Warning: This article may contain spoilers of Squid Game Season 1
If you have been on any form of social media the past month, you must have heard all about the new Netflix series, Squid Game. I felt the need to watch it as soon as it came out: As a K-Drama addict myself, why wouldn’t I? Now, this is something I don’t like to brag about, but I stayed up until 2 or 3 AM to finish some episodes in the midst of midterm season. Would I recommend you do that normally? Obviously, not. But, Maggie and I can guarantee you that Squid Game is an exception, and it is worth losing a few hours of sleep for a few days (or one day if you are brave enough to binge everything in a night). Here, we will give our own reviews on the series; while we will *try* to not spoil anything big, there are no guarantees… sorry :(((
Squid Game is a dystopian series where the contestants compete against each other in six childhood-inspired games with deadly twists. The one surviving winner obtains a cash award. Although the participants chose to take part in the games, they were predetermined as those who are in charge of the game picked people who are suffering from crippling debt and would most likely want to gamble their lives for money.
To start off, let me say that Squid Game takes you on such an emotional rollercoaster. The majority of the times that I have cried on campus so far have been by watching this series. As someone who doesn’t cry often, this is a pretty big deal. Let me say the two characters that I got especially emotionally attached to (I will not be spoiling if they die or not):
1. Ali Abdul (Player #199)
Ali is an absolute sweetheart. From the moment he saved Gi-hun (Player #456)’s life in “Red Light, Green Light,” he’s had my heart. Even in this dystopian world where you literally are in a situation of life and death, he still manages to care about the other people in the game and always puts their lives out first. He’s too precious and too good for this world that it’s so so sad to see when he gets taken advantage of. If he’s not your ideal significant other, I can’t talk to you.
2. Kang Sae-byeok (Player #067)
As with the millions of other people who have watched the series, I am absolutely obsessed with Sae-byeok. First of all, she is so, so gorgeous. While she was risking her life playing the games, I couldn’t stop myself from saying “Wow, she’s so pretty” every few scenes (my friends can attest to this). I definitely wasn’t the only one because the actress who played the role, HoYeon Jung, gained 13 million followers on Instagram in less than 3 weeks.
In the series, she also has an amazing backstory: She escaped from North Korea with her brother, and she joins the game to be able to get him out of an orphanage and live with him. It makes sense why she doesn’t trust most of the other players in the game, I’m sure that more than 80% of them were snakes.
For introducing me to these two amazing characters, I give the series 4.5/5. I took the 0.5 points off because the ending was not satisfying; it was as if they were asking Netflix to make another season, but I would have been fine with one season with all the original characters. However, I guess the series got it right, it really does come down to money at the end of the day…
Before I hop into things, I wanted to preface this by saying that I watched the whole series in one day in two-times speed. Yes, that’s right. I like watching my kdramas like how my Philosophy professor lectures – at the speed of light.
I would say Squid Games is one of the best thriller kdramas I have watched, and, trust me, as someone who’s watched over 100 kdramas (give or take), you definitely want to take that to heart.
Its unique dystopian twist combined with its commentary on economic inequality keeps watchers on their toes while subtly critiquing the debt-infused system many citizens are lured into by loan sharks and debt collectors. Watchers are so engaged that many have attempted to interpret the director’s purpose of Squid Games – coming up with all sorts of theories about Squid Game’s purpose from a critique on neuroliberal capitalism to a warning against communism. But, whatever the political message behind it is if there even is one, it’s a great drama.
And now, since Eri went over her favorite characters, I want to take the liberty to go over my favorite character. Drumroll please…
God, what a misleading picture. Anyway – unlike Eri – I won’t spoil anything, you can thank me later. But, her character is definitely iconic. If you have watched the series, you know why. If you haven’t, be prepared to love and hate her all at once. Take that how you will. I know for sure, I will be looking at bathrooms differently for the next few months…
Overall, I give Squid Game a 4/5 stars rating. I’m not a big fan of thrillers and all the gory blood effects so that’s where the 1 point deduction comes from. Granted, that is a biased rating: taking off a point simply because of the genre it is. Anyway, if you haven’t watched it, what are you even doing? Jump on the bandwagon already! And for all my peeps without Netflix, steal your roommate’s password! If you need any kdrama recommendations or any sites to *legally watch them, you know where to contact me!
Squid Game is definitely worth the hype and a great way to get exposed to kdramas for those who have never watched any. Plus, you can join the trend of making dalgona cookies for a fun cooking process with a tasty reward at the end.
Reviewer’s Eri and Maggie Out.