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Squid Game: The VIPs’ Bridge Game Pieces In Episode 7 Explained

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Squid Game.

The catastrophic glass bridge game played in Squid Game episode 7 is replicated on a mini model for the VIPS, and the corresponding horse player pieces have a deeper meaning for the show’s themes. The popular Netflix series follows the memorable death game genre, where in Squid Game’s case, 456 players with massive debts volunteer to play children’s games for money, only to find out losing the game means death. As the players must complete all six games to win the prize money of 45.6 billion Won, a combination of greed and survival instincts take over, leading participants to fight and kill each other in their sleeping quarters while most die from losing the games.

After four games and days that have killed 440 of the participants, 16 players remain for game 5’s deadly glass bridge challenge. The players are tasked with a high-stakes game of Stepping Stones, where the players, in order, must cross the bridge by choosing one of two glass platforms to step on next. One is made of solid glass that will hold two people, and the other is tempered glass that will break when stepped on, sending the player to fall to their death. The game’s unfair, catastrophic nature causes the majority of remaining Squid Game characters to die, making it a more enjoyable event for the wealthy VIPs who watch from afar.

Related: Squid Game: What Seong & Oh’s Final Game Really Means

The VIPs who come to watch game 5 are sadistic men who pay to watch people fight for their lives. All the while, the Front Man has set up a replica in Squid Game's VIP room that has small chess horse pieces placed on the glass panes where each player is on the real bridge. The pieces themselves are highly symbolic, as they represent how the VIPs actually see the human beings playing in the games. They’re clearly comparing the players to horses that are bet on at race tracks, with the VIPs not recognizing the players as humans, simply as animals to be gambled on for sport. What’s worse, they’re not betting on the players for simply winning, they’re betting on who they think will die or not. The humanity of the poor Squid Game characters is undermined by the VIPs, who see them as nothing more than animals racing in games purely for their entertainment.

Squid Game’s concept of the people becoming likened to horses on a track was foreshadowed back in episode 1 when the eventual game-winner Gi-hun is seen stealing his mother’s money to gamble on horse races. Once he got to the first game, there was no difference between himself and the horse. There’s also a stark contrast in the betting between Gi-hun and the VIPs, where Gi-hun was gambling on the horse race to earn money for food, survival, debts, and being able to provide for his daughter, while the VIPs have disposable money in which they can bet on lives as a clear demonstration of their privilege and power. Gi-hun even pronounces to the Front Man in the Squid Game ending, "[He's] not a horse. [He's] a person," so he's going to put an end to their inhumane abuse.

Another symbolic element of Squid Game characters’ game pieces is that they’re knights from chess, which take the shape of horses. It just goes to show that the poor are pawns who have been manipulated by these wealthy individuals for their own enjoyment. The VIPs simply get to avoid feeling guilty because the players volunteered to play in the “equal games,” when their presence as exploitative gamblers just goes to prove the larger socioeconomic inequality of society. Hundreds of people have to resort to playing death games to win money to survive, while Squid Game’s rich individuals can throw away millions and laugh it off when the players tragically die.

Next: Squid Game Ending Explained

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