After a cold opening where we see the pink guards loading corpses – well, principally corpses – in boxes packed in a crematorium, Squid game joins his surviving players, including Gi-hun, his supposedly rich acquaintance Sang-woo, the pickpocket, the gangster, the immigrant, and the old man. They and their comrades are presented with a difficult and surprising choice: if a majority of them vote to leave, then the games are over and they can go home. A conspicuous display of the money already raised – 100 million won times 255 dead players equals 2.5 billion, a princely sum – makes the vote closer than it could be otherwise, but in the end, the old man, candidate 001, casts the decision-maker to vote for abandonment.
I hadn’t seen it coming!
But once everyone gets home bluntly – from what we see from Gi-hun and the pickpocket, they’re just thrown out into the street tied up in their underwear, with their street clothes dropped off at next to them – we are starting to understand why so many of their fellow gamers voted to continue the games. Simply put, life outside for most of these people is hell. (“Hell” being the title of the episode, I assumed it was referring to the game’s slaughterhouse vibe, a fake that I suspect is the title point to begin with.)
Gi-hun runs straight to the cops, none of whom believe his story, especially when the business card he gives them leads to a wrong number and then a disconnected line. Then he runs into Sang-woo, who tells him he owes 6 billion won.
Gi-hun then discovers that her mother has been hospitalized with advanced diabetes, but she insists on leaving without treatment even at the risk of her feet needing amputation; she can’t afford hospitalization, Gi-hun has canceled her insurance, and she’s the only one with a job anyway.
The pickpocket, # 067 (we haven’t learned her name yet), is looking after her little brother, who lives in an orphanage until she can find a way to get their parents out of Korea. North. It’s easier said than done, since the broker she hired to do the deed ran off with her money. She threatens the guy who put her in touch with the missing broker, but that doesn’t get her money back.
The immigrant, Ali (# 199), is also dealing with an untrustworthy authority figure: his boss, who refuses to pay him when he obviously has plenty of money. A scuffle ensues in which the boss’s hand is smashed into a piece of heavy machinery – it’s a gnarled scene – at which point Ali takes the money and runs away, sending his wife and child back to their homeland. ‘origin while determining what to do next.
The gangster, Deok-su (# 101), reconnects with one of his criminal underlings, only to be sold to armed henchmen at a Filipino casino where he has indebted himself a small fortune without paying. He kills the traitor and jumps off a bridge to escape.
The supposedly rich guy Sang-woo (# 218) helps Ali get home. After meeting Gi-hun, he returns to his own apartment, where he takes a bath in a full suit. When he charges his phone, his notifications reveal that an entire phalanx of debt collectors and cops are after him; several of the latter go to his mother’s kiosk in his old quarter and Gi-hun’s, demanding that he surrender. (He lied to his mother saying he worked in America.)
Between begging a friend and his ex-wife for money – the former hesitates, as does the latter, and when her current husband offers the money in exchange for Gi-hun who will no longer come to visit his daughter, he makes her a cold cock. in front of the poor child, Gi-hun stumbles upon the old man. As they share a drink and ramyeon noodles, which is about all they can afford, the old man makes a shocking statement: he’s going to go back to the games, an option the pink men had said would be open to players should they change their mind.
“Everything they said is true,” he said, referring to players who wanted to keep playing the game rather than facing the real world again. “It’s a worse hell in here.”
So we watch all of our main characters wait to be picked up and dosed with sleeping gas once more, on the way back to the mysterious location where the games take place. There are only two complications: the pickpocket has held his breath and is only pretending to sleep, ostensibly to learn the location of the gaming facility, while an undercover cop named Hwang Jun-ho — who believes Gi-hun’s story at the train station, since a similar business card somehow appeared in his own missing brother’s dormitory – follows the van to its destination.
From where i sit, Squid game episode two scores important points (sorry) in two different ways. First, there is the question of the vote. The instant the square-faced pink guy announced that a majority vote would decide whether the games would continue or not, I was like, “Well, obviously they’re going to vote to continue, otherwise there’d be no more games. spectacle ! When he further announced that the votes would be counted in reverse numerical order, I was like, “Oh, okay, that’s going to be a tie, and the old man with the brain tumor will vote for it.” to stay because he has Nothing to lose. “
Imagine my surprise – or maybe you didn’t need to imagine, maybe it was your surprise too – when the old man voted to leave and the pink team dutifully fired everyone in the street ! This is such a pure example of a zigzag show where I expected it to zigzag as I could imagine in a long, long time. This kind of approach gains a lot of confidence, on my part anyway; this shows that this is a show that will not always take the easy.
The second major structural thing about this episode is the way it distributes the character stories. Rather than starting the season by letting us know all of the major cast from episode one, Squid game kept the focus of its premiere on Gi-hun, only introducing us to the rest of the main cast (except for the brief appearance of the pickpocket when she stole Gi-hun’s money) as they had already accepted the invitation to the match. This second episode fills in information about the gangster, the pickpocket, the immigrant, and Sang-woo, while also giving us additional information about Gi-hun and his family, only after the series has already got us hooked on its aspect of play. deadly. Reverse that order and the show would seem a lot slower than it actually is. It is a judicious narration. And other games are waiting for you.
Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) written on television for Rolling stone, Vulture, The New York Times, and anywhere who will have it, really. He and his family live on Long Island.
To concern Squid game Episode 2 on Netflix