Squid Game brings new life to an oversaturated genre


Many say that money cannot buy happiness. Quite often, the media emphasizes that true friends and love are all you need to make true happiness a reality. However, money often blinds others to their humanity. The critically acclaimed show “Squid Game” is a perfect representation of this concept. The show is a mix between “Lord of the Flies” and “The Hunger Games.” This time, however, the competition is voluntary.

The basic premise of the show is that there is a secret organization run by many wealthy men who recruit hundreds of people in debt to compete for a chance to win a life-changing amount of money. This money comes from the people eliminated from the games. There are six games in total, each of which are reminiscent of classic children’s games. If any player were to lose the game, they would be eliminated on the spot. This elimination is not just a slap on the wrist or a chance to try again. They are given one chance to not only win the games, but to save their lives. If they lose the games, they lose their lives. 

This concept has been pretty oversaturated recently, both in the film industry and in the gaming industry. Many have expressed their dislike of the battle royale genre as a whole, saying that it just doesn’t bring anything new to the table. However, “Squid Game” takes this concept and flips it on its head. It isn’t just a show about watching people fight to the end because they have to; it becomes a show about examining the human psyche and wondering why contestants would want to continue the fight. All of the contestants are in debt to loan sharks for copious amounts of money that they don’t have, and they have to consider whether it is worth it to fight for the money and risk death if they are eliminated. It is clearly worth it to many, or else there wouldn’t be a show in the first place. 

The main plot of the show is the game. One by one the contestants fall to their death through a series of four bloody games that evoke emotion from viewers. 

The final two episodes hit the hardest. After a big feast, the final contestants are together in the dorm with nothing but a knife on their person. Sae-byeok, a character that we’ve been following since the first episode, ends up dying to main character Gi-hun’s childhood friend Sang-woo. The final game is the squid game. In this episode, the contestants try to kill each other, and after a fierce battle, Sang-woo takes his own life for Gi-hun. This episode was one of the hardest-hitting. Throughout the series, Sang-woo had been a character who didn’t try to hide his antagonistic ways as he replaced his humanity with greed, but in his final moments, he reveled in his humanity.

Later, Gi-hun receives an invitation to meet someone at a tower. He arrives at the tower to find Il-nam, an elderly contestant in the games, still alive despite a brain tumor. It is revealed that Il-nam was the man behind the squid games. He ends up dying from the tumor after answering some of Gi-hun’s questions, and Gi-hun takes it upon himself to go and visit his daughter. On his way to the airport, he finds someone who is about to fall victim to the squid game, and takes the card from him before he boards the plane. He calls the number on the card and backs out of the plane, leading into the next season. 

“Squid Game” as a whole was an incredible roller coaster of emotions that analyzed the lengths that people would go to just to have a chance at a good life. Money is a source of power in the show, as it is in real life. Everyone wants money, up until they have it.

I truly believe this show is hands-down one of the best shows on Netflix. The suspense in each episode and the fact that no question is truly answered leaves the viewer wanting more. Seeing people slowly tear apart at their humanity was something incredible, and the fact that this show could be a reality is also fascinating, especially considering how much debt the common man is in, not only to loan sharks but to the government as well. I truly look forward to season two and am interested to see how the creative team plans to top the first season.