'Start-Up' Episode 12: Kim Seon-ho shares heartbreaking scene with halmeoni, fans say it 'brought me to tears'
Ji-pyeong, portrayed by Kim Seon-ho, has become a fan favorite week after week for his brilliant depiction of his character. Here's why
'Start-Up' Episode 12 left fans heartbroken for many reasons, but the biggest one is because of Ji-pyeong – portrayed by the brilliant South Korean actor Kim Seon-ho. He leaves viewers in tears, especially in the scene where Ji-pyeong learns about Dal-mi's halmeoni's condition, and recalls how he had always tried to stop Samsan Tech from developing NoonGil.
All this while, he had assumed that he was helping halmeoni by supporting Dal-mi but now realizes that he could have become the very obstacle that could have made halmeoni's life difficult. So right after Nam Do-san beats him up and then tells him about halmeoni's condition, Ji-pyeong is shocked, and the first thing he does is visit her.
He sees her use NoonGil to count the currency and tally that day's earnings and this only leaves him in tears and emotional. What really breaks him down is the way she looks at him, addresses him "Good Boy" and attempts to comfort him after looking at his bruised and bloody face. The more she calls him "Good Boy", the more pressurized he feels and is beating himself up over not living up to halmeoni's beliefs. It is not her expectations that he failed because she never put that kind of pressure on him. In fact, even now, the one who is put this pressure on himself is Ji-pyeong is himself and it is this that has fans' heartbroken.
In fact, when he tries to step away from the comfort that halmeoni offers, she calms him down and with just that one move he folds himself in, in the warmth of her arms. The only person who Ji-pyeong can call his family is halmeoni so when he realizes that she is also a mortal who faces problems, he is shaken. One fan on Reddit discussion pointed out how this scene comes full circle for bot halmeoni and Ji-pyeong. When the latter had left for college, the former had told him that he shouldn't return to her when he is rich and famous but should return when he didn't have a place to stay on one rainy night. On this rainy night, he returned to her not to feel safe for himself, but to ensure that the woman who had saved him in the past was safe and happy. This emotional scene melted everyone's hearts.
One fan wrote on Reddit, "Yes. His acting is just unbelievable and brought me to tears. I can't see anyone else playing his part. He's just perfect for the role. 100% deserves a happy ending." Another fan referred to how Ji-pyeong told halmeoni that he wasn't a good boy and said, "HJP’s 'I’m not a good boy' hit me way harder than I expected. His conversation with the Grandma was so heartbreaking, especially the way he kept saying he was sorry. It brought me to tears. I’m glad that at least she was there to embrace him. KSH is honestly a gem of an actor, I can’t imagine anyone else doing justice to that role."
Fans have noted how Nam Do-san's character comes across as selfish in comparison to that of Ji-pyeong and many are also rooting for his happy ending. One fan wrote in response to an analysis of the heartbreaking scene and said, "You've just outlined what makes HJP so well-loved here on these Reddit posts and why most don't feel the same for NDS. I don't know what is the writer's thinking if indeed NDS is the ML. It almost seems like it's HJP and NDS the SL. HJP has the traditional Kdrama cliché trope of "meeting" her and being the FL first love, a tragic back story and all our sympathy for him. If the writers were good, it's indeed this, and they've tricked us. Or change the story seeing the fans reaction."
This fan also warned "What the writers better not do is kill off HJP with the Truck of Doom or have him contract a deadly disease. The Fans will riot and curse the writers and director!" Another fan wrote, "On one hand we have HJP who really reflects on his actions even though he didn't do anything wrong and even going as far as to apologize to SDM for his harsh words AND on the other end we have NDS who throws the first punch at HJP and then uses emotional blackmail to get HJP to help him out, with absolutely no remorse on NDS's part for his petty and childish behavior." Some fans also wondered if the writers are hoping to save the DoDal ship in the show and are hence forcing Dal-mi and Do-san together. One fan asked, "This is what I expected when she asked him if he was hungry. But no it was all business. Writer is trying real hard to save that DoDal ship right now. I mean, it just shows."
'Start-Up' will air on tvN on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 pm KST, and can be streamed on Netflix in the US.