How “Squid Game: The Challenge”'s Players Secretly Helped Team Umbrella in the Cookie Game

Netflix's reality version of its hit drama featured players laboriously cutting shapes from brittle cookies in a children's game — now two favorites are sharing secrets, including how the cookies taste

<p>Courtesy of Netflix</p>

Courtesy of Netflix

Warning: This post contains spoilers from the first nine episodes of Netflix's Squid Game: The Challenge.

When Squid Game premiered on Netflix in 2021, the drama gave new meaning to "That's how the cookie crumbles" as one cutthroat competition inspired by childhood produced fatal results.

In the Emmy-winning show, Dalgona was a surprisingly stressful game in which players had to painstakingly cut shapes (ranging from a simple circle to a terrifyingly detailed umbrella) out of paper-thin wafer cookies. In the scripted version of the story, one key player did help another out — but the act of solidarity had more to do with cheating and self-preservation than kindness.

In Squid Game: The Challenge, Netflix's surprisingly wholesome — but no less compelling — reality TV riff on the South Korean series, players banded together on a much larger scale during Dalgona.

According to mother-son competitors LeAnn Wilcox Plutnicki (a.k.a. Player 302) and Trey Plutnicki (Player 301), who etched out circles in the first round of the cookie game, their team wasn't afraid to flout the watchful eyes of the guards if it meant others might make it to play another day.

Related: Squid Game: The Challenge: What It's Really Like to Compete on the Netflix Reality Show (Exclusive)

<p>Pete Dadds/Netflix</p>

Pete Dadds/Netflix

"We all really helped each other in a lot of ways," LeAnn tells PEOPLE. "In the cookie game, what you didn't see was how the people in the area around us [who had to cut out] the circle, we all devised a plan. And it was set minute by minute on what we each would do with that cookie, which was like ... was it five minutes, Trey?"

"Yeah," chimes in Trey. "We literally wrote it in the sand. ... 'Five minutes, lick back of cookie.'"

Related: YouTube Star Recreated the Entire 'Squid Game' Set and Had Players Compete for a $456K Prize

Unfortunately that guidance didn't ultimately benefit Player 299 Spencer Hawkins, who reluctantly stumbled into a figure head position for Team Umbrella.

Alternating between tears and retching, Spencer was painstakingly scraping away at his cookie as he watched players around him fail and be eliminated. Against all odds, Spencer seemed like he might defy the odds and get an unlikely hero's edit ... until — SNAP!

Like 68 other people, Spencer didn't make it to the next round.

<p>Courtesy of Netflix</p>

Courtesy of Netflix

Unlike Spencer's bitter elimination, LeAnn confirms the cookie itself "was sweet."

Trey offers a more terse description: "Sugar."

And even though LeAnn was already "very hungry" by that point in the game, she admits to PEOPLE: "I forgot to eat it at the end. I was so upset."

Related: Squid Game: The Challenge Trailer Shows 'Savage' Gameplay — and Friends Turned Enemies — for a Cash Prize

Trey, a longtime reality TV fan, admits he was surprised at the solidarity he saw among his fellow Squid Game: The Challenge players — even as the numbers dwindled and the stakes got higher.

In fact, he sees parallels between the Netflix show and one of the reality TV's origin series.

"I was really excited about the social aspect coming into the game," he tells PEOPLE. "But it was different [than I expected] because everybody played and projected that you should be playing honorably, which I found really interesting."

He continues, "It also takes me back to ... to the first season of Survivor, where I look at the first winner of Survivor and I see Richard Hatch, who America hated because he played the game. And everybody liked the people who were playing honorably, who are like, 'It's Survivor. The people who are voted out, it should not have to do with the politics of the game. It should have to do with your merits of survival strength.' So I looked at this game and I'm like, 'I think that's kind of what we just did.' If you aren't a team player in here, it's 200 people versus the game, not 200 people versus each other."

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Who among those people ends up coming out on top remains to be seen when the season 1 finale of Squid Game: The Challenge drops Wednesday on Netflix.

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Read the original article on People.