Caution, episode 6 Spoiler
Note: Squid Games isn’t a Christian show; it contains intensely violent and occasionally sexual scenes. I didn’t know this when I began watching it, however, I must say, I’m grateful for the 6th episode, one that reminded me of Christ’s love, and moved me to tears.
For those who have seen it or don’t mind spoilers, here is an analysis from a Christian perspective.
Like Hunger Games, Squid Games takes people who have had difficult lives and makes them compete in a series of games. The winner will receive roughly 50 million dollars, and the losers are “eliminated”, i.e. killed. Most participants feel they can’t escape from their life circumstances and feel they are at the end of the road; they have nothing to lose, and many have large amounts of debt. One elderly man has a terminal brain tumor.
The games are all children’s games, like tug-of-war, but with a level of intensity and stress that you’d expect when the consequence of losing is fatal. Imagine tugging the rope 10 stories up where the loser falls to their death and the winner pulls the rope so hard their hands bleed.
In the 6th episode, the game is marbles. Each player choses a partner and then is given 10 marbles. The objective of the game is to take the marbles from the other player, who is then “eliminated”. Unfortunately, when the players chose their partners, they mostly chose their friends, and therefore the consequence of beating a friend and seeing them get eliminated weighs on many of them as much as the possibility of being eliminated themselves.
Our protagonist of the show, Seong Gi Hun is a middle-aged Korean man with a welcoming smile and a kind heart. Though he is initially reluctant, he ends up pairing up with the old man who has the brain tumor. The dynamics of the game are explained by the masked guards that enforce the eliminations, but the old man seems to not understand. He wanders through the arena, a kind of studio set of old Korean homes with dirt roads dividing them, as he seems to be having an episode of senile dementia. Our main character is furious, grabbing him and explaining that they only have 30 minutes to complete the game and the clock is ticking. If no one wins the marbles of the other players, both will be eliminated. Finally, the old man consents, and they begin playing. They each secretly put a few marbles in their own, closed fist and then try to guess if the marbles in the opponent’s hand is an even or an odd number. If they are right, they get the marbles if they are wrong, the other player guesses.
As they are playing gun shots begin going off. Some of the 50+ participants are losing and being eliminated. Stakes are high and it seems that our main character is distraught as he watches his marbles dwindle. Finally, it appears he has lost his last marble, but then the older man shows signs of confusion, not remembering what number of marbles was guessed.
At this point the main character jumps on the opportunity to begin winning back his marbles, by lying to the confused old man about whether an odd or even number was called. The old man starts losing his marbles, in every sense, and Seong Gi Hun starts making a comeback. With only a few minutes left the old man has just one marble and he begins wandering around the make-believe town again, just to arrive at a house he claims belonged to him when he was young. He enters the house and finally looks at our main character and says, “let’s just play one more hand and whoever wins, gets all the marbles”. Gi Hun, who now has 19 marbles explodes: “but that’s not fair, I have 19 marbles”.
The old man looks at him with a steady voice and says, “is it less fair than tricking an old man?”
Horror and sadness fill the face of Gi Hun as he realizes that the man was aware of the cheating that had been taking place and that the rightful winner should be the old man.
Nonetheless, the old man decides to not play for the last marble. Instead, he does something purely altruistic. He slowly opens the hand of Gi Hun and places his last marble in it. He thanks Gi Hun for playing with him, for being his partner and his buddy and then they hug.
That last marble was his ticket to life. Gi Hun didn’t deserve it, he didn’t earn it and yet he was given it by the very man he was betraying moments ago. This is when I broke down.
How similar are we to Gi Hun? How similar is what the old man did to what Christ did for us? We enter this game of life with Christ, whether we like it or not and then, even though we betray Him numerous times, each sin nailing him to the cross, He lets us do it, gracing us with free will, and dies for us anyway. He didn’t just die for the Christians, the ones who know and love Him, he died for the men who actively murdered Him more than 2000 years ago. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots (Luke 23:34).
The main difference between what the old man did for GI Hun and what Christ did for us is the motive. We all know John 3:16. Go ahead, say it to yourself. Obviously, that wasn’t the motive of the terminally ill 80- or 90-year-old. However, sacrificing one’s life, even for motives that are not as pure as that of our Father’s still led the main character to burst into a fit of sobbing. The creators of the show knew this to be a reasonable response.
How else should you act when you are overwhelmed with guilt and thankfulness? I too, watching from home had the same reaction. And scanning the internet, it appears many others did too.
CAPS TV CHANNEL on youtube titled their video “literally EVERYBODY CRIED to Squid Game Episode 6”. Influencer Suzy Lu has a thumbnail picture of her sobbing, as does Influencer Trixy Blue and many more. All these videos have 150,000+ views.
This feeling is universally understood: something inside us makes us moved by sacrifice. That feeling of gratefulness paired with unworthiness is hard to describe, and unfrequently felt, but it is the posture we should have towards our Lord and Creator.
He took our sins away, He gave us life, He gave us all the marbles, and not because of our merit, but because of His love for us. God is moved by His love for each of us. He knows we didn’t do anything to deserve them, and yet He gave them to us anyway. He loves us that much.
The last scene of the episode shows the main character walking away, 20 marbles in hand, sobbing as time runs out. A masked man enters the little hut where the old man stands, he raises his gun and the camera pans away from the murder that’s about to take place and onto Gi Hun. We hear a bang.
The questions left for us as Christians, who are technically living in that state of walking away from the Cross, our hands full of marbles is, “what now”? We’ve been saved, been given the gift of life. What do we do with it now?
For this reason, and for the overwhelming, unmatched love of God, we don’t need to feel the same sadness as GI Hun, but rather joy. We have been set free and all we fear has been conquered. Our posture, therefore, as Christians should not be one of sadness, but of an everlasting hope for what has been promised to come.
The beauty of Christianity is that we can show others, who feel hopeless, that they too can understand the sacrifice; they too can be moved by the gift of life; they too can feel joy in Christ’s resurrection, and hope in His return. Will your 20 marbles inspire and move others?
Note* For those who have seen the whole season, they know that there are some plot twists regarding this episode. That doesn’t change the fact that we are still moved by the idea of sacrifice. It’s an opportunity to reflect and appreciate the gratitude for being set free from Sin thanks to the cross.
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