'Squid Game: The Challenge' winner walks away with the $4.56 million prize after a tense game of rock, paper, scissors

'Squid Game: The Challenge' winner walks away with the $4.56 million prize after a tense game of rock, paper, scissors
Phill Cain, Mai Whelan and Sam Lantz on green stairs wearing tuxedos and a bow tie
Phill Cain, Mai Whelan and Sam Lantz in "Squid Game: The Challenge."Pete Dadds / Netflix
  • After 10 episodes, "Squid Game: The Challenge" finally crowned its season one winner.

  • Sam, Mai, and Phill were the final three.

  • The last game was unexpectedly Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner took home the $4.56 million prize.

"Squid Game: The Challenge" has finally whittled its way down from 456 contestants to one — and now, that winner is taking home $4.56 million.

The series, which is based off of Hwang Dong-hyuk's Korean-language Netflix drama "Squid Game," premiered on Netflix in November. Like the original show, it features contestants fighting their way through a variety of physical and mental challenges for a chance at the prize money, with some added gimmicks hand-made for reality television. Unlike "Squid Game," obviously, players aren't killed when they get eliminated — they just lose out on their chance to take home millions.

The second batch of pre-finale episodes, which hit Netflix on November 29, left us with three finalists: Sam Lantz (016), Mai Whelan (287), and Phill Cain (451). They're the last three people standing after a gamut of challenges.

Here's a recap of how all three got to Wednesday's finale — and who ultimately came out on top.

Warning: Major spoilers for the season one finale of "Squid Game: The Challenge" below.

the three final players of squid game the challenge stand spotlit in the show's eerily empty dormitory
The three final players of "Squid Game: The Challenge" season one await their fate.Netflix

Mai, Sam, and Phill all had their ups and downs on 'Squid Game: The Challenge'

Mai, Sam and Phill weren't camera favorites in the early episodes of the season, but all three emerged as some of the game's best players down the line.

For one, they were all assigned the second most-difficult shape — the star — during the dalgona challenge and managed to survive. And for another, they managed to get through some of the game's trickier interpersonal challenges by virtue of the bonds they formed with other players.

phill, mai, and sam out of the game in casual party wear at a squid game party, with their arms around each other and smiling
Phill, Mai, and Sam at the "Squid Game: The Challenge" celebration in Los AngelesJoe Scarnici/Getty Images for Netflix

All three finalists were saved by another player during a dormitory test in episodes six and seven, which cut the player count down from 31 to 20. Mai was the first picked, and Phill and Sam were saved by other plays that they had a connection with.

Mai, however, emerged as one of the game's most ruthless players, publicly targeting Ashley (278) for elimination in a dice game on the basis of her lack of teamwork during the glass bridge challenge. And in the penultimate episode's circle of trust challenge, Mai targets her closest connection — and successfully eliminates him.

Phill is the MVP during the circle of trust challenge: Not only does he correctly guess his attacker twice, but he also eliminates the final contestant, Hallie Parrott (355). Sam, in the last few episodes, remains a steady presence, mediating Mai's conflict with Ashley and solidifying his bond with Phill.

Going into the finale, Mai's actions made her the biggest wild card — but it was still anyone's game.

Eventually, Mai took home the final prize

Like in "Squid Game," the final contestants wrap things up with a formal dinner, but it isn't just for conversation. The three final players are presented with three buttons. Pressing one reveals a specific color — green saves the player and allow them to pick another finalist to advance, grey has no effect, and red eliminates them instantly.

Mai volunteers to push the first button, which turns grey. Sam pushes the next, revealing a red button that results in his elimination. Phill and Mai mourn his loss and hug — but Mai reveals in a confessional that she had hoped Phill would be her final opponent regardless.

After a night of what was certainly fitful sleep, the two move on to play the titular squid game — only to learn that they'll be doing something completely different.

two men in pink jumpsuits and masks stand under spotlights next to a squid game pattern on the floor
The final episode of "Squid Game: The Challenge."Netflix

While the field is set up to play the Korean children's game, Phill and Mai learn upon arrival that they'll instead be playing rock, paper, scissors. Winning a round of the game allows them to choose one key from a box — and if it opens the safe at the top of the field, they win the entire game.

After multiple rounds — and plenty of key tries — Mai is the one to successfully open the safe, revealing a golden credit card.

phill and mai hug on squid game the challenge, wearing white shirts
Phill and Mai hug on the finale of "Squid Game: The Challenge."Netflix

"Today just validates that anything is possible. Even when you feel down and afraid, you have to pick yourself up, be a strong person, and focus," Mai says in a teary confessional. "Whatever your fear is, fight it with everything that you've got, and you can accomplish anything. And it's proven tonight."

"Squid Game: The Challenge" ends with a montage of the other contestants, reminding us that even after losing, the rest of the cast is alive and well. Then, of course, it cuts to Mai inputting her golden card into an ATM that displays a balance of $4.56 million.

It also reminds viewers that they could be the next person to take home the massive prize — if only they visit the link to be cast in the next season.

Read the original article on Business Insider