‘The Victims’ Game‘ is a Taiwanese murder mystery series that makes viewers rack their heads along with the characters. It consistently outsmarts the audience, making it one of the more engaging and twisty series in recent times. Additionally, ‘The Victims’ Game’ employs a well-crafted narrative structure that takes time to reveal itself but blends in with the case of the serial deaths seamlessly. While the show is definitely not for the faint-hearted, it does end on a rather positive note, which is probably the biggest surprise of this shock-filled story. The world that ‘The Victims’ Game’ paints is so unsettlingly dark that a hopeful ending feels uncharacteristic but extremely powerful due to the very unexpectedness of it.
The Victims’ Game Plot Summary
‘The Victims’ Game’ begins with the discovery of a dead body in a bathtub filled with piranha solution. A Pinglin City police captain, Cheng-Kuan, is made to head the investigation. A man with Asperger’s syndrome, named Fang Yi-Jen is the brightest forensic scientist working for the police who is especially interested in the case since his estranged daughter, Hsiao-Meng, is involved. A reporter named Hsu Hai-Yin also starts to cover the case passionately.
At first, the body in the bathtub is suspected to be of a singer named Su Ko-Yun but later turns out to belong to a cross-dressing transgender person named Yu Cheng-Hao. Then, a salesman named Chang Tsung-Chien is found dead inside a famous wood sculptor’s warehouse. Then, the sculptor’s blind twin is found dead in a river, but his body is mistaken for that a certain Liu Kuang-Yung first.
Eventually, it is revealed that the deaths are a part of an orchestrated “suicide chain” organized by a woman named Li Ya-Chun. Hsiao-Meng is also revealed to be a pivotal member of the group and almost commits suicide as well. Luckily, she gets saved and reconnects with her father, Fang Yi-Jen.
The ending of ‘The Victims’ Game’ turns out to be surprisingly positive. The final few minutes of the episode are set two years after the events of the suicide chain. Yi-Jen has become a lecturer. Cheng-Kuan seeks Yi-Jen’s help for a case. Then, Yi-Jen goes to pick Hsiao-Meng, who is being released from juvenile prison. Hai-Yin gives him a lift to the prison.
It is raining, but Yi-Jen steps out of the car, not caring about the rain. Hsiao-Meng gets out of the prison with an umbrella. She extends the umbrella to her father. The series ends with the flashback frame of Yi-Jen, his wife, and a baby Hsiao-Meng near the cliff.
The Ending Explained
‘The Victims’ Game’ ends on a poetically satisfactory note, with ample closure provided to viewers and not a single loose or open-end left out. The most impactful scene towards the end of the episode is certainly the one where Hsiao-Meng extends the umbrella to her father. This scene harkens back to the poem that Chou-Yang writes for Li Ya-Chun: “In the dark, the rain keeps falling. There’s only loneliness, only despair. But your hands are like an umbrella. They hold the sky up high.”
The scene signifies how lending a helping hand is often the only thing that one needs. The entire show depicts various characters suffering from emotional trauma and loneliness. In fact, Li Ya-Chun is able to exploit this loneliness to make people participate in the suicide chan. Hai-Yin tells Ya-Chun how her (Hai-Yin’s) method involves making people live and be hopeful. She says how living often requires more courage.
Li Ya-Chun convinces members of the suicide chain that they are helping others by completing others’ last wishes before dying. However, the umbrella scene signifies how it is more beneficial to lend a helping hand by being there for those who are lonely as opposed to convincing them that death is the only way out. Hai-Yin tells Ya-Chun that she would not be in this place (prison) if she hadn’t killed Chou Yang, assuming that that is what he truly wanted. Ya-Chun is depicted to be a character who is described as “almost insane and yet still rational.”
Hence, the ending connotes and reiterates what Hai-Yin tells Ya-Chun. It re-establishes how every victim of the suicide chain could have been saved if they were given some hope. Each one of them could have been saved if someone had extended an “umbrella” or a helping hand. That is the reason the title of the final episode is “umbrella.”
Apart from that, several viewers would also be wondering what the flashback scene at the cliff connotes. That scene connotes the last wish of Yi-Jen’s ex-wife and Hsiao-Meng’s mother. She had wanted to go the cliff since that is where she had promised Yi-Jen to continue trying to maintain their rough relationship. Clearly, Yi-Jen was nowhere close to being a good father. However, at that moment, he had shown a tiny sliver of hope that he could be one. That small ray of hope is what had given Hsiao-Meng’s mother and Yi-Jen’s ex-wife enough of a reason to continue battling cancer. That tiny ray of hope is what had saved Hsiao-Meng’s life. That tiny ray of hope is what Yi-Jen would now work to turn into a warm, shiny day: saving both his life and that of Hsiao-Meng so that neither of them has to ever feel lonely.
The Suicide Chain Explained
The “suicide chain” is definitely one of the most compelling and jaw-dropping serial “murder” premises that one will see. It is certainly one of the most unique ones. The way the “suicide chain” unfolds, however, is even more impressive as the show is paced craftily. Yet, a lot happens over the course of the series’ eight episodes. Here is a summary:
Well, the series of murders are orchestrated by Li Yu-Chan. She meets Hsiao-Meng when her mother is in the hospital, battling cancer. She convinces Hsiao-Meng to let her mother die instead of letting her suffer during treatment. This leads to Hsiao-Meng pulling the plug from her mother’s life-support. Together, they meet multiple people who want to commit suicide at a suicide prevention group. Then, they convince these people to commit suicide and make their deaths meaningful by fulfilling the last wish of another person in the group who would commit suicide next. Hsiao-Meng is also doing this to get attention from her father.
The first person that dies is Yu Cheng-Hao. They is a transgender person who identifies as a woman but is born male. However, they yearns for acceptance. They injects fentanyl in their body and steps in a bathtub with polythene bottles containing piranha solution. After the fentanyl kills them, the piranha solution dissolves the polythene bottles. The solution is released in the bathtub, dissolving Cheng-Hao’s body. However, Cheng-Hao has dressed up as Ko-Yun. Their death fulfills Ko-Yun’s wish of releasing a popular album since her album’s cover is her in a bathtub. Their death also fulfills their wish since they have always identified as a woman and dies in female attire.
Su Ko-Yun commits suicide next using fentanyl. She also lights herself on fire at an under-construction company. Her death fulfills the last wish of Chang Tsung-Chien, who is a salesman for the construction company whose building Ko-Yun dies in. Tsung-Chien is an overworked employee who wants to expose his company’s unfair treatment of its employees.
Tsung-Chien dies using fentanyl at the warehouse of a famous wood sculptor. This wood sculptor has been selling his blind twin, Chuang Ping-Jung’s artwork, under his name. Tsung-Chien’s death fulfills the last wish of Ping-Jung, who wants to expose his brother. Ping-Jung’s death makes Hai-Yin interested in the sculptor, which leads her to investigate him and eventually publish a story about him selling his brother’s sculptures as his own.
Then, Ping-Jung dies by injecting fentanyl and then jumping into a river. However, his body gets identified as that of a man named Liu Kuang-Yung at first. This is in accordance with their plan. Liu Kuang-Yung had killed a man several years ago. He feels extremely guilty for ruining the life of the man he killed’s daughter. He wants to give closure to that man’s daughter by killing himself. Hence, Ping-Jung, being identified as Kuang-Yung, helps fulfill Kuang-Yung’s last wish. Kuang-Yung fails to commit suicide according to the original plan. However, Li Ya-Chun enters his hospital room and injects fentanyl in his drip to kill him.
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