Stick to the Team
Episode 4 of Squid Game begins with Player 111 being led away from the others to a hidden area. Accompanied by one of the staff members, he’s taken down a back passage to a secret chamber. Another deletes the CCTV footage.
Back in the dormitory, Gi-Hun starts to suspect Sang-Woo isn’t being wholly truthful about the whole honeycomb gig, although he keeps his concerns to himself for now.
More pressing than that though is Deok-Soo, who decides to break the rules and ends up eating a second helping of their lowly egg and water meal. That leaves five contestants to go hungry. And the staff? They just stand silently and watch as Deok-Soo beats the man to death. The only thing that changes is the chiptune chime, as this deceased player is removed and more money is added to the prize-fund.
Now, these bodies are taken down to the infirmary where Joon-Ho happens to be located. He takes the square mask for himself, which basically makes him a supervisor now.
111 definitely has inside knowledge and continues to work with the clean-up crew for a shadowy mission of their owwn. Through his informants inside, 111 learns that the reduced rations were all part of the game, intending to turn the players on each other and “weed out the weaklings.”
Inside 111’s egg is another message, although he gobbles it down before we can see what’s on it. The jist of it though stems from the next game, which 111 is given brief hints about. He’s told to stick with the strongest team – and that falls to Deok-Soo’s gang. As one may expect, 111 teams up with Deok-Soo, and even tells him what the next game will be to sweeten the deal.
During lights out, all hell breaks loose. The tension built up early on spills into Deok-Soo and his gang going after the other contestants with broken glass and knives. The lights flicker relentlessly as the others try to survive their onslaught. Gi-Hun goes straight after Player 1, hoping the old man is okay. He’s not in his bed though and as the group scramble to find him. While they do, bodies begin to mosaic the floor.
Player 67 joins Gi-Hun’s group while a stand-off eventually leads to Player 1 standing atop the beds and pleading with them all to stop, given he’s scared. The Front Man watches all of this take place and eventually calls on the guards to rush in and end this. Given they’re all waiting by the door, it seems like the staff knew this would transpire in this way.
In the aftermath of this, we finally get to learn who everyone is. Player 67 is actually called Sae-Byeok while Player 1 is clearly shook up and suffering from dementia. He can’t remember his own name.
Meanwhile, Joon-ho realizes that the man coughing next door to him is actually coughing in morse code. Joon-Ho writes down the dashes and dots, and seems to interpret it as “Number 29” – which is the exact room he’s occupying. He doesn’t get long to try and decipher this further, given the third game is about to begin.
This is a team game, with contestants dividing themselves up into groups of 10. They have a 10 minute time limit and 111 – well-aware of what the next game is already – urges Deok-Soo to bring more men into the group. Ji-Hun adopts the same tactic, pushing Player 212 (whose real name is Han Mi-Nyeo) away after hooking up with her in private. Well, she winds up joining Gi-Hun’s group in the end, much to 111’s despair.
With the time up, our different groups enter another room where they learn that their big task is actually Tug-Of War. Oh no…
Of course, this reinforces why Sang-Woo wanted to bring more men into the group, given the need for upper-body strength. Teams are divided up into two different towers, suspended high above the floor. Those who fall do so to their doom.
Unfortunately Team 4 are drawn with Team 5…which is made up entirely of men. Ominous music picks up as our two different groups take their place on the suspended platforms. As fate would have it, Player 1 is actually very good at this, dishing out some sound advice over the best way to play.
It’s incredibly tense and as Sang-Woo takes charge, telling them to move forward 3 spaces, the episode comes to an agonizing close.
The Episode Review
What a tense way to end the episode! Squid Game delivers another compelling and utterly engrossing chapter, with this mismatched team on paper coming out pretty even when it matters most. With Player 1’s knowledge and the clever use of technique over power, it seems like Team 4 could well be on-course to win this one. The match is very even though but hopefully that clever ploy is enough to throw their opponents off their game.
Meanwhile, Deok-Su and his group continue to show themselves to be a formidable side that are going to be difficult to break. Heo Sung-Tae is really good at playing these slimy characters and after his role in Beyond Evil, it’s unsurprising to find him nestling into this role so comfortably here too.
With lots on the line and plenty of tension throughout, Squid Game’s latest episode leaves things on a tantalizing cliffhanger.