Netflix’s Korean horror series Squid Game continues to reign supreme. The wildly popular show is a heady mix of brutal truths about the cruelty humanity is capable of, unchecked Capitalism, and rich exploitive white men in masks. It is captivating because although it is pure fantasy(at least I hope so), some aspects feel like they could be ripped from our world. Currently, the rich keep getting richer, and the underprivileged and the marginalized are vulnerable. Gi-Hun, who won 45 billion dollars at the end of Season 1 of was just one of many desperate souls who chose to play in the hopes of erasing their debts. He was by no means the first, and from the events in the final episode of Squid Games, he won’t be the last. The most intriguing character was, however, The Front Man.
One of the biggest shockers and there were plenty, is the identity of the metallic masked Front Man who acted as event coordinator, game inventor, and right-hand man to Oh Il-nam. Oh Il-nam, or the Old Man as he was referred to while pretending to be a contestant, was the original inventor of the game but grew bored with watching and decided before he died he would play. The catch, of course, is, he could never feel the same level of urgency as the other contestants because he never really had that much at stake. He was already dying of brain cancer, and it is doubtful The Front Man would let him die in the games. Although his reveal was a big twist, perhaps the one that means more for the future of Squid Game is The Front Man. Here are all your biggest questions answered.
Who was The Front Man?
The Front Man is In-ho. In-ho is the brother of the policeman Jun-ho who had infiltrated the games to find his missing brother. In-ho had gone missing years ago, and Jun-ho had managed to track his last whereabouts to the game. The more time Jun-ho investigated, the more he became convinced In-ho was a casualty of a previous game. Finally, however, it is revealed he is actually a winner of an earlier game. We don’t know precisely why he chose to become The Front Man instead of enjoying his winnings, but there are plenty of plausible theories. The Front Man was privy to all aspects of Oh Il-nam’s game operations and led the massive army of game workers. Although the workers feared him, the VIPs did not share that same level of concern for his power.
Why did In-ho return to the games as The Front Man?
There are several reasonable options, and none of them are particularly good for Gi-hun, who we last saw electing to wage war against the sadistic game and the rich men running it. We know In-ho was a policeman like his brother before playing and winning the games years ago. Although Jun-ho appears to be an altruistic officer of the law, we don’t know if In-ho was. He could have been a corrupt cop prior to playing and finds a life of crime more palatable than a straight one. He could also have been coerced into acting as The Front Man because of something that happened in the game when he won or something he did prior to joining the game.
Assuming he won the same 45.6 billion dollars Gi-hun won, he should be set for life. If he had secrets or vulnerabilities to protect, however, that money would mean very little. It would make sense that he was being blackmailed. Whether he is being blackmailed or willingly chooses to stay and act as Oh Il-nam’s assistant, he is firmly entrenched in the madness. We do not know if there was a Front Man before In-ho, but it is possible Oh Il-nam created the position and manipulated In-ho into taking the job after he won to help ease the transition after Il-nam died from cancer. Il-nam was Machiavellian in his machinations and completely callous about humanity. It would not be out of character for him to force In-ho into his current position by threatening him or his family.
A final possibility is like Gi-hun; he may have chosen to return to the games to end it and became ensnared in something he couldn’t control. That would also explain why the hardened man was able to watch so many people die without remorse. If he has been broken over time by his inability to complete his mission, he would have nothing left but the job.
Will The Front Man take over from Oh Il-nam as the head of the Squid Games?
The Front Man acted as the emissary between the VIPs and Oh Il-nam, but aside from Il-nam, no one seemed to respect him very much. He was treated like a servant who was tolerated but not considered an equal. Considering he should have had 45 billion dollars, he shouldn’t have needed to return in the first place to the games in any capacity. With Il-nam dead, The Front Man could be poised to take over the empire. This is unlikely, however. If Il-nam managed to keep his death a secret, The Front Man could continue running things as usual, but eventually, the rest of the VIPs would begin demanding Il-nam present himself. They were pretty antsy when he was missing for just a few days; I hardly think In-ho can hide his absence for the entirety of the game.
We last see In-ho in the limousine leaving the compound. We last hear him tell Gi-hun to forget about the game and go to America. Although the game is still going on, In-ho seems to have some compassion for Gi-hun. One man on a mission to take down the games would not be a threat especially considering Jun-ho, a trained police officer, could not expose the group. In-ho’s comment to Gi-hun is less a threat than advice. Perhaps he knows first hand that when you start down this road, you become trapped.
However, one exciting theory could be that Il-nam and In-ho are related, and that is why he stayed to act as Front Man. It would put a different spin on Il-nam’s conversations with Gi-hun, who some have posited could be his son. If Il-nam and In-ho are father and son, In-ho could take over as the organization’s head with all the respect and money he needs to control it. We know very little about In-ho and Jun-ho’s backstory, so one or both of them could have been adopted or illegitimate children of Il-nam.
Did In-ho kill his brother Jun-ho?
It sure looks like it, and he appears haunted by what he has done, but we may be taking things out of context. Since we don’t know what he thinks when he looks in the mirror and sees his brother’s face, this could actually be a wistful goodbye to the brother he managed to save by pretending to kill him. He knows he can never see him again, and that would definitely be enough to make him sad.
Il-nam seems to know everything about everybody, so he surely knew In-ho’s brother had been seemingly killed while trying to expose the games. If Il-nam knows, then likely the rest of the VIPs do as well. The entire place is under surveillance constantly, so it is unlikely In-ho kept his brother’s identity a secret. That seems to point to the theory that In-ho only pretends to kill his brother as a way to protect him. If that’s the case, we may yet see a Gi-hun and Jun-ho partnership in Season 2.
We will have to wait for Season 2 of Squid Game to get answers about The Front Man and the symbols on the workers’ masks, but until then binge You Season 3, which is out tomorrow.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.