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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" 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 episode starts with the surviving players proceeding to the next game and picking teams. Seong Gi-hun notices that Oh Il-nam 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.

Hwang Jun-ho is shown in the front man's office, trying to get more information on him. While this is happening, the players are introduced to the fourth game, Marbles. To win the game, you have to try to steal all of your 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. You also have a time limit of 30 minutes. If no one wins by then, both players will be eliminated.

The players partner up with someone they can trust, not knowing what the game really was. Gi-hun witnesses Cho Sang-woo and Ali Abdul becoming a pair-up in the game, stating they'd make a great team. He then sees Il-nam sitting in the corner without a partner, and offers to partner up with him, which Il-nam accepts. Ji-yeong and Kang Sae-byeok decide to pair-up for the game. By this point, everyone has a partner besides Han Mi-nyeo, who is spared and taken back down to the dorm, though people think is where she would be eliminated. Thinking the players would partner up with their "partner" in some sort of way, it turns out to be the opposite. Your opponent in the game, is who you chose to be your partner. This comes as a shock to married couple Player 069 and Player 070, who realise that one of them will not survive. The four main pair-ups are Cho Sang-woo and Ali Abdul, Il-nam and Gi-hun, Sae-byeok and Ji-yeong (player 240), 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 30 minute time limit they have to talk to each other. They start revealing their past to each other, with Sae-byeok telling Ji-yeong that a plague in her village had killed her grandfather, grandmother, and older brother, and that she and her younger brother were the only ones who successfully crossed the border, 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 when coming home from school, she found her mother dead by her father's hands, who she killed out of retribution. She had received the Squid Game card the same day she was released from prison.

Meanwhile, Deok-su is losing to Player 278, and starts to get angry. He reminds the guard besides him 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 decided to throw marbles into a hole in the ground, and whoever lands the throw gets to keep all 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 starts to play the game with Il-nam, who had just been struck with dementia. Il-nam is confused about the game, and continuously asks questions to Gi-Hun about how to play. Somehow, Gi-hun finds himself losing until he has one marble left, but realising Il-nam cannot remember his bet, lies to him and begins winning back their marbles. Eventually, Il-nam finds himself out of marbles and asks Gi-hun if he could borrow one marble. Gi-hun apologises, and is about to hand over his marbles to a guard, when Il-nam 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, Il-nam gets back up again and continues "searching for his house", which had been supposedly around the game's arena.

Sang-woo then begs to Ali, asking Ali to spare him. Ali defends himself and says that he has a family and a life too, and continues to play the game. 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 realises 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 Il-nam around, begging him to keep playing. Il-nam suggests betting everything on one game, to which Gi-hun is outraged. However, Il-nam 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 Il-nam hands him his last marble, letting him win anyway, saying that they're "gganbus" who share everything with each other. Gi-hun sobs uncontrollably while Il-nam 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, Il-nam tells Gi-hun he remembers his full name: Oh Il-nam, and is supposedly shot off-screen by one of the guards, as Gi-hun slowly walks away, crying.

Trivia

  • This episode is the highest rated episode of Season 1 on IMDb, with a 9.3.
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