Start-Up episodes 3-4: How long can Nam Do San fake it as Seo Dal Mi’s childhood love?

·3-min read
Nam Do San (Nam Joo Hyuk, right) tries to deflect the fact that he is not really who Seo Dal Mi (Bae Suzy) thinks he is in Start-Up.
Nam Do San (Nam Joo Hyuk, right) tries to deflect the fact that he is not really who Seo Dal Mi (Bae Suzy) thinks he is in Start-Up.

By Bryan Tan

This recap contains spoilers and covers episodes 3-4 of Start Up, which is currently available on Netflix.

After making a sleek entrance at Seo Dal Mi’s (Bae Suzy) networking event pretending to be her successful, hotshot boyfriend, Nam Do San (Nam Joo Hyuk) finds himself completely out of his element when he meets her sister Won In Jae (Kang Han Na) and mother (Song Seon Mi).

If you enjoyed Nam Joo Hyuk’s transformation from homme fatale to clueless computer nerd in Start Up, you’ll definitely swoon over this reverse image overhaul, complete with sharp suits and shiny dress shoes in these latest episodes. Despite the outward change, Nam is still very much the naïve geek who struggles with social conventions and has had minimal interaction with the opposite sex; very much like Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, sans the despotic need to be right all the time.

It becomes inevitable that Nam finds himself developing a rather cute and hesitant crush on Dal Mi, as a result of being him forced to interact with her by Han Ji Pyeong (Kim Sun Ho), who is indebted to Dal Mi’s grandmother when she took him in as an orphan. Now a successful team leader in a venture capitalist company, Han still cherishes the love he has for her in the childhood letters that he wrote to Dal Mi using Nam’s name.

This very strange triangle does make for very hilarious scenes, as Nam has to pretend that he is actually a very successful start-up CEO with the help of Han, who secretly harbours strong feelings for Dal Mi. Nam’s company, Samsan Tech, ‘moves’ several times to Han’s own office as a front for when Dal Mi comes to visit; there is ensuing panic whenever that happens.

One can only wonder how much more Ji Pyeong can take, having to conceal his feelings in front of Dal Mi, and at the same time helping her to fall in love with another man. This is aptly manifested in a scene where Han assures Dal Mi’s grandmother that he’ll make sure she doesn’t get hurt, while watering the plant that Dal Mi gave to Nam as a present for his ‘office’.

Things begin to unravel as Dal Mi discovers that Nam is not the hotshot CEO he professes to be, at a hackathon for Sandbox, a company that accelerates start-ups. Surprisingly, Dal Mi is unfazed and even tries to get Nam to recruit her as CEO of their company. It is perhaps not entirely convincing that she does; I would’ve been absolutely furious at having been lied to. Perhaps it was her desperation to prove herself and her trusting nature that led her to do so; can one be a business owner despite being so naïve?

Will their continued cooperation lead also to the revelation that Nam was not the one whom Dal Mi had a childhood crush on all these years? Can they still continue to pursue their dreams of building a successful start-up with this deception yet uncovered? Find out in the weekly episodes of Start-Up released every weekend on Saturdays and Sundays.

More recaps of Start Up:

Start-Up episodes 1 and 2: A story of budding entrepreneurs and their dreams of success