A subtle detail in Squid Game involving Gi hun makes the show’s Old Man twist about his real identity much more heartbreaking than previously thought
A moment involving Seong Gi hun No. 456 Lee Jung-jae in Squid Game makes Oh Il nams No. 001 O Yeong su twist more heartbreaking. Netflix’s latest hit show came via the South Korean dark comedy centered on a group of people joining a survival game with a large cash prize. Written and directed by Hwang Dong hyuk, Squid Game has become Netflix’s biggest original show, surpassing popular projects like Stranger Things, The Witcher, and The Queen’s Gambit.
The premise of Squid Game seemed fairly simple at first; contestants are recruited to play traditional games for a whopping 46.5 billion won. However, what started as a harmless competition soon became deadly after the players learned that losing meant dying. Countless participants were killed in the event’s first game called Red Light, Green Light, motivating the survivors to back out from participating altogether. They were eventually let go, but most of them quickly realized that risking their lives would be worth it if that meant having the chance to resolve their respective financial woes. That included Gi hun, who supposedly met Il nam through sheer coincidence before they went back to continue playing Squid Game.
During their meeting, Gi hun and Il nam started drinking together in front of a convenience store. At one point, the old man started pouring his own drink but Gi hun empathically stopped him and offered to do it instead. It’s a small gesture, but in South Korea, this is a sign of immense respect. It’s customary that elders don’t fill their own cup when drinking as it’s something that their younger companion should do. The fact that Gi hun was adamant not to let Il nam pour his own alcohol despite having only known him for a short period of time at that point makes the latter’s betrayal so much more tragic. Gi hun trusted and obviously, had high regard for him, and in the end, he was apparently the creator of the torturous game that subjected No. 456 through hell.
It’s also worth noting that while Gi hun and Il nam’s meeting seemed purely coincidental, chances are that it was planned all along. Upon closer examination of Squid Game’s overall narrative, it’s quite clear that Gi hun was set up to win from the get-go. But, he needed to return to the survival game after initially quitting for this to happen. Set on helping No. 456 win, Il nam may have very well come up with a plan to subtly convince him to continue competing for the pot money. Obviously, this doesn’t make up for what he and the VIPs put Gi hun through. Granted that he took home the massive cash prize, his experience participating in the survival game effectively scarred him for life. Given how Squid Game ended, it doesn’t seem like he would be able to enjoy his newfound wealth in peace anyway; he decided to go after the organizers of the underground event instead of going to America. With Il nam now dead, Gi hun is deprived of the opportunity to seek revenge personally against him. That being said, shutting down the illegal survival game and saving future contestants would be a good enough reason for No. 456 to commit to this mission. Squid Game season 2 has been officially greenlit, but there’s no word yet on how show will continue.