Start-Up: Episodes 7-8 Open Thread
Now that they’re official, it’s time for our team to actually develop their product and get their business off the ground. There’s something special about Samsan Tech, though — while they’re fighting for the success of their company, they also pour so much heart into their work, their motives, and their business plan. But the more they have, the more they have to protect, and this week we see how far everyone is willing to go to hold on to their dreams.
EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP
Every week this show takes me through such an array of emotions! But they’re so perfectly balanced, giving us the right amount of humor, with the right amount of pathos — goshdarnit, it’s a really well-written drama. How did our writer get all these big pieces and little details to fit together so well? I’m almost jealous.
Speaking of jealous, the second lead syndrome is kicking in big time this week, because we watch Ji-pyeong start to get a little “weird” around Dal-mi. He thinks it’s absurd when Do-san asks him if he’s jealous, but I think we can all see (and Ji-pyeong is definitely starting to see) how much he cares about Dal-mi. Ji-pyeong’s character is so well-developed, and Do-san’s imposter syndrome so believable, that I’m caught in a tangle of emotions over which way the story is going, will go, and how I want it to go, or even think it will go.
Do-san and Ji-pyeong competing over centimeters in height, shoving each other to change halmoni’s lightbulb first, and rushing around trying to show off how many manly chores they could do — this was such a hilarious sequence. But it was also a meaningful one, with so many layers to it, not only because the men are competing (whether they realize it or not) for Dal-mi, but they’re also competing for halmoni.
Ji-pyeong has such a touching (and unshakable) connection to her, but it was so sweet to see her forming a bond with Do-san as well. She’s just magic at loving people, isn’t she? Do-san agreed to keep the secret of her failing eyesight from Dal-mi, and even gifted her with his little RGB scrubbies in full-on nerd mode, so between his actions and halmoni’s ability to read peoples’ hearts, it’s clear she knows he’s a good seed.
But halmoni also knows that there are two Do-sans, and even asks Dal-mi which one she would choose “if” the Do-san from 15 years ago was different from the one she knows today. And then comes the truth: she would choose the Do-san from the past.
The Do-san from the past is, of course, Han Ji-pyeong. Han Ji-pyeong with the gorgeous handwriting, gorgeous car, and yes, gorgeous dimples. That handwriting, though, is going to be the wrinkle in the plot that eventually reveals who Dal-mi’s old penpal really is.
As much as I want more Ji-pyeong on my screen, and to see him bonding with the Samsan team, I really appreciate how often the story shows him alone. It’s such a great bit of characterization, continuing what we learned about him in the past, and boy does it make my heart ache. He needs love, he needs family, he needs support. (I’m here, Ji-pyeong!)
Whether it’s his choice to be alone, or just his default mode, we do see him observing Dal-mi and Do-san together much more this week… Sigh. Does he realize that hand-written notes on Dal-mi’s business proposal will be enough to catch her attention and have her recognize the writing? I don’t think it was intentional (at least consciously), but why weren’t they more careful if they knew how much Dal-mi treasured those letters? Because between the handwriting and the “shared” birth date, Dal-mi is starting to realize something fishy is going on.
But first, let’s talk about the fact that it’s halmoni’s eye condition that gives Do-san his eureka moment for Samsan Tech. Each member of the team pitches their idea, but they settle on Do-san’s, which is to use their AI image recognition software in tandem with the voice recognition of Yeong-sil (belated Yeo Jin-gu shout-out!) to create an app to help the visually impaired. They quickly build it, brand it, and name it — now all they have to do is get someone to pay for it.
The team at Samsan Tech might have their hearts in it 100%, but Ji-pyeong is right (as usual) with his criticisms of their cost of service. Each call to Yeong-sil’s API is expensive, and their model basically means that the more users they have, the more expensive their service is to run (not good, since scaling should mean the opposite). So, though their app is pretty amazing, it’s not something that would attract investors.
This leads us to the other plot arc this week, and our emerging villain DIRECTOR WON (Eom Hyo-seob) — also In-jae’s step-father. I’m not sure how much our story needs A Villain, but I really liked the themes that this storyline pulled out, and also how it allied In-jae and Dal-mi just a teeny tiny bit. (Yes, Show, let’s have them unite against this awful man!)
First, Dal-mi decides that instead of purpusing their own business plan, Samsan should first submit a proposal for Director Won’s company, Morning Group. They’ll make money and a good connection — but wow, it turns out to be bogus. As if In-jae’s step-brother WON SANG-SOO (Moon Dong-hyuk) wasn’t a big enough of a jerk to our CEO and CTO, Director Won is a thousand times worse. He actually has the nerve to tell Dal-mi she should have left her father when In-jae did and became his daughter instead. Barf!
Director Won’s comment cues a pretty great act of righteous anger, and by the person we least expected it from. After previously telling Dal-mi that when he’s angry he knits and only imagines yelling at people or smashing things, Do-san does just that. He grabs Director Won’s glass name plate and smashes it on the desk so hard that it shatters into bits. It’s a great moment, as nonverbal mic drops go. The sort of thing you would definitely imagine doing while knitting.
Do-san runs out and Dal-mi follows him, but strangely, rather than leave the building at top speed (which is what I would be doing), they head to the roof. It’s a breathtaking view of the city, and an even more breathtaking sunset. Ohhhh, I see what you’re doing, Show.
Do-san is horrified with himself for ruining Samsan Tech’s chances with Morning Star, but Dal-mi is completely overcome by how Do-san stood up for her while she was trying desperately to hold back. While he’s trying to explain, Dal-mi grabs him and kisses him instead. And gosh, it’s just perfect, all of it. Do-san being Do-san, he’s as bashful as can be afterwards… but then, after he collects himself, doesn’t have a problem grabbing her for more kisses.
Do-san’s act has some bad repercussions for the company, though. Director Won presses charges against Do-san at the same time that Dal-mi convinces herself to approach him as their last hope for funding (their app goes viral thanks to The Marketing Genius Cousin That Shall Not Be Named, and they don’t have the money to support all their users).
Do-san is kneeling, making his apology, when Dal-mi walks in. Will she kneel too? She’s already told her sister that she doesn’t care about her pride anymore, because so much more is at stake (I do love how this drama really calls out what real pride and inner strength truly are). Anyway, Dal-mi quickly turns the tables here. Thanks to Ji-pyeong and more winning advice, we learn that Dal-mi secretly recorded their prior meetings. This means she has proof that Director Won is a giant hypocrite — and he needs his reputation intact, so he agrees to settle with Do-san, and to fund Samsan Tech’s app. Score, team!
Samsan Tech has come a long way this week, and while they’ve found a pretty quick success with their app, there is still a lot for them to conquer before they become a secure company. Similarly, there’s a lot yet to unfold for our couple — though they share a lot of kisses and dreams and good-hearted intentions, there is also a lot of broken trust waiting for us down the road. I’m not exactly looking forward to Dal-mi finding out, but it looks like it’s happening soon. What will it look like? Ahh!
As ever, there were so many great side plots and little touches this week, like the great use of the fingertip excitement indicator, everything having to do with the cow dung, Director Yoon seeing something in Dal-mi and learning her identity, and the touching exchange between Dal-mi and her grandmother when she finds out about her failing eyesight. I love this show. That is all.
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