A podcast about Squid Game: Player 456.

Red Light, Green Light part 1.

Listen on Apple Podcasts on Quite The Thing Media

We meet Seong Gi-hun, a 47-year-old divorced dad, failed restaurateur, degenerate gambler, and all-around sad sack.

The black-and-white sequence really does set up the dynamics of the whole show (violent play, choosing teams, etc.)… the playing field is a squid’s head.

“Leave the Squid’s Head… You die”

Seong Gi-hun

After an opening flashback in which he plays the titular game of tag with his friends as a kid, we learn all his details—including the fact that he lives with his aging mother, whose ATM card he steals in order to withdraw money for wagers at an off-track betting parlor.

Any “over-acting” here? The big baby attitude?

Pin is 0608 – same as winning horse (this had me looking out for numbers early – but we will get to that later). His friend here – as it was early he turns out to be a bit of a nothing character

These scenes at the bookies are well directed, amplifying the stressful atmosphere and confirming Seong is a gambling addict.

He calls his daughter and tells her she can have anything she wants for dinner. There is something beautiful and disconcerting about the purity of his fatherly love

Before he places his bet – you see his temper with the guy behind him (really building layers to this guy pretty early in the show I think)

His horse comes in (6 & 8), but his winnings get pick-pocketed (about £2,500). His winning are 4,560,000 so the number 456…  while he’s on the run from the loan sharks to whom he owes money. More depth is added here as he helps the girl he runs into – even though he is in danger himself.

Thugs catch him and make him sign an IOU with his own bloody fingerprint. Is licking another’s blood a lazy film trope to show how badass someone is?

Foreshadowing and “anti-foreshadowing”

Foreshadowing/anti foreshadowing (I made this up) – Gi-hun’s childish outlook leads him to a child’s crane game (that he can’t even win – but does win the whole thing eventually)

At dinner, Ga-Yeong is sensitive to her father, knowing he gets into fights, is still smoking, and feels guilty he can’t give her more. When she opens the arcade gift, it is a lighter shaped like a pistol, forewarning the story’s medley of humor and violence. The gift is wrapped in a box with a bow the exact same way as the coffins in the game are, theres also foreshadowing here as players are killed by a gun then set on fire. 

The ‘pinky promise’ that appears in Marbles is KB’d by daughter as she knows she cannot keep the promise (don’t know how long Gi-hun has been split for ex – but again, I think this tries to subconsciously show him in a good light as he would have been with her at a time when she was learning right from wrong)

He brings her home, lovingly, asleep on his back, and is chastised by his ex-wife for being late. When Ga-Yeong turns to wave bye, hastened away by her mother, Seong encourages them to get inside.

He is falling apart, but his love for his daughter is the clearest part of his life.

Then it goes from bad to weird.

Squid Game circle staff member cartoon

He just misses a train (luck?)

A mysterious man in a suit (no name) approaches him in a subway station—Gi-hun is at first convinced he’s gonna try to tell him about Jesus—with an offer. If he can defeat the man in a little game of skill and chance, he’ll win 100,000 won (£60); if he loses, the mystery man will slap him in the face. Countless slaps later, Gi-hun finally wins the game and pockets the money, along with the man’s business card and an offer: He can make more, much more, if he calls the man up and plays games like this one for a few days.

The soundtrack has already planted itself in your head – you know when it is dodgy

The businessman asks Seong Gi-hun to choose between red or blue cards to play, and Seong Gi-hun chooses blue. When he arrives at the contest later in the game as a contestant, he is wearing a blue boiler suit. The recruiter uses knowledge as a power and manipulation tool here with a background check basically.  The video that shows all contestants playing Ddakji , everyone in the game picked a blue card.

Some have theorised that those propositioned who choose the red card instead become masked guards – the red-coated supervisors that oversee the competition, and help ‘eliminate’ contestants.

Sources