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Start-Up: Episodes 9-10 Open Thread

It’s a week for painful truths, big reveals, and broken hearts. But, in the middle of all of these huge moments is also a lot of insight into each of our characters. We get a deep look inside our main players, and a good dose of rich, emotional complexity (A.K.A. the sort of thing that makes good drama).

 
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP

Oof, who had it worse this week? I don’t think there’s a metric to decide which of our main players had to deal with a deeper emotional gash. Maybe the question isn’t who is hurting more, but rather what is causing that hurt, and how the storytelling makes it all so incredibly real.

Last week we ended with Dal-mi’s handwriting suspicion, and though it’s just a suspicion at this point, it’s enough to keep her on her toes, and this will lead to our big reveal later on. But first, for much of Episode 9, we focus on Do-san. He’s always seemed like a sweet, bashful nerd, and lately we’ve seen him deal with this imposter syndrome, since he knows he’s not the Do-san Dal-mi thinks he is. But this week, what we learn about his past makes so much sense in shedding light on why Do-san is who he is.

The reveals haven’t even happened and already Do-san is completely shaken up — he seems to know the ruse is nearing an end. His sad and desperate drinking spree might lead to more hilarity and competition at Dal-mi and halmoni’s house, but really, Do-san is a centimeter away from breaking down.

When we learn that the math competition he won as a kid was because he cheated on one of the questions, it’s as if everything we have seen and heard about Do-san lines up. He’s taken that moment to heart, and never forgiven himself for it, and the guilt and inferiority and self-hatred, even, that have come from it, define who he is.

This is why Do-san always apologizing, never feeling like he measures up, and why each of his much-deserved successes are hijacked — he doesn’t feel like he earned them. “I made a wrong turn and stumbled,” he keeps saying. It’s such a great play on the quintessential idea of hamartia, or a hero’s tragic flaw, and I love the drama for digging so deep.

While we’re learning about Do-san’s inner workings, we also see inside Ji-pyeong as well. He’s no longer denying his feelings, and admits to halmoni that he likes Dal-mi. It’s such a painful, yet lovely moment. There is so much truth-dropping and truth-revealing going on as we reach the end of Episode 9! The drama pulls our three characters together for The Big Reveal with some well-written drama convergence, and a symbolic downpour of rain.

Ji-pyeong agrees to help halmoni continue the white lie, and goes to the old birdhouse to retreive Dal-mi’s most recent letter and sneak it to Do-san. Do-san, meanwhile, is waiting for Dal-mi at the subway station. But Dal-mi’s phone got switched with her grandmother’s and she sees a strange text message that sends her to the birdhouse mailbox, too. Ah, it’s so well done. Sure, it would have been kinder for one of our boys to tell her the truth first, but drama is drama, after all.

We’ve been expecting the three-sided heartbreak that results from this reveal, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less heavy, and the drama did a great job showing the ripple effect that these lies have on each of them.

I found Dal-mi’s emotions to be so authentic — this feeling of being played, hoodwinked, and made a fool of. From her difficulty in making eye contact with Do-san after, to her crisis of confidence and how it causes her to doubt herself as a CEO… it’s sad to watch, but it’s exactly what it should be. And it’s interesting, too, that both Dal-mi and Do-san’s heartbreak and upsetness both manifest by attacking their confidence and self-worth. To use Dal-mi’s terms, “Now that everything is fake, I feel like I’m fake too.”

How are our CEO and CTO going to continue their uphill battle? When we leave them at the end of this week’s episodes, they have even more to deal with than the emotions that are dragging them down. They have demo day, with its sky-high stakes, and it’s heart-wrenching to watch everyone struggle to either fake confidence, or instill confidence, while no one really feels it.

Dal-mi also learns that In-jae has stolen her swing story, which is the icing on the pain cake. I’m patiently waiting for In-jae’s wake-up call and for her to act out of love for Dal-mi, the same way we’ve seen Dal-mi do that reflexively. Come on, Show, I’d love to see more about these sisters and how they’re going to reconcile their differences.

Speaking of differences, we also hit on a final twist as our episodes close, when Yong-san confronts Ji-pyeong as his hyung’s “killer.” Okay, I suspected this individual seeking revenge was going to be Yong-san (they didn’t make it hard to guess), but I’m slightly concerned. Why did he wait till right now? Why don’t his friends know his tale? Also, hasn’t Ji-pyeong dealt with enough?

Our big reveal might be out in the open, but Start-Up still has plenty of plot to sink its teeth into, since it captures our characters in all their emotional complexity. I don’t think any of it will be a quick solve (maybe that’s why we’re still not in our current-day storyline yet?) — but I also don’t think it should be a quick solve. The foundations of each of our main relationships have been totally upended, and there’s no undo button that will work.

Where do we go from here? It’s clear Do-san wants to fight for Samsan Tech and for Dal-mi, and we see him willing to explore Alex’s offer rather than rely on Ji-pyeong’s lifeline as their Plan B. It seems that now that the playing field is (somewhat) level, there might actually be some real rivalry ahead.

While there is a lot of sweetness — and even moments of silliness — to balance out all the heavy emotions this week (including Lee Bo-young’s fantastic cameo!), I must admit I’m caught up in the sadness. But I’m not actually sad over the truth coming out (it needed to). I’m actually more sad just because the humiliation, regret over hurting people, and the desire to be legitimately loved for who you truly are, all feel so very real.

Editor’s Note: Please don’t discuss spoilers because we’d hate to delete your comment! This includes anything shown in previews. Also, let’s keep things civil, even when we disagree on character and plot points. Dramabeans is a safe place for drama fans to geek out: let’s keep it that way.

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seeing dosan like this broke my heart into pieces. he went through so many emotions over the course of a couple of days, and he came out the other side more sure of himself than ever. dalmi will see now that she did fall in love with the real nam dosan, not a persona he was enacting.

this should also settle the matter of the letters' significance, which turns out is not much. dalmi didn't even bat an eyelash over the letters. contrast that to how she completely lost it when she asked if anything between her and dosan had been real. she had a more visceral reaction to him than the letters, or ji pyeong or even grandma, bc she is terrified she relationship she built with dosan is fake. i hope we can put the matter of which way her heart is set to rest now.

her heart is set on nam dosan.

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I agree. I am wondering how she will talk about this lie with her grandmother. Probably another tear-jerker scene.

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Me too!!

So far from what I remember, Dalmi’s only gotten a proper apology from DoSan (which was indeed tear-jerking lol)

With JiPyeong, there’s at least been open dialogue about it, what with discussing the details, what’s true and what’s not, and a confession lol

But with Grandma, there hasn’t been really any dialogue about the lie! The only scenes with them together in ep 10, it does seem a bit tense between them, so I’m thinking maybe it will be hashed out later.

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Amen to this. The letters and her first love were beautiful memories that got her through tough times, but they are things of the past. What worries her now is which parts of Do-san and her relationship with him are fake and which ones are real. It would be weirder for her to cling to a first love she never met over the one she's with now, and I think she likes more of the actual Do-san (and his nerdy awkwardness) over the borrowed parts from Ji-pyeong's "Do-san"

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And its EP 10. Way the wrong time for that to happen if it was endgame. Therefore an incorrect assessment

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do you not get tired lol

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LOL :D Fighting @dogemama!

6 more episodes to go and I think next week we'll see Dalmi exploring Dosan's reality and getting to know each other on a personal level, the real Dosan.

Towards the ending of Episode 10, I liked how Dosan made it clear for Dalmi to walk away from the relationship and expressed how much he appreciated her faith in Samsan Tech, that they couldn't have made it this far without her which is really sweet and I'm sure in a real situation that would've helped in boosting confidence and motivation.

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Me too :(
Anyway, I like the fact that Nam Do San is the male lead character because even though Jipyeong is a better individual as a whole, Nam Do San on the other side is so relatable. He did a mistake in the past, has been living with regrets, and perhaps unconsciously been holding himself from achieving something that he is actually capable of.

Seeing his low self-confidence and insecurities being finally exposed in ep 10 totally broke my heart but hopefully, it is his wake-up call to "pay for his mistake" the correct way: by living and loving to the fullest and staying true to himself (a kind-hearted person)

Fighting Nam Do San!

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Wow, how refreshing to read somebthoughtful, openminded commentary on the show and not angsty, one-eyed screetching. Think I'll stay here 😄

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OMG this is spot on.

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Here’s a small fic for all the Ji Pyeong lovers for the impending heartbreak.

https://www.dramabeans.com/members/123gog45/activity/1166085/

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Things I liked this time:
1. DS’s and JP’s relationship: that JP has DS in his phone as “text neck”
2. The scene with the moon in the field of pink
3. The mother looking for a part-time job
4. Lie built upon lie and the lies unravelling: DS’s lie about the maths competition; JP's lie to DM; DS’s lie to DM
5. The rain throughout it all and the sense of foreboding/build up
6. NJH was so convincing in his grief. It was painful to see.
7. Suzy seemed to be overacting and made me wonder (unfairly) why is DM so upset??
8. But then the explanation by example to the Sans made me see DM’s humiliation and made it so much more understandable. A brilliant illustration of lying to someone and making a fool out of them.
9. The Sans comfort hugging
10. The yellow card analogy – such smart dialogue all the way through
11. Laughed out loud at the randomised clinical trial versus memorial service scene
12. “my trophy, my pride, my wings” was sweet, even though beanies didn’t like it
13. The Host joke
14. Personal vindication: I always knew that Injae has stolen DM’s memory - inexcusable
15. Exposing In-jae’s lie was the final lie demolished
16. Chul-san’s “stop confusing me”

Re: the love triangle wars, made me think of the power of stories that reveal ourselves to ourselves and surprise us, so when we are deeply affected by what we are watching, we should probably wonder what it this story triggering in my own personal experience?

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the moon/star scene was so cleverly written and achingly beautiful. both dalmi and dosan said so much more than the words they shared. i could feel that saying sorry for taking a "wrong turn" was killing dosan. but the wrong turn brought him to this beautiful place, so even if it was only for this moment, it had been worth it. i loved dosan correcting dalmi about the size and mass of the stars and moon, bc he was being his nerdy, geeky self, and she looked at him fondly in response. dalmi flipping the analogy of the stars and moon, bc she sees the best in him regardless of the angle of her perspective, was so poignant. somehow, these quiet words exchanged between them felt like the loudest declaration of love. even though their beginning was set off based on a lie, this beautiful place they found together is all their own.

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It was beautifully written. DM is no dummy and she loves his nerdiness. I love the pacing in the drama. Intensity alternating with witty exchanges. I also forget to add the silent barf on JP's back. ROFL

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Wonderfully put. I love that quiet exchange as well. Their quiet exchanges are what I look forward to every episode.

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No. 9 was a delight. It warmed my broken heart a bit.

No. 16 was a boundary Chul San secured for himself and I applaud this move, even as I know it must have been painful to do.

Love your invitation to be curious about the stories triggering my own personal experiences. This drama triggered me since episode 1! Insight here in this forum helped cleared up some things for me really well.

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Cute right? I was going "Aww Chulsan look at you all mature and manly now"

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Yes to 6 and 16! 6: Wow, Nam Joo-hyuk was incredible, particularly in the bus station where he just lost it. Massive respect to him - how could we not be blubbing along with him? 16: I loved this. How many times does this just need to be said - what you're doing is not helping me, so please stop - and how many times is it never said. Loved that *everyone* in the drama got to practice their honesty this week.

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Chul-San's "I'm an old-fashioned guy, stop confusing me" speech was a hilarious trope buster. Instead of some poor innocent heroine giving this speech to the cool but heartless chaebol who has been toying with her, we have these words coming from our flannel-shirted innocent nerd to the heartless and cool woman of his dreams. Even though this moment was poignant for him, I laughed so hard. I loved the way the script poked gentle fun at this trope.

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i hadn't even thought of like that! this makes the scene so much better. and yes, funnier too lol

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I actually disliked that scene because I think it is completely unearned. Saha has intact NOT been leading him on and has been completely clear about her disdain. He's the one who kept reading it wrong. She played with him only once - to demonstrate Dal Mi's point of view when he was being his usual dense, unsympathetic self. She led him away the 2nd time. So for me that was another example of Chul San being an unsympathetic, insensitive prick so I hated that suddenly because he evidenced an ounce (and only an ounce) of maturity and dignity that the tables were turned and Saha started seeing him in a new light. It is a sign of good writing that any maturity from the immature lot earns them a lot of kudos while the actual grown ups get chewed up.

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Sa-ha's demonstration to the Sans was classic- and finally made me see her character as a real part of the story. At times she has functioned as a sort of Greek Chorus, serving to illustrate or comment on what is going on. Here her interaction became more personal- and moved forward with Chul-san's "stop confusing me" speech.

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I agree to this list!!! But I'll add one more for myself: The Classic parody with the matching OST 🤣

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You've got me there. I haven't seen it, so it went over my head!! Something more to catch up on.

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What a comprehensive list, DramaLover4Ever!
#6: NJH’s grief was devasting to watch! How could Dal-mi not be moved?! And for NJH to have to perform such depths in multiple scenes—almost too much to ask of the character!

#8: As compelling as Jung Sa-ha’s demonstration was, it wasn’t a parallel situation to Do-san and Dal-mi. Do-san went along with a single lie; all the rest was Do-san: how he felt about Dal-mi, how he reacted to her, the caring and respect with which he treated he. Remember the broken nameplate? THAT was not a lie.

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I just love this show, although I do have some issues with it. At this stage I know both guys will break my heart, so can they find a resolution where everyone is happy in the end? And now that the truth is out can we please keep the reluctant bromance alive and still get scenes of Do San and Ji Pyeong bickering together (but maybe not for Dal Mi)? Their episode 9 scenes were great, I've said this before but KSH and NJH have great acting chemistry, they play off each other really well. I guess a time skip is coming soon.

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All for the bromance here. NJH and KSH were snort out loud funny! I kinda miss their bickering. I hope the show manages to bring that back again.

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Forget the ship wars and who deserves who and which team you’re on. Why is it the letters have been the main bone of contention for the last 9 episodes, only to have it all for naught in the 10th. It makes no sense. I don’t think they’d place that much importance on an inanimate object only to discard it so easily. Any thoughts?

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this felt apt to me, bc even if the letters were special to dalmi, on their own they never evoked emotions strong enough for her to go looking for "dosan". the letters were a source of comfort, and she was content with that, and would carried on like that if she had not lied to injae that day.

i think of it like she had a slate board with words scribbled from "dosan", and she clung to those words for 15 years bc the familiarity of the comfort they represented had been vital as she grew up. then, she met dosan, and he started overwriting the persona she had programmed on the slate board with his own quirks and oddities. what happened next is plain and simple: she fell in love with these new words. much more acutely, more intensely than the fondness she carried for her "first love".

the letters represented a persona she idealized, nam dosan is the person she actually got to know and fall in love with. the former's significance pales in comparison to the latter for this reason.

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November 17, 2020 at 1:42 AM
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You’re probably right. I feel like the producers needed to nip the HJP madness in the bud and figured let’s make the letters Insignificant. If she doesn’t give two hoots about the letters, she clearly feels nothing for him and hence he should just go on his merry way. My only wish is she doesn’t string him along by being nosy.

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I agree with you completely, @Mad_Missle the scene where Dalmi finds HJP at the birdhouse with the letter in his hand, the look she gives him as she realizes who he is, is a look of anything but affection. Then and there I knew that HJP had absolutely no hope with Dalmi and his feelings truly do not matter as he does not matter to her at all beyond superficial interaction. From there on out I consider him the man with the unrequited love. And I consider Dalmi and DoSan as having a lovers quarrel. That way I no longer have my heart broken over JyPyeong's heartache. I just accept it and move on. I still don't like DoSan and there are things about him that I think many people consider endearing, that are the opposite to me. Like giving the other kid the gold medal was more humiliating to the kid to be given the medal out of pity from a little kid who had won it. It just makes me cringe and was not a good deed even though DoSan might have thought it was the honest thing to do. How must that kid with the unearned medal feel? But, DoSan and DalMi are a couple now and JiPyeong is out of the picture. I just hope they don't villainize him now so that his fans drift away. If they do that, I will pretty much dislike this drama. He should remain a "good boy" throughout.

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His fans are already drifting away. Just to save themselves the impending heartache if anything. I’m only staying because this show has surprised me a few times. And I like being surprised.

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That scene hurt so bad. The way you put it into words is so precise - the look on her face is anything but affection. This is further confirmed by him trying to approach her and she backed away. It’s a truly heartbreaking scene and I think Ji-pyeong knew that according to the voice over and the look on his face.

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I was surprised and actually felt sad for Jipyeong because Dalmi asked Dosan why was Jipyeong here and not him.

I thought it was very clear then and there where her heart is, desperately hoping for Dosan to give her a good reason to believe in and Dosan knew at that time he would not want to continue the deception anymore as it has been killing him slowly.

If the Dosan in the letter/Jipyeong meant so much to her, her reaction would've been different, for a start, wouldn't she be somewhat relieved at the discovery? If she had any romantic interest in Jipyeong, wouldn't she be more open and welcoming to him when he interrupted her lunch at the noodle shop?

Whatever feelings she may have had for Jipyeong may very well be respect and gratitude but it doesn't represent interest in the romantic sense, otherwise the tension between them would've been more obvious from the get go, especially since they're both adults.

Just to be clear, when I say tension, I did not mean in the bickering, angry sense.

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Those letters affected her for a long time tho. Remember no other man can come up to her standards because of Dosan. I guess now that the real Dosan/s showed up, what mattered for are the men themselves.

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With everything out in the open she could give them both a fair chance, but I guess the heart wants what it wants (KDrama rules and all). And that’s why she should stay away from HJP. No good can come from breaking an already broken heart.

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Awww 🥺 Yes, no need to further hurt our good boy. Let’s see how this pans out in the next eps!

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yeah, this is noteworthy, but it's also important to remember people will find any excuse to fault romantic prospects if they are not ready to date. she built this persona of "dosan" from the letters and used him as a wall to shelter herself. it was a defense mechanism, if you will.

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The letters were never important (Going by Ep 10). It was always the name.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
The writers are clearly fans of Rostand and not Shakespeare...

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By following your thread of thought, you mean all of a sudden she was ready to date when he showed up? It was not a defense mechanism.

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@shichybot i think her walls came down as soon as she met dosan.

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Exactly my point @dogemama. Precisely because it IS Dosan, the writer of those letters. She was ready to date, but only if it was him.

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@shichybot oh, that i agree. but the real dosan, who physically appeared in front of her, also contributed to that imo. there was an instant attraction between them, an electricity that passed that may not have sparked with jipyeong.

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Wouldn't it also represent her outgrowing her childhood fantasy? Yes the letters were important but they're not the end all, be all for her future.

They may have comforted her in the past but doesn't that also hold her back from going forward in developing actual relationship in the romantic sense? You're right in saying that the Dosan in the letters represent her ideal persona before she met with the real Dosan. Her decision in the next episodes is critical, would she choose a fantasy over reality?

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i'm not pleased with hjp as a character right now, but i really loved his line about how she needs to choose if it is nam dosan without the past or nam dosan without the present that she wants.

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By the end of the drama the full impact of the letters will be known.
It's actually encouraging to see all the dosan lovers claiming victory seemingly oblivious to the fact thats its only EP and WAAAYYY to soon for anyone to think dosan is endgame. After all from past episodes we see dosan screwing up every episode and sometimes badly!
With Alex and 2STO coming in its his chance to make a momentary rise falled by a huge fall that will take him up to about EP 15 to dig out of.

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I have to say, I hope you’re right. Dosan’s reasons for taking the 2STO offer make me feel like he’s not thinking straight. A lot of the stuff he does is reactive, instead of proactive. And he’s taken this decision without consulting anyone in the team. I wonder if it’ll come back to bite him.

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Reactive vs. proactive — spot on, Mad_Missile! And Han Timjangnim saw it all along, saying it was why Do-san was never going to be CEO material. Too bad this flaw also tanked Do-san’s dating life as well.

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If we can "trust" Suzy's acting ability, then DoSan IS endgame because her character in the drama has barely any chemistry with JiPyeong. The looks she gives him, her body language, all point to no connection with JiPyeong. She is polite and at times grateful but there is no affection toward him as a man. It may be early in the drama but unless Suzy's acting hasn't improved, then we can cross JiPyeong off the ship list because it is clear that DalMi does not want him and has not fallen for this dimpled good boy.

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Yes, both the acting and the directing point to Dal-mi and Do-san being endgame.

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When she started out infatuated with the imposter it is not plausable that she would be making googley eyes at JP so her expressions as the sole indicator are wrong. Since EP 2-3 even amongst all her dosan fandom she repeatedly had an itch to know why he was helping her so much.

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Maybe it was curiosity and a desire to understand why some stranger would involve himself in her life, but not affection or attraction.

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Why would Dalmi ever look at another man, no matter how gorgeous his dimples, when she’s finally met the “love” of her life. She has integrity. On the other hand Jipeyong has been a thorough professional with her. Every bit of his demeanour oozes professionalism. His words, his mannerisms, his body language. In fact I thought it was ridiculous that Dalmi went to the extent she did to thank him. If I had met the man of my dreams, I wouldn’t pay him one ounce of attention, no matter his kind deeds. She even tells him she suspected him of having feelings for her. Just the fact that she thinks of Jipeyong, grateful thoughts, nosy thoughts, and then follows it up with actions, speaks volumes.
I’m curious to see what will happen now that the cuffs have been taken off Jipeyong.

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https://www.dramabeans.com/members/zzthorn
Actually dalmi did think of JP as a possible love suitor. Afterall SHE is the one who asked him if he saw her as a woman because she said she could have misunderstood. So it wasnt like she never thought about it.
Actually the proof is in the doubts she expressed about dosan to grandma repeatedly. The cognitive dissonance she felt for dosan was filled in with JP. IOW she knew dosan was nothing like her first love. She said so. She also not only was suspicious of dosan because things wwerent adding up, but knew that every suspicion aout dosan was answered by JP. The birthday, The handwriting writing, the things that were brought up in the letters that dosan didnt remeber or want briefed on that JP knew.

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just wanted to praise the actresses and actors for really portraying their characters. man, that one scene at the bus stop between dalmi and dosan felt so real - kudos to them. they nailed their roles.

i'm glad the truth's out! we can now delve into the business aspects of things and watch samsan tech hopefully nail demo day and flourish and grow - the show's much more than team dosan or team jipyeong.

excited to see how the revenge plot pans out, although i do hope the revenge plot was all a misunderstanding. i don't want jipyeong living with the guilt that his critiques and advices (although can be harsh, but the truth) led to someones death. he's been through enough ;;

also! props to saha for putting things into perspective for the two san boys. just because they've shown dalmi kind gestures, and they lied because they believed it was in her best interest to do so, it doesn't excuse the fact that they lied nontheless. dalmi was a victim of their lies, not dosan nor jipyeong.

i'm all for dosan going to san fransico with alex where he'll mature and come back business savvy and hopefully street smart! i love that this was a turning point for him to step out of his trauma and grow cause he has the potential to do so!

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the acting in these last couple of episodes have been phenomenal! njh and suzy perfectly captured the sense of betrayal, of deep, deep regret and guilt, and last ditch desperation. it honestly felt like they were breaking up with me, the hurt was too real. 😂

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man. never knew njh and suzy had it in them to invoke such pain and grief into their characters. they’ve come along way in terms of acting and that scene alone was just proof that hard work and dedication pays off! i was not expecting for angst when they promoted the drama as “youth coding romance”. that scene ripped me.

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I was in shreds. I believe NJH had the opportunity to stretch his emotive bandwidth as an actor in JTBC's Dazzling (I am now a fan of his quiet nuances). Search for his clips online if you enjoy some great emotive facial expressions from an actor. They sucked me in. Suzy made me cry every time she did in this drama.

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dazzling was definitely a turning point for him as an actor. he's always been charming and personable (wfkbj) but the emotional depth of dazzling pushed him to the next level. i have high hopes for his future projects!

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I'm seeing namjoohyuk and suzy growing in their acting. Same as the writer nim that getting better in writing drama. I'm so happy for Start-Up,  even though  I remember clearly how I underestimate the premise of Start-Up just as typical youth drama, with the coding genius two-dimensional character and flawless female lead. But here's I am now emphasized with the character more than I thought. Nam joohyuk is so good at crying. I'd appreciate how Dosan expresses his sadness openly in front of Dalmi, seeing how fragile Dosan makes his character feel so real.

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Yes. I read somewhere that actors are professional empaths and I am agreeing to that statement.

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I felt the crying was too much, hahaha! As someone who had gone through several heartbreaks and have done some ugly crying myself, I felt like saying to those “kids”: tsk, if it doesn’t work out, then it won’t. There are other fish in the sea and more important things to do than ugly cry over a relationship. 🤭

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you gotta remember this is both of their first relationship. everything feels like life or death at that point!

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I can relate to their emotions as I was an emotional wreck going through my first break-up - and I was in my early twenties, not exactly a kid, haha.

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This. I think both Suzy and NJH did an excellent job portraying the emotions and the crying but the bus stop scene didn't move me at all. (1) I started off annoyed at the writer continuing to give these moments to Do San - JI Pyeong had the courtesy to give her space while Do San intruded, determined to explain his point of view, yet from a drama sense I felt it was trying to convince me that Do San is end game because they keep connecting and talking. (2) Do San was heartbroken, as portrayed by NJH, but I found his crying (Do San's not the actor's) over the top and yet another example of making it all about Do San's pain and not Dal Mi's so it didn't move me at all (3) I also found it a his pain at being his father's 'pride and joy' a bit much. Parents take pride in us and have expectations that we will do well. Grow up and expect it. Ooh, my dad loves me and is proud of me, my life's so sad. Big whoop.

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Netflix translated the subtitle as "younger brother," but dongsaeng, what Assistant Manager Park Dong-chun said, is genderless. It would've been a brilliant plot twist if Sa-ha were the younger sibling getting revenge for her oppa.

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New to this but I saw it on Netflix and before I pick it up I want to ask how they write the female leads? Especially the second female lead.

I'm asking because I really liked this writer's treatment of her 2FL in I Hear Your Voice (she and FL fought but it wasn't over a guy) and even Pinocchio (they don't fight, 2FL has a thing for ML but it's not a big deal and they don't fight). I'm just tired of dramas where the 2nd female lead is this irrational jealous b*** hate figure, like I don't even mind characters like the actress played in Moon Lovers but just give your girls a thing or a reason for the conflict other than solely existing to make the viewer like the FL more by hating another woman. I actually like dramas like Producers or Fight My Way where the 2FL and FL have their own independent storyline/relationship! But not sure about this one from the wee cap.

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Well, so far the second female lead is not much of a factor in the drama. Their fights are not over a guy, in fact they are sisters who got separated when their parents got divorced, and there is some resentment on both parts. I would say they are both mean to the other rather than just the second female lead doing the hating.

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Wow, what did I miss? I'm surprise seeing the warning in the Editor's note. Life been so busy so I haven't been around here much.

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Check out last week's (episodes 7-8) weecap for answers! Haha. Haven't been back there but seeing that there are 400+ comments, the discussions may have become heated.

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The part I didn't understand was the spoilers. If people have watched these episodes and read the review, how is it we can have spoilers? Everything has already been seen, including the previews. Speaking about them (the 30 second preview) in the episode review is not allowed? I'm definitely guilty of that but I didn't realize it was not allowed.

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Personally, I do consider the previews spoilers--I never watch them precisely because I don't want to be spoiled. But I've seen people mention what happens in previews before in recap comments. I don't like it, but eh, it happens.

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Oh I love the previews as it gives me something to hold on to as I wait for the next episodes. But, since others don't feel the same about it and consider them spoilers, I will be careful in the future not to mention previews or at least not to mention them in a way that has any clues in it at all. Sorry about that. :-(

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When Ji-pyeong lashed out at halmeoni (again) and she rushed in the rain to give him an umbrella, I teared up.

Same thing when we were shown that Do-san has been carrying this guilt from childhood. As a kid he must have thought that the love he receives depends on his genius and achievements, which was why he couldn't admit to cheating at the math competition, or giving away his medal, or dropping out of college and going back to middle school, or stepping back from the CEO position. His parents' retelling of the story to Alex compared to what they actually were from his perspective are so different, and it's sad because he grew up thinking that everything about him is fake and he does not deserve anything while his parents have no clue at all.

Sa-ha explained that Ji-pyeong is the obvious choice between the two based on the variable that Dal-mi likes them both equally... however when Dal-mi was agonizing over the truth, there was obviously one guy occupying most of her thoughts. Haha. Which is why I'm hoping Ji-pyeong's confession is a graceful exit instead of a call to arms.

And also, if there's supposed to be a timeskip, aren't the characters currently using 2020 flagship phones?

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Agree. I wish that Ji Pyeong's admission of his feelings serves more as a closure to the love story arc of the story so they can focus on the other plots in the story. In Jae had been sidelined too much in the last couple of episodes and I really want the story to focus more now on the relationship between the sisters.

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the use of 2020 flagship phones is the only major flaw of this drama...or i would say a clumsy flaw to be exact. been questioning it ever since i realised the current timeline is in 2016 😅

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Yes, the scene with halmeoni and Ji-pyeong in the rain was excellent, even more so because KSH had clearly re-watched his younger counterpart in ep1-2 and mimicked the exact same aggressive reaction to halmeoni. It was brilliant.

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That scene reminded of the scene in Scarlet Hearts lol. Perhaps could be on those iconic K-drama memes in the future? It was definitely a pivotal moment for HJP and the changing point from looking afar to SDM, to now becoming an active participant in her affections.

And yes, excellent acting from KSH! I totally felt that it was the younger counterpart, who is now feeling dejected once again from Halmoni. Notice how, it rains in that scene, and the rain stops and the sunshine opens up when he reads the letter she finally sent him, and SDM standing there? Is this a sign?

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"And also, if there's supposed to be a timeskip, aren't the characters currently using 2020 flagship phones?"

It's a 2019 Samsung Note phone, if that makes it any better. I read a netizen comment pointing this out before, so I lol'ed knowing this is set in 2016. Minor quibble, since smart phones existed back then, and its not too eye catching to distract imo.

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Thank you misvictrix. Same, I am caught up with the sadness. Do San's pain in meeting people's expectations and being in pain trying to achieve it, discounting his positives, seems too real. I cried along with him. That was a fantastic cathartic scene. Dal Mi's feeling of fakeness? Possibly different from Imposter Syndrome but very real and raw nonetheless. It was heartbreaking to see her so small and seeking assurance from Dosan. Again I cried along with her when Do San reminded her of what she did for SamSan Tech. It made me wonder if Nam Joo Hyuk and Suzy probably evoked some real raw memories into that scene.

On another note, I see character growth, when authenticity is out in the open. I was cheering for Do San when he decided to choose himself and refuse to wear that suit Dal Mi so much wants. He wants to learn to be himself. I breathed a sigh of relief for him and for Dal Mi. She can think about what she wants then. I kind of agree with her when said that she wasn't sure what she wants anymore at that bus station.

As for Do San's conversation with Alex about wanting a person instead of success, as much as we all know that he is probably speaking about Dal Mi, I would like that person to be about him. Do San choosing to accept Alex's offer, who never rejected his brilliance ever, was a testament to my personal interpretation that the person he is choosing is himself. At least for episode 10.

Sigh. Still swimming in feelings from episode 10.

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this is such a unique and fascinating take on dosan's dream being a person. he lived so long feeling like an imposter, unsure of who he is, what he has to offer, but finally, he's had a breakthrough from this devastating heartbreak. he's learned the hard way that he needs to be himself to stop feeling like he doesn't belong. and it is this version of him, that he dreams to meet. the version of him, who is not crippled by anxiety and self-doubt, who knows expectations are a burden that can be lifted off his shoulders. his dream is to meet someone who not only knows how to love, but also how to be loved.

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Thank you and to your own insight: Exactly! I agree with you. At the reveal of how much guilt Do San carried, Dal Mi's lost confidence, I was thinking about how much anxiety these two have been experiencing about their identity and worth. It was a complex spiral of confidence and self-doubt for the both of them. Example, Dal Mi, constantly reminds herself with conviction and everyone that she made the right choice in choosing her father (I dont doubt her), but breaking into angry hurt tears at In Jae's constant condescension at Dal Mi's so-called poverty. Success is measured in so many ways and it is very real to see the two starting to unravel what it really means to them.

Dal Mi's anxiety origins with the music box her father gifted her I have yet to understand though. Was it about her anxiety that she might hate the tune, thus disappointing her father? I wonder still.

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I think the best thing that ever happened to him this episode , and probably for all his life, was when he decided to confront his parents and told them the truth he has been carrying for all those years. That was the breakthrough point. Glad that he finally is at peace with himself.

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Oh yes! That was a door pried open.

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agreed. that had to have been such a cathartic moment for him.

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Feeling like an imposter? He was an imposter!! He never confessed. he got found out.
Breakthrough from devastating heartbreak? I didnt know thats what you call it when a player gets exposed?
Crippled by anxiety and doubt? Dont you mean crippled by anxiety and doubt over the truth of who he is and his actions?

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it is what is is.
my first ever frustrating drama so far lol
well we' re at 10.
let's see how it goes.

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I get that you love JP.
However it's obvious from your numerous hate comments here that your severe dislike for DS is getting irrational and overboard.

I think it's pity that you choose not to see the story that the writer is trying to tell, it is not a love triangle at its heart but how the leads found love, redemption and personal growth on events that started from lies initially.
This drama is NOT about JP being unfairly treated and a competition about who gets the girl.

It's going ep 11 and it's not likely that the drama will progress in the way you wish for so why not let go of the hate and enjoy the story that the writer is trying to tell. Her writing of the plot, weaving the nuances and small details are fantastic.

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Yes, I love the details that the writer weaved into the storyline, and the different analogies used to explain emotions, situations and circumstances.

I wonder if they will revisit the music box analogy again. Remember Dalmi said in the letter that she was worried about how the music box would sound like if she open it. And later on when Dosan asked her how does the music sound like and she replied "wonderful". Will they ask the same question/have the same conversation again and what would be her answer?

Also Dosan's taking the chance to "sail without a map" by taking his step towards getting to know Dalmi on a personal level. And later talking about the wind that turned into a storm and blew him off the course. Would the wind/storm he is going through now change his destination or would it lead him to his destiny?

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I would also like to point out the creative details that makes the drama so endearing to me, beautiful camera work, interesting image composition, most importantly the different little video game-y background tune when the Samsan Tech boys are up to something or highlighting their emotional state.

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@maisara272 i think we will definitely circle back to the music box, bc it is the perfect analogy for her relationships with the two men. she was comforted knowing "dosan" existed somewhere, sending her these words of assurances, but she never forged that bond any deeper, she never opened the music box bc she was afraid she wouldn't like the tune or it wouldn't play anything. it was only after she met the real nam dosan, that she found the courage to open the box, and the "wonderful" song that played represents the real nam dosan, the one she got to know and fall in love with over the course of the show.

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Is there absolutely no hope for this show to go the SDM-HJP way???

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It seems as the show's gearing towards the end, the writer is setting the stage for Han Ji-pyeong as the Daddy Long Legs character to Seo Dal-mi. He is her sandbox, the one who guides her and gives her support in the small ways that are more quiet. I have no clue tbh, even if she and Do-san are together in the end. It's definitely not going to be an easy road to get there, I think Dal-mi has to put aside what she knows of both guys and re-asses how each one makes her feel generally speaking. Their love story is always one of those "If" moments everyone has in their life. Do-san was love at first sight with her, and HJP was more in denial before slowly liking her gradually.

The only "if" is if Ep 11-16, show her and HJP having a honest conversation about the letters and if any of it was true from HJP. She's seen him in professional settings and three times outside of that work zone. If they give them more interactions, and pivotal talks between one another, I think it'll give Dal-mi a clearer picture b/c I don't think she actually processed HJP being the one who wrote the letters yet.

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That last line of yours. Dalmi is a lot deeper than we give her credit for. She sees the things he does for her, and she’s always nosy about him. Just this once though, I want her to stop. I want her tell him she picks Dosan. She has no feelings for him and just leave him be. He’s strong enough to pick up the broken pieces of his heart and move on. If we get anymore Dalmi Jipeyong scenes, I’m afraid I won’t be able to pick up the broken pieces of my heart and move on.

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I definitely don't think Jipyeong should continue as the Daddy long legs for Dalmi and DoSan also is fiercely against that, too. Ji-Pyeong needs to step completely away after his responsibilities with them through Sandbox end. DoSan does not want him anywhere near Dalmi and since DoSan and DalMi are "the couple" then Ji-Pyeong should be gone. DoSan's buddies are working hard to shove JiPyeong away, too. I can't think of a single person in the entire drama who wants JiPyeong and DalMi to be the couple (except for JiPyeong). That is pretty clear.

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I don't mean in a way that means saving our FL, but through positive ways as in giving her confidence and making sure she's ok. But at the same time, maybe that's not what Dal-mi needs or wants when the time jump occurs? I hope that both her and Ji-pyeong can have one last meaningful conversation about the letters/and their past. I think both people were unaware of that time in their lives until they met again, I think putting a ribbon to that will be fulfilling for both.

One thing: Ji-pyeong is very close to Halmoni, and considers her to be his savior/guardian angel so to speak. I think despite Do-san's protests, he's always going to remain a part of Halmoni/Dal-mi's lives. If he can't accept that, that probably signifies that the relationship won't last until the show ends and they're older. Saha though, she's team Ji-pyeong lol! No seriously though, that moment with his friends was highly annoying/very un-professional.

At least give HJP a chance to give some deep words to SDM, so she knows how sincere he is with his confession/past moments together. At this point, my main focus are on the character's growth separate from the romantic end game. I just hope that each of them grow into the people they wanted to be, and Ji-pyeong and Dal-mi can still remain in contact in the future (Platonic friendship does exist folks!!).

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It has been setup as Dosan-Dalmi from the very beginning anyway.

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But Dal-mi’s phone got switched with her grandmother’s

Ah, Ye Olde Switched Phone Trope. Ya know, if everybody wasn't carrying the same phone (presumably Samsung's latest & greatest but I didn't check) then maybe they could tell which phone belongs to who and kdrama writers would have to get more creative.

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Not necessarily. My mom can't tell our phones apart even when they are of two different brands, colors, and covers. Hers even has a cracked screen. She'd still pick my phone up and be confused why the passcode won't work.

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I feel like giving up waiting for Injae's character development. I was honestly waiting for this the most since the writer's second female leads in previous dramas have always been well written, not to mention Kang Hanna is a great actress. It has been 10 episodes, and yet, almost nothing. Honestly, going through episode 10 is a struggle because things get too mopey for my taste, understandable for the characters perhaps, but not my taste lol. It feels like the drama is too focused on Dosan’s side of the fallout of the revelation, while Dalmi’s POV gets shifted, which I don’t really like too because she is the main victim of all of this. She didn’t even really has a conversation with Grandma about the letters. Unexpectedly (or not?) Jipyeong is the one who comes out of it not too scathed I think. He doesn’t really get any benefit since at this point Dalmi is in love with Dosan—she didn’t seem interested in getting to know him better, which was weird, but whatever—but he doesn’t lose anything too since he didn’t build a romantic relationship based on the lies.

I love Dosan, but I am so conflicted about his actions in this episode. I don’t like that he was following Dalmi around like that and make her his dream—that’s unhealthy, unfair to Dalmi, and in reverse of his development with his parents. He is so insecure too, I feel like he needs to work on his insecurities and impostor syndrome first before focusing on Dalmi too much, only then he can be more mature. I can relate to him on his insecurities, and at the same time, I can’t really connect to his actions. His friends blocking Jipyeong is on an important day not good actions too—they are being good friends, prob.

On the other hand, I like that Jipyeong starts being honest with Dalmi. It feels like he is dealing with everything in a more mature and smarter way than others, but then again like I said, he doesn’t lose much because of the reveal. The revenge plot relating to him is unexpected. He probably has more plots related to him than Dosan, at this point while Dosan is the main male lead of the romance and underdog story, Jipyeong is the male lead of the overall plot.

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Your last paragraph speaks my mind. At this point, and despite everything about Nam Do-san that’s been revealed, I still think the character Han Ji-pyeong is more fleshed out and occupies the center of the stage.

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Some may even argue that Han Ji-pyeong is the true main lead of Start Up. In my opinion, both him and Nam Do-san both occupy main male lead status here.

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male lead by definition is the actor who gets top billing: that is nam joo hyuk.

from a writing point of view though, i do think dalmi, dosan, and jipyeong are all main leads. all three are fully fleshed out, and have had compelling backstories and character arcs.

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Injae 😭😭😭

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The friends blocking their mentor is very bad to me also, what happened to being professional? But I forgot, they’re not that bright in that area.

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Yeah I think I read someone saying that they are just guy friends being guy friends, which is not a good excuse. The most professional employee among Samsan Tech is still Saha. She needs to teach those boys how to act (which she did. I love her.)

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The "mentor" is about to interfere in a very personal altercation between 2 sisters so that's hardly a professional reason which required his intervention as a mentor.

To be fair, he's looking for a reason to get through to Dalmi. The boys are looking out for her as they understood that she needed to vent and giving her the space to sort out the issues with her sister.

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Lee Bo-young cameo! I didn't see it's coming and she looks stunning!

and also didn't know that what Yong-san (I know it's him) wants to get revenge is Ji Pyong! and why is it now? in Demo day (a horrific day for a programmer cause s*** can happen

what I love about this drama is how the characters have many of flaws but they grew up to be a better person.

I'm a bit disappoint when Do san approach Alex cause he doesn't want a plan B from Ji Pyong. Yes, I know he just wants to win Dalmi but to me his choice is more to ego.

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And Ji pyeong said that mostly because he doesn’t want dal mi to get too nervous, that’s how mistakes happens. Did do San even have the questions JP asked him to pass on to dal mi? The relationships ain’t my main problem for now, they’re not the only ones in the company which means they should stay professional like dal mi has been trying to do.

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The LBY cameo (Still so stunning and charming as ever!!) was filmed back in August 1. So I'm shocked that it just came out now in the middle of November!? The show's been filming since mid May, and is wrapping up Nov 20, that's a long time filming imo (Well Covid-19)...

That being said, I guess they filmed her cameo first b/c of scheduling/timing first and then the other scenes in this episode more recently then? The writer said she researched 2 yrs into search ups, so I guess the script was mostly and/or finished by the time starting began? Maybe I'm reading way too much on this lol. I'm sure it doesn't mean much?

Do-san in Ep 10 showed imposter syndrome. He doesn't know HJP's background (Unless HJP hid/lied about his in interviews?), so he thinks HJP is just a rich jerk as said in Ep 9. He wants Dal-mi (She's not a manic pixie girl y'all! She doesn't exist just to prop up and support the male leads here!!) and I feel like he's striving to make her happy, while forgetting about his own happiness.

Also I was a bit irked when his friends stopped HJP talking to SDM, like you just heard Saha's statement prior about lies, and they both understood too. I just wanted HJP to tell SDM anything really to her face other than the letters, but just two people talking to each other on a more emotional and deeper level.

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@soulsearch12 I appreciate the stuffing out of you ❤
I was more than irked when the Samsan friends were blocking Ji Pyeong. That's not even playing fair! It feels like Do San is getting the unfair advantage. He's always eavesdropping, interrupting and getting the drop on things which is just annoying at this point. I could take it if it were a fair fight, but Ji Pyeong isn't even being given a chance.

Do San has no charisma as a male lead. I don't know about other people, but having someone so single-minded in their approach with no other goals in life but to be with me would be CREEPY and a huge turnoff.

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The other aspect not yet done on this show is that with Dosan repeatedly screwing up the company as he did in a mojor way 2 times previously, Imagine if JP stops saving them.
There are any number of ways he could pick Dalmi back up and champion her after.
Only then would dosan be seen as he is.
Let the guy fend for himself. He manages to turn anything he does into lead anyway.

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@Majong Sofine Again, he does nothing for me. I'm over him as a character and just want to see how it all plays out. Oddly, the writing doesn't seem as tight as it was in the beginning. Some characters are acting very unlike themselves while others are floundering in a sea of underdevelopment.

Mostly, I worry for Ji Pyeong's safety, especially since Yong San is ramping things up. I am very sad about is brother, but find it weird that nobody picked up on this weird streak of his? Aren't they all supposed to be really close?

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Aww thanks @mewcrazy!

Very much so. That and the scene where Do-san was acting rude telling Ji-pyeong off. I mean hello, they all had a sleepover just the night before??!

You hit the nail on its head!! It's so frustrating seeing Do-san always have the leg up, with him listening to her, stalking her (I was like dude she said she needed space), or the Halmoni/eye issue (Seriously what gives? HJP deserves to know as well!!). It feels like NDS is given a chance to 'reset' himself to SDM, but HJP doesn't get a chance to even show SDM his true self (his background/his true feelings ex. that drunk epilogue scene!!). I wish HJP and SDM can have a heartfelt convo together, whatever it is to A) Grow their relationship more or B) Closure.

I think NJH is doing a great job with NDS. I do think its quite sad that he's placing his happiness on one person. I think the time jump to 2STOR, is going to help in grow into a more confident person, someone that knows his abilities and doesn't doubt them.

There's this term: Manic Pixie Girl which is often used to describe "is a type of female character often depicted as a whimsical, quirky, sometimes eccentric, fantasy woman who saves the male protagonist from himself. She usually aides in his transformation without ever showing any real agency of her own."

That to me is so problematic, no woman/person should be the answer to the male lead, without any growth of her story. The only way for me that'll change that is that SDM shows her own agency, and tells NDS that they need a break (cue the time jump/Silicon Valley move). During their time off, she moves on up after successfully venturing off NoonGil, and becomes a highly successful CEO, who in the end becomes a mentor at Sandbox, and finishing her dad's message of instilling a sandbox for future dreamers. That would be a highly fulfilling ending imo.

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@soulsearch12 No worries 😊

I was shocked that Halmoni would dismiss Ji Pyeong so easily. Part of me still thinks she knows him better than most, but she didn't so much as hesitate before saying he should get the letter for Do San. Also, making him move seats for Do San was a total Darth Halmoni move 😂 I had whiplash because not too long ago she gave him the bigger part of the fish and suspected she knew of his feelings before he did. Still, the denial of them definitely wasn't to his benefit. I guess when it comes to Dal Mi, Halmoni takes no prisoners; disappointing because Ji Pyeong truly seemed alone and I wanted to console him.

As far as she's concerned, Do San is the cause of her grand daughter's sudden burst of happiness. She saw Dal Mi giddy in the doorway when she got the Sandbox acceptance and misunderstood that it was because of an earlier date with Do San.

Conversely, it's disheartening to see Dal Mi be so underestimated, as if she couldn't possibly have aspirations of her own. If she's happy, it's because of Do San, and if she's heartbroken it has to do with the validity of their relationship, not for loss of confidence in her perceived leadership capability.

I scoffed when everyone expected her to fall apart, but Dal Mi ended up being professional and got on with it. I want her to kick ass and make a name for herself.

However, this is where I have a problem with Do San. He's not helping her grow and if anything feels cloying and like a hindrance. It's as if since meeting Dal Mi, his dreams ceased to be. His aspirations little more than becoming Dal Mi's boyfriend and maybe not getting kicked out of Sandbox because then he wouldn't be able to hang out with Dal Mi. It would be different if those dreams expanded, but he seems to be fixated on getting her to love him and sticking it to Ji Pyeong, which isn't super healthy. At least prioritize the investors and honor the efforts of your team! Take the Silicon Valley job and be the best man you can be. Not the man Ji Pyeong is, but Do San meeting his potential; owning his insecurities and not blaming anyone else for them. I'd cheer for that.

I like that both men are finally being honest. Big ups for Do San calling In Jae on her BS 🙄 The writers still aren't willing to flesh out her character, but at least she didn't completely get away with lying. I mean the nerve of acting like stealing Dal Mi's story wasn't completely icky actually made me glad for once that Do San was skulking around and told her off.

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@mewcrazy :)

I think by that point, it was far along to do much? She sees how happy Dal-mi is with Do-san rn? The whole letter thing began as a way to make DM happy. Yeah, I guess she's a very welcoming person. But I still think she has a soft spot for JP (Ex. The fish scene/she gave him a larger piece/or the umbrella scene). I wonder when JP learns of her eye issues, how their relationship will change? I think he'll do anything to help her.

I've to commend Dal-mi and yes Suzy's acting for bringing home the DM character that grounds the show imo. I appreciated seeing her act mature in this tense situations as she's had before (DS lying about his background/Halmoni's eye reveal/JP's reveal), and seeing the larger picture with the company. Something that DS could learn from?

All the characters in the show have room to grow, and I think they will. It's built up for DS to come back to Sandbox (only poster w/o the logo), and become the confident man he's grown to be. DM is to hone in on her talents and become more prospective. JP is to become more open to others.

In-jae is rn a plot device, she's there to show DM's insecurity/the Sandbox reveal. I would've hoped to see a scene with her being vulnerable about also having to lie that she made the right choice. As of now, whenever she's on-screen, I can't help but feel indifferent to her which is a shame. It's really a three person driving story (DM/JP/DS).

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@soulsearch12 I'm SO ready for Ji Pyeong to know! Why is he the last to know? 😫 I know he'll take it just as hard as Dal Mi and want him to get his time with Halmoni, maybe play some board games and watch a movie haha

With regards to the two other leads, I hope that Do San learns from Dal Mi, matures and establishes himself as an engineer, later reflecting on the first love that was HIS Sandbox. I don't think they're good for each other in the long-run, you can't always agree with someone and tip toe around feelings, but appreciate what her positive presence has meant in his life.

The smashing of step-father CEO's nameplate aside, I think Do San has to deal with these different sides of himself. Like the jealousy, anger and self-doubt that Dal Mi seems to be stirring up would have been issues regardless, just ones he probably would not have addressed had he remained in his little Samsan bubble. He needs to work through these feelings and realize that there are healthy and unhealthy ways of dealing with them.

Dal Mi and Ji Pyeong aren't causes of these emotions, but simply catalysts. Do San has always felt this way, deep down, but didn't deal with those emotions. Hopefully he grows into an independent, confident young man who doesn't feel the need to prove himself to anyone.

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If dosan gets the girl it will be because of a hack writing job, not on the strengths of the characters that were created.

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Eh, oy with the poodles already!

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I don't think it"s just because of Dalmi though that Dosan wants distance from Jipeong. I think Jipeong didn't believe in Samsan Tech from the start and Dosan wants to distance himself from JP because of that as well. JP insisting in rather arrogant way that Dosan will need his help. The way he's been treating Dosan up to this point probably makes him want to prove himself without Jipeong's help.

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Did anyone else's heart fluttered when the last scene in Ep 9 with Han Ji-pyeong and Dal-mi finally meeting knowing the truth between them is out there? That scene and what built up to it was just fantastic writing and directing! The suspense, the anxiety, and the anticipation was next level :O This is a character centric show, and I like how the writer gave all these characters (well main 3, since In-jae just comes across as one-note now which is a shame b/c her sticking up to her father in-law was a highlight!) a lot of complexity and flaws.

Forgetting a sec. about the ships, and honesty whatever happens next, I want all of them to succeed not just in monetary growth but also in personal growth and happiness. No matter who gets who, it's going to be a sad and tumultuous road getting there. I remember Jealously Incarnate talked about this and what jealously does to someone: of how it makes people spiteful and their actual humanity suffers as a result? We see both NDS and HJP jealously come out, and how both guys who had a mini 'bromance' at first has now led to a 'battle' to win SDM, while also not realizing its hurting her in the process.

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My heart fluttered seeing the last scene in ep9 and I was at the top of the world when Ji-pyeong confessed his love at that noodle shop. I think this is very in line with his character, and as some other Beanie has pointed out, shows how long has come in terms of self-esteem and the fear he once had because of being an orphan and unwanted.

The character Han Ji-pyeongngrew nome not because he has dimples (alone), but because he has this great way of resolving situations. He might not be a perfect human-being (who is?) but there have been scenes showing us that he is competitive but he is also a fair competitor. He told Dalmi directly about the facts about Do-San; he didn’t take that opportunity damage Do-san in anyway. While I think Do-san still needs a lot of growing up to do, Ji-pyeong is an almost complete package so I think it’s very common that people feel for HJP a lot.

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Every character in Ep 9-10 laid their hearts out on the table. Perhaps due to low expectations of him actually confessing due to his character, I was just over the moon when he finally told her. Whatever the outcome is, I'm just glad she knows and he's finally no longer in denial about his feelings about her.

Coming from someone who was close-offed until he met SDM and Halmoni again after a long time. Also with him finally opening up to someone his true feelings to an actual person, not an A.I, was just so heart fluttering.

That epilogue at Ep 10 with Lee Bo-young (Shallow note: She's still so beautiful that when she was on-screen, Suzy sorta paled in comparison lol. But also him and LBY looked really good together! Nuna romance :)? But also revealed his true feelings and nature, they say when one's drunk, it reveals their true side.

I LOVED how he cleared Do-san's name along the way. He played it fair, and told her the truth to not hurt her further. He considered her feelings, while also acknowledging Dal-mi's feelings for Do-san (Ji-pyeong did accidentally would always see the couple in happy times).

I think HJP has the traits that we have seen before (tsundere/rich/aloof), but it's Kim Seon-ho's portrayal of HJP and the writer's choices to present HJP as a multi-layered and complicated individual whose past is something that scars him despite his wealth, he's unhappy and lonely.

Despite the wealth he's inquired through his own growth w/o any family/support from his loved ones b/c he has none of that.He's still indebted to Halmoni and still keeps the sneakers she gave him 15 yrs ago as a token of his appreciation of her kindness towards him. 😭😭

It's prob. the only genuine human interaction and kindness w/o expecting anything in return that Ji-pyeong has ever had in his life. And now, he wants to repay that debt towards her granddaughter by being her Sandbox, is just no words. 😭😩😫

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i'm struggling to understand why jipyeong is getting applauded about telling the truth about dosan's feelings. like what choice does he have?? any more lies would only push dalmi further. it also makes it easier to apologize for the whole thing if dosan's feelings are real. imagine, the whole thing had been fake, and dosan actually was completely detached. that would have been so much more hurtful for dalmi. so i don't see this as an act of honor, something he should get credit for. he's just laying out all the facts, and he OWES that to her.

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My opinion is that many do not have such noble intention when it comes to something they really want. The choices weren't only about whether one would tell the truth or lie, but also if one wouldn't say anything that would put one at a disadvantage. I imagined myself being Ji-pyeong, being in love with Dal-mi at the moment, I might just tell Dalmi all the things that would make me get more brownie points and leave all the things that would make her give them to the other party; so its possible that some, in JP's position, might not choose to tell Dalmi that "actually Do-san didn't do this/ this/ this/ as per my order but he did it himself because he genuinely likes you." As I could imagine that some might choose not to go through the details that would put them at a disadvantage, I thought it was quite noble of him to do so.

But of course I'm a biased and I know that. 🤭

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I see Ji Pyeong's listing out of Do San's attributes as odd, and frustrating. I expected him to woo Dal mi with HIS own attributes, not sing praises of Do san's pure love. But then it hit me. This was another path in the road to winning Dal mi's heart for his rival, Do san. He is fulfilling his task: the role of a Second Lead. It is The Curse, you see. He is tasked with bringing the leads together, and laying out the pure intentions of your rival is a necessary clog in The Grand Scheme of Things, which is to have the OTP ---- Dal mi and Do san come together. "And ne'er the twain shall meet" ---- this is the Tragedy of the Second Lead, that no matter how many times their lives may collide, Ji Pyeong and Dal mi's union is never meant to be.

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Oh no! @yyishere does it have to always be like that? Part of me still hold on to the belief that perhaps the writer might decide to just make the show the Talk of the Town by switching the ML and SML. 😅

Poor Ji-pyeong and poor me, our hearts will be so broken.

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Poor Jipyeong, he missed too many chances.

It also highlight the underlying theme of this drama. And that is CHOICE, and how we may come to regret them. Both JP and DS made their choices, and DM is about to make her choice. In the end, they can only either regret their choice or be happy about it.

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If only JP had confessed straight up in ep 1 he wrote the letters and not dragged DS into any of this. He would have gotten the girl. But alas, he is the doomed SML which means he has his path planned out for him which is to be eternally FL-less. He never stood a chance, poor lad 😭

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@yychats I don't think that JiPyeong was praising DoSan's sincerity as a way to praise himself. I think he was just being honest and straightforward, which is something he strives to be when his emotions and background allow it. It also is a way to protect himself by putting an end to the deception that he and DoSan did to Dalmi. He is not going to continue it at all. If he were to hide the fact that DoSan was sincere, then that would just continue the deception in a different direction.

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After these 2 episodes, I really wonder what Dal-Mi is doing at Sandbox. She's behind in everything : knowledge for the technic part of the app, knowledge as a CEO, she didn't find an investor by convincing but by blackmailing and she lost her confidence. But she never was really confident in the first place. Her lies to her sister, her agressivity against her, showed she always feels like she's lacking. I want her to shine by herself and not thank to Do-San or Ji-Pyeong.

Grandma is responsible for a lot of pain. If her lie was comprehensible at first, she had many occasiosn to tell truth, but she didn't for her not for Dal-Mi. She didn't apologize.

Do-San's story was interesting and touching but I want him to be more mature and to stop at taking decisions in reaction to Dal-Mi or Ji-Pyeong but the best of his start-up.

The new story about Ji-Pyeong and Yong-San is weird. I mean Yong-San had a lot of occasions to talk about it, tell to Do-San he didn't want his brother killer to be their mentor, etc. So he didn't know it was Ji-Pyeong and discovered recently, or he waited their big moment to reveal the truth?

Otherwise, I was surprised Dal-Mi didn't read all the messages between Ji-Pyeong and her grandma. I would have been curious and angry in the same time.

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That also my questions. Why dalmi not read all messages between Ji pyung and haramoni?!
If writer will bring Dalmi with ji Pyong, she will read that message but since it's not gonna happen, she's not reading it. You know how the drama works.

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It's the defacto K-drama thing w/ their underdog/underachiever type of leads imo. Ex. Misaeng (Im Siwan's role) altho he was a baeduk genius. I always feel like in K-dramas have a lead that's a bit out there/no specs for the women in these underdog type of shows. They are also written with no genius attributes, but just a hard working woman getting by through the strength of her moxie and spirit!! That's not bad per say, but just not realistic whatsoever in the real world. Although, the writer of this show has a very idealistic worldview as seen here and her other shows. SDM and NDS are both idealists, while HJP and WIJ are both realists.

But underdog men tend to be given at least one amazing/genius trait about them. That being said, I did rme a bit when NDS is telling the Samsan Tech team the technical terms, and SDM overheard and was like "Huh? What's that?" and searched those terms he was asked online. I was confused because she clearly has been shown to take her role as CEO seriously, studying up late, writing notes, and such but blanked on those terms?

Unless the writer is implying which is shown here, that it's not always about the person who has the most specs/background/cliche path to becoming a CEO, but someone who has the un-cliche background/barely no/any specs/someone who values humanity over profit. I remember HJP said to her "Choose one. You can't be either a good CEO or a good person." And I think the writer is setting Dal-mi to be both.

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Totally agree!
Grandma is responsible, she created the situation. She should be the one who should apologize.
Dal-mi should be mad at her, not at Do-san and Ji-Pyeong.
Grandma could have told Dal-mi the truth a long time ago like 10 years ago maybe...

I didn't like the birth house letter/Pen pal plot from the beginning. And another lies to cover the lie... You can totally guess what's going to happen.

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Truely, Dalmi has drive and some instinct but without JP helping they would have been out day 1.
Dosan owes JP more than he can ever pay even now and how does he react? Did any of them say thanks when he saved them from giving away their tech and company?

Dosan just doesnt have the character to deserve anything other than being a drone for 2STO.
Working for a high salary at 2 STO is his best and highest purpose.

Even when confessing JP doesnt distort dosans affection or speak ill.
We see dosan not having the character to do the same thing like 30 times.

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Also HJP and the revenge subplot was SHOCKING!! Look, HJP can be blunt/curt at times, sometimes too much for his own good. But I always find, he always tells the truth like it is, that can be hard to swallow at times. However, the reason why Yong-San revealed that his brother committed suicide b/c of HJP was just..my heart sank ngl. I hope that it's a misunderstanding & HJP wasn't the main culprit. Again, he's such an interesting character to just have scenes now centered on his new found interest towards her. I did yelp out loud "YES!!" when he finally confessed to her, thank GOD tbh :) !!

On the other hand, this would be a great character growth for HJP outside of SDM, and grow as a character into emotional growth. He's a sweet and kind guy underneath that hard and cold armor (defense mechanism) judging by the things he does for Halmoni/SDM when they're not looking which is an ultimate test that shows one's true intentions when no one's noticing.

But I admit, I want him to be happy, and for that to occur, he needs to learn to trust people again, and open himself up, and how his actions could affect someone un-intentionally. This revenge subplot (I hope he's not the actual culprit!) is a way to build more on his character growth and not a character assassination just to bolster up the other male lead.

(Seriously, how does the person that he loves the most: Halmoni, how does HJP not know her eye sight going bad at this point??!) Also I mentioned this before but I was a bit irked when NDS flat out rejected HJP to join them on their beach get a way, I mean the person who Halmoni has a stronger/more in-depth relationship with?

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He doesn’t know about grandma’s eyes because he is SML. I think it’s as easy and convenient as that. This subplot gave NDS a lot of advantage because then he can prove his self worth to Dalmi and grandma.

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I hate this whole SML, K-dramas have a thing for tbh in K-drama rom-coms. It just robs a character the truth to know, and robs us of the satisfaction of seeing a character that shares a very special relationship with the truth. I mean, NDS who she just met a few months ago vs. someone she knew for 15 yrs (Well, history wise since HJP was able to find her again due to SDM) knows lol ok..?

He really should know, instead of dragging it out until it hits him hard. Poor Ji-pyeong, the news with Yong-San, him admitting his true feelings for Dal-mi, and now with the impending news when he learns of Halmoni's eyes. It's going to be a sob-fest.

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I agree @mmmmm with Ji-pyeong not knowing about grandma's upcoming blindness, he is at a disadvantage. If he knew, he would do everything in his power to help prevent the blindness or prepare her for it. And that might overshadow DoSan, which might win some of DalMi's affection. So the writer's keep him in the dark to keep him from being useful.

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😭😭😭 Now I'm hating the writer.

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This is my main concern tbh, I can rant a thousand times about it.

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Since the show started in a way with the connection between Halmeoni and Ji Pyeong I think they are saving that reveal of her condition for later and I suspect it might be more emotional than when Dal Mi found out.

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And then he might regret advising Dal-mi to put a stop to Noongil project, hence highlights how caring Do-san is towards halmoni. In this case, it will be easier for him to give up on Dal-mi.

Of course, this is only my guess.

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