Squid Game season 1, episode 6 recap – “Gganbu”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: September 17, 2021
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Squid Game season 1, episode 6 recap - "Gganbu"


“Gganbu” turns the emotion way up to brutally poignant effect, as several characters are eliminated.

This recap of Squid Game season 1, episode 6, “Gganbu”, contains spoilers.

“Gganbu” wastes little time. The next game is ready to start. After covering up 001’s trousers for the sake of his dignity, Gi-hun heads up the multicolored staircase with everyone else to find 111 and the various corrupt staffers hung on display, a voice informing them all that the playing field has been leveled once more. Geok-su isn’t thrilled to hear this, of course, but it reinforces the ideology behind the Squid Games. This is, in a weird way, about fairness, something most of the players have never experienced.

Squid Game season 1, episode 6 recap

There’s also the matter of the VIPs that are due to arrive, and whoever is in charge of the Frontman. Jun-ho overhears a phone call during which he assures his superior that everything is moving according to schedule, but it’s clear that the Frontman has responsibilities to a much more powerful and dangerous figure. As for the VIPs, what are we thinking? Rich people wanting to watch the poor be tortured and killed for their own amusement? It’s usually that.

Anyway, the fourth game requires teams of two. This causes even more sexism, but also a fair amount of discord since nobody wants to team up with anyone they perceive to be weak. Sang-woo proposes teaming up with Ali, leaving Gi-hun out in the cold a bit. Sae-byeok teams up with 240 and in a lovely moment, Gi-hun pledges himself to 001. That leaves Mi-Nyeo without a partner, and she’s dragged away by the guards.

The game looks like it’s going to be marbles, which 001 says he was pretty good at in his youth. He says that he and Gi-hun are now gganbu, the neighborhood best friend who they trusted the most. They’re both excited — until the twist is revealed. The partners have to play against each other, and the first one to remove all of their opponent’s marbles wins. This is a major problem for almost everyone; Sang-woo and Ali (who has never played before), and the husband and wife duo, especially. At least the contestants get to pick which game they play.

Sae-byeok and 240 agree to just do one all or nothing bet at the very end and talk in the meantime. Sang-woo and Ali play odds and evens, even though the latter doesn’t know what odds and evens are and wants to stop. And 001 goes a bit loopy, roaming through the simulated neighborhood as though it’s his own. Of everyone, it seems like only Sae-Byeok and 240 have things together. Gi-hun quickly loses it with 001 and Sang-woo flips out on Ali when he keeps winning. Gi-hun finally gets 001 to play — odds and evens again — and quickly finds himself with a lone remaining marble. Before long, the gunshots start ringing out.

Sae-Byeok and 240 sharing details of their backstories, Gi-hun playing with 001, and Sang-woo talking Ali into an alliance, all form the meat of the drama here (Deok-su also wins his game entirely by chance). Sang-woo’s plan for both him and Ali to win together strikes a worrying note of the former trying to betray the latter, and it quickly becomes apparent that 001 is planning a particularly long assisted suicide — well, more likely he just doesn’t have enough of his faculties remaining to play properly, which Di-hun tearfully recognizes. 240 finally reveals her name is Ji-yeong as she and Sae-byeok prepare to determine the winner and loser of their game by seeing who can throw one marble closest to the wall.

In a flurry of scenes, Sang-woo, having tricked Ali into giving up his marbles, takes them to the guard. Just when it seems like 001 is out of marbles — Gi-hun can’t bring himself to loan him a marble, instead accepting what he perceives to be a victory — he pulls another out of his pocket and wanders off, much to Di-hun’s distress. And Ji-yeong essentially sacrifices herself for Sae-byeok by dropping the marble at her feet, revealing that she has no reason to win, whereas Sae-byeok still has family in North Korea. It’s an emotional moment flanked on all sides by other emotional moments. Ji-yeong is shot dead. Ali, discovering that the “marbles” in his bag are pebbles slipped in there by Sang-woo, is shot dead. And 001 finally finds his “home” in the fabricated neighborhood. He proposes that he and Gi-hun make one last all-or-nothing bet, revealing that he knew Gi-hun was tricking him into taking his marbles the whole time. 001 gives Gi-hun his remaining marble, reminding him that they’re gganbu, and gganbu share everything. He’s happy to go out like this, having had one last good time and made a true friend. He holds Gi-hun as he sobs, and when he finally walks away, 001 remembers his name: Oh Il-nam.

You can stream Squid Game season 1, episode 6 exclusively on Netflix.

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