Squid Game is arguably the most popular current show in the world, with it topping Netflix's lists worldwide. Billed as potentially the highest-grossing Netflix show ever, the internet can't stop raving about it. With thousands of fans dissecting and analyzing every scene and character, several have expressed curiosity about the old man's character, Oh Il Nam, played by Oh Yeong-su.
Warning: continue reading only if you don't mind spoilers or if you, too, like thousands, have already finished the show.
Who is Squid Game's Old Man, played by Oh Yeong-su?
Squid Game might present itself as merely a survival game, based on the Japanese battle royale format, but it is very much also a mystery at its heart. And one of the main mysteries is the game itself. Who runs it? Why has it been created?
One of the greatest reveals of the final episode was the mastermind's identity, and it turned out to be the so-called sweet Old Man! In the season finale, it is revealed that the creator of this horrible, sadistic game is the man who the audience had loved and even cried for, No. 001.
From the beginning of Squid Game, the old man is portrayed as the underdog, who is looked down upon by all but Seong Gi-hun because of his age. Despite being physically weak and having a brain tumor, the old man turns out to be smart enough to figure out most games, helping the team win the tug of war.
The reveal turned out to be a moment of shock and disappointment for most viewers. The old man was arguably one of the most likable characters in the show, and when he magnanimously appeared to sacrifice himself to save Gi-hun, most of the audience shed a tear.
Of course, as we find out in the end, the sacrifice is not real, and the entire game was a twisted strategy by a rich old man to feel something.
Why did the old man create the Squid Game?
In the season finale, the old man admits to a shocked and aghast Gi-Hun that he was the creator of the game. Not only that, but he also acknowledged that the reason behind this game was nothing grand but simply a way to fend off boredom. Oh Il Nam even went so far as to compare it with horse racing. Just like people worldwide bid on horses, the old man, along with other rich men, decided to take it a notch further and bet on humans instead!
The old man's justification was that when one has money, they eventually get bored of everything. And the only way out of this allegedly mundane existence for Oh Il Nam and his equally rich clients was to create a game so violent and so sadistic that it would give Roman gladiator shows a run for their money.
The old man shows no remorse for creating the Squid Game, even when confronted by Gi-hun. He reminds Gi-hun that all participants had entered with their consent and were even given a chance to back out. Despite that, most came back to play it again.
The old man disclosed that the tumor was real, and he would die soon. This was the reason why he chose to participate in the games this time instead of just watching. He wanted to relive his childhood, even if it meant a horrible death for all. Betting on human life appears to be the ultimate source of entertainment for these rich men, and even on his death bed, Oh Il Nam tries to make a bet with Gi-Hun over another human life. But the old man dies before finding out that he has actually lost the final bet of his life.
All about Oh Yeong-su
Although most viewers were horrified by the final reveal, all have appreciated the acting skills of Oh Yeong-su, who made the audience love him, cry for him and then despise him.
Oh Yeong-su's great acting skills are a testament to his impressive filmography. The actor, who has appeared in films like Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring, also happens to be a prolific writer. The internet is already raving about his acting skills despite the hatred his character is receiving.
Squid Game's great reveal, though, has resulted in a series of new questions. Fans are wondering what would have happened had the old man died during the tug of war. With no way to catch the falling participants, losing the game would certainly mean death. But then, the old man probably knew about the games beforehand, giving him an edge over the others.
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With fans hoping for a Season 2, the showrunners will hopefully answer some of these questions.