Chapter 01: Sand
Chapter 02: Scalpel
Chapter 03: Medicine
Chapter 04: Duck
Chapter 05: Lever
Chapter 06: Trapdoor
Chapter 07: Gardrone
Chapter 08: Wave
I love dystopian fiction and The 3% was one of the stories I really embraced and took to when it originally aired on Netflix back in 2016. Although many people lamented the glacial pace and abundance of melodrama in the second season, I was among the minute 3% that thought Season 2 improved over the original season. With a cliffhanger ending and many unanswered questions, Season 3 of this Brazilian Original expands the world and plot, delivering an interesting and thematically relevant season that appears to set the wheels into motion for the final fight to come.
The story picks up all the loose threads from the second season and runs with them, as Michele’s alternate paradise, The Shell, runs into problems early on thanks to a rogue sandstorm. Given her failed attempts at thwarting The Process with The Cause, Joana begrudgingly joins the others in The Shell just before tragedy strikes. With resources dwindling, Michele makes a tough choice to prevent them all dying from starvation. She enforces a series of trials to whittle down the inhabitants to a select few, in a bid to help rebuild the infrastructure of the facility with the promise of returning to normality in the near-future. What follows is an interesting and thought provoking set of episodes, with a cruel sense of irony attached to them as Michele tries desperately for The Shell not to be compared to the Offshore and winding up doing quite the opposite.
Some of this drama is courtesy of an initial offer from Marcela early on, promising Michele food and water in exchange for her stepping down and letting the Offshore rule The Shell. She inevitably turns it down but toward the middle portion of the season, the plot changes as the faint glimmers of rebellion causes tensions to mount. All of this builds toward a final reveal, some shocking plot revelations and an open ending that leaves things wide open going forward.
While the usual array of melodramatic subplots and character issues continue to be a prominent part of the series, the characters all develop in interesting and meaningful ways this year. The shifting character dynamics throughout the season is really well done too, with Michele herself dancing between hero and villain while Marco, Maria and the ever-charismatic Joana all dance freely across that line between right and wrong.
This ties in nicely with the story beats too, which are regularly peppered with flashbacks to the early days of the Process and the founding couple’s trying time in charge of the Offshore. These moments deliberately reinforce Michele’s difficult time in charge and ultimately serve to show that being a leader is no mean feat. In a bid to make The Shell a unique and inviting place to live, the descent into becoming Offshore 2.0 is a gradual but devastating change, one that serves as a cruel sense of irony that paradise is not for everyone.
The 3% is one of the most underrated shows on Netflix. The third season is arguably the best of the bunch too although the open ending and abundance of flashbacks does hold this one back slightly. Despite this, most of the episodes are paced nicely and the return to 8 episodes this year really helps with the progression of this story. The wildcard addition of The Shell itself helps add some originality and flair to this picture and acts as the perfect backdrop for a script that pays homage to the original whilst adding a good spin to that season’s narrative. It’s not perfect, but it is a very enjoyable and well written series, one I’d personally recommend checking out and one I hope isn’t cancelled before we see the resolution to Brazilian’s epic dystopian saga.