A Squid Games Podcast.

Red Light, Green Light part 3.

Listen on Apple Podcasts on Quite The Thing Media

They emerge into a faux-outdoor set, facing a gigantic robotic doll. The first game, they’re told, is Red Light, Green Light. If they make it to the finish line without being eliminated for continuing to move after the doll finishes reciting the little sing-song poem from the game, they win.

The Robo-doll has a name – Chantal

Chantal from Squid Game

For some context, the doll used in Squid Game wasn’t actually created for the show. It’s real and lives in a rural area a few hours from Seoul. There is also a replica of the doll currently living outside of a mall in the Philippines, set up to monitor jaywalking, that has gone mega-viral on TikTok as people try to avoid her red eyes.

It takes everyone by surprise when the method of elimination is revealed: When you lose, you get shot to death.

Seemingly more than half of the group turns to flee in a blind panic and gets mowed down. The others frantically scramble for the finish line, fervently hoping that they freeze enough not to set off the doll’s motion detector after each round stops.

The ticking clock is a major player – almost a character in this whole series.

The survivors include our hero, Gi-hun, number 456

Numerology at play in Squid Game

  • The number 456 apparently is a message from your guardian angel meaning: The angel number 456 confirming you are moving forward in life, going in the right direction. I know this is just confirmation bias from my side.
  • The other numbers may or may not have symbolic value. Though narratively Gi Hun being the end of the squid games could be correlated with his number.

His old friend… Number 218, whose successful exterior hides millions in debt

  • Numerology – There is a sense of organization. And a sense of self-sufficiency.

067… a North Korean defector who, coincidentally or not, is the woman who picked Gi-hun’s pocket

  • The essence of angel number 67 is attention to family and household matters and to provide lasting security for the future.

001… who has a brain tumor that threatens to bring on dementia

  • The Number 1 represents the Sun. The persons represented in this category are creative, strongly individual, inventive, and positive
  • He runs with little fear despite the fact a robot will shoot him if it detects movement when it turns around.
  • In fact, at one stage, he actually does move – but the robot fails to kill him, proving the game was protecting its creator the entire time…?
  • He’s an outlier in comparison to the other contestants. He’s significantly older than the others around, he doesn’t receive a backstory and he’s surprisingly strategic for someone who’s quite severely sick.
  • Seong Gi-hun’s father theory… for further discussion later

101… a gangster who served as 067’s mentor before she allegedly betrayed him

199… a South Asian man and seemingly the only non-Korean in the game, who saves Gi-hun’s life by holding him up by the jacket when he nearly trips after he’s supposed to have stopped moving.

When the game finally ends and the survivors have all crossed the finish line, a massive artificial roof made up to look like the surrounding forest closes over the game field, sealing everyone inside. This arena is a place where atrocities happen and no one finds out. James Bond villain Island feeling here.

All this happens under the watchful eye of the Front Man, who listens to a relaxing rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon” played by a miniature automaton jazz band toy thing while watching people get gunned down. (Villains and their ironic taste in music, man.)

By the time the episode wraps, its antecedents in the “lethal game show competition” genre are obvious. The Hunger Games‘ use of the underclass to entertain the rich springs to mind, as does Battle Royale‘s exploration of the violence that undergirds a society that’s placid on the surface. But I think the film version of The Running Man is the closest thing to what we’ve got here, since it’s not a matter of the contestants killing each other—not yet, anyway—so much as it’s the architect of the game picking the players off.

So far, at least, the show’s real selling point is not the originality of the plot, but the aesthetics of the game. The brightly colored uniforms and face-obscuring masks recall that other global sensation of recent times, Among Us, while that multi-colored staircase is a killer visual. When it comes, the violence is presented in a blasé manner meant to convey the callousness of the game’s masters, but which could also read as glib and exploitative if the show doesn’t play its cards right.

And that’s where we’re at after the first episode: intriguing if unoriginal premise, a likable down-on-his-luck protagonist, compelling visuals.

Overarching Theory already at play?

Squid Game is a working model of Game Theory… For those unaware, Game Theory is the study of interactive decision-making, where the outcome for each player depends on the actions of all. When deciding a strategy, you must consider the actions and choices of others but, in thinking about their decisions, you must realise they are thinking about your decisions, and so on. Squid Game is an example of ‘zero sum’: In this game, one man’s death is another man’s chance at life with prize money.