Who Is the Old Man in 'Squid Game'? Oh Il-nam's Storyline Explained

Netflix's exhilarating K-drama Squid Game is on its way to becoming the platform's biggest-ever series — in part because of its shockingly brutal death scenes, but also because of its many twists and turns, which leave viewers on the edge of their seats.

Perhaps one of the biggest and most dramatic plot twists of all involves No.1, aka Oh Il-nam (Oh Young-soo).

While at first Oh Il-nam seemed like a harmless, frail old man, he eventually revealed his true identity, and the sinister role he played in the bloody Squid Game challenges.

Here's exactly what happened to his character — and what went down in that final scene with Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae).

**WARNING: Major spoilers ahead**

Who Is Oh Il-nam?

Viewers are first introduced to No.1 in the season opener, when Gi-hun (No.456) enters the dorms on the sinister island. The frail old man on the next bunk explains he has a brain tumor, but he decided to enter the games as his last hurrah (not his exact words).

Over the course of the show, the two form a special bond, akin to a father-son relationship. They also happen to bump into each other in Gi-hun's neighborhood in the outside world, when the contestants are released from the game after the Red Light, Green Light round.

In one of the most heartbreaking rounds of all, the contestants were tasked with finding a partner to compete with. Many chose to pair up with contestants they had bonded with during the process, while others were strategically scouting out their partners.

Seeing that the old man was alone in a corner and no one had picked him, Gi-hun goes over and offers to be his teammate. As there are an uneven number of contestants by this time, player Han Mi-nyeo (Kim Joo-ryoung) is left alone and is dragged off by guards, kicking and screaming. But all is not as it seems, as she later reappears in the dorm unscathed, thanks to a rule in the contract.

Back to the challenge itself; the pairs enter an arena designed to look like a typical South Korean neighborhood, with alleyways, back yards and washing lines. In a shocking turn of events, they are then told that rather than teaming up to play against other pairs, they are to face one another in a game of marbles until one of them meets their bloody end.

Il-nam then seemingly has a bout of forgetfulness brought on by his tumor, as he reverts to a childlike state and wanders around the fake neighborhood as if it were his own. Gi-hun desperately chases after him, aware that the clock is ticking, before they eventually sit down to play the game they have chosen.

No.1 starts off by winning every round, but then seems to get confused again. He begins to ask Gi-hun whether or not he guessed odd or even, before the latter goes against his best judgement and tricks the old man into thinking he made the correct assumption.

In the end, Gi-hun wins the game and Il-nam is shot out of view.

What Happened in His Final Scene With Gi-hun?

As was the case with Mi-nyeo, Il-nam wasn't actually eliminated after the marble round.

Once Gi-hun has re-entered the outside world with his sizeable earnings, he is sold a rose with a note attached, instructing him to visit an address in the city of Seoul.

When he gets to the high-rise building, it is all but empty, except for a hospital bed in the far right-hand corner. As he approaches the bed, he realises that the figure strewn out, overlooking the city is in fact Il-nam.

Il-nam then puts a wager on with Gi-hun that a man on the street below, who is drunk and passed out in the snow, will be left to die. He bets that by midnight, no one will stop and help the stranger.

In the meantime, he explains to Gi-hun that he was never a real contestant, but, rather, the orchestrator of the games themselves. Describing how his immense wealth had desensitized him and shielded him from human experiences, Il-nam reveals his motive behind the sadistic contest was to create a sport for him and his rich friends and clients (also known as the VIPs).

Disgusted by the old man's words, Gi-hun faces outward onto the street below, fighting back tears. He then notices that a woman who had previously passed the drunk man on the sidewalk had in fact gone to get the police, who arrived on the scene just as the bell tolled midnight. Gi-hun turns to face Il-nam, but it is too late: he has died. Gi-hun then asks whether the old man saw, hoping that he bore witness to the act of kindness before he slipped away.

Squid Game is available to stream on Netflix now.

Oh Il-nam Squid Game
Oh Young-soo as Oh Il-nam and Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun in Netflix's "Squid Game." No.1 was seemingly a frail old man, but the end of the hit K-drama revealed the shocking truth about his character. Netflix