Skip to main content

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk drew inspiration from all facets of reality to create meaning behind Squid Game‘s storyline. It was even true when it came to the sex scene in episode 4 between Jang Deok-su (Heo Sung-tae) and Han Mi-nyeo (Kim Joo-ryoung). Some fans felt the scene was unnecessary, while others saw its reasoning. Hwang explains Squid Game’s sex scene had a greater purpose and came up with the idea after watching a reality show.

Character Mi-nyeo for 'Squid Game' sex scene whispering to Deok-su.
Character Mi-nyeo before ‘Squid Game’ sex scene | via Netflix

‘Squid Game’ director explains Mi-nyeo and Deok-su’s relationship is about survival

The keyword to describe why Mi-nyeo tries to appeal to Deok-su is “survival.” Deok-su is the gangster character with an overshadowing physique, a brute, and a scary face tattoo. As the 456 players face death while playing childhood games, Mi-nyeo looks for a way to stay alive. She plans to become romantically or sexually linked to Deok-su for protection.

In an interview with The Guardian, Hwang explained, “The woman relies on the strongest man in the group. She has to find something to rely on. She believes it’s love – otherwise, it’s too sad, you know, to sell sex to the guy just to survive.” Mi-nyeo’s plan for survival becomes a romance in her mind to push away the reality of what she is doing.

‘Squid Game’ sex scene was thanks to a TV reality show

Characters Han Mi-nyeo and Jang Deok-su for 'Squid Game' K-drama in bathroom during sex scene
Characters Han Mi-nyeo and Jang Deok-su for ‘Squid Game’ K-drama | via Netflix

In the interview with The Guardian, Hwang admits what inspired him to create the sex scene in the K-drama. He explains he wrote the scene after watching a TV reality show. In the show, the contestants are trapped on a desert island. But the director does not disclose what reality show gave him the spark of inspiration.

While Squid Game’s sex scene is analyzed as a warped romance, it also serves as a psychological example. “It was about people’s psychology in extreme situations. They are sexually attracted to people they believe are stronger and the best at hunting, when they wouldn’t have been before,” said Hwang.

Fans on Reddit agree the scene served a bigger purpose when looking past its shock factor. One fan commented the sex scene is “an example of yet another transaction under capitalism. It wasn’t romanticized or sexual, just there to show the lengths people will go to in order to believe they are secure.”

How did Mi-nyeo and Deok-su die in ‘Squid Game’?


‘Squid Game’ Director Explains Why the Squid Game Was Played Last: ‘I Wanted the Survivors to Look Like Gladiators’

The demise of both K-drama characters would tie back to their relationship. During the terrifying glass bridge game in episode 7, Deok-su is too scared to pass onto the next panel. He fears one wrong move will plummet him to his death. By this round in the Games, Deok-su has betrayed Mi-nyeo too many times.

She explains he exudes a macho gangster facade but is actually a scared “b” word. Mi-nyeo tells him she regrets she ever had sex with him. She steps onto the same glass panel as Deok-su. But, her motives are revealed when she locks her arms around Deok-su’s waist. Mi-nyeo reminds him she said she would kill him if he ever betrayed her.

After everything Mi-nyeo did to survive, she refuses to possibly die for Deok-su to live. Her final words to Deok-su are about his inadequate nether regions. Mi-nyeo falls backward, taking Deok-su with her to their death.