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Overview of Baker King Kim Tak Goo and Jo Jin-goo

Quick Background:
Baker King Kim Tak Goo (BK) was a monster of a drama this year ending on a high of 50.8%. The story revolved around Kim Tak Goo and his journey to find his mother, learn breadmaking, rediscover himself, and live happily ever after. BK was a good drama with a healthy dose of makjang (over-the-topness). It was fun, addictive, and entertaining. Its domination over the Wednesday-Thursday viewship ratings, though, were due to luck. BK starred relative newbies and was about making bread. There were not a lot of advertisements for the drama before its air, and I highly doubt KBS had expected these results. However, luck was on BK's side since its competitions were having a rough time which allowed it to shine. The anticipated So Ji-sub's war drama, Road Number 1, was a flop because the story was awful. SBS's Bad Guy was also having difficulties since it was postponed in order to air the World Cup and lost momentum and its lead. Overall, BK had the floor to itself and knew how to take advantage of this golden opportunity. BK was good. 50% good? Probably not, but still solid and one of my favorite dramas of the year.

Jo Jin-goo giving Kim Tak-goo a piggy-back ride
 Tak-goo, the protagonist, was the stereotypical "good guy" with talent and a heart of gold. I liked him. He was annoying at first, always yelling and getting mad at people, but this set-up was most likely intentional. Tak-goo starts off as a brat who regains back his innocence through the relationships he forges. One of these relationships was with Jo Jin-goo, aka Pinwheel. Jin-goo is played by Park Sung-woong and was my favorite character.

Jo Jin-goo (My Favorite Character):
Warning: contains MAJOR spoilers

Let's start off with a little background on Jin-goo. Jin-goo was the man who kidnapped Kim Tak-goo's mother and caused our hero to scour the land and wallow in self-pity. Tak-goo is the illegitamite son to a rich, bread-factory-owning family. The father loves Tak-goo and tries to hide his mother (the lover) away in order that she does not get hurt by the jealous, legit wife and her lover (as I said, makjang). The father hires Jin-goo for the job but unfortunately, the mother believes Jin-goo is working for the evil people and tries to escape. Jin-goo gives chase but is too late as he witnesses her falling off a cliff to her presumed doom. Tak-goo, though, witnesses his mother beng kidnapped but loses sight of Jin-goo. However, his friend Yoo-gyung noticed that the kidnapper had a pinwheel on his forearm which starts Tak-goo's search for the pinwheel-man and the whereabouts of his mother.

The "bad" Tak-goo who is searching for his mom

Adult Tak-goo finally finds the place the pinwheel-man is working but cannot pinpoint the perpetrator yet. As a result, Tak-goo is invited to learn how to make bread, and he agrees in hopes to find pinwheel. Working is hard for Tak-goo and no one seems to like him except for Jin-goo. Tak-goo starts to warm up to him when by accident, he sees Jin-goo's forearm while fighting some gangsters. This leads to a teary scene between the two actors and a little narration of Jin-goo's life. Jin-goo is an ex-convict who restarts his life through bread, and later, we learn that he has a sick sister who lives in the hospital. This caused Jin-goo to resort to illegal jobs such as kidnapping.

Jin-goo, despite Tak-goo's hate for him, tries to help and protect Tak-goo. This is what I love about Jin-goo. Even though he did something wrong, Jin-goo should not feel guilty about it forever because everyone makes mistakes, and in reality, Tak-goo's father is more at fault. Tak-goo's father was the one who ordered all this to happen and even when Jin-goo learned about Tak-goo's father identity and that he was the one who wanted to separate Tak-goo and his mom, Jin-goo hides this secret for Tak-goo's sake. Jin-goo undestands that if Tak-goo were to know that his father was the one to cause him all those years of searching and suffering, he would most likely hate his father.Therefore, Jin-goo shelters Tak-goo and takes all the blame in order to protect our protagonist.
Scene where Jin-goo talks to Tak-goo's father

Jin-goo is like an older brother to Tak-goo. Not only did he keep his father's actions a secret, Jin-goo has helped him multiple of times throughout the drama like a gaurdian angel. When the oven exploded, Jin-goo carried him to the emergency room and was wrought with guilt when he discovered that Tak-goo may be blind. Also, after the incident, Jin-goo helps Tak-goo overcome his fear by telling him, "I won't let you get hurt again." Jin-goo is always there for him and willing to help Tak-goo even out of his own expense.

"I won't let you get hurt again."
However, Jin-goo's greatest sacrifice and help for Tak-goo is when he assists Tak-goo's father and acts as a double agent. Jin-goo pretends to work for the main villian (Tak-goo's father's wife's lover... I know, it sounds complicated) but is actually taking orders from Tak-goo's father. (I love double agents becase they are such complex characters.) Well, most people will realize, when watching the show, that Jin-goo is obviously a good guy (mind you, though, there were some people who completely believed that Jin-goo was evil and thought that everyone else was stupid for falling for his nice guy facade). Despite the obviousness of Jin-goo's actions, it's still endearing to see the lengths to which he goes to help our hero. Jin-goo is like Tak-goo's older brother (his hyung).

Jin-goo and the "wife's Lover" Han Seung-jae

This is probably my favorite character played by Park Sung-woong thus far. Jin-goo seems, at first, insignificant but gradually grows. This may be Tak-goo's story, but Jin-goo is also a living, breathing character. He has his share of troubles, and like the protagonist, he rediscovers himself and his purpose in life through bread and through his encounter with Tak-goo. Park Sung-woong plays Jin-goo well, and I can't picture anyone else in this role.

Who needs Superman when you have Jin-goo hyungnim!