Episode 3 continues developing the characters and producing a scenario born from a lie. This K-Drama is consistently well-written so far with the characters bouncing off each other.
This recap of Netflix K-drama series Start-Up episode 3 contains significant spoilers.
We will be recapping this weekly — check out the archive.
Episode 3 begins with Han Ji-pyeong escorting Nam Do-san away from the networking and showing him the letters for him to read so he can understand how much he means to Dal-mi. When Nam Do-san doesn’t understand the sentiment of the letters, Han Ji-pyeong gets frustrated.
Han Ji-pyeong seems desperate to make Do-san the man that Dal-mi wants. We have to wonder at this point if this will become the usual K-Drama love triangle?
First time meeting for Dal-mi and Do-san
And then, it’s back to the networking party and Dal-mi mingles on her own. She’s trying to hide from her mother who shows up, and that’s when Do-san enters, fully suited and looking good. Do-san is pretending he knows about the letters. When her mother and sister Won In-jae look over she suddenly hugs him, so they look romantically involved. She introduces them to Nam Do-san.
Won In-jae asks about the start-up company they’ll be launching. Nam Do-san snaps into action and explains that Dal-mi will be the CEO of Samsan Tech. In-jae delves deep into their company and asks about investments — Han Ji-pyeong then arrives and backs them up. Dal-mi is acting rather smug about the situation.
Episode 3 creates an ideal situation for Dal-mi, who didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of her sister.
A hug from the mother
As the networking event ends, the mother tells Dal-mi that she’s really sorry and hugs her — she’s impressed at the woman she has become. But of course, there’s a lot of history in this family, so Dal-mi is not as comfortable with the exchange. Dal-mi talks about dreaming big and outpacing her sister to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. As Dal-mi walks off with tears in her eyes, her mother says “I’m rooting for you”.
Episode 3 begins with plenty of emotions and history to really drive the history and the divide in the family.
Watch out for Sang-su
Nam Do-san drives Dal-mi home in a fancy car giving to him by Han Ji-pyeong. Fireworks are setting off in the distance, and as Dal-mi admires them, Do-san admires her. Meanwhile, Sang-su arrives at the networking event to make connections. The mother warns In-jae about her brother Sang-su, claiming he will steal from her and states that her step-father brought him to the event.
Start-Up episode 3 proves nothing is as smooth for the other sister as we first thought — there are many complications on both sides of the family.
Dal-mi wants to know everything about Do-san
Dal-mi tells Nam Do-san that she wants to know everything about him. As he tells her his background, Han Ji-pyeong spies on them from a distance. Dal-mi is genuinely engaged in the conversation. Han Ji-pyeong texts Nam Do-san and asks him to drive her home and end the night once and for all. Dal-mi assumes Do-san has a girlfriend and that’s who is texting him. Do-san walks off to end the night, and he experiences flashbacks of his parents calling him a failure and Han Ji-pyeong giving him a low down of his chances in business.
Do-san turns around and asks Dal-mi if she has opened the music box. She tells him it was unbelievably wonderful and smiles. He walks back, and a new romance is slowly igniting in Start-Up. He gives her his business card and tells her that he’s never had a girlfriend.
Han Ji-pyeong is frustrated at Do-san
Afterwards, Han Ji-pyeong tells Do-san that he’s reckless with Dal-mi and he’s clearly frustrated. He tells him the show is over but then Dal-mi texts Do-san. Han Ji-pyeong tells him what to text her. When Dal-mi receives a reply, she is buzzing and ends up kissing her phone.
Dal-mi tells her grandma, Ms Choi, about Do-san and she is surprised. She tells her grandma how much of an “angel” he is. The next day, Ms Choi believes God gave Dal-mi that moment with Do-san as a gift, but Han Ji-pyeong is worried that she’ll find out that Do-san is a “Total loser”.
Start-Up is a story that can end in a lot of heartbreak, so it is interesting how far “The lie” goes from here.
In-jae is pushed aside
At work, In-jae is told by her father that he and Sang-su will make business decisions moving forward while she achieves a work-life balance and runs a branch in the USA. In-jae is upset; it shows on her face. Meanwhile, at work, an underappreciated Dal-mi resigns. Her manager doesn’t want her to leave and starts panicking as she packs her things.
Episode 3 shows both characters making major career choices — one sister is upset at her changes while the other one who is low in the chain, seems more relaxed and happy.
A new office for Do-san
And with the lie continuing, Do-san has to look like he has a reputable business.
With Dal-mi being persistent, Han Ji-pyeong gets Nam Do-san to move his office space, so he looks more professional. It’s a quick move, and it requires a clothes change. Dal-mi heads over, and she’s impressed by his office. She gives him an office plant as a gift. And then she drops a bombshell — she tells him that she’s following in his footsteps and that she’s quit her job — she explains that she is going to build her own company. Han Ji-pyeong cannot believe how far this has gone.
In-jae makes a stand
As Sang-su is about to announce himself as the CEO of the company, Won In-jae walks through the door — she tells her father and brother that a CEO with no shares is like “chewed up old gum”. She tells them she isn’t moving to the US Branch and walks off. Her mother chases after her — In-jae says she is now happy and relieved, but as she walks off she states “I feel sh*tty”.
Winning the CODA Competition
Nam Do-san talks to Han Ji-pyeong about all the lies and tries to assure him that they can make this all work. Han Ji-pyeong gets frustrated and tells him that Nam Do-san doesn’t have a business model to entice investors and Sand Box will never want them. But then they are graced with good news; they won the CODA Competition — Samsan Tech won by a landslide. It looks like Han Ji-pyeong was wrong.
Nam Do-san thinks Han Ji-pyeong is the ideal business partner for Samsan Tech because they share the same goal — they both don’t want to disappoint Dal-mi. Meanwhile, Han Ji-pyeong tells Ms Choi that they don’t need to tell Dal-mi the truth as it isn’t a “Big deal”. He doesn’t want to take her away from the dream and wants to make it a reality.
As the chapter nears an end, Do-san admits to liking Dal-mi to his business companions; Ms Choi asks Han Ji-pyeong if he also has feelings for Dal-mi. Han Ji-pyeong denies having feelings.
In the epilogue, CODA Competition announces that Samsan Tech is the winners on television. Do-san sent an acceptance speech, but it has been manipulated, so it looks like he is asking for money. They’ve been set up by an anti-fan who altered the green screen. Do-san’s parents are embarrassed and tell him not to come home.
Start-Up episode 3 continues developing the characters and producing a scenario born from a lie. This K-Drama is consistently well-written so far with the characters bouncing off each other.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.