My guess was a little off…it’s not the 1990’s yet. The year is 1987.
I wasn’t expecting this: we start with the windmill guy’s backstory.
Head Baker, In Mok, first met him when he was teaching a prison class on baking. He’s trying to teach the prisoners skills so that they can do something useful when they leave prison. Unlike the other guys, windmill guy did not get busy making dough. Instead, he stares lifelessly at nothing. Head Baker notices this, and asks him what he’s doing. Windmill guy says he doesn’t want to learn. Head Baker asks his name, but windmill guy says that he has no name.
Fast forward some time, Head Baker is introducing windmill guy to Grandpa Baker, hoping to give him a job at Pal Bong Bakery. Grandpa Baker asks him why he wants to bake. Windmill guy says bread gives him hope to live. Grandpa Baker catches sight of the windmill tattoo, and looks disturbed, remembering Tak Gu. He accepts the windmill guy.
Flash back to present, the windmill guy asks Grandpa whether he accepted him knowing that Tak Gu will find him. He asks Grandpa whether he will ever be forgiven. Grandpa tells him to wait, because the day will come. I’m a little confused about where in the timeline we are. One moment Tak Gu is in the bakery, the next moment we see guards at a gate.
It seems that Tak Gu is not in the bakery anymore. He has made his way to the Gu residence, armed with a stick, intent on getting revenge. He enters the house, and with luck, In Sook is there to greet him. He identifies himself, and asks her what she did to Kim Mi Sun. Just as Tak Gu is about the raise the stick at her, Manager Han comes and asks him what he’s doing.
More specifically, he was supposed to have left and never come back. Tak Gu replies that it doesn’t hold anymore now that his mother is dead. He’s here for vengeance.
Tak Gu smashes the glass ornaments and windows in the house. In Sook responds by telling him off, in the way that only she can. Tak Gu turns to face her, and he looks like he’s going to attack her, but he remembers what Grandpa said about forgiveness and hate and living as a good person. He freezes there.
Then we see Tak Gu outside the house again. The entire sequence from before was in his head, which is good. Everyone in the house is oblivious of his presence. I think it would have been silly to smash the house for revenge, because nothing will come out of it. Now without a purpose, Tak Gu looks slightly lost. He heads to Il Jung’s bakery house.
Hiding behind the bushes, Tak Gu sees Il Jung waving his arms around to check the humidity. Il Jung speaks as he moves, explaining about the importance of checking the humidity so that he can correct the moisture content of the dough. He’s re-enacting the last time he saw Tak Gu, and Tak Gu recognizes it. I think there were tears in Il Jung’s eyes.
Moisture checking over, Il Jung heads inside to prepare the bread. Tak Gu follows, stick in hand, and he hides in the same place where he first saw Il Jung make bread. Il Jung goes through the same motions, and we see flashes of the scenes from 12 years ago. It’s like nothing has changed, but everything is different.
Mesmerized by the bread making, Tak Gu forgets about the stick, and it falls, making a loud sound. Il Jung looks up and goes to investigate, but no one is there.
The bakers line up for their assignment at the bakery, and Head Baker hands out a slip to everyone. At the end of the line, he is left with an extra slip for Tak Gu who is not there. No matter, the work will proceed. The other bakers notice Tak Gu’s absence silently.
Mi Sun has a word with her grandfather after the morning’s work about Tak Gu’s absence. Maybe he killed himself out of despair? Should they go to the police? Grandpa says no. He asks if she’s worried about Tak Gu. Mi Sun denies it.
Tak Gu ended up spending the night sleeping in a subway station. He managed to sleep though the hundreds of people walking by, and is finally woken up by a girl begging for forgiveness. A man is shouting at his daughter for not begging enough money to buy him soju. It’s all very familiar, and reminiscent of what Yu Kyung had to go through as a kid. Begging for forgiveness even though it’s not her fault, getting beaten up.
It takes Tak Gu a while to rouse from his sleep state, and he shouts at the father. It’s overshadowed by a woman who steps in to stop the abuse. It’s Yu Kyung, and she tells the man that it’s a crime to abuse children. He says he’s the father, and Yu Kyung says a father wouldn’t let his child beg.
Unable to win the fight, the man raises his hand at Yu Kyung, and Tak Gu steps in. He repeats what Yu Kyung said, and tells the man to leave it. The father does not comply, asking Tak Gu who he is to be bothering about someone else’s business. Tak Gu says he’s someone who doesn’t mind dying, and the man headbutts him.
Tak Gu is taken by surprise, and lands on the ground. Not content to let it be, Yu Kyung attacks the man with her bag. He retaliates, and the contents of the bag are strewn out. At first it looks like a stack of papers, but upon closer inspection, they are anti-government propaganda. Seizing the chance, the father announces that Yu Kyung is a political dissident, and she has to flee as the cops come chasing.
Tak Gu grabs Yu Kyung’s bag, and runs after her. He catches up with her, and drags her to a safe corner. After the cops have gone by, they speak. Tak Gu returns her bag. Yu Kyung looks suspiciously at him, worried that he is a cop, but Tak Gu says he’s just a homeless man. He commends her for being brave.
Tak Gu notices blood on her face. It’s from the guy just now right? Yu Kyung replies, asking so what if it was. Would he go back and kill the man? This is all too familiar, something a younger Yu Kyung once said to Tak Gu.
Yu Kyung leaves, and Tak Gu is frozen in shock. When he finally rushes out, she’s nowhere to be seen. He does find her cap on the floor. Under the cap, her name and university address is written. She is indeed Shin Yu Kyung.
With a new sense of purpose, Tak Gu runs around looking for Yu Kyung, and finally sees her entering the train. He chases after her, but it’s too late. No matter, he knows where to find her.
Yu Kyung makes it back safely to campus, and heads to the operations room of her dissident club. She takes a seat next to Ja Rim (yes, it was Ja Rim at the cafe in the previous episode), who notices that her good luck hat is missing. In turn, Yu Kyung asks what she’s doing there. In Sook doesn’t allow Ja Rim to participate in club activities, but Ja Rim wanted to give an invitation to Yu Kyung. She tells Yu Kyung to keep it well, since it wouldn’t be good for the other students to find it.
Ja Rim complains that everyone will have to attend, even though she doesn’t want to. She mentions that her brother is probably coming back from Japan for this, and Yu Kyung perks up at the information. But we know that the brother she is referring to is Ma Jun. Interestingly, according to the invitation, we are currently in year 1987.
Ma Jun notices Axe Eyes, and maknae (I realize that Ma Jun and Tak Gu are even lower on the ladder, but let’s just call him maknae) eavesdropping outside the Head Baker’s room. Mi Sun’s mom wants to go to the anniversary party, but Head Baker refuses. She talks about her past days of glory, and mentioned that she should have tried for Il Jung. Head Baker asks if she’s telling the truth, and she taunts him. Yes, so? Head Baker picks up his pillow, and tells her that he’s sleeping elsewhere.
Mi Sun’s mom immediately decides that it’s too embarrassing if others see the Head Baker sleeping outside, so she gives up on the party. But Axe Eyes and maknae have already heard everything. It seems that Mi Sun’s mom has lost the argument as usual. Maknae doesn’t understand why Head Baker doesn’t want to attend the party, so Axe Eyes explains that Mi Sun’s mom is secretly in love with Il Jung. Ma Jun absorbs the information, and excuses himself.
He chances upon Mi Sun in the kitchen, working on her cake again. Mi Sun provides her own commentary, pretending she’s in a competition. She mentions that she needs to solve the problem of the fruit on the cake. Ma Jun steps in and tells her to use syrup (on the fruit). Apparently, she has done so to no avail. This is already cake #4. (I have to agree that the Head Baker is right…this is a superficial problem.)
Ma Jun helps himself to the cream on the cake and says that it’s obvious. Mi Sun tastes the cream (this should not be the first time she’s tasting the cream), and doesn’t look like she understands. Ma Jun tells her that the cream is too greasy (oil-based), and she needs to use something else. Also, she needs to bake the cake at a lower temperature.
[Complete aside: cream on cake is an alternative to frosting, which is popular in the US. Outside of the US, I haven’t seen frosting very much. I personally like cream because it is much lighter without being overwhelmingly sweet.]
Ma Jun apparently knows about cream because it’s popular in Japan. Mi Sun asks why he chose Pal Bong Bakery despite his pedigree. Ma Jun mentions that his father likes bread so he collects bread. At Pal Bong Bakery, he’s looking for the Bong bread, which Mi Sun says her grandfather no longer makes. Ma Jun is disappointed, but he says there are other things at Pal Bong Bakery, like the people. Even the guy who took the exam with him and…
Ma Jun notices that Mi Sun has cream on her lips, which presents him with the opportunity to wipe her lips with his thumb. Of course, he needs to eat the cream off his thumb too.
It’s all done in a matter of factly manner, but Mi Sun is highly disturbed. Desperately, she cleans her lips. Fortunately for us, she thinks he’s creepy, not that he’s attracted to her. Ma Jun draws her close, finger on her chin like he’s going to kiss her, and offers to taste cake #4 anytime. It looks like seduction. I thought that there were no signs of Ma Jun being attracted to Mi Sun. Is he doing this because he learned about his father and Mi Sun’s mom?
In Sook is trying on dresses for the party as she talks to Manager Han about Ma Jun. Is he coming to the party? Manager Han reveals that he saw Ma Jun recently, and says that he can’t say more. In Sook asks if he’s playing somewhere, or in trouble again, like stuck with a girl that he seduced. Manager Han assures her that it’s okay. Ma Jun is working hard to win Il Jung’s approval. But I guess it’s also a way of letting us know that Ma Jun has some experience with the ladies.
In Sook says it doesn’t matter if Il Jung doesn’t change his mind. She has other means of making him do so.
We fast forward to the party, which is probably the next day. They set up the food. The guests arrive at the hotel in their fancy cars. One of them, Director Choi, is shepherded to a meeting with Il Jung.
Director Choi expresses his interest in retiring, meaning giving up all his shares to finance golf playing for the rest of his life. Il Jung says the decision is sudden. Director Choi says it’s because he was approached. Il Jung’s mood darkens. He reminds Director Choi that Geo Seung should have the first dibs on the shares. But Director Choi has already sold his shares. Il Jung is surprised, but Director Choi says that he respected the rules, which means In Sook bought them.
Il Jung heads to the lounge to look for In Sook. He finds Ja Rim there, and asks to be left alone with her mother. He confirms that she bought the shares off Director Choi and asks her why. She explains that she wants to be respected, and to do that means power, which also means shares. Which also means that if Il Jung wants his shares, he should strike Tak Gu off the family register.
Ja Kyung arrives at this point to inform Il Jung that it’s time for him to make an entrance. In Sook tries to take his arm so that they can go out together, but Il Jung brushes her off. Ja Kyung sees everything with what looks like a tinge of hurt. Hmm… is it so hard for the kids to accept that their parents don’t love each other after seeing them coldly together for more than 20 years?
Meantime on campus, Yu Kyung has decided that she will attend the party, if only to see Tak Gu. We see from her memories that she has been thinking about him, and hearing news about the brother from Ja Rim.
Tak Gu has also decided that he needs to look for Yu Kyung. He asks around on campus, and just misses Yu Kyung as she brushes by him. He realizes this a few seconds later, and gives chase. Once again, they end up in the subway station, but he manages to get on the train this time. From a distance, he looks at her admiringly, hoping that it’s really her.
He loses sight of her for a second as she gets off the train, but he finds her again quickly. He follows her to the hotel, and she is starting to notice him. After some hesitation, Yu Kyung goes into the ballroom, where she finds Ja Rim and explains the situation: she thinks she’s being followed. Ja Rim says she’ll take care of it, and tells Manager Han that there is someone suspicious around. Yu Kyung recognizes Manager Han, and tries to hide her face.
Tak Gu walked by a notice, and doubles back. If he entered, he’ll be going into Geo Seung territory. He’s uncertain what he should do, and sits around trying to decide. When he finally decides to walk into the ballroom, it’s too late. The Han minions have found him, and they escort him downstairs to some dark dingy basement.
Manager Han tells him that he should never have come back. Tak Gu replies that he followed Manager Han’s orders years ago and never found his mother. Manager Han ignores all that. The bottom line is if Tak Gu comes back, he must be strong enough to defeat Manager Han or to die. The lackeys proceed to beat the hell out of Tak Gu.
While safe from Tak Gu in the ballroom, Yu Kyung is not safe from In Sook. Ja Rim introduces Yu Kyung, explaining that she’s a friend, and In Sook says that anyone coming to a party should be prepared to dress properly. She offers to hold a private reception for Ja Rim and friend in another room.
Ma Jun turns up at the party, and heads straight to Il Jung. Il Jung doesn’t look happy to see him. Instead, he asks where the others from the bakery are, and Ma Jun explains that they are not coming. Il Jung looks disappointed. But he is curious about Ma Jun being at Pal Bong bakery and asks him what is going on.
In Sook is delighted to see her son, and approaches the men. Il Jung says he needs to greet the guests with Ma Jun, and they walk away.
In the meantime, Yu Kyung and Ja Rim are still in the main ballroom. Ja Rim points out her brother, introducing him as Gu Ma Jun. Ma Jun notices the girls looking at him and he holds Yu Kyung’s stare for a while. Yu Kyung asks whether there is another brother. Ja Rim says no, and Yu Kyung knows better than to press on the issue.
In Sook notices Yu Kyung looking at Ma Jun, and it annoys her. Yu Kyung decides to leave, but knocks into some rich lady who emits a squeal of horror as she spills wine onto her own hideous dress. In Sook comes over to deal with the situation in a calm manner. She promises to get the same dress over to the lady’s house and offers the lady a change of dress.
With the lady gone, In Sook turns on Ja Rim for disobeying her. Yu Kyung apologizes, but In Sook ignores her. After Yu Kyung leaves, In Sook scolds Ja Rim for mingling with people below her.
Outside, Ma Jun is waiting for Yu Kyung. He reads her anger and knows that she wanted to get even. He doesn’t recognize her, but he knows that they know each other. Yu Kyung says they know each other from a long time ago, and even spent a night together.
Ma Jun thinks that she came to see him, but she says no. She was looking for Tak Gu. Kim Tak Gu, that Ma Jun could never beat, whom no one seems to know. Ma Jun is hit with a shock of recognition.
On her way out, Yu Kyung doesn’t notice Tak Gu, who is being removed to somewhere in a van. Ever resourceful, Tak Gu eventually manages to use a wrench left in the van and fights his way out of the van.
When she reaches campus that night, Yu Kyung heads straight to the clubroom. She senses someone there, and finds a bloody Tak Gu. He hands her her cap, and is half delirious with the blood loss and injuries. He starts to recite the Incheon soda chant, and she knows that it’s him.
For a moment, I thought we were going to delve into every character’s background, starting with windmill man. But thinking about it, I think it was an elegant way of retelling Tak Gu’s story (a summary) without being an obvious summary. I think that was nicely done.
It’s interesting to see the dual-nature of Ja Rim. On one hand she is a regular college girl, on the other hand, she acts all sweet with her mom. I wonder if she’ll now play a larger role, besides as the person to introduce Yu Kyung to the family. I think she might just be the girl who keeps Yu Kyung close to the Gu family.
This episode feels like a transition episode. We’ve introduced the last major character, and now it’s showtime. Tak Gu has found another ally, but I don’t know what will come of it. They are both powerless.
Lastly, please don’t let Mi Sun fall for Ma Jun’s seduction. She’s too innocent so it’s too cruel.
Just had to insert them somewhere.