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Squid Game ending explained: Of redemption, revelations and a ruthless mastermind

Squid Game's cliffhanger ninth episode titled 'One Lucky Day' has given way to dozens of burning questions. Here's revisiting the decisive final episode of Netflix's Korean show, which has taken the world by storm.

squid game story spoilersSquid Game has become Netflix's biggest original series debut ever. (Photo: Netflix)

Netflix’s latest global phenomenon Squid Game is making noise for more than one reason. From bringing to fore a layered plot around human greed, noteworthy performances and a unique storytelling, this violent survival series has made quite a splash. And with its ever swelling audience, there’s a growing curiosity about its cast and popularity too.

Squid Game is a binge-worthy nine-episodes series that is brutal yet edge-of-seat watch. Its cliffhanger final episode titled ‘One Lucky Day’ has lead to dozens of burning questions. Here’s revisiting the decisive episode of Squid Game, which has taken the world by storm.

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

Squid Game’s basic story revolves around 456 heavily debt-ridden people from different age groups and strata of society, who participate in six rounds of various children’s games to win a humongous sum of money. They come together in an undisclosed camp, unaware that losing even a single game would cost them their life. The show highlights the economic struggles and class divide in South Korea, with eight characters playing major roles.

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Korean actors Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo and Jung Ho-yeon have become overnight stars after the massive success of Squid Game. (Photo: Netflix)

However, as we reach the ninth episode, five leads are dead, and Seong Gi-hun (player 456), Cho Sang-woo (player 218) and Kang Sae-byeok (player 067) are the finalists. The trio is treated with a lavish steak dinner at night before their last game. It is revealed that Sae-byeok is badly wounded and bleeding profusely due to an injury she sustained in the previous game. At the end of the meal, all three are left with a knife at the table, a ploy to ensure the three kill the weakest among them before the last round.

Gi-hun, knowing well that Sang-woo would go to any length to emerge a winner, tries to kill him in his sleep, but Sae-byeok reminds him that he isn’t a murderer. Gi-hun suggests that they team up against Sang-woo, but she takes his promise to mean that between them, whoever wins will look after the other person’s family. As Sae-byeok’s condition worsens and Gi-hun goes to ask for help, Sang-woo kills her.

Oh Il-nam is an elderly man suffering from brain tumor, who prefers to participate in the games instead of waiting to die. (Photo: Netflix)

On the other hand, cop Hwang Jun-ho, who’s on the run, comes face-to-face with the Front Man who reveals himself to be his brother Hwang In-ho who he was looking for all this while at the gaming camp. In-ho shoots Jun-ho who falls of the cliff into the sea.

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Mourning Sae-byeok’s death, Gi-hun goes to the final arena to play against Sang-woo, the eponymous Squid Game. The two indulge in a brutal fight, and just when Gi-hun is about to win, he refuses to take the final step to complete the championship. He requests Sang-woo to join him in calling out to cancel the game as per the last clause. But Sang-woo stabs himself in neck and asks Gi-hun to take care of his mother.

Netflix had to edit the number that appeared on the card soon after its release, as fans started calling on it. (Photo: Netflix)

Gi-hun is in trauma and suffering from survivor’s guilt upon his return home. He discovers his own mother is dead and despite getting all the money, he leaves it untouched in the bank for months. One night, he gets an invitation card. He goes to meet a man who turns out to be none other than Oh Il-nam (player 001). In fact he’s also the mastermind who devised the game for the entertainment of the filthy rich, bored men, like him. He also reminded Gi-hun that many players returned to the camp voluntarily. All the games were from his childhood, and he disguised as one of the participants out of nostalgia. He challenges Gi-hun over a dying street dweller on the roadside betting on whether he’d get any help from someone before midnight. Though Gi-hun wins, Il-nam dies due to his brain tumour.

Fulfilling the promises he made to both Sae-byeok and Sang-woo, Gi-hun hands over money to their family members. On his way to airport to meet his daughter in Los Angeles, Gi-hun sees the same recruiter playing ddakji with another man. Though the recruiter flees, Gi-hun snatches the card from the other man and calls on the number to enquire about who’s still running the game. The voice, presumably of the Front Man, asks Gi-hun to board the plane and stay away from his business. Gi-hun, instead does the other way, and stays back in Seoul with a pledge to uncover the Front Man.

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Now, whether or not Gi-hun will be able to take on the Front Man and stop the games will be seen in the next season. Fans are still waiting for an update on season two of Squid Game.

First published on: 15-10-2021 at 10:13 IST
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