The 8 Show – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Rules

Episode 1 of The 8 Show begins with Bae Jin-su being scammed by an investor friend of his. He now owes loan sharks 900 million won. He does all kinds of odd jobs including washing high-rise buildings but he can barely make anything. He is about to jump off a bridge when someone deposits 4 million in his account and a limo shows up. 

He is taken to a theatre where he gets an invite to The 8 Show. The rules are: 

He will be paid for spending his time in the game. 

He doesn’t need any skills. 

Food and accommodation will be provided. 

The prize money increases as time passes. 

When the allotted time on the timer is over, the game ends. 

But the game is terminated if a participant expires. 

He simply needs to pick a number as his ID. If he doesn’t want to participate, he will get 20 million as cab fare.

Jin-su initially interprets that since participants can’t be killed it must be a simple prank show with easy money. But he starts worrying that it may be a cover for organ harvesting and is about to leave but his boss pays him only 220k won for a week’s wages. He realises that his life in the real world is futile and nothing can be worse as he joins the game by picking the card 3. 

He enters a fancy studio with 8 levels and sees that the timer is only for 24 hours. He is able to enter 3F (3rd Floor) with his card but sees that it is a plain room with a scoreboard, intercom, cameras, a screen as a window, a uniform and a rule book. The additional rules are:

He needs to store away his belongings and wear the uniform. 

He can buy things at a special rate with the intercom but they stay in his room. 

The price will be deducted from his individual prize money. 

Items can also be bought outside in the square – the ground floor. 

All participants have to stay in their rooms from midnight to 8 am.

They cannot block cameras. 

If anyone violates the rule, half of their individual prize money will be deducted. 

The show begins at midnight and he realises he has a minute. He struggles to change out quickly and the game begins. He suddenly sees that he has won 30k for passing a minute in the game. He spends the whole hour looking at the scoreboard and realises that he will earn 43 million just for being present for 24 hours. If he stays there for a week he can pay back his debt.

But he soon learns the catch. It is cold and he needs to pee. He tries to purchase a blanket and sees that it is 1 million. He realises that the price is 100 times more than the store rate. But he is confident as he has had to make do with whatever he had as a poor person. He buys discarded newspapers and a cardboard box to sleep on and an empty bottle to pee in.

In the morning he sees that he has made over 14 million. Jin-su heads out to see 7 more participants in the square. However, the timer has increased to 35 hours. 1F limps but refuses help. 2F is cold, realistic and rude. 4F is super scared and cautious. 5F is friendly and tries to act as the mediator. 6F is cocky and thuggish. 7F is logical and smart. 8F is bubbly, pampered and stylish. 

They realise that everything in the square is fake. Stuff they buy in their room cannot be taken out so for the toilet they need to purchase waste bags in the square. 4F is worried about spending too much and 7F tries to vote on it. However, 6F simply orders cigarettes.

The timer goes down by 2 minutes and 7F reasons that they buy items with their time in the square. Jin-su quickly calculates that a minute is worth 2500 won. 4F panicks and runs to check her scoreboard and is excited to learn that their prize money is the same.

But if they spend all their time, the game will be over and they won’t accumulate any more prize money. They also wonder if rich people would invest in such an expensive show if the participants could quickly end it in a day. This means there must be other rules that have them staying for longer.

They decide to discuss what to buy but what one person wants another person hates. After much discussion, they just end up buying buckets, toilet rolls, sanitary pads, garbage bags and cigarettes.

Now’s the problem with food as they haven’t eaten anything. But 8F reveals she was given 12 different meal kits. Jin-su and the rest try to get her to share but she acts non-commital before pointing out she didn’t know the others didn’t get food and that she was supposed to share. They anyway can’t take it out of the rooms.

5F tries to mediate as usual but 7F comes up with the solution. The chute most likely can be used by participants to distribute the food to the lower levels. But to make sure it is evenly distributed, they will all go to each floor starting with 8F. 1F has trouble climbing up which we are sure is going to cause problems later on.

But the participants get a much bigger surprise as they all enter the 8F room to see that it is the biggest. It also has a huge window, a bathtub, a dining table and a mirror. A minute passes and they see that she makes 340k! 1F makes 10k every minute and they realise that the money reduces as it goes down each floor. At the end of Episode 1, the ‘8’ in The 8 Show rotates to show an infinity sign.

The Episode Review

Well, if Netflix death game shows like Squid Game and Alice in Borderland have taught us anything, every single item or movement is a clue that will later make sense for an impending plot twist. This is a great way for viewers to be instantly hooked into The 8 Show Episode 1 and pay attention to every element. As for the characters, we get very clear archetypes that are going to add to the conflict. 6F is definitely going to cause a problem, that’s for sure. 

2F seems problematic but she is most likely the chivalrous one who ends up saving the day. 1F is going to die, isn’t he? We can feel it. By the way, why does 8F get the food? Well, there are more hidden rules just waiting to be uncovered. And like the participants, it has viewers intrigued. We are definitely going to be tuning in for the next episode.


Next Episode

Read our Season 1 Review of The 8 Show here!

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