Contributing Writer Lucas Chiorini, ’25
The new Korean thriller show “Squid Game” is Netflix’s biggest hit yet, and has been one of the biggest talking points of the past few months. The show follows a variety of competitors as they compete in a series of children’s games for a humongous cash prize. The catch: if you fail a game, you will be killed. The show mixes thriller aspects with deep commentary on morality and humanity. The competition consists of six terrifying games, but which is the scariest?
6. Sugar Honeycombs
In the second game, the few competitors remaining after the brutal premier challenge must choose between four shapes (triangle, circle, star, or umbrella). They then receive a sugar honeycomb—a biscuit of sorts—that has the shape they chose carved into it. They have to chip away at the honeycomb with a small pick until the only remaining part of the cookie is the shape they chose. The challenge is slightly less scary than the others, and none of the major characters are eliminated in the challenge. However, it’s still very scary due to the playground like scenery, the echoes of each gunshot, and a particularly shocking suicide at the very end.
The fourth game is undoubtedly the saddest in the entire show, but it’s not the most terrifying. The players partner up and are each given ten marbles. The partners must come up with a game to play against each other with the marbles, and once one partner has all the marbles, their partner is eliminated. The scariest thing about this challenge is that they initially believe they are teaming up with their partner, but end up competing against each other for their lives. Marbles earn a spot above honeycombs because they are emotionally devastating. Protagonist Gi-Hun is forced to cheat against Il-Nam, an old man suffering from a brain tumor. In addition, the show’s kindest character, Ali, is tricked at the last minute by the tragic antihero Sang-Woo, and a young woman named Ji-Yeong willingly sacrifices herself for pickpocket Sae-Byeok. I’m not crying, you’re crying!
4. Squid Game
Squid Game is an extremely complex game played by the main characters as children, and it ends up as the final challenge. Although it’s emotionally rough, it quickly devolves into a brawl rather than a game. Finalists Gi-Hun and Sang-Woo duke it out in the rain, and their tears and desperation are devastating. Gi-Hun has been the moral compass of the show, while Sang-Woo has descended into violence in order to win the game. Both of the former friends are compelling, but the thing that makes this game so tense is Sang-Woo. He has killed two of the show’s most likable characters: Ali, after resorting to selfish manipulation, and Sae-Byeok, by slitting her throat in the show’s most shocking moment. In the end, however, he realizes Gi-Hun has to win, and disgusted by his own actions, he stabs himself in the neck. Tragic.
3. Red Light, Green Light
The first game is terrifying. No doubt about it. The rules are simple: when the creepy giant doll says go, you run, and when it says stop, you stop. The competitors don’t know that this challenge is to the death though, and the first casualties are shocking. It introduces viewers to the tone of the show: dark. The image of contestants getting gunned down as they pile up at the doors is shocking. The creepy doll doesn’t help either. However, we get introductions to most of the main characters, and one of the best moments of the show occurs when Ali single-handedly (literally) holds up Gi-Hun after he stumbles. Awesome.
2. Tug of War
The tug of war game is pretty self explanatory, except for the hundred-foot drop if you lose. There really isn’t much to say about this one. None of the main characters die, but the losing teams desperately holding on to the rope as they tip over the edge of the platform is troubling. Tug of War is incredibly tense in the show.
1. Glass Bridge
The final 16 contestants have to traverse a long glass bridge hundreds of feet in the air. The catch: half of the glass panels aren’t sturdy enough to hold people. Not only is this one only up to luck, but it’s really sad. People start to turn on each other and push the contestants in front of them into the glass to test its sturdiness. Deok-Su, the hardened gangster character, is pulled into the void by Mi-Nyeo, his lover/enemy, in what has to be one of the most bittersweet murder suicides ever seen (bitter because Mi-Nyeo was pretty cool, sweet because the gangster’s gone). When the final four competitors (Gi-Hun, Sang-Woo, Sae-Byeok, and some other guy) start to reach the end, the other guy reveals he worked at a glass making factory for years and can tell which glass is OK to step on. However, with time running low, Sang-Woo makes yet another selfish choice and pushes him in. Once our final three make it to the end of the bridge (final three out of 456, that is), it explodes, and glass flies everywhere, including a piece that pierces Sae-Byeok’s gut and eventually leads to her demise. Also, they have to pick numbers at the beginning that determine the order they go in, and this one guy decides he wants to be courageous and take a stand, so he chooses #1. When the game is revealed, this poor guy’s face contorts in anguish. Shout out to the math guy though, who realized it was near impossible to cross and tried to run straight across. Rough.