Whether we like it or not, whether we asked for it or not, Squid Game: The Challenge arrived on Netflix. The reality show competition is based on the highly popular and influential K-drama series that began streaming on the platform in 2021. In The Challenge, 456 players are pitted against one another as they take on a gauntlet of highly elaborate versions of children's games where failure at any point means elimination on the spot, minus the grisly deaths and poignant social commentary.
The reality show has proven divisive among audiences and critics, with controversy sprouting around the series long before it began streaming. For better or worse, though, it's following in the footsteps of its predecessor by topping the streaming s service's charts. With folks checking out the reality show, many are obviously wondering who comes out on top. Well, after that intense finale, now we know who wins Squid Game: The Challenge.
Who wins 'Squid Game: The Challenge'?
Prior to the finale, which dropped at 9 p.m. EST instead of the usual 3 a.m. EST, either Sam Lantz (Player 016), Mai Whelan (Player 287), or Phill Cain (Player 451) was slated to walk away with the $4.56 million cash prize. Similar to the original series, Squid Game: The Challenge places its players in a gauntlet of children's games that they must complete successfully to avoid elimination.
While some games, like Red Light, Green Light or the dalgona cookie challenge, are borrowed from the source material, The Challenge introduces a few entirely new games to keep things original and interesting. In some cases, players are also at risk of elimination in between games based on challenges. One of those is the final competition, Rock, Paper, Scissors, which pits Mai against Phill. They're two fan favorites, but by the end of the game, we have our winner.
The game has a twist. There is a clear box full of keys and a safe, which holds an "infinite" gold card to symbolize the prize money. Each round of Rock, Paper, Scissors, the winner chooses a key and uses it in the safe. If the key does not open it, then the game continues. And after several intense rounds, Mai chooses the right key, and she wins.
Fans thought Mai would win 'Squid Game: The Challenge.'
Mai, Player 287, is one of the best players in the competition. She manages to gain plenty of strong allies even when she isn't always all in with them. Ahead of the finale, there was a strong possibility that she would win Squid Game: The Challenge. And fans on TikTok even noted in an official behind-the-scenes clip that Mai looked "rich" with a blowout hairstyle and outfit change. Apparently, they weren't wrong.
Now that we know who wins Squid Game: The Challenge Season 1, all that's left to do is eagerly await the second season. The finale lets viewers know that casting is underway. Until then, you can re-watch the wild (and stressful) first season on Netflix.