“A Fair World” shifts focus somewhat to the inner workings of the Squid Game, as Jun-ho finds himself amid a secret plot.
This recap of Squid Game season 1, episode 5, “A Fair World”, contains spoilers.
Predictably, the gambit that Sang-woo proposed in the cliff-hanger ending of the previous episode pays off, and Gi-hun’s team emerges victorious in Tug-of-War. But the real meat of the opening portions of “A Fair World” involves two of the game’s staffers, who’re working against the Frontman. One of them is, somewhat inadvertently, Jun-ho, who has assumed the number 29 and thus the off-books responsibilities of his predecessor.
Squid Game season 1, episode 5 recap
The teams assembled for Tug-of-War persist into the night, even though nobody particularly trusts anyone else. Gi-hun proposes creating a barricade before lights out, to give them cover should there be another nighttime attack. Deok-su is amused by this, but only until Gi-hun points out that he’d probably be the primary target of any violence, even amongst his own team. He decides to order everyone to take the night off, for his own sake, but Gi-hun and his team still decide to take turns keeping watch during the night.
Sang-woo and Ali share the first watch, as well as some sweetcorn, a nice moment, and some backstory. Ali has family back in Pakistan, and a wife and son in Korea, but no money, hence his choice to participate in the games. “Money” is everyone’s simple justification for being here. But things are a bit more complicated when it comes to the staff. The corrupt ones are feeding 111 information about the upcoming games in exchange for his help removing organs from the deceased players and shipping them to the mainland. It’s not exactly a cozy arrangement, though, and one doesn’t imagine it’ll last long, despite it being mutually beneficial.
On their watch, Gi-hun and 001 share some backstory too. Gi-hun especially recounts being laid off from his job making car parts, and the death of his co-worker. 001 gets a crippling headache, though, and severe fever, so Gi-hun is forced to tend to him. In the meantime, the guards continue to bicker, becoming suspicious of the disguised Jun-ho as he asks leading questions about their last delivery — questions he should know the answers to since the real Number 29 was present for it. They’re interrupted by 111 becoming increasingly frantic, though, and he only becomes more so when he finishes extracting the organs and is told that they don’t know what the next game is yet. 111 tries to hold one of the staffers hostage at scalpel-point, but he tries to take him down, resulting in 111 stabbing him to death and making an escape up the multicolored stairway, clearly visible on multiple security cameras.
At the same time, Jun-ho’s opposite number becomes suspicious of him and forces him to remove his mask, exposing himself as an imposter. Jun-ho gets the drop on him, though, and forces him to remove his own mask. He brings up “the zombie” they keep talking about, a man with one kidney who they beat to death. He assumes this was his brother, who also had one kidney, but the man tells him it was a woman they killed, and he can prove it with a list of the players and their medical records which is apparently kept in the Frontman’s room. Jun-ho executes him. Upstairs, the remaining guard catches up with 111 and removes his own mask in an effort to talk him down. They’re interrupted by the Frontman, who shoots the guard. He’s not particularly upset about him selling off the organs but breaking the equality of the game. This whole thing is designed to give the downtrodden a fair chance to fight and win. He executes the guard, and his men shoot 111 dead too.
While Jun-ho roots through the files, there’s a staff roll call, and it’s discovered that he’s missing. The players are all rounded up at gunpoint, including 001, who is bedbound and has wet himself in the night. Jun-ho finds records of the Squid Game dating all the way back to the ’80s, and finally some details of his brother, Hwang In-ho, number 132, who apparently won the game back in 2015.