Start-Up – K-Drama Episode 11 Recap & Review

Demo Day: Part 2

Episode 11 of Start-Up begins with Demo Day as Alex is cornered by Shin Jeong and Shin Hyeon. They both proposition the idea of joining 2STO. Moments later, Do-San shows up and tells him he wants to take up the offer given before.

It’s an intriguing turn of events and one that sees Do-San turn around and leverage his position by telling Alex he’ll sign on if the entirety of Samsan join too.

“I’m not a philanthropist.” Alex says matter-of-factly, telling him that the twins are already fine acquisitions.

Meanwhile, Yong-San grabs Ji-Pyeong round the throat and tells him, with tears in his eyes, that he hopes Ji-Pyeong would remember his brother.

As he walks away, Ji-Pyeong does some research to find out exactly what’s going on. Sifting through the files, he finds mention of Dong-Su and upon seeing his face, we jump back to Demo Day in 2011 to see Dong-Su completely scrutinized and battered verbally by Ji-Pyeong. He single-handedly destroyed his prospects and even called his business a fraud. Now Ji-Pyeong seems to realize who he is and looks on in shock.

The big day arrives and both In-Jae and Dal-Mi prepare for what’s to come. In-Jae hands over some anxiety pills to her sister but Dal-Mi has grown so much that she doesn’t need them anymore. However, In-Jae may need them given she’s going to go up first on stage.

Both Sa-Ha and Chul-San take their respective colleagues aside and discuss the bubbling conflict between Do-San and Dal-Mi. They’re worried that this could completely undermine the company while the subject mostly revolves around exactly who has captured Dal-Mi’s heart.

The Plan B offer is then brought up with the San boys, with Yong-San interjecting and backing up Do-San. He doesn’t want it either but for very different reasons. Because of this, everything rests on them passing Demo Day and securing an investment. There’s no second chances now and everything hinders on this one performance.

They’re not the only one though, and with no Ji-Pyeong in sight Sun-Hak is forced to begin this big day with the pitches. First up is In-Jae who discusses her big plan to try and prevent crimes using CCTV. Or Guardian’s AI to be precise. Their accuracy rate is impressive, something that Samsan start to worry about.

Interjecting in the midst of all this is a familiar voice of Seong-Hwan from the audience. He suddenly stands up, irate that he’s about to lose his job thanks to the tech In-Jae is developing. As the staff manhandle him, they eventually let him go long enough to allow him to ask his question. He wants to know about the human implication of this tech, especially as it would mean many people being without jobs.

Remembering what Sun-Hak mentioned before, In-Jae ignores the financial reasoning and looks at the technological advancements of the world. She wants to make the world a better place – an answer that mirrors what Do-San wants too.

Seong-Hwan’s impassioned speech gets through to a lot of people, including Do-San who struggles to hold back tears in the wake of him and his Father disagreeing. He steps up though and embraces his son; a warm gesture to know that despite their differences, they’ll still be family.

On the back of this, Alex from 2STO offers his expertise to become their global partner. However, he’s also deciding on another team too. That team of course, being Samsan.

With no Ji-Pyeong in sight, Samsan prepare for the inevitable as their time arrives. With the whole world watching, Dal-Mi delivers her confident pitch with the visually impaired app they’ve designed. Using Yeong-Sil as their AI companion, Dal-Mi does her best to take on the questions from the panel of judges.

The subject of accuracy obviously comes up and they decide to be honest, sticking with 92.4%. As the team of judges look disappointed, Do-San speaks up and mentions that their lack of accuracy accounts for a smaller app size.

The companies clash again, this time with InJae’s company back on stage again for another showdown. In order to see which one is right, Alex decides they should hook up their apps to the same computer and test both accuracy and app size.

It’s a home run for Samsan, who completely show up Injae Tech in a change of fate from what we saw earlier in the season. They win Demo Day and take in the 50 million won investment. On the sidelines, In-Jae tellingly applauds them for a job well done.

All this time though it was Ji-Pyeong’s strict lessons that helped them overcome their hurdles and win Demo Day. Only, Ji-Pyeong doesn’t feel like celebrating. Sun-Hak shows and mentions Dong-Su and how he needed to be harsh back then. Overcome with guilt, Ji-Pyeong is way too caught up by what Yong-San said to listen.

When Dal-Mi heads home, she finds her Mother there waiting for her. Unhappy that Won-Deok brought her back, she tells Dal-Mi to try and forgive her, especially as her life hasn’t been as easy as she suspects.

Meanwhile, Do-San heads home and listens to his parents talking about him and Dal-Mi’s potential relationship. As they discuss crossing the line, Do-San suddenly interjects and reveals that actually he heard everything.

Dal-Mi phones Ji-Pyeong and he congratulates them on a job well done. She tells him it’s all because of him and he does his best to take it on the chin. He eventually tells her he’s out on a trip with friends and hangs up. Only, she knows he’s lying and winds up leaving porridge outside his door for him.

Back at Sand Box, Alex presents the long-winded contract for the team to sift through and work with. Alex offers 3 billion won too, going on to give them plans to work in Silicon Valley for that length of time during the hand-over.

They agree to discuss this over time but when alone are ecstatic at their good fortune. However, that’s quickly dispelled when they realize Samsan will be no more. In the lift though, Alex comments to his colleague how this is going to be a smooth transition.

Later that evening, with no more lies and deceit between them, Do-San takes Dal-Mi to his real office. Only, the door is wedged shut and he struggles to break in. Chul-San bursts out with Sa-Ha and things certainly look suspicious.

Sitting together, Sa-Ha quickly interjects and mentions how it’s not what they think and proceeds to explain their convoluted story for being together. Do-San and Dal-Mi obviously don’t believe them though.

When Yong-San shows, all of them sit together and discuss their plans for the future when they head to Silicon Valley. While others have lofty dreams, Dal-Mi pitches the idea of teaming up for another innovation in the form of a self-driving system that can be funded using their 3 billion won investment.

Sitting together, a wonderful montage (Run is such an absolutely banger of a track) kicks up and start pitching their idea, working all the way through to sun-up.

This good mood is completely squashed when Ji-Pyeong shows and learns that Samsan are about to sign an acquisition not an investment. Sensing that all their hard work could be undone, Ji-Pyeong believes Alex has an ulterior motive.

That seems to be in the form an “acquihire” which is basically acquiring a start-up company for the sole purpose of recruiting their staff not the product. This puts the app in jeopardy given that talent comes in the form of taking the engineers and disbanding their team.

Unfortunately the deed is done and the contracts are signed in full by both Do-San and Dal-Mi. Oh no…

The epilogue cuts us back to the moments before Do-San awoke and found pen all over Dal-Mi. She looks at Do-San and remembers moments with Sa-Ha where she questions quite who has her heart.

She simply tells her to watch Do-San and Ji-Pyeong and eventually she’ll have an “aha” moment. As she kisses her hand and then his cheek… she smudges pen all over him which explains where it came from.


The Episode Review

With filming now officially over for this Korean drama, there’s no more changes to the script coming up. Of course, in true K-drama fashion the script can undergo some changes over the course of the 16 episodes but now it seems the writers are confident enough to follow through with whichever ending they’ve chosen.

So… is it Do-San or Ji-Pyeong that Dal-Mi chooses? Or is there a curve-ball here in the form of neither? It’s certainly an intriguing prospect and the screenwriters are clearly self-aware of this – especially during this episode where most of the time this triangle is kept at arm’s length.

With Ji-Pyeong out the picture, his influence and know-how is proven to be incredibly useful for Samsan when the team read through the contract (apparently) and unwittingly agreed to a hasty acquihire. This really does mean that the app’s future is in jeopardy and judging by the preview for tomorrow’s episode, will almost certainly spill over in the worst way possible.

That’s good because this second half has just started to seem a little contrived. The goo-goo eyes between Dal-Mi and Do-San felt off completely and it seems their conflict has all but been forgotten about.

And what of In-Jae and her company? Now that she’s failed Demo Day what’s next for her character? Could we see her reconciling with her sister again? And do we really believe Sa-Ha and Chul-San’s story about the rucksack?

That’s to say nothing of Yong-San’s brother, the out of character way Dal-Mi signed over her rights while forgetting her Grandmother (she’s looking at cars and the next big project) and Ji-Pyeong’s woes that aren’t really addressed.

There’s a lot of questions hanging over this one and very little time to start wrapping things up. Given the preview for tomorrow, all eyes now turn to episode 12 which promises to be quite the dramatic affair!

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  • Episode Rating
3.5

6 thoughts on “Start-Up – K-Drama Episode 11 Recap & Review”

  1. I have stopped watching. Am i just reading the recaps because i am attached to the story of HJP

  2. The korean concept of submitting 1/2 a story and then start shooting is as ass backward as their society. Its to common to see good openings and crappy endings now days.
    Writers should be held responsible for doing a good job on the beginning but also responsible for when they turn in 5th rate work after its started being broadcast.
    This particular writer should have their head shaved.

  3. Such a disappointment. Started off great with promising storyline, went downhill the moment they focused on the love triangle. Arguments that claimed this is more than just a love triangle.. story about the business is only 20% in each episode. Most of the time it was about Do San battling with his insecurities and trying to impress Dal Mi, as well as Dal Mi daydreaming about her relationship.

    I thought Kdrama is done with love triangle arch and wasted scenes with the lead(s) being sentimental like walking aimlessly at night or under the rain with sappy background music, seeing that most dramas I watched recently have none of these, but apparently the writers are still stuck in 2010.

    I hate the revenge story-line. Call me biased but I hate how they were trying hard to portray HJP as the villain to when he tried his best to protect the naive kids in Samsan Tech by delivering the harsh truth. Should he be like Alex then, appeared nice and friendly but manipulated the company in the end?

    Honestly, watching the latest preview for ep.13 where the writer still hang on dearly with the love triangle arch even after the time leap, I guess it is time for me to stop watching the drama. After all, since the start of ep.11, I’ve been fast forwarding most of Dal Mi n Do San scene, I noticed there were nothing much left to watch anymore. I guess I’ll just be reading recaps from now on just so I can confirm the predictable ending and the writer lack of development since dream high.

  4. At this point we can clearly see how the writers has fk up a very promising drama. I continued to watch until ep 10 and that was the last straw on the camel’s back. There is really too much flaws and loopholes that the writers didn’t address or just character changes that seem too sudden. It’s legit a complete mess. Stoped watching too, a complete let down.

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