With ‘Squid Game,’ writer-director Dong-hyuk Hwang has created one of the survival game subgenres’ most violent and entertaining explorations. The story revolves around 456 contestants who take part in a deadly game to win the ₩45.6 billion (US$38.5 million) prize money. The protagonist, Seong Gi-hun or Ki-hoon or No. 456 (Jung-jae Lee), meets an old man or No. 001 (Yeong-su Oh) at the start of the Game. As the Game progresses, a deep bond seems to develop between them. However, as with every other connection, this almost father-son relationship is tested when the two of them are pitted against each other. If you are wondering whether the elderly gentleman dies in ‘Squid Game,’ we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Does the Old Man Die in Squid Game?
Yes, the old man dies in the ‘Squid Game. The audience is introduced to the elderly gentleman at the same time as the protagonist. It is revealed that he has a brain tumor. When Gi-hun criticizes him for participating in the Game and not staying at his home, eating the food that his daughter-in-law prepares, and enjoying the company of his grandchildren, the other man retorts by asking Gi-hun whether his parents get to do all that.
Player 1 quickly establishes himself as a resourceful player. He is the first one to cross the line in the Red Light, Green Light game. Ultimately, his vote also decides whether the contestants will get to go home or not after the first game. Outside, Gi-run runs into Player 1, who tells him that he is currently staying with a friend in the neighborhood as he has nowhere else to go. As they share drinks on a particularly rainy evening, Player 1 reveals that he is going back to the Game as he doesn’t have much time left anyway.
Gi-hun and most of the others also come back. After the Sugar Honeycombs game, Player 1 compliments Gi-hun for his method, which apparently the former copied and successfully finished the game. Before Tug-of-War, Gi-hun recruits Player 1 for the team, much to the dismay of Cho Sang-woo or No. 218. However, Player 1’s suggestion proves to be pivotal in the team’s victory in that round.
Even Gi-hun becomes reluctant to partner with Player 1 for the 4th game, but eventually, after presuming that Player 1 will be killed if he isn’t in a team, Gi-hun picks him. The 4th game turns out to be the Marbles, in which they are forced to compete against each other. Gi-hun learns that the old man’s name is Oh Il-nam. As Player 1 starts to show signs of dementia, GI-hun tricks him and wins the game. As he leaves, a gunshot is heard, making him presume that Il-nam is dead.
However, in the season finale, after Gi-hun has won the Game and spent a year living as he used to, he receives a card with similar markings as before. He goes to the address printed on it and finds Il-nam, bedridden and weak but not dead. Gi-hun soon learns that Il-nam created the game so he and his uber-wealthy clients can use it to bet against each other. He told the truth when he said he was dying and wanted to participate in his own creation.
Il-nam makes one last bet with Gi-hun. Pointing at a man in the street outside in winter, he tells Gi-hun that no one will come to save the man before midnight. He wants to show Gi-hun that humanity doesn’t exist beyond pretension. But someone does help the man outside. As Gi-hun turns to point it out to him, Il-nam has already died. Despite this, the Game continues, with In-ho, the Front Man, in charge of it.
Read More: Is Squid Game a True Story?