Episode 9 is a relaxed chapter until the very end — this is a pivotal part of the chapter that digs into Do-san’s self-esteem and gives Dal-mi a testing personal challenge as she learns about the past in an unfortunate event
This recap of Netflix K-drama series Start-Up episode 9 contains significant spoilers.
We will be recapping this weekly — check out the archive.
Episode 9 begins with Dal-mi comparing Han Ji-pyeong’s handwriting with Do-san’s letter, and she begins to ponder. A flashback occurs, showing a young Do-san receiving compliments from his family for being a child genius in maths; he felt guilty because, during an exam, another student’s paper blew near him which gave him the answer for a difficult question. The same student was berated by his parents, so Do-san gave him his gold medal as he felt he didn’t deserve it. From here, Do-san’s prospects dwindled, and his relationship with his parents broke down, and it destroyed his self-esteem. Do-san’s self-esteem has always been low — it doesn’t help that the man who has helped him with the business and his chances with Do-san is relatively wealthy.
An attack on In-jae
A visitor at Sand Box wants to find In-jae’s company; Dal-mi helps him find her sister’s office. The man throws a drink at In-jae and then tries to attack her. Dal-mi protects her while everyone else restrains the man. This man worked for a construction company, and he will be laid off due to the In-jae’s technology. Afterwards, Dal-mi tells In-jae that protecting her was a reflex and asks her not to read into it. We must wonder if the story will end with both sisters reuniting as a family — that would be a sweet ending.
Brief mentoring from Yoon Seon-hak and Han Ji-pyeong
Yoon Seon-hak meets In-jae to discuss the attack. In-jae’s company is creating an unmanned security AI which made the man redundant — that’s why he attacked her. Yoon Seon-hak talks to her about the difference between risk and danger — she’s on about the PR risk regarding the solution. Meanwhile, Han Ji-pyeong tells Dal-mi to split the business model from the revenue model as they only have The Morning Group as a customer.
On the news, In-jae’s solution is circulating based on the protests of laid-off security guards. On TV, Chairman Won is talking about Samsan Tech’s solution NoonGil in a positive light.
A very drunk and emotional Do-san
The guilt crippling for Do-san is starting to take a toll in Start-Up episode 9 — his relationship with his parents and the lie he tells to Dal-mi is hurting him.
Do-san talks to his friends how he was a “good-for-nothing” and always bluffing his ways to business. He’s putting himself down strongly and states he took the wrong turn because it looked cool. He imagines telling Dal-mi the same thing with tears in his eyes. Dal-mi’s eyes fill up, and she asks Do-san why he lied. Do-san tells her he did it because he liked to see her smile and didn’t want her to cry. He’s playing out the situation in his head, but he’s extremely drunk, and his friends have to help him home — they ask Dal-mi if he can stay at her place. Han Ji-pyeong picks up Dal-mi and Do-san to help them out.
An impromptu dinner
When they get Do-san back to Dal-mi’s place, he’s throwing up, but eventually, he falls asleep. Han Ji-pyeong eats with Dal-mi and Ms Choi. Do-san wakes up, and he’s confused to how he ended up at Dal-mi’s place. Han Ji-pyeong explains what happened. This is the quickest recovery from paralytic to sober as he joins the dinner. Dal-mi asks Do-san if he wants to sleep at her place and everyone on the table is shocked. Han Ji-pyeong makes it super weird and asks if he can stay as well.
Sometimes, the men in these k-dramas do some rather weird things.
Late into the night; both men talk about Dal-mi. Han Ji-pyeong would happily swap his wealthy lifestyle to be in Do-san’s position. The pair end up snuggling up together while sleeping and Do-san freaks out. Now wide awake, Do-san sees Dal-mi working very late into the night, and she’s crying. She’s reading the heartfelt reviews of the NoonGil app that has drastically changed people’s lives.
A daytime date at the beach
The next morning, Do-san left without saying a word. He rings Dal-mi and asks her out for a date and suggests bringing Ms Choi. He takes them to the beach for a day out. While out on the beach, Ms Choi uses the NoonGil application that markedly says that Dal-mi and Do-san look like a couple. Dal-mi asks her grandma if the Do-san from 15 years ago and the one in the present could be two different people; she has a weird feeling about it all, but Ms Choi dismisses the idea. Dal-mi admits to really liking Do-san, but she’s scared of asking him questions.
The guilt that is compounding Ms Choi over the lie seems to be getting worse with each chapter.
A wrong turn
On the way home, Do-san drives them both back and gets lost by making a wrong turn. Ms Choi sleeps in the back. Do-san and Dal-mi look at the night sky, and Do-san tells her that he lets down his parents. Dal-mi tells Do-san not to run away as his parents will realize who he is eventually like she did.
The next day, Do-san’s father confronts him angrily for giving the CEO title to Dal-mi. Do-san cuts a pathetic figure and apologises, calling himself “good-for-nothing” who pretends to be a genius. There’s plenty of self-pity as his father calms down. As an audience member, it’s easy to root for Do-san in the hope that he builds up his self-confidence by the end of the series. Start-Up episode 9 shows a character very much feeling sorry for himself.
Han Ji-pyeong admits he has feelings
Ms Choi tells Han Ji-pyeong that Dal-mi is suspicious of him and Do-san. She has an idea — to get the letter that Dal-mi left for Do-san from Seonju and get him to give it to her. Ms Choi offers to get the bus to Seonju to get it. Han Ji-pyeong tells Ms Choi that she doesn’t want to lie anymore as he hates it — he admits to having feelings for Dal-mi. He gets angry, wondering why it couldn’t be him — he tells Ms Choi that he wished he never met her. This changes everything now that Han Ji-pyeong has placed his feelings out in the open — will he try be romantic with Dal-mi moving forward or will he allow the truth to seep out and back off?
Let it rain
It’s pouring buckets of rain outside; Dal-mi learns that Do-san is on his way to Sand Box, so she goes outside to greet him with an umbrella. Meanwhile, it flits back to the scene with Han Ji-pyeong angrily walking away from Ms Choi. She apologises and gives him an umbrella. Han Ji-pyeong texts Ms Choi and offers to get the letter from Seonju.
Han Ji-pyeong retrieves the letter Dal-mi left and reads it. It thanks Do-san for being there for her that spring and all the letters he has sent. As Han Ji-pyeong reads the letter, Dal-mi stands in front of him. She went all the way to Seonju; she accidentally took her grandma’s phone that day and read the text from Han Ji-pyeong that said he was off to Seonju to get the letter. Dal-mi asks Han Ji-pyeong if he knew her grandma before he met her and wants to know who he is. The more questions she asks, the more emotional she gets.
Do-san rings Dal-mi on her grandma’s phone, wondering where she is. Dal-mi asks Do-san if he knows the place where they used to leave their letters 15 years ago. He doesn’t know how to answer that question, and Dal-mi starts crying, asking why Han Ji-pyeong is in the location of the letters. She puts the phone down on him.
The truth is out.
Start-Up episode 9 is a relaxed chapter until the very end — this is a pivotal part of the chapter that digs into Do-san’s self-esteem and gives Dal-mi a testing personal challenge as she learns about the past in an unfortunate event.
- Dal-mi personally responds to the review from NoonGil.
- Dal-mi’s mother is looking for a new job. She sees an advert for her mother-in-law’s corn dog business, and she tells herself she can’t work with her.
- Out in the rain, Chul-san tried to help Jung Sa-ha to be all romantic, but she has an umbrella.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.