Warning: This article contains spoilers for the ending of “Squid Game”.
Shortly after its Netflix debut in mid-September, “Squid Game” took the world by storm. The South Korean survival drama series connected in a way that no other Netflix show had before, and it’s now officially the streaming service’s biggest hit of all time. But while each episode had viewers on the edge of their seats, the ending of “Squid Game” left the story on a curious note – a cliffhanger that was as surprising as it was inevitable.
If you don’t know what happens at the end of Episode 9, or what potentially happens next, or if Seong Gi-hun made the right decision, let’s get into it – with the interpretation of the creator of the series of this last moment.
The last game
The final episode of “Squid Game” finds Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) and Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo) as the two remaining contestants in the deadly competition, Sang-woo having murdered Kang Sae-byeok ( Jung Ho-yeon) with the aim of getting closer to the prize money.
The end game is, of course, Squid Game, and after a toss, Gi-hun takes the offensive position. The rules are explained that the winner is determined either by Gi-hun reaching the top of the squid drawn on the ground, or by one of the players killing the other. Gi-hun is enraged by Sang-woo’s cruel act of violence, and the two have a brutal fight that ends with Sang-woo on the ground and Gi-hun holding a knife. But Gi-hun refuses to kill Sang-woo, and also refuses to win the game, which would trigger Sang-woo’s death. He wants them both to leave with their lives and without the cash prize. But Sang-woo, now filled with regret, plunges the knife into his own throat, ending the game and determining Gi-hun to be the winner.
One year later
As promised, Gi-hun is allowed to leave with his life and the prize money, but when he returns home he is almost dazed. He arrives at his home and finds that in his absence, his mother has passed away. The story then moves forward a year later, with Gi-hun looking helpless. He didn’t touch the prize money at all.
Next, Gi-hun receives a mysterious note that leads him to an office building in the middle of the night, where he finds out that not only is Oh Il-nam (O Yeong-su) alive, but that he is in charge of the creation of the deadly games in the first place. Il-nam says he was telling the truth about the tumor in his brain, and he decided to play the games himself once before he died, having spent the rest of his life as an audience member.
Il-nam reveals that he is a money lender and that he invented games for fun. “Do you know what someone with no money has in common with someone who has too much money? Il-nam asks Gi-hun. “Living is not fun for them. If you have too much money, no matter what you buy, eat or drink, it all gets boring in the end. At some point, all of my clients started telling me the same thing: that they no longer had any zest for life. So we all got together and thought about it. What can we do to have fun?
Gi-hun is visibly upset, wondering how Il-nam could be so callous. He asks Il-nam why he let him live, and Il-nam replies, “Because it was fun playing with you.” Thanks to you, I was able to remember things from the past that I had long forgotten. It had been so long since I had had so much fun.
Il-nam dies and Gi-hun leaves the building.
The game continues
After getting a closure, Gi-hun gets his hair cut and prepares to visit his daughter in the United States. But on his way, he sees the same man in a suit playing ddakji with another debt-ridden stranger. Gi-hun is horrified – this means that despite Il-nam being dead, the game is preparing to start over. Gi-hun steals the passerby’s business card and tells him not to call the number.
As Gi-hun is about to board the plane for the United States, he calls the number. “Listen carefully,” he said. “I am not a horse. I am a person. This is why I want to know who you are and how you can commit such atrocities against people. The voice on the other end of the line tells him that his ideas are “absurd” and that he should get on the plane for his own good. Gi-hun hangs up, turns and walks over to the camera. He’s not getting on the plane. But where is he going?
Why Gi-hun doesn’t get on the plane
Many are baffled by Gi-hun’s decision here (including LeBron James). Why doesn’t he keep the prize money and live his life? And will he take revenge now? What is his end of the game?
Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk told THR that he considers the ending to be thematically appropriate and, in fact, not a cliffhanger at all. “It is true that Season 1 ended in an open manner,” Hwang said. “But I actually thought it might be a good ending to the whole story as well. Season 1 ends with Gi-hun turning around and not taking a plane to the United States. And that was, in fact, my way of communicating the message that you shouldn’t be dragged down by the competitive flow of society, but that you should start thinking about who created the system – and if there is a potential for you to turn back and face it.
Hwang continued, noting that in his opinion, the ending doesn’t set up a revenge story. “So it’s not necessarily Gi-hun turning around in revenge. It could actually be interpreted as very direct eye contact with what’s really going on in the set. So I thought that this could be a good, simple but ambiguous way to end Gi-hun’s story.
Will there be a Squid Season 2 game?
But just because Hwang sees the end of Season 1 as a conclusion to Gi-hun’s story doesn’t mean there’s no potential to continue. While Netflix has yet to officially order a second season of “Squid Game,” Hwang admitted in the same interview that there are plenty of plot possibilities for a season 2, including ones involving Gi-hun. “We could follow Gi-hun’s story as he turns around and explore more of how he’s going to navigate through his recokining with the people who design the games,” Hwang said. The creator also noted that a second season could explore the backstory of Front Man and his brother, the cop, or even explore the story of the recruiter who signed Gi-hun in the first place.
So while there is no guarantee that Season 2 of “Squid Game” will happen, and although the series creator claims that Season 1 ends conclusively, there is a lot of potential. . Never say never.