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Squid Game: Why Game 6 Is The Show's Weakest (& Hurts The Premise)

Warning: SPOILERS for Squid Game.

Game 6 in Squid Game is the weakest in the show, and it even hurts the overall premise of the competition. The Netflix series focuses on a contest between 456 players who compete in a series of children's games with life or death consequences. The winner of Squid Game receives 45.6 billion won in prize money, enough to pay off anyone's substantial debt and change their life forever.

The final round of the competition sees Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) and Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo), the only players to make it to game 6, play Squid Game, a pastime from their shared childhood. The game is played on a squid-shaped grid drawn on the ground, and requires one player to act as offense and the other defense. The offensive player begins outside the squid and has to hop on one leg until he is able to cross the squid's neck. After that, he has to start at the bottom of the shape and try to make it past the defense to the squid's head, but if the defense pushes him outside the grid, the offense dies.

Related: Squid Game: Why The Front Man Shot [SPOILER]

The sixth game was revealed early in Squid Game (and is hinted at by the show's title) — but is noticeably different from the previous five because it isn't a contest of skill or luck like the others. The game inevitably devolves into a fistfight that would clearly favor a player who is stronger or better at brawling. In a way, it violates the whole egalitarian premise of Squid Game that the supervisors claim to value.

All of the previous games in the competition could be won with either luck or strategy. When a player is caught cheating, the Front Man (Lee Byung-hun) attests that the staunchly upheld principles of the game are based on equal opportunity. Even tug of war, a seemingly strength-based contest, could be swayed by superior design, as explained by Squid Game episode 4, "Stick to the Team," in which 001 (Oh Yeong-su) and Sang-woo use strategies to help their group beat a stronger opponent. While game 6 could be somewhat affected by strategy, like when Gi-hun throws dirt in Sang-woo's face to get across the squid's neck, a physical fight seems inevitable. The bout that audiences see is relatively even given that the two remaining contestants are both similarly-aged men in decent health, but the game has far too much room for a completely unfair fight. For example, if the two contestants to reach the final round had been 001, a feeble old man, and 101 (Heo Sung-tae), a notoriously scrappy gangster, the notion of equality would be utterly farcical.

Using Squid Game, a real-life game in Korea, as the final contest in the show does serve some important plot points by bringing Gi-hun and Sang-woo's relationship full circle. It creates a nice parallel between their childhood innocence and their current state of moral depravity, and likely contributes to Sang-woo's final decision — but the game just doesn't fit with the principles of the competition. Perhaps this is even intentional to convey the deeply flawed moral compass of those who run the games, but it certainly shatters the premise of equality that's so prevalent in Squid Game.

Next: Who Are Squid Game's VIPs? Every Actor

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