[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The 8 Show" Episode 8

Despite holding the lowest position in the show's hierarchy, 1 (played by Bae Sung-woo) has shown remarkable stoicism in the face of this blatant unfairness, even sabotaging 2's attempt to end the game in the sixth episode, to horrific results. In the cliffhanger to the seventh episode, we learned that 1 had sneaky reasons for this endurance. After earning a billion won, or roughly a million dollars, he intended to buy a superior room.


There were a lot of reasons why this plan was never going to work. But true to form, "The 8 Show" comes up with a farcical one as the drama heads into its brutal climax. It's only in the eighth episode that we finally get flashbacks for the other characters aside from 3, that demonstrate what circumstances led them to participating in "The 8 Show" in the first place. These stark reminders of their reality contrast harshly with what they've become because of the game.

The most blatant example of this is 8, who's essentially transformed from an art school party girl to an eighteenth century aristocrat, so obsessed with the abstract beauty of humanity she can't see the actual humans she's torturing. But 4 is a close second, with her chronic lack of self confidence being aptly showcased past and present. Even 6 shows surprising sympathy- this whole time, it turns out he wasn't a gangster, but a fallen baseball star.

Right to the end, "The 8 Show" refuses to caricature even its most seemingly loathsome characters. All of them were driven to madness by the harsh, empathy-less world they lived in long before they accepted their invitation to the game. These flashbacks represent the final desperate attempts by the characters, despite all they've been through, to remember the reason they came to this place. It was their doomed desire for respect more than the money that drove them to sacrifice so much.

"The 8 Show" is a shockingly prescient metaphor, not just for the alienation of its unnamed characters, but the haunting emptiness that comes from their realizing how much of their suffering was in the name of an abstract purpose that just...doesn't matter. In the mid-credits sequence, 7 returns to his old life, yet clearly struggles with understanding what it was that he even wanted. Who really created "The 8 Show" in the end? Honestly, it doesn't matter. Trying to find an enemy to blame misses the whole purpose of the series, which is how easy it is for people to convince themselves that they're doing the right thing, the only thing, with the proper incentives.

Written by William Schwartz


"The 8 Show" is directed by Han Jae-rim, written by Han Jae-rim, Lee Jenny, Song Su-rin, and features Ryu Jun-yeol, Chun Woo-hee, Park Jung-min, Lee Yul-eum, Park Hae-joon, Lee Zoo-young. Broadcasting information in Korea: 2024/05/17, Fri on Netflix.