Businesses aren’t just built on inspiration and wide-eyed enthusiasm. There are tough decisions to be made, and sometimes you lose people you care about on the way to the top. Those were two of episode 6’s sobering lessons.
In-jae taught us the third: if you put success above everything else, it can lead to you doing the unthinkable.
The “Bro Code” commences…
Do-san tells Dal-mi he asked Ji-pyeong to help him lie about being successful, because he wanted to impress her. When she questions why Ji-pyeong would help him with something like that, Do-san says they’re close. Practically brothers.
Who else grit their teeth through this scene?? He just keeps digging himself deeper and deeper. But one thing’s for sure: Do-san’s also more confident. As Ji-pyeong pointed out, he stutters less and maintains eye contact now.
Dal-mi comes clean to her mother. (About one thing, at least).
In a funny (and adorable) turn of events, Dal-mi does a mini stakeout in the lobby of the hotel her mom’s living in. When the two bump into each other, Dal-mi acts like it’s a coincidence. She even ropes some confused French tourists into the role of her friends. It’s hilarious, but she ends up telling her mom she was bluffing the night of In-jae’s networking event. Now that she’s gotten into Sandbox and those things are essentially becoming a reality, Dal-mi plans to work hard.
Ah…see how freeing the truth can be? I’m looking at you, Do-san and Ji-pyeong. Take notes!
Skulking in the background of the scene, a dejected In-jae grips her Sandbox badge and walks off without telling her mom the good news. Let the sibling rivalry truly begin.
Eureka! Samsan Tech’s first day at Sandbox.
After pulling an all-nighter, Do-san gets Samsan Tech’s program to identify In-jae’s fonts as forgeries. He races from his bedroom in an excited daze, ready to start his first day at Sandbox. His parents see him off; referring to him as a CEO. This causes things to get slightly awkward, because that role is now Dal-mi’s and his parents have no idea.
Once Do-san arrives at Sandbox for his first day of work, he breaks the good news about the program to the rest of Samsan Tech and they scurry to their new office. Which just happens to be right next to In-jae’s.
Not gonna lie. Their offices are sleek and colorful. They definitely give me Google HQ vibes. I’m really happy for Do-san, Dal-mi, and the gang. But my happiness is short-lived.
The girl on the swing.
Since In-jae’s dad is one of Sandbox’s mentors, he runs into her in the elevator and things get…tense. Mr. Won gloats about how the joint demo he suggested got her in, and she calls him out on his behavior. It basically clarifies what I was wondering in the last episode. Mr. Won suggested the demo, because no matter what it’d be a win/win situation for him. If In-jae’s fonts didn’t clear Samsan Tech’s program, he’d get to gloat about In-jae leaving his company only to fail. And if it passed, he could take credit for getting her into Sandbox. Ugh, what a snake. This is not the kind of duality we stan in 2020.
But the revelations aren’t over yet. In-jae says she’s already picked out her mentor, and we get a flashback to Sandbox’s director Yoon Sun-hak telling Park Dong-chun how she came up with the name. At this point, I’m choking on air, because it’s clearly before In-jae’s interview from the first episode! We see her standing nearby, hair still long; listening to every word. She recognizes the sand under the swing story is about her dad and Dal-mi, and puts it on her Sandbox application!!
I’m furious, guys. I may not like In-jae, but in a way I was rooting for her. Rooting for her to show her step-father she doesn’t need him, and rooting for her to become a better big sis. So her to essentially using her dad’s death/a memory that isn’t even hers to gain an advantage at Sandbox is disgusting. I’m not sure I can forgive her for this.
Meet the mentors.
Director Yoon becomes In-jae’s mentor, because she believes she’s the little girl on the swing that inspired Sandbox. And Dal-mi chooses Ji-pyeong.
Okay, I was definitely expecting her to go with Alex since he’s been helping Samsan Tech all the from the states. But the drama soon reminds me Ji-pyeong has helped in his own way. As Dal-mi aptly puts it: he’s family.
Dal-mi is up for the role of Key Woman.
It turns out Samsan Tech has split the shares of the company too evenly. Ji-pyeong tells them when a business is starting out, to protect it, the CEO should have the most power. This means owning up to 90% of the company’s shares. It doesn’t sit well with Chul-san, and he flips out. He even accuses Do-san and Dal-mi of conspiring to steal his shares. Him and Do-san start fighting, while a panicked Yong-san tries to pull them apart.
This would’ve totally become a heartbreak if the guys didn’t start pulling each other’s hair. It became comedic quite naturally, but Chul-san and Yong-san still end up quitting on their first day. Man, money really does ruin friendships.
We see how Samsan Tech came to be.
Insult is added to injury when we see that Namsan Tech was initially just Do-san Tech, and it was born from tragedy. In a flashback, we see Chul-san leaves his job’s servers open to a type of malware called ransomware. He’s ready to literally jump from the roof of Do-san Tech, but Do-san removes the ransomware. Too bad Yong-san didn’t know this and quit his job, so he could give the severance pay to Chul-san. Awww. Broke, but with strong friendships, the two start working with Do-san and Do-san Tech becomes Samsan Tech.
In the present, we discover that Chul-san isn’t really upset about giving up his shares. It’s giving them up to Dal-mi that bothers him, because Do-san’s lying to her. If she has the most shares in Samsan Tech and finds out about the letters, she could destroy the company.
That’s a really good point. We as viewers know, Dal-mi would never do that, but Chul-san just met her, so it makes sense he would be wary. And here I was getting mad at him, because I thought it was just about the money.
Chul-san comes back to Sandbox.
The next day, Chul-san comes back to Sandbox. He opens a bottle of milk that’s been sitting out (pretty much fueled by Do-san’s warning not to) and it explodes in his face.
Yong-san and Do-san rush him to the hospital and make up after the doctor confirms he won’t go blind. This entire scene killed me. The chemistry and comedic chops this trio possesses is something special.
Dal-mi makes a new shareholder’s list and lays down the law.
Dal-mi creates a new shareholders list that gives Do-san most of the stocks even though as the CEO she should have most of them. She wants them to respect her decision and lays down the law like a boss. She also tells Sung-ha that if she wants any shares in the company, she’ll speak to everyone formally and show up to work. She begrudgingly agrees.
When Dal-mi and Do-san meet Ji-pyeong to go over these changes, he says their list in unconventional and will confuse the investors. He accuses Dal-mi of not listening to his earlier advice about not being able to please everyone. She points out that she did listen, because she made a tough call and he’s not pleased. Very clever, Dal-mi. With that realization, Samsan passes their due diligence.
Heartbreak: Do-san meets Dal-mi’s grandma, but they’ve already met.
We get a flashback of Do-san bumping into Won-deok at the hospital he took Chul-san too. He overhears the doctor say she’s losing her vision. In the present, they stare at each other sadly, because it’s another secret they have to keep from Dal-mi.
Of course! Of course Won-deok (the kindest person in the world) is going blind. When Dal-mi finds out she’s going to be devastated! I can’t believe the drama really tried to weasel this heartbreak in at the end.
Post credit scene: “I want to get my revenge.”
On top of everything going on, a Sandbox applicant wants revenge. I saw it written on one of the sticky notes on the “wall of aspirations” a few episodes back, but I didn’t think it’d be getting its own storyline!
This applicant is wandering around in a black hoodie, angry over something that looks like it involves Director Yoon and a man who committed suicide. Oh, no! I love Director Yoon.
Am I going to have to call the next episode Heartbreaks & Heartbreaks? (V – Hopefully nevaaah)
Just when I thought Start-Up had played all its cards, the drama laughs in my face and blinds one of my favorite characters, then throws in a mystery! That’s so typical of K-dramas, so it really is my fault for letting my guard down.