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Highlights & Heartbreaks: Start-Up Episode 12

Highlights & Heartbreaks: Start-Up Episode 12 Review

Brutal. That’s the only word I can think of to describe this episode. The heartbreaks come like unrelenting waves, so you don’t even get a chance to recover before the next one hits. Then there’s the acting. It’s raw, and the subtleties Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, and Kim Sun-ho weave throughout their performances make what their characters are going through all the more tragic.


In the midst of getting ready for San Fran, Dal-mi realizes Won-deok’s meds are hard to tell apart. She calls Do-san and asks him if recognizing pills is a feature they can add to NoonGil.

I swear, Dal-mi has the best ideas. But I’m anxious because her and Do-san think 2STO is the solution to their problems when it’s the exact opposite.


Heartbreak #1: Alex reveals his true motives and fires Dal-Mi and Sa-ha.

This makes me want to Hulk out as much as it breaks my heart. I can’t believe I actually liked Alex!! There are a lot of shady businessmen, but he didn’t have to be one of them. And for him to fire someone innovative like Dal-mi doesn’t show much foresight. Everyone in Samsan Tech has such a heartbreaking expression on their face. Especially Do-san.

There are some technicalities about this whole thing that bother me though. If Sa-ha’s a lawyer (or used to be one) then how did she miss this in the contract? I know there are many branches of law, but it’d make sense for her to at least see something is amiss with the legal jargon.


Heartbreak #2: Samsan Tech starts fighting among themselves, and when Do-san and Dal-mi shout at Yong-san about not listening to Ji-pyeong’s warning, he reveals Ji-pyeong’s part in his brother’s suicide.

And of course Ji-pyeong waltzes in and makes everything worse. I don’t mind him not mincing words or pointing out hard truths during an event like Demo Day. But in a moment like this, as Samsan Tech’s mentor and a human being, he needs a little empathy.


Highlights & Heartbreaks: Start-Up Episode 12 Review
The first rule of Fight Club is: you don’t talk about Fight Club. (I have to laugh so I don’t cry).

Heartbreak #3: Do-san chases Ji-pyeong outside, and fists start flying!!!

Three heartbreaks in a row??? Is this drama trying to rip out my heart? The only person I want to see get punched in the face is Alex!


Heartbreak #4: Do-san tells Ji-pyeong that Won-deok is losing her eyesight.

And he is stricken! The look on his face is absolutely gut-wrenching even though he’s getting on my nerves in this episode. It just goes to show you that even the most logical people can react emotionally when something affects someone they love. Hopefully this will lead to him being more empathetic when the situation calls for it.


Heartbreak #5: Ji-pyeong stops by Won-deok’s food truck and stumbles upon her using NoonGil. She approaches him, all smiles, and he falls apart in her arms.

I knew this episode would have a lot of heartbreaks, but this is a record. Five heartbreaks in a row?! I’m so emotionally drained, I don’t know what else to say besides the fact that Start-Up is continuing to showcase great acting. Particularly in Kim Sun-ho and Nam Joo-hyuk’s cases (even though Suzy is holding her own). The tiny aborted sob Ji-pyeong makes after calling himself a jerk, and the way he struggles against Won-deok’s embrace turns a sad scene into a devastating one.


Ji-pyeong apologizes to Dal-mi and they go grab noodles.

Finally, a notable non-heartbreak! And even some laughter on my part. It’s funny when Dal-mi tries to say she’s never gotten hurt by any of Ji-pyeong’s hard truths, but then keeps having to amend her statement: “Maybe twice. Three times. Fine, I did get hurt. But it was less than ten times.” Hahaha! Thanks, drama. I needed a break.

She then asks Ji-pyeong what she should do next, and he gives the age-old advice, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

Hmm, is Dal-mi going to rejoin 2STO on a technicality?


Do-san tells Dal-mi that when he first saw her his dream became clear.

So this is what he said to her over the phone after she’d fallen asleep on him at the beginning of the episode. Awww! The confession is accompanied by a flashback of a young Do-san getting the infamous baseball signed by Park Chan-ho. His parents brag about him being the youngest Math Olympiad winner, and when Park Chan-ho asks Do-san what his dream is his parents convince him to say he wants to win a Fields Medal and a Nobel Peace Prize. Park Chan-ho takes note of this parental pressure, so he writes “follow your dream” on the baseball. Emphasis on the your.

I like that we’re getting more insight into the baseball since it’s an important component of the show. Do-san’s parents are nice, but it’s sad that so much pressure was put on him as a kid. When Park Chan-ho asked about his dream, he started to stay something about his friends before his parents cut him off. I feel like his real dream is to work with his friends, and Dal-mi helped make that happen.


Highlights & Heartbreaks: Start-Up Episode 12 Review

Heartbreak #6: Dal-mi breaks up with Do-san on his birthday.

I understand why she did it, but it still hurt! Especially when she points out he’s not the Do-san from the letters. I feel so bad for both of them. Dal-mi is struggling with her own feelings of rejection and he’s carrying so much guilt in that backpack.

As far as acting, both Suzy and Nam Joo-hyuk executed this scene perfectly.


Yong-san tells Do-san he wants to work for 2STO to destroy Ji-pyeong’s record of start-ups failing if he doesn’t invest in them.

Ah…I was starting to wonder exactly what Yong-san’s revenge was. It makes sense that working for 2STO would be a positive for him even though Do-san and Chul-san hate the idea. He doesn’t want Samsan Tech to be remembered as a failure, and I imagine his brother may have even left behind debts that 2STO paychecks would help with.

I really like how the show is illustrating that something that may be bad for you may be good for someone else. This drama has remained consistent when it comes to covering things from different angles and perspectives.


Director Yoon approaches Dal-mi, because In-jae told her Dal-mi is the girl on the swing.

Director Yoon tells Dal-mi how that story inspired her to start Sandbox, and it’s such a cathartic moment. I hope this will inspire Dal-mi not to give up.


Dal-mi goes to Samsan’s Tech’s office one last time after everyone else has already cleaned out their stuff.

It’s the end of an era. There will obviously be a time jump, so I can’t wait to see how everyone turns out.

It also looks like Dal-mi might apply at In-jae Company. That’s not what I expected when Ji-pyeong told her if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.


Do-san goes to Alex’s office to convince him to keep NoonGil and discovers Ji-pyeong is already there to plead the same case.

At the end of the day, they’re on the same side when it comes to what’s best for Dal-mi and Won-deok. We love to see it.


Highlights & Heartbreaks: Start-Up Episode 12 Review

Dal-mi interviews at In-jae Company.

As expected. The girl doesn’t stay down for long, and at this point she’s more than qualified. I mean, she beat In-jae Company during Demo Day, so they’d be fortunate to have her.


On a plane to the U.S., Do-san makes the pill recognition update on NoonGil.

God, he’s so sweet. I’m guessing this means Alex decided to keep the app running. I’ll view it as the one silver lining from this mess.


Post credit scene (the drama said, “One last heartbreak, guys.”): We see what Do-san did after Dal-mi broke up with him.

He wanders aimlessly in the rain while a voiceover of Dal-mi’s infamous “sailing off without a map” letter plays in the background. He looks up at the sky and instead of seeing a rainbow like a young Dal-mi did, he sees dark clouds and starts sobbing. The symbolism! The emotion! If Nam Joo-hyuk doesn’t get nominated for some awards, I’m going to be upset.


I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone’s like after the time jump. Will everyone be successful in their own right? Will they still be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? Or has the business world already made them jaded? (I hope it’s not the latter).

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