With the plot and pacing of Squid Game taking its time to get to the second game, it hasn’t let up since. Episode 6 is the first time it felt like the show breathed and ended my night of bingeing.
People wonder how they’d fare in these games. Red Light, Green Light is easy enough. Honeycomb I’d end up with a circle. Let’s be optimistic. I had no idea there was such a strategy involved in Tug of War. It was funny to me the cliffhanger that happens midgame. I contemplated stopping and writing my review of episodes 3 and 4 right then. Then late at night, I figured who in the world else is stopping after an episode like that when the next one is right in front of you.
It makes you wonder how this show would do on TV. I have no doubt the show would be an even bigger phenomenon had it premiered Thursday night at 9 on ABC. But given limitations and censorship, a foreign show like this would never make it to broadcast. Even on HBO, it seems too kooky a subject. Perhaps Showtime or USA network might consider taking it up, but by the scale of production value and time limits, this is essentially built as a streaming show. Even the phenomenon that was the critically acclaimed Mr. Robot died out after finding a limited audience, albeit on a satisfying note. I’m sure the success of this show it will change how a game of Tug of War is played in real life. An even amount of people on the left and right sides of the rope, 10 seconds of endurance followed by a grand pull. Then three steps forward and the rest of the steps back. Out of all the games, it seems the most unfair to the physically advantaged.
I must admit the cop (Detective Hwang Jun-ho) is doing far better than I thought he would. The way hero cops are but his game doesn’t end up mattering much. However, the skillful infiltration showing the organization is fun. It’s just not as meaningful plotline as it could be. My prediction from the midpoint on given we know nothing about the Cop’s missing brother led me correctly to believe it was ‘The Captain‘ the head honcho with a different mask than all the rest.
Check out the rest of My Predictions:
- 001 – The old man is a thematic side plot meant to enhance whatever themes the show has to offer. It does not matter whether he lives or dies. [Sort of right.]
The old man dies after an incredible against all odds run. I knew our hero 456 would probably end up being the one to do him in balancing his selflessness against self-preservation. Still, it’s sad to see the character moment come to pass even as you see the heartbreak on Seong Gi-hun’s face. Really the old man’s participation meant nill.
- The pickpocket (Player 067) and her bully (Jang Deok-su Player 101), one or both of whom will almost certainly die will kill one another in a comedic or ironic fashion. [Right]
Neither gets their end in the marble game but there was a thematic hint when we see the bully paired against one of his henchmen lose in comedic fashion. Not giving the bully a serious storyline is a relief from the intensity. The lack of gunshot accompanying the dismissal of player 212 tips the audience she’ll be back with a vengeance.
- The protagonist’s friend or the one non-Asian guy who saves our protagonist’s life is not long for this world and their death will serve to raise the stakes. [Yes]
The marble game has Sang-woo and Ali play against each other and the more ruthless Sang-woo tricks Ali out of his life. We have all been in Ali’s shoes when a friend lets you down in a time of need and it’s heart-breaking to know after trusting them and feeling abandoned. You can’t exactly blame Sang-woo for playing for his life but he did cheat someone more likable than him and I wonder if his cheating will be punished. [It isn’t.]
- Will our hero end on an act of heroism or selfishness? I lean towards selfishness. Unless he undergoes a significant change, there’s no way he’s making out of these games alive. [Neither.] Consider it a franchise tax. Squid Game cheats itself out of a better finale by promising more.
Squid Game is easily the best piece of entertainment I’ve seen during the whole pandemic and I hope that it is richly rewarded come awards season.
I had that rare beautiful moment towards the end of the penultimate episode. The part where you are enjoying a show you are watching for the first time and don’t want it to end. I decided to savor it by watching the end credits and writing a bit of this review.
With Video Games there’s a readiness to end it no matter where you are because they are always a lot longer than TV experiences. There’s also multiplayer.
Squid Game tests the boundaries of its premise. A lot of my predictions came true but the manner in which they dispense of the last few contestants irks me while at the same time making sort of sense. Ebert’s law of economy of characters plays a part. A player getting injured outside the game in glass breaking feels like a cheat to me that I hope gets fixed in future iterations. Gi-Hun and Sang-Woo are an obvious final 2 but do they really need to push the friend as a villain? There’s a point in games and movies where you wonder why the bad have gone bad. Good things never last and I had that feeling before the last episode was over. The quality of the final episode isn’t up to the rest of the series but it still sort of sticks the landing. I hope the creator Hwang Dong-hyuk gets a performance bonus for the show of some sort goodwill because he so deserves it.