With great power comes great responsibility, and with great popularity come fan theories. And currently, no show is as popular as Squid Game.
Netflix's Squid Game has received unprecedented popularity around the world. The dystopian survival show is set to become Netflix's biggest show ever, overtaking the 2020 fan favorite Bridgerton. Viewers of the Korean show have taken to social media, analyzing and dissecting every scene and every character. Along with that, a flurry of fan theories have turned up, which range from the bizarre to the obvious.
Disclaimer: spoilers ahead.
Here are 5 of the most popular fan theories about Squid Game:
1. Old man Oh Il-Nam is actually Seong Gi-hun's father
Most viewers found the relationship between player number 1 and player number 456 to be incredibly touching, until the end revealed the truth. Seong Gi-hun instantly gravitated towards Oh Il-nam, who being the oldest player in the show was clearly at a disadvantage. But several fans have theorized that their bond was not merely one of friendship and pity, but one which stemmed from familial ties!
According to several viewers, Squid Game provides several clues that hint towards Seong Gi-hun being the son of Oh Il-nam, who happens to be the mastermind behind this horrid game. In the scene where Gi-hun asks for chocolate milk, instead of regular milk, Oh Il-nam, very interestingly, rightly guesses that Gi-hun was beaten up a lot by his father when he was younger. Il-nam even calls his own son "similar" to Gi-hun.
In the heartbreaking episode with the marbles, both Gi-hun and Il-nam find the set design similar to the neighborhoods they had grown up in, which have further fuelled the father-son theory.
Squid Game's final twist, which revealed Oh Il-nam to be one of the founders of the sadistic game, has led many viewers to claim that it was all devised so that the old man could find his son again. The fact that before being "killed", Il-nam tells Gi-hun it was “fun to play with him”, to several viewers, made the tournament appear to be a screen for Oh Il-nam to reveal days of Gi-hun's childhood, which he never got to.
2. The color of the card decides the role
The two main roles in the Squid Game are that of the workers or the participants. While neither seem to be very desirable, many theories have sprung up regarding how one becomes the worker, or the participant. The most complete one is linked to Ddakji, the card game, and Gong Yoo.
In the very episode, viewers are introduced to Gong Yoo, who plays the inviting salesman for Squid Game. Seong Gi-hun is offered 10,000 Won, every time he successfully flips the opponent's card, while the opponent gets to slap Gi-hun if he wins.
Before the game, Seong Gi-hun is offered a choice- red card, or blue card. Gi-hun chooses blue. And when the Squid Game begins, he turns up as a contestant, in a blue boiler suit.
In this theory, which appears to be straight out of The Matrix, fans have theorised that had Gi-hun chosen red instead, he would have become one of the red coated workers, and not a participant.
3. Squid Game was rigged for the Old Man from the start
As the oldest and arguably the weakest contestant in the Squid Game, Oh Il-nam was the underdog right from the start. To everyone's surprise, not only does he survive several rounds, he turns out to be surprisingly strategic, for someone with a terminal illness.
Several eagle-eyed viewers, though, have spotted clues that would explain the old man's evident enthusiasm. With the final reveal, it becomes obvious that the Old Man was the one who picked the rounds, explaining his obvious expertise and excitement.
In the first game, while the others are confused and scared, the old man happily runs forward, in spite of hundreds of people getting killed around him. The sadistic killing doll, evidently barely scans the old man, while spotting even the slightest movements in the other participants.
Another very obvious clue was when the riots happened among the participants. The Front Man and the workers simply watch numerous contestants die, begging to be let out. The moment Il-nam announces to the camera that he is "scared," the doors open wide and the guards intervene.
4. Every main characters’ death in Squid Game was foreshadowed by their life in the real world
Squid Game has a lot of deaths. There is no denying that. While the deaths may appear random at first, a lot of the downfalls ironically are foreshadowed by the characters' actions outside of the Squid Game.
The gangster Jang Deok-su, before joining the game, jumps off a bridge in order to escape debt collectors. Although he survives in the real world, his final end, incidentally, also takes place when he falls off the glass bridge in the 5th game.
Speaking of Deok-su falling off, the one who initiated it was the cunning Han mi-nyeo. She had promised Deok-su that they would make it out of the game together, and she kept her promise when she pulled him to death with her.
Everyone's favorite North Korean defector, Kang Sae-byeok, had threatened to slit a man’s throat outside of the game. Her own neck was slashed by Player 218, Cho Sang-woo.
Cho Sang-woo had tried to kill himself out of shame, before the games. In the final round against Seong Gi-Hun, Sang-woo once again chooses to kill himself rather than face the real world.
The Pakistani immigrant Ali had run away with his boss' money, after not being paid for 6 months. Ali, in turn, was betrayed by Sang-woo, who stole his marbles.
The shady doctor, Byeong-gin, had been sued for malpractice outside of the game. He had cheated the system for his own gain. Incidentally, in the game, his death takes place for the same reason- trying to cheat the system for clues to the next game.
5. Hwang Jun-ho, the cop, is not dead
This last theory happens to be the most likely of all.
The age old rule of television states that if someone's death is not seen on-screen, they probably aren't dead yet. With it proving to be true in the case of Oh Il-nam (we only hear the gun shot), it is probable that Hwang Jun-ho too, is still alive, and not only because he is too good looking to die.
While Season 2 of Squid Game hasn't been announced yet, given the show's success it is very much in demand. Only time will tell whether any of these theories bear fruit, but one can rest assured that the number of fan theories will only increase as more people watch it.