Squid Game: Why & When Did [SPOILER] Become The Front Man?

Squid Game: Why & When Did [SPOILER] Become The Front Man?

One of Squid Game’s biggest reveals leaves is the identity of The Front Man — leaving audiences wondering when, and why, he took over the role.

In a major twist, Squid Game episode 8 reveals that In-ho, the missing brother of Juno-ho, was behind the Front Man’s mask all along, but when — and why — did he become responsible for running the game? Police officer Hwang Jun-ho begins investigating In-ho’s disappearance when he recognizes the card Gi-hun presents to the police when trying to expose the game. This leads Jun-ho to the island, where he assumes a position as one of the masked workers, attempting to gather evidence from the inside that the game had something to do with his brother’s disappearance.

Audiences first learn that In-ho won the game in 2015, which means that he left the island some years prior with several billion won; however, episode 8 reveals that In-ho is actually the mysterious masked figure who keeps the game running, before In-ho – as The Front Man – kills Jun-ho after revealing his identity to him. The scene addresses In-ho’s fate, but the sudden and unexpected end to Jun-ho’s investigation leaves some major unanswered questions regarding exactly how his brother came to be the Front Man.

It would seem that the when is directly tied to the why. Despite the obvious post-2015 time scale, the approximate timing of In-ho’s return to the game as its overseer is most certainly tied to his reasons for donning the black mask. It’s implied in episode 2 that In-ho’s disappearance is a somewhat recent occurrence, but this isn’t something that’s clarified or even really addressed, which leaves much of the Front Man’s story ambiguous. While this seemingly creates one of Squid Game’s biggest plot holes, there are hints as to exactly why In-ho became the Front Man, which also allows for a speculative timeline.

Squid Game: Why & When Did [SPOILER] Become The Front Man?Squid Game: Why & When Did [SPOILER] Become The Front Man?
Squid Game: Why & When Did [SPOILER] Become The Front Man?

As evidenced by Gi-hun’s reluctance to spend his prize money in episode 9, it’s likely that many of the game’s winners struggle to readjust to a normal life after competing. Having survived all the other players (and being responsible for numerous deaths along the way) undoubtedly affects the winner, and while it weighs heavy on Gi-hun, the Front Man’s speech about equality in the game indicates that he prefers the simplicity of life on the island to the outside world. From this, it can be assumed that In-ho was unable to reintegrate into society after winning the game, leading to him returning to assume the identity of the Front Man.

Extrapolating exactly when In-ho made this decision is difficult, though. It can be assumed that he at least tried to re-enter society with his winnings, which rules out the idea that he stayed on immediately after emerging victorious; besides, if this was the case, it would likely have also been offered to Gi-hun (particularly after the reveal that Il-nam favored him so heavily). Jun-ho’s search for his brother is possibly the most important aspect. Assuming In-ho returned home after winning, Jun-ho going to such great lengths to find his brother makes the most sense if it was a recent disappearance, as he would likely be more hopeful of finding his brother alive. This would mean that In-ho hiding behind the Front Man’s mask is a recent development, and it’s possible that the events of Squid Game depict his first time running things.

This lends a slightly different note to In-ho’s decision to shoot his brother, too. If the events of Squid Game are indeed his origins as the Front Man, the revelation of his identity, followed by apparent fratricide, cement him as one of the show’s biggest villains. There might be numerous apparent inconsistencies in In-ho’s timeline and behavior, but it’s more than possible that Squid Game could answer them in future seasons.