Squid Game is a great choice for those who enjoy emotional rollercoasters. The Korean survival series, which is on its way to becoming Netflix's biggest show worldwide, is fraught with surprises, twists, and character changes that even the shrewdest viewers wouldn't anticipate. Oh Il-nam, the player 001s hidden identity, is the most shocking revelation of the season. Pesky annoying characters make you root for them in the end, and then there are those who break your heart only to turn it stone-cold.
Il-nam, which is played by O Yeong-su, competes with 455 debt-ridden players in deadly playground games for a chance at claiming 45.6 billion won (or $38 million). The feisty old man with a brain tumor develops ties with Lee Jung-jaes Seong Gi-hun, the only one who includes him as Il-nam struggles to get picked in teams. Hes no ordinary player, however, and is later revealed to be the mastermind behind the bizarre games. Here are the clues that were there all along and pointed to Oh Il-nams true identity.
His Name & Number
The fact that hes 001, the first hand-picked player in the games, shouldve been the initial clue. Il-nam, which he reveals in Episode 6, wouldve been a different name. In Korean, Il or means sun, but theres a more appropriate translation. Il also means one or first. Nam or , on the other hand, translates to man and boy. So his name literally translates to first man. Hes a certain pioneer.
The Doll Didnt Scan Him.
The first game they ever played in the series is Red Light, Green Light or Mugunghwa Kkochi Pieot Seumnida (The Mughwan Flower Has Blossomed). If the jumbo killer robot turns to catch players moving, they are shot dead. The doll is seen scanning players with a green overlay each round to detect movement, but when her eyes flicker over Il-nam, the green layer isnt there. She wasnt judging him. He was always in good hands. Another giveaway? He was way too happy to run towards the finish line while others died all around him.
Gi-hun is a fictional character who appears in the movie Gih-un
Il-nam votes last at the end of the first episode, when players opt out of playing the game, likely because he actually has the final say. He decides to end them, which may be because the games foundation is built on voluntary enlistment. In the following episode, Il-nam randomly meets Gi-hun outside of a convenience store and ends up convincing him to rejoin the game.
His Choice Of Shape
When Gi-hun offers to swap shapes with Player 001 before the honeycomb challenge in Episode 3, he refuses and sticks to a star because il-he already knows the game and the easy choice.
The Tug-Of-War Strategy:
Il-nam guides his team to victory during the tug-of-war competition with an extremely detailed strategy on how to win. He boasts that hes played many of these games in his youth, but it seems like a man who knew about the tug-of-war challenge before everyone else and prepared himself. When he searches for someone to join their team before the game is revealed and fails, if a player does not make the cut, the player seems less anxious about not filling the slot. He had a plan, after all.
Shackles of Il-nams Shaves are a musical relic from Ilnam.
His skill at pulling rope isnt the only clue in Episode 4. An eagle-eyed TikTok user noticed that everyone else in Il-nams tug-of-war team had locks on their handcuffs, while Ilnam's didn't. Maybe its his backup should his teammates all succumb literally.
Player 001s File is a player 00S File.
Or, worse, lack thereof. While undercover cop Hwang Jun-ho searches through the meticulously organized files of the games dating back many decades, he flips through players of this season. One TikTok user pointed out in the comments of this post that when Jun-ho opens the binder, the first page shows Player 002s file, suggesting Il-nam didnt have a file and therefore wasn 'not 0'.
His Connection To The Front Man
During Episode 4, its revealed that the organizers ration the food on purpose to instigate a brawl. When a fight breaks out in the dormitory, the Il-nam climbs up the bunk beds and pleads for it to stop while the Front Man watches. When he yells, Im so scared and Stop it!, it seems like a direct conversation between him and the Front Man. The Front Man, who doesn't care for anyone, orders his men to turn the lights back on immediately after.
His Approach To Finding A Partner
Dana Wang, a TikTok user, noticed more signs Il-nam knew how to manipulate the rules. While other contestants try to work out a partnership, Il-nam just sits in twilight, even offering Gi-hun his jacket to make him look tougher to s/he without having to look for one himself. Wang points out that its likely because he already knew that if a pair existed, despite the fact that.
The Neighborhood Replica
When players in Episode 6 meet up only to be told that theyre competing in a game of marbles, they are led to re-created South Korean homes. Il-nam, who in the episode seems to be suffering from dementia, tells Gi-hun he once lived in a neighborhood like it. Later, he even visits a replica of one home, declaring, I used to live in this house, before revealing which spots stayed with him. Its revealed that his faculties were working perfectly towards the end of the game. Since hes the creator, this backdrop most likely came from his neighborhood and house.
Boomers: The Comment About Boomer Generations
Ji-yeong, a young woman, tells Kang Sae-byeok that marbles were typically played by boomers when they were young. Il-nam, the eldest among the players, claims he played marbles as a child. His love for the game may be why its included and provide another hint at his real identity.
Il-nams Off-Screen Elimination (I-numS Off Screen Elimination)
While the other players who lost in the marbles round are shot onscreen, the gunshot that supposedly kills Il-nam is fired in background. Theres no evidence that he died, as his body, unlike Abdul Ali s and the rest, isnt shown in the next episode.
The Boss Hands Are The Best Hand.
When the boss finally appears in a crisp suit by Episode 7, hes shown wearing gilded animal mask. Though viewers dont get to see his face, they do get his hands as he puts the mask on the table and they are old mans hands.