Squid Game Ending Explained: What It Could All Mean

The workers in Squid Game.
(Image credit: Netflix)

Squid Game is rapidly ascending to become Netflix’s most-watch TV series, a title previously occupied by Bridgerton. It’s not hard to see why Squid Game has become this huge success. It’s a show that addresses important issues in a fantastically violent way, while not completely losing its soul and heart in the process. Squid Game is another Netflix series that has about 50 layers of things to explore, discuss, and analyze in every scene. However, for this post, we’ll be simply discussing the Squid Game ending. 

The Squid Game ending not-only crowned a winner but it set up the show for potential future seasons. Let’s take a look at the ending, what it all meant and where the series could be headed. Before we discuss the Squid Game ending, let’s quickly recap it.

Warning: Squid Game Spoilers ahead. 

Lee Jung-jae in Squid Game

(Image credit: Netflix)

What Happened At The End of Squid Game?

Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) and Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo) face off in the final match: a game of Squid Game. It becomes an all-out knock-out brawl that results in Gi-hun’s victory. Instead of taking the win and the money, he tries to end the game saving both men. However, Sang-woo commits suicide, allowing Gi-hun to win the grand prize.

Gi-hun returns home and discovers that his mother died while he was away. Time passes and Gi-hun continues living his life like before the games, ignoring the money. One day while on the beach, an elderly woman sells him a rose. With the rose comes a card with a date, time, and address. 

On that day, Gi-hun goes to that address and discovers that II-nam (Oh Yeong-su) is alive. He also reveals that he was the one who set up the games and joined because he wanted to play them. II-nam gets Gi-hun to make a bet about whether a homeless man will be ignored and freeze to death or be saved. The man is saved, but just as Gi-hun wins the bet, II-nam dies. 

Gi-hun decides to go to the United States of America to be with his daughter, but as he’s getting ready to board the flight, he sees the same man from the subway who first enticed him to play the games doing the same to another. He chases the man but he escapes, and then Gi-hun warns the other man not to play the games.

Gi-hun also takes the card and as he’s walking to board the plane, he decides to call the number. He then decides to turn around and not board the flight. He basically makes the decision to try to take down this organization.

Lee Jung-jae and O Yeong-su in Squid Game

(Image credit: Netflix)

How And Why Squid Game Broke Its Own Rules

Early on in Squid Game, the show makes the rules pretty clear and one of the show’s main rules is that everything is fair. Everyone is equal. The doctor, Byeong-gi (Yoo Sung-joo) is killed because he has an unfair advantage by working with the guards and learning the games ahead of time. The people who created these games want all of the contestants to have an equal opportunity to win these games, something they don’t have in the normal world. However, by II-nam playing, it automatically sets up an unfair advantage. 

Not only does II-nam know all the games ahead of time, but he’s in no real danger. The games are rigged to ensure that he survives. If you rewatch Squid Game after learning the twist, you can see instances where II-nam wouldn’t have had the same deadly fate as the others. 

I believe that Squid Game allows this rule break because it’s making a statement about the state of the world. In my opinion, people with wealth, especially those born with it, have an automatic advantage in this whole game of life. There are more stories of the cycle of poverty continuing than there are rags to riches tales. Sometimes it feels like life has cheat codes that are only given to the wealthy. 

This is what I believe Squid Game show creator Hwang Dong-hyuk wants to show with II-nam never really being a contestant. He represents the 1 percent (which could be why he’s 001) that will often have an advantage that makes it easier for them to succeed, survive, and win. Hwang has spoken about Squid Game being about capitalism and the competitiveness of society, including in his interview with Netflix (opens in new tab):

I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life.

Lee Jung-Jae in Squid Game

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Squid Game Final Battle: A Win For Humanity?

The final battle between Gi-hun and  Sang-woo ends in Sang-woo’s death, but despite the dark and deadly final battle, it ends on a semi-hopeful note. Sang-woo expresses regret about all that he has done to get to this moment. He also makes the decision to end his life so that Sang-woo can win. In that act, he chooses to sacrifice himself for another. 

Gi-hun has a similar moment of clarity when he decides to not finish the game. He wants to end the game, forfeit the money, allowing them both to live. Both these men choose to do what they see as the honorable solution. In an interview with The Korea Times, Hwang Dong-hyuk describes the series as a “story of losers.” He talks about how these people only succeed because of the help of others. This comes across when Sang-woo dies so that Gi-hun can win. This is why at the end, there is also no sense of victory because all these players had to die in order for one to win. Gi-hun still has humanity because he mourns these people instead of relishing in his new wealth. 

These messages come across even clearer with Gi-hun and II-nam’s bet. In the end, the homeless man is saved because there are still many people who care about other humans. 

Lee Jung-jae in Squid Game

(Image credit: Netfix)

How The Squid Game Ending Sets Up Potential Future Stories

The Squid Game ending opened the door for another season. One that likely involves Gi-hun trying to bring down the game makers. The season also ended with so many unanswered questions, including whether Jun-ho (Wi Ha-joon) somehow survived, and whether the cops got his evidence exposing the games. Whether Squid Game actually gets an additional season is yet to be determined. 

With Squid Game being such a big hit, we’re sure Netflix would love to renew the series but the fate of the show is in the hands of creator Hwang Dong-hyuk. He’s spoken about a potential Season 2 in multiple interviews and given different answers. In October 2021, he told The Times (opens in new tab) that he started thinking about Season 2 while working on Season 1.  One of the stories he was considering exploring in Season 2 was either about the police officers or about the Frontman (Lee Byung-hun). Hwang had this to say about the police in general.

I think the issue with police officers is not just an issue in Korea. I see it on the global news that the police force can be very late on acting on things — there are more victims or a situation gets worse because of them not acting fast enough. This was an issue that I wanted to raise. Maybe in season two I can talk about this more.

Hwang Dong-hyuk

In September 2021, Hwang told Variety that he had not really developed plans for Season 2. He said he found it tiring thinking about future seasons. Hwang also mentioned that he would consider using a writers room and various directors if he was going to create a Season 2. He also told The Korea Times that he couldn’t completely shut down the idea of Season 2 because so many love the series. 

However, he noted how draining it was to do all by himself, so he was concerned he could do it all himself again. 

I hope that eventually Squid Game will have another season, especially because so many aspects are left unanswered, and it’s one of the biggest Netflix TV shows ever, but, I think we'll probably have to wait a bit if it does end up happeing. Luckily, Netflix has other shows to watch while you wait. 

Squid Game is a series that many fans of the Netflix hit series won’t soon forget. It addresses some of the big issues facing people globally and triggers feelings of resistance, nostalgia, and hope. If it ever returns, Squid Game will once again have everyone talking and scared of giant dolls and marbles. 

Jerrica Tisdale
Freelance Writer

Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.