Squid Game: 10 Most Heartbreaking Moments, Ranked

AbraxasOctober 10, 2021


Intense violence, gripping action, and unpredictable plot twists were expected by many upon first watching Netflix’s smash hit Squid Game. Though, that being said, almost no one foresaw the level of heartwrenching emotion that the Korean show would bring to screens.

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Tissues were likely needed on more than one occasion. The journey of the show’s fascinating characters was always likely to end in disaster, but devastation and heartbreak came right alongside the blood and gore of the deadly high-stakes game show. Squid Game has touched many fans around the world, and these moments were the most upsetting in a series filled with sorrowful scenes.


10 Sang-woo’s Mother Is Filled With Shame

Squid Game Cho Sangwoo

Cho Sang-woo was the pride of his hometown, and this is never more evident or clear than when hearing his mother speak of him. Bursting with joy when telling others of her offspring’s accomplishments, it came as a monumental shock to her when police approached her stall and gave the word that they had a warrant for Sang-woo’s arrest.

Park Hye-jin’s emotional performance took this uncomfortable moment and made it near-unbearable to watch. No mother should have to experience this level of shame, especially one as hard-working and wholesome as Sang-woo’s.

9 Ga-yeong Says Goodbye To Her Often Absent Father

ga yeong with lighter in squid game

Perhaps no storyline in Squid Game is as irrefutably sad as that of Gi-hun and his daughter. Largely due to Gi-hun’s own making, Ga-yeong doesn’t see her father nearly as much as she’d like. It’s clear she adores him, and it’s heartbreaking to see her watch him struggle his way through life.

On the doorstep with an umbrella in hand, Ga-yeong waved an eye-moistening goodbye to her dear old dad. Who knew the umbrella would have even more significance later on?

8 Beauty And The Beast Go Down Together

deok su in squid game

The intelligent, manipulative, and loudmouthed Han Mi-nyeo certainly had her ways of ensuring allies within Squid Game, and though she gave fair warning to her one-time lover Jang Deok-su, he ultimately made the fatal mistake of betraying her.

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Revenge popped its elusive head up during the glass bridge game, and Mi-nyeo quite literally jumped at the chance. She took the unforgiving gangster in her arms and sent them both on a one-way ride to elimination.

7 Oh Il-nam Regains His Dignity Thanks To Gi-hun

Squid Game Oh Ilnam

Suffering from a brain tumor and by far the frailest of all competitors, Player 001 had the understandable motivation for partaking in Squid Game of not wanting to simply wait for death in the outside world.

His health deteriorates rapidly during the game’s levels, and the old man awakes to find himself covered in his own urine. Gi-hun is the only one to give up his jacket in order to help Oh Il-nam regain his dignity. It’s a thought-provoking moment that’s not only sad to see, but also makes a statement about the elderly and how they’re often downtrodden in society.

6 Sang-woo Makes His Sacrifice

sang woo in tuxedo squid game

With Sang-woo’s choice and subsequent silence during the honeycomb game, he made it clear he was only it in for himself and was just fine with letting his acquaintances die if it meant increasing his chances at snatching the cash from the giant piggy bank.

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Sang-woo left bloodied bodies in his path to the final game. Though, when Gi-hun had him defeated and made an attempt to save his childhood friend’s life, Sang-woo stabbed himself in the neck. He deserved to die, but no one expected him to go out in such a poignant, sacrificial manner.

5 Gi-hun Earns Some Redemption, But It’s A Little Too Late

gi-hun orphanage squid game

Heartbreaking and heartwarming in the same breath, Gi-hun’s actions in the series finale go a long way in giving the gambling-addicted, absent father character some redemption.

Gi-hun not only fulfills his promise to Sae-byeok by bringing her brother out of the orphanage, making for a truly bittersweet moment, he also leaves his winnings with Sang-woo’s hard-working mother, a most generous thank you for her kindness before all the madness of Squid Game took over his life.

4 Hwang Jun-ho Finds His Missing Brother

Squid Game Hwang Junho

Hwang Jun-ho is far more than just a police officer simply doing his job in investigating the mysterious golden calling cards, he’s an honorable young man searching for his lost brother.

As with most characters in this ruthless series, tragedy soon finds its way into Jun-ho’s life. Just when it seemed he was making his escape, he found his brother in the worst possible way. The man behind the mask revealed himself as the missing family member and promptly sent Jun-ho over the cliff edge to his death in the ultimate betrayal.

3 Gi-hun Returns Home To Find His Mother Dead

kim young ok as Gi-huns mother with Gi-hun in Squid Game

The devastating effect that Squid Game has on Gi-hun’s life is never more clear than when he returns home to find his mother has passed away alone and helpless.

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Her care may have been a motivating factor in Gi-hun’s participation, but if he hadn’t had stolen her money and leeched off of her for so long, she may have been around long enough to watch her son turn his life around, or at least dye his hair a rather eye-catching color. She was an innocent victim amongst many who got what was coming to them in the form of some arguably justifiable deaths, and her demise made for one of the show’s most upsetting scenes.

2 Sae-byeok Is Brutally Murdered

Squid-Game-kang sae byeok

Kang Sae-byeok quite possibly has the most endearing reason for competing in the game of death. As a young defector from North Korea, her sole motivation in competing, and in turn risking her life, is to reunite with her family who has been separated across the border.

Throughout the game, Jung Ho-yeon’s character endures so much to become one of the last three standing, and to call her despicable murder upsetting would be an understatement. If there was one player who deserved to win Squid Game, it was her.

1 When The Marbles Stop Rolling, Tears Roll Down Cheeks

Ali Abdul before his death in Squid Game

It may be a stretch to class the ending of Squid Game‘s sixth installment as a single moment, though multiple character demises in quick succession make this sequence part of one of the most heartbreaking episodes Netflix has ever offered to its subscribers.

The lovable Ali Abdul succumbs to villainous trickery, Ji-yeong makes a gut-wrenching sacrifice, and Oh Il-nam saying farewell to his gganbu will have the waterworks flowing. Brilliant in its execution and heartbreaking to watch unfold, Squid Game is never more emotional or upsetting than in the final moments of this fantastic episode.

NEXT: Squid Game: 10 Characters That Changed The Most Between The First And Last Episode


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