Episode 2 of Pachinko begins with an introduction to Koh Hansu. He does the dirty work for a powerful man in Japan and he works as the District Fish Broker. Rumours are abound from numerous different men and women aboard the boat, as Sunja stays quiet and listens.
When the boat docks, Sunja witnesses Koh Hansu’s ruthlessness first-hand and eventually hurries away. Sunja is broached over the subject of the handsome District Fish Broker by some of the other women. The girls are all swooning over him but it’s Sunja who receives a gift from the man. She isn’t romantically inclined to him though, at least not yet anyway.
When she heads back from the market, Sunja is stopped by several men who block her from boarding the ferry and take her belongings. As she’s dragged into a storage room, two of the men look like they’re about to sexually assault her until Koh Hansu shows up like a knight in shining armour. He saves her life and forces the men to apologize.
Koh Hansu eventually joins Sunja on the ferry back, where he admits he’s been gone 14 years before returning here.
After helping her off the boat, Sunja notices blood staining his sleeve and encourages the man to drop by and let her wash it for him. Just before she heads back to the village, Sunja turns and casts a glance at Hansu, who boards the ferry back for the mainland.
That doesn’t stop their conversations though, as Koh Hansu helps Sunja expand her horizons and look out at the rest of the world. It’s something that eventually leads to the pair growing closer together, meeting numerous times.
When they do, we learn more about Koh Hansu’s past, including how he has disdain for many people – including his father who is gone now, “forgotten for a long time.”
Out in the woods, Koh Hansu and Sunja eventually kiss and make love.
In Tokyo 1989, Solomon feels shackled by his father’s pachinko roots, while Solomon’s old arrogance and words from his past have caused many in the company to become disenfranchised with him.
At Abe’s daughter’s wedding, many members of the Ministry of Finance are in attendance, making this the perfect time for Solomon to broach the company merger.
It’s Abe who comes to Solomon first though, asking for his blood type. Why? Well, apparently this comes from loyalty and past ties, with the Korean/Japanese issues still very much prevalent and raw.
Mr Andrews wonders why there’s still such hostility, pointing out that it’s all in the past and people should move on. However, he’s an American and can’t possibility understand the complexity of these ties and how deep the wounds run.
Solomon also meets Naomi, a prospective businesswoman who knows her way around the land. She points out to Mr Andrews that for the owner of this lot, it’s not about the money. They’ve already made several massive bids and they’ve all been rejected. “It’s always about the money,” He says, eventually deciding to offer up one billion yen to get this over the line.
The pair have very different ideologies and what it means to succeed. Nowhere else is that more prevalent than with Solomon’s father, Bando, who reveals that the pachinko machines are actually rigged.
They’re giving a “nudge” toward the odds falling in the house’s favour, as per the usual. He signs off for a loan of four million yen, intending to use this to open the second area.
Solomon eventually shows up to see the owner, alone. She bought the property for 4000 yen back in 1955 and now he’s offering 1 billion yen, which is obviously a lot.
Solomon speaks of his old family history, including how his mother has died and his grandmother has had a tough life. Eventually though he gets to the point, telling her to think of her children and sell up. Instead, she throws his 9000 yen gift back at him and takes off.
Back at the office, Solomon receives a call from someone called Hana, whom he has ties with in the past. This actually happens to be Etsuko’s missing daughter, who has no desire to be found.
Solomon urges her to come back but she scoffs at that idea, admitting that she’s actually watching him right now too. Eventually Hana tells him she’ll ring back and hangs up the phone.
The Episode Review
Pachinko returns with another good episode, this time drip-feeding out more information about Koh Hansu and how he ties into Sunja’s story.
Their forbidden romance is well written, while the dialogue about getting away from Japan and starting anew in America is foreshadowed beautifully through those chalk outlines on the stones.
What’s particularly impressive here is something thAt a lot of other Korean dramas manage to nail too – show don’t tell.
Right at the end, when Hana rings Solomon, the dialogue is so natural that we don’t need to be told immediately who Hana is until halfway through the conversation when Solomon tells her Etsuko is looking for her.
It’s little details and touches like this that help Pachinko really stand out as an impressive period drama.
While the second episode does ease up a little, it’s no less enthralling and this is turning into one of the must-watch shows of 2022.
The ending certainly hints that there’s more drama to come, and with 3 episodes releasing today on Apple, there’s another hour-long episode to dive into – so let’s get to it!