get into a shouting match with Mi Sun over how she shouldn’t have presumed to wash his clothes. In a huff, she leaves, leaving him stranded in only his boxers.

Tak Gu is left to explore the house in the blanket while trying to find clothes. He is drawn by the smell of bread towards a window and looking out, he sees that he is across from Pal Bong Bakery, and more. The bakers are helping unload the day’s deliveries, and he notices that one of the bakers had a windmill tattoo on the wrist.

He runs downstairs, finds some clothes hanging around, and rushes out of the house. On the way out, he bumps into Ma Jun, who is currently using a pseudo name Seo Tae Jo. By the time he reaches the delivery truck, the bakers are gone. Tak Gu demands to know where the men in white went, and he was directed to the bakery.

He barges into the bakery, and demands to know who has a windmill tattoo. He grabs the guy nearest to him to check his wrist, and pushes him aside when he sees nothing. The head baker is annoyed by the very rude sudden visitor and seeing Tak Gu head for the right guy stops him. The head baker is built like a bouncer, and easily throws Tak Gu out. The bakers know who the windmill tattoo guy is, but they are not letting their friend get attacked by this weird punk. Tak Gu tries the front door of the bakery, and the head baker is there to pre-empt him.

He tells Tak Gu that the guy he is looking for is not there. But Tak Gu saw the man with his own eyes, and he’s unwilling to give up. The head baker threatens to call the cops. Realizing that being a brute doesn’t work, Tak Gu tries begging. He goes on his knees and explains that only the man with a windmill tattoo knows where his mom is, and all he wants to talk, not cause trouble. The head baker looks sympathetic, but no, he’s not budging. Mi Sun witnesses the scene, and she looks sympathetic but is unable to help.

Tak Gu decides to keep kneeling outside the bakery until they show him the man with the windmill tattoo. Night falls, and he’s still there. Windmill guy is perturbed by Tak Gu’s presence and thinks to go out, but the head baker tells him not to. He’s got a new life now. If he meets with Tak Gu, he might end up in prison all over again, and lose his family.

The next morning, In Sook is greeted by Ja Kyung and Ja Rim. Ja Rim actually gives In Sook a hug. Ja Kyung asks how her trip went. It seems that the girls were out late last night, so this is the first time In Sook is seeing them. She nags the girls about staying out late. In particular she doesn’t see why Ja Kyung is working so hard.

She brings up that Ja Kyung has a matchmaking meeting the next day with the second son of a construction company. Ja Kyung looks unhappy about it, but In Sook tells her it’s for the good of the company. Politics is what has kept the company doing well. Although Ja Kyung cares a lot about the company, she isn’t about to let herself marry for money like In Sook. She storms off.

Ja Rim tells In Sook to leave Ja Kyung be. They know that she doesn’t want to get married. In Sook changes the subject to Ja Rim. She’s next after Ja Kyung gets married. In the meantime, she should focus on graduating college.

Ja Rim has a piece of news for In Sook. According to her school, they have a brother called Gu Hyung Jun. Ja Rim pulls out a piece of paper as evidence. I have no idea why the school has the family register but there it is and listed there is Gu Hyung Jun. In Sook is absolutely livid, and looks for Il Jung for an explanation.

She reminds him that he was not supposed to add Tak Gu on the family register, even under a different name. Does this mean he’s finally found the boy? Il Jung looks sadly at her and says he wished he did. But if she blocks it, he will fight her. He has already waited 12 years to try get her to agree. In Sook demands to know what Ma Jun means to him. Ma Jun is pursuing baking in Japan despite disliking bread, trying to please his father.

At Pal Bong Bakery, the head baker’s wife returns from her grave-cleaning trip, and see Ma Jun in the kitchen. She immediately sizes him up, and is smitten. She asks his name and his age. Hearing that he’s 24,  she says that her daughter is 24 as well, so they will be suitable for each other. The head baker is embarrassed by the fuss. He tells Ma Jun to head upstairs, and tells his wife off. Changing the topic, the wife asks who the young man kneeling outside the bakery is.

The other person returning from that trip that day is the owner of the bakery, Mi Sun’s grandfather. No surprise, he’s the same old man who saved Tak Gu that night 12 years ago. Grandpa Baker asks Tak Gu what he’s up to kneeling there. A delirious Tak Gu explains about the man with the windmill tattoo. Grandpa immediately remembers him, and asks if that’s the only thing he’s done the past ten years.

Chuckling, he tells Tak Gu that it’s a bakery so there are two ways to enter. One, as a customer buying bread and two, as a baker’s apprentice. Tak Gu has found a friend now.

Tak Gu and Grandpa head into the bakery kitchen. The head baker asks to know why Tak Gu is there. Grandpa explains that he needed help with his bags. The bakers relieve Tak Gu of the bag, and asks him to leave. But Grandpa made another promise outside — he will let Tak Gu take the exam. The bakers think it’s an insult to allow any random person to take the exam, but Grandpa insists on it.

It seems that Il Jung hasn’t given up looking for Tak Gu. He leaves the company early that day, without informing Manager Han. It turns out that he’s received information about Tak Gu, and he’s heading to meet the informant, who turns out to be the boss that Tak Gu beat up earlier. He leaves the driver outside, and walks into the warehouse alone. I don’t think it’s a good idea, but nothing happens for now.

That night, Ma Jun and Tak Gu are seated at the table, watched by all the bakers. It looks really serious. Mi Sun brings in the test subject, and it’s a giant loaf of bread.

Comments:
It’s been 12 years, and we have changed all the child actors for adult ones. The writers have also updated the adult personalities. Looking at the words alone,  I can imagine the child actors doing it right, so I think my problem is with the adult actors and how they are choosing to portray the adult characters:

Tak Gu: He’s become a fist-first, talk later kind of guy, which is something that Grandma told him not to do. He’s always held himself back as a boy, but now he’s just completely let himself go. I didn’t like how he’s become all showy and arrogant, as seen from the scene where Grandpa Baker says that he’s on Tak Gu’s side. The young Tak Gu would have been able to portray that confidence without coming across as arrogant.

Ja Kyung: The teenage actor had really cold, pensive eyes. I noticed that even in I am Legend where she did a small role. It fit well with her cold personality. Now, the adult actress has these sparkly bright eyes that look like they are smiling even when she’s being rude to her mom. I am not an actress, so I don’t know how hard it is to act “dull eyes”.

Ja Rim: Never saw much of her, and didn’t see much of her this time, but I thought she was too friendly and happy to be with her mom. The child actor would have said the same words grudgingly.

Ma Jun: We didn’t see much of him, but so far everything is consistent with his child character. He is probably my favorite crossover character from the previous episodes for now.

I think Mi Sun and Tak Gu are very similar and compatible from the way they talk (or argue). Given the previous parallel between Ma Jun and Yu Kyung stealing money from parents, I wonder if this is a hint of the pairings to come.

I noticed the car phone in one of the scenes, which means we’re not at 2010 yet. I’m guessing we are at late 80’s early 90’s before cellphone were popular, and when fashion was kinda weird. I wonder if we’ll be seeing another time skip at some point.

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