‘The 8 Show’ Recap & Ending Explained: Who Were The Contestants In Real Life?

People often turn to taking their own lives when they’re neck deep in unsolvable problems. Imagine a group of men gathering eight such individuals to participate in a show where the contestants win more and more money the longer they stay inside the structure. Netflix’s new dark comedy thriller The 8 Show is what the international reality show Big Brother would be if it were broadcast on the dark web. Sick and tired of loan sharks asking for money, Bae Jin-su tries to kill himself to get away from all of this, but a credit notification on his phone leads him to the horrific show. 


Spoilers Ahead

What is the 8 show?

After seeing a million won get credited into his account, Bae finds a limousine waiting for him. The limo takes him to a place where an envelope instructs him about the show. The rules are simple, as he gets to choose a number for the floor he wishes to live on, and he’ll get food and water from the showrunners. Upon reaching his room, he finds a delivery chute, where he must leave all his belongings. He chooses floor number 3 and walks inside. After crossing the hall, which looks like an amusement park, he reaches the third floor. The room is full of cameras, and he gets an intercom he can use to order things. On top of the chute, there’s a scoreboard to track his accumulated money, and Bae is surprised that in the few minutes he spent there, he’s already on 90,000 won. But he soon finds out that the basics are a hundred times more expensive, as a blanket costs one million won if he buys it through the intercom. He buys a plastic bottle for taking a leak in and cardboard boxes and a newspaper instead of a mattress and a blanket. There’s nothing real in the whole structure he’s in, and even the view outside of his window is being projected by a projector. The show can only be ended if somebody dies or the main clock runs out of time. 


Who are the other contestants?

The next morning, Bae meets the other people who are in the show. They don’t bother telling each other their names and address each other by the floor they live on. The whole building is not functional, and even the clothes they wear have no substance. There’s a main delivery shop in the hallway, where they can buy things in exchange for the time on the clock. The clock gives them time when they do something entertaining, and they must keep the clock running in order to make more money. All of them sit together to decide what to buy, and the items they finalize on are toilet paper, waste bags, bottles for peeing, buckets, sanitary pads, and cigarettes. The food is delivered to the woman living on the 8th floor, and she uses the delivery chute to transport the food to others. One strict rule this game has is that people can’t take things out of their rooms and must keep everything to themselves. When the contestants go to visit 8th floor’s room, they’re surprised to see that she’s living in a penthouse. They realize that the lower their floors are, the worse they get, and the prize money works in the same way. 8th floor earns half a billion won a day, while 1st floor earns ten thousand won in the same time.

How do the contestants earn more time?

8th floor is a brat, as she buys clothes from the main shop and the clock shows they only have thirty minutes left. She tells the others they can earn more time by running up and down the stairs, and it actually works. They divide into teams to run the stairs every day, but in a few days it gets terrible, and most of them get physically worn down. 1st floor has one bad leg, and he barely manages to walk, and 6th floor beats him up for not contributing much. One morning they find out that they are running out of time again, and 4th floor gets an epileptic seizure just then. The group panics, and they rush to buy medicine, but 6th floor stops them as he thinks it’s not worth losing time over medicine. 2nd floor is a trained martial arts fighter, and she knocks 6th floor out to get the medicine. After all the drama ends, they notice that the time went up by several hours. 7th floor figures out that the show rewards them with more time if they find something entertaining. 


Why do the top floors exploit the lower ones?

After weeks of entertaining the showmakers and almost killing themselves in the process, 8th and 6th floor join hands to establish supremacy. They take 7th and 4th floors into their group, and 6th floor breaks the intercoms of the lower floors and puts a lock on the main delivery chute. They tell the lower floors that they’ll only get food and water if they do the work and earn time. 7th floor introduces a coin system where every three hours one individual earns, they’ll get one coin in return. The coin can be used for water, food, or items from the delivery service. They start to make them play wicked games and hurt each other severely. After days of constant torture, 1st floor plans to revolt against the top floors and tells 2nd and 3rd floor about his plan.

How does 7th floor help the lower floors take over?

7th floor is an empathetic man who’s been friends with 3rd floor and has always shown great respect for others. It wasn’t his choice to exploit them, but 6th floor made him join their team by force. 7th floor drops a hint that he’s with the lower floors, and 3rd floor and 2nd floor use the delivery chute to come down to 1st floor and hide. 1st floor shouts for help and successfully lures 6th floor into walking inside. 6th floor is a strong man, and he manages to resist their attack and signal 8th floor to use the taser on them. But 7th floor tells them to attack, as he’s already removed the batteries from the taser. 2nd floor knocks 6th floor out, and they capture the others to end the Machiavellian rule of the top floors. 


Why are the low floors not able to end the show?

After living a life of luxury in 8th floor’s penthouse for a few days, 2nd floor decides it’s time to end the nightmare and leave the show. She tells 1st floor that she’d pay the remainder for him to get the one billion won he wanted before leaving. All of them collectively decide to run the clock down, but they find the clock earning more hours with each passing day. Soon they find that someone pulled out 4th floor’s tooth and 6th floor’s toenails while they were tied. 2nd floor gets paranoid and locks the others in to prevent any attacks, barring 5th floor, who’s supposed to keep watch on the top floors. Days pass by waiting for the clock to run out of time, and 5th floor feels bad about the top floors. 2nd floor asks her not to prioritize sympathy as they can’t risk getting tortured by them again. But 5th floor is kind and naive, and 6th floor manipulates her into believing that it’s 2nd floor who took his toenails out and also sexually assaulted him. He convinces the 5th floor to let him go, and the next morning, when they were supposed to get out, chaos ensues. 

Who attacked the top floors?

6th and 8th floors use bats and tasers to beat everyone to a pulp and tie them back down. 5th floor is terrified by what she’s done, and the showmakers keep rewarding them with more time for the violence. 6th floor buys a gun and starts to play Russian roulette, trying to find out who attacked him. He pulls the trigger on  7th floor, and the 3rd floor can’t take it anymore. He convinces him to buy the CCTV footage if he wishes to know who’s the culprit. 6th and 8th floors leave to see the footage, while 1st floor confesses it was him who took revenge on 6th floor for torturing them and for money. 6th floor watches 1st floor pull his toenails out and take a leak on his face, and he fumes with rage and goes to shoot him right on the head. Before he could reach her,  8th floor took him out with the taser, as she had different plans on her mind. 


How does the 8th floor torture the others?

8th floor is more wicked than anybody else, and she thinks they’ve covered all sorts of violence and pain people can inflict on each other, and they need something fresh. She finds the usual games and punishments stale now and comes up with a torture method straight from World War 2. She arranges to punish the low floors with the sleep deprivation method and appoints  4th  and 5th floors to make sure they don’t die. This torture makes them go through hell. As 8th floor watches all of them through the cameras and touches herself, it’s clear that inflicting pain is a turn-on for her. 3rd floor gets the worst hallucinations during this, and the line between real and fake is gone for him. All of them are barely making it anymore, and that’s when the 1st floor reveals why he wanted to earn one billion won. 

Can the contestants change their floors?

1st floor tells 4th floor that he’s been so desperate for one billion won because the day he arrived, he got to know that if one wishes to change their floors, it’d cost a billion won. Thrilled by the proposition,  4th floor decides to put an end to  8th floor’s tyrannical rule over them. 4th floor convinces 5th floor to help her free the captives while she keeps a watch on 8th floor while she plays golf. The plan almost fails when Coco, 8th floor’s small dog, starts to bark at the stairs while  5th floor is freeing the others.  8th floor follows Coco to find  5th floor trying to escape with  3rd floor, and points her gun at them. But in the nick of time,  4th floor knocks her out with the golf club. After 8th floor is tied up, they decide to finally give the 8th floor to 4th floor, and 1st floor would move to the 6th floor, whose current resident is crippled now with a broken back. 1st floor uses almost all his earnings to request the change; he receives an envelope, which shatters their hopes and dreams. Instead of a new room,  1st floor opens the envelope with instructions on how much each floor costs, and it starts at 10 billion won for the 1st floor. They’ve been duped by the showmakers, and  1st floor breaks down in tears. 


What does 1st Floor do when others end the game?

2nd floor gives up and finally tells everyone that it’s best if they end the game now. But 1st floor has other plans on his mind. He takes the gun from the table and ties each one of them up. Being a former clown who worked in a circus, he performs for his captive audience to earn more hours. He then proceeds to walk on a tightrope, and he almost trips in his first attempt. He somehow makes it to the other end and goes again, this time without a balancing stick. 1st floor’s mind is going back and forth to his old life as he starts jumping on the rope. He jumps as high as the ceiling of the structure and hangs off a projector for a bit before crashing into the ground. The crushed projector starts a fire, and the first floor falls right into the fire. All the others manage to free themselves, trying to save 1st floor, and they put out the fire. 2nd floor bangs on the door, begging the showrunners to open it, but they don’t budge. 3rd floor has had enough, and he thinks that the only way they’d open the door is if he shot the cameras down. He does exactly that, but the door remains closed. The main delivery chute has the last camera, and he shoots it down. But all of it isn’t enough to save the first floor; by the time the door opens, he’s already dead. The third floor walks out into an open theater and finds an envelope stating that he’d get his prize money by wire. 

Who were the contestants in real life?

1st floor was a clown in a circus who couldn’t keep his sick daughter in the hospital for lack of money. He decided to cash in on the insurance policy by killing himself, but the limousine found him before he could do that. 2nd floor was a construction worker who needed money to save a coworker who had gotten into a terrible accident. How come 4th and 5th floors ended up in the show is unclear, but 6th floor was a big shot baseball player who got suspended on illegal gambling charges. 7th floor is a screenwriter whose career took a fall after initial success, and 8th floor is a performance artist who had debts of millions of dollars. All of them had no life before they ended up on the show, and the show only brought further misery and pain to them. 


What happens to the 3rd floor?

3rd floor couldn’t recover from the sleep deprivation torture he had to go through, and he spends his days mostly sleeping. He tries to kill himself many times, only to fail. His prize money got deducted by half because he shot the cameras down, but he’s not worried about that. His heart is sour over 1st floor’s death, and he tries to reunite the group of people whose identities he never knew. He puts up advertisements for the first floor’s funeral all over the city. The 5th floor and 4th floor show up, followed by the second floor. 3rd floor tells them that the seventh floor got to 1st floor’s wife and gave her a huge amount of money from his pocket. He told her that 1st Floor is working abroad, and all of them paid their respects to their fallen friend before parting ways again. 7th Floor has written a script based on his experience on the show, and it gets approved by a producer who’s ecstatic after reading it. The 8th floor hired someone to destroy a museum and the art pieces in it, because she thought only her art matters over others. She eventually had to give her fortune away for compensation before ending up in prison. 

The 8 Show is easily one of the best new additions to Netflix. A few years ago, Squid Game gained massive hype over social media platforms, but this show outshines it in every aspect. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins, and the creators of this show have put a lot of emphasis on its consequences. The best of us can be corrupted if given the chance, and that’s just how human nature works. Thoroughly a wild ride, binge the whole season in one sitting if you can. 


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket is a literature student pursuing his master's degree while trying to comprehend Joyce and Pound. When his head is not shoved in books, he finds solace in cinema and his heart beats for poetry, football, and Adam Sandler in times.

Latest articles