King of Baking, Kim Tak Gu Episode 21

This is the episode where Ma Jun crosses the line. And it is officially over between Yu Kyung and Tak Gu.

episode 21 recaps

We saw Ma Jun look on helplessly as Mi Sun fed the “cold medicine” to Tak Gu. Even after that Ma Jun said nothing. Inside, he acknowledges that he didn’t want this to happen. But he’s decided that it’s fate that made this happen. Way to shift responsibility. I think Tak Gu would be fine if you made him throw up.

Il Jung and Kim Mi Sun finally have a talk. Il Jung asks her how she’s coped the past 14 years, and she reveals that Grandma left her a lot of money. Over time, that sum of money has even grown.

Mi Sun asks how Tak Gu is doing, and Il Jung says that he’s fine. Mi Sun doesn’t look convinced, but she goes along with the conversation. We know that she is not certain that Tak Gu is alive. Il Jung admits that he didn’t fulfill all his promises to her, but he will right things. He’s being deliberately vague about this, and I don’t like it.

Mi Sun asks if In Sook has been doing well since Grandma’s death. Il Jung asks what she means. Mi Sun notes that Il Jung hasn’t heard the rumors that were flying around the house when Grandma died. The morning after Grandma was found lying in the rain, Housekeeper Gong found a pile of completely soaked clothes in In Sook’s room. Moreover, someone else had seen In Sook and Manager Han heading to the lower house that night.

Il Jung heads home and looks at his house with new eyes. Suddenly, the camera picks up all the servants. Previously, we’ve never seen anyone besides Mrs Gong and the driver. He recalls what Kim Mi Sun said about how the servants know the house better than the owners.

Inside the house, Ja Kyung and Manager Han are updating In Sook about the latest efforts, but there is really no news. Ja Kyung tries to get In Sook to rest. In Sook tells them to put more effort into looking for Il Jung instead of being concerned about her. Il Jung announces his presence, to everyone’s surprise.

In Sook immediately goes to greet him, and hugs him, telling him how worried they were. Manager Han doesn’t look too comfortable. Now even more than before, Il Jung is unable to reciprocate In Sook’s feelings. He pushes her hands off him, and says that he’s tired and needs to rest. However, as Ja Rim points out, why is Il Jung heading to Grandma’s room instead of his room?

Il Jung enters Grandma’s room, and stares at her picture. In Sook looks on from behind, worried. From a voiceover, we see that this move against In Sook is part of Kim Mi Sun’s plan.

Some time later in the day, Mi Sun comes along with a bowl of rice porridge for Tak Gu. She notes that his fever has gone down, and asks if he can sit up. Tak Gu doesn’t seem to remember what happened. Mi Sun tells him that he passed out in the kitchen. She tries to feed him, but he refuses. She tells him that he should eat to regain his strength.

Mi Sun tells him that if he feels like dying because he lost her, he should have tried harder to keep Yu Kyung. Tak Gu looks at Mi Sun, feeling exposed. Mi Sun explains that in his feverish state, he kept begging Yu Kyung not to leave him. He needs to get up and move on. He has so much left to do: he needs to find his mom and learn to bake.

Tak Gu relents and takes a spoonful of the porridge. He takes a second spoonful, and starts to look puzzled. He asks Mi Sun what the flavor of the porridge is, because it doesn’t taste like anything to him. She tells him that it’s pine nut. In fact, the entire place smells strongly of the porridge. Tak Gu looks worried, grabs the entire bowl of porridge, and tries to smell it. Nothing. He tries eating it, and still can’t taste it.

He rushes downstairs to the fridge, and brings out the banchan. They are usually pretty strong smelling if they are kimchi, but he can’t smell or taste any of them.

Tak Gu heads to the doctor to check things out. The doctor tells him that it’s probably not a side effect of the fever/cold that he had since Tak Gu recovered quickly. He speculates that it’s due to a drug. Tak Gu doesn’t remember eating any such drug. He tells the doctor that he has a competition coming up, and asks if the doctor can cure him. The doctor prescribes something, and tells Tak Gu to come back in a week if he’s not better.

Outside, Mi Sun is waiting for Tak Gu. He tells her that the doctor said that it’s due to the fever/cold, and it will correct itself in a day. Mi Sun looks relieved. Tak Gu tells Mi Sun to keep this a secret from everyone.

Ma Jun decides to get rid of the vial of poison. Being really careful, he dumps it in the trashcan in the store. Windmill man is watching, and the moment Ma Jun steps out, he swoops in to retrieve the vial.

Tak Gu tries to work on his dough, but gets frustrated: he can’t smell or taste anything. Ma Jun comes along, and notices Tak Gu’s frustration. Instead of being concerned, Ma Jun taunts Tak Gu.

He didn’t know that Yu Kyung was so important to Tak Gu, or that Tak Gu was so tenderhearted, falling sick just because he lost Yu Kyung. He thinks that Tak Gu should give up, espcially since he can’t taste or smell.

Tak Gu looks up in surprise. How did Ma Jun know about his loss of taste and smell? Ma Jun reminds him that he’s once said to use all possible methods to win. The same applies to Ma Jun; he will do what it takes to win. He wasn’t planning on actually poisoning Tak Gu, but fate helped him. However, Tak Gu shouldn’t run off to tell others what happened because the very person who gave him the drug is Yang Mi Sun. Imagine how bad Mi Sun would feel if she were to realize the truth.

Of course, Mi Sun is hiding in a corner of the kitchen and she’s heard everything.

Windmill man brings the vial to Grandpa. Grandpa dabs a little of the liquid on his finger, and sniffs and tastes it. Windmill man says that Tak Gu drank some of it, thinking that it’s cold medicine, but he doesn’t know what it is. Grandpa identifies it as a poisonous herb, Seol Bing Cho, that numbs the sense of taste, and with it the sense of smell. Tak Gu won’t be able to bake for a while.

Windmill man asks what happens to the competition. Grandpa says that they should keep this between the two of them, and wait and see what happens. It’s hard to deal with the situation since they are both his students. He’ll give them time to right the wrong.

Il Jung is getting more unhappy with Manager Han. He is suspicious that Manager Han said that the car checked out fine and that there was no problem with the brakes. The police and insurance company have both concluded that the accident was caused by driver’s error. He also remembers how Manager Han was seen near the small house the night Grandma fainted. He decides to take some action, and calls someone up.

That someone is Windmill man. Il Jung admits that he has a hard request to make. He knows that Windmill man has decided to live a new life, but he would like WIndmill man to work for him again. Windmill man turns him down. Il Jung tries to persuade Windmill man. He explains that he has no one else that he can trust and that it’s about Tak Gu.

In Sook and Manager Han discuss how Il Jung has been acting strangely since he got back. She wonders what happened the three days he was gone. Manager Han has a hunch that Kim Mi Sun is back. In Sook is shocked to hear that Kim Mi Sun is alive. He is certain that she is behind the blackmail letters that they have both been getting.

In Sook asks Manager Han why he is only telling her about the blackmail letters now. He says that he didn’t want to earn her trust that way. Manager Han tells her that Kim Mi Sun is keeping a low profile, but he has a plan to lure her out if In Sook agrees to participate.

In Sook asks the housekeeper for water, and then engages her in a little small talk. She dismisses the housekeeper, and picks up the phone to talk to Manager Han. She tells him that she’s decided to meet with Kim Tak Gu, and tells him to arrange the meeting for Saturday at 2pm at Unamjung. Mrs Gong overhears everything.

Kim Mi Sun gets very agitated upon learning that In Sook is going to meet with Tak Gu. She can’t believe that he is actually alive. She decides to turn up personally as well, despite Dr. Yun’s caution that it might be a trap.

Despite his sensory issues, Tak Gu proceeds with baking and preparing for the competition. However, he can’t smell or taste the resulting bread. In frustration, he throws the tray onto the ground. Mi Sun comes over and picks up the tray and the bread. She dusts off one of the bread, and bites into it. Tak Gu reacts with alarm. Mi Sun tells him that the bread still has the burnt flour taste.

Being the reliable Mi Sun, she tells him that he’s worked harder than anyone else in the bakery, and his muscles have memory. It’ll be harder but she’s sure that he’ll be able to learn to use his sense of touch to continue making bread.

Mi Sun tells him that she’ll be his sense of taste and smell until he gets them back. It’s the least that she can do since she’s the one directly responsible for giving him the drug. Tak Gu is alarmed by the sight of Mi Sun crying. He tells her that he’s fine. But she knows that he’s frustrated. Tak Gu looks at her crying, and draws her into a hug to comfort her. Mi Sun finally breaks down and cries even harder.

The strange man from the previous episode is back, hanging outside the bakery with a rock in hand. This time, Ma Jun is the one who sees him. The man throws the rock at the store’s glass door and runs away. Mrs Head Baker is shocked by the attack and screams, bringing the other bakers downstairs. Ma Jun witnesses everything, and lets the strange man escape.

Curly and Axe Eyes run out of the store, trying to find the culprit, but they have no idea where he went. Ma Jun doesn’t offer any help.

A piece of paper is wrapped around the rock. It reads “he who left will return”. Grandpa frowns and Head Baker asks if it is the work of Elder Chun Bae. Grandpa stares at the fermentation diary.

Ma Jun runs into Tak Gu in the hallway, and Tak Gu says that they should both do their best for the competition. Does that mean that Tak Gu is still in the competition? Tak Gu says he can’t give up because that means Ma Jun will win. He needs to show Ma Jun that his ways can never win, so that he will never try the same underhanded methods again. Ma Jun doesn’t take well to Tak Gu’s words. Tak Gu admits that he doesn’t know as much as Ma Jun, but he knows enough to judge that Ma Jun’s way of life is wrong.

Tak Gu works on his sense of touch. With Mi Sun, he practices for the competition, and Tak Gu works hard. As he gets more into bread making, he gradually overcomes his sadness and anger. On the other hand, Ma Jun gets more frustrated as he keeps failing in his attempts to make bread without yeast.

Ma Jun heads out of the kitchen for fresh air, and tries to clear his head. He crumples a piece of paper with some info and tosses it on the ground. The strange rock-throwing man from earlier in the day picks up the crumpled piece of paper. Ma Jun grabs the piece of paper out of his hand, and starts to walk away. The man says that he’s heard that there is a competition going on, and asks if Ma Jun is one of the participants. He asks what the topic is, whether it’s “the most filling bread in the world” or “the most interesting bread in the world”?

Ma Jun recognizes the topics, and realizes that the man could be someone. He asks the man who he is, and the man asks him whether he’s heard of the Bong bread. He is the creator of the Bong bread, and with that recipe, Ma Jun could pass the second round of the competition. In return, he has a request.

We finally see on the third page that the book is co-authored by Pal Bong and Chun Bae.

When Yu Kyung gets home that night, she finds Tak Gu waiting in front of her apartment complex. The competition is the next day, and Tak Gu thought it was a good time to see Yu Kyung. He asks her to go for a walk with him. She looks hesitant, but agrees.

They go back to the Nam San clocktower where they had arranged to meet. Tak Gu tells Yu Kyung not to feel sorry for him. Yu Kyung is smarter than him, and he has decided that she is capable of making the best decision for herself. She has made the right decision for her right? Yu Kyung nods. Tak Gu is satisfied, and tells her not to look back and to be happy.

Yu Kyung sheds a tear, and looks down. Tak Gu starts to wipe her tears, and stops himself. He pats her on the head instead. He tells her that she has to become the happiest person in the world, and then leaves.

Yu Kyung watches Tak Gu leave. Finally she runs after Tak Gu and backhugs him. She calls his name, and starts to cry harder. Tak Gu can’t help it but cry as well.

Besides the competition, the next day is also Saturday. In Sook is looking forward to meeting with Kim Mi Sun.

The next morning, the participants line up. They don’t seem too enthusiastic, but they get to work.

Yang Mi Sun is assembling her cake. Tak Gu seems to have five or six different doughs, and we don’t really see what Ma Jun is working on but we can probably guess. Finally they are done, and Grandpa starts the judging.

First he tries Mi Sun’s cake. She explains that she used rice flour. To make up for the lack of gluten compared to wheat flour, she’s added more eggs. It’s fluffy and light and Grandpa easily passes her. Head Baker and Axe Eyes look really proud of Mi Sun.

Since Tak Gu and Ma Jun picked the same ingredient, Grandpa will judge them together. Tak Gu present them with a basket of bread, and Grandpa asks what they are. He’s tried to make bread from kimchi, yogurt, rice wine, and fermented soybean paste. The bakers look impressed that he’s tried so many possibilities, but what is the result? Tak Gu cheerfully reports that they all failed. They spoil if they get fermented for too long, and they don’t taste good if they don’t get enough fermentation time.

However, he did learn a lot from the experience, and is generally positive. Head Baker and Windmill man don’t look unhappy with Tak Gu’s findings. Grandpa notes that Tak Gu actually looks happy despite failing.

Grandpa asks Tae Jo/Ma Jun what he has. Ma Jun says that he’s succeeded in making bread without yeast. He is greeted by silence. He reports that he used rice wine, and Head Baker and Axe Eyes look concerned. Ma Jun say that he complemented the bread with red bean paste. Grandpa takes a bite of the bread. The taste is distinct; it’s Choon Bae’s way of telling Grandpa that he’s back. Grandpa asks Ma Jun if he came up with the recipe on his own, and Ma Jun says yes.

Kim Mi Sun and In Sook prepare for their meeting. In Sook’s car is followed by Manager Han’s, and Dr. Yun accompanies Kim Mi Sun in a separate car. Mi Sun arrives early and sees In Sook arrive at the restaurant. A taxi follows and a young man alights. We can only see his back, but it’s enough to get Mi Sun excited. She gets out of her car and follows.

She follows the young man to a quiet part of the compound, and loses him. She sees a waitress, and asks her where the young man went. The waitress guides her to the room. Through the rice paper door, we can see his shadow.

Mi Sun quietly slides open the door and sees the young man’s back. She calls him Tak Gu, but he doesn’t reply. She touches his shoulder, and his face turns in surprise. In Sook arrives behind Kim Mi Sun and takes over the situation now that her prey is in the trap. She thanks the young man, who is an employee of Geo Seung. Kim Mi Sun realizes she’s been had and steels herself for the meeting. In Sook greets Kim Mi Sun. It’s been a while.

Grandpa announces that only one of the guys gets to the third round. Without much fanfare (where is the cliffhanger?), he tells Ma Jun that he’s eliminated. Both guys are shocked.

I am annoyed by a couple of points in the plot. Grandpa is doing his usual wait-and-see with Ma Jun and the poison and I don’t like it. I agree that the culprit needs a chance to make things right, but that time for Ma Jun is long past. He could have stopped Tak Gu from taking the poison, or performed the Heimleich maneuver, or apologized after the fact (instead of rubbing it in Tak Gu’s face). Even with Curly, things were only resolved after he was caught by Windmill man and forced to admit to his mistakes. What hope do we have for Ma Jun?

And while I am fine with Mi Sun being an excellent baker, I don’t see how her cake makes it through a competition asking for the most interesting bread. But it makes more sense to me now why she chose flour, instead of yeast like the other two.

I don’t like how they are inserting this Chun Bae person into the story right now. It’s different, but I can’t explain how. It’s different from the mother and son that was randomly inserted into the first round of competition. That flowed better than this Choon Bae guy coming in suddenly. I know something happened previously in the store, but there are other ways of creating a scandal without suddenly bringing in someone who is very important.

I am not a fan of the method, but circumstances are forcing Tak Gu to really become a good baker. First he couldn’t see, and now he can’t taste or smell. They are depriving him of his senses and challenging him to hone each sense for bread making. It’s a good concept. The execution is just a little cruel.

The writer is pretty into details, so I’m wondering if she’ll make something of the fact that Yang Mi Sun probably overheard Tak Gu calling Tae Jo “Ma Jun”. But I can’t think of a good way to work it into the plot.

Okay, I’m complaining a lot but I still want to know what happens next. I’m rooting right now for Yang Mi Sun to finally confess to Kim Tak Gu. I don’t think he’s ready for it yet though. I wonder what Ma Jun will do now that he’s been kicked out out the competition.

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5 Responses to King of Baking, Kim Tak Gu Episode 21

  1. Angela says:

    Hi!! Do keep up the good work for updating the recaps!! Looking forward to the remaining eps! Cheers! 😉

  2. Jenn says:

    Hi. Where do you get Baker King photos? Thanks!

  3. kaydeejay says:

    i like dis film aja Kim Tak Gu

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