Squid Game Serie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Squid Game is by far the most talked-about TV series, topping the global ratings of Netflix’s streaming service. In just 10 days, the survival thriller took the top spot in 90 countries, becoming the first South Korean series to attract viewers from around the world. In it, adults play childish games while trying to keep themselves alive and win a huge cash prize.

Squid Game movie meaning

Genre survival thriller, drama
Created by Hwang Dong Hak
Starring Lee Jung-jae (Song Ki Hoon), Park Hae-soo (Cho Sang-woo), Ho Eun-jung (Kang Se-baek), Oh Eun-soo (Oh Il-nam), Ho Sung-tae (Jang Dok-soo), Anupam Tripathi (Ali Abdul), Kim Joo-ren (Han Mi Ne), Wee Ha-joon (Police Officer Hwang Chun-ho), Kon Yoo (Stranger with ttakji), etc.
Netflix Channel
Year of release 2021
Series 9
IMDb sites

The popularity of the series can be criticized, considering its script to be overrated and not the most original survival story. Netflix’s new hit does conjure up associations with existing movies, and series showrunner Hwang Dong-hyuk honestly admits that he drew inspiration from the Battle Royale manga, Liar Game and Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji. With a great desire to pick on, the most attentive viewers can easily find not only similarities with the comics, but also find a number of minor flaws and contradictions (you can’t list them without spoilers).

However, these remarks are unlikely to spoil the overall impression of an intriguing story, which in English-language reviews are categorized as “enjoyable to watch”. And it is true, the series is fascinating, you want to watch it without pausing to see the variety of trials prepared for desperate characters (by the way, on YouTube you can find dozens of clips with interesting analysis of details that indicate important nuances of the plot – there are much more of them than visible inconsistencies).


The heroes of the series are people who are on the edge and cannot pay off their debts. They are offered a simple chance to earn money: within six days you need to play six children’s games. The winner, who will reach the end and will not violate the statutes, will receive a large cash prize. At first glance, everything seems pretty simple, so the 456 strangers agree to the terms of the contract. During the first game, they learn that the tempting offer has one more rule – once eliminated, the player immediately dies.

What’s most fascinating about Squid Game is the way the death games are set up, which have managed to attract hundreds of participants. The organizers of the competitions are anonymous people who control the situation by looking at numerous monitors. The players themselves are in a huge barracks that resembles a prison cell. They come out of there only to go to another outlandish location, where they will be told the order of the next actions. The players are surrounded by soldiers dressed in identical uniforms, whose faces cannot be seen behind black masks with the image of geometric shapes.


The plot of the series gradually reveals how this mysterious place, teeming with bright colors, is arranged. So the rainbow grounds become a frightening backdrop for bloody events, and the impeccable system of supervision hides its secrets, which are better not to go out (it is noteworthy that the creators of the series tried to use CGI as little as possible, so many sets were constructed on the set for weeks, even the giant doll from the first series was real – now it is in the South Korean museum Macha Land).

In movie reviews “The Squid Game” is often compared to The Hunger Games, but the South Korean series is much tougher and ironic, besides, there are no love lines with teenagers in it. It should also be emphasized that Squid Game is not a dystopia, the actions of the series take place in modern Korea, where people who owe large sums to banks and loan sharks are more and more common (it is no coincidence that in one of the episodes in the background there is a newscast in which it is reported that South Korea ranks second in the world in lending to the population).


Describing the idea behind the series, showrunner Hwang Dong-hyeok says that he wanted to write a story that would be an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, where competition turns into a struggle for life. What is really curious is that in the series, this struggle for survival takes place within the framework of Korean children’s games (their rules are clearly explained to the audience, so there are no problems with understanding). Heroes are forced to cunning, unite, rely on luck and in the end decide whether they are ready to cross the line, losing their humanity.

To give credit, as the events unfold, the creators manage to reveal the characters of the key characters (despite the fact that there are a lot of players at first), show their ambiguous sides and pay attention to what forced people to voluntarily find themselves on a deadly site decorated with festive colors. Not only are the breathless bodies left behind after the games a reminder of the grim side of the place, there is also inappropriately upbeat music playing in the background, transitioning into an unsettling melody, and the participants are sent to the games to the soothing sounds of Johann Strauss’ waltz.


The weakest point of the series turns out to be the episode in which several foreign actors appear – their acting is so terrible that it spoils the overall impression of the story. Fortunately, all the attention of the series returns in time to the players, who surprise, sympathize and outrage with their actions. Just as importantly, by the finale, Squid Game lays out the answers to the main questions while leaving a hint of a second season.

Like all Korean movies, it is better to watch the series in the original language with subtitles – so the actors’ intonations, which are important for conveying emotions, are not lost (this is confirmed by director Taika Waititi, who tweeted this advice: “You don’t have to watch Squid Game dubbed in English”).


A plot built around Korean children’s games; character revelation of key characters; playground design and anonymous masked soldiers; soundtrack; it’s not a dystopia, the action takes place in the modern world

There are minor inconsistencies; a group of foreign actors with terrible acting


“The Squid Game” is a fascinating nine-part survival thriller with memorable characters, filmed with irony and intrigue. Likely to appeal to fans of the Japanese Alice in Borderland series.

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