14. Byeong-Gi’s attempt to escape after a business deal goes wrong leads to his demise.
Contestant 218, Byeong-Gi, was a doctor who used his expertise to try and get ahead in the death game. When we are first introduced to him, we learned that some of the face-less guards are giving him secrets for the game in exchange for him harvesting organs for them to sell on the side.
In the fifth episode, this business deal goes awry when the guards fail to give him information for the next set of games so he goes on a rampage, killing a few guards and trying to escape. Eventually, he was caught up with by the Frontman (Lee Byung-hun), the mastermind of the games, who kills him mercilessly. We last saw his dead body and the bodies of the guards who worked with him hung in the center of the staircase in the next episode.
13. Deok-su’s constant betrayal led to his death at the hands of Han Mi-nyeo.
While there may be some Deok-su fans, it was kind of clear from the start that he would be punished for his crimes against the other contestants. From using his thug attitude to kill people during challenges to being the first to kill a contestant outside of a game, if any contestant deserves to die it would be Deok-su.
Han Mi-nyeo, who originally courted Deok-su in the hopes he would protect her, grabs Deok-su during the glass challenge and throws them both to their deaths as revenge against Deok-su for leaving her to die.
12. Candidates No. 69 and No. 70 were paired together during the betrayal marbles game which led to the deaths of the married couple.
“Squid Game” really took all the humor out of naming one of their characters no. 69 when we discovered in episode 6, that he or his wife would have to betray each other so one of them can survive. Wracked with guilt after the death of his wife, no.69 did not wait for the next game and took his own life during the night.
11. Deok-su killed a member of his crew after they betrayed him to get a bounty.
Deok-su’s friend’s death was one of the few that happened outside the games. He betrayed Deok-su for a bounty on the thug’s head but doesn’t get the last laugh as Deok-su viciously stabbed him to death and then escaped from the men after him.
10. Il-nam’s fake death during the marbles game in episode six was an emotional scene.
Il-nam obviously died later from his cancer but his fake death was much more surprising than his real one. It was not completely clear whether he lost his memory at all or whether he only lost it in parts, but seeing Gi-hun take advantage of the old man was shocking to see.
This was then made worse and more emotional when Il-nam revealed that he knew Gi-hun was tricking him. Of course, after learning Il-nam’s true identity, most fans would probably want to take back their tears for him during this heart-breaking moment.
9. The glass round had multiple shocking deaths due to the fact that it was the only challenge left to chance rather than skill.
The glass hopping challenge was by far one of the most shocking of the games. Whilst the other challenges could be won by skill, intelligence, or strength, the glass round was pure luck of guessing which glass is stable and which glass will break immediately, leading to a long fall to your death.
The most shocking death of these was the glassmaker, who was able to see which glass was right until the end when the lights were switched off. Due to the time running out, Cho Sang-woo ruthlessly pushed the glassmaker into one of the glasses and, unfortunately, it was the wrong one.
Honorable mention goes to the person who tried to run across like it was an obstacle course game like “Takeshi’s Castle.” As you can tell, that plan did not work.
8. Abdul Ali’s trusting personality led to his downfall when Sang-woo left him for dead during the marbles game.
Abdul Ali, the extremely kind Pakistan immigrant, was one of the fan-favorites of the series, his death has been mourned the most by fans. We are first introduced to Ali by him saving the main character Gi-hun from certain death in the first game. He then bonded with Gi-hun, Sang-woo, and Il-num when they form a team, but was always clear that he was too nice for the death games.
Hence, when he died after being tricked by Sang-woo who he thought was a friend, it was not that surprising even if it was sad. We also know for multiple minutes before his death that Ali was going to die.
7. In episode 3, we learnt that the Frontman was ruthless even towards the guards.
During the first few episodes, there was a lot of mystery surrounding those running the games. Everyone from the leader to the guards was wearing masks hiding their identities.
Thus, it was a bit anti-climatic to find out they were ordinary people in episode 3 when one of them is de-masked by a contestant who refuses to die. The contestant was then killed but so was the guard despite the contestants who would have seen the guard’s identity already being dead. This showed early on how ruthless the Frontman was at making sure the games run smoothly.
6. Ji-yeong’s sacrificed herself after hearing Sae-byeok’s story in the marbles challenge.
Episode 6 was filled with many sad deaths from characters we had begun to get attached to. Ji-yeong, who was beginning to form a relationship, is arguably the saddest of these deaths.
She decided to talk to Kang Sae-byeok during most of the marbles challenge, rather than play games, making a deal to decide who wins at the last moment. After hearing her story, Ji-yeong sacrificed herself for Sae-byeok, which is even sadder considering Sae-byeok did not win the games so the sacrifice was for nothing.
The death was not completely surprising but she was the only one of the main characters we see being shot, which was brutal.
5. Cho Sang-woo sacrifices himself after sacrificing everything and everyone to get to the final.
Whilst the real villains were definitely the creators of the game making the contestants fight and kill each other for money, Sang-woo as a contestant would be a close second on the evil scale. Sang-woo was determined to win at all costs using multiple people as sacrificial lambs so he could proceed.
Hence it was surprising that after all that, and an intense battle of Squid Game, Sang-woo sacrifices himself so that Gi-hun could win the prize rather than allowing both of them to escape without anything.
3. Gi-hun’s mom died at home alone whilst Gi-hun was participating in the games.
After fighting for his life in six brutal challenges to raise money for his family, Gi-hun returned to find his mother had died from her illness alone in her house.
Whilst, we did not really know much about her, the death was incredibly surprising because it is a blow to Gi-hun’s efforts in the games. It is almost ironic that Gi-hun was finally getting something right only for his mother not to be there to see it.
2. The Red Light, Green Light game had the most kills out of all of the games.
All the deaths in the first game were highly surprising due to their suddenness and the quantity. More than half of the original 456 contestants died in Red Light, Green Light alone, leaving only 201 contestants. It went from normal to an absolute massacre in seconds.
It really woke the audience up to the brutality of these games. There will be no trickery or bargaining like in “The Hunger Games.” If you are unlucky you will die without a second chance.
1. Kang Sae-byeok is killed by Sang-woo after getting injured from the glass round.
Kang Sae-byeok has the most shocking death of the series especially since she makes it to the final three. Sae-byeok was one of the most moving members of the show and probably most deserving of the money. She was a North Korean defector who was trying to win the money to bring her mother out of North Korea and reunite her family including her younger brother.
Her death almost seems unfair because she was heavily injured by a shard of glass that hit her stomach after the glass challenge was completed. Any hope that she could win was ripped away when Sang-woo kills her while Gi-hun is distracted asking for help.
Sae-byeok is able to get Gi-hun to promise to look after her brother, but her death was still devastating especially because of its impact on Gi-hun who had begun to reconsider participating in the games.