Episode 6 of Squid Game begins with the next game beginning, despite Joon-Ho still on the prowl. Gi-Hun helps out Player 1, wrapping a hooded jumper across his mid rift to hide his wet patches. The poor man is clearly frightened but thus far has done a pretty good job hiding it.
However, that fear comes back in big waves as the Doctor and the corrupt guards are shown hung in the stairwell for the remaining players to see. This is a warning that those trying to gain an unfair advantage will be punished – and boy do the players get the message.
Meanwhile, Joon-Ho snaps photos of all the evidence in the archives. A phone call brings the Front Man back – and Joon-Ho into hiding – as he speaks English to whoever it is on the other line. They confirm that the next game will begin as scheduled. Taking a deep breath, he prepares to oversee what’s to come next.
Well, the next game sees players split into pairs. Whenever two players agree to team up they must shake hands to seal the deal. Mi-Nyeo is a wildcard here, with Sang-Woo and Gi-Hun both reluctant to take her on. In fact, everyone is and by and the end of this 10 minute time limit, she’s left kicking and screaming as guards take her away.
Sang-Woo and Ali decide to team together, leaving Gi-Hun to team up with Player 1 instead. As they make their way to the designated area, each team are given bags with 10 marbles inside. The winner of this round is the player who manages to take all the marbles from the other. They have 30 minutes to do this – but that’s easier said than done. Everyone has teamed up with people they trust so this exercise is incredibly painful for all involved.
While everyone gets to work playing a series of different games, Player 001 refuses to indulge in this and decides he’s going to try and find his house instead, given this area is designed to look exactly like his old neighbourhood. He wants to find his old house.
Gi-Hun pleads with him to play, shouting at the elderly man and holding him tightly. Eventually they agree to play odd and even, although Player 001 is pretty nonchalant about the whole affair.
Deok-Soo’s “minion” almost beats his boss, turning and antagonizing him right at the cusp of victory. Thanks to the staff though, Deok-Soo is allowed to choose a different game which saves him.
At the same time, Sae-Byeok opens up about more of her past to Ji-Yeong (the player with a nose stud) including how she run-away from North Korea. She wants the prize money so she can bring her whole family together and head across to Jeju Island.
Eventually the pair play, with the winner decided by who throws the marble closest to the wall. Ji-Yeong though sacrifices herself for Sae-Byeok, in a beautiful gesture as she admits she has nothing else to live for.
Meanwhile, Sang-Woo and Ali play and eventually decide to team up and go after other teams. Sang-Woo encourages Ali to hand over his marbles, switching it for a whole bag of rocks. He double-crosses the poor man and leaves him with nothing but a bullet to the brain.
As the time runs out, gunshots echo across the area. Gi-Hun loses his patience with the old man, leading to the pair talking outside Player 1’s old house. Or at least a mock-up of it anyway. Player 1 decides to give up in the end, with the pair hugging as a final gesture.
Just before he goes, Player 1 confirms his name is Il-Nam. Gi-Hun walks away with all the marbles, tears rolling down his cheeks, as the gunshot that sounds as he walks out breaking a million hearts watching this show.
The Episode Review
What an emotional episode. With such a cruel game, this chapter brings out the best – and worst – in each character. Sang-Woo tricking Ali is really sneaky but reinforces just what this man will do to clear his debts. It may have been orchestrated early on but it’s still heartbreaking to see Ali duped in this way.
Likewise, Deok-Soo sees Gi-Hun’s warning come to fruition as his minion almost double crosses him – taunting all the while. However, the boss does come out on top in the end, making it to the next round.
The biggest heartbreak here though comes from Player 1. The entire time this guy has been a bright spark in the show and seeing him killed off like this is a really heartbreaking moment. Gi-Hun’s charity and courage early on soon disintegrate in the wake of cheating the poor man, but eventually the pair do make good in the end with the promise that they’re both gganbu.
The cliffhanger ending though leaves everything on the line, and with the competition heating up, who will come out on top?