The Ending of Netflix's 'Squid Game' Explained

The Ending of Netflix's 'Squid Game' Explained


If you’ve found yourself transfixed to the point of obsession with Netflix’s Squid Game, then you’re definitely not alone. The Korean drama a follows modern day players taking part in a deadly game, competing against each other round-by-round in children’s games (with life or death stakes), all for the chance to walk away with the grand prize: 45.6 billion won (or about $38.6 million USD).

If you haven’t watches Season 1 of Squid Game yet and want to keep the twists of the finale a surprise, then click away now because spoilers are ahead. But, if you’ve seen the end and are still scratching your head about what it all ~means~ then keep scrolling for answers.

Who won Squid Game?

First thing’s first: Who actually wins Squid Game? When the finale begins, we’re down to just two remaining contestants (down from 400 at the beginning): Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) and Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo). The final game is Squid Game (of course) and, without giving too many details away, a violent, brutally hard-to-watch fight ensues between our final two. Gi-hun is about to win, but hesitates, deciding it would be better to stop the game than to let his opponent die. At the last second, however, Sang-woo sacrifices himself, leaving Gi-hun the winner of the game (and the prize money).

What does Gi-hun do with the 45.6 billion won?

Gi-hun isn’t happy about his status as the winner of Squid Game. He’s given a debit card with his money and is dropped off in Seoul. After a one-year flash-forward, we learn that he’s barely touched his winnings. He does eventually use some of the money to repay Cho Sang-woo’s (No. 0218) debt and to help get Kang Sae-byeok’s (No. 0067) brother out of his orphanage. Oh, and he also uses 10,000 won (about $8) to buy a beer and some flowers from a street vendor.

What does the final scene with Oh Il-nam mean?

Naturally, the beer and flower purchase isn’t as simple or meaningless as it might seem at first glance. The flower comes with a business card for the Game—and an invitation instructing Gi-hun to come to a high-rise building that night. He goes (how could he not?) and comes face-to-face with Player 001, whose real name is Oh Il-nam.

Although Il-nam seemed to die after losing the marble game, he’s alive—albeit barely and hooked to an oxygen machine. From his death bed, Il-nam challenges Gi-hun to play another game. He points out a homeless man who is passed out in the snow outside and offers Gi-hun a bet about whether or not anyone will stop to help the man before midnight—Gi-hun, still believe in human goodness, bets someone will, while the thoroughly-jaded Il-nam disagrees.

At the last second, police officers do end up helping the homeless man. Gi-hun sees the act of kindness, but Il-nam dies before he sees, thereby passing away with his jaded beliefs seemingly justified.


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