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‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Found Itself a New Villain in the Top Three

Squid Game: The Challenge. Episode 110 of Squid Game: The Challenge. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

There is gameplay, and then there is this. Netflix’s Squid Game: The Challenge ended up becoming a surprisingly fun show to watch, despite all my reservations with it—mainly because we are watching just how cutthroat people will be when faced with 4.5 million dollars.

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One of those people is Mai, a woman who has faced many challenges in her real life. The show has not been kind to her in the edits, making her the latest villain of the final three. Mai constantly turns on people the minute that it benefits her. She made friends with TJ and when everyone started to get annoyed with him, she “hated” him because it benefited her. When the women were trying to get their numbers up against the men, she turned on them because it wasn’t beneficial for her.

Mai is playing the game her way, and while it hasn’t made her any allies in the show, it also hasn’t stopped them from trusting her, either. Constantly, they let her get away with things because they see her as innocent and sweet, and it has continually come back to bite them all, and she advances into the next round. This has put her in the finals with both 016 (Sam) and 451 (Phil) while everyone else she turned on was eliminated from the game.

So while Mai deserves the win, she used every tactic in the book to get there, including lying in the last episode to Phil and Sam when she didn’t have to!

Lying her way to the top

Squid Game: The Challenge. Episode 110 of Squid Game: The Challenge. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

The most calculated move that Mai made, for me, was lying to both Phil and Sam when they got back to their room. They were all talking about who they put the presents in front of and talking about who they tried to get out. Phil just shared how hard it was for him to put it in front of Hallie and how it hurt him to do it. Phil was so honest about it, and Mai turned and lies to them both.

She says that she got Amanda out of the game, which we know is a bald-faced lie because we watched Hallie do it. Mai got to place the present first and gave it to 418, her friend Roland. She did it knowing that he would not really suspect her and even said she loved him when he picked the wrong player and lost the game. Instead of lying to Phil and Sam, she could have told them the truth and let them trust her. Instead, she lied to them, and we all know the truth as the audience.

Honestly? It makes me not want Mai to win given how she’s been playing the game. So many have tried to be team players throughout the show, and maybe that’s not the point, but it has made players like Mai stick out to the point where I don’t really want her to win. Still, I think it means she will take home the prize and she does kind of deserve the money for how she played that game because she played them all to her strategy, and it worked.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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