Squid Game Review (Spoilers)

John Ergon Golpe 24

Deadly but lucrative stakes and deeply flawed but lovable characters. What seemed to be a show of shallow premise became a worldwide K-Drama phenomenon on Netflix for its excellent ensemble cast!  

This latest Netflix Original Squid Game centers on the miserable lives of Gi-Hun (Lee Jung-Jae), Sae-Byeok (Ho Yeon Jung), and a plethora of other characters, all in immense financial debt. They are forced to make a decision that could prove fatal: they are forced to join the slaughterhouse that is this mysterious game. These games are set on a mysterious small island off the coast of South Korea. There are six games based on Korean childhood games with a murderous twist: failure to win in any of these games result in immediate death at the hands of the anonymous Squid Game “Pink Soldiers” and “Front Man.” 

The show runs for nine episodes with each serialized story spanning an hour. With this generous runtime, the show is not afraid to establish and detail the motivations, lives, and personalities of its characters. Though the slow pacing occasionally impedes the story, it genuinely allows for more immersion in the lives of the characters. 

Peering into Gi-Hun’s pitiful life, we understand and support his decisions to betray his dear friend, Il-Nam, in game four. Seeing Sae-Byeok’s callous demeanor dissipate as she talks about saving her brother is so satisfying to watch. This makes her fate so much sadder when she dies at the hands of the monstrous Sang-Woo.  

Another thing that should be worth admiring Squid Game for is its reflection of society. The show illustrates the severity of poverty and what measures people will go through to escape it. After a murderous game of red light, green light caused more than 50% of players to die, 93% of remaining players chose to continue playing. Immigrant workers, native citizens, single parents, married couples, young adults, and senior citizens all recognized that their lives were deplorable. Even if they didn’t win the prize money, death would be a fine replacement for their miserable existences. 

Squid Game is worth the binge. It is an emotionally moving, politically charged show with a great cast that deserves its status as a cultural phenomenon.  

Photo Credit: IMDb

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