I find screenwriter Park Hye Ryun always honest and consistent in her storytelling, there are no cheap tricks and she doesn’t pull lame feints. That’s why her romantic OTP is always my ship, even if she writes two compelling male leads as to elicit affection for both. It always come down to understanding that the preference is made by the female lead, so who SHE loves and picks makes sense and the groundwork has been laid. When in Dream High Hye Mi picked Sam Dong, even if that was my ship from the beginning, I watched that girl figure out her feelings and come to her own conclusion. That Suzy now plays the grown up Hye Mi that is Dal Mi in Start-Up feels like DH reboot, and the shipping wars the same as I lived through ten years ago.
Three years later and it’s absolutely clear Dal Mi fell in love with Do San for real and friendzoned Ji Pyeong then and still now because her heart has chosen. It all comes down to that fateful decision Ji Pyeong made way too early for him to have made a thoughtful choice, when he found a fake Do San to take credit for his own letters to her. He didn’t swing then so he was out, and now it’s too late. The time jump made everyone more professionally developed and a smidge more emotionally mature, and the family ties are getting built back, but it’s Dal Mi and Do San’s second chance I am curious to see. If either steps aside again or calls an audible then I think they too have let a chance pass them by. I don’t think that will happen because from the beginning Do San may be less rich and successful than Ji Pyeong but he did have one thing in abundance, proactiveness.