“Squid Game,” the new Netflix series released Sept. 17, is a South Korean survival drama that follows the story of Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), who is presented with an opportunity by a mysterious man to participate in a series of games for a cash prize.
The series follows a group who enters a game to solve their financial problems, but they are not aware of the lengths they will have to go to win. After being sent to a secret location, the players must participate in games with deadly consequences for the losers. They are presented as traditional Korean children’s games such as red light green light, ppopgi (a game played with honeycomb candy) and tug-o-war.
“Squid Game” also examines poverty throughout the show by exhibiting the struggles of the main characters and how that led them to join the game.
The series keeps the viewer captivated by constantly surprising the audience with plot twists. From love to betrayal and fear to heartbreak, this show displays a wide range of emotions as the characters’ relationships rapidly build up and break down throughout the games.
Although the quick plot line pulls this show together nicely, episode two was the hardest to get through. It focuses more on the players’ lives outside of or prior to the game, but it stretches out too long.
About halfway through the episode, the viewer understands what Seong Gi-hun’s life and personality is like, so the second half of the episode seems unnecessary. While it is important to understand the struggles of poverty that many of the players go through, it could have been shorter to keep the engaging plot.
The acting in “Squid Game” is its best quality, separating it from many other shows. The acting makes the audience feel for the characters through the flawless portrayal of raw emotion.
The actor that stands out most is Jung Ho-yeon, who plays Kang Sae-Byeok. The way she captures her character’s closed-off view through her expressions, and how she becomes more vulnerable as the show progresses, illustrates that she is the best actress for this role. It is frightening how quickly one can become attached to some of the players such as Kang Sae-Byeok.
“Squid Game” is a show about a social experiment that successfully examines different aspects of life such as money, love, friendship and how quickly people can throw those values away for what they want. This thriller captivates its audience through the impressive acting and skillful plot line up until the very end, leaving the viewer stunned with many questions that will presumably be answered in season two.
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