tvN’s hit business-themed drama Start-Up closed its curtains with a glimpse of the cast of characters’ starting off one last glorious adventure.
The Start-Up final episode begins with Morning Group’s attempt to break Seo Dal-mi (Bae Suzy, Vagabond) and Nam Do-san’s (Nam Joo-hyuk, The School Nurse Files) newly reunited team. As it turns out, despite Han Ji-pyeong’s (Kim Seon-ho, Catch the Ghost) fair warning of being unable to act coolly after confirming Dal-mi’s feelings, he remains to have her best interests at heart. When he finds out that the crew might have fallen into another trap, he rushes off to their aid, only to find Won In-jae (Kang Han-na, Designated Survivor: 60 Days) unfazed and Dal-mi dodging a bullet like a pro.
What Ji-pyeong comes to realize is that everyone at Cheongmyeong Company has grown out of their comfort zones and has tapped into a new gear of embracing their capabilities and true selves despite the rocky path toward their dreams. Armed with the names of the hackers who put their company at risk, Dal-mi, Do-san, and the rest of the group sail through the hurdle and proceed with joining the bidding for the smart city project.
Ji-pyeong also receives the most number of much-needed wake-up calls. When Grandma Choi (Kim Hae-sook, Hospital Playlist) pays him a visit, she urges him to pay her good deed forward instead of juggling favors and ticking off things on his checklist just to settle his “debt.” As if by pure happenstance, he meets a young CEO (a refreshing cameo by Hotel del Luna’s Yeo Jin-goo), whose start-up business aims to assist orphans who are in a limbo because of their age, much like himself before meeting Grandma Choi, by matching them with a sponsor who can help them stand on their own feet. Renewed by a new mindset, he lends a hand without hesitation.
The episode also highlights In-jae and Dal-mi’s relationship. While the Seo sisters have yet to fully reconcile, they have seemingly found a good reset from where they left off as kids, beginning with In-jae officially taking back her surname and reuniting with her grandmother.
Capping off the finale is the realization of an evolving dream that Dal-mi, Do-san, Lee Chul-san (Yoo Su-bin, Crash Landing on You), Kim Yong-san (Kim Do-wan, She Knows Everything), and Jeong Sa-ha (Stephanie Lee, When I Was the Most Beautiful) started at Samsan Tech. With Dal-mi, Do-san, Ji-pyeong, and In-jae at the helm of the company’s new beginning, they venture into their next journey to the unknown, without a map but with each other.
Fitting in nicely into the inspirational genre, Start-Up wrapped up its rollercoaster eight-week run with a lasting impression—strengthening the drama’s core theme of everyone’s long, winding journey of starting out, failing, and standing back up just to go over the process, again and again in order to reach one’s goals and dreams.
Start-Up logged in 4.841% and 5.187% records for its two-part conclusion. The finale, however, did not surpass its personal best of 5.424%, its highest viewership rating recorded during the drama’s fifth episode that aired on October 31, 2020. The series aired on tvN every Saturday and Sunday and, to date, remains available for streaming via Netflix.