Squid Game: “Hell” Podcast (part 1).

Listen on Apple Podcasts on Quite The Thing Media

Just in case you have forgotten what happened at the end of the premiere episode, “Hell” opens with a brutal reminder. The staff of the game process the coffins, each with a pink/red bow, of all the players who were murdered in the first game. As the lid of one of them is pushed open by the fingers of its obviously alive occupant, a staff member pushes the coffin lid closed and uses a nail-gun to close it… forever – they lost the game, so even if you survive the initial kill, you still die!

It’s also the reality that there’s no sending you home to your family for a funeral etc. You’re cremated and assumed to be missing forever. Brutal. 

Squid Game staff member - triangle image

Look at Korean Funeral Coffin Rights by the way…

“The main colours of the managers are black and pink. So I matched those tones, like BLACKPINK.”

Hwang Dong Hyuk

BLACKPINK are a Korean girl group

Jung plays Kang Sae-byeok – or Number 067 –  Instagram followers shoot up from 400,000 on September 17 to a massive 9.9 million at the time of writing…

Jung has been sharing plenty of behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram, with one picture standing out as she received a very famous visitor one day on set: Blackpink’s Jennie (who appears as a credit in the last episode…)

Elimination means “death”

Understandably, the revelation that “elimination” from the children’s games means “death” has sent the participants into a panic. Most want to leave, and almost nobody wants to play anymore. However, the consent form everyone signed guaranteed elimination for refusal to participate. The third clause, though, as pointed out by Sang-woo, states that if a majority of players do not want to play anymore, the games will be canceled.

The decision is made to hold a democratic vote. But the bosses of the Squid Game know what they’re doing. They fill up the piggy bank with the first round of money, making clear that the total prize pot will be 45.6 billion won (£27,775,094)

It is obvious that Squid Game lends itself pretty handily as a metaphor for capitalism and for the inequalities and dangers of the model, and for class struggles.

Choi Young-soo* crouches in a shabby alleyway in Seoul’s wealthy Gangnam district. This is the only time that the 35-year-old, a part-time food delivery rider, dare leave his tiny room at a cheap hostel he shares with about 30 other people. The rooms, he says, are “only slightly bigger than coffins”.

Household debt in South Korea has risen in recent years and is now equivalent to more than 100% of GDP – a level not seen elsewhere in Asia.

“In individual terms, it means that even if you saved every single penny you earned for an entire year, you would still be unable to repay your debt. And the number of people with debt problems is rising at an exponential rate.”

Lee In-cheol, the chief executive of the thinktank Real Good Economic Research Institute

212 changes her tune pretty quickly… Kim Joo-ryoung as Han Mi-nyeo, a mysterious and manipulative woman who claims to be a poor single mother.

Only 201 people have survived the first round. With 100 million won per contestant, there’s 25.5 billion won up for grabs already. If they all quit, this money will be divided up to the deceased but the living will go home with nothing.

A triangle in Squid Game podcast

Squid Game’s democratic vote

Gi-hun is the first to vote — he votes not to continue. So do many others. The vote remains neck-and-neck all throughout, but eventually, Sang-woo and a few others push the positive votes into the lead. The counter-argument to leaving is that their lives outside of the game aren’t going to be any better. 

Player 101 (crime boss w/ tattoos) definitely voted no – makes plans to rob the place later then? He’d need to know how to get back otherwise.

The vote comes down to the wire, with Player 001 casting the deciding vote. Well, he chooses not to keep playing, ending the process completely – thought at this moment (we know why later – the free choice to compete)… A “dementia moment”?

This was a curve-ball – brilliant writing. So sure it was going to be a YES vote here.

There’s a shot in that scene where you just see his palms in the middle of the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ button. I think they used this manipulation technique cinematically where the actor’s hand was clearly seen leaning towards the ‘yes’ button. But then they cut to his mid shot and you see the red light flicker on his face and that’s when it takes you by surprise – exceptional direction.

Half the room is ecstatic; the other not so much. Just before they’re dumped back into their old lives, the group learns there could be another opportunity in the near future if they change their minds.

During the vote, they said if they chose to leave each of the eliminated contestants’ families would receive the 100 million won, and they would get nothing. So presumably this happened?

A surprise that the staff and game-runners let democracy stand? Clause 1, refuse you lose basically so… kill off all the people who wanted to leave and then continue on?

Questions, Queries and Theories (#QQTs)

  • Jim – are you guys playing on after seeing there is £28m up for grabs?
  • Stevie C – How much debt would you need to be in to consider this game?
  • TheBearFather – You’ll probably cover it, but given what we know isn’t it a bit odd that il nam votes no? Why do you think that is? Is he basically making sure folk don’t know he’s in on it

Hell round-up

The vote, story-telling wise make perfect sense though… “Hell” slows things down a little, showing the terrible circumstances surrounding our main characters, showing just how desperate they are…