Baker King (King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo) – Review
Baker King (King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo) is a 30 episode Korean drama about the eldest son of Goo In Jong, a legendary baking president of Samhwa Enterprises. Kim Tak Goo, portrayed by Oh Jae Moon (as a child) and Yoon Shi Yoon (as an adult) is a loving and caring person who at the age of twelve discovers that he is the eldest son of Goo In Jong, a skilled baker and also the president of Samhwa Enterprises.
For the past twelve years he and his mother Kim Mi Sun (Jun Mi Sun) has lived in poverty and have moved around a lot because of threats made by Han Seung Jae (Jun Sung Mo), the best friend and secretary of Samhwa Enterprises under the order of Goo In Jong’s wife, Seo In Sook (Jun In Hwa) who finds out about the child’s existence. Goo In Jong and Kim Mi Sun had a brief affair a little over twelve years ago after Seo in Sook gave birth to her second daughter, and under the guidance of Goo in Jong’s mother who desperately wanted a grandson to carry on the family’s name and business. Instead of killing Kim Mi Sun, Secretary Han allows her and the baby to live with the promise that he would kill both of them if he ever saw them again.
Kim Tak Goo gets to meet Goo In Jong, whom he calls Chairman when Kim Tak Goo and another friend tries to steal bread from a baking plant. Kim Tak Goo later takes responsibility and pays off the debt by selling junk he has collected. Goo In Jong is so impressed when the young man lives up to his responsibility that he asks him his name and he tells him Kim Tak Goo. Goo In Jong is shocked because that was the name he asked Kim Mi Sun to name their son before she gave birth to him but chocked it off an a coincidence since Kim Mi Sun disappeared and he hadn’t heard from her in twelve years. Kim Mi Sun gets upset when she learns about the meeting and learns that Kim Tak Goo wants to grow up to be someone successful just like Goo In Jong. But just as soon as she is about to forget the incident Secretary Han hears the child’s name and hunts them down. He threatens to kill them but Kim Mi Sun tells him that she will take her child and leave again. Kim Tak Goo does not want to leave because he is tired of moving and he has made friends. One friend in particular is Shin Yoo Kyung (Eugene) who is being physically and mentally abused by her alcoholic father.
Kim Mi Sun decides to take Kim Tak Goo to his father for him to raise since she is unable to give him the kind of life he needs to be a success. This causes a major problem because Goon In Jong is not only still married to Seo In Sook and they have three children, two older daughters and a younger son named Goo Ma Joon (Shin Dong Wood (child)/Joon Won (adult) whom Seo In Sook has been grooming to take over Samhwa Enterprises. Seo in Sook makes it very clear that she is not going to raise a child by her husband’s mistress. Goon In Jong’s mother instantly sees the resemblance between Goo In Jong and Kim Tak Goo and agrees to raise the child in the home despite the way Seo In Sook feels. Kim Mi Sun leaves and Kim Tak Goo tearfully cries because he doesn’t want to be separated from her. His grandmother tells him to man up and ignore the ugly stares he’s receiving from Seo In Sook and the other kids in the house.
Kim Tak Goo decides to give it his best shot but Seo In Sook treats him so badly, including physically striking him in the face because she hates him and what he stands for. Then one day Kim Tak Goo gets a wired message from Shin Yoo Kyung that his mother is in danger. Kim Tak Goo leaves the home to rescue his mother and Goo Ma Joon follows him. But when he gets there he discovers that his mother has been kidnapped.
Kim Tak Goo and Goo Ma Joon return to the mansion and Kim Tak Goo asks his father to help search for his mother, but his father is too busy and tell him that he will take care of it later. Seo in Sook plots with Secretary Han to get rid of the child and Secretary Han takes him off and tries to sell him to some men on a ship. Kim Tak Goo gets away from the men after he discovers what Secretary Han has done. While in hiding he meets an old man Pal Bong, who gives him some bread to eat, keeps him safe and then talks to him until Kim Tak Goo leaves the next morning. For the next twelve years Kim Tak Goo searches for a man with a windmill tattoo on his arm…the only clue he has in his mother’s disappearance. Twelve years later he shows up at a bakery and all their lives collide again.
Review – This is another one of those instances where you can’t judge a series by a couple of episodes. I originally watched the first couple of episodes and stop because the story dragged. So I put it aside for a while and then went back to it and got interested in the story. Just because you have money doesn’t mean that you are better than people who don’t. In this case money has turned these people into a very dysfunctional family. It is a tale filled with lies, deceit and secrets that span twenty-six years and just when you think nothing else can happen to the happy-go-lucky Kim Tak Goo one of his extended family members pulls a rabbit out of a hat to keep him in his place. This is a tale where men run the business and women run the household. They are pampered and spoiled and have never gone without a meal. Seo in Sook will stop at nothing to make her son the next president of Samhwa. Once she asks Secretary Han to help her he agrees since the two of them used to date and he is still in love with her. Secretary Han is an evil man who doesn’t have a problem committing kidnapping, murder and putting his own life on the line while pretending to be the president’s best friend and confidant.
This story is a tear-jerker, where most of the time Kim Tak Goo is the one in tears. Seeing him cry gets a little boring at times but your heart will go out when you see how determine he is to find his mother. I give this drama four fleur de les.