Seoul-crushing episode six. Try not to lose your marbles on this one. We pick apart these two episodes and try to tackle the question, “Would YOU treat your gganbu that way?”
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평등한 세상 (Equal World)
” A Fair World”
The episode opens up with Team Underdog following Sang-woo’s orders and winning the match – no surprise there – and then dealing with the aftermath. Preacher Dude gets preachy and is shut down by Player 240. When they arrive back in the dorm, Mi-nyeo starts congratulating the team, though let’s be honest, no one really wanted her there anyway. She then begins insulting Ali for being an undocumented worker, but Sang-woo stands up for him – making him a bit less of an asshole. The team builds a barricade to protect themselves for the night, expecting another attack. Deok-soo makes fun of Gi-hun, asking if he thinks it’s going to protect them. Gi-hun shoots back with “Are you sure you can trust your team? If I were on your team, I’d kill you first. You’re the strongest.” Deok-soo says nothing and walks away with his tail between his legs before ordering his own team to stand down.
Team Underdog splits up the nightly watch, and settles in. While Sang-woo and Ali are on watch first, we learn that Ali – who is still calling Sang-woo sajangnim – is 33 and has a wife and kid along with family back in Pakistan, which Sang-woo – Mr. Still Slightly Not an Asshole – is surprised to learn about. (Because why would Ali have a family?) Sang-woo then tells Ali to call him “hyung.” Gi-hun and Il-nam are on second watch and during this time, Gi-hun has a flashback. Gi-hun tells the old man about how the car company he worked at for over a decade had a mass layoff, leading many of the workers – including Gi-hun, whose wife was expecting his daughter at the time – to strike. The old man comments that the media made it into a crazy story and that someone died. Gi-hun confirms this and then realizes that the old man is running a fever. Gi-hun tries to help him along with Sae-byuk.
Off in another part of the island, Det. Nine Lives is led by Guard 28 to Dr. Dead Body’s somehow hidden lair and discovers the black market organ shit that’s been going down. We, the audience, learn that Dr. Dead Body killed patients through malpractice, which surprised no one. The guards start complaining about Dr. Dead Body ruining the last product, to which he complains that the person wasn’t actually dead and woke up mid-procedure (talk about having a bad day). He then adds that this so-called Zombie was no good anyway as they only had one kidney. Det. Nine Lives is super interested in this and starts asking questions – pretty much giving himself away. (Seriously – how has he not gotten caught yet??) Before the guards can call him out as an imposter, Dr. Dead Body starts shrieking for someone to help him. He finishes, the body parts are packed up, and the guards seem to mysteriously forget their suspicions as Det. Nine Lives is led out by Guard 28 to deliver said parts to a boat. After they leave, Dr. Dead Body asks for the next game, but the guards claim not to know what it is. He loses his shit and takes a guard hostage with a scalpel.
As our favorite elusive detective follows Guard 28, we learn that secret passageways were built so the VIPs could escape in case of an emergency and are also set with explosives, because of course there’s gotta be contingency plans to cover up, well, everything on the island. Once they reach the diving spot, Guard 28 pulls a knife on Det. Nine Lives, demanding that he remove his mask and tell him why he’s so interested in the VIPs. However, the good Det. pulls his gun on Guard 28, demanding that he remove his mask too. Now that everyone is unmasked, Det. Nine Lives says that the reason the Zombie had one kidney was because it was his brother who donated a kidney to him. The guard claims it was actually a woman, but Det. Nine Lives doesn’t believe him, so the guard confesses that they all screwed her. Which they wouldn’t do if it was a guy, for obvious reasons. And because this show wasn’t twisted enough, we had to throw rape-maybe-necrophilia in there. The guard then tries to barter with Det. Nine Lives, saying they can check the master list in the Front Man’s room together. But once the Det. has all the info he needs, he shoots Guard 28 in the head and runs off, upping his personal body count and escaping discovery yet again.
Back with Dr. Dead Body, he’s managed to escape as well and makes his way to the playground. The guard following him puts down his gun and takes his mask off, saying they can work something out. However, the Front Man appears with more guards, shooting the first guard. He then says that the whole black market organ harvesting doesn’t matter – I mean… I guess of all the bad things going on right now – but what does matter is that they broke the rule of equality – which is super important to the Front Man for whatever reason. Dr. Dead Body and the guard are then both killed. The Front Man goes off to round up the rest of the rogue guards and upon discovering the dead body of Guard 28, sends everyone off to find the one remaining guard who killed him.
Back in the dorm, the lights come on and all the players are abruptly told to get in line. Deok-soo’s henchman comments that the doctor hasn’t come back from the bathroom – which we all know he ain’t comin back. The old man cannot get up and Gi-hun tries to stand up for him. We see that the old man has wet himself.
While all of this is going on, Det. Nine Lives has found the Front Man’s room and breaks in. There, he locates the secret record room and discovers that his older brother is not a participant. In fact, we discover that Squid Game is actually an annual thing – like a more frequent, insanely twisted and cruel Olympics. However, the detective finds his brother’s name on a list of winners from 2015, then proceeds to find his records from that game. Det. Nine Lives takes photos on his phone, gathering as much evidence as he can.
“Gganbu” (Otherwise known as the episode that will wreck you)
The players are told to get into formation and Gi-hun shows that while he may not always be the brightest, he certainly has a heart by offering his jacket to the old man to cover the fact that he wet his pants. They are then taken off to start the fourth game, but on the way are treated to the bodies of Dr. Dead Body and the organ-trafficking guards hanging from the ceiling like its Medieval England. The Front Man declares that this is what happens to anyone who violates the fairness of the games for their own benefit (aka cheats). And that it won’t happen again. In the waiting room, the players are told they will play the next game in pairs and are given 10 minutes to figure this out, sealing the deal by shaking hands. Thinking they will be playing against other teams, everyone sets out intending to get either the strongest or the smartest. Mi-nyeo tries to talk Gi-hun into teaming up, but he silently refuses. She then goes to Sang-woo, who also refuses. Sae-byuk and Player 240 walk off in a tiff, accusing the guys of not wanting girls, eventually teaming up. Gi-hun turns to ask Sang-woo, but watches him ask Ali after their night of bonding. Gi-hun then looks toward the Old Dude, who tells him that he’s off to find his own teammate, giving Gi-hun an obvious out. After a math teacher attempts to woo Gi-hun by telling him with the odd number that whoever is leftover will likely be killed – heavily hinting that it’s going to be Old Dude – Gi-hun does the valiant thing (in his mind, and well, I suppose ours as well at this point) and teams up with Old Dude. As they all walk out, Mi-nyeo is left without a partner (though really is anyone surprised?) and the guards carry her out shrieking, likely to some unknown doom. The game is then revealed to our players and they are told that they will be playing against each other – well… shit – and each given 10 marbles. They can play any game they want, however, at the end of 30 minutes, one player must obtain all of his partners’ marbles without violence to win. The loser is eliminated. Everyone takes a moment to let this sink in and then splits off for their one-on-one death matches.
At first, Sang-woo feels back for Ali, who admits that he doesn’t know how to play marbles, teaching him the rules. But after he continues to win, Sang-woo loses his shit and accuses Ali of cheating, even though there’s a 50-50 chance. He then flips his tune, saying that he’s sorry and begging Ali to let him live for his family – to which Ali replies that he too has a family. Sang-woo pulls himself together and suggests that they work together because surely not everyone will have finished their games by the end of 30 minutes. He convinces Ali to go take stock of the other teams they might have to play against, and then rigs up a way for Ali to carry his marbles around his neck. He runs off, and Sang-woo reveals that he is and always will be the world’s biggest asshole by replacing Ali’s marbles with pebbles and taking them for himself. He turns them into the guard and is led out of the game. After returning to their spot at the designated time and finding that Sang-woo isn’t there, Ali realizes that he’s been cheated. He shouts for Sang-woo until he is shot and killed.
Sae-byuk’s team decides to chill until the very last minute and then do one game that’s all or nothing for the marbles. Get the tissues ready, because, damn… Saebyuk talks about escaping North Korea, saying that if she won the money, she would buy a house for her brother and brink her mother to the South and maybe someday visit Jeju Island. We learn Player 240’s name is Ji-young and that the first dead body she ever saw was her mother – who was killed by her preacher father (Ah! Now I get it…) who also molested her. The second was her father’s body after Ji-young stabbed him. She thought the game agent was there to collect her dead father’s debts. The chat gets a bit surreal, with Ji-young repeatedly making plans with Sae-byuk after the games and then recalling that one of them is about to die. As the time runs out, they decide that whoever can toss a marble closest to the wall wins. Ji-young tells Sae-byuk to go first. When it’s her turn, Ji-young intentionally drops the marble just in front of her. Sae-byuk begs for her to throw it for real, but Ji-young refuses, telling her that someone who has a reason to live should win the money. She then thanks her for listening and playing with her, smiling as the guard shoots her in the head.
Deoksoo is about to lose all his marbles, but then changes the game and miraculously wins, sending him through, the mother…
Before they start the game, Old Dude tells Ki-hun that they are gganbu buddies, meaning they share everything and have a close bond. After learning the game, Gi-hun tries to get Old Dude to start playing, but he appears to have an episode, running around and thinking that they are in his old neighborhood. Finally, he gets him to sit down and play, but the Old Dude wins until Gi-hun is down to one marble. However, at that moment, Old Dude asks Gi-hun what he just said, revealing that he can’t remember. Gi-hun uses his dementia to his advantage, turning the game around, yet looking extremely conflicted the whole time – which I don’t blame in there. When Old Dude is down to one last marble he jumps up and runs off, saying that he found his home. He then proposes that they play one last game – his one marble for Gi-hun’s 19. Gi-hun shouts that this is unfair, to which Old Dude asks if it made sense when Gi-hun cheated and took all his marbles, revealing that he knew what was going on the whole time. But, rather than being pissed off, he tells Gi-hun that they are gganbu buddies and thanks him for playing the game with him. He then puts the marble in Gi-hun’s hand, sending him off. As he walks away, Gi-hun begins to weep but the Old Man shouts out that he remembers his name – Il-nam. Gi-hun continues to walk away as the Old Dude disappears from sight and gunshots resound. All around him, we see the bodies of everyone who was eliminated.