The finale week is upon us and the mega-hit series 'Start-Up' has finally wrapped up, leaving fans wanting more while some feel satisfied nonetheless. Spoiler Alert! Keep reading to find out just what went down in the final episodes of 'Start-Up' in case you missed it!
The big win and a new challenge
Episode 15 takes off on a positive note as Dal Mi and Do San have their self-driving system tested for a temporary permit. Chairman Won is also present at the event and shows off their new project as Morning Group intends to submit a bid for their technology to a renowned company proposing a smart city with self-driving cars. Chairman Won undermines CheongMyeong Company's competence, pointing out that their developers left after setting everything up for them. However, Chul San quickly cuts in, informing them that they had to start over from scratch because the previous algorithm had too many problems. In the meantime, Tarzan performs perfectly well, stopping right in time for pedestrians and cats alike, proving its efficiency. Morning Group has a rough realization about whose technology is actually better. Their success urges In Jae to take a bold step as she announces that CheongMyeong will also be submitting a bid. Back at the office, however, Dal Mi is skeptical about whether or not they will be able to place a bid at this stage. She's even more careful because she doesn't want to make a business blunder and lose her team once more.
Sa Ha and Chul San are officially dating
Sa Ha receives a notification for Chul San's vlog, which automatically brings a smile to her face. It fades quickly when she notices all the cute comments made towards Chul San. She finds Chul San, where he's alone and tells him to stop vlogging. She adds that she'd like him to keep a secret of the fact that they're dating. Chul San agrees right off the bat without even completely realizing what she just said. Chul San is taken aback and asks whether she's playing a prank on him again. She responds by kissing him immediately. Finally, the fan-favorite ship has sailed! Later, when Yong San asks for her help with anagrams, Chul San is visibly and adorably jealous.
A love triangle showdown
Dal Mi seeks out Ji Pyeong's help regarding the bid and he tells her that it would be a complete waste of time. They also share comfortable banter about her grandmother and side dishes, which ends with Dal Mi asking which side dish he'd like to have next. They wait for the elevator and after the doors open, Do San is revealed. Everyone is stunned for a second before Do San breaks the silence and asks whether Dal Mi was going to get in. Dal Mi and Ji Pyeong get into the elevator and share complete radio silence until Ji Pyeong replies to her last question about side dishes, giving off the impression of closeness. Do San stays quiet for a while longer before telling Dal Mi that they should go for the bid. Ji Pyeong immediately protests but Do San shows no signs of backing out. He explains that even if they fail, it will be a learning experience and will make it easier the next time they try. Ji Pyeong is appalled at his logic but Do San counters by saying that the last time he "sailed without a map," he won big time and had no regrets whatsoever. He further assures Dal Mi that even if things don't go as planned, he won't let it hurt the team. Later Ji Pyeong tells Do San that he'd like the letters back. In response, Do San tells him that he'd like the lucky plant back as well. The two settle on the deal, but Do San quickly changes his mind when he looks through the letters.
Distraught by his denial, Ji Pyeong shows up at Do San's house. His parents are elated to have him as a guest and break out all their homemade alcohol. The two drink till late at night and Do San shares how he felt not to be Dal Mi's first love and that the only thing she liked about him was his big hands. The next morning, Ji Pyeong recalls this conversation and overheard Do San asking his mother for the side dish Ji Pyeong said he liked on the elevator. Ji Pyeong confronts Do San about having no sense of pride and tells him to stop feeling inferior to him just because he's not Dal Mi's first love. He assures Do San that despite all the letters and the memories, Do San's big hands alone won Dal Mi over. Do San runs to SandBox to meet Dal Mi.
Why do you like me?
Do San asks Dal Mi the same question he asked her at the beginning of the drama, "why do you like me?". Dal Mi is hesitant and shy to answer at first but soon admits that she doesn't need a reason to like him other than the fact that he's Do San. Do San goes in for a kiss, marking a final reconciliation. Ji Pyeong tries to avoid Dal Mi, but she acknowledges it instead and apologizes to him. Dal Mi tells him that they've decided to bid on the project. He tells her that it's a good idea and walks away. At the same time, Dal Mi's mother has used the funds she had saved up for buying a commercial space for her mother in law. Even though she protests at first, it is evident that she, too, is excited about this new start.
Morning Group seeks revenge
Chairman Won is fuming at In Jae's dissolution of adoption. He's seeking revenge and asks Sang Su to speak to a reporter. The same reporter shows up the next day to interview CheongMyeong Company about their self-driving system. It is clear that the angle this reporter is trying to take is that of the ransomware attack being a significant threat to the security of the self-driving system. This kind of attack won't just mean a financial loss but also a loss to human life! The episode ends with Ji Pyeong running to their office with caution.
Han Ji Pyeong is alerted of the interview and tries to reach Dal Mi in time while Yon San tries to figure out the anagram evident in the ransomware attack string. It is quite evident that they think the twin developers may be behind it. In the meantime, the interviewer delves deeper into the possibility of future fatal security issues before deciding to end the interview. However, Dal Mi interrupts, saying that she'd like to continue and get to the more important part. In Jae tells Ji Pyeong that Dal Mi is handling the interview just fine. Truly, Dal Mi has the situation in her hands as she artfully reveals the people behind the attack to be Morning Group's AI developers. Things definitely didn't go as planned for Morning AI and the twins are apprehended readily.
Meeting the family
Do San meets Dal Mi's grandmother (Halmeoni), where the two share a heartwarming conversation about gratitude and happiness. Dal Mi's grandmother thanks Do San for NoonGil, which has honestly been incredibly helpful, especially with her worsening eyesight. She also sounds elated for Do San being in her life as well as Dal Mi's. Later, Halmeoni visits Han Ji Pyeong, who looks defeated more than ever. Ji Pyeong asks her about her new hot dog place and wonders if it has stairs.
It is clear that Ji Pyeong still has residual feelings about owing her and wants to buy her an apartment. Halmeoni shrugs it off and quickly catches on to the fact that Ji Pyeong wants to run away. She stops him and tells him to come see her no matter what, regardless of whether he's doing well or not. Ji Pyeong cannot hold back the barrage of tears anymore and breaks down in her arms.
Later, CEO Hong (played by Yeo Jin Goo) from a philanthropic company that helps orphans, visits Han Ji Pyeong nervously, seeking an investment. Ji Pyeong recalls grandma telling him that he should help those worse off than him. He decides to invest in the company from his own personal funds and doesn't ask for many shares. When CEO Hong asks why he wanted to invest personally, Ji Pyeong responds by saying that he liked his voice (Note: CEO Hong's voice was the voice of Yong Shil). Resonating with the company's motive from his own experience as a child, Ji Pyeong asks CEO Hong to help those in need earnestly and to bring him orphans whom he can personally mentor.
Do San asks Dal Mi what her vision for Tarzan is. Dal Mi has all sorts of sci-fi fantasies but quickly comes back to reality, saying that her only vision is for a better world and helping those in need, just like her father and grandmother. Do San assures her that he'll make it happen and the two go in for a kiss before Chul San interrupts them, leading to Dal Mi pushing Do San away before hiding behind her computer. The next day, CheongMyeong Company finds out that they have passed the second screening for the bid. Sa Ha introduces Chul San as her boyfriend to her sister, making Chul San as giddy as possible. The team celebrates their success with some cake and Dal Mi suggests that it is time to scale their business up. In Jae disagrees, but Dal Mi asserts that it would be too late if they wait for increased revenue first.
Dal Mi and Ji Pyeong part ways
Ji Pyeong and Dal Mi meet at the elevator once more; however, their energy is strangely awkward. Dal Mi wants to thank him, but he assures her that she owes him nothing. He also adds that much like Dal Mi, the letters she exchanged were a source of comfort to him as well at a time when he, too, had no friends. As such, he tells her that they're even. He further explains that even though he wrote the letters, he's not the Nam Do San from those letters as it was the real Do San who decided to take action regarding those letters and not him. Through this, Ji Pyeong takes responsibility for how things turned out between them and the pair have a neat farewell.
Seo In Jae
Won In Jae,
Won In Jae,
At a seminar with Chairman Won speaking on stage, In Jae raises a question to the Chairman asking why she got kicked out. Chairman Won is visibly unprepared to answer but responds nonetheless by saying that he expected her to come back obediently once he kicked her out. In Jae informs him that she is no longer his step-daughter as the official documents of dissolution of adoption had arrived. Later, Yong San apologizes to In Jae for assuming that her success had nothing to do with her talent and everything to do with her rich father. In Jae accepts the apology, assuring him that she only became stronger from it. Later, we see In Jae finally reuniting with her grandmother and the rest of her family. She shows them the paperwork determining a change of her surname from Won to Seo once more, declaring that she's part of this family and always has been. She intended to return sooner but was too ashamed of her association with her stepfather. The sisters have a full-circle moment as In Jae honors the bet they had made years ago regarding Dal Mi's success. She also suggests that Dal Mi should indeed scale her company up.
Reminiscing about the humble beginnings
The original and first-ever office of Samsan Tech is being rented out to a group of fresh new businessmen with dreams in their eyes. The Samsan Tech trio have a nostalgic moment, reminiscing about how far they've come despite adversities. Do San apologizes for not being competent enough right from the start, but the remaining two shrug it off, pulling each other in for a group hug.
In Jae meets the CEO of SandBox to talk about scaling CheongMyeong up. CEO Yoon is more than happy to help and invest, considering that SandBox owes its origin to the two sisters. She reaches out to Ji Pyeong for him to take the lead, but Ji Pyeong is hesitant. However, CEO Yoon is not taking no for an answer. Ji Pyeong can't help it and meets Do San to ask whether he'd be interested in accepting his investment in CheongMyeong. Do San asks him to put his emotions aside and guide him rationally. Ji Pyeong admits that this is an investment opportunity that he wouldn't want to miss professionally regardless of how he feels personally. The two share an awkward handshake before giving in and firmly doing the same, followed by a heart-warming, albeit hesitant, hug.
The final victory
Do San and Dal Mi have a magically beautiful moment at a church, kissing under the rainbow and sharing their aspirations. Later, Dal Mi presents their bid before a flashback sequence of their journey through the good old days. The epilogue is in the present time, 2020, where Do San is the CTO and Dal Mi is the CEO of CheongMyeong Company. The company has scaled up successfully and it is safe to assume that they won the bid as well. They might even be a Unicorn (a company with a valuation of over $1 Billion) looking at the fancy headquarters. Dal Mi and Do San are married now with wedding pictures and other memories posted across their office.
The final scene sees Do San, Dal Mi, In Jae, and Ji Pyeong confidently harmonious in their stride as they make their way to the annual shareholders meeting.
So, did 'Start-Up's ending meet your expectations, or did you want more? Let us know in the comments below!