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Does Squid Game: The Challenge Have a Secret Mole?

Squid Game: The Challenge, for the most part, seems to avoid selecting individual players as “characters.” Seriously, it’s fun to go back and rewatch the “Red Light, Green Light” challenge in hindsight and see all of the highlighted interviewees get summarily gunned down in the first round. Still, by the time the middle of the season rolls around and the player count has fallen under 100, some contestants eventually begin to stand out. And one of those contestants seems to have a lot in common with Squid Game‘s 001.

We’re referring to Player 232 a.k.a. physician Rick Mercurio. Here’s what he looks like:

Squid Game: The Challenge. Rick Mercurio in Squid Game: The Challenge. Cr. Tom Dymond/Netflix © 2023

We’re not saying that Netflix has for sure installed an Oh Il-nam-style mole within Squid Game: The Challenge (and it’s worth pointing out that I personally have not watched any pre-release screeners for the series beyond episode 5). But if Netflix has planted a mole within The Challenge, it would undoubtedly be Rick. Here are some reasons why.

232 Is Old

Both 001 and 232 are old men. Your honor, we rest our case. Take ’em away, boys! OK so that’s a pretty superficial reason to suspect 232 is an 001-style mole within Squid Game: The Challenge. But superficiality kind of matters here. Without at least some physical similarities, this case isn’t as strong. It at least lends more credence for the arguments to come. 232 even addresses his age in his first interview, saying “I’m gonna use my age as an asset. No one thinks I’m a threat. I’m not really frail. And my mind is sharp. That can help my chances a great deal.”

232 Is Very Conspicuous

Speaking of interviews, The Challenge chooses to highlight a dozen or so players via interviews throughout the games. 232/Rick is not only one of those players but it seems like he gets an outsized amount of attention. The show allows him to delve deep into his backstory. Rick explains everything about himself from the fact that he doesn’t consider himself a leader to his passion for beekeeping and the orchids he likes to grow to represent his many grandchildren.

Within the games themselves, people seem unusually drawn to Rick. He ends up being the emotional lynchpin of the so-called “Gganbu Gang” and everyone enjoys his presence. He’s extremely charismatic, almost like he’s … an actor.

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