Start-Up episode 5 recap – Dal-mi pitches a business idea

October 31, 2020
Daniel Hart 0
K-Drama, Netflix, TV Recaps


Episode 5 gets into technical jargon, but it does it in a way that is competitive and fun to watch as the characters go deep into the Sand Box competition to try and overthrow their rivals.

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Episode 5 gets into technical jargon, but it does it in a way that is competitive and fun to watch as the characters go deep into the Sand Box competition to try and overthrow their rivals.

This recap of Netflix K-drama series Start-Up episode 5 contains significant spoilers.

We will be recapping this weekly — check out the archive.

The opening

Episode 5 opens up with Do-san telling his friends that he’s downbeat because Dal-mi likes him for reasons nothing do with him but due to the letters that Han Ji-pyeong sent when younger; he does make the point that she likes his hands. His friends tell him that men with good hands are deemed intelligent. Do-san believes Dal-mi is too good for him, which is making him more desperate.

Do-san is a character that repeatedly puts himself down, and you can imagine the story will instill him with high self-esteem near the end.

Han Ji-pyeong is worried that Dal-mi is angry

Samsan Tech needs to find a new team member — Dal-mi wants someone who is motivated and is a problem solver. But before she can continue her search, Han Ji-pyeong grabs Do-san, and he is fretting that Dal-mi knows all the truth. Do-san reassures him that everything is fine.

Episode 5 sees Do-san in the clear for the lies (for now), but Han Ji-pyeong is not in the good books — Dal-mi is curious to understand why he helped out so much.

Credentials are important

In-jae has brought in some high-quality developers into her teams, and Dal-mi is feeling the rivalry with her sister already. She wants someone with the same impressive credentials, and so she looks around. The other members of Samsan Tech are concerned that Dal-mi didn’t go to college and want In-jae as CEO, but Do-san stands down on their suggestion.

Dal-mi asks Jung Sa-ha to join their team with minutes left on the clock — she agrees to join them but makes them aware this is a stepping stone for her. Episode 5 sees Dal-mi take a leap of faith — this is her biggest challenge as the leader of the company.

The competition begins – choosing a data set

The next round at Sand Box begins, which involves building a reasonable business case around machine learning technology with a chosen data set. Dal-mi tells the others that machine learning is a romantic language, and she learned her technical knowledge from Do-san.

The team has to go through data sets. Dal-mi has an idea where their solution recognizes the difference between authentic signatures and forgery. Han Ji-pyeong learns about their idea from Dong-cheon, and he is impressed. Over at In-jae’s team, one of the developers tells In-jae that they should try to compete on the same data set to take down the team that rejected her.

This K-Drama series has done well to make this is a genuine-looking rivalry — it delves into technicalities and gives the characters something to care about.

Pushing through

In-jae’s team has found success, but Samsan Tech is struggling with its code. Their data isn’t getting a high accuracy rate. The team has to push through and knuckle down. Dal-mi provides a useful analogy that leads to Do-san suggesting that they change the entire network structure. Later on, they get an accuracy of 99.8%. Dal-mi hugs Do-san and thanks him — she’s feeling the pressure, especially with her sister looking over her.

An unlikely encounter

Ms. Choi bumps into her daughter, and they are shocked to see each other. There’s a lot of bad blood between them and tears flow. The sister’s mother apologizes and asks what Dal-mi was like growing up. Ms. Choi describes the struggles of bringing her up and making sure they made ends meet. She mentions the time Dal-mi broke her leg, and she felt she should have left the city with her mother, but Dal-mi always understood their circumstances.

After that emotional chat, Han Ji-pyeong asks Ms. Choi if she regretted helping him, which led to Dal-mi not going to college. Ms. Choi claims she regrets nothing and wishes she met him sooner.

Episode 5 reminds viewers that there is a lot of history here that can easily be overlooked with all the technical jargon and entrepreneurial spirit.

The pitches

Han Ji-pyeong tells Samsan Tech that if they fail at this, he will personally invest in them after seeing them all argue about the CEO position and Dal-mi’s credentials.

Yoon Seon-hak opens up the next round — it’s time for teams to pitch their business cases. Han Ji-pyeong gives Dal-mi advice on her pitch as she’s a little nervous. When she gets on the stage, she takes a deep breath and starts her pitch. Her presentation is impressive. She demonstrates the machine learning solution to find forgery, and the audience is impressed.

In-jae’s solution throws a spanner in the works 

In-jae presents her pitch — it’s a similar “font solution” but she claims it is more creative. As part of her introduction, she briefly pauses due to nerves. The solution creates new unique fonts using OCR that usually takes a long time but the new solution takes hours to do.

One of the judges wonders what would happen if In-jae’s new font solution and Samsan Tech’s solution was merged — “Would Samsan Tech’s solution detect forgery?” Dal-mi confirms it will — she took a chance here, and it puts pressure on Do-san. The judge asks them to test it live on the system. When tested, Samsan Tech’s solution does not detect forgery. In-jae’s company disables the other algorithm, which makes Samsan Tech look bad. The judges now need to pick who is accepted into the residency program, and it all looks doom and gloom for Do-san, Dal-mi, and co.

This scene was surprisingly tense and nail-biting — there’s an air of disappointment when Dal-mi’s solution does not work.

Do-san and Dal-mi are down in the dumps

Do-san tells his team that he’s sorry for letting them down. Jung Sa-ha leaves the establishment and tells the team that Dal-mi may regret teaming up with Do-san as he’s clearly not as brilliant as she thought.

The ending

As expected, Dal-mi still wants answers from Han Ji-pyeong. She states she understands why Do-san lied to her, but she doesn’t understand why he lied. Han Ji-pyeong struggles for an answer, but when he’s about to tell her, Do-san runs over and tells her that Samsan Tech got into Sand Box. She hugs him excitedly, and Han Ji-pyeong walks off.

This is a euphoric moment for both Do-san and Dal-mi who are playing out an underdog story.

In the epilogue, Alex is in Do-san’s parent’s house. They believe this is a great opportunity for their son. The father explains that when younger, Do-san gave his gold medal away in a competition to another student who was getting berated by their parents. Do-san always had everyone’s back at the detriment to himself that stunted his academic progress. The mother tells Alex that Do-san is smarter than Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and the moment he becomes ambitious, he will make it far. Alex was one of the judges, and he picked Samsan Tech.

Start-Up episode 5 gets into technical jargon, but it does it in a way that is competitive and fun to watch as the characters go deep into the Sand Box competition to try and overthrow their rivals.

Developer notes
  • A man named Alex from San Francisco is looking for Do-san and speaks to his parents. The parents sense he’s from Silicon Valley, so their eyes light up.

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