The phenomenon that is Squid Game has rocked the world in more ways than one can imagine. The groundbreaking Netflix survival drama is composed of nine action-packed episodes that are nothing short of amazing. It’s no wonder it instantly became Netflix’s biggest ever series launch, amassing over 100 million viewers globally since its launch. This mind-blowing record is a testament to the show’s wide reach and immense global appeal. The uniforms seen on the series are now Halloween staples, and the death-defying games are now parlor games. The massive success is backed by the most unique storyline that could easily go head-to-head with a David Fincher psychological thriller. It’s a television event that would be a shame to miss. Here are five lessons to learn from watching Squid Game:
5. Money is not everything
Having plenty of money is a double-edged sword. Yes, it may buy you almost anything and everything your heart desires, but it can also be the root of all evil. The series revolves around a contest wherein 456 players, who are riddled with financial debt, battle head on for a chance to win a cash prize amounting to ₩45.6 billion (roughly $38.5 million). The games come in six levels, and center around Korean children’s games of all sorts. The players who lose in each round are eliminated mercilessly. The series makes us realize the hardships that people face to make ends meet. The 456 players joining the game are willing to risk their lives in order to give them and their families a chance to live comfortably and debt-free. This shows us the power that money has over humanity, yet at the same time shows us how ruthless people can turn into because of money. It is revealed in the series finale (spoiler alert!) that the games were created to entertain the bored ultra-rich. This bombshell just goes to show that having all the money in the world does not guarantee happiness. A life centered around good values and quality relationships is one that is worth living.
4. Trust is a two-way street
Betrayals can come in the most unexpected of people. This has been proven time and again in the series. One of the game’s contestants, Ali, portrayed by Anupam Tripathi (Space Sweepers), enters the game because he got duped by his employer who refused to pay him his salary for months on end. He had no choice, but to give up himself just to find ways to provide for his wife and child. Ali’s journey in the game had a lot of parallels to his life before entering the games. He trusted his boss, and tried to give him the benefit of the doubt until the very end. The same happens inside the games when he teams up with Cho Sang-woo, portrayed by Park Hae-soo (Time to Hunt), who ends up deceiving him in the nerve-wracking marble game. Trust must be earned through time and backed by genuine intentions.
3. Morals cannot be bought
Having a moral compass can guide you through the darkest of times. This is evident in one of the main characters of the series, Seong Gi-hun, portrayed by Lee Jung-jae (Chief of Staff). He gives his all in every game, but does not let greed get the best of him. He helps the underdogs in the games, and never lets go of his humanity no matter how difficult the challenges get. This proves to be his winning trait that gets him through the most arduous of games and living situations. At the end of the day, you will not be remembered for the wealth or accolades you’ve amassed, but rather, for the number of lives you have touched. Kindness is king, and is a way of life that will never go out of style.
2. Karma can catch up with you in the most unexpected times
Getting away with bad things may be exhilarating for some, but can disturbing for many. Karma is out of our control, and can strike at any moment. One of the antagonists in the series, Jang Deok-su, portrayed by Heo Sung-tae (The Age of Shadows), was a gangster known for his brutal ways. He easily manipulated people through fear, but made a mistake when he played with the emotions of co-player, Han Mi-nyeo, portrayed by Kim Joo-ryoung (The Snob), a loud but scheming woman. Their scenes were tense, but hold a lot of lessons. Violence is never the answer to any problem, and it only takes a matter of time before it is met with something more vicious. One of the most satisfying deaths in the series (another spoiler alert!) was Jang Deok-su’s. It’s safe to say that he got what was due to him at the moment where he least expected it.
1. Our future relies on the choices we make
All the participants in the games are those who have lost their way in life, due to debt and gambling addictions. The players wouldn’t have ended in such a compromising situation if not for their lack of self-control, or string of bad decision making. Our lives are dependent on the decisions we make, and every misstep can lead us deeper and deeper into trouble. It’s impossible to live a problem-free life. What’s important is the ability to correct mistakes, and learn from them. The series was able to shine a light on the harsh reality of social inequality. This problem persists all over the world, and takes more than a one-time solution to fix. Having the willpower to change for the better, and never forgetting your morals and values in the process are good ways to start.