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Why Did The Old Man Play In Squid Game?

The survival drama "Squid Game" has got a grip on Netflix users — and a majority of the internet, for that matter. Those who decided to watch the series thinking they were in for anything remotely lighthearted found themselves in for a gruesome surprise, as the show is anything but that. And in the wake of the Season 1 finale, numerous mysteries still remain unsolved.

"Squid Game" follows a character named Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), who decides to join a competition to win money in an attempt to pay off his gambling debts. Not long into the first game, Gi-hun learns that it's going to be much more intense than he thought — and this time, he's betting with his life. One of the first allies Gi-hun makes in "Squid Game" is an elderly man known as Player 001 (Oh Yeong-su). Gi-hun is understandably shocked to see such a frail-looking man taking part in the competition, and we soon learn that Player 001 has a terminal illness exacerbated by a brain tumor, and he decided to join the games rather than die of his illness.

If you've watched "Squid Game" already, you may have noticed the big clue early on that reveals a hidden truth about Player 001, and explains his reasons for playing in "Squid Game." There are many Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the series, and it's even more of a reason to give this incredible success story a second watch after you've gone through each episode.

If you haven't seen the finale, though, read on for a major spoiler about Player 001.

Player 001 isn't as innocent as we originally thought

Perhaps the biggest twist in the entire first season of "Squid Game" occurs in the very last episode, when Gi-hun realizes that Player 001 is still alive — a shock, after he was seemingly eliminated in the marble game. How could he possibly have survived a fatal gunshot and returned to shock all of us? As it turns out, Player 001 was protected all along, and he was right under our noses. He was one of the obscenely wealthy masterminds behind the entire competition. Player 001 and the rest of the cartel are the same puppet masters who decided to create the games as a source of entertainment.

Despite his deception about his involvement in the games, Player 001's reasons for joining remain pretty consistent throughout the show. As he originally tells his fellow competitors, he joined the competition for excitement, since his terminal illness means he doesn't have long to live. He wanted to experience the adrenaline rush of competing in the life-or-death games, even if he knew he had a major advantage over the other players. 

Not only that, but he wanted to experience the game as a player, because he'd been observing the twisted "festivities" for years as a VIP. In this manner, Player 001 had the perfect perspective, and one might go so far as to say the game could be rigged in his favor. With all the time he spent watching from behind the scenes, he could easily hold on to a few secrets no other player could know.

Having fun while it lasts

It wasn't too hard to decipher Player 001's true intentions for eagle-eyed viewers when the games began. While many contestants show fear and anxiety during the opening moments of Red Light, Green Light, Player 001 charges ahead with a gleeful expression on his face. What does he have to fear? He has watched others fail and meet a grim end in this competition how many times, but with the limited amount of time he has left on this planet, what's the worst thing that could happen to him?

Furthermore, those in charge of the game already figured he might be sticking around for some time. Player 001 is not singled out as a target, which means he's already marked to advance further into the competition. If any of the competitors understood what they were getting themselves into, it was him. Unfortunately, the game was rigged — we learn near the end of the show that it was nearly impossible for Player 001 to lose, and while this may have increased the enjoyment factor, we're left to wonder what other satisfaction he was meant to feel when the deck was stacked in his favor. 

If you failed to see any of the warning signs that this may have been an unfair competition, you can jump back in and spot all the necessary moments. "Squid Game" Season 1 is available to watch on Netflix in all of its twisted glory.