Netflix’s “Squid Game” premiered on September 17, the original Netflix drama has only 9 episodes and is written and directed by Hwang Dong-Hyuk. It tells the story of hundreds of people who are all deep in debt and strapped for cash, they fight for the grand prize of 45 million won ($38 million), they compete in child games that have a twist until one final winner emerges.
I’ll start off with a quick recap of the finale to explain the ending and discuss the possibility of “Squid Game” Season 2, and will end it with a review of my thoughts on the finale.
“Squid Game” ending explained
Who is the final winner of “Squid Game”?
Gi Hun and Sang Woo face against each other in the final game, the game is called the squid game. They both fight to death and end up injuring one another deeply, by a slight advantage Gi Hun takes the lead and ends up winning but instead of killing his friend from childhood, he wants to end the games, he wants to vote again but Sang Woo decides against that, he stabs his neck and dies. Gi Hun is devastated.
Gi Hun is then handcuffed and taken inside a limousine with the frontman [cameo by Lee Byung Hun]. Gi Hun asks why they do this, the frontman explains, ‘you are our horses,’ just like people bet on horses, these rich powerful men bet on these humans through inhumane games. The squid games exist to basically satisfy those rich men with entertainment.
Gi Hun is let go and given a golden card, he sees that money was indeed wired to this account. When he goes back home, he finds out his mother passed away.
Who is the man behind “Squid Game”?
The frontman is obviously someone who carries orders but not the boss.
One year later, we find out why.
We find out that “Squid Game” final boss is the old man who participated in the games, Oh Il Nam. One year later, we see that Gi Hun is doing badly and not able to properly live, he is by the river drinking his sorrow away, an old lady approaches him asking him to buy a flower, he buys it, attached he finds a note telling him to meet at some place using a nickname only Il Nam knows.
When he goes there, he finds Il Nam on a hospital bed, he’s obviously very ill. The two speak together and Gi Hun wants to kill that man. Il Nam bets that if someone comes for the homeless man outside before the clock strikes midnight, Gi Hun wins and gets to kill him.
Gi Hun finds out he was the man behind all of that, his name was real and he was actually diagnosed with a lump in his brain that has since grown, he’s terminally ill. They watch as people pass by the homeless man ignoring him, a woman appears to try to help but disappears from view, the old man asks Gi Hun, ‘do you still trust humans?’
Why was the “Squid Game” started?
The old man explains that he’s someone who lends people money, he’s made a fortune and found out that despite his fortune, he never found happiness no matter how much he spent. His rich friends all say the same, he explains,
“We all gathered together and pondered. What can we do to have some fun?”
In previous episodes, we see policeman Jun Ho search through files dating back to the 90s signaling that these games have been going on for a while, this also means that some people who win the games might graduate and end up holding higher positions within the organization. This is what happened to his brother the frontman [In Ho- cameo by Lee Byung Hun]. In a previous episode, he found out that his older brother had won the competition. We later find out he operates as a frontman now and oversees the games.
When Gi Hun asks Il Nam why he joined the games, he explains,
“I had so much fun, no matter what I did with my friends in the old days, I lost track of time. I wanted to feel the same feeling once more before I die. It’s not something you can feel while watching as a spectator. I wanted that feeling.
You asked me why I let you live. It was so fun playing with you. I got to remember things from the past I had long forgotten.”
The old man dies as the clock strikes midnight, Gi Hun asks if he’s seen that the woman has come back to help the homeless man before leaving. The frontman is there to take care of it.
If you recall, this is how Il Nam had good knowledge of each game and was able to help out Gi Hun win the games.
Is Gi Hun planning on taking down the squid game bosses?
Gi Hun gets a makeover, he finds Sae-Byeok’s younger brother, he entrusts him to Sang-Woo’s mother, and gives her loads of cash. He goes to see his daughter in the U.S.
As he’s exiting the airport shuttle, he sees the same salesman [cameo by Gong Yoo] slapping a man. The salesman smiles and Gi Hun rushes to catch him. He misses him and the man waves goodbye. He sees the card that was given to the other man and takes it away from him, he tells him never to go. He calls the phone number as he’s entering the airplane, he states his name and his age, the frontman tells him to get on the plane, ‘just get on the plane, its for your own good.’
Gi Hun says, “I am not a horse, I am a human. I wondered why you do this and why do you commit such atrocities against people. That’s why I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing.”
He gets off the plane and rushes outside signaling that he will not leave South Korea and will stay behind to catch the people who keep committing such crimes against innocent people who are in deep debt.
“Squid Game” season 2, is it happening?
“Squid Game” ended with a cliffhanger, Gi Hun gets off the plane and is now trying to find the people behind this. This signals the likelihood of “Squid Game” season 2 being a possibility since the drama didn’t end the way you’d expect it.
Thus far, the director of the drama has not publicly commented on whether “Squid Game” season 2 is happening or not, but since Netflix dramas often get renewed if there is enough interest from viewers, it is being theorized that Netflix is waiting to see how well the drama is received.
If any news about “Squid Game” season 2 is released, you can see it from this link.
“Squid Game” review
I had lots of fun watching the drama today, it took the entire day but it was well spent. I already had high expectations from the drama and quite honestly, it delivered.
This is my style of kdramas. I love horror, gore, and psychological thrillers, when you add games on top of it, its chef kiss.
Everything about this drama is faultless, its nearly perfect. It is so well-made and it was a pleasure to see it. This is the type of kdrama you can recommend to anyone who likes psychological thrillers and bloody games in dramas.
You can tell the production has worked so hard on every single detail. The budget must’ve been more than $15 million, it has not been confirmed yet but I am sure it was a very expensive production.
For your knowledge, the drama was written in 2009 but only now was the director able to bring the vision to life, he was told in the past that such type of content can’t be easily made into a drama and that it was too much.
Of course, things have changed in kdramaland over the past couple of years. With the expansion of Netflix in Asia, we’re seeing them invest heavily in producing kdramas that we would have never been able to see otherwise.
“Squid Game” is the type of kdrama you can only see on Netflix.
I like the ending, I like how there is a slight open-ending but it does give resolution to some of the biggest questions. I knew there was a final boss and suspected the old man to be that boss while watching. The first time I suspected him was in the first episode, the old man was smiling brightly playing the first game and it felt so odd that despite him seeing people getting shot to death, he was smiling and happily running towards the finish line. When I saw the final boss’s face from behind after his supposed death, I knew it was Il Nam.
The reasoning behind the games is to be expected. I wasn’t wowed by the reveal as much as I was enjoying the competition and games.
Do I think the drama needs a second season?
I don’t know, its a yes and no from me. I’d love to see a resolution to it but even if it doesn’t happen, I am okay with that. This is because I struggle to see why they’d need more than 3 more episodes to wrap it up. Also, I suspect he might never be able to find the location of the games, even if he has money now, I am sure the final boss had made enough preparations to make sure no one comes close to this.
I suspect the police and the prosecution are bought and most questions can be answered easily. Plus, they target people who ran away from debt and everything is meticulously planned to the point that if you attempt to explain it without actual proof, people will consider you a crazy person.
I heard people compare this to “Alice In Borderland” and while I do see similarities between this drama and other Korean or Japanese dramas and movies about death games, this one has it’s own charm and feel so to speak. There is only so much you could do with the death game narrative too.
Regardless, I enjoyed the drama a lot and will be dropping a spoiler-free review soon, so keep an eye on the blog.
So these are my thoughts on “Squid Game”, so what about you guys? did you like the episodes? let me know what you thought in the comment section below.