Courtesy of Netflix
Surpassing both American-made “Stranger Things” and “Bridgerton,” “Squid Game,” a K-drama about playing popular childhood games to the death, is now the most-streamed show on Netflix. It reached the No.1 spot in 90 different countries and has created almost $900 million in value for the streaming monolith, an unthinkable possibility not too long ago. Needless to say, “Squid Game” is an international hit, and people can’t get enough, even over a month since its release. After ending on a slight cliffhanger, the buzz around it and the calls for a second season are inevitably only getting louder.
Anyone who’s watched the show probably saw past the hundreds of gory death scenes and realized the deeper critique of capitalism and economic debt found within, with all the competitors in the show willingly putting their lives on the line for a chance at the 45.6 billion Korean won prize (roughly 38 million USD). The ways our money-based system drives us to the most horrific ends are seen throughout the show. It’s ironic, then, that people are already clamoring for Netflix to double down on the success of “Squid Game” and plot out the continuation to a story that honestly doesn’t need one. Yes, there might be some unanswered questions, but the show’s ambiguous ending is perhaps intentional. We’re supposed to wonder what the protagonist will do and come to a conclusion ourselves about how the titular “Game” has changed him. Having it explicitly stated for us in a potential second season would only cheapen the show’s other major messages of how humanity and empathy can be found even in terrible situations.
Not every story needs a sequel. Especially one like “Squid Game,” which is well-contained within its original season. I liked it as much as everyone else, but dragging the show out only has the potential to make a good thing worse. It would be nice to see certain characters again, especially if we weren’t expecting them back, but their return would only be to service fans, not reinforce the central theme of economic inequality. At a certain point, continuing the show would desensitize viewers to its violence and let them forget its deeper significance. It’s not impossible, but it would be difficult to pull off a second season of “Squid Game” that has as much to say and hits just as hard as the first. More likely, we’d end up with something just as action-packed but ultimately empty of meaning. I don’t think anyone would make that trade just for a sense of closure.