The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Korean series “Squid Game” is to die for

Korean series “Squid Game” is to die for - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

This undated photo released by Netflix shows South Korean cast members, from left, Park Hae-soo, Lee Jung-jae and Jung Ho-yeon in a scene from "Squid Game." Squid Game, a globally popular South Korea-produced Netflix show that depicts hundreds of financially distressed characters competing in deadly children’s games for a chance to escape severe debt, has struck a raw nerve at home, where there’s growing discontent over soaring household debt, decaying job markets and worsening income inequality. (Youngkyu Park/Netflix via AP)

The latest Netflix hit, “Squid Game” has gained a lot of popularity online. This deranged series has become the latest obsession across the globe as it dominates Netflix.

Netflix’s Co-CEO said it’s become the stream platform’s biggest non-English language show in the world

I had to know what all the hype was about. I could not resist watching the newest Korean series to hit the streaming service. 

Since then, I have experienced a variety of emotions while watching the show, from feeling extremely disturbed to complete sadness. 

“Squid Game” isn’t your typical Korean drama, the series is unconventional more than anything. 

I’ve been on the edge of my seat after every episode. It’s definitely an exhilarating, chilling series that has left me uneasy after all the twists and turns.

As we near Halloween, spooky movies and TV shows are in season. If you’re like me and cannot stand horror movies, perhaps “Squid Games” is as much ‘horror’ as you can handle.

 

*Spoilers Ahead*

The series focuses on people who are part of the lower class playing six typical Korean childhood games and competing against each other to win money.  

All of the players are deep in debt. They were persuaded to participate in the games with a promise of great fortune if they won. What they weren’t told was that those who lose pay the ultimate price.

Over 100 players were eliminated during the first game before they were aware they would be killed if they lost the game. Like the players, I was shocked to see anyone would be killed if they lost. I hadn’t realized this is what they meant by ‘eliminated.’ 

After the first person died, it was complete chaos. As people tried to run away, they were shot. Honestly, it was unsettling. At this point, I heavily considered to stop watching the show, but I couldn’t. It was too addictive. 

There are three rules in participating in the competition. One rule states if the majority of the participants wish to stop playing, the competition ends. After the first game, 101-100 voted to leave, ending the competition.

Gi-hun, the protagonist, returned to his life outside the game to find his daughter would be moving away with her mother and stepfather and his own mother was in critical medical conditions at the hospital. He couldn’t afford to pay his mother’s medical bills and she had no money since he had gambled it all. With nowhere else to turn, he returns to the games.

I could not understand why he would ever want to go back, especially after Gi-hun was the first person to vote to leave. I suppose if there’s a chance he can win more than enough money to pay his debt and save his mother’s life, then it may be worth risking his life. 

As other participants returned to their lives, they dealt with the realities of their own financial issues and realized they were also desperate enough to return to the competition.

After life had put them through the wringer, living inside the games doesn’t seem that bad anymore. Either they leave as winners with wads of cash or their misery comes to an end.

At first, I thought: How are the families not investigating their missing relatives? It turns out, someone was.

A policeman looking for his lost brother managed to infiltrate the game and disguised himself as a masked staffer. It was uneasy seeing him partake in this scheme. He was constantly on the verge of being caught, I feared he’d get killed before having the chance to expose the game.

The leader of the games caught on, he knew a cop was among the masked staff. It was unnerving seeing the leader hunt him down. Ultimately, the policeman didn’t make it.

All along I had thought his brother had died in the games ㅡ I was wrong. It was disappointing and even more shocking to see his brother had been the leader the whole time. After everything the leader’s brother did to find him, he ended up killing him. It was tragic and truly depressing.

Players were pitted against each other, leading to more deaths. This was among the saddest, most inhumane moments of the series. Players came to realize that as more people die, there were fewer players to divide the money with.

It was devastating to see the measures the players would take to maximize the amount of money they would walk away with. Even if they weren’t all friends before, they had kept it pretty civil amongst themselves. Now, the masked staffers weren’t the only ones killing players.

As they begin forming alliances in the games, I wondered how long it’d take for these partnerships to break off. Once they do, more blood will be shed. They can’t all be winners. 

Another concern I had was, what happens to all these dead bodies? One of the participants is a surgical doctor. The game makers use him to dissect the body parts of the deceased.

At this point, I’m convinced something much more sketchy is happening. Are they selling organs on the black market? Is this how they accumulated so much money to award the survivors in the first place? You’ll have to watch the show yourself to figure that one out.

This show is definitely violent and can get pretty graphic at times. I believe the show itself is a metaphor for how shallow humanity can be for their own personal gain. We have come to value our own wealth more than the lives or needs of others. Such a mentality could lead people to do the unthinkable like depicted in “Squid Game.”

Even if I am completely wrong and this is just a show created purely for entertainment purposes, one does wonder if people are capable of doing these things for their own personal gain in the real world. Whatever you may think, one thing is sure: This disturbing series is definitely entertaining.

About the Author

Daisy Gonzalez-Quezada
Managing Editor
Daisy Gonzalez-Quezada is a communication senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She transferred from Allen County Community College in Kansas in 2019. In her spare time, she likes to listen to music and watch either sitcoms or k-dramas. She wants to explore the world as a journalist after graduating.

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