Today will be talking about episode seven of the first season of the Netflix show squid game.
That episode starts with them cleaning up from the last game. The ‘front man’ asks on the radio about the intruder (Joon-Ho), the security guard replies that they are still searching for him. And then the camera shifts to show the front man checking out his classy Casio watch, and then sighs, that the VIPs will be there soon.
Then the scene changes to the players returning to the gymnasium in which they sleep. Upon their return they notice that player 212 has survived too. She was simply taken back to the dorm to wait for the next round. Going into the fifth round though there’s 17 players left, for a grand total of 43.9 billion won. The dynamic between player 212 and her ex-partner player 101, seems to be like a toxic version of romeo and Juliet, mixed in with common middle-school insults about popularity, and referencing rules from ‘the old days’, referring to when they were younger. Underlining that psychologically, these people are still children, and no amount of violence has matured them.
Then the scene changes, this time to the ‘front man’ in a backroom answering very retro phone, which is interested considering how high-tech everything else is. Before picking up the phone, the ‘front man’ notices something out of place, then answers the phone from someone who seems to be his superior. They speak shortly about the next steps in ‘the game’ in a very professional manner, the host is also referred to as being subordinate to whoever the front man is talking to on the phone (the superior), and that they are awaiting the arrival of the VIPs.
It is interesting to note the level of both discipline as well as customer service based approaches which are very heavily rules based.
The front man hangs up the phone and begins searching for the intruder. Traveling down a hallway of doors and checking each one, while calling out various threats to the unseen intruder.
Eventually the front man enters what appears to be a basement where there are shelves of records, much more akin to an evidence locker than the record keeping of organized crime. It so happens that the intruder is also hiding in that room, and points a gun at the front man without him noticing, as the intruder is hiding behind some shelves. Then the front man’s attention is called to his radio, which informs him that a body has been found, and the front man goes to the northern coast of the island to identify the body. Before leaving, the frontman looks at some document folders with the dates 2000 and 2001 on them. It could be referencing the asian dot-com crash, or something worse. And then leaves. The scene ends with a relived intruder couching in a corner as the front man walks away.
Then the scene changes back to the gymnasium, where the players seems to be eating food, mostly raw potatoes and conversing.
The is a scene change to the northern part of the island, and the pinkies (guards) show a body to the front man, which has the ID of the intruder. It is unclear if the front man believes this is the body of the intruder or not. The front man is then informed that the VIPs have arrived, so he orders the body incinerated.
the scene changes back to the gymnasium.
the husband (069) attempts to start a vote to end the game, the first vote call since episode two. His plea to get nine of the remaining 16 players to vote in favor of ending the game doesn’t get that far as Sang-woo berates and shuts him down.
Sang-woo also reveals a certain logical brutality. While everyone’s shaken after losing their closest allies, he remains cold and calculated. He tells Gi-hun that Il-nam (001) was just some old man, compared to the husband who eliminated his own wife. When the husband calls to end the game and calls the prize blood money, Sang-woo turns his words around and says the money is “the cost of everyone who died here.” He’s not going back to his old “shitty life” without something to show for what he’s done. Which is actually the sunk cost fallacy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost
Where the worst thing he can think of, is starting over with ‘nothing’(debt free but poor), which is considered worse than most probably loosing his life in the game, because of the small chance of the largest reward he can conceive of. Which ultimately only goes to show how he has devalued his own life, and by extension, the lives of everyone he interacts with, while pretending that is just competitiveness.
Then the sceene changes again to what appears to be a beach with a helicopter in the background, which shows the VIPs arriving, each wearing a reflective golden mask of a different animal.
The masks seem to either be references to “animal farm” by George Orwell, though later on there are other cultural references which seem more likely.
Then there is a scene change to an interior room, the front man approaches a person wearing a golden reflective animal mask of an owl while wearing a business suit, and the front man refers to him as the host. The camera pans to show him taking off his mask from behind, though his face is not revealed.
The sceene changes to an elevator opening and the VIPs walking out, lead by a person in a reflective gold mask of a lion, with a person wearing a reflective gold mask of a tiger on his left, and a man with a reflective golden mask of a water buffalow to his right. There are 3 more people behind them, one with deer antlers, but the other 2 masks are not clearly visible.
The front man introduces himself to the VIPs and welcomes them. The lion VIP asks where the host is, and the front man says he had urgent business to attend to. All 6 VIPs are visible now, the other 2 VIPs being an reflective golden eagle and a reflective golden bear. These masks seem to be references to the country of origin of the VIP. It’s a toss up if the water buffalo represents an African country, or Indian. They seem to act more Indian than the lion does. The deer VIP seems to be either eastern European or Canadian. ( Who is voting for a “reindeer games” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reindeer_Games reference ? ) Seeing several Asian tigers represented as a single one ? But I thought they were all about ensemble casts …
The scene changes back to the gymnasium, with player 244 reciting a christian hymn, which is emphasized several times in this episode, however it’s used much more in the way evangelicals would than the protestants which are more common in south korea, possibly a reference to the unification church. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unification_Church Either way, player 244 is the first person to ask for repentance for participating in ‘the game’.
The scene changes to the VIP lounge area. Where all the VIPs and their servants will view the games from. The room has several couches, each couch seems to be for a specific VIP and has silent servants of various interesting costumes which follow the theme of the area around the couch which seems to emphasize a certain geographical area that each animal mask represents, by presenting them as culturally distinct from eachother, despite all wearing similar business suits.
As the VIPs descend a staircase into the lounge area, the lion mask VIP exclaims that there is nothing like seeing things live, instead of via a screen. At which point, the tiger mask VIP starts yelling at one of the screens displaying the players in the gymnasium.
It depicts player 069 preparing to hang himself due to despair for being responsible for his wife death in the previous game. The 069 seems to represent a swinger couple that got in too deep. Who was just a bet that the Tiger VIP lost. When asked why he placed a bet on that particular person (not the couple) he replied that he simply liked the number.
At which point the front man asks everyone to place their bets.
Then the scene changes to a service hallway where several of the senior guards are seen carrying refreshments for the VIPs. One senior guard/servant goes alone down a hall way where he is confronted by the intruder, who changes from one of the pink guard outfits, to this senior guards outfit. Then seems to leave the now undressed senior guard, tied up and unconscious in a meat locker. The intruder now dressed as a senior guard, is shown starting a video recording on his cellphone, and sliding the phone up his sleeve, to denote that he was recording his journey through this compound.
The scene changes again, in the VIP lounge it shows the intruder carrying drinks to the VIPs and serving them. As he walks around the lounge the servants are comforting the VIPs in various ways, from fondling to pretending to be furniture, like a foot rest. None of them are naked per-se but they are wearing skin-tight costumes.
As the intruder serves the tiger VIP, the tiger VIP seems to show interest in the intruder, who is wearing the mask of a VIP guard.
Then the front man reveals the next game, which appears to be a pair of bridges in parallel connecting 2 platforms, and each platform is arranged like a chess set, but the bridges are covered with glass panels that are spaced far enough apart to prevent walking between them, and instead require jumping for the sake of the metaphor. A lot of western audiences who don’t understand metaphor, assume this is like a game of hopscotch. In my personal opinion the glass bridge represents the “glass cliff” phenomena. While that phenomena is commonly portrayed as only effecting women, here is it portrayed as effecting all minorities, not just women. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/glass-cliff.asp
Then the scene changes back to the VIP lounge which shows the VIPs enjoying themselves in the pre-show to the game, making new bets on a fairly random basis and in the background the intruder is shown, still wearing the mask of a VIP guard, with the cellphone camera poking out of his sleeve and slowly panning over the room, recording the whole scene.
Then the scene changes to the remaining players arriving in the empty selection room, where they have to choose between vests numbered one through 16. At first, it’s a blind grab, with the initial rush of players, including Deok-su and player 212 drawn toward the middle numbers.
At this point there is a lot of internal dialogue of the players mostly assuming completely arbitrarily what the numbers mean which is supposed to portray the internal game theory of the players, but from my perspective is trying harder to potrary the players as superstitious pigeons. https://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Skinner/Pigeon/
this difference, is the difference between the players being rational predicable players, and being irrational idiots with the veneer of science by mistaking popculture for actual scientific study of game theory, and understanding confounding conditions like the WEIRD problem. https://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~henrich/pdfs/WeirdPeople.pdf
but hey, idiots who think they know game theory is a game in of itself. All I am saying is that the research using the pidgeon model is sometimes more accurate that the self-reported trolling that is more typical of most psychology ‘research’ and I feel that putting the bottom bar for intelligence at pigeon level for this religion is setting the bar at a reasonable level. On the plus side, that is the ignorant form of idiocy which can be remedied and not the stupid side which is often too dumb to learn. The distinction is elaborated on further in the principals of human stupidity.
The Front Man then reveals that the numbers are the order of play. Which completely changes the rationale of the players. Which seems to emphasize how fleeting their beliefs tend to be. But at the same time, building the emotional tension as they spend a lot of time thinking intensely about these seemingly minor and arbitrary choices.
Then number 096 starts to have a conversation with player 001, where he seems to confess that he participated in the game because he felt like it was the only way for him to assert control in his own life because he has historically been a coward, and now wants to trade with 001 to build his confidence for the next game and trade numbered vests, as this gave him a sense of control over his own life.
Once the numbers are chosen, the players are ushered into the next room, revealing a bridge made of 18 pairs of tiles made of glass, the camera zoom from the VIP lounge to an opening curtain which reveals the adjacent room, which is the room with the glass bridge suspended roughly 60m above the ground.
The room is lit with bright lights and the theme appears almost to be a cross between a trapeze show at a big tent circus, and a casino.
The front man announces the rules of the game to the players, that they will have 15minues to cross to the other side, and have to guess which panes of glass are regular glass that would break under their weight, or tempered glass which would be able to support the weight of the player.
It is at that point that player 096 realizes he was not listening when the front man said the significance of the numbers they chose were.
The scene changes back to the VIP lounge, where the tiger VIP curses 096 and then yells for another drink, the intruder, who is holding a tray of drinks, is too transfixed by the players and the game to notice, until the tiger VIP yells more insistently, one the intruder notices and brings the tiger VIP his drink, the tiger VIP feels slighted and demands the intruder sit next to him.
The scene changes back to the players, 096 take off his shoes and begins contemplating which glass tile to place his weight upon. His first guess is correct and he lands on a tempered glass tile. He then makes a second jump, but it’s a regular glass tile and player 096 falls to his death.
These scene seems to have many layers of metaphors, but if the assumption is made that the glass tiles represent the glass cliff in business, then these steeping on the tiles, might be a reference to another popular netflix show “American factory” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Factory
and so not only represents the cultural differences of the relationship between factory owner and worker in these different cultures, but also how the process of acquiring companies which are in a glass cliff scenario, which is to say, companies that are failing competitively in the market. And each ‘player’ here, is dumping their entire life worth and value on this large number of companies, some of which have solid foundations, and other companies which are more like castles of glass, as they attempt to cross the bridge and escape from one economic system, to another.
I feel like that is the primary reason that the players seem to be cartel members, but also small business owners with massive debts who would not normally be a violent person.
Whereas the animal farm masks representing the black market outposts of various state backed agencies are also in many ways portrayed as the captains of industry of their countries of origin, and you don’t see multiple of the same masks, it’s very hierarchical in the same way as animal farm, with rules that even the most ruthless follow instead of like organized crime trying to enforce their demands through wanton violence, this is all very highly structured with huge ranks of highly disciplined employees who could not be mistaken for common criminals. Aside from the elaborate reindeer games.
Although a different way of looking at that, is how maybe the south Koreans felt after the CCP stole their IP and than used https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/dumping.asp to squeeze them out of the market in their bid to take control over the entire electronics supply chain, after they had done something similar to the Japanese with solar panels. So it may not have anything to do with the US at all, but a representation of what south Korea’s elite went through when trying to compete by outsourcing to china and trying to find partners that were not a fraud scheme, which is elaborated on in the movie the china hustle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Hustle
but is mostly obvious from problems on popular Chinese Ecommerce platforms, often with ali in the name because of that middle eastern oil money was their primary investors.
Getting back to the glass bridge scene, the closeups of the players faces portrays them not as criminals participating in crime, but as desperate small business owners, using the rationale of small business owners, and not the rationale of criminals, which is mostly only displayed by 3 characters.
As each player grapples with the dilemma of deciding which platform is safe to jump to, it’s the first time we start to see gender equality in the failures, as several of the players who get closeups, look like old ladies who play Mahjong in their free time (or sudoku if they are in the west.) , and not career criminals.
The scene changes to the floor of the bridge room, and zooms out from a very graphic depiction of one of the old ladies, with her head smashed open on the floor and brains pouring out. While this is a bit morbid, it seems to be a reference to loosing her mind, or put another way, brain drain which is effectively the death knell of any developed economy.
or I am just making random connections stream-of-consciousness style for the lulz. (complaints about this joke can be sent to the user bariel at the domain highsec.lol because customer service is important to us in conveying a professional image to our constituents.)
Either way, this is entertaining isn’t it?
Back to the room with the glass bridge, players 001 and 218 start discussing that the slow and timid rate at which the other players are proceeding, may result in their deaths by running out of time.
The camera pans over the bridge, showing several broken glass panels, with the bodies of the fallen on the floor in the background, and the remaining players are standing a line like frogger, about half way across the expanse.
The camera swoops to the front of the line, where players 244 and 151 get into an argument.
Player 244 gets down on his knees and starts praying. 151 is confused by this and starts telling 244 to proceed. Player 244 seems to make his peace with the lord by claiming that they are all going to hell anyway, which is a very evangelical. 151 attempts to push 244, and 244 does a hip throw, redirecting 151 into the glass pane in front of himself, the using 151’s fall from grace to save himself.
244 thanks god, but then is pushed from behind by player 407, who seems to be portrayed like as much of a coward as possible. Who is followed by Cartel member player 101. One of the few players that is portrayed as a criminal instead of as a small business owner. It does make sense that both groups are trying to escape via foreign business acquisition.
The camera zooms to player 001, who is the last to jump on to the glass cliffs, and surveys the carnage below of previous players that fell from the glass tiles.
The camera changes back to the front of the line, where cowardly 407 has managed to make a correct choice and advanced down the bridge with player 101 close behind. Player 407 starts to loose his cool and stall before making the next choice, and player 101 is initially supportive, at which point player 407 explains that he is the Chinese owner from American factory! Just kidding, player 407 suggests that he is tan engineer from a glass making factory, and can visually tell the difference between tempered and non-tempered glass due to the shift in refractive index along the stress lines that normally form in tempered glass during the formation process, which is only visible from extreme angles. Which may be the secret to his success thus far in the acquisition game.
But his next choice is incorrect and he falls through the glass cliff to his death. This puts player 101 at the font of the line. But they are only half way across the bridge and there is only six and a half minutes remaining in the game.
The camera shows the other players catching up to player 101, frogger style. Player 101 turns around and starts bargaining with the other players, demanding that someone else go in his place.
The camera zooms out and into the VIP lounge.
Where the tiger VIP starts to demand that the intruder remove his make, as the tiger VIP tries to complement the intruder and make sexual advances on the intruder.
The intruder finally relents, but requests to only take off his make in private instead of infront of the other VIPs. To which the tiger VIP agrees. And announces his intent to get some privacy with the still masked intruder.
The scene changes back to the glass bridge, player 101 is arguing with player 322, player 101 wants player 322 to go in his place, 322 declines and complains about the rules, while gangster player 101 laughs at him about “the rules”. Then player 322 threatens to push player 101, which enrages player 101, who starts goading playing 322 to push him.
The camera shows the clock counting down with only 5 minutes remaining.
Then the scene changes to a private room with tiger VIP and the intruder, tiger VIP takes off the mask of the intruder and compliments him and also dangles the reward of changing the intruders life for the cost of a sexual favor, in 5 minutes. The intruder draws a gun on the tiger VIP and turns the tables. The intruder unmasks a now naked tiger VIP, which appears to surprisingly be an old white guy. and starts recording the now unmasked tiger VIP in describing the inner workings of ‘the game’. I was expecting asian guy but maybe this is more like the arrangement with the Italian mob. The extensive use of figureheads.
The scene changes back to the bridge room, the clock shows only 4:45 minutes remaining.
Meanwhile player 322 yells at player 101, and then is pushed from behind into player 101, who pushes player 322 off to the side, except it is away from the glass bridge, and so that life was wasted without being used to discover which of the next glass panels was tempered.
Player 101 slowly looks up from the next body to hit the floor, and as he looks upward, he noticed the next person in line, the person who pushed player 322, is player 212 who seems to be another cartel member who is also the ex-partner of player 101. There is tense reminiscing between them where player 212 claims disgust with previous relations with player 101, and then picks up the romeo and Juliet foreshadowing from the beginning of the episode, and as player 212 is crossing in front of player 101, she latches on to player 101 in a bear hug, and starts threatening him, player 101 pleads in return and offers to go first, but player 212 has made up her mind and after taunting player 101, pulls on player 101
and drags him down with her to test the next glass panel, which breaks, sending them both to their deaths with their arms around each other, which is somehow more romantic than what happened to player 069 and his wife. At least in the west anyway, it’s what makes them WEIRD.
Then the scene changes back to the VIP lounge, the chess pices representing those two players are knocked off the model of the bridge which is used as a score board, and the waterbuffalo VIP proclaims “now there is a poetic ending for those two” The lion VIP incorrectly states that the waterbuffalo VIP is referring to shakespear, and the eagle VIP corrects them both and claims “it’s Congreve, William Congreve.” while staring through binoculars at the arena.
The front man notices that the tiger VIP has been missing for a while and tells the other guards to search for him.
The scene changes back to the players crossing the glass bridge, the clock reads two and a half minutes remaining. Player 017 starts inspecting the panels, and then makes a confident jump to the next glass panel and starts crouching looking at the next panel at an extreme angle.
The scene changes back to the VIP lounge, where the VIPs start to question if player 017 really can tell the glass panels apart, since the last person was lying about that. But then they look up player 017’s record and he did indeed work in glass manufacturing, maybe this was the American factory reference and not the previous one ?
The lion VIP says that indeed player 017 might have the ability to see something, and then the front man interjects that he might be able examining for the refraction of the light, and then switches off the lighting at the end of the bridge, to remove the light reflections which can be used to measure refraction.
The scene changes back to the players, they are only 2 panels from the safety of the other side of the bridge. Looking for the light refraction, when the lights suddenly go dark.
The scene changes back to the VIP lounge where the lion VIP exclaims “that seems to have done the trick”.
The scene changes to a view of the clock counting down, there is only one and a quarter minutes left.
Then the scene changes again, to the back room where the tiger VIP and the intruder were last seen.
One of the pinky guards enters the room and find the tiger VIP unconscious.
The pinky notifies the front man of the events. Which causes the front man to angrily sigh and leave the VIP lounge. The camera zooms back to the model of the glass bridge where all the remaining players are represented by knight chess pieces. Only 4 remaining, with 1 minute left on the clock.
The scene changes back to player 017, who starts asking the other players for object to throw, to try and determine the difference in sound that the glass panels make when struck by a hard object. Player 001 gives them the marble he had from the previous game.
Then he asks for another item to throw, but no one has anything else.
The scene changes to the front man entering a room, and then going to what appears to be almost like a fire escape, at the bottom of the fire escape is the intruder without his mask, it is unclear if the front man can see his face. But instead of attempting to follow the intruder down a very long and narrow fire escape which would be at least a 5minute climb down, the front man seems to go somewhere else.
The scene changes back to the bridge room, the clock shows only twenty seconds remaining.
Player 017 is still agonizing over which glass cliff to step on, and player 218 sneaks up behind him and pushes him on to the glass cliff in front of himself, which breaks, sending player 017, the only player thus far who is shown to have engineering level skills, also very unlike a criminal.
Player 218 takes a second to look at the corpse of the person he just killed, and then jumps on the correct glass tile, and to the safety of the other side, with the other 2 remaining players close behind.
However, landing on the other side with only a second to spare, the glass bridge is detonated, sending shards of glass flying in every direction, including injuring some of the players who had made it safely to the other side.
When you consider how rough they are with the covid testing, this did seem very reminiscent of how the recent sanctions due to the war in ukraine as experienced by budding globalists.
The scene changes to the intruder, who seems to be swimming under water and off into the sunset with the evidence.
This is the steam of consciousness that was communicated to me, by the netflix AI and with Karens’ help, while watching Episode 7 of the first season of squid game. That is why I find neo-Buddhism to be so compelling.