Episode 7 of Start-Up begins with Ji-Pyeong answering Dal-Mi’s emailed questions. Despite bemoaning his luck with how many there are, his big smile tells a very different story.
When Dal-Mi shows up with Do-San they both get their start-up fund from Ji-Pyeong but Do-San stays behind afterwards. He’s going to reveal all and tell Dal-Mi about the 15 year old letters. Ji-Pyeong is clearly rattled but Do-San is confident it won’t change anything.
In fact he’s so confident, he answers Ji-Pyeong’s concerns with, “We’ll see about that.” Scoffing at his audacity, Ji-Pyeong eventually snaps, turning his car around and heading back.
Meanwhile, Do-San is sent out to get some food by Won-Deok. When she leaves, the pair inside discuss Won-Deok’s deteriorating eye-sight. It turns out Dal-Mi doesn’t know about this and Won-Deok doesn’t want her grand-daughter to pity her.
She doesn’t want anyone else giving her that pitying gaze either and thanks to him, Dal-Mi has been smiling a lot which has translated across to her. She thanks him for allowing Dal-Mi to show off her good side and asks him not to tell anyone about what’s happening – especially Dal-Mi and the “good boy” Ji-Pyeong.
It’s here Do-San realizes that the person Ji-Pyeong cherishes and cannot repay the kindness for is Won-Deok. Standing up, he hands over a bunch of cleaning sponges he made – reciting the same familiar words he was practicing outside.
Only, Ji-Pyeong suddenly shows up and things immediately become awkward. The pair pretend like they don’t know each other and awkwardly bow – this is especially humorous given they both know each other and can’t work out how low to bow.
With niceties out the way, Do-San tells Ji-Pyeong to leave as he’s taken up his advice. He awkwardly decides to stay and the two fight over changing a lightbulb in the bathroom, trying to determine who’s the alpha male.
They continue to do little tasks until they sit down to eat together. The pair comment on how the food isn’t equal on the table and the conversation inevitably turns to Ji-Pyeong helping her. He stutters when she asks why he’s so invested and he bumbles out ROI (return of investment).
The dinner comes to an end and the pair head home. Just before they do though, Ji-Pyeong mentions the email and how he’s answered all 461 questions for her.
With a piece of thread stuck in her hair, Ji-Pyeong hesitates in removing it, prompting Do-San to step up and do it himself.
Back home, Won-Deok and Dal-Mi discuss the two men in her life. Only, it’s just one according to Dal-Mi. Her grandmother asks whether she prefers the man from her childhood or the current one. As she’s forced to pick one, we don’t hear the answer as the kettle boils.
Dal-Mi goes through each of the questions one by one and checks the answers. On the back of this, the group reconvene at the office and they look over their ten million won investment and try to make it last 6 months.
With a demo scheduled in 3 days, they need to try and make a good impression to secure more funds – potentially 10 billion won to be precise.
Back at Sand Box, none other than “MONEY!!!” guy (Cheon-Ho really but he’s officially being nicknamed MONEY now) shows up with a new tech that’s been developed. Putting these strange orbs on your finger pulsates blue if you’re excited. As they think about their investment, Sa-Ha looks on in disgust as everyone’s finger turns blue.
With these on their fingers, they all start thinking about different investment models and potential ways of building their start-up. After listening to different pitches, they head outside for a break.
When they do, Dal-Mi spies Ji-Pyeong down below and rings him. When he checks his phone, it turns out he’s called Dal-Mi “Question Bomber” in his phone book. He hangs up on her though – unaware that she’s watching – and walks away.
Outside the office, the San boys learn from the twins that In-Jae has already secured a big investment. That comes in the form of Jeonghan Bank, showing that her connections are vast.
In-Jae is not happy that her father-in-law is interjecting, telling him to stay out and not to assemble a task force. As In-Jae walks away from him, Dal-Mi happens to be watching from afar.
In-Jae overhears Sun-Hak talking about her, and how she’s only in it for money. Sun-Hak’s disappointed that In-Jae doesn’t have more about her and walks off.
Only, she walks straight into her sister who talks about the investment and congratulates her. It’s a back-handed compliment in truth, but one that In-Jae reveals the truth about.
It turns out she didn’t actually go through her father-in-law, she stayed afterwards at the 12th hackathon to make contacts and secure an investment from one of the judges there.
Her father was not involved at all and unlike her (Dal-Mi), In-Jae claims that she learns from her mistakes. Using this to spin her own narrative, she tells Dal-Mi to take the Morning Group and secure an investment just to make money.
Dal-Mi heads back to the team and asks them what they think about this. Given they’re all struggling to make an investment and raise funds, they agree to follow her lead. Afterward, Dal-Mi and Do-San head outside and talk about their hobbies – where it turns out both of them knit in their free-time.
When Ji-Pyeong sees them laughing and getting along, his face instantly falls and he walks away. Meanwhile, Do-San has a perfect chance to kiss Dal-Mi but holds back, instead mentioning how he wants to forget what happened 15 years ago and how he was a loser back then.
Only, to Dal-Mi those moments in her childhood meant a lot. Although she doesn’t directly say it, it seems like it affects her a little.
Still, she doesn’t let that deter her too much. She visits Ji-Pyeong and tells him about the Morning Group investment. Eventually she talks plainly about how nosy Ji-Pyeong is – helping her every step of the way – and she admits that she likes him doing that. She’ll even go out of her way to help him with any questions he has too.
The proposal she’s written for Morning Group is good – perhaps a little too good. Ji-Pyeong worries that the company will take advantage of her – remembering moments in the group meeting where the Chairman gloated about how Samsan could be used by different companies.
Dal-Mi and Do-San head up to meet Doo-Jung at his business and they mention the proposal briefly. They know Dal-Mi is In-Jae’s little sister and speak informally to her – which is pretty rude to be honest.
Sang-Su tells them they need to collect 100,000 images rather than using the AI for proper means. All of this is just to secure a good reference on their resume and apparently a lot of start-up companies do this. They’re absolutely being taken for a ride though, with Doo-Jung claiming that their logo is worth more than 50 million won.
Do-San is enraged with the chairman and smashes his glass name-plate all over the table. He can’t cope with them being taken for a ride and speaks to Dal-Mi on the roof. As he does, she suddenly leans forward and kisses him passionately on the mouth. The skyline is absolutely gorgeous and tellingly there’s no music during this moment either.
As they pull away momentarily, Dal-Mi decides to go ahead with Do-San’s original idea. This comes in the form of creating an app for the visually impaired and using that as their eyes. With both of them together, the pair passionately kiss – and now there’s music!
The epilogue cuts back to show that question from earlier around who Dal-Mi’s favourite version of Do-San is. Her choice happens to be the one who wrote the letters to her 15 years ago. The old Do-San is the one she’d pick given he’s her first love.
As we cut across to Ji-Pyeong watering the flowers. Dal-Mi comments how this current version of Do-San is like a different person altogether but the few moments they have do make her heart flutter.
The Episode Review
Start-up returns this week for a slightly slower episode this time around, one that focuses on the growing love triangle between our three lead characters. There’s obviously a spark there between Ji-Pyeong and Dal-Mi but he’s playing it very cool and indifferent toward her for now.
It’ll be interesting to see what direction this drama takes and exactly who Dal-Mi will pick at the end. Personally, I’m rooting for Ji-Pyeong, especially after the insensitive comments Do-San made about the past. Given he read the letters he should know how much it means to her, despite his insistence to forget about all that and make Dal-Mi fall for him.
It seems like this kiss was a ploy from her to try and feel a spark of passion toward Do-San. And that was certainly some kiss at the end!
In fact, that whole scene was perfectly orchestrated with the gorgeous skyline of Seoul in the background there while the kiss takes place without music. There’s no repeated segments, no big K-pop moment – just a kiss between two people. It’s a pretty stylish segment and very un-K-drama like too.
There’s bound to be repercussions for what happened with the Chairman as well and quite what will happen next remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure though – this one is definitely shaping up to be one of the best k-dramas of 2020!