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Start-Up: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread

After a strong introduction to our premise, it’s time to learn more about our characters and their goals and dreams — and business plans — when they all converge at a hackathon competition. The interplay between the characters continues to be the highlight of this drama, and for only being in its second week, the story is solid, and the writing literally made me want to jump for joy at certain parts, it’s just that delightful.

 
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

So much ground is covered this week in Start-Up (thanks to its super competent writing, and almost 90-minute episodes) that when you look at where we start at Episode 3 and where we end at Episode 4, you might get whiplash. So, buckle up — here we go!

The networking event that jumpstarted our characters coming together does exactly what everyone intended. Dal-mi is able to put on a show in front of In-jae and her mother, and Do-san fulfills his role cosplaying the penpal of the past, and hotshot start-up CEO of the present. Dal-mi’s bluff is pretty much her own, but Do-san’s successful charade is 90% because he’s got Ji-pyeong helping him out (and 10% of it is sheer heart).

I’m going to make an attempt not to only rave about how great our story and writing is here, but I make no promises, because my first stop is the interactions between Do-san and Ji-pyeong. They are positively golden on the screen together, and their scenes are so well-done that I was pretty much shaking my head through each one. How do they do it? How is each scene packed with so much feeling, humor, and heart?

Whether it’s a scene of really good dialogue, great physical acting from our entire cast (I particularly love our flannel trio fumbling around to set up their fake office), or the sarcastic commentary to come out of onlooker and maestro Ji-pyeong this week — all of it is ten out of ten.

The giant charade that Ji-pyeong and Do-san strung along this week, while definitely a disaster in the making, was so much fun to watch. Their exchanges, Ji-pyeong’s tutelage and tips, and the general comedy is so great. But then it’s also balanced out by the deeper emotions and intentions of each character. I think that’s what I love about this drama the most, and why the plot works so well — it’s so much about everyone’s heartfelt intentions and hopes.

The drama digs even more into our characters’ hopes and dreams when we see them all at Sandbox, entering their names to join the start-up residency program. Again, what a tight piece of writing — we literally watch each of our main players write down their dreams. It’s such a well-embedded moment that we almost don’t realize it’s also Storytelling 101: character + character’s desire for something = plot.

So while the Sandbox wish scene spells it all out for us (literally) in one sense, at the same time it’s a meaningful part of the story, not only in terms of the mechanics, but the emotions. Do-san: “I want to turn a misunderstanding into reality!” In-jae: “I don’t want to be seen as chewed-up gum.” Ji-pyeong: “I want to repay my debt.” And Dal-mi: “I want to take the upper-floor elevator.”

Even though much of Dal-mi’s story this week is her getting tricked by Do-san and Ji-pyeong, we also see a lot of things crystalize for her, as well. After being used and spit out at her job, I’ve never been so happy to see someone resign! Although Dal-mi’s pivot to becoming a business owner was a bit fast, I bought it all, mostly thanks to the very purposeful hook in the story that connects her father’s entrepreneurial streak with hints that the same vision lies within her. (I’m also looking forward to neck pillow CEO making this connection between father and daughter, too!)

Indeed, we’ve seen Dal-mi assess and decision-make her way through K-pop madness at the coffee shop — this and several other details are meant to show us that she has the stuff. She’s a diamond in the rough, and I can’t wait to see the kickass CEO that she can become.

Speaking of diamonds in the rough — so is our little Do-san. And boy is Nam Joo-hyuk nailing this role! From his doofy awkwardness, to his determination, to his adorable crush on Dal-mi, I love everything about him. In contrast to Dal-mi’s business sense, we’ve seen Do-san make some rather poor business decisions (case in point: his MTV-style CODA acceptance video), so it’s already clear how these two could make a strong partnership.

Ji-pyeong was dead-on when he said that Do-san needs a different CEO if his business is going to succeed, and I loved everything about this moment. That Do-san is willing to see and accept it. That his ego doesn’t get in the way of his dreams for his business’ success. That Do-san sees what Dal-mi has to offer as CEO (versus In-jae).

It’s also really fun to see Ji-pyeong get more invested in their plot, their company, and their success. We know how intuitive and smart he is, so it was satisfying to see him recognize the potential in Samsan Tech. Ji-pyeong is harsh and doesn’t even try to sugar coat the truth, but at the same time he also protects our three little developer foundlings again and again. In fact, he might have come to their rescue a bunch of times already, but I didn’t get enough yet, and I’m looking forward to a drama full of these rich character interactions. Each of them is enjoyable, but the winner for me is the Do-san/Ji-pyeong dynamic, with one character who’s led by (literal) logic and thinks like a computer, the other who’s led by intuition and street smarts.

The first layer of cover might be blown as we end Episode 4 (that Do-san is a struggling, not successful, CEO), but the deeper lie is still here — that he’s the penpal from the past. Dal-mi’s graciousness and understanding of Do-san’s lie made me smile — the two understand each other so well, and there was so much cute between them this week.

The bus handhold was adorable, but my favorite was definitely the accidental bookstore meeting, and how the flannel trio worked together to make Do-san presentable. Do-san’s desire to become someone and prove himself is truly touching, especially from a boy who makes sure his father knows he didn’t slam the door on his way out.

If the first week of our drama was to set up its construct, and the second week was for that construct to bring them all together at Sandbox, well, here we are! Everyone has arrived for a different reason, but each reason is meaningful and character-driven.

We’ve even seen a big development for In-jae this week, and I like that now she also has something to prove, instead of just something to show off. I had figured she would be at Sandbox as a mentor, but I like the path we’ve taken so much more — not because I’m dying for a sister face-off, but because it levels the playing field between them.

I’ve focused most on the plot development this week, and the richness of the character dynamics, but I think the element impressing me the most overall is just how every detail of this show is so intentional — and it is a very detailed drama. From the sets, to the dialogue, to the Samsan business cards, endless flannel, and even the boys’ careful attention to their own body language, this drama knows how to take the smallest touch, and make magic out of it.

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I did not expect this show to be so much fun or to make me fall in love with two guys at the same time!

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Amen sister, I need a drama to make me fall in love again. Even if it's with two men I will never have a chance with.

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OH MY GAH!!! this show!!! episode 4 being 🔥🔥🔥!!! @missvictrix packed and potent review (just like the show)!!! AAHHH!!! worst comment ever, but i don't care cause i'm SOOOO happy right now! 😍

i will add this as a PSA: all this appears to be taking place in 2016 based on emails and such:

https://twitter.com/AninGalaxy/status/1320374819305615360?s=19

which makes sense cause AI image recognition was hot back then (i'm a nerdy tech attorney). but warning to all, there will be THE DREADED TIME JUMP.

but like i said, i don't care cause the setup to sandox was THAT delicious. yum yum!

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Oh wow I hadn't noticed at all! Either the time jump will happen soon and it's still the set up right now, or it's gonna happen later on? Hope it's not due to something totally makjang

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hahaha i just finished stanning "do you like brahms?" for which the word "makjang" was thrown around for a bit. thought i escaped that word with startup! hahaha 😉

i'm thinking it's going to be more "itaewon class" where they end the show in modern times to show the big 4 crushing it with their new businesses. so, crossing fingers, a slow build from 2016 to 2020? /*crossing fingers tighter.*/

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Since start ups take time to take off I hope the time jumps will be for that purpose.

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Ah, you're right! That makes sense

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You're right - it is obvious once you know what to look for, but I totally missed it. So I am guessing we will see a time jump soon, perhaps EP6?

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Add me to those that hadn't noticed. A time jump at some point makes sense though to show them going from starting a business to running one. Just don't give the women awful new hairstyles to show the passage of time like Itaewon Class.

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hahaha lmao! well luckily in startup, dalmi's hair can only improve (hehe suzy bashing jokes always make me giggle in ironic delight) and injae already got a new do, she can't get two, no?

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You made a very good point, but I believe that the time jump will probably be later.

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Sandbox could be a successful company at the end of this series. But I hope let the quartet will be as rich as good job. Also, I hope Sandbox willn't die, @ltung23. Hahahahaha.

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Good catch about the timeline! I kept thinking about the 'old' tech too. Cloud kitchens was the other thing that struck me as anachronous. I hope the time jump is organic, though.

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Interesting on the time jump! Another way to keep the show fresh!

Side note: A tech attorney?! That sounds like such a cool job lol.

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I laughed so much in episode 3, Kim Sun Ho and Nam Jo Hyuk play off of each other so well and their scenes together are hilarious. I like all of our leads and while I have a bit of a second lead syndrome because I'm partial to KSH I have to say that I also like Nam Jo Hyuk's character and his acting in this drama. I hope everyone gets a loveline of their own at some point rather than the typical triangle in which one is left heartbroken and alone.

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Especially the national anthem scene. That was pure comedy gold. If NJH and KSH doesn’t win the best bromance award I dunno who will. (Best couple award is of course reserved for Kim Min Jae and Park Eun Bin, duh)

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That was hilarious

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agreed!! the witty banter just came flying off the shelves in ep3 and 4. where was this in 1 and 2?!? almost makes me feel like show had a slow ... startup (groan, me not as witty as show).

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i was laughing so much at that scene

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Yes, I think that they have best couple completely sewn up. But you can already see the bromance here.

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Wait, @123gog45, is it Korean national anthem or Sandbox's own national anthem. I knew if the former was correct, then I felt a little confused.

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It was the Korean national anthem, which only made the scene funnier.

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I think that added love lines are possible here, particularly if the sisters can reconcile.

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I love all of the characters so far! From the major to the minor characters. Love the entire Samsan team, they are so precious. And the fifth member of their Hackathon team LOL she's genius. Dalmi made 5,000 won off her and then she made 10,000! Grandma and Ji Pyeong are precious. So excited to watch In Jae's growth journey. Hopefully she doesn't do anything too horrible--I really want to root for her success. But ofc not more than Dalmi. I hope the President of Sandbox finds out sooner rather than later that sandbox girl is Dalmi

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LOVED the 5k won to 10k won scene. such a small, practical scene packed with big meaning.

the hand holding turned into the only thing dalmi likes about dosan turned into business handshake too .... I'M SQUEEING!!!

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The hand holding and Do San's fingers twitching reminded me of teh famous hand flex from Pride and Prejudice (2005).

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The previews suggest that the President of Sandbox will realize this in the next episode.

And I agree about In-jae- she is hurt more than evil and her nastiness is really a defense mechanism. Remember that she was nice when she was young and then was forced to make a harsh choice- but her basic character was formed years before that happened. So there is reason for hope. If she can find her heart again I think that she and Ji-pyeong would be absolutely awesome, and not just as business partners.

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If you notice carefully, in Mae's defence mechanism is to attack before being attacked. If you look at her social media profile, she is smiling in almost all the pictures whereas she doesn't smile much in real life. Even when she uploaded a picture of her mother having tea, she wasn't enjoying the event. My gut tells me that she fabricates her social media ( well, much more than the average person) because she knows Dal Mi follows her and she doesn't want Dal Mi to think that she is anything other than happy. It's her way of showing that she made the right person

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I think that you may be right- and the first time she did this was when she had been made to choose which parent to go with.

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It was In Jae who wrote the pitch though. Which I think makes the whole Sandbox more meaningful. In Jae's decision to leave wasn't as easy as she pretends to be because what she had with her father means a lot to her too.

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Interesting that you think so. I took her use of the Sandbox theme as a more cynical ploy for attention

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People often have more than one reason for what they do. In this case I think that you are both right.

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I was under the impression that the (original) sandbox girl was In Jae, not Dalmi. Anyway, neck pillow CEO (haha @missvictrix love the name) will soon discover the connection.

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The sandbox girl isn't Dalmi. Everybody assumed it was her, because we saw her on the swing when her father put the sand there. That's all. The father never said which daughter came up with the idea. That scene was when Dalmi was very young so it was before the divorce. Injae probably had the idea and her little sister also benefited from it.

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Ah. that makes sense! It hadn't occurred to me that both of them benefitted from the sand swing

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according to the father's story, it was Dalmi who fell from the swing (he called out her name in the flashback) and was forbidden by their mother to use the swing again until little Dalmi suggested that her father put sand under the swing to soften the ground if she fell. So while both Injae and Dalmi may have used the swing, it is also to show Dalmi's problem solving skill was there since her childhood.

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The sandbox girl is Dalmi

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Thanks for another great recap, you've captured what I loved about episodes 3 and 4. I have to admit I was about to drop the drama after episodes 1 and 2 (felt too long, too slow, didn't really liked them), but I'm so glad I stayed!!

I agree about the writing and how solid our characters are. And as much as I love NJH's DoSan (he's everything a ML should be), it's JiPyeong and KSH that is winning my heart little by little. I live for his interactions with DoSan, halmoni and even sassy YeongSil (ha!). So far his interactions with DalMi have been little, something I appreciate in order to keep my heart unbroken.

I hope we get to see more of InJae next week. I don't think she's just the evil sister, and that she and DalMi can find a way to be together again. It hurt when stepdad decided to put his son before her when she's done all the hard work. And I don't think it is because she's not her blood daughter, but because she's a woman. In that boarding meeting there was not a single woman. I'm rooting for you, InJae. I hope you can kick some asses around and show them how good you are.

Also, it was InJae the one who asked for sand to dad.

Anyway, still having those Cyrano vibes that I'm afraid will break my heart. I've never felt this way about ML and 2ML. Can they be our OTP?

I want to see more

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"not a single woman" ... YES, WOMEN IN TECH!! hence, i root for injae too. think injae and jipyeong will be sneaky hot, as they are more suited for each other, EXPENSIVE man and woman.

as an aside, injae and dalmi as leading tech ladies is every male engineers fantasy haha. as the show said, engineering school = total sausage fest. 🤭

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My college class, when I started, had a male:female ratio of 12:1. This year it was 51:49. Things do change. And yes it was and still is an absolutely hard core engineering university.

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my apologies for speaking for the current generation! alas, my electrical engineering undergrad days were many, many moons ago. without dating myself too much, in my 1st year classes, the ratio was, no joke, 100:1. and that 1 was literally treated like suzy bae during her miss a days, i.e., a harem of boys following her wherever she went. 🤭 i'm glad to hear that things have really improved! this show is another step in the right direction!

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I don't think that In-Jae is the evil sister (at least I hope not - that is an overused trope). But I do think that maybe she got a wakeup call with her terribly low score on the 50 words part. And just for the record I think the step dad is an asshole.

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He indeed is.

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I have to retract my comment about the score - 23 was not her score, it was her badge number.

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@eazal Yes! you know the 2ML syndrome is real when you'd rather ship them together instead of with the FM LOL!! I honestly don't want to see either one of them get hurt! It's better for my heart if none of them end up with Dalmi if they continue to be this heart-breakingly cute.

I also agree with you about the solid writing. There is a lot of heart on this show, especially in scenes with halmoni and JiPyeong, and also when NDS asks Dalmi what she likes about him. It's the entrepreneurship competition that kinda bothers me. Since I know a bit about start-up and businesses, the CEO picking/matching part is hilariously dramatic for the sake of drama to me. A startup is by no means a loose mix-and-match ie. both the technical people and the business people have to work closely as a familiar well-functioning team from the get-go. You don't just choose your CEO like that, and especially in a startup incubation LOL. I know the drama needs drama but this is kinda too funny for me to take everything srsly. Beside that, the characters and emotional conflicts are well-written and well-acted.

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I agree with you about the CEO competition but I am willing to suspend my dis-belief and enjoy it as a plot device. Let us just pretend that the Sandbox management has come up with some scientific metric whereby they can determine who is good CEO material.

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I forgot to add that what I like about this show is that it really is not a docudrama on startups. I have seen other kdramas that literally got lost in the technical/corporate details.

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Totally agree with you about the competition, but I will take for the sake of the drama!

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I think the competition is only to get into Sandbox. After that, everybody can go on with their own ideas or stay together if they want.

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I'm glad I know who the end game is (I hope) so that I'm not heartbroken. Have you watched Dimples as the scene stealer in Strongest Deliveryman?

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Not yet! I had only seen him in Chief Kim (and this weekend I watched You drive me crazyKnowing there’s a near lockdown in my future I guess I will correct that really soon.

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I am totally loving this show so far. It is a gem among mostly mediocre new shows. It just has so many moving parts - but the writer/director have done an excellent job of actually keeping those parts relevant to the story - they are not just time fillers.

While the main focus has been on Dal-Mi and the Samsan team, I am also seeing a shift in the mothers attitude towards supporting both of her daughters in this endeavor.
I thought one of the funniest yet sad moments was when Dal-Mi scored 397 while her "hot shot sister CEO" only got 23. I was rooting for Dal-Mi, but I also felt kind of bad for her sister being exposed as perhaps not really knowing the landscape as much as she thought she did.

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Maybe I am wrong but I think that was their applicant number and not score.

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you are right about that. Dalmi was badge 397 but still ended up as one of the 40 "CEOs".

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i think (i'm not 100% sure) 397 and 23 were their respective badge id numbers, not their scores. /*racing back to netflix to check and to see their scores*/

as an aside, i SQUEED when injae was #23 cause that's the number of michael jordan, the greatest bball player ever, which means injae is the most talented CEO ever!!! ok, i'm a psycho haha (i find injae more interesting and attractive than dalmi)

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I went back and watched that part again, and I think you are right. It seems that there were no scores shown, and that number is in fact the badge number.

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Okay I know how much the writers want us to root for the underdog Do San but I just can’t. There’s something lacking in him, maybe the emotional maturity or the lack of initiatives he takes. Just like Ji Pyeong said, he doesn’t have it in him which makes him a CEO. He’s adorable and sometimes I just want to give him a hug but that doesn’t mean that I want him to end up with the girl. Suzy isn’t really selling her character here either. I want to root for her but I can’t. In fact I’m more interested in In Jae than Dal Mi and that speaks volumes.

Ji Pyeong is my favorite character right now. Yes, halmoni is adorable too, but Ji Pyeong is so mature and those dimples though. But for real, I love Ji Pyeong so much. I want him to win the girl so hard because he’s the person she fell in love with. I know the show is trying make Ji Pyeong the first love and Do San the final love but the heartbreak Ji Pyeong will go through in the future when Dal Mi finally chooses Do San is gonna hurt me so bad I just know it.

Maybe it’s because I love Kim Sun Ho so much but I honestly love Nam Joo Hyuk too. So that argument doesn’t work. I’m not a fan of Suzy, honestly. I feel like she’s trying too much when she could just be normal. Like you don’t have to jump up and down on the stage because you were chosen as a CEO. That’s attention grabbing and I would never do that onstage where basically 360 other people can see you. That’s absurd. And she looked ridiculous too. I did like Suzy with Kim Woo Bin so it surprised me that I didn’t like her here. She sounds a lot fake to be honest.

Meanwhile Kim Sun Ho though, my God he’s amazing. I knew I was gonna fall for him in this drama but I didn’t know that it would be this soon. His denial (of liking Dal Mi) in the end of episode three and the juxtaposition with Do San just screams that Ji Pyeong is gonna lose in this love. But I’m still keeping hope. Because maybe once in a blue moon the second lead will finally get the girl. Even if it’s very rare. Or maybe give a better love story with In Jae for him. That would make it okay too.

And if the writers are gonna give an epilogue with Do San meeting Dal Mi through fate when they were younger or some bullshit I’m gonna scream. I had enough fate related stuff in this drama already.

I’m sorry Nam Joo Hyuk, but this time I’m gonna go with Kim Sun Ho.

At first it was Grandma and Ji Pyeong both who was in the whole scam, but then Grandma stopped caring because whatever Ji Pyeong was writing was making Dal Mi happy. And she was content with that. So she didn’t continue to help him with the letter writing because he obviously started to take initiative and make progress with Dal Mi. It was his thoughts, his birthday wishes and his ideas that made Dal Mi fall in love. Strictly speaking, you don’t necessarily have to fall in love with your pen pal, but, Dal Mi fell for him because of his words which reached her. She wanted a friend, he gave her more than that. And...

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I have a feeling that the show would try to pathetically pair off In Jae and Ji Pyeong but I hope their love story will be better than Do San’s and Dal Mi’s. Because I’m rooting for them.

In Jae is surprisingly making me root for her. Maybe because her character resonates in me. The way she wanted to prove to her step father and step brother that she’s more than just a pretty princess means so much. I want her to win everything in sandbox, get back her sister and mom and halmoni and win Ji Pyeong. That’s what I want.

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sorry for cutting your comment off earlier (also forgot one can't really delete on DB). got too excited about finding a team injae member!

yes it's a lot to want but i'm TOTALLY with you. as her stepfather told her to step down in korea and she was clenching her fists in anger, i totally jumped on board that ship. love how the show has multiple different motivations for joining sandbox, as reviewer-nim said.

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I too am rooting for In-jae and Ji-pyeong. They are actually a better fit.

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I noticed that I was rooting for the 2nd leads more than the main. Dalmi and Dosan are adorable but I care more how Jipyeong will mentor Samsan Tech and how will Injae wipe the floor with her stepbrother. I think a beanie mentioned during the premier week how most of the posts are about Hana and Seonho.

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nice to hear most beanies are on team injae/jipyeong! maybe a lot of us beanies are fancy pants like ko moonyeong and yoon seri. 🤭 like jipyeong in the show, i was all judgey and not amused that dosan took dalmin to CVS for You for some instant ramen haha.

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@ltung23 maybe? 😂😂😂

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They are the mature duo of the drama. While Dal Mi and Do San are adorable, their characters are too common. So if they fall for each other it’s no surprise. Do San is already on the way. Meanwhile if the drama pulls a twist and pairs up Ji Pyeong with Dal Mi and Do San with In Jae now that’s something to look out for.

I’m expecting Dal Mi to say “The letters are what made me aware of you, but you as a person is what made me fall in love” or something along the line when she finally accepts Do San.

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*frantically raises hand** hey, count me. I am team In Jae and Jin Pyeong, too. Kind of late to the party as I just started it this week, and just finished Episode 4.

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Post cut me off.

As I was saying, that’s why she fell for him. But Do San is just a disguise of her beloved pen pal. Even if the name is same, she will have different feelings for him because what she doesn’t know is that they are two different people, both of who are in her life now.

I don’t understand why Ji Pyeong and Halmoni wanted to continue with the misunderstanding because didn’t Dal Mi say that she knew grandma had to do something with the letters? Plus if she saw the handwriting she would kinda know. I don’t know about Korean handwriting but in English it’s kinda easy to know who has written what, like the flow and pace of the handwriting, and which hand they’re using to write etc. Sorry, I am good at handwriting so I know these things. Not flexing, just saying. They could’ve nipped it at the bud by introducing Ji Pyeong as the “Do San” she wrote to without trying to find a person to fit the name.

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But if they had told the truth about Ji Pyeong being the letter writer, what would they have done the other 15 episodes?

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DM going after JP with everything she had, for good or bad?

It outdoor be a different time drama, but could be interesting?

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It would be a different drama, but could be interesting?

Is what I meant to write.

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But he's already smitten, so there's no plot there. Having him fall over backwards to enchant and protect her, while she barely notices him, that is a plot. One that ordinarily would lead to romance. But in this case, Dal-mi is experiencing her actual first love with another newbie to love, Do-san. And that's going to end up more precious than those letters.

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That’s exactly why this drama was made.

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While I have never been a fan of Suzy's acting in the past, I think she is doing pretty good in this one. As for the jumping up and down - that would be a director decision, not hers. I am wondering if I disliked her in previous shows because of how she was cast...

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i agree with you @windsun33. suzy is solid in funny roles like "big" and "dream high" and this one, but just not up to par in more serious roles like "vagabond."

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I knew Suzy still made me fun at her entertanment career. I saw she was already a successful, ultimate Korean actress

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@windsun33 I have to agree with you. I haven't been as aware that it's Suzy and not the character as I have been in the past. She is the character for me this time. I thought the jumping on stage was cute and 100% what I would have done in that situation. I think Dal mi is an extrovert and a bit of a showman. We witnessed that in the coffee shop with the fans, too.

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I'm thinking maybe with fame and fortune, Do San might turn into a person that would be more suited for In Jae rather than Dal Mi. Since he's never had a girlfriend, Dal Mi must seem like a gift from god. But with a little more experience, he might be more interested in someone who thinks more like he does --- more "left brain" type concrete thinking. But Dal Mi and Ji Pyeong are at home with the abstract "right brain" type of thinking. (and yeah, I know, the hemispheres of the brain theory has been debunked, but still gets the idea across)

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Yeah, I felt the show has been emphasizing how compatible Dal Mi is with Ji Pyeong, not Do San. I'm not sure how I'd feel if the show paired up the other two. I guess it would depend on the execution. I could also see Do San moping with his buddies in the end when the perfect engineering girl appears complaining about the blood type nonsense. At this point, In Jae is a bit too worldly and sophisticated for him, though I get your point. Do San could change with a little maturity, but his problem seems to be a fundamental lack of emotional intelligence, which may be hard to learn. In Jae, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have any trouble networking or mingling with colleagues. Of course, it's only episode 4 and I don't think any pairing is out of the question at this point, including Dal Mi and Do San.

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But this is Cyrano we’re talking about. It’s obvious that with the dressing down, Dal Mi is gonna be paired up with Do San. Ji Pyeong snubbed his chances with the missed opportunities.

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It's funny, the similarities to Cyrano and Roxanne were partly why I thought she could end up with Ji Pyeong. In both stories, she ultimately confesses to Ji Pyeong, doesn't she, even though it's much more tragic in Cyrano? One way that wouldn't happen here is if the story actually takes a different route and decides the letters don't really matter because it was her grandmother's attempt to cheer her up when Ji Pyeong barely remembered what he wrote. However, there are moments when they seem to really understand each other. I'm really not sure where this will go, actually. I think there are good reasons to think she could end up with Do San and good reasons to think she could end up with Ji Pyeong. Do San definitely has a chance to get to know her as her business partner. Getting away from the Cyrano plot helps his chances more, I think, but maybe I'm missing the obvious, as you say.

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Oh, I certainly think that the drama is intended to pair Do San with Dal Mi since the actor who plays Do San is the top male listed (though I personally think the second lead male is a much better actor and worth top billing) I was just hoping and dreaming when I suggested Do San and In Jae, but I didn't think there was much chance of that and Korean dramas most often are not surprising when it comes to that sort of thing.

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I was actually thinking in the beginning of ep 4 when Do San had a narration about a bug in the code, and right after he knocked into In Jae, that it would be really interesting if the show actually paired them together.

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In-Jae has been such a snob to Do-San, putting him down every chance she gets. I think it's much more fascinating having her lose the opportunity to work with him. After the first 2 eps I wanted to see In-Jae lose all her advantages, and she has. Thank you, Writer! But she's still a snob. She needs to suffer a little more to become a good enough person to deserve JP. Losing Samsan to her sister was a first step.

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To be honest, Do San doesn’t even acknowledge In Jae. Basically he doesn’t even know her. So obviously he would choose Dal Mi. There wasn’t even a choice to be made.

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Do San is falling for a person who wrote letter using his name. They are not for him. What the letters contain is basically what Dal Mi fell in love with, and they are all Ji Pyeong’s thoughts and ideas. Do San is fooling himself and expecting for something impossible to happen. But it will, cuz the drama keeps emphasizing Dal Mi and Do San together. There’s the final couple. I don’t mind that but I want Ji Pyeong to have a casual happy ending. I don’t mind an open ending either as long as the next half of the show he won’t turn into an asshole.

Plus if the writers pull a “they were fated for each other since they were small” flashback for Dal Mi and Do San I’m really gonna scream.

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Also late to the party, but I love your comment about Dalmi falling in love with the letters. As romantic a meet-cute as that is, to me it’s what you do AFTER the initial meeting that’s important. If actions speak louder than words, then Dosan is doing the heavy lifting, starting with the fact that he began this whole charade OUT OF THE GOODNESS OF HIS HUGE HEART. Remember, Dosan and Han Timjangnim couldn’t come to a financial agreement. But Dosan went anyway, using someone else’s suit. It wasn’t until after Dalmi and Dosan met that Han Timjangnim really started ponying up the assets to make Dosan look like a successful CEO: the car, the suits, the apartments. And it was Dosan’s conversation by the river that captivated Dalmi (“Boring, right?”
“”No, it was very interesting and cool.”) while Han Timjangnim chose to LURK behind the car.

Han Timjangnim has squandered his opportunities when with Dalmi. I don’t know if it’s his repressed emotions that are holding him back, but his actions show no interest in Dalmi. Dosan should be commended for taking risks and spending time with Dalmi.

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I didn't consider that, but I can see In Jae and Do San being cute together. Just as long as the Dal Mi and Ji Pyeong ship sails haha

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I'm voting for Ji Pyeong to get the girl! He and Dal Mi just gel and understands her in a way Do San can't yet. They have great chemistry and definitely my heart!

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I agree with you. I’m loving Ji Pyeong more than Do San too. Even if I’m a huge fan of Nam Joo Hyuk, Kim Sun Ho is just mesmerizing. He makes me fall in love with him all over again.

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Interesting, its apparent that the show has 4 main leads so to speak. An ensemble show for now? I find all characters to be distinct but sometimes In Jae's coldness stops me from fully loving her character for now. I also find Kang Han-na to be a good actress but not charismatic compared to Suzy who in this writer's works shines the best in.

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This show is #7 worldwide on Netflix https://flixpatrol.com/top10/netflix

I cannot recall any Korean TV drama scoring that high before, but I only check occasionally.

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Interesting also to see in which countries it is #1 or #2 in. https://flixpatrol.com/title/start-up-2020

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YESSS, what's interesting is that the show is blowing up on English twitter, but the ratings were soooo low in Korea. Beginning to the "Netflix effect" on KR ratings is super real.

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In Korea it is a TvN show, but not sure if it appears on both NetFlix and TvN there. If so, that might skew the ratings.

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it seems to be #1 in Netflix Korea too!, according to this page.

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How is a 5% rating for the 4th episode of a show on a cable channel low? The ratings kept increasing since the first episode. The latest one also hit a new peak in audience (almost 1,4 million).

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you're right. guess what i was trying to say is that, based on word of mouth, it feels almost like it should be 10%. but am wondering if netflix "later viewing" takes away the live viewers.

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Yes, this show is in fact doing well for a cable show in Korea- and I expect to see that audience grow.

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IOTNBO stayed at no. 6 and it's the highest record for a K-drama on Netflix. Hope this does well also.

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I knew that "Record of Youth" already topped the Netflix charts on some countries before Start-Up took it on Netflix charts' domination. I felt happy that former Top 10 Netflix acquired series' leader Record of Youth will be ending this week. Private Lives still struggling on Netflix charts.

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kim seon ho is stealing this one for me- and i'm absolutely LOVING NJH so thats a big big deal. Both these men and their characters are so thoughtful, kind and soft and I love NDS's raw emotions and how he embraces it all, and HJP's gentlemanly demeanor that carefully tiptoes around SDM.
I know its going to break my heart for HJP when she gets with NDS, but I also have faith that this drama will make NDS seem right for her and make it just as heart-fluttering as it will be heartbreaking. I love it so so so much already I just hope and pray it stays as strong as it has started so far!!

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I'm watching this drama for Ji-Pyeong. I love his interactions with Grandma and Do-San. It's funny and touching. I want to know more about him because from all the characters he had the saddest past, all alone but he succeed. I want him to have a role other than help Do-San and Dal-Mi.

I don't really like Dal-Mi. She wants to be a CEO to beat her sister. But it lacks substance for me, she doesn't have a field in which she wants to succeed, something that she likes and motives her. Her ideas were weird from restaurant to car key. Until now, we know that she's hardworking but didn't show any qualities for a CEO like leadership. Then, her love for her penpal, this obsession is weird. I mean for Ji-Pyeong that I like a lot, I would be very happy they found each other, etc. But in the point view of Dal-Mi, she needs to move on...

I loved all the Sand Box part, the idea of the keywords to find the CEOs, the goal, etc. It's really nice written and filmed. I'm curious to see In-Jae's reaction when she will know she's the little girl on the swing.

For the actors, I'm not impressed by Suzy. Suzy is acting like every roles she did before, all the same tics. For NJH, it's kinda like to see him more than his character, the same akwardness and shyness.

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Isn't Dal-Mi the swing girl? I might be confused or that clip happened while I was getting a munchy.

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Yes, it was Dal-Mi - here is a clip of it https://twitter.com/mrlagb/status/1320410896355762179?s=20

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Why it's In-Jae's mail?

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@kurama that is the question I want answers to!

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Yes. I wondered too. Has she stolen it?

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Right? I went back and found that scene from episode 1 because I was so confused. Maybe In-Jae knew the story and thought it was better to make herself the girl on the swing as a way of putting herself in the Sandbox image. She knows everyone involved, including the founder of Sandbox (or so it seemed when they were on stage together) so maybe she knew how to get her attention?

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In-Jae's being conniving then

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I think In Jae just wrote about her experience with her dad, since the name Sandbox reminded her of this experience. Whether it was her or Dal Mi's idea is not clear, but for bow it's not too important. The girls can't know about the connection between the CEO and their father. They don't know that he told her this story. So in the eyes of the daughters, why would it be a plus point for them to tell the story? I think In Jae just wanted to use the name and make a connection, without knowing that the CEO knew about this from her father. I can't see any conniving in this.

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@jorobertson, @ursulax

I hope the writer didn't choose the easy solution to make the big sister the usual villain. I think she deserves to have a connection with her father too. You can't be mad to a child after you asked her to choose between her father and her mother.

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I don’t think In Jae stole the idea. Before the sisters parted, they obviously loved their dad. And since they were small maybe it was In Jae who fell down. I don’t think the writers are trying to make her evil. I can’t accept it even if they do because I’m rooting for her so much.

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It'll be interesting to see how this pans out. I'm happy too for In-jae not to be the bad girl. Like you, I'm sick of the spiteful rival trope, but I'm sure there's going to be lots of tension between the sisters. They have both been damaged by the break-up. The mother has done damage, and she seemed nothing but a parasite until this last episode. (I did like how she saw through Dalmi's bravado and how she is finding ways to support In-jae). And it's true that the mother would have been damaged too by the father's good ideas that didn't make any money, but as is clear from In-jae's rejection of her, her way of making her way in the world is to find a wealthy man. At this point in the drama, both sisters are horribly jealous of each other, so I guess they have a way to go in terms of development. Tension and development are good for drama. Predictability isn't. IMO. Even if In-jae has lied about the idea with her father, it doesn't mean she's not going to emerge at the end as a sterling character.

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I think Suzy is doing very well in this role.

Like many others I don't see In-jae as the Eeeeviiil sister. Given that this is a very good writer who has written a cracking good yarn up to this point I have very solid hopes that we are going in a different direction. The girl in the swing may be common to both of them- it is maybe something the father did for both of them and thus a common bond. Ultimately the story resulted in the Sandbox- and both of them are now together in the Sandbox- the symbolism is undeniable. That they are now competitors is almost irrelevant.

That Dal-mi is doing this to prove something to her sister is relevant only because that means that her sister is still important to her. It has nothing to do with her potential to be a good CEO. Why she started this course of action is far less important than what she does with it. I do not think that this is her only motivation or even the main one- the way she was treated at her job is far more significant. Really she just wants to be someone who matters rather than a throw away temp.

But I do think that it is important that In-jae is not motivated by wanting to prove something to Dal-mi- instead she is out to show up her step-father and step-brother- and also, like a sister, be someone who matters in her own right and not because of her connections.

Perhaps the most significant thing to notice about In-jae is the fact that some of her co-workers followed her out of the company. If she were a typical selfish and arrogant k-drama princess there is no way that they would have done that- they would have said "good riddance" instead. Other than needing to re-establish a relationship with her sister she is not even in need of redemption- in fact she is at this point a victim of her step-father's selfishness. She may have things to learn, and would have been the wrong CEO for Sam-san, but that does not mean that she cannot shed the arrogance and be a good CEO with a different bunch of people.

So I am hopeful for our second female lead and trust the writer to write a better story.

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Idea for sandbox existed since 1850...why would In Jae steal it? Her dad might have done the same for her?

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I think Dal-Mi is more like a problem solver. She might not come up with the idea herself but she can make it happen. That's why she is the perfect fit for SamSan Tech where the technology is there but no one in the group knows how to move it forward. About her leadership, I think she shows potential in cafe scene with a bunch of enthusiastic kpop fan. To be fair, Dal-Mi has a lot to learn to be a competent CEO but I think she'll do fine if she's given the opportunity.

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You’re right, it takes a mix of different skills to make a startup work. I personally thought one of the funnier bit was all the business guys asking the flannel trio How they expected to make money and getting blank stares back. Our trio have a technology looking for a problem to solve - someone else will have to figure out what that is.

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Which is why having a problem-solver like Dal-mi as your CEO makes sense. I agree that she is not the ideas person- but she now has her Sam-san guys to do that.

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And that is why I think Do-San would be a lousy CEO. In real life there are hundreds of examples of innovators ruining their own brand/company because they refuse to admit they are not a good CEO. Different skills entirely.

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Which is why what the Sandbox just forced them to do- and which is also what Ji-pyeong told them to do- was so brilliant. Dal-mi has the talents to be a great CEO- although she will need to work to develop the full range of skills- while Do-san and his buddies are now freed up from the burdens of a CEO and can now be free to really use their talents. I would say that by the end of episode 4 they actually have tacitly admitted that they do not have CEO skills.

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Sand Box helps people with their start-up. She doesn't have any idea for a start-up, so what is she doing there...

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think show may not have shown her startup ideas yet cause there's that scene in which she was working on her hackathon app and then she started looking at her dad's food-related ideas. i'm boldly predicting that dolsam will combine her dad's idea, with the AI image recognition and granny's corn dogs for a cheesy but funny effect.

also hackathons irl are pretty much business idea brainstorming sessions. most people go into these with barely anything.

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I would have liked her to have a dream that is more than to be successful. It's all. She found an idea to be in Sand Box, okay, but it's not the order of things I was expecting. Do-San has a project and went to Sand Box to realize it. I wanted Dal-Mi to have the same development as a character like continuing her father's work. Now, she's just the usual hardworking and optimistic FL. I mean it's nice she will have a futur development and I'm expecting it but why the FL can't be the "genius" once?

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that's true @kurama. among the 3, dosan, dalmi and injae, and what we know now, dalmi is entering the hackathon with only cliche kdrama FL spunk, while dosan and injae have teams of underlings and are apparently geniuses. i agree that i wish show established what dalmi can bring to the table more. crossing fingers for next week!

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She doesn't want to beat her sister. She wants to show her that her choice wasn't wrong.

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I think that is correct. Both sisters are putting up a false front, just different ones.

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She wants to show that her choice wasn't wrong but for that, she needs to do better than her sister in her mind.

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the restaurant idea from dalmi, its actually a thing that has happened in my country haha. so its not weird at all for me. there's this app where you order food from and they will send it to you and yes, they dont have a physical restaurant for you to dine in. its purely 100% delivery!

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Weird in the sense they already exist but not in the way she described.

The type of restaurant are called "Ghost" Restaurants in French.

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@missvictrix Thank you for the recap! I am really enjoying this drama. I love the interactions between Ji-pyeong and the Samsan gang :)

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Do-san's ready admission that he likes Dal-mi (in contrast to Ji-pyeong's denial) and that sinking feeling upon realizing that Dal-mi likes Ji-pyeong's version of Do-san instead of the actual Do-san puts me in his ship. There's just something about guys who readily admit their feelings, okay?

Ji-pyeong is still my favorite character and my heart would break along with his when the inevitable pining and heartbreak happens, which is why I hope they'd clear out the deception early (he should incriminate Grandma as the mastermind) so he can sort his feelings out, move on, and take on the role of a mentor/hyung to the kiddos.

Freakin' cheered for In-jae when she confronted her dad and step bro. Go girl, I'm rooting for you! And reconcile with your sis and gram while you're at it, mkay?

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"he should incriminate Grandma as the mastermind"

He should. 😂

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Grandma as the criminal mastermind. 🤣😂🤣 Han JiPyeong and Grandma friendship is 💕.

Agree with all you said, except Do San is my fave. 😊 HJP is a close second.

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I don't think HJP will throw Halmoni under the bus. that's how much he loves her. lol

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Can we also put a spotlight on the guardians/mentors in the show?
- Grandma and late Dad who planted seeds which Dalmi/Injae may sow in the future (which Jinpyeong already did)
- Dosan's parents who invested in him and continue to support despite their doubts
- Mom who loves but with morally questionable decisions (Injae benefitted most out of it)
- Director Yoon who I think we'll be a great ally

Of course, there are bad ones (looking at you Stepfather). However, coming off from Brahms (with grown ups who seem out to get out leads), I'm relieved to have this show highlight these support systems for our four leads

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Aww yes! Grandma was Jipyeong's guardian and taught/mentored him how to write letters befriending her lonely granddaughter. We find Jipyeong now mentoring Do San to write messages to Dal Mi, and to act like a CEO. I do believe he will be SamSan's mentor too.

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I found it interesting and slightly frustrating that in the epilogue we see the sandbox director reading entries, she sees the one about putting sand under a swing. This causes her to remember dal-mi father and it made her smile. But when we zoom in we see it’s her sisters name attached to that. It makes me wonder if she was in that memory as well, or weather it was her sister in the memory not dal mi like we were meant to believe. I think I might need to go back and rewatch the first episode.

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I went back and watched it. Her father calls the little girl on the swing Dal Mi.

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Hmm interesting, then I wonder how she knew the story as well

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Really loved these episodes: Funny and heart warming and very shippable. I ship Ji Pyeong and Do San, Ji Pyeong and the three San's, and Ji Pyeong and Grandma. I've planted myself in neutral territory as far as romantic pairings go to avoid heart break.

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I know Suzy is far from the best actress and deserves criticism for her past work but I feel the community has developed a bit too strong bias against her.
Like in this show so far she is doing fine, she could do better for sure but still far from bad but I feel like some of the criticisms here have been a bit nitpicky at times.

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agree! i almost feel bad for her cause she became so big, so quickly, she was tasked with these HUGE demanding serious roles when was so freaking young and better suited for comedic roles. she didn't get to grow into a lead like other actresses. but i feel like in this show, she's getting more natural, more confident. her excitement for being picked CEO at the hackathon was infectious.

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Case in point - Dream High. I suspect the writer made her character literally wooden to suit her acting back then. But she’s come a long way since those days!

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I do not have an anti-Suzy bias but agree that she underwhelmed in some previous show. Here she is doing great.

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I wonder how much is poor direction vs poor acting? I find it hard to tell...

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I have always disliked Suzy, so much so that a lot of dramas she was in ended up DNF. But, in this drama she just seems regular so far. She hasn't irritated me or made me cringe with her acting at all. I haven't even noticed it. So that is a huge improvement and I am really happy about that as now maybe I can watch future dramas she is in.

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lmao why would u disliked her. She did nothing to u. Most of her acting is good. U just disliked her for personal reasons lol. People like you only know how to spread negativity and that makes u a sad person.

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ha ha ha ha Isn't your name "Spread Love No Hate" ha ha ha ha ha Funny

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this thread should have a disclaimer: beware of suzy stans. 🤭😆