I feel like this episode was a turning point for me..that there is some kind of a commitment. Without giving away too much, I feel like I want to see Tak Gu become the person he was. I guess this solves all the complaining I had about the adult characters.
Episode 8 recap
Tak Gu asks why he needs to take the exam. All he wanted was to find the man with the windmill tattoo. Grandpa Baker repeated that there are two ways to get into the house. Either be a customer, or be an apprentice. To be an apprentice, he needs to take the exam, and pass to qualify.
The exam is this: taste the bread, and figure out which dough was used to make it. It’s a little deja vu (episode 4). Ma Jun/Tae Jo systematically starts off by tasting the bread, then tasting the dough carefully. Tak Gu looks confused, and finally starts sniffing at the dough.
Ma Jun/Tae Jo turns in his answer on a slip of paper. Mi Sun then bugs Tak Gu for his answer. He doesn’t seem ready, and Mi Sun threatens to disqualify him if he has no reply in 5 seconds. Tak Gu scribbles something, and submits it.
Grandpa Baker reads both slips of paper. Someone wrote a 4? Ma Jun/Tae Jo says it’s him. He explained that the bread had a unique after-taste that is only generated after prolonged fermentation. Dough #4 had the same after-taste. Seeing the looks on the other bakers, you know that Ma Jun was right.
But since Tak Gu did not put down the correct answer, what did he put down? He wrote a 5, but he explains that he did not choose dough #5. He meant that all five doughs were correct. He couldn’t tell the difference between the compositions, although the sweetness and sourness were of varying degrees. Seeing everyone’s faces, he figures he’s probably wrong.
Finally it’s Grandpa Baker’s turn to speak, and he proclaims Ma Jun/ Tae Jo the winner. He should join them in the bakery the next morning. But wait, Tak Gu should also join them. Tak Gu is confused: he got the wrong answer, so he failed right? He passed? Grandpa Baker says that he passed. The doughs were all the same, but at different stages of fermenting. I feel like that is stretching it a little, and so do the other bakers.
Grandpa asks Tak Gu what his name is, and Tak Gu announces that his name is Kim Tak Gu! Seriously, I should be so proud of my name too. Ma Jun’s mood immediately darkens. Really dark. Scary dark. Actually, Grandpa looks disturbed as well.
At the gangsters’ lair, Il Jung is talking to the fake windmill tattoo boss. The boss says that Tak Gu caused him serious injuries. Il Jung understands, and promises to compensate him. The boss pushes it. He doesn’t want money. He wants an arm or a leg. Il Jung says he will give him everything after he finds Tak Gu. The moment is interrupted by another group of men barging into the warehouse. I feel like the timing is too good. They could be hired by Manager Han, and kill Il Jung in the situation and call it a gangfight…just saying.
Anyway, the next thing we know Manager Han is arriving at the hospital. He’s come to pick Il Jung up. Il Jung is slightly hurt, but well enough to go home. Han asks Il Jung what he was doing in such a dangerous place, and Il Jung said he was looking for Tak Gu. Manager Han doesn’t like that reply. He says that Il Jung should have just told him. Il Jung asks if Manager Han would really find Tak Gu if he asked.
It’s a little uncomfortable, but Manager Han says that he’s been loyal for 30 years. Il Jung says he was just curious. *awkward*
Manager Han is capable of locating Tak Gu. He goes back to the warehouse and demands to know where Tak Gu is. The boss asks him what reward he is willing to part with. Unlike Il Jung, Manager Han says there is no reward. Either tell him, or suffer. Now that’s the way to do it.
The other bakers ask Grandpa to reconsider, but his decision is final. He does not choose apprentices by skill, but also for other reasons. In the meantime, Mi Sun takes the boys to their room, and tell them that they have to share it. Tak Gu looks delighted, probably because it’s his first real home in years.
Mi Sun shows them the bathroom, and tells them about the hours and other details. Actually, she’s only talking to Ma Jun, even though Tak Gu is the one asking questions. Tak Gu notices her attitude, and ask her why she’s ignoring him. He also asks about the family tree is like.
It turns out that Mi Sun’s mom is Grandpa’s daughter, and Head Baker married her. She then introduces herself as the daughter of the house, Yang Mi Sun. Tak Gu sort of makes fun of Mi Sun..like she doesn’t deserve to be called Mi Sun. They’ll call her fallen soybean or something. It felt sort of mean, but we know where it’s coming from. Mi Sun takes off, leaving the boys.
Tak Gu is actually really curious about Ma Jun/Tae Jo. Is he really from Japan? Do girls all wear kimonos there? How was flying in an airplane? Are clouds really soft like cotton? Ma Jun replies that the girls in Korea do not all wear hanbok, and how can clouds be like cotton? Didn’t he learn in school that clouds are made of moisture? Didn’t he go to school?
Tak Gu feels exposed — can Ma Jun really tell that he’s uneducated? But he confesses that he’s an elementary school dropout because he had to look for his mother. Ma Jun tells him that he doesn’t want to hear his personal stories. Actually, since they are talking, Ma Jun will lay down some rules. 1..2..3..
Tak Gu tells him to cool it. He’s only here to find the windmill tattoo guy, not to learn baking. So he’s not a rival. Oh…if only Tak Gu could imagine what Ma Jun is feeling.
The next morning, everyone assembles in the kitchen. They get handed assignments, except Tak Gu who is ordered to move 32 bags of flour down to the backyard. Even though the music is cheery, I don’t have a good feeling about this. Sure enough, after all 32 bags are downstairs, Head Baker asks Tak Gu to shift them back to their original location.
Tak Gu gets mad, but restrains himself. Mi Sun witnesses the situation, and tells him that there are two ways to leave the bakery. Punch someone, or just leave. Tak Gu replies that he’s not leaving after coming so far. He’s getting the windmill tattoo guy, which means he’s taking all those bags of flour upstairs. He does not realize that someone outside of the bakery is watching him.
That someone is an underling of Manager Han. They confirm that he is Kim Tak Gu, and Manager Han orders them to take care of the guy. It doesn’t feel like the best day to be lifting those bags of flour up and down the stairs.
We cut to the marriage meeting. In Sook is waiting in a restaurant with the prospective groom and his mother. Ja Kyung is running late, and I have doubts whether she’ll come. In Sook explains that Ja Kyung is busy with preparing for the anniversary party next week. She adds that kids these days are so different from the previous generation. The mother cuts Ja Kyung down: she is only a woman. I don’t think Ja Kyung will like her.
There is a knock on the door. Ja Kyung actually arrives. In Sook mentions that they were discussing about her work, and the groom asks her if she was having fun. Ja Kyung says she doesn’t have enough of a career for work to be fun. In Sook explains that Ja Kyung is working for the experience. She’ll quit when she gets married.
The mother makes some remark about the finances of Geo Seung being so bad that they had to work their daughter. She thinks it’s shameful. Ja Kyung says the company’s finances are not bad. She’s working to learn. The mother remarks that Ja Kyung should not be talking back.
In Sook jumps to Ja Kyung’s defense, actually attacking the other party. Geo Seung has survived 30 years of ups and downs, and they will survive this current down. She knew the other party were nouveau rich, but she was under the impression that the other lady was someone with good character. Well, it seems like no one can really help the nouveau rich. She is ashamed that she even thought of marriage between the two families. I was blown away by In Sook, how strongly she defended their family, and how poised and convincing she was.
But leaving the restaurant, In Sook turns on Ja Kyung. This is why she needs to quit her work. In Sook is tired of everyone stressing her out. Ja Kyung points out that In Sook was the one who set up the meeting, and she was the one who ended it. In Sook does not appreciate that.
She says she doesn’t like the way everything is going — Ja Kyung, Il Jung, the company — and she is going to correct things. Judging from the way she’s been making calls to the lawyer throughout the episode, inquiring about shares and buying them, I shudder to think what she’s plotting. I mean, she seems really smart, but all her energies are channeled into the wrong things.
Everyone else in the bakery is watching Tak Gu as he attempts to transport the bags for the fourth time that day. Tak Gu finally reaches the limit of his endurance, and collapses for a while in the kitchen. The Head Baker taunts him: if he’s so weak, how can he stand in the kitchen all day?
Tak Gu jumps up, and performs the Incheon soda chant. Everyone looks at him in surprise. Tak Gu proclaims that he’s completely healthy. See, he can even dance. Everyone, except Ma Jun, is amused and smiles. You can feel the attitude towards him soften, but no one wants to be the first one to say so.
Windmill guy is feeling the weight of his conscience on him. He brings Tak Gu a bottle of water and tries to encourage him: he had to transport 36 bags when he first started. It’s a small gesture, but immediately establishes some camaraderie.
Tak Gu says it’s not so bad. Actually, it’s refreshing to have no thoughts of his mother, just one task to throw himself into. Tak Gu muses that since the windmill man was nice to him, he can’t be the one with the windmill tattoo. He wonders if it’s the Head Baker, whom he’s decided to call Stone Face or the other guy, Axe Eyes. Windmill man shifts around uncomfortably.
As expected, the gangsters arrive at the bakery. In the kitchen, we see the Head Baker being called away by the presence of guests. But it’s a different guest. Il Jung unexpectedly pays the bakery a visit.
Mi Sun asks what the gangsters want. She refuses to confirm Tak Gu’s whereabouts and they start trashing things. And Tak Gu comes around and starts to fight them. However, he is in poor shape, given how he has been carrying heavy bags all day.
Il Jung’s visit reveals an interesting bit of history. We see Mi Sun’s mother calling him “oppa”, while the Head Baker looks on uncomfortably. They were probably all apprentices at the same time, and Il Jung was probably the favorite. Axe Eyes makes some remark about Il Jung, I mean President Gu, visiting them.
Back at the bakery, windmill man hears the commotion returning from his walk, and joins in the fight. The two guys take on the gangsters, until by accident the tattoo is revealed. Tak Gu stares at it in shock, and windmill man freezes in shock. This allows the gangsters to pick themselves up and pound away at the guys.
Back at the house, Head Baker excuses himself. Just in time, the junior baker comes to get him. He goes back to the bakery, and sees what is happening. The Head Baker orders the windmill man to take Tak Gu upstairs, and proceeds to throw the gangsters out one by one. Man, he is an excellent bouncer.
Grandpa Baker realizes that Il Jung was visiting not because he wanted to personally deliver the invitation to the baker. His mind is unsettled. Grandpa Baker says that he cannot help Il Jung with his business problems. He can only give him one piece of advice, and that is to rest.
In the bakery, the other bakers and the wife ask Head Baker to let Tak Gu go. Surprisingly, the Head Baker doesn’t want to pursue it. He seems to have a lot of sympathy for people needing a shelter. He switches subject and tells Mi Sun to bring the guys some ice. Mi Sun is on his side.
Upstairs, neither guy speaks for a while. Tak Gu breaks the silence. He has been looking forward to this day for 12 years. He thought that he would beat the windmill guy up, but he can’t. All he wants to know is where his mother is. The windmill man is silent for a long time. This worries Tak Gu who gets more frantic — where is his mother?
Finally windmill man breaks, and incoherently the story comes out. He didn’t know there was a cliff. He should have ran faster and caught his mom. Tak Gu resists the idea, but he is finally unable to escape the truth. Mi Sun witnesses everything.
Il Jung was just going to take off in his car when he hears Tak Gu’s wailing. He doesn’t bother to investigate, but the pause allows time for him to see Ma Jun taking out the trash. They look at each other silently. The moment is broken by Axe Eyes who has a second bag of trash for Ma Jun. Il Jung asks about the unfamiliar baker. Axe Eyes explains that he’s new.
Later that night, windmill man is contemplative, looking at a picture of a woman. Tak Gu is sitting outside. He hasn’t eaten all day. Grandpa Baker beckons him into the kitchen, and makes him some bread. Tak Gu watches Grandpa making bread silently. Finally he speaks: what should he do with his life now?
Grandpa says he should wait, so that the bread bakes deliciously (a metaphor of sort I believe). Tak Gu tells Grandpa that he doesn’t like bread, that they only hold bad memories for him. Grandpa Baker says that means he’s a bad person. Someone good would not hate bread. Someone good has no hates, dislikes or anger.
He reminds Tak Gu that his mother said that it is important to be a good person. That means learning to forgive and to move on. Tak Gu asks how Grandpa knew what his mom said. Grandpa reveals that they met 12 years ago. Back then, he had no fear. But the Tak Gu now is full of hate.
Grandpa takes the freshly baked bread out of the oven, and arranges them on a plate. He tells Tak Gu to make his peace with bread. It’s a plate of bread like we’ve seen so many times in the show — when his mom bought him bread for the first time, and when his father shared his bread-making time with him for the first time. Grandpa even hands him a cup of tea, like his mom did. The memories flood his mind, and he breaks down again.
In the background, a creepy Ma Jun spies on the two in the kitchen. If the past is anything to go by, Ma Jun is again jealous of Tak Gu being close to Grandpa Baker.
Ma Jun heads out to meet Manager Han in a cafe somewhere. Manager Han asks him how he thought to work for his father’s teacher. Ma Jun says that there is no need for details. He asks Manager Han whether he was responsible for the gangsters at the bakery.
Manager Han admits that there was a flaw to the plan. Ma Jun tells him that his plans have always been flawed. He’s not god, so he shouldn’t try to change fate. That means he should leave Tak Gu alone. Tak Gu is Ma Jun’s enemy, so he will take care of Tak Gu on his own.
Ma Jun gets up to leave and Manager Han reminds him to turn up for the anniversary party. Ma Jun agrees to think about it, but only if In Sook is not told about everything. It’s an interesting balance of power here.
On his way out, Ma Jun bumps into a girl. As he helps her pick up her papers, he knocks over her hat, revealing a beautiful face (or something). He is smitten, but the girl walks off. She approaches her friends, who call her Yu Kyung.
There is something loveable about Tak Gu that makes not only the other characters like him, but also the audience (me) want to know how he does. For this reason, I want to watch on to see how he regains his goodness.
After learning the history behind the Head Baker, Grandpa Baker and Il Jung, Head Baker seems a little more human to me. He is no one’s favorite (not even his wife’s), but he works on and does well. His insistence on looking after his people (windmill guy, then Tak Gu) also makes me like him. I guess it’s like cheering for the underdog.
I will also be watching out for Mi Sun to see what happens. We know that she has a strong personality, but she’s probably extra gentle with Tak Gu since she’s seen him at his weakest. I’m guessing she’ll develop feelings for him, but will be ignored because of Yu Kyung. I hope to be proven wrong. But Mi Sun has more than love going on for her. I want to see her succeed in her baking career.
Although Yu Kyung re-enters the story, I am not actually excited about her character. You could sympathize with her childhood character, but there was nothing endearing about her. I think it’s because there was little depth in her childhood character. Ma Jun and Tak Gu were more interesting.
PS. Confirmed that we’re in the 1990’s. Manager Han was using a pager.