Pachinko season 1, episode 4 recap – an absolute masterpiece

By Adam Lock
Published: April 1, 2022
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Apple TV+ series Pachinko season 1, episode 4


There is no other way of wording it, Chapter Four is a work of art. Emotional pay-offs aplenty and a moving exploration of unwavering patriotism. This is the best TV of 2022 so far.

This recap of the Apple TV+ series Pachinko season 1, episode 4 contains spoilers.

Read the recap of the previous episode.

“Chapter Four” marks the halfway point in this exceptional miniseries from Apple TV+. Everything that happened in the first three episodes was purposefully and meticulously crafted for a worthwhile payoff in this latest hour of the astounding drama. The results are therefore that bit sweeter because of this expertly maintained build-up. Trust me, if you stick with this show, you are in for a real treat.

Pachinko season 1, episode 4 recap

Scene one starts in 1931. Koh Hansu walks into a tailor shop to confront the pastor Isak. The dangerous and sometimes aggressive Koh has not only impregnated poor Sunja, but now refuses to marry her as well. Isak did the honourable thing and agreed to marry this outcast instead, in the hopes of saving her from a sinful reputation. Koh belittles his enemy, commenting on Isak’s illness and the cumbersome clothing he wears. Isak keeps his cool and makes an ironic quip, which aggravates the merchant. This is an exquisitely written opening with many subtle layers to it. Chapter Four is made up of these well written and perfectly acted scenes.

Although there is hostility, the 30s timeline is also brimming with sweetness and an indescribable frailty too. Sunja’s friends, family and acquaintances all wish her well, eager to help in whatever way they can. They give her gifts in a time of poverty and her mother literally battles persecution to obtain white rice for their wedding day meal. Of course there are also painful goodbyes when the newlyweds depart for Japan. Sunja’s mother gives a heart-wrenching performance in their final farewell at the harbour. In sheer desperation she tries to offload a life time’s worth of knowledge in the mere moments remaining before her daughter leaves for good. It is heart-breaking to watch, but is not nearly the most emotional segment of this masterpiece.

The ending

Fast forward to the eighties and an older Sunja is packing for her trip. She is finally heading back to the mother land. Meanwhile, Solomon closes the deal with the stubborn land owner at the bank’s headquarters. A room full of suited businessmen watch as the land owner reads through the contract once more. Solomon appears composed, yet her hesitation unnerves them all.

What follows is a powerful and moving final third, as our two main characters (Sunja and Solomon) come to a vital juncture in their own lives, making some stunning realizations with spine-tingling results. Director Justin Chon (Blue Bayou) delivers one tearful and cinematic moment after another as the hits just keep coming. This type of emotionally draining resolution normally comes during the season finale, or sometimes after many years of build-up, but Pachinko has achieved this emotive crescendo after just three chapters. An absolute masterpiece, nothing more, nothing less.

What did you think of Pachinko season 1, episode 4? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Apple TV+.

Apple TV+, Streaming Service, Weekly TV
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