An entire episode devoted to the criminal Hansu allows for a thankful return to form. This chapter is full of heart-breaking sorrow and shocking violence.
This recap of the Apple TV+ series Pachinko season 1, episode 7 contains spoilers.
Pachinko season 1, episode 7 recap
Koh Hansu, played by Lee Min-ho (a South Korean icon) is without a shadow of a doubt the main bad guy in Pachinko. He cheated on his wife, who he is extremely distant with, and impregnated poor Sunja, leaving her as a shamed woman. The merchant is frequently violent and aggressive to the locals, being feared by all in the region. So it comes as quite the shock to see an entire chapter dedicated to the criminal, with the added surprise of director Kogonada actually making us pity and sympathize with the man to boot. Pachinko returns to its previous form with another stellar episode.
We’re introduced to a younger Hansu in 1923 Yokohama, Japan. The future fish broker sports a larger-than-life Beatles haircut and a boyish smirk. He is an excellent mathematician, even tutoring an American family. His father, who is also an accountant, has big dreams for his son and works tirelessly to provide him every possible opportunity. The crime boss he works for wants Hansu to start at the business as well, but the father manages to shrug this off.
Hansu is a promising individual, who ironically supports a privileged family whilst his own live in poverty. The series highlights the destitution of Korean migrants in Japan, providing Hansu with an emotional backstory. The Holmes family want him to journey to America to help their son study at Yale, but he doesn’t want to abandon his father. This bubbling conflict erupts when Hansu’s father steals from his boss and Hansu wishes to ask the Americans for a loan. Pride outweighs logic here and the father refuses to accept anyone else’s money, desperate for his son to leave for greater things in the US.
The show delivers another devastating twist as the city is destroyed by a (historically accurate) deadly earthquake. This destructive force of nature kills thousands and annihilates the cityscape. A noxious smoke descends upon the ruins of the city and survivors stumble to safety. Hansu manages to track down the Americans and together they flee.
This may be the most brutal episode yet, filled with violence and human depravity. Hansu’s origin tale allows viewers the chance to sympathize with the villain and see his actions from a different stance. The filmmakers cleverly flip our perspective in a gripping chapter, where the series returns to its earlier high standards. With only one more episode of Pachinko left to go, like many others, I will be sad to see this series end.
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