A Warm and Happy Ending Bids Fond Farewell to the Plucky Characters in Episode 16 of Tech Romance Drama Start-Up

Those who have only watched Start-Up will likely be shocked to hear that screenwriter Park Hye Ryung‘s previous dramas had serial killers, wrongful deaths, future dreams, and so much higher stakes. This was her sweetest drama to date, pared down in problems so she could focus on the small but vitally important things: family and dreams. Episode 16 brought this drama to a close with a lovely vignette and a walk towards the future that summed up the journey: Do San and Dal Mi get their happy ending together but with the support of In Jae and Ji Pyeong, who got their own closures and walked forward towards their own goals but stronger because they now have stronger family support. Nam Joo Hyuk was perfect as brilliantly dorky and insecure Do San, Suzy did her best with the least dynamic of the four characters in Dal Mi, everyone and their grandmas loved Kim Sun Ho‘s Ji Pyeong, and Kang Hana finally got her screen time in the last episode to show us how complex and interesting In Jae is.

For newbies this drama was a highly simplified glossy take on the start up, VC, tech world but still smartly written enough that it provided plenty of entertainment and thoughtful takes on how the world is constantly being improved, challenged, and transformed by with because of people with ideas to do something not yet been done before or do something better. This drama was a total package for me, it delivered all the smiles, tears, and enjoyment I ask for in a drama. I’m sad about the shipping wars not because I inherently have a problem with it, I’ve second lead shipped plenty of times, but here there was never a love triangle and it felt like viewers attached their own love for the second male lead to why he should get the girl when the two are totally different issues. Other than that I’ll remember this fondly and it’s such a nice capper to an otherwise really dumpster fire of a year.


A Warm and Happy Ending Bids Fond Farewell to the Plucky Characters in Episode 16 of Tech Romance Drama Start-Up — 37 Comments

  1. Congratulations Start Up. In other news…

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Uncanny Counter is going places, people. EP4 hit a new ratings-high of 6.724%! And it’s already entered the list of 50 highest rated cable dramas of all time at #44. The highest OCN drama on the list is Voice 2 at #41. Methinks UC will likely surpass its record and go even higher! I just hope the story doesn’t go to sh!t as time goes by.

    • I’m watching Uncanny Counter too and very much entertained. I like the storyline and the pace of the episodes. The cast members are all good too. Thankfully another series to distract me/people in this pandemic. The cast are all new to me so I kinda googled and found their guesting on Men on a Mission to promote this series — so I ended up watching that MoM episode too lol, and now I’m more excited to wait for the new episodes of UC every weekend.

      • I’m glad you’re enjoying it too. Out of the counters, I knew So mun (the main lead) from Sky Castle, Gi tak (the amnesiac) from Graceful Friends, Mae-ok (the ajumma who heals) from Lawless Lawyer and the rich benefactor from other dramas. Plus some of the supporting characters. I already shared a few musings on UC in SU’s EP5 review so I don’t wanna go on and on. But yeah, I’m enjoying this drama very much. ?

    • I’m amazed that Koala had never discussed again about Start-Up’s tv ratings since its first week airing.

      Start-up has descent ratings though considering its story and its audience demographics and from cable channel. It is the only drama right now [in recent 2 months] which created a lot of buzz internationally and KSH’s career is skyrocketing, so I guessed it did successfully.

      I would just like to point out that DS and DM are visual couple. They are beautifuls.

      Again, Start-up is my least fave PHR’s drama but I’m thankful for this because it gives a lot of benefit as to KSH’s career right now. I think he got the most advantage and positive effect from doing this drama. Hahaha. I am excited for his next drama!

      • That’s because it flopped in ratings compared to the hype and praises Koala gave it here. 4-5% is average at best for a TvN weekend drama. It’s predecessor had high ratings and even TvN weekday dramas Record of Youth and Tale of Nine-Tailed had better ratings despite not being in SU’s primetime slot. Uncanny Counter even has better ratings at Ep 4.

  2. I liked how Start Up wrapped up. I feel every characters was given growth and/or closure and everyone is moving forward. Gives the loyal viewers (who did not care for the shipping wars) a warm and fuzzy feeling. I certainly liked Good Boy and wanted him to be adopted by Grandma and the Seo family, that for me is his happy ending, even better than getting the girl. I feel it was just appropriate for Do san and Dal Mi’s characters to end up together since they are more attuned to each other, they have the same goals and both have the sensitivity and innate goodness in them. As Good Boy has said himself, if he was really that deeply connected to Dal Mi from their letters, why did he let over a decade pass without ever contacting her (which should hopefully put an end to the shipping wars). Just give Good Boy a spin-off series and his romantic happy ending, I say lol.

    • Hopefully put an end to the shipping wars? Not a chance.

      I dropped the drama way back so I’ve got nothing to say on the ending. But Visit Reddit, Twitter, Dramalist, Asianwiki for starters… the fans are fuming mad! Aigoo.

      • Someone put up some translations of Korean viewers’ thoughts and they weren’t so impressed either. The highest rating remains Part 2 (5.424%) of Episode 5 which tells you a lot.

  3. The final episodes were kinda predictable.

    The Start-Up part was the most interesting for me because I knew nothing about it. So it was a real pleasure to watch sexy Han Ji-Pyeong talking about it.

    For the characters, Dal-Mi and In-Jae were disapointing. Dal-Mi never made me feel she was a good CEO, but more like the typical optimistic and hardworking FL. For In-Jae, the writer ignored her pretty much during all the drama. The 2 San had a better story and screentime than her…

    Halmoni was a great character and I just love this actress.

  4. Ha, Koala refused to post the ratings right until the warm and happy (read: underwhelming) end. Not to worry.

    Part 1: 4.841%
    Part 2: 5.187%

    So an OCN drama achieved in just 4 episodes (6%) what Start-Up with its A-listers and starpower of the “Queen” couldn’t achieve in 16 episodes? Interesting. Even weekday drama Tale of Gumiho finale ratings were higher (5.785%). Heck, even FoE with its unfavorable timeslot managed 5.715% for its finale. Pfft.

    • ratings do not reflect the quality or one’s love for the drama. And ratings also sometimes do not reflect buzz. There is no doubt that she likes this drama enough to blog about it and does it matter that it isn’t a blockbuster? I like it and I think it’s a high quality drama – to each his own.

      • Sir or Ma’am

        This comment was not for you. If you like the drama, by all means, keep liking it. 화이팅

      • Not A-list yet i think, they are sure popular but they didn’t have drama mega hit yet. Not really B-list too because their popularity make them receive many good offer from famous writernim and director.

      • Who is my oppar, I wonder? Hahaha… funny how people think everyone is a stupid, delusional fangirl like them. LMFAO.

  5. I’m behind at episode 10 but the drama has ticked boxes for me. I like it and it’s warm, fuzzy and all the characters I root them for different reasons and love them all the same. Suzy is doing well, the role suits her and I can say she’s emoting a lot better. It’s a win for her. And NJH my boy, sorry I have a slow soft spot for him. You just can’t help but root for someone who’s constantly trying and improving, putting himself out there, choosing different genres despite obvious limits. But because he’s doing that- he has improved tremendously and didn’t stay just what he was – a pretty face with limited acting chops. For that, he always have my support and I’m excited what’s next for him, just Try it! His Do-san was nerdy, emotional. Yes he wasn’t likeable at times and flawed but that’s life- and I love that the male lead was beta and NJH interpreted it well and in my view, held his own among the leads and 2nd leads. But I have to say the star of the drama is JP. The role is not new but it’s KSH that shines for me. I’m discovering him and I absolutely love the life he brought into the character. My heart breaks for him but I know it’s not a love triangle because what JP needs is not Dalmi’s love at all – it’s family. And I don’t see how he’s not going get that when I get to the end of the drama.

  6. What a beautiful wedding photos. Right on with the non-existant love triangle. Dalmi and Dosan’s character complimented each other so well. They shared the same journey and dream. It was a nice ending. The fanwars still going on. What a shame. This drama is much more than that. With how the world is going on right now, so much uncertainty, it’s nice to be reminded and inspired with this youth’s story chasing their dream. NJH was brilliant as Nam Dosan. Suzy also getting better and better. KSH got his big break. Kang Hanna with limited screentime also doing great. I cried when she returned back as Seo Injae. Thank u, Start Up! What a pleasant surprise.

  7. Finished it. Last ep was better than the last 5 combined. I think HJP should totally date In-Jae. Both are smart, savvy and look great together. I rewatched ICHYV last week to remind myself how good this writer can be if she wants to. On to Uncanny counter – drama totally deserves its killer ratings. The actors are totally slaying their roles bringing about a stellar ensemble acting that is seldom seen in dramas these days. I wanna see a lot more of Hanas back story and the evolving of So Mun’s powers. Saw Knowing Bros and he described his counter role as a “Multi”. I do hope the show gives OCN their first legit double digit ratings and with such a fun premise, I can totally see it going on for multiple seasons

    • Dunno how true this is but I read on Twitter that Jo Byung-gyu said he and the director cried during Ha-na’s backstory. Oh boy.

      Have you watched EP4 yet? If not, spoiler alert.

      A few highlights in no particular order:
      * So mun kicking the bullies’ butts!
      * Mae-ok (ajumma who heals) standing up for So mun to those spirits. Especially that snotty one. (Insert infamous Meryl Streep shouting meme)
      * The rich benefactor counter arriving at the school with Ha-na to check them all on So mun’s behalf.
      * So mun showing his grandparents he can walk normally now and their reactions (my heart!) + Ha-na’s tears. Aww.

      Crap, I could go and on. I have tons of questions too! Who was that guy (evil spirit?) who killed the chairman?

  8. ❤❤❤Dosan and Dalmi looks a beautiful couple again, CONGRATULATIONS! Love the story REALISM, Natural. Always two heads is better than One.

  9. I am happy that granny comforted JP and wants him to visit her whether he is doing well or not. After drama shooting ended, the actresss (granny) hug Seon Ho said they should meet up on another drama. Seon Ho was so happy for her kind words and she said she mean it. He felt grateful and happy to receive compliment from very good senior established actress.

    As expected and wanted JP did not end up with DM for he deserves better. Happy to see YJK cameo and JP charity help to orphan (sigh..18 yrs old kick out of orphanages to sail without a map).

    Overall every actors/actresses acted well in their part.

    I will remember JP (KSH bring him to life with outsanding performance) for a long time but not the drama start up.

    Look forward to KSH new projects and enjoying his 2days 1 night variety show.

    I will check out on uncanny.

  10. I love this drama and it will remain a fond memory for me and one of the best of 2020. Thanks for reviewing it, Koala! Glad to see you enjoyed it for what it is just like I did! Kudos for the all the actors and actresses that did an amazing job!

  11. I love the sleeves of her wedding dress.
    Poor NJH! Next time he should steer clear of a project that could potentially have love triangle?
    I have no doubt Dodal’s endgame, but HJP’s character+KSH’s acting made me think why he was only the second lead?
    Kudos to KSH for bringing life to HJP, you’re everyone’s favorite Good Boy.

    • Guess I’m not “everyone” then.

      My favourite is DS and DM together but as DS and I think NJH nailed the role and was not outshined by KSH at all.

  12. Love this drama, that’s all.
    It has one of the most satisfying endings that I have seen in k-dramas for a long long while.

  13. It’s interesting that some keep justifying the ratings as ‘good’ for cable when it’s average at best for a tvN weekend drama. It’s true that even the weekday dramas RoY and Tale of Nine-Tailed outperformed it despite not being in SU’s prime slot. It’s predecessor Stranger 2 had high ratings and now even Uncanny Counter had better ratings 4 episodes in. Where’s that Suzy fan who said she’s the biggest 20s actress? lol

    • Yoona’s drama is airing soon and it is also a cable weekend drama. Let’s see who between these two is the real ‘biggest idol actress,’ in the words of Marie haha.

      • Yoona and Suzy bring in the PPLs never the ratings and its a well established fact in korea. If you are a production company up against an almost 7 figure number per episode, and do not want to risk all your investment into the project, something must give and that’s why these idol actresses keep getting roles after roles despite their limitations and luke warm/dismal ratings. The only true breakout idol cross over actress to achieve critical acclaim (My Ahjussi) and ratings ( Hotel Del Luna) remain ONLY IU. That’s why her current CF rates are unparalled in the 20s actress category atm. She’s a certified ALL KILL like Lee Seunggi. Him – dramas and variety. Her – dramas and kpop (incredulous feat really).

      • @Lydia..Lee Seung Gi sings too..and he has got many records to his name and is releasing a new album after 5 years…He is really a triple threat..And yup agree with you..IU is also top of her game among actresses of age similar to her.

  14. Thank goodness I am one of the lucky ones who can enjoy this drama week after week and like the ending as well! Right from the beginning I was enthralled by the Do San and Dal Mi love line; and did not feel any second lead syndrome for this drama. The writer has created a nice simple steadfast romance story between two compatible leads amidst the backdrop of the start up business. The mentor (particularly), friends and family members are all great plot characters and all acted very well. Kudos to NJH and Suzy for very good acting.

  15. Park Hye Ryung should start considering casting another actress other than Suzy.

    I hope to see someone else in her next project.

    I have nothing against Suzy and liked her in DH and WYWS. But it would be nice to see someone else cast as the female lead in PHR’s next drama.

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