The runaway hit South Korean show, which is on track to become Netflix’s most-watched series, is about a macabre winner-take-all competition. The cash-strapped contestants find themselves recruited by a shadowy organization to play a life-or-death stakes series of children’s games promising a life-altering sum of money to claim as a prize if you win.
In a meta Easter Egg that arguably breaks the continuity of the show, one of the characters names the actor Lee Byung-hun, while discussing his real-life movies. This takes place two episodes prior to Byung-hun’s character reveal that he is the mysterious master of ceremonies for the games, known as The Front Man.
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However, Byung-hun doesn’t play himself in the show. He plays In-ho, the brother of a police officer on the trail of the mysterious organization. In-ho is revealed to be a former champion of Squid Game and seemingly kills his police officer brother, Hwang Jun-ho (Wi Ha-joon) in episode eight.
The Easter Egg where Byung-hun is referenced is in episode six, where players are paired up to face each other off in various games involving marbles, with the winner getting to live and the other losing their life. When Players 067 and 240 are paired off, they decide to delay the game until the end of the round and talk casually instead of participating. It’s during this scene that Player 240 references the 2015 movie Inside Men starring Byun-hun and refers to him by name.
Squid Game has proven to be a compelling allegory for class inequality and capitalism, so perhaps tying a famous movie star with a higher-up puppeteer of a demented cash-prize competition was some kind of way to further that metaphor.