Follow Your Dreams
Episode 12 of Start-Up begins with Ji-Pyeong breaking the bad news to the rest of the team. Now they realize with horror that Do-San and Dal-Mi are signing away their company. Ji-Pyeong races up to try and get to them in time but it’s no good, they’ve already signed. Shaking Alex’s hand, their fortune is about to take a turn for the worst.
At home, Dal-Mi speaks to her Grandmother and A-Hyun, showing them the app and preparing for their trip to the US.
They’re not the only ones either, Do-San is also getting ready as he asks his Mum about how to notice romantic signals from Dal-Mi. She can tell he’s fallen for her and hangs over his shoulder, guiding a hopeless Do-San to call the girl.
On the phone, Dal-Mi reveals her idea to try and create an extra extension to Noongil. She wants it to spot different medication and tell it apart.
As they talk about LA and what’s to come, Do-San and Dal-Mi take it in turns to fall asleep while talking on the phone. Eventually it ends with Do-San and Dal-Mi both sleeping with their phones against their ears.
Do-San waits outside Dal-Mi’s house in the morning and the duo start to talk about his birthday. Do-San is happy that things are going well and I guess all that drama about the letters is pretty much non-existent now.
Anyway, they show up at the coffee shop where Sa-Ha thinks about buying a coffee for Chul-San, knowing that he likes iced vanilla lattes. Well she buys him one until Dal-Mi and Do-San show up just as she does.
She pretends like she’s not buying one for him, prompting Do-San to take it off her hands. Sa-Ha is also concerned that they haven’t heard anything about 2STO.
Dal-Mi catches up with her sister and tries bragging about her current acquisition. In-Jae warns her sister but she interprets this as jealousy. In-Jae however promises that she’ll find out whether it really is jealousy sooner rather than later.
Do-San and Dal-Mi show up at the office and learn the truth about what’s happened as this bombshell reveal is dropped. Alex dismisses Dal-Mi and the designer (Sa-Ha) and is only taking Do-San, Chul-San and Yong-San with him to America.
Do-San claims it’s fraud but he’s the one who signed the contract and agreed to these terms so he doesn’t exactly have a leg to stand on. Even worse, Noongil is now going to be disbanded.
As Do-San stands up and declares he’ll cancel the contract, Alex confirms it’s not exactly going to be that easy. In order to cancel it they’ll need to pay double the takeover price – 6 billion won to be precise. Ouch.
As Alex Kwon leaves, he speaks to Ji-Pyeong and tells him that if they continue to be emotional over this it won’t fare well for the team going forward.
An irate Yong-San speaks to the team about why he didn’t reveal anything. He claims Ji-Pyeong killed his brother and drove all his investors away. He didn’t want the same thing to happen to them after the debacle with Dong-Su.
When Ji-Pyeong shows up, he speaks plainly about his role in Dong-Su’s business and how he was just trying to stop the limited partners involved from getting hurt.
With the contract already sent, Ji-Pyeong tells Samsan they need to accept what’s happened. They’ve signed the contract and it’s their own fault for not reading it properly to begin with. As tempers flare up, Ji-Pyeong leaves… quickly followed by Do-San.
The two men fight outside, trading punches and blows before they both collapse from exhaustion. Both of them sport some nasty injuries, but Ji-Pyeong tells him the terms to the deal are pretty good.
Defeated, Do-San swallows his pride and tells him he needs help. NoonGil was started for Dal-Mi’s grandmother of course and now Ji-Pyeong finds out the crushing truth that Won-Deok is losing her eyesight and going blind. It’s a huge blow for him and one that sees him immediately head over and see her.
Crushed, he sees Won-Deok using the app and the struggles with her eye-sight. Ji-Pyeong opens up and tells her he’s an idiot and doesn’t know anything. He’s not a good boy and breaks down crying. Eventually he hugs Won-Deok, telling her he’s sorry in a really emotional moment.
On his way out the door, Ji-Pyeong runs into Dal-Mi and apologizes for how he reacted earlier in the day. Together, they head out and eat noodles. There, Ji-Pyeong breaks the news that the contract is legit and because they can’t beat them, they might as well join 2STO and try to change their fortunes from the inside.
Meanwhile, Chul-San and Sa-Ha discuss Silicon Valley and the possibility of filing a lawsuit. She warns it could take years but neither of them are ready to give up this dream just yet.
As we cut forward, we see Do-San and Dal-Mi getting ready for the day ahead. As she sees Do-San’s face, she realizes that the pair had a big fight. Instead of celebrating his birthday, Do-San is full-on involved in the takeover and wants to try and fight the case.
With no one coming to work, Dal-Mi does her best to try and enjoy the day and take in the sights. Do-San though is in no mood to celebrate.
They head out to a French restaurant together where the two are on completely different wave lengths. She wants to know more about his past but Do-San is way too invested in this lawsuit.
Given how lucrative this deal is, Dal-Mi tells Do-San that he should take this once in a lifetime opportunity, even if it means some casualties along the way. Do-San however, is having none of it and walks away.
He refuses to go to Silicon Valley until Dal-Mi tells him to go. She feels humiliated that he was chosen and not her. Given he’s not the Do-San from the letters, she’s breaking up with him.
Back at the old Samsan office, Do-San speaks to Yong-San who’s driven to prove Ji-Pyeong wrong. He wants to get his revenge for his brother. The Zero figure for start-up companies – like any record – is there to be broken and he intends to be the one to do it.
With their Sand Box dreams over, Sa-Ha says her goodbyes to everyone. Dal-Mi happens to be in the main atrium and looks at the picture of the girl on a swing. Given Sun-Hak was there that day when her Father passed, she gives some advice to Dal-Mi who looks for positions of management online as a way of putting her expertise to good use.
Lo and behold, In-Jae company pops up looking for a strategic planning manager, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
At 2STO, Alex greets Do-San and Ji-Pyeong as they discuss the future of Noongil. That future seems to hint at Do-San continuing to develop the app but this hasn’t been confirmed 100% just yet.
As we cut forward slightly, the San boys get on a plane bound for America. As they do, Sa-Ha uses a video from Chul-San to fall asleep to while Dal-Mi shows up for her interview at Injae company. She’s serious about this too and hands over her application form to prove as much.
During the epilogue, we cut back to the moments featuring Do-San and Dal-Mi’s break-up. Out in the rain, he clutched his baseball tightly and wanders aimlessly, letting himself get soaked in the rain and experience the same thing Dal-Mi did, with a beautiful sky juxtaposing the storm clouds brewing in Do-San’s mind.
The Episode Review
Back when I was 18, I signed a contract with a nightclub unaware that I’d also agreed to hand over 100% of my tips for the business. The other staff were just as shocked, especially when we were explicitly told to empty out our pockets at the end of every night to make sure we didn’t take any tips home.
Those tips went straight to the executive bonus for the general manager, which he saved up over the year and subsequently splashed out on some expensive champagne which he shared with his friends… and there was nothing we could do about it. Since then, I’ve always been vigilant about signing contracts – especially those involving employment.
There’s so many examples of this across the globe and especially when it comes to businesses, it’s so important to read the small print.
Start-Up for example even has Sa-Ha who confirms this episode that she used to be a lawyer. So surely she would have known to look through the contract properly and convince the others to do so before they hastily signed up? It’s such a rookie move and one that they’ve learned the hard way. And that’s before mentioning Morning Group which have already tried to scam them. As the old adage goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Do-San’s character work unfortunately comes completely undone in this episode too. For 12+ hours we’ve learnt about his struggles to be number 1 and how he’s always put other people first. He gave up his chances at being in the limelight at the Olympics, handing over his medal and since then vowed to put himself first.
Once again though he’s actively choosing to sabotage himself by giving up everything for Dal-Mi. I know love can make you do stupid things but Dal-Mi practically had to break up with him for the boy to follow his dreams.
Yes, the company was completely screwed over by Alex and it’s tough to take but let’s not forget Do-San was the one who confronted him in the first place and forced Alex’s hand to make a deal. If it wasn’t for Do-San then they never would have got that deal.
Anyway, it looks like Do-San is finally going to put himself first but the preview for next week’s double bill seems to hint that he’ll be back to interfere sooner rather than later.
The longer this drama goes on though, the more I think Dal-Mi is going to go it alone and not pick either man. I’d imagine a relationship with Ji-Pyeong is almost inevitable now but it also looks like a time jump (3 years!) is on the table which could sour a lot of the feelings between Dal-Mi and Ji-Pyeong. That’s speculation for now but given how fierce the debates have been recently, the scriptwriters could opt for neither man as a safe middle ground (and ironically annoying both fandoms!)
Dal-Mi though is constantly the one pushed aside and I hope by the end of this drama In-Jae and Dal-Mi finally patch up their differences and grow together and form a company that utilizes both their talents. Whether the script will do that or not though, remains to be seen.
Still, Start-Up has been a really enjoyable watch but whether this one will stick its landing or not, remains to be seen. Until then, feel free to comment below with your theories on what’s going to happen next and how you’re finding the characters! Are you Team Ji-Pyeong? Team Do-San? Or neither?