“Squid Game” is not your average family game show



Utilizing lights and colors to create stunning visuals, the set designs of “Squid Game” are one of the show’s many strengths.

Noelle Villaseñor, Writer

Death by capitalism or death by twisted children’s games? This is the question raised by Netflix’s latest smash hit, Squid Game. The South-Korean drama, written and directed by Hwang Dong-Hyuk, is currently taking the world by storm, and for good reason: Squid Game is riveting, insightful and one of the best Netflix originals released in recent years.

Squid Game follows indebted and desperate Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) as he and 455 other players compete in a series of games to win billions of Korean won. The games are quickly revealed to have higher stakes than previously imagined: if a player breaks the rules of a game, they are “eliminated” and killed.

I decided to watch Squid Game after noticing that my Instagram feed had been bombarded with videos of the character Kang Sae-byeok, or player 067 (Jung Ho-yeon). Overcome by curiosity and my love for strong female characters, I opened Netflix on my TV and proceeded to binge watch the entire series in less than a day. This was an incredible feat for my lousy attention span and the fact that I don’t usually like gruesome shows—I even went back and re-watched some of the episodes afterwards.

Not only does Squid Game feature fantastic characters like Sae-byeok and Ali (Anupam Tripathi), it’s also absolutely captivating and instills that “I need to know what happens next” feeling in the watcher. The game scenes had me reeling from the sheer suspense and some plot twists actually had me so shocked I couldn’t help but yell at the TV. This series is one of the only ones I’ve watched where I was glad that the episodes were an hour long. 

However, the show is not just good for its ability to captivate viewers: beyond its front is a deeply insightful commentary on capitalism and its effects on the working class. All of the characters are in some sort of financial hell, being unable to support their families due to their high debts, and they choose to enroll themselves in a death game rather than return to the squalor of their real lives. Inside, the wealthy ambassadors do not help them; instead, they opt to watch the players fight to the death for money that will give them any semblance of a secure life, as if it’s a game of Steve Harvey’s Family Feud.

Squid Game is available to stream on Netflix, and I recommend that anyone who doesn’t mind having to shield their eyes during especially gory scenes should give it a try. Whether one takes away its resounding message or just needs a distraction from studying, it’s a worthwhile watch with stunning visuals and a fantastic plot development, ending with a cliffhanger that left me excited for season two.

What do you think?