Summary: Seong Gi Hun is a divorced father who’s in deep financial trouble. Instead of finding a new job, he gets himself into gambling which makes his situation worse. One day, a stranger recruits him to join a game where he can win a huge amount of money. Desperate, Seong Gi Hun joins other 455 players in the quest to win loads of cash not knowing what kind of danger and gruesomeness the game entails.
Genre: Thriller, Survival
Stars: Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun
Park Hae-soo as Cho Sang-woo
Wi Ha-joon as Hwang Jun-ho
Jung Ho-yeon as Kang Sae-byeok
Likes: Definitely my best thriller this year! Was wondering why it was and is still very popular. I honestly didn’t have any plans in watching it but then all these memes came out and I just felt left out, lol! Let me point out the most obvious reasons why this show is very successful…
The background story. You may thought it’s just really a series of games and that’s it, no it’s not. It started with the story of our main guy, Seong Gi Hun, who was struggling financially. He lost focus after he lost his job and was living off his aging mum. He also got divorced from his wife and had to leave his daughter with her. Instead of finding a new job, he spent whatever money he has in gambling. Seong Gi Hun hit rock bottom and even had to sign a waiver allowing his debtor to harvest his organs if he couldn’t pay off his debt.
Everyone, who joined the game had their own desperate story just like our main guy. I like how detailed the creator was in telling each one’s story, which makes the viewers sympathize with them. It was a brilliant justification for the willingness of all players to be in that one huge, crazy, life and death arena.
I also like how the main characters were already connected even before the game started. Seong Gi Hun was childhood friends with Cho Sang-woo. Seong Gi Hun got pickpocketed by Kang Sae-byeok, who used to be under the ring leader gangster Jang Deok-su.
The characters. All main characters were brilliantly crafted. Although their despair for money was their common denominator, each has a distinct characteristic that makes them different from one another. Like our main guy, Seong Gi Hun, who turned out to be a really good person. Yes he was broke, poor, in huge debt, but that didn’t take away the good person in him. Kang Sae-byeok who hailed from North Korea has only simple dreams with the winning money and that was to reunite her family and maybe see Jeju island. We have Cho Sang-woo who was intelligent but already on the verge of suicide before the game but went crazy for the win to the point of deceiving a good friend and even killing another one to advance to the next round. The gangster Jang Deok-su maintained his gangster attitude which in the end cost him his life. Our good friend Ali, who was naive and trusting and that led him to his elimination.
The games. Those were really simple children’s games but what made it etched in our brains was the gruesome elimination of players who didn’t make it.
Red Light, Green Light – a doll is making history to be the scariest doll right now. Take that Chucky! I love how Ali saved Gi Hun in this game.
Sugar Honeycombs – what a waste of sweets so yeah why not lick it! Brilliant way to win the game.
Tug of War – oh well, the old has the wisdom so thanks to our grandpa for coming up with a strategy.
Marbles – I know it was just marbles but this was the game that made me sob. Either you or your playmate would stay and that’s really hard.
Hopscoth – a game of luck but if your last, you might have a chance.
Squid Game – strength much needed either your offense or defense.
Sound and Music – Simple but brilliant and captures the atmosphere of the show and the games. Like the sound of children playing but with an eerie atmosphere. Check out Squid Game OST.
Cliffhangers – they have one of the most awesome cliffhangers. It can make you binge-watch all 9 episodes in one go!
Twists – who would have thought that our gganbu (trusted friend) would be our only chance to advance in this life. So lesson learned, be nice to your gganbu!
Big names, small roles. Yes small but remarkable! I love Gong Yoo’s appearance as the recruiter who was wearing a nice suit and well-groomed hair. He appeared on the first and last episode and I thought, if this guy would come to me, I would have played the game as well, 😄.
Lee Byung Hun, the guy in a mask wearing grey coat. Another superstar in kdrama world. It’s cute how he was teased in the earlier episode. It was during the marble game when the girls Sae Byuk and Ji Yeong discussed about their future, and Ji Yeong mentioned the actor Lee Byung Hun.
Iconic Title Intro. Yes it is iconic and it was the first that captured my attention. It’s just amazing how they could come up with something simple animation but tells a lot.
Lesson Learned. Yes it was bloody, violent, inhumane, gruesome and whatever you want it called but there was one big moral of the story, and that there’s still good in humanity left. It prevailed in the end. It prevailed in Seo Gi Hun and it prevailed on that guy who helped the stranger on the street to not freeze to death.
Dislike: I was hoping there was something out of Wi Ha Joon’s character, Hwang Jun-ho, the police officer who penetrated the camp. He already made a lot of mistakes while trying to investigate. All he got for himself was that painful truth about his brother. Oh well, who knows he’s coming back in season 2.