First up, I’ll be honest. I had no intention of watching Squid Game. I thought it was probably over hyped (which it is) and I had no desire to watch people dying in horrific ways just to win money, knowing all the time that there would be only one winner and everyone else had to die. I’d seen comments that most of the gory stuff happens in the first three episodes and ‘hands up’ I haven’t watched them.
I found my adult daughter watching while she was on the fourth episode and it ended in a cliffhanger (literally you might say) so she asked if it was okay to continue watching. I watched the rest of the series with her and it was quite compelling.
First, can I give a big thumbs up to the sets! I think these probably made the show. The big dorm (With all the games on the walls in stick man form) and all the beds which decrease as the numbers of contestants decrease from 456 to only 3. With each death, the ball of money fills up with the prize going to the last survivor. The contestants enter the game rooms through a colourful maze reminiscent of a soft play area to the tune of Blue Danube.
The games are all based on childhood games from South Korea, but many of them of popular enough to be known world wide. Red light/green light (the first game) is where you have to move on the green light, but stop on the red. We used to play it as ‘What’s The Time Mr Wolf’ but no-one got shot. (oops, spoiler! but to be honest, you’d have to be living under a rock if you didn’t know.)
I’d not heard of the second game but apparently they had to cut a shape out of honeycomb without breaking it. The harder the shape the harder the task.
The third game is Tug of War, which I think everyone has heard of. This is the one that ended on the cliff hanger but the winning team had a cunning plan.
The Fourth game involves playing marbles in an ally way with a partner. We’ve all played marbles.
The Fifth involved crossing a bridge but you had to choose the right path. They had to go in order and it was obvious that those at the back at the best chance of getting across as the others had led the way. The bridge was made of glass panels. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
The final game is the Squid Game where the players are on field marked with two circles at each end divided by a triangle and a square. I’ve not heard of this game but the objective is to be the one left in the circle (I think!)
It’s been done before and I don’t think there were many surprises. I guessed two major twists instantly despite watching half way through. It’s not really my cup of tea watching mindless violence just for money, but I guess in some situations, the prospect of death is the only option if you don’t get the cash. It’s a strong message, especially in the South Korean Society where Squid game is set.
There were some sub plots around the games, one involving organ harvesting which was a bit gruesome. But it was found out and stopped.
Some of the characters had sad stories which were spread out through the series. I think probably the marble game was the most revealing. We saw betrayal, promises, hope and sadness. This episode had all the feels and even though half of them died, it was a lot less gruesome and much more emotional.
Another sub-plot was the policeman who had infiltrated the games but not as a player. He was looking for his brother who had been enticed into the games and never been seen since. Had he been a victim? Well, the chances are high.
We also get to meet the VIPs who are never named or unmasked but obviously extremely rich Westerners who have bets on who will win. (The creator later likens it to betting on horses.)
The winner was not really a surprise, there are spoilers everywhere, but it was quite apparent anyway. But, winning was not all it was made out to be, especially with the weight of all the other contestants deaths on your mind.
The final scenes explain why the Squid Games happen and why children’s games were chosen. That’s quite interesting but not really unexpected. We get it, money is evil, but people will do anything to get it. But, is life really led by greed or will final act of kindness prove the creator wrong. All through the games it is claimed that all players are treated equally, which is unlike their actual lives where they have been living on very unequal terms.
The final scenes show things slowly coming together for the winner, but there is a final twist.
My Final Thoughts.
I didn’t want to watch Squid Game just because everyone else was talking about it. I probably wouldn’t have watched it had my daughter not already been watching it when I entered the room. I missed the first half and have no desire to watch it. My daughter filled me in with any plot I may have missed that were important.
I do think that we have been over sensitised to watching violence and death on Television, but I think the hype made the horror side of it out to be more than it actually was. The use of children’s games was explained and it made sense, but then you have people saying that children are replicating the games in the playground. Children have played these games for years but I very much doubt they are going to find the guns to actually kill the losers. We used to play some gruesome games as children which involved the death of the loser, but it was all pretend. (Oranges and Lemons Say the Bells of St Clements anyone?) If younger children have been watching Squid Game then that’s not so good.
The BBFC have awarded Squid Game a 15 rating in the UK for “sexual violence references, injury detail, crude humour, sex, suicide, sexual images, violence” The warnings are clear.
My 14 year old watched it without my knowing…I know, bad Mum moment. But she was willing to talk about it and seemed un affected by it. My 16 year old watched it with her boyfriend, but they watched it dubbed and spent most of the time laughing at it. I was in the room while she watched it on her tablet. She doesn’t like blood, but she didn’t find the series particularly scary.
My 11 year old will not be watching it and has no desire to watch it. A lot of his classmates have seen it but he is un-interested in peer pressure.
Have you watched Squid Game? What did you think?
I won’t be holding my breath for season two.