Front Man: Squid Game Episode 8.
It’s the shortest episode of Squid Game by some way, but the show’s eighth instalment, “Front Man,” is full of deaths that matter. With only one episode to go, perhaps that was to be expected. Every remaining death means something, because every remaining character is a major one. There’s no escaping the pain that comes with the deaths.
We’ll start with the death that affects the title character the most. Much to my surprise, undercover cop Jun-ho actually makes it to the mainland, where he tries, semi-successfully, to get in touch with his boss and send him video and photo evidence of all he has seen in the games complex. His battery is at 12% here after 6 days.
But he’s tracked down by a team of pink goons led by the Front Man. They spot his oxygen tank first and the front man demands he is brought to him alive. Jun Ho manages to call his chief and send some pictures. He then runs off trying to stay away from the guards. Until he is caught with nowhere to go at a cliff.
The Frontman knows the korean police bullets rule and he only has 1 bullet left in his gun. Despite this he shoots the front man in the shoulder. Jun Ho asks him who the hell he is and the front man removes his mask And in a twist, the Front Man is Jun-ho’s missing brother, In-ho.
This is one of the greatest reveals, maybe ever… I had no idea this was coming. Trying to figure out who his brother was has been at the back of mind to be honest.
And rather than take Jun-ho alive, as was his original plan, realising he isnt going to surrender he fires back, fatally knocking Jun-ho off a cliff into the sea below.
First, the facial acting between the 2 here was incredible.
There are questions here now:
Is he still alive – his injury is a mirror image of In-ho’s
Why pull the trigger when he and his men could have easily took down Jun-ho, who had no bullets left in his gun?
Could it be that the Front Man couldn’t bear the shame he saw reflected in his brother’s eyes?
Could it be, he knew he’d survive?
Is this going to be a major part of Season 2?
Then there are the three surviving players, Gi-hun, Sang-woo, and Sae-byeok. Bleeding and injured from the exploding glass.
After they stagger back into the dormitory room, which seems sparse and cavernous now ( did you see the murals on the wall now? – YES, lol) that only three residents remain, Gi-hun angrily confronts Sang-woo over his murder of the player in front of him on the glass bridge, whose expertise with glass is what enabled them all to survive.
Sang-woo is like a robo-squid game player now… a capitalist murdering machine. Sang Woo has a real go at him here and calls him pathetic but Gi Hun turns it all back on him. Great scene.
Sang-woo’s defense is that 1) the guy could have been sharing what he knew all along, but chose to wait until he was in front of the line, and 2) he could have stalled for so long that they all would have been killed. Gi-hun doesn’t buy a word.
As the three survivors prepare for an elaborate black-tie dinner staged for their benefit, we make a discovery: Sae-byeok has a shard of glass embedded in her side, and her meager ability to staunch the wound is too little, too late. Reveal from last week there are showers!
Dinner! At a big triangle table – hinting that the remaining three, like the guards, have ‘moved up a level’… What a difference from Corn on the Cob, an Egg and a raw potato. Fancy table and its referred to as a feast – it’s awesome looking Steak and Red Wine, which the boys devour. Sae-byeok though is struggling. She leaves over half that steak which is maybe the worst thing I’ve seen in the show so far.
This scene is a call back to the steak dinner Gi-hun promises his daughter? He eventually got that steak.
It’s bed time and Sang Woo and Gi Hun are sitting looking at their steak knives. Each contestant was purposely left one after dinner – This show man…
Sae-byeok is in a bad way, as she lies in what is in effect her deathbed, Gi hun approaches her and she is scared he is there to kill her he assures her he isn’t but only has his knife as protection from Sang Woo (their friendship is over).
They talk about what they would do with the money, how they would change their families lives, and she makes Gi-hun promise that if either of them survives, they’ll look after each other’s families.
Gi-hun gets up to stab a sleeping Sang-woo to death with the steak knife Sae-byeok intervenes. “You’re not that kind of person”, she tells him, before passing out from her injury. Gi Hun realises how bad a state she is in and runs to the locked doors of the dormitory, screaming for someone to come help.
When the lights are switched on and a bunch of pink guards show up, it seems at first that his pleas may have been answered. It’s not outside the realm of possibility, after all, that the game masters would want all three contestants hale and healthy for the grand finale.
But then he sees that they’re carting one of those gift-box coffins. He turns, and finds Sae-byeok dead, stabbed in the throat by Sang-woo, who must have been woken up by Gi-hun’s cries for help. It’s irony at its cruelest.
Sae-byeok now becomes the next character to die in a way that deeply affected Gi-hun and Sang-woo—After the deaths of Ali and the old man, Il-nam.
Moreover, there’s a sick sort of moral calculus to the manner of her death, killed by a man whose life she’d just saved by telling Gi-hun not to kill him in his sleep. Sang-woo has no way of knowing it, but he just murdered his own savior.
This had Jack in tears again…
Then there’s the nature of Sae-byeok and Gi-hun’s relationship. There’s no romance here, there’s not even a paternal instinct on Gi-hun’s part—they’re just two people who happened to become friends and allies, who’ve bonded over their similar stories.
The use of the soundtrack here is astonishing and heartbreaking – you only hear the music as some sort of chaos starts and Gi-hun’s tear that runs down and across his eye broke Jack in two.
Whatever the case, we’re left with two players, who are forcibly held apart by the pink guards. This time it’s for real: If one of them kills the other, there can’t be a final game. And wouldn’t that disappoint the VIPs? We can’t have that, now, can we?
It’s here, really, that the emptiness of the games’ promise of an egalitarian world, an antidote to the unfairness of the real world, is revealed as empty. Gi-hun and Sang-woo are being kept alive for the entertainment of the rich, to whom they are nothing more than toys to be used and discarded.
The final scenes show the front man cleaning his bullet wound and seeing his brother looking back at him in the mirror, pain in Front Man’s face clear to see. The score kicks into fly me to the moon as Sae-byeok is cremated.