‘Squid Game’ : A Disturbing Breakthrough


Roslyn Gibbons, Journalist

Netflix’s new South Korean drama, directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk that debuted on September 17, 2021 has hit big critically and nationally. There is good reasoning for such an uprising; the setting is mysterious and captivating, the characters have depth and great development, and the show does a fantastic job of building suspense. The first episode begins with the protagonist , Seong Gi-Hun, who is struggling with finances and with being a parent. 

The first two episodes provide for great character development of Gi-Hun. The audience sees that he may be the main protagonist but he doesn’t always make the best decisions. He is offered the opportunity to compete in the Squid Game for $456,000. 

After almost all of the 456 players are killed in the first game, Gi-Hun realizes that he has signed his body away to the game and concludes that risking his life for such a massive amount of money is better than living in hellish poverty. 

The social commentary in this show is simple yet incredibly effective. The way that poor individuals are treated is raw and horrific. For example, Gi-Hun’s mother couldn’t afford proper medical care for her foot and as a result died later from the infection. Even though this Squid Game gives these contestants a chance to rise above their social status, it nonetheless still exists as a spectacle for the rich to gawk at. Many people have complained about the way these rich American VIP’s were written, but I think they were portrayed perfectly. As these absolutely irredeemable degenerates. Meanwhile, you really get invested in the plights of these contestants. Seong Gi-Hun is an effective protagonist because of how well the first two episodes set up his interpersonal relationships and how much you want to see him do right by his daughter and mother. Kang Sae-byeok is an interesting and mysterious character who quite frankly deserved better. Cho Sang-Woo makes for an incredibly interesting sleeper true antagonist after the designated antagonist is killed. And my poor, sweet baby Ali who was innocent and kind-hearted but got betrayed by Sang-Woo during the marble game and was unfortunately killed. And my personal favorite, Oh Il-nam. The kind old man who’s only here because he has nothing left to lose. He’s going to die from his brain tumor anyways so might as well die here trying to get the money, rather than slowly die out in the real world. He’s just such a ball of positivity that this game desperately needed. I felt for him. 

Squid Game has a strong message about morals, social class, and what money can push innocent people to do. I know this show may not be for everyone, but I highly encourage you to watch it for yourself, because my brief summary will not take you on the same emotional rollercoaster that this revolutionary show is intended to do.