Game on! The gripping saga of ‘Squid Game’ continues in Episode 3, as our heroes and their fellow players converge once again in the enigmatic lair of the Front Man and his gang of peculiarly-faced pink enforcers. The players, armed with newfound wisdom, face a bigger jackpot and more challenging games. Amidst the peril, some players dare to outsmart the game masters.
A High-Stakes Gamble
The episode kicks off with Jun-ho, the undercover cop, tailing the van transporting Gi-hun. Their destination: a barge headed to a remote island. Employing a daring maneuver reminiscent of ‘Cape Fear,’ Jun-ho sneaks under a van and rides it onto the barge. Seizing an opportunity, he overpowers a circle-faced guard, dons his uniform, and disposes of him in the depths of the sea. Jun-ho skillfully navigates the pink guys’ protocols, carefully maintaining his guise. Yet, the episode ends with an implied threat of consequences for his intricate ruse. It’s a high-risk venture indeed.
Safety in Numbers
Facing the unknown, the players regroup after the effects of the sleeping gas wear off. They form cliques, believing there is strength in numbers. Most of our heroes—Gi-hun, Sang-woo, Ali, and the old man—stand united. Deok-su, the gangster, swiftly builds his own small following. While the pickpocket and the mother of a newborn join forces during a bathroom break. As the mother fakes a noisy bout of constipation, the pickpocket ventures into the ventilation system, stumbling upon a startling discovery—pink guys melting large batches of sugar.
Unveiling the Sweet Secret
Here’s where things get intriguing. The pickpocket shares her newfound knowledge about the sugar with Sang-woo, but inexplicably keeps it from their supposed teammates. Another player, #111, discovers a tiny piece of paper inside his breakfast, hinting at “honeycomb.” The players find themselves in a giant playground, complete with slides and jungle gyms. Each player must select a shape—circle, triangle, star, or umbrella—to align themselves with. Sang-woo almost warns Gi-hun against choosing the umbrella, but hesitates. The game is unveiled—a thin sugar wafer imprinted with each player’s shape. Armed with a needle, they must delicately extract the shape within a limited time. Any misstep or delay leads to failure. And we know what that entails.
Melting Under Pressure
The tension escalates, particularly for Gi-hun who took on the challenging umbrella shape. The sweat from his face drips onto the wafer, partially melting it. Gi-hun realizes that licking the wafer makes it thinner, enabling him to extract the umbrella shape more easily. The resourceful mother, armed with a smuggled lighter, heats her needle to melt the wafer and simplify her task. Eventually, they both triumph. The mother passes the lighter to the gangster, aiming to earn his favor.
Triumph and Tragedy
One by one, our main characters succeed. However, one defeated player seizes his guard’s weapon and holds him at gunpoint. Witnessing the execution of other losers, he turns the gun on himself. The maskless guard, revealed before the horrified contestants, meets a personal demise at the hands of the Front Man. These dark games, disguised as innocent childhood pastimes, highlight the show’s ability to juxtapose the playful with the merciless consequences of defeat.
Unraveling the Characters
‘Squid Game’ effectively immerses viewers in the characters’ lives, forging connections even in the midst of a deadly competition. Gi-hun, Ali, and the old man emanate warmth and compassion. The pickpocket’s survival instincts make her a compelling underdog. The scheming mother garners wry affection. Even Jun-ho, the cop, elicits sympathy as he grapples with overwhelming circumstances. However, Sang-woo remains an enigma. Why does he withhold crucial knowledge from his purported allies? Is he driven by personal resentment or a strategic plan to increase the jackpot? ‘Squid Game’ intrigues us not only with its heart-pounding games but also the complex dynamics between the characters.
The Dark Allure
As ‘Squid Game’ delves further into its twisted world, audiences are captivated by the stark contrast between innocence and brutality. The sugar-honeycomb game, set within a vibrant children’s playground now tainted by blood and death, leaves an indelible impression. The show’s ability to evoke genuine concern for the players is commendable. ‘Squid Game’ expertly crafts realistic and relatable characters, granting us a glimpse into their lives, ensuring their perilous journey resonates deeply. In the realm of action-thrillers, ‘Squid Game’ emerges victorious by forging a compelling emotional connection.
Don’t miss the next episode: ‘Squid Game’ Episode 4 Recap: “Stick To The Team”
Written by Sean T. Collins, TV writer for Rolling Stone, Vulture, The New York Times, and anyplace that will have him. He and his family reside on Long Island.
Watch Squid Game Episode 3 on Netflix.