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Villain Overview

Remember, once they find out who you are, you die.
~ The Front Man after executing a masked manager.
It's over. Come with me. Do as I say. That way, you live. (...) Let's go. Come with me.
~ Hwang In-ho revealing himself to his brother, Hwang Jun-ho.
You like horseracing, right? You people are horses. Horses at a racetrack. It was unexpected. I didn't think you'd run this far. (...) Just think of it as a dream. It wasn't a bad dream for you anyway.
~ The Front Man to Seong Gi-hun after the latter's victory in the Squid Game.

Hwang In-ho (Korean: 황인호), better known as the Front Man, also spelled as Frontman, is the secondary antagonist of Season 1 of the 2021 South Korean Netflix drama Squid Game and is set to return in Season 2 in some capacity. He is the leader of the Masked Men and the enigmatic overseer of the Squid Game. It is eventually revealed he is the brother of the detective Hwang Jun-ho.

In-ho was invited to compete in Oh Il-nam's survival competition in 2015 and ultimately won. Later, he went on to become Il-nam's right-hand man, the Front Man. In 2020, while In-ho worked overseeing the games, his sudden disappearance bewildered Jun-ho, leading him to conduct a police investigation.

He was portrayed by Lee Byung-hun, who also played Park Chang-yi in The Good, The Bad and The Weird, Storm Shadow in the G.I. Joe live-action film series, and the T-1000 in Terminator: Genisys. His English dub was voiced by Tom Choi.

Personality[]

Whether you sell off organs from the dead, or devour them, I don't give a damn. However, you ruined the most crucial element of this place: equality. Everyone is equal in these games. Players get to compete in a fair game under the same conditions. These people suffered from inequality and discrimination out in the world, and we offer them one last chance to fight on equal footing and win. But you have broken that principle.
~ The Front Man to a soldier, before executing him for violating the rules of the Squid Game.

As the Front Man, In-ho is very strict and ruthless to keep the order within the games and keep his underlings under control, executing the ones who break the rules and disturb the games. He believes in equality and that the games are actually a last chance in life to the contestants, as they play a fair game under the same conditions after suffering because of the inequality and discrimination in the outside world. Despite this belief, In-ho also views the players as a way of entertainment to the rich gamblers behind the games, as he later explains to Gi-hun that the contestants are similar to the horses he bets on races.

In-ho does not tolerate anyone disturbing the equality of the games and will eliminate players and the masked workers who violate this rule. He also values the secrecy of the games, as seen when he immediately kills the masked manager that is forced to reveal his face to a player. Despite being a firm and stern person, he is polite and always acts in a sophisticated manner. He also respects the one above him, the Host and the funders, the VIPs. He ends the nighttime brawl at Il-nam's pleading, accepts Il-nam's request to receive the VIPs, making preparations for their arrival and then attending and trying to please them while they watch the games. After Il-nam's death, In-ho visits his house to pay his respects to him. In-ho is also respectful towards Seong Gi-hun after he wins the games, congratulating Gi-hun and admitting he wasn't expecting him to go so far in the competition. In-ho tells Gi-hun to think of it all like a bad dream, implying he is aware that Gi-hun will be left with trauma which he himself possible suffers due to having won the Squid Game previously.

Not much is known about his personal life, but he seems to be close to his family, especially his brother, as they noticed his absence just a few days after the games started and Jun-ho infiltrates the Squid Game just to look for him. This is also evidenced by Jun-ho saying that In-ho gave him his own kidney and by In-ho trying to keep his brother alive, as he orders the masked soldiers not to kill him after learning the identity of the intruder. Later, he even breaks the rule of secrecy by revealing his face to Jun-ho in an attempt to ask his brother to come with him so he can ensure his safety. Upon being refused, he simply shoots Jun-ho non-fatally in the shoulder, instead of fatally like he did to anyone else. After shooting Jun-ho, In-ho is haunted by his own action, showing that In-ho does care about his brother and feels remorse about what he did.

Biography[]

Background[]

Hwang In-ho is the older brother of Hwang Jun-ho and is a former police officer who was involved in bribery. At some point, he donated one of his kidneys to his brother.

In 2015, he was recruited to participate in the 28th Squid Game, being designated with the number "132" among the players of that year. In-ho ultimately became that year's grand prize winner. After his victory, In-ho remained involved with the games planned by Oh Il-nam, eventually becoming the Front Man, the competition's masked overseer and administrator.

In 2020, despite having won the prize money five years prior, In-ho lives in a very small dormitory and has been missing rent payments. Shortly before the 33rd Squid Game, In-ho left his dormitory for more than a week and stopped responding to calls from his family.

Squid Game[]

During the period of the 33rd Squid Game in 2020, In-ho oversaw the competition at the remote facility on an island southeast of South Korea's mainland. Unbeknownst to In-ho, after a few days of his sudden disappearance, his family was bewildered, particularly his brother Jun-ho, who works as a detective in the Korean National Police Agency. Jun-ho becomes suspicious as to the circumstances of his disappearance when he finds a card of the Squid Game in his dormitory. Later, Jun-ho infiltrates the Squid Game facility disguised as a member of his masked staff to look for his brother.

Following the resolution of the second game, when a player takes a staff member hostage (who later commits suicide realizing the staff member is just a young boy), In-ho executes the boy since he removed his face mask at gunpoint, violating the secrecy of the competition.

In-ho later discovers a conspiracy amongst his underlings of a black market organ harvesting operation involving Player 111, a contestant who previously worked as a doctor. The masked staff involved in the conspiracy needed the doctor alive to harvest more organs, so they were giving him information about the games and making him have an unfair advantage. When this revelation came to light, In-ho accuses them of breaking the rules as the players are supposed to have equal chances, especially coming from a world in which many had no opportunities because of inequality and discrimination. In-ho executes the surviving soldier involved and leaves Player 111 to die by one of his masked guards. In-ho later has the bodies strung up to demonstrate to the surviving contestants of the consequences of violating the rules.

Concurrently, In-ho realizes that Worker Number 28 was murdered by a bullet from gun usually carried by the Korean police, leading him to believe Number 29 (Jun-ho) is a spy. In-ho orders a manhunt for Number 29, unaware that he has infiltrated his office and is investigating In-ho's disappearance, presuming that he was one of the current contestants. Arriving in his office, In-ho tries to find the intruder when he sees his phone is turned around in its regular direction, which indicates that someone is in his quarters, as In-ho remarks that he always puts the phone in the other direction. Before he can catch Jun-ho, the guards inform him that they found a body by the coast of the island.

The body that they found is the masked worker Jun-ho had thrown into the sea when he stole his uniform to infiltrate the staff of the games. With the body, they found Jun-ho's police ID. While In-ho stares at the police ID, he realizes that the intruder is his brother as he receives a call from the guards informing of the arrival of the VIPs. In-ho organizes a meeting with the game's VIPs (wealthy patrons who do organized betting and gambling on the contestants), and arranges for them to watch the fifth game live, unaware that Jun-ho has already infiltrated the VIP lounge as a masked servant.

When Jun-ho escapes the island, In-ho barely sees him escaping to the ocean. In-ho leaves to the mainland to capture the escapee. Knowing that it is his brother, In-ho orders the masked staff to bring the intruder to him alive. Jun-ho attempts to send evidence of the competition to his superiors in the KNPA, but was most likely unable to due to poor reception. Jun-ho is cornered by In-ho and the masked staff on a cliff, and uses his last bullet to shoot the Front Man in the shoulder. Even after being shot, In-ho signs to the masked staff not to fire and tells Jun-ho to come with him if he wants to live. Confused on why the Front Man would say this, Jun-ho questions who he is. In-ho unmasks himself, revealing to Jun-ho that he is his brother. He once again offers Jun-ho to come with him, so he will keep him alive. However, Jun-ho is in shock and refuses. With no other choice, In-ho shoots Jun-ho in the shoulder, as he falls off the cliff into the coast below. During the night before the last game of the competition, In-ho recovers from the bullet inflicted by Jun-ho, haunted by the shooting of his brother, whose fate remains ambiguous.

The Front Man later reappears alongside the VIPs in an observation deck, overseeing the final game between Seong Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. When asked about the final game, the Front man explains to the VIPs the rules of Squid Game. Once the final game is concluded and Gi-hun is the champion, The Front Man and the VIPs disappear from the observation deck. Following Seong Gi-hun's victory, In-ho escorts a bound and blindfolded Gi-hun in a limousine, being transported by a large ship back towards the mainland. In-ho congratulates Gi-hun on his victory, but a scarred Gi-hun ignores the compliments and instead questions In-ho about why they created the games. In-ho compares the Squid games to that of horse-race gambling, only with human participants as their horses. When Gi-hun questions the identity of who he is talking to, In-ho suggests that Gi-hun should just view the whole game as nothing more than just a dream, and for him, it wasn't a bad one (financially at least). However, Gi-hun is persistent and continues to ask "Who are you?" In-ho simply remains silent as he puts on his mask and the limo is filled with a sedative gas that renders Gi-hun unconscious. Once on the mainland, Gi-hun is dumped out of the limousine with his prize, a gold debit card with the promised 45.6 billion won.

A year later, he visits Il-nam's death bed after he passed away and pays his respects. In the meantime, Gi-hun, while preparing to leave on an airplane trip to see his daughter again, learns about the new game they intend to host after seeing the same man who manipulated him try to manipulate another man into doing so with the same game he played with him earlier. Not wanting anyone else to experience the traumas of the game that he and the former players had experienced, Gi-hun makes a phone call to the guards and In-ho, standing up to them and threatening to stop their games. As such, In-ho threatens him by telling him to not get any absurd ideas before revealing that he's watching him by suggesting he gets on the plane he was going to board, stating that it was for his own good, with Gi-hun deciding to abandon the airplane trip, presumably to try to find a way to stop the games after hanging up.

Powers and Abilities[]

  • Authority: In-ho is the leader of the masked men, the overseer of the Squid Game and a high authority in the games, being surpassed by the creator of the Squid Games, Oh Il-nam.
  • Intelligence: Being a former police officer, In-ho holds incredible knowledge of the Korean police's regulations and of their weapons. He is able to instantly recognize the bullet of Hwang Jun-ho's revolver that killed the Worker Number 28 and later knows that his brother has a single bullet left because of police regulations. Being the overseer of the games, he also knows perfectly the rules of the competition.
  • Weapons Proficiency: In-ho is impressively skilled with a pistol, usually killing his victims with a shot in the head.
  • Intimidation: Due to his control over the masked men, and his meticulous and strict supervision over the Squid Game, In-ho is very feared and respected by the members of the staff.
  • Bilingualism: In-ho is capable of fluently speaking Korean and English.
  • High Durability/Pain Tolerance: No-sells being shot by Hwang Jun-ho in the shoulder while the latter fell unconscious into the sea after being shot by him in the same spot.

Victims[]

  • Unnamed manager - Shot in the head.
  • Unnamed conspiratorial soldier - Shot in the head.
  • Byeong-gi - Indirectly; shot several times by a soldier following the Front Man's orders.
  • Unnamed conspiratorial manager - Killed off-screen after the Front Man found out about the organ trafficking conspiracy.
  • At least other 439 players - Indirectly; killed during the games which the Front Man was overseeing.

Trivia[]

  • In-ho's Squid Game profile (shown in episode 5) states that his birthday is in February 2, 1976. As one year is added after birth in the Korean age, this makes him 45 in 2020 and 46 in 2021.
  • In the Korean version, the Front Man is referred as 'Dae-Jang' by the Pink Soldiers, which roughly translates to 'Captain/Leader'.
  • Lee Byung-hun (the Front Man's actor) is mentioned by Ji-yeong in episode 6, when she is talking with Sae-byeok about mojito and quotes his line from the film Inside Men.
  • The creator of the series said that one of the plotlines he wants to explore in season two is the story of the Front Man and his brother Jun-ho.[1]
    • Wi Ha-jun (Jun-ho's actor) also said he hopes his character will return alive, as he would like to see more about the relationship between the two brothers in season 2.[2]

References[]

External Links[]

Navigation[]

           Squid Game logo render Villains

Masked Men
The Host | Front Man | Masked Managers | Masked Soldiers | Masked Workers (Number 28) | The Salesman | The VIPs

Players
Cho Sang-woo | Jang Deok-su's Gang (Jang Deok-su | Byeong-gi | Player 278 | Player 040 | Player 303)

Others
Loan Sharks | Ji-yeong's Father | Gang Member

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