Squid Game: My Take


Since its release in September this year, Squid Game has become one of the most popular series on Netflix. In less than a month, the show amassed over 111 million viewers, making it the single largest release on the streaming platform. This South Korean horror fiction and survival drama is now worth $900 million USD. Presenting a story and experience that is truly unique, Squid Game captivated American audiences. The show involves a contest involving a series of children’s games turned deadly in which the winners continue towards a massive sum of prize money and the losers are killed. Through the characters, the show explores the complexity of human nature and the ways people behave in high pressure situations. 

One of my favorite elements of the show are the characters. Each one represents a different side of humanity which is explored through their motivations, actions, and relationships. This show will make you fall in love with some of the characters, while you actively root for the death of some others. The characters are well-developed with insights about their background, morals, and capabilities. Most of the players are in the contest because they are in debt due in some part to poor decisions and the challenges of escaping poverty. While some characters are devious, cruel, and ruthless, some maintain their humanity in spite of pressures that put them to the test. For example, Ali, a Pakistani immigrant, stands out among the characters because he is kind, trusting, and generally good-hearted. His addition to the show is incredibly valuable, as watching him navigate a game in which players are rewarded for ruthlessness builds tension and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The relationships and friendships that develop on the show also contribute to the moral weight of the players choices while lifting the stakes even higher. 

While watching the show, I could not help but see the parallels between the events in the Squid Game and atrocities of the holocaust. The way in which players are assigned numbers and stripped of their individual identities is one such example. In addition, those who participate in the games are not informed about the stakes and are tricked. This is similar to the gradual shift towards brutality during the Holocaust. The violence and horrors of the concentration camps were obscured by lies and cover-ups that led the world to believe they were not as bad as they were in reality. Similarly, the relative isolation of the concentration camps was mirrored by the seclusion of the place in which the games occurred. The show also demonstrated the callous cruelty that can result from people in uniform given power and authority. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this show. It is beautifully shot and produced; the colorful sets, the costumes, and the music all contribute to creating an intense and creepy atmosphere. The performances by the actors are phenomenal and make the show the masterpiece that it is. While it starts off a little slow in the first episode, it really picks up and maintains the momentum for the majority of the show. As an avid viewer I have never seen a show like this before. If you can stick through the first episode and are not squeamish around blood or violence in television, then I guarantee you will love it.