Hell: Squid Game episode 2 roundup (part 2).

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With that, everyone is deposited back to their lives, with the caveat that if a majority of people want to continue the games, then they will be restarted. Gi-hun is dumped with the pickpocket who stole his money, which hardly seems like a coincidence.

  • Gi-hun says “I swear on my mother’s life” in Episode 2, only for his mother to lose her life by the end of the series

Dubbing vs. Subtitles

Dubbing vs subtitles here: Need to find exact quote but what 067 says and is dubbed saying here – I noticed a massive difference (“I feel sorry for your mother” vs. something like “Is that all you think of your mother”)

Jung Ho-yeon as Kang Sae-byeok (067)… a North Korean defector who enters the Game to pay for a broker to find and retrieve her surviving family members who are still across the border. She wants to live in a house with her younger brother and mother. 

  • 2013: Korea’s Next Top Model – Season four contestant and runner-up

Sang-Woo, the orchestrator for this coup, finds himself back in the same humdrum life from before. Text messages are non-stop, reminding him he owes 6 billion won. Despite his situation, he still helps out Ali. Before that, Sang-Woo happens to have an arrest warrant out for him and unfortunately when his mother finds out, it completely crushes her.

I think the first scenes with Sang-woo and Ali in episode 2 did a good and efficient job in fleshing out Ali’s character as a migrant worker. When Sang-woo says they’re at Yeouido, Ali asks where Yeouido is – it is one of the main financial districts in Seoul, so his lack of knowledge of such a common location tells the viewer that he barely stepped out of the area he lived in (I think Ali said he lived in Ansan, which is on the outskirts of Seoul).

He also repeatedly refers to Sang-woo as Boss, until Sang-woo gets uncomfortable and tells him not to call him that. Compared to English, the Korean language has a different and quite complex system to refer to one another. This may be a part of the reason why it’s common for migrant workers like Ali to just stick to calling people Boss, to avoid any potential misunderstandings (and the boss is probably one of the few Koreans they have regular contact with). Later on in the games as they got closer, Sang-woo tells Ali to call him Hyung, which has the standard definition of ‘older brother’, but it’s also used between close male friends. And it is all the more tragic when the betrayal occurs, and Ali’s last words were calling for Sang-woo ‘Hyung’. If you’re not crying here, you are a Chantal.

Chantal from Squid Game

Jumping around a little here, but when Sang-Woo phones his mum… is he mid-suicide? In Korea, a lot of people commit suicide by burning coal briquettes in a closed room. The smoke it emits releases carbon monoxide which is fatal especially if inhaled for a long time.

  • Sang-woo is seen trying to kill himself in a bathtub, but in the final Squid Game confrontation, he kills himself while rain pours down, making him just as wet as before

Ali however, is being fucked by his boss. The man refuses to give him the money he’s owed and it eventually leads to a fight between the pair. One thing leads to another and Ali’s boss has his hand crushed in a machine. When he drops an envelope of cash, Ali steals it and runs. Back home he speaks to his wife, handing over the money and telling her to pack up and leave.

I had not noticed Ali’s hand until now – more synchronisation with the boss losing his fingers 

  • Ali stole money from his employer, but in a cruel twist of fate has his marbles stolen from him in the marbles game

I always find from Korean films that the neighbourhoods often look so bleak – freezing cold, wires everywhere, and really old grim looking buildings.

Gi-hun goes to the police (again, what a normal, decent person would do). They all think he’s mad. When Gi-hun presents the business card the salesman gave him, the number goes through to a random woman who claims to have no knowledge of any games.

Back in Ssangmun-dong, Gi-hun hooks back up with Sang-woo, who gives him an overview of his financial dire straits. He used his mother’s house and shop as collateral. 

Squid Game - Squid Game - Player 456 background

A lack of respect for mothers in Ssangnum-dong

Gi-hun didn’t even realize his own mother was diabetic and in danger of losing her feet until the hospital called to let him know. Of course, the overriding theme of “Hell” is that these games are the only opportunity they have to free themselves from their circumstances. The “Hell” of the title is personal and of their own making.

This theme persists with everyone — the pickpocket, 199. Everyone is ruined and out of options, and their attempts to fix their predicaments only makes things worse. 

  • North Korean defector Sae-byeok threatens a man by holding a knife to his throat, only to die from a stab wound to the neck in the penultimate game

Questions, Queries and Theories (#QQTs)

  • Robin – Did you feel Sang-Woo’s gesture to Ali was enough to change your mind about his character?

Hell round-up

“Hell” forces the players to confront their own realities outside of the games, and all are reminded of what they have to play for.

Not using flashbacks to tell the contestants stories is again, just brilliant direction and story-telling! This elevates the show from the basic premise (violent children’s games for adults who will die if they lose) to an elegantly told story of capitalism and modern-day economic injustice.