Do not be fooled by the pink overalls and masks in the trailer, “Squid Game” is nothing like “Money Heist.” Do not also be fooled by this cover image or the giant doll in the trailer. It is no child’s play.
In this South Korean series, 456 adults enter a competition to play children’s games. The players all have one problem – they are in debt. And most of them have good reasons for participating. Some want to be reunited with their families, some want to be able to care for their children and aged parents, and for others, it’s an opportunity to relive their childhood memories.
The important thing about the characters in “Squid Game” is that they are not greedy, just poor. Agreed, like the lead character, Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) they are low lives yet, no one could have anticipated what they were getting into.
The games are supposed to hold over six days and entry is totally voluntary with three simple clauses but the games do not turn as simplistic as the participants anticipated. So, after day one of the competition, they activate the third clause and vote to end the show. Unfortunately, when they return home, their problems are still staring them in the face. Consequently, some of the players decide to go back and continue the games.
As with every competition, the stakes get higher as the prize money increases. The games are also totally unpredictable. In certain instances, it would seem a team effort is better suited, in others; teaming up with others could work against you. Sometimes also, winning is more about mental strength than physical strength. Overtime, bonds are formed which cause loyalties tested. Some players begin to feel that they’ve gone too far to stop then it becomes a survival of the fittest scenario through-and-through.
Never say never is a bit too cliché to describe the message behind the series. Amongst the players is a Christian who continually prays for forgiveness. He reminds you of the biblical injunction: ‘Nobody is good except for one – God.’ When the VIPs also arrive at the games, you’re also reminded of the biblical proverb that says ‘the rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.’
There is an absolutely shocking revelation the concluding episode of season one. “Squid Games” is gory and yes it is about choices. But ultimately, if you think you are good, it will convince you otherwise. That is because the biggest message this series sends is that most of us have not truly had our backs to the wall.
If you were not also sold on Korean dramas, after this one, you will be. It is streaming on Netflix and a must-see.