What Happened to Noa in Chinko

July 11, 2023

/ Soo Hugh, Lauren Yee, and Justin Chon

The final episode of pachinko is a beautiful demonstration of survival; the personification of backing a lion into the corner and watching it strike back with fierce determination. The entire episode, shot almost entirely at Noa’s level, is a wonderful way to tell the story of this young man’s life.

We learn that Noa is Sunja’s son, the result of her relationship with Koh Hansu. He explains to her that he was born in the aftermath of the Kanto earthquake, which split their world into a “before” and an “after.” It’s a painful scene but one that is so very important.

Noa is a very smart little boy and he understands the gravity of what’s happening. He knows that his mother is a good person but that she has to make tough choices for the sake of her family’s survival. He wants her to let him go to Waseda, but she says that she can’t afford it. So, he asks Hansu to pay for it.

Via some of the best intercutting this side of a soap opera, we see Hana slipping away, Sunja being questioned by the Japanese police, and Mozasu having an argument with Sunja about Solomon’s future. At the end, Noa runs after a van that’s taking Isak away. Sadly, we know that Isak isn’t coming back anytime soon.


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