Netflix original show 'Squid Game' has people invested, obsessed

by Grace Savage

Staff Writer

SPOILER ALERT: This review includes spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Korean drama, Squid Game, remains number one on Netflix for 24 days in a row. Photo by
Korean drama, Squid Game, remains number one on Netflix for 24 days in a row. Photo by

Squid Game, a Korean drama series, quickly rose to popularity after its Netflix release on September 17, 2021. The show itself shows the lifestyles of multiple adults in debt, who are soon offered an opportunity to get out of said money issues.

The show begins with six young students playing a game on their schools' playground, with multiple large shapes dug in the sand as their playing field. A man's voice narrates the children playing their game, stating the game's rules and how it's won. They called it "Squid Game” since it was in the shape of a squid.

The screen fades to black and the title screen appears. Cheerful music plays in the background while the episode is introduced, “Red Light, Green Light.”

The next scene shows our main character, Gi-hun, arguing with his mother about his daughter's birthday. He doesn't have enough money to get her a present and his mother seems to know why.

Gi-hun takes her credit card after she leaves for work and uses it to his advantage, horse race gambling. After way too much money goes down the drain, he finally walks away 4,500,000 won richer. However, his happiness didn’t last long. Soon after his horse gambling win, multiple men come looking for him, cornering him in the casino bathroom. It's then that the viewer finds out about his drowning debt in which he can't pay off; the men are there to get their money.

As the episode progresses, Gi-hun finds himself alone on a subway bench, waiting for the next train to arrive. While sitting there, Gi-hun is approached by a strange businessman who asks if he wants to play a game for money.

At the end of their encounter, Gi-hun walks away with 100,000 won, a business card, and a significant red mark on his face. The strange salesman told him to join 'the game,' as there weren't many spots left and Gi-hun could win much more money.

The show continues to give the viewer a basic understanding of what's really going on. Hundreds of people in debt are given an opportunity to make money, they just have to do one thing: compete head to head in children's games.

Fast-forwarding to the first game, the horrifying truth unfolds before the players. This isn't just a game, it's a fight for their lives. The players aren't just eliminated, they're killed.

Makenzie Self (11) talks about how she feels watching the first episode. "It's just like any other first episode. It's kind of confusing. You're just trying to figure out the characters and what's going on.”

This process continues for nine episodes; the remaining players compete in a game, and those who do not follow the rules provided, get eliminated.

Those who finish the series are shocked and confused. Many plot twists and character development turns show up throughout the final few episodes, leaving viewers wanting more.

Makenzie continues with her thoughts after finishing the series. "The last episode really shocked me because the beginning of it, when he saw that the old man was still alive, and then realized that he was running the whole game, it was a big mind blower." She talks about the moment the watchers find out the old man (#001) is, surprisingly, still alive. In episode six, titled 'Gganbu,' it's shown that the old man dies after losing a match of marbles. Though, we don't actually see him get killed.

Skip ahead to the last episode, and low and behold, he's still alive. This moment shocked so many people, including Gaby Hardisky (11). After being asked what shocked her the most, she replies with this. "The fact that Sang-woo like actually killed himself. Like I was so convinced he really wanted the money." Sang-woo (#218) was one of the main characters in Squid Game. Throughout the entire series, it seemed as though he wanted nothing more than to have the prize money, and he wouldn't let anything stand in his way.

Gaby speaks about her thoughts after watching the final episode. "[The ending] was like a mix of sadness and also a little relief that we finally found out who the host was." The final episode let's the viewers know that the old man (#001) was actually behind the games all along.

Grade 10 English teacher, Ms. Dyer, talks differently about the ending. "I thought that the last episode gave so much away that it was going to be hard to get into a second season because they answered so many of my questions!” Many watchers, including Ms. Dyer, felt as if the last episode was rushed and not planned out correctly. “At the very very end when [Gi-hun] gets to get on the plane and then turns around, I got so mad at him. Because I was like, why are you going to forgo this opportunity to go see your daughter who you love and who you did all of this for to begin with to take down this game that you're never going to beat?" She talks about the final scene, where Gi-hun is boarding a plane to the United States to see his daughter. He turns around, however, because he gets another business card to enter the games.

Many Netflix viewers are still wondering when or if season two of Squid Game will come out. Season one really knocked it out of the park, but will season two live up to season one's legacy?