Post Sunja’s (Minha Kim) split with Hansu (Lee Min-Ho), he has been relegated to the sidelines, making occasional (albeit pivotal) appearances here and there. Episode 6 of “Pachinko,” as per usual, revolved around Sunja in the 1930s, Sunja (Young Yuh-jung) in 1989, and Solomon (Jin Ha). It was a primer on Hana (Mari Yamamoto), her relationship with Solomon, her misconceptions about Sunja, and her reconciliation with Etsuko (Kaho Minami). The episode showed Isak’s awakening to the notion of rebelling against the Japanese and the birth of Sunja’s first son, Noa. Additionally, it showed Solomon’s ambitious side as he planned to collaborate with Mr. Yoshii (Louis Ozawa). And it concluded with Hansu telling his wife to leave him since Sunja had provided him with the one thing he needed: a son.
Major Spoilers For “Pachinko” Episode 7
The Day Everything Went Wrong For Hansu
Directed by Kogonada and written by Ethan Kuperberg and Soo Hugh, “Pachinko” Episode 7 is probably the most straightforward one of them all. As in, there are no time jumps or flashbacks. It opens in 1923 Yokohama, where a young Hansu meets up with his father (Jung Woong-in) after running an errand for the Holmes family, where Hansu serves as an English tutor. Hansu’s father reminds him that he’s not their errand boy and should stick to teaching the Holmes’ son, Andrew (Jimmy Bennett). Then the father-son duo proceeds to a boxing match where they meet the Yakuza head for whom Hansu’s father works, Ryoichi (Takashi Yamaguchi). Ryoichi then inquires when Hansu is going to start working for him since he has so many businesses to handle. Hansu’s father politely interjects, saying that it’s not easy to get a job like the one Hansu has at the Holmes’. So, it’s better if he sticks to it. Ryoichi scoffs at the fact that they’re sucking up to the Americans, but leaves Hansu with the reminder that with hard work, he can become one of them (the Japanese).
Hansu is then seen tutoring Andrew, who then insists his mother, Mrs. Holmes (Kerry Knupe), to take Hansu along with them to America because, without him, Andrew knows that he isn’t going to excel in his studies. Hansu relays this information to his father while having a long and engaging conversation about America, Korea, Japan, and privilege. Although Hansu’s father believes that the idea that Americans will treat Koreans as equals is an illusion, he thinks that Hansu should take that chance and go. They have an argument about how they promised to stick together, and Hansu’s leaving his father for greener pastures is a betrayal of that promise. But Hansu’s father manages to convince Hansu that he must go to America. Later on, Hansu finds out that Hansu’s father siphoned off some money from Ryoichi’s business for a woman. It’s a large sum. And the money’s gone. Hansu says that he’s not going to leave his father in this situation, but his father insists on leaving, even beating Hansu up so he wouldn’t follow him to Ryoichi. Still, Hansu follows and offers his servitude to Ryoichi to save his father’s life. That’s when an unexpected tragedy strikes.
‘Pachinko’ Episode 7 Ending Explained – The Death Of The Old Hansu
The rest of the episode is a brutal, haunting, and absolutely gut-wrenching fictionalization of the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake. Hansu, his father, and Ryoichi are knocked out by the impact. Hansu wakes up to find out that his father is stuck under a wooden column. He tries to save him, but Ryoichi yanks him out of there, fearing that an aftershock is going to kill them all. Hansu abandons his father there and heads to higher ground along with Ryoichi. Hansu is understandably devastated by the fact that that’s how he had to part with his father. Ryoichi slaps some rationale into Hansu by showing him that he’s not the only one who’s suffering. And Hansu should use this period of destruction to forge his destiny by getting out of Japan with the Americans. This stabilizes Hansu a bit, and he reaches the Holmes household from here. Mrs. Holmes and Andrew are fleeing to the pier, where apparently Mr. Holmes (Bob Frazer) is waiting with a ship. Hansu says he wants to come with them, and the three of them (Hansu, Andrew, and Mrs. Holmes) proceed to the beaches.
On their way, Hansu gets separated from Andrew and Mrs. Holmes. But he finds Ryoichi, who still hasn’t found his family. The two of them escape the city and start to make their way to the outskirts. That’s where Hansu finds Mrs. Holmes and Andrew’s dead bodies. Hansu breaks down and keeps Mrs. Holmes’s watch (yes, the watch). But he and Ryoichi soldier on and reach a village where a tea shop owner offers them a place to sit and rest. There’s a simple but absolutely tear-jerking scene of a woman giving Ryoichi the tea with shaking hands, and Ryoichi reaches out to her, holding her hands to try and calm her down. Rumors begin to spread that, due to the earthquake, Korean fugitives have escaped from a jail and are making their way towards the Japanese. Those rumors turn into panic, thereby causing the Japanese to hunt down the Koreans who actually haven’t done anything. Ryoichi fears that someone is going to find out that Hansu is Korean and kill him too. So, they get out of there, and they find a carpet seller helping the Korean fugitives hide from the Japanese.
As if all this trauma isn’t enough for Hansu, he has to witness the Korean fugitives get burned alive, despite the carpet seller’s best attempts to send the bloodthirsty Japanese in the wrong direction. Finally, at the end of the day, Ryoichi is reunited with his family. Seeing Hansu standing all by himself, Ryoichi calls him into the group hug, thereby integrating Hansu into his family. While Ryoichi and his family sleep, Hansu stares at the sky. He gets up to look at the devastation. His expression slowly changes from fear to sadness to stern resolve as he realizes what he needs to do to survive, with Ryoichi’s connection to the Yakuza being the first step. And, to be very honest, if this episode doesn’t get Lee Min-Ho, Kogonada, Soo Hugh, and the rest of the team all the awards in the world, it will prove yet again that something is wrong with the entertainment industry, period. In that scenario, please shower all the love and appreciation on the team of “Pachinko” for doing such a stellar job of (nearly) making us empathize with someone as cruel and heartless as Hansu.