Start-Up – K-Drama Episode 10 Recap & Review

Demo Day

Regrets always come too late. When it comes to Ji-Pyeong, that much is especially true as episode 10 of Start-Up begins with Dal-Mi telling him to be honest and explain everything. She doesn’t want to be fooled anymore and asks exactly who wrote the letters all those years ago.

Ji-Pyeong spills the entire truth, everything including the randomness of using Do-San’s name all those years ago. He also tellingly includes how Do-San’s feelings grew over time. As he looks set to tell her how he feels, Dal-Mi turns and walks away.

Back at Sand Box, Sa-Ha and the San boys find out everything too. While the boys remain positively optimistic that everything will work out, Sa-ha is not. She’s convinced that everything will blow up in their face – which could spell the end for Samsan Tech.

Do-San catches up with Dal-Mi and can’t help but cry. He tells her he’s sorry but she pulls away, unable to deal with everything she’s known being a deception. Eventually she walks away, leaving Do-San a sobbing mess. In fact, everyone’s a mess here – including Dal-Mi who spends the night at her desk trying to work out what to do next.

Demo Day is coming up and as Dal-Mi leaves in the morning, Do-San happens to be there waiting for her too. She admits that it’s painful they have to work together and pretend everything is normal. For now, she tells him they shouldn’t be meeting outside work and walks away.

Outside Sand Box the protestors gather – led by none other than Seong-Hwan of all people. He’s rallied all the reporters there too and as he confronts In-Jae, he takes her business card and she realizes that his son is Do-San. Given Do-San doesn’t know what he’s doing, Seong-Hwan pretends to pass out so he doesn’t have to confront his son.

Do-San runs into Alex who plays the hilarious “Money” video on his phone and follows him on his segway, asking to talk. After mentioning the symbolic meaning of crows (which Alex gets wrong, it actually means bad luck), he agrees to hear the businessman out.

Alex propositions the idea of a book to write with royalties but Do-San refuses. Despite the video asking for money, that’s not what he wants. He wants a person (which is obviously Do-San) instead.

Elsewhere, Sun-Hak discusses Demo Day with her colleagues where more of the past is revealed. It turns out a CEO in the past entered and couldn’t deal with the stress, unfortunately committing suicide in the process. As fate would have it, their brother has entered Sand Box this year. Could it be the same person who wrote that they wanted revenge?

Dal-Mi returns to the office and offers to get the guys a coffee… just as Do-San arrives. Dal-Mi does her best to keep everything civil and offers to get Do-San one too. It’s obviously tensions between them all though.

While Dal-Mi does her best to keep everything together, she overhears Do-San briefing the team about the specifics of the app. Ji-Pyeong remains watching from the wings, worried about Dal-mi and deciding to meet her out at lunch to explain what happened.

He selflessly sticks up for Do-San despite not really liking him and is bold, telling her he likes her and that he has strong feelings for the girl.

Meanwhile, A-Hyun shyly asks Won-Deok to come and work part-time for her. Won-Deok decides that, because she’s her ex Mother-in-law she doesn’r want to go through with this.

Dal-Mi meanwhile is very much prepared to work through everything. After dismissing her team and telling them to go home, Ji-Pyeong shows up and asks to speak to Do-San.

Alone, he asks about the NoonGil profits and, specifically, gives him a series of probing questions designed to find any potential flaws in the business. This is the last time he’s helping though, especially after admitting everything to Dal-Mi. Eventually he sends Do-San on his way.

Do-San follows Dal-Mi all afternoon, watching from across the table as a stranger sits with Dal-Mi and asks about her worries. She believes she’s walking a tightrope and worries that she could fall at any moment. Even worse, Dal-Mi feels like a fake.

As this woman starts talking about holding a memorial service, Do-San gets involved and swings across to their table. He berates the lady and eventually takes a very-drunk Dal-Mi home. On the way, she asks him to show up like he did at the networking party and get rid of her worries.

Dropping her off at the swings (symbolic of course for how Sand Box started all those years ago), Do-San runs all the way home and gets dressed up in a suit. He scrambles back and hurries across to meet her at the park. When he gets there though, she’s gone home. He hangs his head and walks away.

With Demo Day coming up though, Do-San decides to hold onto his suit. He debates about whether to show up wearing it to try and help her out. Before that though, In-Jae reveals what his father has been up to, prompting Do-San to head out and tell his Father to keep fighting. He wants them to be father and son but not put on a pedestal anymore.

The big day arrives and the companies prepare to pitch their best in front of the whole world. After a pitch to the audience, they then have to deal with questions from the judges. Everything comes down to this – all the hard work and perseverance. It’s certainly a tense situation and something that Dal-Mi struggles with, losing confidence in her own abilities.

The next day, Dal-Mi finds out about In-Jae stealing her story to get into Sand Box and confronts her sister over it. Do-San shows up to support her, telling In-Jae to apologize.

Do-San sticks up for her and eventually breaks the news that he was originally going to wear a suit but changed his mind. He doesn’t want to deceive her anymore and goes on to lavish praise over the excellent job she’s done to make it this far.

Meanwhile, Yong-San confronts Ji-Pyeong and asks him about his brother. He claims that Ji-Pyeong killed him but he simply scoffs and brushes it aside. Yong-San is not messing around though and holds him up by the scruff of his neck.

Do-San makes his decision and confronts Alex, telling him he’ll take him up on his offer as he doesn’t want a Plan B. That Plan B of course, being taking Ji-Pyeong’s offer.

During the epilogue, we cut to Ji-Pyeong getting drunk and talking about being scared and nervous, wondering whether he should have told Dal-Mi after all. The person sitting opposite him… happens to be the memorial service lady from earlier.

The Episode Review

So Start-Up slows down slightly for this episode, letting us simmer in the melodrama and heart wrenching moments between Dal-Mi, Ji-Pyeong and Do-San. All of them have issues and it’s obvious that Dal-Mi is going to have to choose one of these two men sooner or later.

It’s fascinating to see the deep divides between Team Do-San and Team Ji-Pyeong right now. Start-Up is one of those rare dramas where really either of the two could and should end up with Dal-Mi at the end. It’s that quintessential ingredient that makes for a compelling and well written love triangle, something that – when done right – is just so satisfying to experience.

Alongside this are the scenes with Sa-Ha who, rightly or wrongly, seems to be growing some affection for Chul-San. It may just be an act of course but it’ll be interesting to see if the series pulls the trigger and shows these two getting involved in a romance.

The most important thing now though comes from the upcoming Demo Day and it’s clear that tensions are high. Yong-San being the investor out for revenge is an interesting development, one that allows his character an extra layer of depth, and it’ll be intriguing to see how the show develops that over time.

For now, this remains a background plot element to the aforementioned triangle. So far though, Start-Up has easily been one of the better Korean dramas this year and right now the ending is still not written in stone. Who will come out on top? We’ll have to wait and see!

Previous Episode

Next Episode

Click Here To Read Our Full Season Review For Start-Up!


  • Episode Rating

35 thoughts on “Start-Up – K-Drama Episode 10 Recap & Review”

  1. at first, i was full-on team dosan, but a few episodes back, i started supporting jp more. dosan just feels really forced. every scene where the love triangle is involved, it feels as if the biased writers are putting jp in the wrong and not including him in obvious scenes with dalmi bc that wont help the ship between dalmi and dosan. also the grandma is really surprising. i dont think it makes sense how much she denied to jp telling the truth to dalmi. she’s supposed to support jp after everything theyve been through. they have been family since 15 years ago, and now grandma def prefers some stranger to be w dalmi over the dude who she helped raising and that actually knows and cares about dalmi since many years ago.

    however, i agree that dosan shouldn’t take responsibility about the lies from those years, but he def is responsible of taking on that lie and from that moment on think about dating dalmi, a girl she met just that night. tbh my opinion may be based on my disbelief on love at first sight, but i have to point out that it was until ep 4 or 5 that i started noticing this and that i started supporting jp.

  2. WOW. how is it Do-San’s fault when it was GRANDMA who stopped him from telling Dal-Mi the truth. Yall are calling him manipulative and calling him a liar as if grandma and Ji-yeong havent been LYING to Dal-Mi for FIFTEEN YEARS.

    they lured do-san’s poor innocent self into this mess because THEY couldnt be honest with Dal-mi. Do-Sam tried to tell Dal-Mi but it was grandma and JP who stopped him. Its not his fault he is falling for her 🙄🙄

  3. It’s interesting how many of the comments are team HJP and seem to dislike Do San’s character. What I like best about this drama is that both male leads are flawed, and it will take the one who demonstrates the most willingness to grow and become a person worthy of Dal Mi to win her heart.

    Do San has made a lot of mistakes, some out of cluelessness (he’s never dated before), some out of immaturity (b/c he has little romantic experience, he doesn’t know how to handle the jealousy or insecurity with savvy), and some out of low self-esteem (he’s felt like a fraud ever since his childhood). He’s learning how to love himself so he can actually be a worthy partner for someone else, and though he began out of pretense, he has shown steady signs of trying to rectify the situation. The deception was not created by Do San either, he merely took a desperate opportunity to progress his flailing company.

    HJP, on the other hand, is the co-creator of the deception, working very hard to perpetuate the myth on which Dal Mi has centered her life. He has sat back for 15 years and never entered her orbit until now. If he was so connected to her as a pen pal, why did it take so long for him to reveal himself to her, even if he would not be able to admit his feelings. His main flaw is the same as when he accused her grandmother of stealing his money before leaving town. His scars and mistrust run so deep, rather than experience any further feelings of loss, it has been easier to wall himself inside a protective layer of sarcasm and doling out harsh criticisms. He too has shown signs of trying to relent and let someone in his heart, but his habits are strongly forged and his transformation is taking much longer than Do San’s, and mostly internally.

    In the end, I believe Dal Mi will choose herself and her own future and likely walk away from both who have (unintentionally) manipulated her…until one of them has overcome their own roadblocks enough to convince her down the road (and likely via open-ended coda).

  4. The reason DS is unlikable to me not because how he started liking her through a lie.
    It’s because the actions he took in blocking the other guy for his sake at a chance of getting her. He lied many times to block the other guy.

    The other guy lied mainly to protect DM’s feelings.. even at in Ep 10, JP drove to get the letter to still help DS.

    It’s possible the writers would make somehow DS turned into a good guy in the end to make him worthy for DM after intentionally/unintentionally wrecked DS’s character. I don’t care and won’t care.

  5. I initially started watching this show because I am a fan of Nam Joo-Hyuk (actor playing Do San), but after a couple of episodes, I was all team HJP in every way… that was when I started losing interest in the show because sadly, I knew he was never gonna get a fair chance and he might even turned into the bad guy of the story. This is one of the few times that I called it and I hate that I am right.

  6. If Dal mi doesnt end up with Han Jipyeong my review will go from a 8 to a solid 2. I just don’t like Dosan at all

  7. How can anybody with a right frame of mind be rooting for DS? Intentionally getting into a relationship with DM with the help of a humongous lie. Behind that innocent face is a cunning and dishonest character. Starting to hate this drama now!

  8. Anyways I think the director has done a good job of making Han look like the bad and selfish guy and always making him play second fiddle, it’s so obvious. The whole thing is set up for do San to come out on top.
    They wanted to make Han the villain of the love story, so they brought and extra layer and made him the mentor who killed Yong sans’s brother. Bullshit.
    Surprisingly Do-San has been the perfect guy always sobbing with her, always swooping in to save the day.
    Plus even the grandma doesn’t give to shits about how Mr Han feels, and she tells him not to pursue his feelings for dal mi.

  9. After episode 10, I’ll skip the rest. Don’t want to feel any worse than I am already feeling now seeing how DM is going for that immature DS. Hang in there JP … though I seriously doubt that you’ll ever get the girl in the end but you’ll be fine. I don’t think she deserves you. Both DM & DS are made for each other … but their love story is not something I’m keen on watching anymore.

  10. I really would love to see an end with Dal-Mi and Ji-Pyeong, after all that’s how everything started, he was there since the beginning supporting her and still continue doing it, making the best version of herself, he cares about her grandma and her grandma loves him….. plus he is adorably handsome ❤️

  11. I think everyone is forgetting that Dosan was going to tell Dalmi but the Grandma stopped him. Its all the Grandmas fault she’s the one who started it all. I’m team Dosan because he’s sweet and humble the other guy has a bad attitude and is very selfish

  12. At the end of day they both lied to her. Do San friends keep getting in the way which is annoying AF. If you can’t succeed in pursuing me without constant aid from others then go away. All the times that she needed someone “the right guy”, Ji-pyeong, was going to help her but they keep blocking him to let Do San swoop in. Do San is a man child!! Honestly I want her to end up with neither of them. She was a confident person who hustled, doing multiple jobs to aid her grandmother. Do San makes her not truly trust herself and rely on him while Ji-pyeong pushes her to be a better version of herself while being there just in case she falls. So everyone pushing for Do San is supporting and promoting toxic relationships. Do San is selfish, needy, and toxic. Did everyone forget that Ji-pyeong was a homeless orphan who succeeded because he didn’t want to rely on other people’s pity? That’s why he had to leave the grandma behind even though he obviously cares about her.

  13. Do San is such a selfish bloke, quite the opposite Mr han ji pyeong a true gentleman. Despite having feelings for Dal mi he still made no attempt to put do San down. While the selfish guy do San is always trying to block ji pyeong even though ji pyeong helped him so much till now.

    Do San will get the girl because all the touching and kissing scenes are with dal mi and he always gets to be there when Sal mi needs someone. But frankly he is l selfish crybaby loser.

  14. I absolutely love Do San. He’s sincere in everything he does. He has strong principals, he has a kind heart and he’s super intelligent and very hansome 😄. JP, yes, like him too, but the way he treated Sam San Tech at first made me hate him a bit.

  15. I dont like Do- San. Not a good role model. He should have the courage to be honest and let go. He is not a man but a boy. I like JP better.

  16. Why is everyone hating on do-San? I know that do-San truly likes dal-mi but yet even tho he tries to make her happy sometimes it doesn’t work out. If you remember tho he has made dal-mi happy a few times out JP hasn’t that much and personally I think if she really liked the person who wrote the letters she would have maybe liked JP from a beginning but she also liked do-San for his personality. I think she should end up with do-San because if JP truly likes her he would have confessed but he didn’t and do-San apologized as well but I think she should end up with who even makes her happy.

  17. It really amazed me to read tons of stuff rooting for.JP. Boy , this is happening because your guy is a “coward”…Early on, he should have communicated his feelings towards Dal-mi. Dosan for.all his faults is bold and sincere about Dalmi ! blame except JP himself

  18. Its continues to amaze me how every episode paints Dosan in worse and worse light as more of his character is revealed and yet some of his fans continue to make excuses for him through their rose colored glasses.
    How does dosan with his 1000 flaws over the last 15 years and now with dalmi compare to a guy with 1 original selfless mistake and even that one was her life long support and most cherished memory?

    Some people I have found are doomed to failed relationships because of their inability to assess the quality of men.

  19. Love JP, he’s the only reason I continue to watch this drama. I skip most of the episode due to Dosan having most of the screen time. I hope this drama turns around but I doubt it.

  20. I hated Do San. Cry baby & pretending as someone’s lover! Pity HJP…I stopped watching this drama because of the this annoying Do San!

  21. I feel sad for Jipyeong, he’s an orphan but he manage to become successful. He’s always there for Dalmi since 15 years ago and at the present time he still there always supporting and taking care of her. For me the situation is very unfair because Dosan is not there when Dalmi needed someone to lean on even not physically but emotionally. Jipyeong help her through letters to feel that everything will be alright. It’s just sad because Dosan got all the love and care from Dalmi that supposedly for Jipyeong…..lesson…never hide a secret.

  22. To me it seems mr han is fated to remain the man who is always there when needed, but he will be in the background never the main feature. Just liked he helped with the letters 15 years ago, when she needed a friend. Hes reward will be platonic love ( which he needs, hes an orphan and doesn’t have any significant relationships in his life now)from halmoeni and Dal mi. Do san and Dal mi have more in common they both dealing with some self esteem issues and they are still searching for success and this will be their first relationship. So mr han doesn’t have a chance and he doesn’t spend much time with Dal mi anyway. I really want mr han and Dal mi to be together but its not gonna happen

  23. Each episode leaves me in total excitement …fast paced..never a dull scene…very good actors..KUDOS TO THE CAST,CREW AND CREATORS

  24. Honestly when seo dal mi found out she had been lied to and the truth is out that JP wrote the letters, it was sad to see that he wasn’t given more screentime to show his better qualities thus far. His interventions at the most important moments have helped seo dal mi and nam do san get together and make the decisions required for them to work like a company, even though it was only because he cared for seo dal mi and wanted to repay his debt to the grandma. But you need to remember that he undoubtedly gave the neccessary tension to pull nam do san out of his shell becoming the person he is now. Sure his criticism wasn’t always correct, espc when SAMSAM tech won the CODA competition, but that criticism is what got nam do san rethinking about his position as CEO, his own lackings and it is what got him to know about Seo Dal Mi too. Somebody should give him an award for shepharding. A miracle orphan.

    Still watching JP’s efforts to hide his feelings from seo dal mi and from himself was already torture. But when he confessed his feelings at the cafe he still sided with nam do san. Why? Because thats what seo dal mi needed to hear. That not everything was a lie. He accepts that and takes nam do san’s side telling seo dal mi his feelings for her were true. Everyone knows he knows seo dal mi way more than nam do san, but the cards he was given were not even close to good compared to what nam do san had. Go stop foreshadowing?

    So Seo dal mi’s here being torn about not being able to trust herself forgot that she does not know enough about the person who wrote those letters to her. The person who is facing her now, properly for the first time. Heck the person she had been wanting to meet. What she should be asking about is his relationship with her grandma, or the extent of why he went to all this just to repay a debt he owed or what he was thinking writing those letters to her.

    A love triangle is fine, but i think the potential of JP ‘s character to outshine nam do san is greater because he too had suffered a great deal, and he managed to get out of his circumstances because of his own talents. Everyone else have people to return to and JP? I just sympathise with him. He doesnt even know about the grandma’s condition yet. After getting angry at the grandma for throwing him aside, how is he going to feel now? His destiny continues for the show’s underappreciation to him.

    Fight me if you don’t feel that way.

  25. This drama has the main lead who lacks character liar and everyone has sympathy for second lead who the script writer will deprive him of the girl.what kind of future will this girl have with this liar stalker. Is everything fair in love and war. This drama promotes false values and deceit teacher and cunningness is awarded. This really is a dirty world.

  26. I also really enjoyed this episode. How cAn you not just love Do-San and his ready honesty when he really recognized he blew it! His childish honesty and those sweet truthful eyes get me every time and even though I think Mr Han has an obvious chance to end up with Dal-Mi, to me, I think Do-San is the one. Although he has a great chance to make a future in Silicon Valley as he is still
    So young and so bright. Maybe there he will be recognize as the genius that he really is aWay from his family and past. This is a great drama. I cannot see the end from this episode and I love the idea of so far not being thrown into a predicted ending.

  27. The writer spent considerable time in the previous episodes making grandma extra lovable. This is usually done to create emotional capital when a shocking transition of change of character is coming.

    In this case grandma is as advertised right up until scene right after the drunken confession dream sequence.

    Previously grandma has expressed suprise and abit of shock when Dalmi brought dosan in the house for dinner. But now when drunken dosan is brought in by JP and grandma doesnt bat an eye? The writer made her nonsensical and someone we completely dont know from there.

    She just says bring him over here…. JP sets him down and dosans puke is all over his back and then what? More mutant action/attitude from grandma.

    She sees dosan puked on JP and what does she say? “Oh, he must have been sick quietly, how courteous.” What is this Hell Week for good boy? Whats with grandma? Has she turned into Darth Vader and gone to the dark side??

    When JP is taken aback and complains when she couldnt care less that he got puked on and she basically praised dosan for doing it, grandma actually seems to get mad and tells him to just go washup. Has Grandma just suffered from onset dementia?

    JP has barely cleaned up when dosan comes out remarkably undrunk. Of course dosan never gets puke on himself and so they ask the guy in a drunk stupor not 5 minutes ago to come have a meal and he does!

    From the scenes where they decide to call Dalmi and she decides to take him to her house instead of the 2 stooges handling it, or her calling his “brother” to take care of dosan till they are eating dinner its been twilight zone alternate universe batch of nonsensical scenes and they go on!!!

    The alternate universe continues going to hell in a handbsket when Dalmi facing a seemingly sober well able to take care of himself and his “brother” already there to drive him home….dalmi now asks him to stay the night!!

    Grandma is momentarily taken aback but then JP says he will stay over too and grandma acts like freddy kruger just came in and dalmis eyes get big! JP turns tables on dosans old lies and says he cant let his brother be alone when he is drunk and soon to be hungover or in the alternative he could take dosan home. Reasonable statements.

    The writer does a cheap trick moving to the next scene of them about to sleep in the bedroom. Providing no context or rational why they ended up doing that.

    I really hated scene after scene of poor writing and characters doing crazy things completly different from what the writer has showed you they were until now.

    Next is the conversation where dosan launches an attack on rich guys being greedy and later when they go to sleep dosan takes all the blanket leaving JP just a little.

    Dalmis split personality seems to be growing ever worse. In one scene she is asking dosan to stay over and in all the rest with grandma she is showing grandma her fears and concerns. When she should be staring into the sunset in the moment instead she is actually asking grandma if dosan could be 2 different people. That she has a lot of questions to ask him but she is scared to do it.

    Grandma is in the thows of full onset dementia now and gives dalmi the hard sell on dosan. She tells dalmi her fears and intuition are nonsense and that she likes dosan.

    Whats with grandma? If she could remember all the things and times dalmi has repeatedly expressed her doubts and fears about dosan and her repeated referential affinity for JP grandma should be pulling for JP so whats the deal? Is she dying next week and wants to see her married by then?

    Later alernate universe is still in force when JP meets grandma at her truck. First thing out of grandmas mouth is Dalmi is suspicious of you and dosan. Well what does that mean?

    Suspicious of dosan means he is not the one and suspicious of JP means he IS the one so whci way does grandma pull? She goes full mental siezure and says, Oh, if I go get the letter out of the box and give it to dosan that will prove hes the one?!?!

    Grandma says Dalmi and dosan like each other and she doesnt want to hurt them, so JP says what about me?

    Grandma goes through the tired well you should have told me sooner and this was a limited time offer tropes.

    JP is crushed. Hes angry at grandma. She so easily threw him away. Its like she used him the first time and she is using him again and now she is done with him.

    She is the only family he has ever known and 1 of the only 2 people he has ever had feelings for and here she has been throwing him under the bus since he was at her house. No wonder he lamented ever meeting her.

    But its all good right. Grandma gives him a consolation umbrella and off he goes.

  28. Well written equal love triangle? Its not even close. If it wasnt for stupid grandma going full Darth Vader JP would be light years ahead.
    And Dosan folowingher around all the time after she told him not so and sneaking around hearing her deepst thoughts at the next table? Dosan seems to have found his true calling. Occupation: Stalker. It suits him better than anything else he has done.

  29. Loved this episode, i truly appreciate the way the writers wrote how everything would play out so smoothly and yet so heart wrenchingly- making the balance between the emotions we feel as the audience and the acting so well levelled. I feel all their emotions yet its not over the top and the direction of development that each storyline is undergoing stays keeping us curios. I’m very interested to know who that lady is- who talked to dalmi while she was drinking and who was at the end doing the same with mr han. I wonder if there is a further purpose of this character O.o

Leave a comment