By Bryan Tan
This recap, which contains spoilers, covers episodes 13 and 14 of Start-up, which is currently available on Netflix.
At last, a glorious time skip! Three years on, Seo Dal Mi (Bae Suzy) is the CEO of Cheongmyeong group, a sister company to her sister’s (pardon the pun) company, Injae group, and is in the process of acquiring permits to test drive their debut product — a self-driving car.
Nam Do San (Nam Joo Hyuk) and his team are now successful coders for 2STO, and are seen lounging on a yacht after being granted a month of vacation for successfully completing a project. Team leader Han Ji Pyeong (Kim Sun Ho) has been promoted to director, and has also been self-promoted to Dal Mi’s protector, fending off her romantic advances, and at the same time getting close to her. He even goes to her house to help prepare food for chuseok, the most important holiday for South Koreans.
But as his sassy voice-activated assistant yeongsil says, he is a batter who’s afraid to swing for fear of being called out; if he continues to hesitate he will lose. This rings true, considering that it’s been three years and he has yet to make any romantic moves on Dal Mi. If it were me, I would’ve definitely made a move the moment rival Do San was out of the picture.
Our star-crossed lovers meet again
Things get interesting when Do San and gang decide to fly back to South Korea for their holiday. Do San goes to Sandbox to find Dal Mi, but instead finds himself face-to-face with rival Ji Pyeong, who taunts him with a gift he bought for her, insinuating that the two have gotten much closer.
Do San realises the folly of his actions and leaves, but not without Dal Mi spotting his silhouette leaving Sandbox. Dal Mi’s company comes under fire from ransomware, all her company’s information held hostage for the price of 300 million won (approximately S$365,000). Of course, Do San swoops in to save the day like the tall lanky Batman that he is, assembling his team of coders and decrypting the virus with the speed of a spurned ex-lover.
Do San sweeps a very stressed-out Dal Mi off her feet (literally) and the two catch up briefly and very awkwardly. Ji Pyeong realises again that he failed to be there for Dal Mi when she needed help. I guess the writers really don’t like him as much as I do. She breaks down in front of Ji Pyeong because she is heartbroken over Do San and feels terrible over what she said when they broke up.
New beginnings, new relationships
Do San and gang decide to end their contract with 2STO and form their own start-up in South Korea. Their stint with 2STO garnered them great attention from angel investors and venture capitalists queueing up to invest in them, and a magazine features them in a double page spread.
Won In Jae’s (Kang Han Na) coders are passed over for the magazine feature for Do San instead, and they quit in anger. In Jae tasks Dal Mi to hire Do San and his team, or else she is fired. Dal Mi is left to wrestle with and reconcile both her professional and romantic feelings for Do San, and approaches him with an offer, which he promptly rejects.
Do San seeks advice from his father (Kim Won Hae) on how to sort out his feelings, and is advised to go on a five-hour cycling trip to his grand-uncle’s house to clear his mind. In Jae finally meets her granny (Kim Hae Sook) for the first time in many years but sadly, granny does not recognise her because of her failing eyesight, which is almost completely gone by now.
Dal Mi chases after Do San on his countryside trip, in high heels and all. They release their pent up emotions in the desolate countryside, and talk about their past memories. Dal Mi falls asleep while reminiscing and Do San goes to her, brushes her hair behind an ear and tells her quietly that her ideas fascinated him too, just like how his story about coding (involving Tarzan trying to court Jane through trial and error) fascinated her.
Do San lets her sleep on his shoulder while he peruses her business plans. Looks like there is a chance for them to make up after all! Dal Mi’s company begins to test drive their autonomous car; will it be a metaphor for success and a powerful new relationship between Dal Mi and Do San?
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