By Bryan Tan
This recap contains spoilers and covers episodes 7-8 of Start-up, which is currently available on Netflix.
The love triangle between our adorable trio deepens as Nam Do San (Nam Joo Hyuk) visits Seo Dal Mi’s (Bae Suzy) equally adorable grandmother (Kim Hae Sook). Do San had initially planned to reveal his deception to Dal Mi, but refrained upon finding out that Dal Mi’s granny has a debilitating eye illness, and also that Ji Pyeong owed her a debt that could not be repaid.
Things get incredibly awkward when Ji Pyeong shows up as well, and both men try to outdo each other to impress Dal Mi by fixing things around the house. They both end up arguing in Ji Pyeong’s very chic, matt-black Mercedes Benz.
Ji Pyeong confronts Do San about not revealing the truth of who wrote Dal Mi the childhood letters, and Do San deflects by asking Ji Pyeong to let him down at a bus stop. Ji Pyeong questions his ambitions and asks Do San to use him as a mentor or even Dal Mi. But before Do San can presumably respond to express his interest in Dal Mi, Ji Pyeong jams down hard on the brakes and tells him to take the bus. Do San accuses him of being jealous, to which a defensive Ji Pyeong scoffs in dismissal. Dude, if you’re going to react in such a way to such accusations, you might as well admit that it’s true!
One just can’t help rooting for Do San and his relationship with Dal Mi, despite him keeping such a dark secret. Perhaps it’s his awkward shyness that endears viewers to him, but in contrast Ji Pyeong can be brusque and sometimes even caustic in his attempts to hide his feelings for Dal Mi, resulting in conflicting signals as he is also a business mentor to her.
Meanwhile, the Samsan Tech team forges ahead, determined to create an AI project which will win over investors. Dal Mi’s arrogant older sister Won In Jae (Kang Han Na) tips her off to plans by her stepfather’s (Eom Hyo Seop) company, Morning Group, to channel corporate social responsibility funds to new start-ups. But things go south during the meeting, with Do San smashing her stepfather’s name plaque in protest of the exploitative terms offered.
But things don’t all go wrong. We finally get a beautiful kissing scene; a reward for Do San’s selfless and protective act, and the couple lock lips (twice!) on Morning Group’s rooftop. Probably could’ve chosen a better spot to kiss though, eh? But still, the niggling sensation of Do San pretending not to be who he is lingers; what’s going to happen when Dal Mi eventually finds out it was Ji Pyeong who wrote those letters to her all these years?
Do San takes a cue from granny Seo’s eye illness and focuses his company’s AI recognition technology to better aid visually impaired people. Naturally, mentor Ji Pyeong rejects the idea, but is eventually persuaded by the woman he obviously has secret feelings for.
But Dal Mi forges ahead undeterred, meeting with executives from companies who may need rebranding, or those interested in the welfare of the handicapped. If you’ve been enjoying the beautiful outfits which she’s donned to show her business sense or to prove her sister wrong, netizens have been pointing out that realistically, her character cannot afford them at all!
Storm clouds start to gather, as Dal Mi also finds out about her granny’s sickness, and discovers that her business mentor’s handwriting is suspiciously similar to the childhood letters supposedly written to her by Do San. Things are starting to get very exciting in the next few episodes, stay tuned!
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