Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
Squid Game – Netflix Original
Set in Seoul, South Korea, Squid Game follows 456 players who, because they were living on the brink of financial ruin, decide to enter a game offering billions to the winner, initially not knowing that the game had deadly consequences. After accepting, players were picked up, gassed and transported to an unknown location. They woke up in a dorm in green track suits with assigned numbers up to 456, while all the staff wore red hooded jackets and pants with a fencing mask having the shape of either a circle, triangle or square painted on the front to indicate their jobs.
The players were told they would play six games over six days and the winners would win a large cash prize. Given a last chance to quit before things began, players then had to sign a “Player Consent Form” which consisted of three clauses: Clause 1 – A player is not allowed to stop playing; Clause 2 – A player who refuses to play will be eliminated; and Clause 3 – Games may be terminated if the majority agrees. Players were then led through a brightly-colored MC Escher stairs labyrinth to the playing field, which looked like an outdoor park with grass and trees painted on the walls and a 10 foot tall girl doll at the far end. The players were told the game was “Red Light-Green Light” and were reminded of the basic rules of the game. Players who didn’t follow the rules would be eliminated, which unknown to the players at the time actually meant shot and killed. When the first few players were shot, many others panicked and kept moving trying to escape and were shot as well, with over two hundred players being eliminated in the first game.
The eliminated players bodies were put in black coffins with pink ribbons and incinerated, and the remaining 201 players returned to the dorm where they were informed that each lost player represented 100,000,000 won toward the cash prize that counting the total players could add up to 45.6 billion won ($38 million). To emphasize the cash prize, money flowed into a giant, clear plexiglass piggy bank on the ceiling for each player that was eliminated. Though the money was very tempting, it seemed that close to half of the players were terrified by the reality of their situation and wanted to end the game, so a vote was called due to Clause 3 of the Player Contract. The players voted 100 to continue and 101 to end the games, so the games were halted, though were told that if a majority decides to resume, the games could begin again.
Most of the players were in serious financial trouble, so 187 decided to restart the games and repeated the secretive process of returning and resuming where they had left off on Game 2, which was to cut out an assigned shape on a thin piece of honeycomb with a small needle without breaking it or be eliminated. All games were timed, and this was set in a playground area where players struggled to gently cut their shapes as other players were being shot all around them.
Not knowing the next game, players were told to divide into teams of ten, and found out the game was Tug-of-War over a giant pit that would eliminate the losing team. Thinking that teaming up was a good thing, players paired off for the 4th game thinking they were allies only to discover to be pitted against each other in a game of marbles. The trend of offering little information continued to fool players into false alliances and poor choices, eventually pitting two childhood friends against each other in the final Squid Game, which they had played together as children.
Squid Game is the most-watched Netflix series of all time, debuting on the charts at No.1 and in its second week reached a rare 3 billion minutes viewed, being only the sixth title to ever do so.
Rated: TV-MA and contains graphic violence, sexual content and mature themes.
Runtime: 9 – 1hr Episodes