Does the detective die in Squid Game? Theories surrounding Hwang Jun Ho explored

Is Hwang Jun Ho dead or alive? (Image via Netflix)
Is Hwang Jun Ho dead or alive? (Image via Netflix)

Netflix’s Squid Game is currently an international phenomenon. The finale left a major plot hole and multiple burning questions for the detective, Hwang Jun Ho, played by Wi Ha Joon, remain. The one that takes the top place is, did he really die in the season finale?

[SPOLERS AHEAD]

One character that left an impression on fans’ minds is Hwang Jun Ho. The righteous detective risks it all and enters the Squid Game as a masked employee. His death surprised many but also led to a major theory - he’s not dead. Coming to their rescue, the scene did have significant clues.


Is detective Hwang Jun Ho alive in Squid Game?

We can confidently say that most fans believe that Hwang Jun Ho, the detective or the police officer, is not dead; owing to Squid Game’s detailed cinematography, which hides multiple Easter eggs here and there.

Detective Hwang Jun Ho is played to perfection by Wi Ha Joon. If ever made, the actor expressed his desire to come back for Squid Game season 2, but does that mean the character is alive? Let’s delve into it.

Hwang Jun Ho became the audience’s eyes into the inner workings of the games. He infiltrated the games, relatively smoothly, and became one of them. Soon enough, we get a glimpse into the daily routines of masked employees, their routines, their lunch, and the illegal organ trafficking.

All of this was only possible because of Hwang Jun Ho. He is as crucial a key to the show as the lead, Seong Gi Hun. We’re even given important information about when the games started (1990s), the winners, the VIPs’ perspective on the games, and others.

Mentioning the winners brings us to another significant reason we believe he isn’t dead - he was shot in the shoulder by the Front Man, Hwang Jun Ho’s lost brother, Hwang In Ho.

As is a trope in any movie or drama, family members don’t kill each other.

In episode 8, Hwang Jun Ho finally meets the brother he has been searching for long. He is shocked to see that his brother is the Front Man, the organizer of the games. Hwang In Ho was also the winner of the Squid Game held in 2015 - the year he went missing.

The first hint of the Front Man being Hwang In Ho is him freezing on the spot when he sees his brother’s ID on the body washed up onshore.

Hwang Jun Ho's ID in Front Man's hands (Image via Netflix)
Hwang Jun Ho's ID in Front Man's hands (Image via Netflix)

Every decision he makes next is a way to keep his brother alive. He even tells the masked men to “bring him alive.”

In the final scene, the Front Man/Hwang In Ho hesitantly pulls the trigger after Jun Ho refuses to cross sides. He shoots him in the shoulder instead of his heart or brain (areas masked men love when eliminating players).

We then see Jun Ho’s body fall off the cliff, bubbles in the sea as the Front Man looks over. Here’s where things get suspicious - he keeps on looking at the ocean for a while, continuously clenching his teeth.

Before he puts up his mask again, there’s an almost content look on his face. And that is the last we see of Hwang Jun Ho.

Hwang In Ho (Front Man) looking at the mirror seeing Hwang Jun Ho (Image via Netflix)
Hwang In Ho (Front Man) looking at the mirror seeing Hwang Jun Ho (Image via Netflix)

The brothers are also shown as literal opposites in the show. The bigger brother crosses over to the other side, on the "dark" side.

In contrast, the younger brother stands on the opposite side, on the "good" side. They’re even shot in the shoulders on the left side, mirroring each other perfectly.

Throughout the nine episodes, not once have the masked men shown mercy to anyone. But this incomplete-ish death does raise many questions for Hwang Jun Ho's ending in Squid Game.

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In addition to this theory, even Squid Game director Hwang Dong Hyuk shared that he would like to explore the story of the Front Man, and through him, the game’s in-depth details in a potential season 2.

Many things point towards Hwang Jun Ho being alive in Squid Game. One theory even states that he’ll join hands with Gi Hun to take revenge on the game's creators.

With multiple points leading up to the detective being alive in Squid Game, it’ll take a concrete plan to tell pop culture fans that season 1 was really the end of Hwang Jun Ho. Which we’re sure, isn’t.

Edited by R. Elahi