We begin episode 8 of Start-Up with an ominous sign of things to come. The Samsan team mention how friends can become enemies – just as we cut across to the Chairman deciding to hand over the CCTV footage to the legal team. It seems Do-San’s antics are not going unpunished!
Anyway, before that we’ve got the calm before the storm, as Dal-Mi tells Do-San what she likes about him.
Eventually the group reconvene and go over the specifics of their plan, settling on the idea of using the AI voice Yeong-Sil with their image recognition software. While the whole team think this is a good idea, Ji-Pyeong is not so sure.
Both Google and Microsoft are already developing this and he even throws out the idea of advertising given the clientele they’re likely to attract. After their meeting – where Do-San mentions those early letters she received – Sun-Hak shows and mentions the investment.
The conversation inevitably turns to Dal-Mi and In-Jae, who Ji-Pyeong admits are sisters and have different surnames given their parents were divorced. As he continues on, he mentions how the girl on the swing could be In-Jae or Dal-Mi.
While they deliberate over this, A-Hyun rings her husband ands asks for money. Unfortunately he’s unwilling to give any funds over unless In-Jae returns home. Doo-Jung chuckles to himself, believing it’s a done deal, as A-Hyun is forced to try and plead with her daughter to return.
With advertising out the window, Ji-Pyeong draws up a list of potential companies Samsan could team up with. Dal-Mi is grateful and asks when his birthday is. When he answers May 7th, she’s taken aback slightly when she realizes it’s the same date as Do-San.
Still, she remains fixated on the mission at hand and begins pitching her tech idea to different companies. She remains enthusiastic, making her way around various busy bosses and briefing them on the technology and how useful it could be. While she does, the San boys start showing off the tech in person.
Dal-Mi’s enthusiasm sees her run into trouble though as she’s stuck out in the middle of nowhere following a pitch meeting to a woman named Hye-Jun. When Dal-Mi leaves, wandering aimlessly down the road, Hye-Jun rings Ji-Pyeong who races down to pick her up.
Dal-Mi asks what he’s doing there as Ji-Pyeong is forced to make up an excuse. After an exhausting day, Dal-Mi falls asleep in his car as Ji-Pyeong reclines her seat and lets the girl sleep.
When she wakes up, Ji-Pyeong kindly buys her some sandals to replace her shoes, given she stepped in cow dung prior to kicking her up.
As Dal-Mi steps out the car, she requests Ji-Pyeong not tell Do-San about what she’s been up to. She doesn’t want him to worry. As she walks away, Ji-Pyeong notices she’s left her scrunchie in his car.
Back at the office, the group put their app up on the store and prepare to see how many downloads they’re going to get. Only, Dal-Mi remembers Ji-Pyeong’s warnings about the user-base and prays that NoonGil’s is under 1000.
That evening she heads home and speaks to Won-Deok about their tech. She learns that Do-San was the one who came up with this idea and she seems to realize he’s used her as inspiration for this. Using the tech, she gets Yeong-Sil to recite the bible passages for her.
Meanwhile, Dal-Mi does her best to hide her happiness that the app hasn’t been downloaded that many times – helping her prospects of an investment. Although (“MONEY!!”) Cheon-Ho may well change that. He decides to use viral marketing to help the app grow, using a baseball legend in the US affiliated with Do-San in the past to get eyeballs on it.
That evening, Do-San takes a drunk Dal-Mi back home. There, they talk about the app and Won-Deok thanks him for creating it, handing over a slip of paper she’s used as feedback for Noongil.
In the morning, Do-San awakens to find himself on TV thanks to the baseball legend talking about the app. On the back of this, their DUA reaches over 10,000 which shocks her given how much money it’s going to cost the company. Money they don’t haver right now.
Unfortunately this party comes to an abrupt end when Do-San is called into the police station following the smashed nameplate. Unfortunately if he can’t settle then this will go to the prosecution so it’s a pretty big deal.
When he returns to Sand Box, Do-San intentionally brushes over the issues with the police to Dal-Mi and instead shows her what Won-Deok has written. With the truth out, she begins sobbing in his arms.
Dal-Mi thanks him for his help and returns home to Won-Deok. She helps clip her Grandmother’s nails and promises to work hard on NoonGil so things aren’t uncomfortable for her going forward.
It’s here she realizes that Do-San has admitted the truth. She promises to smile the following day but for one day she’s going to cry and let it all out.
Back at Sand Box the next day, Dal-Mi asks In-Jae for help in begging Doo-Jung for forgiveness. Getting investment for this app and helping her grandmother is far more important to her than the success of the app itself. Only, when she turns up Do-San is already there begging for forgiveness.
Eventually everything comes into view as Dal-Mi plays her trump card. It turns out she was recording the meeting with Morning Group – courtesy of Ji-Pyeong’s suggestion.
She blackmails Doo-Jung and makes him settle with Do-San and hand over the CSR funds for Samsan. Tellingly, In-Jae is watching the entire time and can’t help but grin at her sister’s tenacity.
On the back of this, Dal-Mi returns to Ji-Pyeong with a take-out from the pine nut company he mentioned on the way home the previous afternoon. He hands over the business plan to Dal-Mi and shows detailed comments within. She thanks him and heads home.
Upon closer inspection, she realizes that the handwriting is familiar. Dal-Mi digs out the old letters and matches them up with Ji-Pyeong’s words. The hangul matches perfectly of course.
As she contemplates what this means, we cut to Do-San who plays with Do-San’s scrunchie with tears in his eyes.
During the epilogue, Ji-Pyeong hands over the scrunchie to Do-San in the parking lot who remains poker-faced until he’s alone. When he’s out of view, Do-San does his best to hide his disappointment.
The Episode Review
I can understand why Do-San is jealous but honestly there’s a number of reasons why Dal-Mi could have been in his car. After all, she wouldn’t even be that interested in Do-San if it wasn’t for the letters which Ji-Pyeong wrote or his guidance in acting like a gentleman.
Also, I can’t help but feel Do-San breaking the news about Won-Deok’e eyesight is a bit unfair on Won-Deok. It’s almost like he’s done this to earn some brownie points with Dal-Mi when really it should be her Grandmother that breaks the news to Dal-Mi. He could have encouraged her to tell the truth to her daughter, rather than outing her secret himself.
This brings the subject back to Ji-Pyeong and Dal-Mi who have far more history together and to be honest, seem better matched anyway. There’s a lot of secrets about to be outed too and the preview for next week seems to hint that Do-San is finally going to open up and admit the truth.
It’s been coming for a while but his while shindig has been living the life of someone else to get to where he is – at least in his romantic life anyway. I know we had the episode about his past and understanding that Do-San’s always viewed himself in second place but beyond his excellent programming skills, there isn’t an awful lot else to his character.
Still, there’s plenty of time for that to change and the question of just who’s out for revenge remains up in the air too. So far this has been one of the better melodramatic dramas of the year and it’ll be interesting to see what direction this one takes next.