Chapter 01: Mirror
Chapter 02: Toaster
Chapter 03: Static
Chapter 04: Napkin
Chapter 05: Lamp
Chapter 06: Bottles
Chapter 07: Fog
Chapter 08: Frogs
Chapter 09: Necklace
Chapter 10: Blood
When it comes to dystopian fiction, Brazilian Netflix Original The 3% was a surprise hit back in 2016 that proved Brazil could deliver the goods with its well written, memorable sci-fi flick. With a bigger budget and far more focus on building up the tense rivalry between The Cause and The Offshore, the second season of The 3% is bigger, bolder and far more ambitious than before. A few well worked plot twists and a suitably optimistic ending help to justify a much-needed second season for this wonderful little Brazilian Netflix series that answers all the questions raised last year in this beautifully written and highly satisfying dystopian sci-fi.
After a brief recap of the events that transpired last season, the story begins in a somewhat disjointed way, split between flashbacks and present day events whilst switching between The Offshore and mainland Brazil. These opening exchanges are a little confusing and certainly take some getting used to before settling into a more familiar format around the middle of the fourth episode. From the early moments of Michele (Bianca Comparato) and Rafael’s (Rodolfo Valente) arrival on The Offshore to a few days before Process 105, these scenes jump back and forth with the events occurring in the slums nestled between them, following a similar pattern.
Joana (Vaneza Oliveira) joins The Cause with the intent of stopping The Process once and for all while Fernando (Michel Gomes) begins training the new recruits for Process 105. As the episodes progress, the growing rivalry between The Cause and The Process engulfs all of the main characters who eventually wind up making a tough decision as battle lines are drawn and the series runs through to its explosive climactic episode.
What’s particularly impressive about this second season is just how much emphasis has been put on fleshing the world out in a believable way whilst keeping a consistent emphasis on growing and nurturing each of the four key characters. Each have a believable and well written character arc again that continues to grow and progress their personas. With 10 episodes this time around, the extra few episodes this year are utilized perfectly with deeper characterisation through the use of flashbacks for the characters’ past. Late on there’s a pretty shocking reveal too that only emphasises the excellent work done with each of the characters but for spoiler purposes, we will not disclose that here.
The acting is once again on point though and everyone, including the four main characters excel in their respective roles. Although there is an English Dub, the original Brazilian feels much faster with a more intense emphasis thanks to the speed of the speech. In English, the urgency is lost somewhat which does take away from some of the more intense moments but the dub here is certainly improved this time around.
One of the biggest complaints from last season came from the use of recycled sets that gave the season a cheap and tired look. Thankfully, the art team have done an excellent job here designing the bigger world in a realistic way beyond the confines of The Process building. Stunning establishing shots of sun-kissed beaches on the Offshore juxtapose nicely with wide, panned shots of the sunken slums in the mainland. It’s a small touch and these juxtaposing shots are used constantly throughout the series to show the difference in class and social status between the Offshore and Mainland residents.
Questions around how the Process begun, the formation of the Offshore as well as unresolved subplots from last year including Michele’s presumed dead brother are all answered and resolved this time around in impressive fashion. It’s certainly refreshing to see a series like this take the time to really nail definitive answers to a lot of the questions raised in a way that doesn’t conjure even more questions in their wake. By the time the credits roll there’s enough information given to leave highly satisfied whilst understanding more about the set up of the world and just where the residents of both the Offshore and Mainland will go from here.
The 3%’s second season excels and improves in every way over the first season. The growing rivalry between The Cause and The Process is really well written with exceptional character work complimenting the strong scripts for each episode. The second season’s much improved budget is put to good use with gorgeous visuals and some truly stunning establishing shots. This is only further emphasized through the incredible world building and extra understanding given around the inception of the Offshore and finalizing plot lines from last year. Although the season opens a little awkwardly and takes a few episodes to hit its stride, once it gets going this second season is a roller-coaster ride of emotion, rewarding those who have stuck with this Brazilian dystopia for yet another impressive entry in Netflix’s ever growing sci-fi catalogue.
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Verdict - 8.5/10