Squid Game Episode 6 Recap: Gganbu - VRGyani News and Media

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Squid Game Episode 6 Recap: Gganbu

Editor's note: The following contains spoilers for Squid Game Season 1 Episode 6, Gganbu.

Up until this point, Netflix's Squid Game had reveled in the slow build. The first three games were bloodbaths, but none of the casualties were our main protagonists. The plot also took its time with the reveals and the gut punches. Now, though, writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk has finally twisted the knife, delivering what is perhaps the most heartbreaking, stressful, and upsetting episode to date.

The sixth episode, titled “Gganbu,” kicks off with the surviving players proceeding to the next game. As they file into the now-familiar colorful staircase room, they notice the bodies of Player 111 (the doctor) and his co-conspirators in the black market scheme have been strung up as an example and an apology. The Front Man speaks to the survivors over the intercom, saying that the game was created with equality in mind, and that those dangling before them disrespected that principle. It's a sick way of justifying what he's doing, but hey, guess the Front Man's gotta sleep somehow.

RELATED: 'Squid Game' Episode 2 Recap: A Game of Free Will

We're then taken back to Jun-ho, who is deep in his investigation and has begun taking increasingly dangerous risks. Here, we see him in the Front Man's office, observing his every move in an attempt to figure him out. But before that plot thread goes anywhere, we're jerked back to the games.

This momentous sixth episode of Netflix's smash-hit then tosses players into Game 4 — marbles. The gist of this is simple: without resorting to violence, devise a way to gain all of your opponent's marbles. The winner proceeds. The loser is killed. It isn't until the contestants are instructed to divide into pairs that the horrors of this round become clear. The only player unable to find a partner is Mi-nyeo, who is spared and taken back to the dorm.

Unlike previous rounds, which were more collaborative, the marble game forces players into a “you or your friend” predicament. The pair-ups we've grown to care about are: Sang-woo and Ali, Player 001 and Gi-hun, Sae-byeok and Player 240, and Deok-su and one of his cronies, Player 278. It's clear from the get-go that this is going to be the toughest, most devastating round yet, but even knowing what to expect isn't enough to prepare for the heartbreak ahead.

Sang-woo and Ali begin playing, with Ali quickly gaining the upper hand. Sang-woo grows nervous and begins devising a way to turn the tide in his favor. While Deok-su positioned himself as a major antagonist, it's Sang-woo who emerges from this particular round as the real threat. The guy is a wellspring of cold logic and conscious detachment, a man so bent on winning that he'll resort to trickery and cruelty to get that giant piggy bank to spill its guts. Where Deok-su gloats and growls, Sang-woo remains stoic and quiet. He's a villain created from necessity rather than nature; he's able to create strategies under extreme duress, and he's willing to exploit the kindness of his friends to win.

That brings us to one of the biggest tragedies of “Gganbu:” the death of the good-hearted Ali. Sang-woo tricking Ali into giving up his marbles is a huge blow--both to the trusting Ali and to audiences. It's also the moment that casts a shadow over Sang-woo and cements him as the biggest immediate threat to the surviving players.

Sae-byeok and Player 240 begin talking. Neither wants to play the game, and Player 240 thinks she has Sae-byeok figured out. Meanwhile, Deok-su eventually wins against Player 278 through sheer luck, resulting in the death of his mean-spirited former teammate. Finally, Gi-hun chases a dementia-stricken Player 001 before finally convincing him to sit down and play marbles with him. Player 001 provers cleverer than Gi-hun anticipated, forcing him to trick the older man.

The episode's title derives its name from the Korean colloquialism for “good friend.” There isn't a consensus among language resources about its accuracy, but Squid Game makes its intent for the word unmistakable. The name references the friendship between Gi-hun and Player 001, both of whom have proven invaluable to the other throughout the games. Now, though, the friendship they nurtured will force each to make a terrible choice. And yes, only one of them proceeds to the next round.

With the clock ticking, Sae-byeok and Player 240 finally start playing. Player 240 loses intentionally, revealing that she couldn't see a future for herself outside of the games. As the staffer closest to her raises his gun, she tells Sae-byeok her name: Ji-yeong. The staffer kills her, and Sae-byeok is shattered.

The episode closes on the loss of Player 001, who reveals that he knew Gi-hun was taking advantage of his dementia to gain the upper hand. He quietly hands his final marble over to his gganbu, signaling to the nearest staff member that he has lost. More devastatingly, he speaks his name moments before being shot: Oh Il-nam.

After Game 4, 16 players remain. The games are getting deadlier, and more tragedy looms ahead.

Squid Game is streaming on Netflix.

KEEP READING: 'Squid Game' Surpasses 'Bridgerton' as Netflix's Biggest Series Launch



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