19. Squid Game players 1 and 456 are not so different from each other.
There are many things to talk about player one, who made us fall in love, then broke our hearts, and then made us angry for the big twist at the end. However, when you think about it, no one has talked about, and it’s a social criticism as well as the similarities that player 456 Gi-hun and his “Gganbu” Il-nam have in common. You probably missed the first time and even the second time analyzing the show. Furthermore, that is that both players 456 and 1 have stolen to make it where they are in the end. They are the Yin and Yang of Squid Game.
For starters, the mastermind of all this and player 001 Il-nam, is a very wealthy man who made his money from being a financial tycoon, which means he “took” money from the struggling working class with high-interest rates in a time where the economy was struggling. On the other hand, you have Gi-hun, who steals money from his struggling mother to feed his addiction to gambling. Betting on horse races, or betting on who dies first in the squid games, sounds remarkably similar. They are both at the other side of the spectrum in wealth and also in their player number. Furthermore, they both like gambling at the cost of others; in Gi-hun’s case is the little money his mother was making and, in a way, the horses and jockeys at the race track. Moreover, for Il-nam, it’s the people participating in his game.
18. The show reveals secrets about Gi-hun and his problem with umbrellas.
It’s always important to bring your umbrella on a rainy day. However, player 456 Gi-hun throughout the series always forgets how important it is to have one on hand when there’s bad weather. Before starting the second game and choosing the umbrella shape, he recalls a childhood memory saying, “My mom used to scold me for losing my umbrella all the time.” Moreover, it almost cost him his life in the game of dalgona, also known as ppopgi. There are also other instances where it was good to have one, like when he meets with officer Hwang Jun-ho when investigating his brother’s disappearance.
However, the one time that having an umbrella could have saved him from a heartbreaking moment was when Gi-hun visited his ex-wife to ask her for money. He ended up punching her husband outside in the rain when he offered the money he needed in exchange for Gi-hun to stop looking for his daughter. You can see that his daughter Ga-yeong was about to bring him an umbrella when she saw him punching her stepfather. That scene is also a mirror of the 6th game when he is negotiating to end this game with Sang-woo, where he again needs an umbrella. We are sure that having or not having an umbrella is not Gi-hun’s best friend.
Let’s talk about the tragic and heartbreaking part of the show that you don’t see many discussions about. Even with all the money Gi-hun and the front man won, both of them are not even remotely happy. Moreover, what’s even more interesting is that both decided not to touch the money and kept living with very little. Furthermore, they are not having a great time, to be honest. If you look at Gi-hun, after he came back, he lost his mother. It seems like while he was gone, she kept working with no treatment for her condition until one day her body failed, and he never had the chance to show her that he had money now to do what they dreamt of.
We don’t know much about the front man. Still, what we saw and judging from his brother officer Hwang Jun-ho, his brother wasn’t doing that well either, living in a small apartment, being behind rent, and just working for the same rich people that gave him a fortune is a bit suspicious. It seems like both men’s lives didn’t change much, except for having passed through the Squid Game trauma. We are sure that we will get more answers about what made Hwang In-ho go back in the first place when the show comes back for season 2.
16. Check out the secrets of the seventh game in Squid Game.
Technically, the contest only has six deadly games in total to win the jackpot. Yet, if you look closely, the game didn’t end there, and judging by what Gi-hun found after he came back, things took a turn. Nevertheless, even with that, a year passed. He still was not done with all the trauma and loss that he suffered while in the games. Still, there is a seventh game waiting for him around the corner. When the flower lady gives him a rose with the invitation from his gganbu to go to the SKY building, that was more than an invitation; it was the notification for the last game.
You might still be wondering what game? When he finally gets to see Il-nam bedridden in that massive empty room, he talks about the drunk man outside that might die at any moment from hypothermia. He tells Gi-hun that he bets that the man will not get any help from anyone before midnight. However, if he does, Gi-hun will win. Furthermore, as we see, just before midnight, someone comes with a cop and helps the drunk man. Just as it struck midnight, Il-nam passed away, meaning that he lost the game, and it paid with his life. Sure, you could argue he was already dying. Nevertheless, the symbolism and the timing of his death tell us that everything is connected.
15. The final episode of Squid Game is “One Lucky Day” for a reason.
The last episode of the season is called “One Lucky Day,” but as you saw, there was nothing that you might think, “Oh, how lucky of GI-hun.” He lost his childhood friend and saw many people die. Some of these people he had a connection with. Then, remember how he found his mom dead in their home? GI-hun learned that the game was just entertainment for a bunch of rich people. What if we told you that everything that just listed makes complete sense with the title of this episode? Because it does! And the show’s creator had some inspiration for the story and the title. Squid Game comes from a novel.
There is a 1924 Korean novel by author Hyun Jin-geon called, you guessed it, One Lucky Day. It’s about a rickshaw-porter that had a “good day” making money while his sick wife is back at home with their baby. To celebrate his day achievements, he goes drinking with some friends. But when he comes back home, he finds his wife dead. If it sounds a bit like what Gi-hun went through, then you are entirely correct. Sure, the episode is a loose translation of the novel. However, there is no coincidence that the episode and the book have the same name. It is just another thing that you wouldn’t know unless you are from South Korea.
Our Squid Game winner Gi-hun barely made it alive out of the games, and when he got back home, life didn’t get any better. A year has passed, and we see that even though he is now a millionaire that can do whatever he wants and lives in the fanciest place possible, he decides not to use the money. And that’s when he gets a call to visit the bank; this is where he discovered that he is now a VIP. Interestingly, the bank manager used the word “VIP” when we already knew about the game’s VIP people. Is the bank involved in all this?
We think so, and here’s why. Oh Il-nam was a financial businessman, and it seems like he was the owner of a bank, mainly because the building where Gi-hun is, the Sky Tower, is economic. Hence, there is a possibility that United Bank, the financial institution where Gi-hun got his money deposited, is Il-nam’s. There is also the fact that it seems like the place didn’t think about him getting that enormous sum of money in his savings account was suspicious at all or investigated as a money-laundering scheme is very odd. Nevertheless, we are sure we’ll have more details about it when season 2 comes out.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the VIPs, the Westerners who arrived at the games to see the action face to face. We uncovered a few things about their involvement in the fun, so we are here to share with you what we found. To begin, these men were not part of the friend circle that Il-nam had to create the games. Or else they wouldn’t need any explanation about how the games works, like how they were asking in the last round. It means that the rumors about these games kept spreading around rich people’s circles until it made it there. This also confirms that the games are different depending on the region.
Another thing we noticed is that there are more games just like this one happening in other parts of the world. So this had become almost like a franchise, with many hosts and front men running the show. These people flew all the way there to watch the last few games live. Knowing that means there is a streaming network for the VIPs to watch the games on their TVs at home. This knowledge makes the operation for the games even more extensive and complicated. Many people are working behind the scenes to make this the VIP’s favorite past time. Moreover, knowing that these games have been going on since 1988 tells us many other VIPs are enjoying the show.
You might think that someone already dying didn’t fear death when playing the games since it would be the last ones he would witness. However, it seems like he didn’t want to die in there just yet; this is why he was not killed in the marble games. He was the creator of the whole thing in the first place, so it makes sense that the guards would protect him. In the red light green light, it seems like the doll is not picking up his movement, and the dalgona game seems like he knew well enough to survive. And yes, the tug-of-war was extremely dangerous, and if player one’s team failed, he was going to fall to his death. Or was he?
First, he had the best technique for surviving it, no matter if his team didn’t seem that strong. Nevertheless, in the end, it worked for the best, and they came out victorious. Nevertheless, what if the technique didn’t work at all? Was he going to fall too? The answer is no. If you look closely at every other player’s wristbands, you will see that all of them have locks to ensure that none of them would escape the fall. However, when you look at his bands, there is no lock on them! So if his team actually failed the game, he could quickly get away and survive—sneaky Il-nam.
This Korean child’s game map can be seen in many places throughout the series. One of the first ones we see is in the presentation card given to Gi-hun by the salesman. The guards also have either a square, circle, or triangle on their masks to identify their rank. However, there are other places that we are sure you saw but ignored it. Including the show’s logo at the beginning of every episode, with the magenta color to make it pop even more. But other scenes hid the symbols even more.
For example, in the red light green light game, you can see that the giant doll in the middle of the yard has the symbols as a hair clip, spoiling away the last fun. Or there is also the front man’s room elevator entrance which has marks all over it in a very artistic way. However, one of the most interesting things is during the last supper between the remaining three players. They are sitting at a triangle-shaped table in the middle of a circle made of square tiles. This represents that they are showing the world that they are risking it all until the last challenge.
10. The red and blue tile has a dark story behind it.
The quick game that the businessman uses to entice and get the players for the game might be confusing to non-Korean people. We are sure many people missed this detail because of it. However, we are here to tell you all about it. Many theories compare the red and blue tile to the red and blue pill in The Matrix, and in a way, that is a good analogy. Nevertheless, there is something else that makes more sense, and it might be the answer. The blue and red tiles are based on a Japanese urban legend.
The story goes that if you are alone in a public restroom, a ghost called Aka Manto might show up and offers you to choose between red and blue toilet paper. If the person decides red, they’ll have a very gruesome and painful death. If they choose blue, the ghost will suffocate them to death. In this case, no matter the player’s color, there’s a high probability you will die in the games that go with the urban legend. Even the show’s director Hwang Dong-hyuk confirmed in an interview that it is based on Aka Manto. The more you know.
9. The iconic red light green light doll has been around for a while.
The story behind one of the most recognizable figures in the show is the big creepy doll used in the first game is very interesting and goes back to the 70s! The girl is very recognizable for many Koreans because she was one of the most famous figures in South Korea’s school books. Her name is Younghee, and her friend Chulsoo is the main character of a series of educational textbooks typical in the 1970s and 1980s. The stories always focused on bizarre and sometimes embarrassing childhood memories that bring nostalgia while educating about different aspects of life. That’s not all; the doll used in the show is a real attraction!
Just a few hours away from the North of Seoul, in Jincheon County, a carriage museum is the home of the doll used in the show. Yes, the massive doll is right at the museum entrance, and since the show aired, it has become a big attraction. The filmmakers behind the show borrowed Younghee and, after they finished, brought it back to the museum. People noticed that the once creepy doll has become even more bizarre because it seems like it lost a hand while in transportation. Sadly, it won’t be there for too long because it’s now under a private archiving process. So if you are in South Korea, you better go and snap a pic before she is taken away.
8. There are even secrets in Squid Game about the music.
One thing that makes the show a bit unsettling is the music. The child-like songs, especially in dark moments, make some scenes a bit disturbing. However, there is one song that gives us goosebumps every time the show plays it. It’s the 1866’s Blue Danube by composer Johann Strauss Jr. The song is the unofficial anthem of Austria. The Danube river, which is the second-longest river in Europe, inspired the music. One thing that sticks out is that Strauss Jr. wrote it to lift the spirits of the people of Austria when they lost the war against Prussia.
The one song they played before announcing the next mortal game was to lift a nation’s spirits – sounds a bit ironic in Squid Game. Yet, it has a purpose. Think about it. After the first game, everyone was terrified of what was in store for the following games. Even if most of the people came back after, the majority decided to quit. So in a way, they play the song to keep the players’ spirits up, even if for most of them, it meant the end. It was even played after the last supper, in a moment that all three players were exhausted and tensed up from everything that happened in the earlier game, so we don’t think the song did its job here.
Something that caught our eye and confused us is the call that the front man gets at the beginning of episode 7. In the scene, you see the front man being a little hesitant to pick up the call. However, when he does, his conversation with the mysterious person calling seems a bit suspicious. We can’t hear the other person’s voice. Yet, you see the front man saying, “I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the game, sir.” Then he continues, “the host is currently waiting for the VIPs to arrive.” You might think that he is talking with Il-nam, but the host is player one, so it can’t be him. Which brings us to the question: who is he speaking to?
The plot thickens, and we are confident that we will get the answer to it in season two, but we have a theory about whom he was talking to, and it seems like there is someone else that outranks player one and is the one controlling the networks of games around the world. It looks like a crazy idea, but it has a bit of logic. If Il-nam is about to pass away from the tumor, there has to be someone else to take the reigns, and even if having the front man sounds like the obvious answer, it seems like he is only a pawn in the big scheme of the Squid Games.
We overlooked this one the first time we watched the Squid Game, and now it’s blowing our minds. In many scenes with Gi-hun, you see a neon red cross from a church near the area while he’s in town. The first time we see the cross, he is carrying his daughter to her home. After that, we see it once again after going to ask his ex-wife for money, and he ends up punching the stepdad. Both times the cross is seen behind him. Another red cross from a religious man on the street after Gi-hun (now the victor) is dropped off in a limousine.
Minutes later, you see the neon red cross from the church while he’s walking to his home, where he finds his mother dead on the floor. This is the only instance where Gi-hun is walking towards the cross, and knowing there is no such thing as a coincidence in Squid Game, we are sure there is some symbolism in all this. In the real world, a red cross symbolizes humanitarian aid and protection in the face of a conflict and disaster. Maybe at the beginning, when you see him walking away from it, it’s the way of the showrunner to tell us that he has his back to any aid that the game might have. And then he is finally facing it; it’s a way of showing that help is needed and is on its way.
5. Let’s share more clues about who player 1 is in Squid Game.
Player one betrayed us into thinking he was just a sweet old man with nothing to lose and wants one final goodbye playing his childhood games. But as we learn in episode 8, it was all a lie to play with our hearts. However, what if he gave us clues along the way that reveals his identity? Well, he did, and after knowing what they were, we will never see the show the same way again. For once, in the very first game, you could see him super happy hopping around and not even flinched seeing other people getting killed all around him.
If you think about it, he is the last vote to leave the game. We think he just did it because he wanted to see how many come back. (By the way, the answer is 93% of the players come back. The ones that didn’t are kept in observation). Even when some players started killing each other, he casually is on the top bunk beds screaming to stop the massacre, when people were calling for the guards to stop the craziness. Furthermore, even in the marble game, he is messing with Gi-hun’s head to “trick” him to cheat so that he can survive. He might know to mastermind his player status, but one character knew how to play the game.
4. Han Mi-nyeo knew how to play the game the best.
Player 212 Mi-nyeo was the seductive manipulative contestant. Sure, it was annoying at times. But, she made her way through the ranks. Plus, she eliminated herself on her terms in the most epic way. She started as a scared woman who had a kid to take care of. This player wanted to get out of the game after witnessing what happened in red light green light. But then she came back with a plan. Player 212 would find who she thought were the most decisive players. And, she would intimate anyone who might ridicule or think of her as inferior. She was the only player who was not intimidated by player 101 Deok-su. So much that she often confronted him when he treated her like trash.
Not only did she laugh at Deok-su’s macho man persona, but she was not scared of the guards. Mi-nyeo told them things like “what are you looking at?!” She ate the completed dalgona on a guard’s face. That is without recounting how she covered for Sae-byeok when she went in the vents. And she sneaked cigarettes and a lighter in the game. However, the most badass thing she did was fulfilling the promise she made to Deok-su of being the one that kills him. It has to be one of the best deaths in the whole show. She was one unforgettable character that we are sure we’ll miss in season 2.
3. Did you notice Sae-Byeok’s accent change in Squid Game?
There are many details that we definitely missed when watching the show just because of the language barrier. Mainly because when you are watching a show with a language that you can’t understand or have any knowledge about, there is no way you can pick up accents because you don’t have a guide on how to enunciate some words. So this exciting but minor detail was missed by a lot of the non Korean-speaking audience, and we think it’s sweet and interesting to put on this list. Sae-byeuk has a sad back story of surviving and escaping the dictatorship of North Korea to have a better life, but leaving behind her family.
The only family she brought with her was her little brother, who is in the system while finding the resources to give him a better life and get her parents to South Korea. So while talking to her little brother, her accent is a bit different, and it’s intended to make him feel more comfortable, Sae-byeok uses her natural North Korean accent. The rest of the time, when she’s talking with other people, she uses a fake accent to hide that she is from the north, something that someone might use against her. This is one of the reasons why at first, she is so hesitant of trusting anyone else but herself.
The grand winner of Squid Game, player 456, Gi-hun, might have a lot of compassion and suffered as much as anyone else in the games. However, even when he came out victorious, he didn’t do it by himself; there are many instances throughout the whole series where if it weren’t because of the help of someone else, he would have been long gone. In the first game, after seeing people getting shot at, he was in complete shock. If it weren’t because of player 199, he would have died. The second game was the only one where he was the one that came up with the idea to lick the dalgona to make it.
One of the saddest things about the Squid Game is seeing your favorite characters die, especially in the most tragic ways. For the bad guys, it maybe was a bit of a celebration of sorts. However, the show foreshadows some of their deaths in an earlier moment, making them ironic. For example, player 101 Deok-su jumped a bridge to escape the mob that was going to kill him. He later died the same way but at the hands of Mi-nyeo. Speaking of Mi-nyeo, her death is similar to the arched position she and her team used to win the tug-of-war, a back spot that she even said made her feel empowered.
Before Ali made it to the games, he stole the money that was rightfully his from his boss. In the marble game, he died because Sang-woo stole all his marbles. (It is also important to note that Ali saw Sang-woo as mature and in a boss-like position of respect.) Sae-byeok has a scar on her neck and threatens to kill the man that lost the money she needed to save her family. She later dies with Sang-woo slashing her throat. Speaking of Sang-woo, he almost killed himself in a hotel room before the games. Of course, he later did when he stabbed himself to let Gi-hun win.