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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

A few days ago — as an avid binge watcher — I felt that it was my duty to begin my next binge series. Naturally, I had to watch the show that everyone’s been talking and meme-ing about: Squid Game

I’ve seen the memes, I’ve seen it on Roblox, I’ve heard about it in conversations, even the little girl I babysit was talking about the new and popular Netflix show. And since midterms are brutal — I needed a break — I decided to watch the first episode of Squid Game (I even made it a scheduled homework assignment so I could write this article and feel productive!). Now I’m here to review it and let you know whether it’s worth the binge. 

To be honest, it started off a little bit slow. The beginning was good for background and plot purposes. We are introduced to the main character, Seong Gi-Hun, who clearly has an issue with gambling and is drowning in debt. He leads a pretty miserable life, considering his financial situation is horrendous, he still lives with his mother, he’s a recent divorcee, and he can’t truly make his daughter happy. Alright, he gets some pity-points from the audience there. 

At the same time, he is the only one who can be blamed for his financial situation. He gambles in every situation possible. When his mother gives him some money to buy food and a present for his daughter, he instead bets the money on horse races. In a stroke of luck after a streak of losses, he finally wins and excitedly tells his daughter over the phone he will treat her to a wonderful birthday surprise. But before he can return home, the loan sharks hunt him down and he loses the money to a pick pocketer. With only a few thousand won left to buy a present for his daughter, he again chooses to gamble it at an arcade’s claw machine. Somehow, luck is on his side, and a young boy helps him win a present for his daughter.

As the show progresses, the main character is introduced to the concept of Squid Game: it’s a brutalist challenge in which financially struggling individuals are recruited to play games. If you win the game, you earn money; if you lose the game, you endure physical pain. Watching these games is very interesting because it makes one question how far someone will go to make even just a bit of cash at the expense of physical well-being. In this show, people are willing to go very far. It was also a little humorous as well, which I enjoyed. It’s always fun to have a nice laugh when things start to become a little dark in a suspenseful series. But maybe that’s just my dark humor.

The show speeds up when our main character is finally brought into the Squid Game — my friends, this is where my interest peaked. After being drugged, the players wake up in a big warehouse in identical, numbered suits. The excitement on everyone’s face is palpable when they see the ginormous piggy bank that collects all their earnings from each win. They’re told that all they have to do is play a few games, and if they win, they can pay off their debts and live lavishly. But if they lose, they’re eliminated.

And I’m sure we all know what that means, but it was a short matter of time before the players caught on.

The first game is “Red Light, Green Light”. We all know the general rules of this game, and the players are also familiar. However, getting shot by AI motion-activated turrets is probably a rule of the game that no one can guess. This is where chaos ensues: the “contestants” begin to drop like flies, and we are launched into the climax of the show. During the game play, my engagement with the show increased tenfold. I wanted to see who would survive. Suddenly connections are formed between the different characters, making the show even sexier (there was some bi-panic for all my bisexuals out there)! By the end, only around half of the original 436 contestants remained.

Some characters were petrified, some were amused, and some were determined. I can’t wait to see what the next game will be, and how many will survive. 

Krystal McCook

Columbia Barnard '24

Hi guys! I'm a sophomore at Barnard College majoring in Neuroscience and Behaviour on the premedical track. My hobbies include dancing, gaming, weightlifting, and going on walks.