An engaging and heartfelt continuation of the story. Sunja and Solomon deal with blistering highs and painful lows once more.
This recap of the Apple TV+ series Pachinko season 1, episode 5 contains spoilers.
Chapter Four was always going to be a tough act to follow, but this subsequent episode does a valiant job of continuing the story. As our characters traverse the harsh terrains of their lives, there is ample opportunity for both painful sorrow and simple delights in a slower installment of Pachinko.
Pachinko season 1, episode 5 recap
In 1931 Osaka, Sunja and Isak depart the boat after a difficult journey and head towards new hope. Sunja is instantly bewildered by the busy city streets. Japan appears cinematically atmospheric, with dark and misty side streets. Isak’s brother Yoseb warns the new arrivals of the dire living conditions and high crime rate. Their new home is in a rough neighborhood, filled with wandering pigs and shifty characters. A welcoming Kyunghee introduces the young couple to their new abode, offering them a steamy, comforting meal. The sight of white rice makes Sunja cry, signaling her fragile mental state.
Whilst in eighties Tokyo, Solomon attends a party of an old friend’s. Here he meets with Naomi, his work colleague, for the first time since his embarrassing faux pas. She talks of the land owner humiliating him and admits that she saw him dancing in the street. The brutal honesty causes Solomon to retaliate and he offends the mysterious woman. Does this squabble indicate a romantic leaning, a lovers’ tiff? As predicted, Solomon starts to hunt for his old love interest, Hana, who in a shocking revelation was practically his step-sister.
In the same timeline, an older Sunja returns to her home land of Korea. She’s amazed by the vibrant markets and buys herself some treats. They visit her father’s grave and meet with an old friend called Bokhee. This trip is a mixture of emotions for Sunja, who postponed the journey so many times before. In a sad final scene, she asks to return to Japan early. It seems home doesn’t necessarily depend upon your birthplace or heritage anymore, it’s where you feel most comfortable. Pachinko conveys this complicated notion in a profound way.
This is a gentler episode, where the series drops the weighty drama of Chapter Four and focuses more on the subtle emotional dynamics at play. Old Sunja deals with regret and shame when returning to her past, whilst a younger Sunja finds her new life as an outsider difficult to accept. Solomon’s journey continues as he hunts for his missing friend, ignoring his failing career and personal problems. His subplot with an old friend promotes a poorer yet purer life that Solomon has never seen before. The show is full of these nuanced moments and should be celebrated for its depth. Hopefully, Chapter Four wasn’t just a fluke and there is more drama to come.
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