Squid Game is a 9-episode (Netflix record-breaking viewing phenomenon) South Korean survival drama series where indebted players, known only by their competitor number, compete literally “to the death” for a grand prize of ₩45.6 billion (approx. $38.6 million in U.S. currency). It revolves around down-on-his-luck chauffeur, Seong Gi-hun (Player #456) who is playing to pay off his debt, get medical care for his mother and hopefully regain custody of his daughter who is bound for America with her mother and step-father. It includes other central characters that you quickly learn to love or hate:
Player #218 Cho Sang-woo – Gi-hun’s former classmate and crooked investment banker.
Player #067 Kang Sae-byeok – North Korean defector, hoping to reunite her family.
Player #001 Oh Il-nam – An elderly man, dying of a growing brain tumor, looking to enjoy his remaining days.
Player #101 Jang Deok-su – A heartless, bullying gangster, indebted to the mob.
Player #199 Abdul Ali – A Pakistani migrant worker, seeking a better life for his family.
Player #212 Han Mi-nyeo – A loud-mouthed, manipulative woman with fleeting loyalty to whomever can help her own agenda for winning.
I provided that brief description for quick reference as you read the points below.
Having seen this series three times and after multiple extensive discussions, some things still don’t make sense, much of it, logical or logistical. Thus, I’m sharing them here, hoping you noticed them as well and hopefully, can shed some light. I’ll try to list them in the order in which they occurred in the series. I’ll TRY, anyway. That being said, here are:
15 Things That Don’t Make Sense (about “Squid Game”)
…and oh yes, here be major spoilers…
- Why play for a mystery gift? When #456 Seong Gi-hun tries unsuccessfully to win a gift for his daughter at the arcade, a young passerby gives him a hint to help him win. He proves it by displaying a bag full of prizes he himself had won. If the boy was that skillful, why not pay him for one of the prizes he’d already secured instead of choosing something of which he had no idea? Clearly the boy wouldn’t miss that item and could easily re-win it with money he received. By the way, did you notice that the gift itself foreshadowed how the contestants died? It was a gun-shaped lighter. Players were executed by firearm, then disposed of by (flame) cremation. And the prize was in a package which resembled the coffins.
- Who enters a van full of unconscious passengers? Knowing nothing about the coming day(s), how many of you would just assume that the passengers were all just asleep? To quote William Shakespeare, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. Sorry, I think I’ll skip this ride and find my “Will Work For A Plate Of Uncooked Ramen” sign.
- Why was it necessary to clothe the contestants while they were unconscious? The game’s hosts could just as easily revived them upon arrival, sent them to the showers, inspected them and given them clothes to don. It seems like a waste of time and a bit labor-intensive, changing their clothes for them and transferring them to beds. And I’m not going to talk about the disrobing of unconscious women.
- Why offer a chance to quit the games after executing participants in Round 1? It was clear that going to the police proved to be unsuccessful for #456 Seong Gihun. Wouldn’t the hosts worry that multiple reports of missing family members might raise some official and legal eyebrows? Over 200 people died (total geographical area unknown) after the first game and I’m sure there were many family members and friends who inquired about their disappearance. It also seemed a bit strange to let those, who chose NOT to return, live to tell as well. Remember, the games continued until a final winner remained, so no prize/hush money would be dispensed to the families of the fallen.
- Why was a married couple allowed to participate and why would they both voluntarily return? The game masters clearly designed the games with only one winner in mind. Shouldn’t the screening process have allowed “only one per family”? And what if they were competing FOR a family with children? Yes, anyone can win, but at least one of them wouldn’t survive. And considering the astronomical chances of failure, allowing them to participate seems exceedingly cruel (not that the hosts/VIPs were known for compassion and mercy). And once it was revealed that elimination meant certain death, what would prompt a man and wife to BOTH return? Not knowing the nature of the remaining games, there was no guarantee that their partnership would guarantee adequate protection OR assistance from one to the other. It’s understandable that one might decided to re-enter “for the family”, but for both to choose to return, knowing the stakes, didn’t make much sense at all.
- Why weren’t there enough meals? After #101 Jang Deok-su (gangster), #212 Han Mi-nyeo (manipulator) and three others jumped back in line for breakfast. Consequently, five unassuming competitors went without meals. When one of the “unfortunate five” complained, the server simply answered that enough meals were made for the total amount of survivors. So you mean to tell me that these people have to suffer because you didn’t make extras? No one in the monitoring booth saw what happened or bothered to rewind the footage? You can’t make additional meals for the five? You can’t boil five more eggs? Didn’t they later say it was all about FAIR competition? This ain’t a catering service for a wedding. You can make extra!
- Killing without consequences. Before the beginning of the games, #101 Jang Deok-su (gangster) beats #067 Kang Sae-byeok and #456 Seong Gi-hun in the presence of all, then later kills the “egg complainer”, again publicly. After “lights out”, a free-for-all riot erupts, resulting in multiple deaths. Why was this violence allowed when the guards intervened during the skirmish between two competitors about going home? (I guess they didn’t want the voting process impeded. Yaaay for democracy.) This seems to contradict the “Fair Play” code that was mentioned at least twice in later episodes. And speaking of fair play, it’s highly likely that injuries were sustained among the survivors. Would the wounded be allowed to continue without medical attention and/or time for recovery? #NotFairPlay (I guess that answers why nobody threw five more eggs on to boil.)
- Why were coffins used? It seems a bit excessive, if not overdramatic, that decorative coffins were used to transport the newly deceased/murdered. Especially since the bodies were cremated shortly after. Body bags would have sufficed.
- How was cheating not discovered during the Honeycomb game? #212 Han Mi-nyeo (manipulator) managed to use a smuggled lighter to heat her sewing needle to help remove her symbol. With the guards constantly watching everyone, how was she not noticed? She then gave her lighter to #101 Jang Deok-su (gangster) to use, in broad “daylight”. How was HE not discovered, with so many dead and even fewer people to monitor? #NotFairPlay
- What was the detective thinking, asking a stupid question? Detective Hwang Jun-ho infiltrates the organization, in hopes of finding his missing brother who apparently left to participate five years prior. While witnessing the illegal harvesting of human organs behind the scenes, he asks about an incident that he (or rather the person whose identity he assumed) supposedly had already witnessed and helped carry out. This alerted the other guards to him being an imposter. As clever as he was, despite his efforts to obtain information, why would he ask questions, not knowing his “position” in the events that had already transpired?
- What was the doctor thinking, panicking and attacking the guards? Player #111 Byeong-gi (Doctor) snuck off in the evenings to surgically remove the body parts of the deceased for the human organ trafficking racket, conducted by crooked workers. This, in exchange for advance knowledge of the game(s). When the guards revealed that they didn’t yet have the name of one of the upcoming games, but would promise to let him know in time, the doctor went wild, killing several guards and was ultimately killed as a result. Why didn’t the doctor realize that offing guards would alert the officials (they had a daily headcount) which would expose the operation and possibly his involvement? If nothing else, it would have at least ruined his chances for future hints. This was a no-win act that resulted in everyone’s death (except the detective). Funny how the games were posted on the walls all along, behind the beds and no one noticed.
- Switching games during the Marble contest. In desperation, #101 Jang Deok-su (gangster) requested to change their choice of games just as he was about to lose. Why should the guard be the one to permit this? They’re almost always silent. The contestants were supposed to agree on a contest and play. If his opponent disagreed with the game switch, they’d have been at an impasse, arguing back and forth until time expired. True, others switched games, but almost immediately yielded results. I just think that allowing that kind of back-and-forth would only complicate and lengthen things. Then again, it could result in both players being eliminated. Perhaps it’s for the best that I’m not a rule maker or judge.
- Why was the game environment (lighting) changed during the Glass game? Player #017 was revealed to be a former glass worker, who utilized his skills to detect the difference in the glass panels. At the behest of the VIPs, the Front Man dimmed the lights to remove that advantage. #017 did not cheat; he used his skills as any contestant would. It was the responsibility of the hosts to properly screen their participants. If anything, THEY failed and cheated the contestants. #NotFairPlay
- What’s with the exploding glass? Once time expired (the Glass game), all of the remaining panels exploded, sending shards of all sizes flying in every direction. Again, other than for dramatic purposes, why was that even necessary? It only led to multiple injuries, particularly for #067 Kang Sae-byeok (defector), who would have succumbed to her exploding glass impale wound, if #218 Cho Sang-woo (banker) hadn’t killed her first. Her inability to cut/eat her steak dinner was enough to prove she was too weak to compete. She would have had an “unfair DISadvantage”. #NotFairPlay Considering all of the contradictory activity, it seems to me that the controllers of the game and the VIPs are a bunch of hypocrites.
- The Front Man / Hwang In-ho – Detective Hwang Jun-ho discovers that The Front Man is actually his missing brother, Hwang In-ho. How is this possible? He finds his brother’s name in the game’s archives, revealing that Hwang In-ho had been a competitor and winner back in 2015. How did this new role happen? How did he become a member of the organization? And how exactly does he advance beyond all three levels of guard hierarchy (triangle, circle and square) to become the leader and decision maker of it all? I guess a lot can happen in 5 years. That being said and with all of his activity as an employee of the organization, how is it that he FINALLY goes missing from his apartment?
Finally, since I mentioned Fair Play, or the lack thereof, I think it appropriate and necessary to quote what the Front Man said to one of the dishonest guards before killing him. Hopefully this will help make sense of what I said earlier about hypocrisy.
“Whether you sell the dead body’s organs or eat them or whatever, I don’t give a damn. However, you ruined the most important aspect of this place. Equality. Everyone is equal while they play this game. Here, every player gets to play a fair game under the same conditions. These people suffered from inequality and discrimination out in the world, and we’re giving them one last chance to fight fair and win. But you broke that principle.”
As I said before, that didn’t seem to be the case with much of the activity. And speaking of, just how did the Front Man know that the payment for harvesting organs was advance notice of the next game?
(Additional Note) BODY COUNT: I had to add this because the math just doesn’t “add up”. The Tug-Of-War game had 6 teams of 10, totaling 60 participants. Half of them were eliminated, leaving 30. The doctor was killed for cheating, leaving 29. The Marble game paired off 28 people, leaving an extra player because she couldn’t find a partner and was subsequently dragged off, presumably for execution. Of the 28, half (14) advanced. Add back the odd player (who miraculously was spared, being called “the missing link”), waiting in the living quarters and the total is 15. The husband of the married couple committed suicide, leaving 14. The Glass game began with the selection of bibs for 16 players and all were used. How is this possible? Where did they get the other two players?
Well, that’s it for my questions. I had about 10 more that I wanted to add, but I figured this was long enough and plenty for discussion and feedback. What do you think? Did you notice the aforementioned? Do you have answers or thoughts to share on the matter? Leave your opinion or input in the Comments section below. Share this list with others who might enjoy reading it. And don’t forget to sign up at the bottom for email notification of future blog posts from Kenny’s Camera, Cooking & Crazy Confessions!
Update: I did post more, due to popular demand. Click here to read “Squid Game: 10 More Things That Don’t Make Sense”.