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Deok-su: You crazy bitch! Damn it! Let go of me, bitch! Mi-nyeo: I told you I'd kill you if you betrayed me. Deok-su: Don't do this. I'll go first, okay? Please let go of me. Let me go!
~ Deok-su terrified just before Han Mi-nyeo jumps off the glass bridge, killing herself and dragging him to his death with her.
Jang Deok-su (Korean: 장덕수), also referred to as Player 101, is a major antagonist in the first season of the South Korean Netflix series Squid Game. He is a gangster boss in South Korea who decided to participate in Oh Il-nam's 2020 Squid Game in order to pay off the debts he owes to the mafia and to a Filipino casino. He also is the archenemy of both Kang Sae-byeok and Han Mi-nyeo.
Once the lights are out, sit quietly in a corner. Don't even breathe. If I hear you breathe... I'll come for you.
~ Deok-su threatening Byeong-gi, before accepting the doctor in his team.
Deok-su is a brutal person and low-functioning sociopath who terrorizes and murders other players, taking delight in specifically targeting weaker contestants, regardless if it’s to improve his odds or just out of pure rage. Deok-su’s cruelty is so great that even contestants like Cho Sang-woo are shown to be absolutely disgusted by how vile he is. Even in instances where his teammates were horrified by their actions (after the Tug-Of-War game), Deok-su can be seen remorselessly laughing as he kills more players. Deok-su is even more violent and evil than Oh Il-nam and the Front Man who are controlling the games, as he lacks any redeeming qualities, is actually sadistic and eager to get his hands dirty.
Despite relying on his strength most of the time, Deok-su is also intelligent and capable of strategizing. He starts a riot to eliminate the competition as soon as he realizes that there is no punishment for killing other players in between games. This also shows he is an utilitarian, believing that the game will end earlier if he massacres most of the contestants. He keeps the members of his team close to him, including the doctor to give him information about the games, but is constantly doubtful about his allies as he is aware that any of them might betray him. During the Marble game, as he is about to lose to Player 278, he is the only player who recalls the rule of equality among the contestants, which was briefly mentioned earlier, and uses it to save his own life by asking the masked soldier to switch the game.
However, although pretending to be tough and dangerous, Deok-su is at the end a complete coward who's completely afraid of death. He is also so egotistical that he'd rather die with the rest of the players than sacrifice himself for them.
Jang Deok-su is a tall (5'11) and physically intimidating man with long black hair and a snake tattoo that goes up the side of his neck and points to his chin while hissing, possibly hinting at his lying and deceitful nature.
Jang wears casual clothes outside of the Squid Games, but while he's participating, he seems to prefer wearing his 101 jacket almost all the way zipped up with the sides hiding his neck.
His early life remains a mystery but is known is he operates as a boss under a "big boss" within the South Korean gang/mafia. Deok-su himself would indoctrinate the North Korean defector, Kang Sae-byeok, but she would later betray him, leave and become independent from him prior to the events of the 2020 Squid Game. At some point, Deok-su stole from his subordinates and later from his own boss. He also gambled at a Filipino casino, losing a lot of money. Deok-su would enter the Squid Game in order to evade and payoff all his debts.
Upon waking up in the facility, Deok-su recognized Sae-byeok as a participant and attacked her, demanding to know why she betrayed him. However his confrontation was interrupted by Seong Gi-hun and the arrival of the masked guards. In the first game Deok-su is almost killed by Sae-byeok when she throws him to the ground during Red Light, Green Light. Despite the setback, Deok-su is successful in completing the first game. During the voting process, Deok-su is among those who voted to end the game.
Upon returning to the outside world, Deok-su meets with one of his thugs to collect money from a pickpocketing endeavor. The two would then drive to a bridge and discuss a plan to infiltrate the Squid Game facility to steal the money so Deok-su can pay back his debts. However, during the meeting, the thug mentions Deok-su seems to be hiding after stealing from the "big boss" and comments how he knows about Deok-su gambling and losing a lot of money at a Filipino casino. The thug then reveals that men from the Casino tracked him back to South Korea. Enraged at the betrayal, Deok-su repeatedly stabbed and killed the thug. He then taunted his would-be attackers and escaped by jumping off the bridge into the water below. Shortly afterwards, Deok-su would be one of the 187 players that would return to the Squid Game.
Deok-su would quickly form an alliance with players: 040, 278, and 303. Deok-su attempts to recruit Sae-byeok into his team however she refuses and instead humiliates him by revealing his past thefts against his "Big Boss". Before a fight could start, they are interrupted by Han Mi-nyeo, Player 212, who compliments Deok-su's physique and asks to join his team. Deok-su then makes elicit sexual remarks to her before walking off. In the second game, Dalgona (Sugar Honeycombs), Deok-su chose the star for his shape. Despite his initial success, he begins to struggle trying to finish the shape. Until Mi-nyeo gifts him her smuggled lighter, allowing him to cut out the shape intact. After finishing, he hands her back the lighter and thanks her.
During mealtime Deok-su is frustrated at the small meal size given (A single hard boiled egg and glass drink), until Mi-nyeo suggests cutting the other line for seconds. After the second line ran out of meals, five other players noticed their meals were missing. Player 198 then confessed to witnessing Deok-su's gang cutting the line. Player 271 then confronted Deok-su about his stolen meal, but Deok-su only incited the man. Player 271 attempted to grab his meal but only managed to drop and shatter the glass bottle. Frustrated with the man, Deok-su assaulted Player 271 and eventually kicked him to death. Taking note that the guards would not try to stop violence against players, Deok-su and his gang planned to start a riot after lights-out in order to lower the competition.
Just before lights-out, Byeong-gi, Player 111, meets with Deok-su, wanting to join his team. The gang doubted the Doctor's usefulness and suggested he should just stay out of their way. Byeong-gi however, surprised Deok-su by revealing he knew what the next game would be. Once the lights were off, Deok-su started the riot when he first killed Player 198 out of revenge for snitching on him. Amongst the chaos, Deok-su attacked Sae-byeok. Despite the struggle, Deok-su cornered her but was stopped by Player 331. Enraged at the interference, Deok-su overpowered the man and stabbed him to death but by then, Sae-byeok had disappeared. Deok-su did find her eventually, only this time she was now protected by Gi-hun and his team. Deok-su's team arrived to back him and the two teams met in a standoff prepared to attack, but the riot ended when Oh Il-nam called for the guards to stop the fighting. Afterwards, Deok-su has his leg wound treated by Byeong-gi and revels in the results of their work. Overall, the riot was successful in killing 27 players. Later that night he and Mi-nyeo also developed a brief sexual relationship, having intercourse in the bathroom where they exchange names.
We need to get a bunch of men who are well built.
~ Deok-su to Player 278, planning for the next round.
Armed with Byeong-gi's knowledge about the third game, Deok-su orders his men to recruit other well-built men to their team, however when asked about Mi-nyeo, he suggests abandoning her. Once the time runs low, Mi-nyeo confronts Deok-su demanding to be on his team but he only shoves her to ground. She promises to kill him for his betrayal, but Deok-su laughs at her death threat. The time runs out and third game is then revealed to be Tug-of-War as Deok-su and his team look proud of their chances. They are the first team to play and compete against team 7. Once the game begins, Deok-su's team successfully drags team 7 over the edge, causing team 7 to fall once the rope is guillotined. On the way out, Deok-su insults Sang-woo and Gi-hun's team, wishing he could have killed them instead.
Back in the dormitory, Deok-su and his team revel in their victory before they turn in shock to see Gi-hun and Sang-woo's team having passed the third game. With tensions rising and fear of another riot after lights out, Gi-hun and Sang-woo's team constructs a barricade to defend themselves. Deok-su approaches their barricade and attempts to intimidate Gi-hun, however, Gi-hun counters Deok-su by questioning the loyalty of Deok-su's teammates. Gi-hun persists and is successful in convincing Deok-su to doubt his team's loyalty. When Deok-su returns to his team, he orders his men to cancel their attack and instead rest for the night. Deok-su then notices that Byeong-gi is missing and assumes he is in the bathroom.
The next morning, the remaining players are lead back to the spiral staircases and are horrified to see the bodies of Byeong-gi and four masked men hanging from their wrists on a giant mobile. A masked manager explains that the following individuals broke the rules of the game and were subsequently executed. Deok-su then looks on disappointed as his hidden advantage has been removed. Just before the start of the 4th game, Deok-su partners with Player 278 and they proclaim themselves as the best pair due to being two of the strongest players. Once the 4th game reveals the pairs will be competing against each other, Deok-su and Player 278 play the same marble guessing game as most of the other players. As they play, Deok-su repeatedly loses round after round and attempts to intimated Player 278, however Player 278 mocks Deok-su by reminding him of the rule that no violence is permitted. Deok-su then remembers the guard's earlier statement about them being equals, so he demands the masked soldier to change their game to one more advantageous for him. The soldier grants Deok-su's request as Player 278 reluctantly has to agree. Deok-su changes their game to a aiming contest where whoever can sink a marble into a hole wins every marble on ground. Despite winning at least one round, Deok-su struggles with trying to finish the game. Down to his last marble, a solid blue one, Deok-su throws it close to the hole, but the marble doesn't go in all the way. Player 278, armed with his last marble, mocks Deok-su one last time before throwing his marble. The marble rolls towards the hole but then hits a rock and changes direction, knocking Deok-su's blue marble into the hole. Deok-su roars a loud cheer as he wins the game and avoids death another time. Upon returning to the dormitory, Deok-su and the other players are shocked to see Mi-nyeo still alive.
In the Glass Stepping Stones game, after several players fell to their deaths, Deok-su stops mid-way and proclaims to the others that he refuses to move forward until they take the fall for him. Mi-nyeo confronts him on how he wasn't as tough as he claimed to be, so he insulted her and said he wouldn't move forward. She told him that she would go before him, and Deok-su was eager to have Mi-nyeo sacrifice herself until she grabbed his waist, saying she wouldn't die just so he would live. She reminded Deok-su that she made a vow to kill him if he were to betray her, and was fully intent on keeping her word. As he futilely struggles, Mi-nyeo leans back as she breaks the panel, falling to her death as she takes a screaming Deok-su down with her.
Gangster Henchman - Stabbed multiple times with a knife.
Player 271 - Beaten to death.
Player 198 - Stabbed multiple times with a broken glass bottle during the riot.
Player 331 - Stabbed multiple times in the back with Sae-byeok's switchblade during the riot.
25 Players - Indirectly; killed in the riot incited by Deok-su.
10 Players of Team 7 - Dragged to fall to their deaths by his team during the Tug-of-War.
Player 278 - Indirectly; shot by soldiers after Deok-su won against him in the Marbles game.
Player 322/Jung Min-tae - Pushed and fell to his death during the Glass Stepping Stones game.
Player 17/Do Jung-soo - Indirectly; killed because the time was almost running out, which was resulted by Deok-su's stalling, refusing to move forward and reveal more glass panels.