|Red Light, Green Light||Hell||The Man with the Umbrella||Stick to the Team||A Fair World||Gganbu||VIPS||Front Man||One Lucky Day|
This episode features Squid Game (game)
The final round presents another cruel test — but this time, how it ends depends on just one player. The game's creator steps out of the shadows.
- —Official Netflix synopsis
The remaining players are now in the final round playing Squid Game, with Seong Gi-hun as offense and Cho Sang-woo as defense. A Manager takes them to the game arena (the same field where Red Light, Green Light was played) and tells them the rules. The players get into position and play the game. Gi-hun easily completes the first few stages of the game, he throws sand into Sang-woo's eyes to distract him and manages to cross the squid's middle. As the two players continue the game, it soon begins to rain. While fighting, Sang-woo claims that killing Kang Sae-byeok was a mercy kill as she was already bleeding to death from her mortal injury, but Gi-hun sees through Sang-woo's lies. Eventually, Sang-woo admits he killed Sae-byeok to prevent her and Gi-hun from obtaining the majority vote to end the game, which would have prevented him from winning any money.
The two players resume the game, but when it reaches the final stage, they abandon the game rules and begin a brutal and bloody fistfight to the death. Sang-woo gains the upper hand after viciously stabbing Gi-hun in the thigh and is about to deliver the killing blow, but Gi-hun stops the knife by grabbing it, which impales his hand. Gi-hun bites Sang-woo's shin, causing the latter to scream in pain, giving Gi-hun the upper hand. Gi-hun pins Sang-woo to the ground, punches him repeatedly and takes the knife from his hand. However, Gi-hun refuses to kill Sang-woo and stabs the knife in the ground, walking towards the Squid's head to win by default.
Just as Gi-hun is about to win, he turns back to convince Sang-woo to end the game, invoking the 3rd clause of the Agreement Form, much to the shock of the VIPs. Gi-hun offers Sang-woo his hand and a chance to go back home. The two reminisce about old times and Sang-woo slowly reaches for Gi-hun's hand. However, Sang-woo stops and apologizes to Gi-hun before grabbing the knife beside him and stabbing himself in the neck. Gi-hun is caught completely off guard, and cradles a dying Sang-woo in his arms, distraught but helpless as Sang-woo bleeds to death. Sang-woo chokes out the words "My mom...", asking Gi-hun to help his mother with his prize money. This final straw emotionally shatters Gi-hun, who breaks down crying uncontrollably at the loss of his childhood best friend as he's declared the winner of the games.
After the games, Gi-hun is tied and blindfolded in a limousine with the Front Man, who surprisingly has his mask off. He congratulates Gi-hun for winning, but Gi-hun, seething with rage, demands to know who he is and why he has been doing this. The Front Man refuses to answer, instead telling Gi-hun the contestants are no more than horses on a racetrack and advises him to just think of the games as a bad dream. Before Gi-hun can ask any more questions, the Front Man puts his mask back on and sleeping gas is released, knocking Gi-hun out unconscious. Gi-hun is dropped off on the side of a street where a street preacher quickly helps him up. He coughs out a credit card that was stuffed into his mouth and checks it in an ATM for the cash prize. He goes back to his home where he is greeted by Sang-woo's mother, who informs him his mother hasn't answered her phone recently and hasn't come to work for two days. She then asks him if he heard anything about her son, but Gi-hun is unable to answer or even look at her, still traumatized by Sang-woo's death and the other terrible events during the games. Gi-hun finally arrives at his house. He looks for his mother and finds her on the floor. Gi-hun attempts to wake her up, only to realize that she is dead. Being emotionally drained after seeing so much death, Gi-hun can't even cry anymore, he can only lie down beside his mother and hug her close in grief.
A year later, Gi-hun is still traumatized by his experiences, so much so that he hasn't even touched his prize money. He is invited to the bank to talk to a financial advisor about his account. The advisor becomes concerned with how Gi-hun looks and is behaving, asking him if he needs anything. Gi-hun simply asks for a ₩10,000 bill. After leaving the bank, he goes to sit and drink beer by the riverside. A flower seller approaches him and begs him to buy one of the flowers on her bouquet. Gi-hun reluctantly agrees and the seller thanks him and leaves. He sees a small black envelope with a pink bow tied to the rose and is shocked by the sight of a Squid Game business card inside, with the message being from his gganbu telling him to go to the Seoul Sky Building. Once he gets there, he sees a bed. He walks closer and sees Oh Il-nam on it, still alive but on the verge of death. Gi-hun is shocked and furious and demands answers but Il-nam insists on making a bet with Gi-hun about whether anyone will help an unconscious drunk man outside before midnight. Gi-hun reluctantly agrees to the wager to get the answers he wants.
Il-nam reveals that he is "the Host", the mastermind behind the game's operation and creation, and that while he did lie about his financial situation, he was telling the truth about his tumor and he genuinely did appreciate Gi-hun's friendship. He explains that he realized that both the ultra-wealthy and the impoverished suffer from a lack of joy in their lives, as being rich enough to be able to buy literally anything he could want eventually led to him becoming bored and miserable, so he and a bunch of other rich people came up with the games to entertain themselves and alleviate their boredom. He reminds Gi-hun that despite knowing the risks, he and the other participants still returned to the games after the first ending vote for the small chance of winning the prize money. The specific games are based on Il-nam's childhood memories, and he decided to participate in them himself for nostalgia's sake, as his childhood, where he would play games with his friends without a care in the world, was the only time in his life he ever felt true happiness. Right before the clock strikes midnight, Gi-hun wins the wager when a passerby and a police officer pull up over the side of the road to help the drunk man, and Il-nam dies, though presumably not before he witnesses his loss.
With his faith restored, Gi-hun snaps out of his stupor and fulfills his promises. He gets a haircut and later goes to the orphanage where Kang Cheol stays and takes him to Sang-woo's mother to watch over him. She opens the suitcase to look for the boy's clothes but finds stacks of money and a note. Sang-woo's mother shouts out to Gi-hun but he is already gone.
Gi-hun walks out of a train, making his way to the airport while talking to his daughter on the phone. He hears a loud bang and a groan. He hangs up and finds it coming from the salesman playing ddakji again with a man on the other side of the station. Gi-hun frantically runs to the other side to get the salesman but the man gets on the train and leaves. He turns to the other man and furiously grabs the card from him and tells him not to go. Later, Gi-hun is about to board the plane, but stops to call the number. Once he dials the number, a staff member of the games answers. When Gi-hun questions who the ones behind the games are and why they are doing those terrible things to people, the Front Man picks the phone. Gi-hun declares that he won't forgive them for their cruel games and the Front Man warns him to not get involved and board his plane for his own good. However, as an act of defiance, Gi-hun disregards the warnings and turns back, walking away from the plane with a determined look.
- The episode's title is a reference to a Korean novel of the same name written in 1924. The novel tells the story of a rickshaw man whose wife is ill, and wishes to have some ox bone soup before she passes. One day, he manages to earn a lot of money and buys the ox bone soup for his wife, only to find her dead, having finally succumbed to the illness.
- This, and "Hell" are both the least rated episodes on IMDb with scores of 7.5.