The following contains spoilers from Netflix’s Squid Game.
Squid Game. The Netflix hit hailing from South Korea is either something you’ve heard of but have no interest in… a show you sampled but soon realized you didn’t have the stomach for… or it was your latest binge.
Across nine episodes (including the abruptly short one titled “Front Man”), Squid Game follows Seong Gi-hun (played by Lee Jung-jae), an unemployed, gambling-prone divorcé as he and 455 other downtrodden strangers are knocked out with gas and whisked away to a secret island complex, to compete in a series of children’s games all given decidedly deadly spins.
The first round, “Red Light, Green Light,” brutally dispatches with 255 players. Following a 101-100 vote to quit the game and go home, 187 players ultimately reconsidered and were brought back to chase the grand prize of 45.6 billion won (~$38.6 million). By Round 3, 80 were left to split into eight “Tug of War” teams, after which 39 were invited to pair up for Round 4, leaving Mi-nyeo the odd (yet safe) woman out.
A total of 16 players made it to the penultimate Round 5, of which only three survived: Gi-hun, his childhood friend Sang-woo, and the pickpocket Sae-byeok. Alas, Sae-byeok was gravely wounded by the “Glass Stepping Stones” round (as automatic weapons destroyed the playing field, sending glass shards flying). After Sang-woo “empathetically” ended Sae-byeok’s suffering, he and Gi-hun faced off in the titular Squid game, whose rules… well, I still don’t 100-percent understand. It was a rigorous, rain-soaked showdown, though, and though Sang-woo got his licks in, Gi-hun emerged with the upper hand — though he refused to deal a death blow. Sang-woo, though, ended his life with his own knife, alowing Gi-hun to be crowned champion and awarded the prize.
Coming out of the ordeal, a distraught Gi-hun barely touched his 45.6 billion won for a whole year, until he was invited to a mysterious rendezvous — with, it turned out, Oh Il-nam. “The Old Man” was believed to have been executed after Round 4, when in fact he has been running this enterprise all along. Legitimately ailing from a brain tumor, he explained to Gi-hun how boring it is to be as wealthy as he is, so the game was a way to end the monotony in his life while also testing to see if humanity had any goodness left in it. Il-nam and Gi-hun engage in one last wager, about whether a homeless man on the street below will be helped by a stranger, though the old man passes away just as Gi-hun wins that bet.
Afterward, Gi-hun got Sae-byeok’s kid brother out of an orphanage (as promised on what would be her deathbed) and left him in the care of Sang-woo’s proud (if oblivious) mother, to whom he also left half of his winnings. Gi-hun later made tracks for the airport, to visit his daughter in Los Angeles, but along the way he saw the man who groomed him for the game doing the same with another stranger. Snatching the calling card from the stranger’s hands, Gi-hun called the number and announced his intention to learn who exactly they were and why they engage in the atrocities they do. Though the voice on the other end advised him to go on with his travels, Gi-hun at the last minute turns on his heel and decides not to board the plane, but… do what?
That final question is among the 15 listed below, coming out of my binge of the nine-episode series. Grade Squid Game in the poll below, and then see which of the Qs below you have As for.