Player 301 Trey Plutnicki and his mother LeAnn Wilcox Plutnicki, Player 302, tugged on viewers’ heartstrings as the two competed side by side on the new reality show.
Things took a turn when the pair had a picnic together, before realizing that marbles were hidden at the bottom of the picnic basket.
For those who have seen “Squid Game,” they immediately knew the marbles meant that only 50% of contestants would move forward, with the picnic duos separating — meaning either the son or the mother would be eliminated.
Trey Plutnicki and his mother LeAnn Wilcox Plutnick Speak On Marbles
The picnic was supposed to be a treat, but it soon turned into a devastation when the players discovered the marbles. “I think we knew right away what was happening,” LeAnn told PEOPLE when remembering the heartbreaking discovery.
“I didn’t want to [play the game] with him,” LeAnn said regarding the Marbles, “but then [Trey] gave me his perspective at the moment.”
“Before we even took a bite of food, I found the marbles,” Trey recalled of the moment. “And when we found it I was just like, ‘Let’s just let everyone have a really nice meal together,’ and we didn’t talk about it.”
The moment everyone else discovered the marbles was heartbreaking — not only for the contestants but for the viewers of the show.
Trey won the Marbles game, but was eliminated shortly after during the glass bridge.
Trey and LeAnn On Being A Mother-Son Duo
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In the hit series, contestants agreed to participate in the Squid Games, but what they didn’t realize was that if they lost the game, they would be killed. After the success of the Netflix show, the company decided to turn it into a real-life game show (minus the death part.)
More than 100,000 applicants applied to take part in the real-life version of the series for a chance to win $4.56 million (£3.63 million).
When speaking on the strategy of the game, the mother and son duo initially wanted to keep their relationship a secret as they divide and conquer, though contestants soon found out the two were related.
“I think part of our strategy was we divided and conquered. So I would take one half of the dorm, she’d take the other half,” Trey explained. “And ultimately I think it worked out in our favor. I think people looked at us and said, ‘That’s a strong duo that we need to break up.’ But I don’t think anybody in there had the heart to do that because we were close with so many people.”
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Brandon Riegg, Netflix’s vice president of the unscripted series, previously said that “‘Squid Game’ took the world by storm with [director Hwang Dong-hyuk’s] captivating story and iconic imagery,” which is why they decided to make a real-life version of the show.
The finale of “Squid Game: The Challenge” airs on Netflix next week. Contestant numbers 016, 287, and 451 are the three remaining.
A second season of “Squid Game” is currently in the works.