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If you have social media at all then you’ve probably seen the hype surrounding the show Squid Game. Squid Game is a nine-episode Korean series in which contestants — desperate for money — compete to the death in children’s games for cash prizes.

The show recently became Netflix’s no.1 show with over 142 million viewers since its debut. It has quickly become a pop culture phenomenon, creating memes and even inspiring real-life versions of the game.

Who’s in it?

Lee Jung-Jae plays Seong Gi-hun, the protagonist of the series who is addicted to gambling. He enters the game to earn money to hopefully keep his daughter from moving to America with her mother. In contrast to the other contestants, the game inspires Gi-hun to be a better person and we see him retain his humanity in such a cruel environment. Lee is famously known for his work in Korea such as in the film Il Mare.

One of the breakout stars of the show is Jung Ho-Yeon that plays Kang Sae-byeok, a North Korean defector trying to win money to bring her mother to South Korea. Squid Game is Jung’s first-ever acting role, as she is famously known for her high-fashion modeling. Despite Jung’s lack of acting experience, she managed to have us all in tears during that marble scene. Since the show’s debut, Jung has gained over 15 million Instagram followers, so it’s safe to say she is definitely a fan favorite.

Park Hae-soo plays Cho Sang-woo, a leader-type character that outside the game, stole and lost all his clients’ money. During the game, Sang-woo is known as the intelligent one but is often seen betraying his teammates. In the beginning, Sang-woo appears to be a key character to winning the game but towards the end, he easily becomes a hated character. The BETRAYAL from this man. Park is best known for his role in the popular K-drama, Prison Playbook.

Ali Abdul. *sobbing emoji.* Played by Tripathi Anupam, Ali is an immigrant trying to provide for his family after his former employer refused to pay him, resulting in the loss of two fingers. Ali is such a pure character and places all his trust in his friends, even calling Sang-woo “Hyung” (older brother). Let me warn you, if you watch the marble episode (episode six), bring a box of tissues.

Hwang Jun-ho played by Wi Ha-Joon had us all rooting for him. Jun-ho, a police officer searching for his missing brother, gives us an outsider perspective about the inner workings of the game. If there ends up being a second season, we all hope to see Jun-ho return.

Even though we only see the salesman twice in Squid Game, the character played by Gong Yoo definitely attracted us to watch the show. I mean have you seen this man? *swoons.* The salesman, a simple character; yet known for slapping Gi-hun repeatedly. Goo Yoo is known for his work in Train to Busan.

The challenges

*Warning! There are minor spoilers.*

Red light, green light. This was the first scene we got to see that exposed the true nature of the game. From this scene, the tone of the entire show changed. We also got to see the start of Ali and Gi-hun’s friendship. Not knowing anything about the show before watching, I was a little horrified when the doll did her thing.

The dalgona candy challenge went viral in real life, inspired by the game in the TV series. Watching the characters’ tricks to cut their shapes out was definitely my favorite challenge.

The tug of war episode that ended on a cliffhanger had me clicking to the next episode instantly. When Sang-woo took the risk and his team took a step forward, this had all of us on the edge of our seats.

The marble game had us all in tears. From Sang-woo’s betrayal to Ji-yeong’s self-sacrifice, this challenge pitted friends against each other. It also did give us a clue to the ending when Il-nam gave Gi-Hun his last marble.

The glass bridge challenge seemed almost impossible for anyone to win. We really got to see Sang-woo lose the last bit of his humanity by pushing the next player. This episode actually had many people being pushed and I don’t think we were that sad to see Deok-su go.

Squid game. The game that inspired the name of the show. This was the final hurrah and did not disappoint. We see Sang-woo and Gi-hun battle it out and ultimately try to end the game.

Final Thoughts

Even though the show is in Korean, it will have you binging the entire thing whilst on the edge of your seat. All of the actors really have you connected to the characters and will cause you to cry if your favorite dies. If you haven’t seen Squid Game or you’re looking for a show to binge, this is the show for you.

Hi! My name’s Makenna and I’m currently studying textile and apparel management at Mizzou. I am interested in ethical fashion, sustainability, and traveling.
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