“Start-Up” Final Episode, The Perfect Ending Or Disappointing? – Episode 16 Recap And Review

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Netflix “Start-Up” has aired its last episode on December 6 finally coming into an end after almost two months, but was it a happy ending or not?

Today, I am here to quickly recap the highlights of “Start-Up” episode 16 and to talk about my feelings on the series and the finale.




The recap

Do San and the gang find out that the twins are the ones who hacked into the system at the company, they report them to police.

Meanwhile, they’re being interviewed by a reporter who crushes start-ups through his articles, despite Ji Pyeong running to the rescue, it turns out that they had already figured it out. They put the cocky reporter in his place explaining what transpired after the hacking happened.

Do San then goes to meet Dal Mi’s mom and grandma, the grandma thanks him for making noongil and helping her out.

Later, grandma goes to visit Ji Pyeong, she brought some corn dogs. Ji Pyeong speaks as if he wants to settle their debt once and for all, the grandma begins to cry and tells him not to go away and to stay and call her even if he’s doing well in life. They cry together.

The team members are working on the bidding and decide to place multiple bets if they win. Do San says he’ll propose if they win.

On another day, Ji Pyeong meets with a young talented man who wants to connect orphans to people who can help them out. Yeo Jin Goo turns out to be that start-up CEO with the idea. Instead of investing through his company, Ji Pyeong decides to invest personally and to donate as well reflecting on grandma’s suggestion that he should help out people in dire need instead of her.

While Dal Mi and Do San submit for the bidding, they run into the twins who say that they will pay a fine for what had happened.

At work, Sa Ha introduces her elder sister to Chul San. Chul San is very happy that Sa Ha thinks so highly of him and cares about him.

The team later finds out that they’ve made it into the final 5 for the bidding offer. They celebrate.

At the celebration, Dal Mi suggests they accelerate their process and look for more investors. She consults her sister but she’s against the idea at first.

Dal Mi runs into Ji Pyeong one day and they end up exchanging what would become the resolution to Ji Pyeong’s unrequited love. Dal Mi wants to thank him again but he refuses to hear that, he says,



“Back then, I had no friends so your letters were my only comfort. Let’s say we’re even….

Even after reading your letters for 15 years, I didn’t look for you. On the other hand, Do San went to you the moment he read them. So I am not the Nam Do San from the letters. There is no reason you should feel sorry or blame yourself.”

In Jae’s father is giving a lecture at sandbox, not many attend after Yong San and Chul San loudly talk about how his son is receiving punishment for orchestrating the hacking on their company. In Jae attends and asks her father at the end of the session why he fired her, he says he thought she’d listen better to him if he had done this. She says she’s thankful for the opportunities and shows off the certificate that approves her name change back to Seo In Jae.

Later, the trio finds out that their place was rented to other young people. They go there to say goodbye one last time. They cry while apologizing to each other and reminisce about the old days.

In Jae goes to her grandma’s house, she hugs her tightly and they cry in each other’s arms. She explains she hasn’t been there to their house because she was ashamed for being Won In Jae not Seo In Jae [WHAT?]. It looks like the family is back together and is getting closer again.

The next day, In Jae meets with the mentor at sandbox and suggests they begin searching for investors. She says she wants to invest in the company and asks Ji Pyeong to pitch them the idea.

Ji Pyeong attempts to decline but eventually he talks one on one to Do San and suggests the idea. Do San agrees this time because he knows the investment is not coming from a place of petty. Ji Pyeong will continue to nag and interfere as an outside investor.

In 2020

It appears that the company has grown exponentially. Through photos spread on Dal Mi and Do San’s desk we find out that they’ve gotten married and won the bidding for the self-driving car. The family of Dal Mi has all gotten together well, and it was revealed that Sa Ha revealed she is dating Chul San.

The last scene shows the four main characters on their way to a shareholders meeting.

The end.

So what did you guys think of “Start-Up” ending? did you like it?

The review

I liked the ending. I think it was wrapped up rather well, a lot better than I had expected. I was scared the screenwriter would make Ji Pyeong go away for a couple of years to the U.S. It might be why I was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

The ending was probably the best in the eyes of the people who were fully immersed in the drama’s atmosphere, but not so much for those who had higher expectations walking into the second half. I am part of the latter.




The biggest disappointment will remain In Jae’s character in my opinion, I wrote an article on this, you can read it here. Simply put, she was reduced to this ‘cameo’ type of character. As an actress Kang Han Na was truly a missed opportunity in this drama, she could’ve easily shined as brightly as Kim Seon Ho but it didn’t happen.   

Also, the explanation by In Jae to why she’s never been to their house because of her name doesn’t make an ounce of sense to me. The fact that no one told her the grandma was going blind is infuriating to say the least.

Added to that, Ji Pyeong explanation to why he’s not that Do San also doesn’t make sense. It’s clear as the sky for me that the screenwriter wrote this for us, the people who were rooting for Ji Pyeong, too bad it doesn’t make sense. He’s still that person who wrote those letters and the person who eased her loneliness 15 years ago. Just because one person acted on reading letters doesn’t erase the fact that he was never that Do San.

It’s very easy to nitpick at “Start-Up” and it could be because I worked with multiple startups in the past so I know the terms and logic regarding the business part of this drama. But even if you don’t know anything about startups, its pretty to pin point the flaws of this drama.

I am a bit sad the drama couldn’t have been better. I said before in my review of “Start-Up” first half that screenwriter Park Hye Ryun tends to rely on stereotypes a lot especially towards the second halves of her dramas. Sadly, she proved to me once again that I am right. Despite her age and experience in this field, she’s mostly still writing the same style and level of maturity she did five years ago.

I will publish a detailed article in a couple of hours to explain why the second half of “Start-Up” was disappointing in my opinion. But aside from my thoughts, I just want to thank everyone, the actors and the staff for doing an amazing job during such challenging times.

I could feel that everyone in this drama was genuinely trying their best, they looked so happy to have been a part of this drama and everyone was such a treat. The actors in this drama are the reason why I am writing this article. I am so thankful for them, even if I am not pleased with the writing overall, the drama provided me with comfort and I had fun watching the majority of it.

Thank you to “Start-Up” actors and staff.

8 COMMENTS

  1. This drama was a perfect example of a writer who doesnt even know her own characters. Its also an example of abusing the audience by making characters do nonsensical things and thinking she can get by with it.
    Dosan was never written to be a man worthy of Dalmi’s love for cause. Neither was Dalmi written to be…how shall I say it???? A real woman? Arent real women curious? How do you spend 5 episodes showing how important the letters are, eventually find out who was writing them and never feel urge number 1 to ask any questions?
    No Dalmi was written as a woman who dosan could fart in her face and her heart would flutter. She never once was alert or objective enough to even question dosans quality for a second. She didnt scold him for attacking JP, she didnt apologize to JP on his behalf. Didnt care how many lies he told or that he was so interpersonally ignorant that he left her alone….drunk….in a park…in the middle of the night.. so he could go put on a suit. And this fool the writer wants us to believe has ANY clue about what Sailing off without a map means????
    The writer makes stupid scenes where dosan tells his dad “Its very tiring being someones pride and dream..” and then also spew drivel telling Dalmi “i want to be your trophy, your pride and your dream.”
    So what is it? Geek fool knowing zero about human emotions, people and metaphores, or philosopher empath? It really doesnt matter becuase the writer forced their relationship down viewers throats with no reason rational or why.
    Again Dalmi wasnt written as a real woman. Dispite being asked multiple times why she liked him she only gave 2 responses for cause and they both pertained to JP. She only told dosan about big hands. While he grew to know that wasnt enough and asked again she didnt even try that excuse the second time. She just said she didnt know, she just does. How great! Marry her and the next time she just happens to feel a certain way for no reason, because she just does she will be on to the next guy….
    I have read reports where there was supposed to be more wedding scenes but the chemistry was so poor and without any cause they skipped the whole thing leaving only pictures and filled the time with an anticlimatic conflict with Morning group.

  2. This drama was written poorly by the writer who can’t seem to organizer her/his thoughts. Also, maybe it’s a clever way to make people hate the main lead? They just made a record of having the most annoying leading couple ever. I would agree with the previous comment. Dalmi is not human at all. She declined past suitors then suddenly married someone who pretended to be her penpal?! And she didn’t even have the courtesy of talking to Ji Peyong about it knowing that he is their mentor, he does her many wonderful things. I mean, any human being will feel awkward in front of someone whom she shared feelings with a long time ago. Also, I thought the plant, the fate that yongsil was talking about had a relevance in the story.. I thot there will be deeper meaning that will be revealed in the end, but no. It was so awfully made. Honestly, after Halmeoni and Ji Pyeong’s scene, I skipped it to Dalmi and Ji Pyeong’s scene and stopped watching. I mean, why will I waste my time to some repetitive plot? I’m just curious if they are really happy with how the drama went out but of course, all the actors and staff worked with hard.. I just felt that there’s only one person who put all his heart to the show and he’s shining brightly now as an actor. I don’t need to mention his name even if the drama cheapened his character in the end.

  3. Y’all are mad at the main lead, but I was here for the grandma and “her son” (Han) that made the series amazing to me. Yes the writer sucks at romance, but at least they killed it in the family love department. Also I understood the name thing for Won to Seo.

  4. The heart of the story for me is the grandma and Ji pyeong. Their relationship is the only thing that made sense. Do San’s acting is bland. He looked pathetic most of the time. His character has no depth. I wish I didn’t waste my time on this series.

  5. But then you really cant just say the heart of the story is grandma and JP can you? I mean the stupid writer makes grandma go full mental at some point.
    All the way to the mudflat beach scene where Dalmi is poring out her fears about Dosan and literally asking her grandma if he could be 2 different people…..grandma could have said ANYTHING helpful that would have aligned with Dalmi’s true heart. The writer has the IQ at one point to have grandma ask Dalmi which dosan she likes better the letters or the one in front of her and she chose the letters.
    The the writer makes grandma go full mental throwing JP under the bus from then on. She actually has her complimenting dosan on how courteously he throws up all over JP’s back because he did it so quietly. When JP basically says what the hell grandma she tells him to shut up and go clean it off.
    Yes grandma and JP has a long tight relationship but the writer made her into a fairweather friend only. Outside a few scenes designed to calm viewers who were ready to strangle her she wrote some emotional scenes with JP more like the ones she had before she went bipolar and sold him out in the middle to near the end.

  6. I agree with most of what you said and was quite amazed by how the writer somehow managed to salvage this mess of a plot in the last episode. However, StartUp serves purpose as a light-hearted watch that doesn’t require much audience attention. It was quite hard for me to be inspired by the protagonist and her story, as on closer inspection it appears that majority of her achievements were due to an extremely supportive boyfriend (who even gave up a job in the Silicon Valley to help her realize her dream) and an investor who adored her enough to give her all the advice she wanted and protect her in the business world (oh, and he was also willing to invest in her unprofitable business idea so that she would be happy).
    Every other character seemed to achieve a considerable part of their success by themselves. This also includes Dosan (who seems to be much hated) who got an offer for his dream job on his own merit.
    Maybe that’s why the audience appears to dislike the plot so much. The very person we felt the need to root for at the start of the story, got the closest thing to a free pass in real life.

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