‘The 8 Show’ Recap (Episodes 1-8): Everything That Happens In Netflix’s Korean Series


Directed by Han Jae-rim, The 8 Show is the latest Korean thriller series, where we witness eight people, bogged down by their financial struggles, take part in a weird game that changes their lives forever. The game had some set rules, and the players had to just spend time and survive in order to earn huge amounts of money. At first, they believed that they would be able to get through it easily, but the reality was much harsher than it seemed at first. So, let’s find out the major events that took place in every episode and how they impacted the lives of the players.

Spoiler Alert

Episode 1 Recap

At the beginning of The 8 Show, we saw that Jin-su had taken some money from loan sharks on the advice of a person whom he trusted. Jin-su’s venture failed, and he didn’t know how to cover the losses or repay his debt. Jin-su tried his level best to earn the money, but doing so by legitimate means was an uphill task. Also, as he stated, he had no specific skill, so getting a high-paying job was very difficult for him. Jin-su did all sorts of part-time jobs, but he was just fooling himself, and deep down, he knew that he would never be able to earn that sort of money. So, in the end, he came to the conclusion that he wanted to get rid of the mess and take his own life. He went on a bridge, and just as he was about to jump from there, a limousine came, and not knowing what to expect, he sat inside it. The car took him to a theater, and Jin-su didn’t understand what was happening or who was behind it. He got a message on his mobile where it was stated that if he participated in a game, he would be able to earn loads of money and pay his debt. Jin-su, at that juncture, had no clue what the game was all about, who was the one who was pulling the reins, and what could be the consequences of participating or choosing to back out. There was a table inside the theater where a few cards were kept. Jin-su was asked to pick one card, and at that moment, Jin-su got a bit spooked and he decided that he should back off. But he got another message, and he saw a sum of money wired into his account.

Jin-su was skeptical, but the money lured him in, and he decided to go ahead with his instincts. He entered the arena, where the game was to be played. He had chosen number 3, and he realized that there were eight rooms in total, one on each floor. He went inside his room on the third floor, and he learned about certain rules that all eight players had to abide by. Digital boards were hung in every room to keep track of the amount of money earned by each participant. The amount of money increased with time, but the catch was that the rate at which it increased exponentially grew with every floor. So basically, the first-floor guy got the least amount of money for every minute that passed, and the participant on the 8th floor got the highest amount per minute. Also, the cost of anything inside the arena was much higher than the actual cost of the product. So basically, even if somebody had to buy a sleeping bag or a blanket, they had to spend millions, which got cut from their respective tally. Also, there was no washroom inside the establishment, so the participants had to find ways to dispose of their feces. Jin-su met everybody, and it was unanimously decided that they would address one another with their floor number, and there was no need to know each other’s names. Jin-su and the other participants were shocked to see the disparity that existed between the guys on the lower floor and those who were living on the upper floors. Where the room of the first-floor guy looked like a store room, the girl staying on the 8th floor was given an extremely luxurious space, and considering she had so much money, she could afford to buy anything. 

Episode 2 Recap

There were a lot of things that the participants needed to figure out about the rules of the game. The first thing they wanted to know was how to increase the time because everybody wanted to stay in the establishment for as long as they could and take away the maximum amount of money. The guy on the 7th floor seemed to understand the nitty-gritties of the game. He was trying to understand the motives of the ones who had created the game, but he just wasn’t able to reach any conclusion. The participants formulated the theory that if they walked up and down the stairs, the time increased. They started walking, but soon, they realized that their theory was flawed and that there was something else governing the time there. The second-floor girl and the 6th-floor guy had a fight with each other, and suddenly everybody noticed that the time had increased. It came to be known that the gamekeepers were looking for conflicts, and the bigger the issue, the more time was added to the clock. It was a shocking revelation, as it meant that the participants had to create constant conflicts or keep doing something that engaged the showrunners and kept them hooked. 

Episode 3 Recap

It was unanimously decided that the participants would have a talent show where each one of them would come and do whatever they wanted to. It was the easiest way to increase the time, but what they didn’t know was that time increased more if something controversial, violent, or scandalous was done. Floor 3, the one that Jin-su was on, got the least amount of time added to the clock, and he was pretty disappointed by his performance. The eighth-floor girl decided that she would take the sixth-floor guy with her and get intimate with him, and though it seemed quite vulgar and absurd at first, it got the participants the most amount of time. It was time to decide who would keep the bags of feces in their room, and very shrewdly, the 4th floor girl asked the participants to decide democratically by voting. She knew that if the talent show’s performance was taken into consideration, then Floor 3 and she would have to keep the bags in their room. Everybody wrote the names of the participants, and the 8th-floor girl got the maximum number of votes. It felt fair that the one with the biggest room and the most money had to keep the bags, but the 8th-floor girl had other plans. She locked herself inside her room, and she made sure that the others didn’t get any food or water. The message was loud and clear: she wanted to take advantage of her privilege, and she was not ready to compromise, even at the cost of others. 

Episode 4 Recap

The first change that happened after the 8th-floor girl locked herself in her room was that the 4th and 3rd-floor participants decided that they would keep the bag of feces in their rooms. Everybody was actually on the verge of starvation, and that’s when the 7th-floor guy decided that it was about time they made peace with the fact that they couldn’t follow a democratic setup, and power resided in the hands of those who had better resources. In episode 4, we saw that the participants started playing a game called Kings, where the person who got the ball on which the word “king” was written could ask anyone to perform a task for them. Things got a bit heated up when the 8th-floor girl asked the 6th-floor guy and the 2nd-floor girl to fight with each other. There was bloodshed, and the 6th-floor guy showed no mercy toward the 2nd-floor girl. The poor girl was smeared in blood, and her opponent would have actually killed her had others not intervened in between.

After the violent encounter, the rules were changed, as apart from a few sadistic people, nobody liked what they saw. So it was decided that a participant would be given a task, and if they weren’t able to do it, then a taser could be used to incapacitate them. At first, people thought that the electric shock wouldn’t be that strong, but they were wrong. The 3rd-floor guy urinated in his pants, and he fell unconscious when the lethal device was used on him. For some reason, time and again, the same 2-3 people became the kings, and the others started feeling that somehow they had rigged the entire game. They didn’t have evidence to prove it, but it all became a bit too much, especially for Jin-su, as he time and again wasn’t able to complete his task or backed out of doing so because his own conscience didn’t allow him to do something. The first and seventh-floor guys decided to take matters into their own hands, and that’s when somebody else became the king. Finally, the 8th-floor girl lost for the first time, and just when the 7th-floor guy was about to use the taser on her, the 6th-floor guy came out of nowhere and kicked him. The 6th-floor guy gave him an electric shock, and his defense for doing so was that he didn’t want things to become monotonous, and time and again, he liked to add a certain twist to the narrative. 

Episode 5 Recap

Things became worse for the lower-floor guys in The 8 Show when the 6th-floor guy and 8th-floor girl decided that they would do things according to their whims and fancies and establish their dictatorship. The guy on the 6th floor decided that the people on the lower floors would have to take part in games and follow each and every order that was given to them. The guys on the lower floor were made to take part in bizarre and violent games, and they were given daily wages based on their performances, through which they bought food and water for themselves. The intercoms in their rooms were broken by the guys on the higher floors, and it was made sure that an oppressive class system was established. A capitalist society was created where the people at the bottom of the food chain toiled hard and bore all the torture to just earn enough for their survival while the rich, i.e., the people on the higher floors, enjoyed the privilege that was bestowed upon them. Things became so tortuous that the people on the lower floor decided to start a revolution and resort to violent measures to bring the situation under control. A coupe was organized, and the 7th-floor guy helped the lower-floor people create a secret plan to take down the 6th-floor and the 8th-floor participants. The lower-floor participants were able to take down their 6th and 8th-floor colleagues, who were majorly responsible for the misery the former were subjected to. It was a huge victory for Jin-su and his gang, and they finally heaved a sigh of relief as they didn’t have to be scared any longer. 

Episode 6 Recap

The most weird thing that happened with the captives, i.e., the 6th floor guy and 4th floor girl, got assaulted quite brutally, and nobody knew who was behind it. This happened soon after the second-floor guy asked the participants to put an end to the game and move out of the godforsaken facility. The first-floor guy said that he wanted to make a billion won before going out, and that’s when the second-floor girl said that she could give him some money from her end as, anyway, she didn’t have a lot of requirements in her life. But suddenly, the time on the digital clock increased, and that’s when the lower floor participants learned that something might have happened, which resulted in more game hours being added. At the end of The 8 Show episode 6, the captives managed to free themselves and once again take the reins in their hands. The fifth-floor girl got manipulated by the 6th-floor guy, and when the power dynamics changed, she felt mentally disturbed because she was violated by the latter. The guy on the 6th floor made it very clear that he wanted to know who the culprit was, and he was ready to torture everybody until one of them came forward and confessed to what they had done. 

Episode 7 Recap

The madness went to another level when the 8th-floor girl took charge of things in The 8 Show episode 7. After the 7th-floor guy was shot by the 6th-floor guy, the deranged queen, i.e., the 8th-floor girl, suggested that they should, based on the CCTV camera footage, find out who was behind the act. It came to be known that it was the first-floor guy who pulled the toenails of the sixth-floor guy and also tortured the fourth-floor girl. The 6th-floor guy had made up his mind to teach him a lesson, but before he could do that, surprisingly, the 8th-floor girl pushed him from the stairs, and he suffered a severe injury. Then, 8th-floor girl took the reins in her hands, and she made her fellow participants go through the kind of torture they hadn’t even imagined in their worst nightmares. 4th floor and 5th floor girls assisted the 8th floor girl, and all the others were made to go through hell as the horrifying technique of sleep deprivation was used on them. The participants started hallucinating, and they could no longer differentiate reality from imagination. At the end of the episode, the 4th floor decided to go against the 8th-floor girl, and she hatched a plan together with the 1st-floor guy. The first-floor guy had figured out that for a billion won, they could change their rooms. He conveyed it to the 4th-floor girl, who decided to help him do that as she also knew that it would be financially beneficial for them. 

Episode 8 Recap

Things didn’t end up very nicely for the participants, as they got to know at the end of The 8 Show that a billion won got them only the instructions on how to change the rooms, and then they had to pay a much greater amount to do that in reality. So basically, the first-floor guy spent all his money on buying that booklet, and then he came to the realization that nobody would ever be able to change their rooms since the price was so high. The first-floor guy felt messed up from within, and he lost all hope. He wanted the best treatment for his daughter; he wanted a good life for his wife, but he knew that none of it would be possible. He was a clown by profession, and he did one last performance for the participants. He fell to the ground while trying to walk on a tightrope. A box of film strips fell and caught fire, and eventually, the first-floor guy got gravely injured due to it. He succumbed to his injuries, and Jin-su shot at all the cameras in his rage so that the game runners let them end the show. 

After the participants came out, they didn’t know how to cope with the trauma. It was such a horrifying and bizarre experience that the participants, even after coming out, couldn’t accept that all that happened in reality. They got money in their account, which made them realize that the show was actually real and they weren’t hallucinating things. Jin-su organized a funeral for the first-floor guy, and the 2nd, 4th, and 5th-floor girls showed up for it. Jin-su wanted to honor the memory of his fellow participants, and even when he didn’t know the real names of the participants, he made sure that his message reached out to them through public hoardings and advertisements. Nobody came to know who the game developers were or what they sought to achieve through the absurd game. In the mid-credit scene, we saw that the 7th-floor guy, aka Philip, took inspiration from his experiences and wrote the script for the new show that he was going to pitch to the producers. The producer very cryptically said that he was also a part of the show earlier and tested how he made so much money, but then he said that he was just joking and that he knew that it was just a fictional story.

The 8 Show ended on a cliffhanger where the makers hinted towards the possibility of having a sequel where maybe they would divulge the secrets and tell us who exactly was running the show and what the intent behind it was. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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