Well, that wasn’t very good.
I want this show to succeed because, as a Brazilian who is a fan of the TV series storytelling format, I want Brazil to produce more of it, Netflix or not. But there isn’t much in the way of defense I can present to this episode.
Rafael is the biggest problem right now. I get the idea behind the character, the idiotic bully who makes his way to victory by running over others. However, the writing for him is terrible, and I don’t want to be mean so let’s just say Rodolfo Valente is not the cast’s biggest asset. To be fair, he got some bad lines to work with, so not entirely his fault there. He did have one good line (the one at the top of the review), but most of what he says is childish and embarrassing.
The writing doesn’t fail Rafael alone. Fernando is the focus of the episode, but I’m not sure what to make of his development. Does he want to be cured or not? I get that people are walking paradoxes, but the script makes Fernando’s motivations more confusing than complex.
Both tests that the candidates went through were group challenges. The first one was very interesting, as they had to investigate a scene and understand what had happened there. I wish the directing had been different, though. There were a lot of close ups on the dolls’ faces, and sure, the dolls looked cryptic and all, but it would have been cooler if the audience could’ve seen more of the scene and solved the puzzle with the characters.
Furthermore, I can’t believe Fernando wouldn’t check for every piece of possible evidence before weighing in on what happened. I know the point of the episode was to pull the rug from under him, but there was vital information a drawer away, conveniently only discovered after Rafael and Joana had beaten Fernando to the correct interpretation of the scene.
Here is another problem I’m having: a lot of the candidates are not acting as if this was a lifetime opportunity. Where is the urgency to leave the Continent if you think you can coast your way through the Process?
The second test was simpler, the group had to eliminate one of their own. I didn’t care much for it because it involved more Rafael talking, but it did leave me shocked when I thought Joana would get the axe. Two episodes in and she remains my favorite candidate, so cold, quiet, confident and outsmarting everyone. Okay, she went behind everyone’s back, but the group came up with a stupid decision system anyway and the guy whose elimination she caused wouldn’t have lasted much longer.
However, that brings us to a possible inconsistency: why do the judges let people that cheat go to the next round? And our main candidates didn’t really pick anyone to be eliminated, they let randomness do it. Shouldn’t that have disqualified all of them?
I did like the flashbacks. We learned that the Continent has a bizarre, religious adoration of the Offshore. Even those who have no chance to go through the Process anymore idolize the Offshore and are happy the younger ones still have a shot to live there. How interesting. I wonder if they went through some kind of severe brainwash or if this is a mindset built over time. An employee of the Process did tell an eliminated candidate to find solace in procreating. You can’t go to heaven anymore, but your child still could, how about that?
It’s under that vision that Fernando has been training to face the Process. We see him at a very young age imagining his moment of approval. Young Fernando reminded me of Nemo. By Nemo, I mean the cute little fish. Fernando’s father happens to be some sort of priest of the Offshorism. Bizarre religion choices aside, I thought it was lovely that he told Fernando to see his wheelchair as his strength, not his weakness. Good parenting there.
Bits and pieces
- The continentals (I’m calling them that now) hate the Cause, which makes sense considering their reverence to Offshore. Among the candidates, it looks like Michele is the only one so far that is awake and sees the reality for what it really is.
- I like Michele and Fernando's interaction. They are cute. :)
- Ezequiel went down into the Continent dressed up as a continental, although we (and Aline) didn’t find out why. He was carrying some fruits and glasses. I’m betting 97% of my coins that he is part of the Cause. I’m betting the other 3% on his activities being related to the death of Michele’s brother.
- Aline called the scene investigation a test of deduction. Ezequiel corrected her, saying it was induction. He actually explained the difference between both concepts. Was there a discussion in the writers’ room about which was which and they decided to put it into the episode? That was a weird little bit of unnecessary explanatory dump.
- The Process was created by the “Founding Couple”, and they are literally worshiped.
- Joana and the guy she later got eliminated had sex in the bathroom. Children, I know you didn’t receive the best education on Earth, but you are on a process that can change your lives. Behave.
- Pretty Face actually did something useful and forced Rafael to give away the coin he was keeping to himself.
- There are cameras everywhere in the Continent and, god knows why, they need to be restarted all the time.
- Allergy to silver. I did not know that was a thing.
One (maybe one and a half?) out of four dolls. It would be coins, but they always use the more applicable stuff as the name of the episode.