I Can’t Stop Thinking About How Poor, Innocent Ali From ‘Squid Game’ Deserved Better

In a world full of Sang-Woo's, be an Ali.

ali squid game netflix photo

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It’s already been three days since I finished Squid Game but I still can’t stop thinking about sweet, sweet Abdul Ali — and I’m not alone.

Considering Squid Game features just so much death, it’s pretty hard to forget the series. But one character who had a lasting impact on everyone who watched the Korean drama-thriller was innocent Ali aka Player 199.

— Red Light: Spoilers for Squid Game ahead —

If you’ve watched Squid Game, then you know all 456 players who joined the children’s death games did so because of the crippling debt weighing over them — bar Oh Il-nam, Player 001, of course.

Even when released following the majority vote that came after Red Light, Green Light, a whopping 187 out of 201 contestants returned because the sheer possibility of winning ₩45.6 billion (approximately $53 million AUD) made the likelihood of death worth it.

So I know that I can’t be too hurt over Ali’s death because he knew what returning to the games would likely mean. But that doesn’t mean I’m not absolutely torn up over how he died.

Ali Was An Angel Who Didn’t Belong In The Game

The biggest issue with Ali’s death is that he shouldn’t have even been in the Squid Game in the first place.

When we learned of each main character’s backstories, it was easy to understand why they returned even though they knew that game elimination would end up in death.

Seong Gi-Hun (Player 456), for example, was a gambling addict in serious debt who returned after learning he needed money to gain custody of his daughter and to help his mother with the diabetes-related surgery she needed.

Similarly, Cho Sang-Woo (Player 218), Gi-Hun’s childhood friend, really had no other option but to return to the competition because of the legal ramifications of his fraud and embezzlement. Kang Sae-Byeok (Player 067) was a pick-pocket and North Korean refugee who needed the funds to help her mother cross the border. And Jang Deok-Su (Player 101) desperately needed the money to pay back the boss he stole from.

But Ali? Ali found himself back at the Squid Game all because his boss didn’t pay him for six months.

In Ali’s flashback, we learned that he was an illegal immigrant from Pakistan who had a wife and child that he needed to support. However, even after losing some of his fingers at the factory, Ali’s boss refused to pay him for half a year, which led him to steal what money was available to allow his family to fly back home.

Unlike everyone else, Ali wasn’t pushed to the Squid Game because of deceit, betrayal or greed. Ali found himself competing in deadly kid’s games because his boss took advantage of him as a foreign worker.

Once in the games, Ali was sweet and helpful despite not owning anyone anything.

For example, even though Ali didn’t know Gi-Hun, he selflessly saved his life during Red Light, Green Light by preventing a fall that would’ve led to his certain death. And when partners were being selected for the Marbles game, Ali hesitated in partnering with Sang-Woo because he didn’t want Gi-Hun to feel left out.

But, as we painfully learned in Episode 6, this selflessness ultimately led to Ali’s demise.

Ali Deserved So Much Better

Ever since Sang-Woo gave him bus money to get back home when freed from the Squid Game, Ali felt indebted to Player 218. And even though Sang-Woo was cold towards Ali, the two seemed to be friends. This is why it was so painful to see Sang-Woo betray Ali the way he did.

Honestly, the sadness over Ali’s death wouldn’t be so severe if he didn’t die at the hands of someone he trusted.

During Episode 6, Sang-Woo’s true colours really shone. Knowing that losing all his marbles would result in death, Sang-Woo accused Ali of cheating in a game he had never played as the timer started ticking down closer to zero.

Hurt by hearing those words from someone he admired and respected, Ali foolishly agreed to follow Sang-Woo’s plan that promised both of them would leave the game alive.

Trusting in Sang-Woo, like he innocently believed he could in a life or death situation, Ali handed over all his marbles as per his friend’s instructions. In the biggest betrayal since Scar and Mufasa, Sang-Woo put himself first and switched Ali’s hard-earned marbles with a bag of pebbles — something that Ali painfully realised when it was too late.

Sadly, as unproblematic and helpful as Ali was, the Squid Game was just not the place to be kind.

That is, of course, unless you are Gi-Hun helping an elderly man through the games who just so happens to be the person who created the Squid Game. Duh.

You can stream Squid Gameon Netflix now.