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Heartbreaks & Hackathons: Start-Up Episode 5

Heartbreaks & Hackathons: Kdrama Start-Up Episode 5 Recap
Me watching this episode…

Instead of Highlights & Heartbreaks, I’m calling episode 5’s recap Heartbreaks & Hackathons. Because that’s essentially what it was: back-to-back emotional scenes and fierce competition all thanks to Sandbox. It was downright overwhelming, and in the immortal words of comedian Kevin Hart…

Heartbreaks & Hackathons: Kdrama Start-Up Episode 5 Recap

Heartbreaks & Hackathons: Kdrama Start-Up Episode 5 Recap

We meet the Shin twins.

Hyeon and Jeong, to be exact. And I couldn’t be more worried. The last thing Team Namsan needs are rival hacker twins who are only in it for the money. Especially when they’ve teamed up with In-jae. At this point, I’d be happier seeing the twins from The Shining. (V- lol!)


Namsan Tech finds out Dal-mi didn’t go to college.

Sandbox has assigned each start-up a QR code, and when scanned it displays a brief rundown of the company as well as its owners/officers. Chul-san scans it and discovers Dal-mi didn’t go to college. It causes a mini uproar among Namsan Tech’s three founding members, and Chul-san wants to kick Dal-mi out. But Do-san defends her and reminds them they’re not judgmental people.

This scene makes me love Do-san even more. It would be very easy for him to look down on Dal-mi, but he’s never been that way and he doesn’t intend to start now. Even with something as important as his start-up on the line. What strong integrity! (V – I also love how he reminded the other two that they are looked down on because they didn’t go to one of the SKY school!)


Heartbreaks & Hackathons: Kdrama Start-Up Episode 5 Recap

Dal-mi kneels before Jung Sa-ha.

Dal-mi doesn’t have any qualifications—business or educational. She’s aware of this, but still wants the very best for Namsan Tech, so she gets on her knees and convinces Jung Sa-ha (the girl she scammed at the bookstore) to be their designer.

This may sound weird, but I really like this scene. It shows that Dal-mi doesn’t view things the way other people do. When she drops to her knees and looks up at Sa-ha there are no tears of humiliation in her eyes. There’s no sad music swelling in the background. Dal-mi’s pride doesn’t take a hit, because this isn’t a big deal in the long run. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get Namsan Tech into Sandbox. And that’s not only tenacious, but admirable.


Namsan Tech’s business model for the hackathon.

The hackathon begins, and Dal-mi suggests pitching a program that detects forged handwriting. The reason this would be useful is because banks and other businesses still rely on signatures.

It’s a good idea, but I can see it coming back to bite everyone on the butt later. If the program recognizes similar handwriting, I bet Ji-pyeong’s will end up being run through it, and Dal-mi will realize it matches Do-san’s letters. You set yourself up to find out the truth, girl.


In-jae’s team copies Namsan Tech’s idea…

In the midst of the hackathon, Shin Jeong (the female hacker twin) walks past Namsan Tech’s table and overhears their idea. She takes it back to In-jae and encourages her to use it. (V – I was so mad about that!) They end up coding a program that combines different peoples’ handwriting into unique fonts. So it’s not copying per se. They just use Namsan Tech’s idea as inspiration. It still doesn’t sit well with me though. It also makes me wonder why they’re all in the same room? Shouldn’t they be separated so peoples’ ideas aren’t stolen???


Heartbreaks & Hackathons: Kdrama Start-Up Episode 5 Recap

Heartbreak #1: Dal-mi’s mom and grandma catch up.

After 10+ years, Cha Ah-hyun and Won-deok bump into each other in Sandbox’s lobby and talk. Ah-hyun asks how Dal-mi was after the divorce and Won-deok reveals she actually got into a good college. (No surprise there). But when Won-deok sold her corn dog shop to pay Dal-mi’s tuition, she dropped out and worked a ton of part-time jobs to buy Won-deok a food truck. Ah-hyun is ashamed as Won-deok admits there was even a time she told Dal-mi she should’ve chosen to live with her mom to have an easier life.

As I watch, my heart swells, because Dal-mi has such a precious relationship with her grandma. Then without warning, I’m hit with the most touching flashback. After Won-deok tells Dal-mi she should’ve picked her mom, Dal-mi replies with something her dad told her: “Deserts would cover the entire world if it was sunny every day. We need rain and snow for plants and delicious fruits to grow.”

This guts Ah-hyun, but instead of descending deeper into sadness, I’m mad at her. It’s one thing to divorce your husband, but how can you (essentially) divorce your daughter too? I know she moved to the states, but with all that money from her rich husband she couldn’t buy plane tickets to visit Dal-mi a few times a year? Or fly her to the states? What about Skype, phone calls, texts? Even if Dal-mi was mad at her, that’s still no excuse to never keep in touch.

On top of all this, Ji-pyeong overhears Ah-hyun and Won-deok’s conversation— which brings us to our next heartbreak.


Heartbreak #2: “You shouldn’t have given me that 70 million won.”

It’s what Ji-pyeong says to Won-deok after following her outside. He reasons if she hadn’t given him all the money he’d made from trading stocks, Dal-mi could’ve gone to college without Won-deok selling her shop. But Won-deok doesn’t regret giving it to him or helping. She just wishes she’d met him sooner. If she had, she could’ve played go-stop with him during holidays, packed him gimbap for school trips, and fought for him.

Ji-pyeong starts crying, and my own throat is tight with emotion. Won-deok is an absolute treasure, and the world would be a better place if there were more people like her. Yes, Ji-pyeong has been smart and capable since he was a teen, but he knows he owes a lot of his success to Won-deok. There are poor smart people, so who knows how his life would’ve turned out if he hadn’t met her?


“The name’s Jobs. Dal-mi Jobs.”

Do-san, Yong-san, and Chul-san argue over if Dal-mi is the best person to pitch their business model. Fresh off his heavy conversation with Won-deok, Ji-pyeong interrupts and says they should let her present. If she doesn’t do well, he’s willing to put his money where is mouth is and personally invest in Namsan Tech.

Man, the second lead syndrome is literally killing me. I ship him with Dal-mi so much even though I adore Do-san. Maybe it’s the shared history and Ji-pyeong’s tragic backstory.


Heartbreaks & Hackathons: Kdrama Start-Up Episode 5 Recap

Dal-mi Jobs kills it on stage.

Dal-mi ends up doing the pitch. And even though she stalls for a few seconds at the beginning, she does a great job explaining how profitable a program that detects forged handwriting would be.


Blood over water or water over blood?

When it’s In-jae’s turn to present her start-up’s business model, she trips up in the middle when she notices her step-father’s one of the judges. He then asks what would happen if Namsan Tech’s program analyzed her hodge-podge fonts. In-jae grits her teeth, and the audience is captivated as Dal-mi and Do-san step on stage for a joint demo.

It’s a nerve-wracking scene, and Team Namsan doesn’t end up victorious. Their program fails to detect any forgeries or similarities in In-jae’s font.

Okay, so now I’m really unclear about In-jae’s step-dad’s intentions. I thought he was suggesting a joint demo to embarrass her, but it actually ended up making her look good. Was it just a coincidence or does he believe in In-jae?


Dal-mi finally confronts Ji-pyeong about his role in Do-san’s deception.

After the pitching war, Dal-mi and Ji-pyeong are finally alone, so she takes the opportunity to ask why he helped Do-san lie to her about being rich and successful. He looks like he’s about to come clean about the letters, but Do-san interrupts him to tell Dal-mi that Namsan Tech has made it into Sandbox!

I had no doubt they’d make it in, but I was kind of hoping Ji-pyeong would tell the truth. I know we’re not even halfway through the drama, but something in me wants to see Ji-pyeong and Dal-mi bond over those letters. They contained lies, but truths as well. Plus wouldn’t it be perfect if Won-deok’s beloved “Good Boy” had a shot with her granddaughter?


Bonus Highlight: Do-san and Dal-mi’s gravity defying hug.

It would be a crime not to include Do-san and Dal-mi’s celebratory embrace. It was so adorable! If you didn’t like tall men before, you do now… (V – Shonuff *nods head*)


This was such a moving episode! Kim Seon-ho (Ji-pyeong), Kim Hae-sook (Won-deok), and Song Sun-mi (Ah-hyun) did such an amazing job with their emotional scenes. And the drama’s pacing still doesn’t leave much room for boredom. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Dal-mi and the gang now that they’re officially playing in Sandbox.

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