Squid Game Dominates Netflix

Since its release, Squid Game is dominating Netflix’s Top Series Charts and is set to break multiple series-long show records.

Credit: Netflix

Squid Game is a Korean series that follows a group of people desperate to participate in a series of children’s games to win 45.6 billion Won (~$530 million AUD). These games aren’t typical, however, as losers face dire consequences. While the poster may suggest otherwise, the series is a thriller that does not shy away from violence and gore. Squid Game is currently number one in Australia, the US, and other countries that haven’t seen a Korean series rank this high.

Basic Plot (Minor Spoilers Ahead!)

Squid Game follows Seong Gi Hoon (Lee Jeong Jae), who is desperate to pay off his debts so that he can keep his daughter in Korea and to avoid being pursued by loan sharks. While waiting for a train, he is approached by a man who offers him 100 000W (~$115AUD) for each round Gi Hoon is able to win in the Korean game ddakji. After the game is over, the man offers Ki Hoon a card and tells him that if he wants to continue playing games for money, he should call the number on the card.

Desperate to pay off his debt, Ki Hoon, along with 450 others, join the Squid Game. Their first game is a seemingly simple round of “Red Light Green Light”. However, the players are bewildered when they find that those that can’t stand perfectly still are shot to death. By the game’s end, over 200 people have died. The remaining players argue to leave the Game, stating the inhumanity of what they just witnessed. While a close vote ultimately sees the Game cancelled, a few days back in the real world reminds the players of what they’re subject to without the money. They are re-invited to the games, with most players coming back to ultimately risk their death, and sanity, for the 45.6 billion won jackpot.

Review and Reception

Credit: Netflix

What the drama is ultimately able to do is show human depravity and desperation in the face of money. While some characters are in debt from gambling and risky stock trades, others are in debt to reunite their families. Some argue that the series slightly reflects Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, and the effects of capitalism on the working class while the upper class take pleasure in their despair. Also, like Joon Ho, director Hwang Dong Hyuk wanted to develop a survival series that was uniquely Korean, to give light to their own societal problems and modes of thinking.

The players also go through intense psychological ordeals. They are forced to kill, or be killed as they progress through the six games. Even while remaining, and wanting to remain, humane about their situation, the players are often forced to abandon their humanity to ensure their survival. Episode 6 especially reflects these conflicting feelings, forcing the characters to evaluate their willingness to progress forward in the Game.

“The games represent human beings’ falsehood and integrity. Those are scenes of human nature”.

Oh Young Soo (as Oh Il Nam)

The ending was bittersweet, with a time-skip that didn’t show us how the winner goes about their daily life after all they went through. The resolution also hints towards a season two, where the police investigation into Squid Game may continue. This is yet to be confirmed by Netflix.

Rising Ratings

Co-CEO and Head of Content at Netflix, Ted Sarandos, said at the L.A. Code Conference that the show was on track to become the biggest non-English show in the world. However, he was also confident in the “very good chance that [Squid Game‘s] going to be our biggest show ever”.

It has overtaken season three of Sex Education in Netflix rankings, taking first place and remaining there currently.

Subscribe to FIB’s Weekly Breaking News Report for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!