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Episodes
Red Light, Green Light Hell The Man with the Umbrella Stick to the Team A Fair World Gganbu VIPS Front Man One Lucky Day

"Gganbu" (깐부) is the sixth episode of the first season of the television series Squid Game.

This episode features Marbles.

Official summary

Players pair off for the fourth game. Gi-hun grapples with a moral dilemma, Sang-woo chooses self-preservation and Sae-byeok shares her untold story.

—Official Netflix synopsis

Plot

The surviving players proceed to the next game and have to pick a partner. Seong Gi-hun notices that Player 001 had wet himself the previous night, and covers it up by tying his tracksuit round his waist. As the players walk through the staircase room, they notice the bodies of Byeong-gi and his co-conspirators strung up. The Front Man then says over the intercom that the game was created with equality in mind and reiterates that there is no tolerance for cheating in the games.

Hwang Jun-ho explores the Front Man's office, trying to get more information on him. While this is happening, the players are told to partner up with someone. Gi-hun witnesses Cho Sang-woo and Ali Abdul pairing up, stating they'd make a great team due the combination of Sang-woo's intelligence and Ali's physical strength. He declines partnering up with Player 062 when he sees Player 001 sitting in the corner without a partner, and offers to partner up with him instead, which the old man accepts. Ji-yeong (Player 240) and Kang Sae-byeok decide to pair up for the game. By this point, everyone has a partner besides Han Mi-nyeo, who is taken away by their guards, causing the players to think that she will be eliminated.

They are then introduced to the fourth game, Marbles. To win the game, the players have to try to steal all of their opponent's marbles without violence while playing a sub-game with them. The person who ends up with no marbles is killed off and eliminated. They have a time limit of 30 minutes. If no one wins by then, both players will be eliminated. Their opponent in the game is who they chose to be their partner. This comes as a shock to everyone as they had partnered up with someone they trust, not knowing what the game really was. Player 069 and Player 070, a married couple, are in disbelief to realize that one of them will not survive. The four main pair-ups are Sang-woo and Ali, Player 001 and Gi-hun, Sae-byeok and Ji-yeong, and Jang Deok-su and one of his cronies, Player 278.

Sang-woo and Ali begin playing the game. Ali supposedly doesn't know how to play that well, so Sang-woo teaches him, and Ali ends up gaining the upper-hand quickly. Sang-woo quickly grows nervous of Ali, and though Ali is clearly unhappy about beating Sang-woo, the latter forces him to keep playing. Eventually, Sang-woo is down to his last marble and furiously accuses Ali of cheating. Ali denies this, and before Sang-woo can grow more violent, he is stopped by one of the guards at gunpoint.

Sae-byeok and Ji-yeong start talking. Neither of them want to participate in the game, so they spend the next 30 minutes talking to each other. They start revealing their pasts to each other, with Sae-byeok telling Ji-yeong that a plague in her home village in North Korea had killed her grandfather, grandmother, and older brother. Sae-byoek explains that her family decided to escape to South Korea, seeking a better life, but only she and her younger brother crossed the border successfully, as her father was shot and drowned attempting to cross and her mother was caught and deported back. Ji-yeong reveals that she and her mother were abused by her father, who was a pastor and would pray for forgiveness every time he abused them. One day, after coming home from school, she found her father had murdered her mother, and Ji-yeong killed him out of retribution. She had received the Squid Game card the same day she was released from prison. Ji-yeong asks Sae-byeok what she would do if she wins, to which Sae-byeok replies she'd get her mother out of North Korea, buy a nice house for herself and her family to live in, and maybe go on a vacation to Jeju Island. Ji-yeong chides her for having such a basic vacation in mind, telling her to aim for something more extravagant and promises to take her out on a girls' night out shopping before somberly remembering their situation.

Meanwhile, Deok-su is losing to Player 278, and starts to get angry. He reminds the guard near them that the game was created with "equality" in mind, and that everyone is equal. He asks if he could be able to have a second chance against Player 278. The guard says yes. The pair decide to throw marbles into a hole in the ground, and whoever lands the throw gets to keep all the other marbles that have also been thrown in previous attempts. Player 278 is about to win when, in a twisted turn of events, his own marble knocks Deok-su's marble into the hole, making Deok-su the winner. Deok-su is beyond ecstatic and laughs at his henchman's fate, before rushing over to collect their marbles. Player 278 runs away before a guard can shoot him, but runs into more guards who gun him down quickly.

Gi-hun tries to play the game with Player 001, but the old man seemingly has suffered a severe lapse in his lucidity. Player 001 wanders around the game arena, saying this is his home neighborhood and tries to find his house. Because of the old man's confusion, it takes a lot of insistence for Gi-hun to convince him to play. When Player 001 finally accepts to play marbles, Gi-hun finds himself losing until he has one marble left, but realizing Player 001 cannot remember his bet, lies to him and begins winning back their marbles. Eventually, Player 001 finds himself out of marbles and asks Gi-hun if he could borrow one marble. Gi-hun apologizes, and is about to hand over his marbles to a guard, when Player 001 reveals he has one marble left. Gi-hun then frantically counts his marbles and sure enough, he is one short and has not won yet. However, instead of continuing the game, Player 001 gets back up again and continues "searching for his house".

Sang-woo then begs Ali for his life and for his family, as he can't die and leave his mother. But Ali says that he has a family and a life too. Sang-woo, however, tells Ali of a plan where they can both survive, by finding other teams that have not yet finished their games. Sang-woo explains that when the timer runs out, some teams may still have no winner, and the guards will have the remaining players play a new game in teams, which they can then both win. Sang-woo sends Ali to find stronger players to recruit into their team, and ties Ali's pouch of marbles around his neck to prevent anyone else from stealing them. Ali seems hesitant, but ultimately trusts Sang-woo and goes off to find other pairs. However, while Ali is away, Sang-woo reveals that he had hidden all of the marbles for himself, and informs a guard that he has won the challenge.

Ali Abdul realises he's been betrayed by Cho Sang-woo, moments before he is shot dead by a Soldier.

As the game's timer starts running out, Sae-byeok and Ji-yeong play the game. They decide that whoever throws the marble closest to the wall near them, wins. Sae-byeok throws her marble and it lands reasonably close to the wall, but to her immense shock, Ji-yeong simply drops her marble, allowing her to win. When Sae-byeok angrily confronts her, Ji-yeong explains that ever since they started opening up to each other, she realized that she had nothing left to fight for in the outside world, while Sae-byeok still had a reason to live, and tearfully requests for Sae-byeok to live her life to the fullest if she is ever able to leave alive. As Sae-byeok is led away, Ji-yeong calls out to her one last time, and emotionally expresses her gratitude towards Sae-byeok for playing the game with her before getting shot dead, while Sae-byeok cannot bring herself to look at her friend in her last moments, only being able to listen in anguish and devastation. Meanwhile, Ali has finished searching the compound, but sees Sang-woo already at the exit about to be led out by a guard. Shocked, Ali checks his pouch to and finds only small pebbles. He realizes that he has been deceived by his friend before being shot by a guard, while Sang-woo can only look away.

During all of this, Gi-hun follows Player 001 around, begging him to keep playing. The old man suggests betting everything on one game, to which Gi-hun is outraged. However, Player 001 then reveals that he was aware of Gi-hun's deception the whole time and has been letting him win. Disgusted at his own actions, Gi-hun begins to cry, but Player 001 hands him his last marble, letting him win anyway, saying that they're "gganbu" who share everything with each other. Gi-hun sobs uncontrollably while the old man hugs and reassures him, telling him that he made his time in the games more enjoyable. Eventually, the timer hits zero, and Gi-hun is forced to leave his friend. Before Gi-hun is escorted out, Player 001 tells Gi-hun he finally remembers his full name: Oh Il-nam. After Gi-hun left Il-nam with a soldier, a gun shot is heard and the announcer says that Player 001 was eliminated. Gi-hun continues to slowly walk away, crying.

Trivia

  • During the scene where Player 278 looks at Deok-su, he says "Look at that. One more right here." The subtitles say "(sniggers)" but then it was rewritten as "(snickers)" due to someone saying it was racist.
  • This episode is the highest rated episode of Season 1 on IMDb, with a 9.2.
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