3% steps on the brake to give us an episode heavier on character development, and it was all the better for it.
The candidates, divided in the same groups that survived last episode’s challenges, have to walk through a corridor and reach the other side in five minutes. The surprise element is that as soon as the entrance door shuts behind them, a lovely gas that causes hallucinations fills the tunnel. It’s not an original plot device, to drug the characters to bring their worst fears to the surface, but it worked. The corridor scenes were well shot and sold the characters’ desperation and detachment from one another.
Joana is incredibly distressed by the vision of a child and by voices calling her a murderer, but she is the one that rises to the occasion and makes sure everyone finishes the challenge. I loved when she screamed her demons away to focus and get the job done. She literally drags Ágata to the finish line and then goes to rescue Rafael. Joana, Rafael and Ágata are the most affected by the effects of the gas post challenge, and that’s when the meatier character stuff arrives.
After the corridor test, the candidates are finally given a break and go to dorm rooms. Joana is unable to sleep, though, taunted by her memories. It turns out she had the toughest life out of the candidates. She had no family as an infant, grew up on the streets and became a thief. Her life goes from bad to terrible when she accidentally kills the child of a criminal overlord.
Running for her life, Joana seeks the help of Valéria, a woman who can alter people’s ID by replacing their chip. Joana had no previous chip, though, because she never had parents to take her to registration. Valéria implants a chip that will allow the newly named Joana to undertake the Process, but she is not happy when the news of the murdered kid spread and Joana confesses to committing the murder. Joana continues her path with no friends nor anyone to talk to, being lucky that the Process, her escape route, is just around the corner.
The guilt of killing a child catches up with her, and she is unsure whether she is a good person, let alone someone that deserves to go to Offshore. Rafael is the one that comes to her rescue twice, first when a still hallucinating Ágata tries to choke her, and later by offering himself to be the friend she needs. This was the best development of the series thus far. Upon noticing that Joana also had a fake ID, Rafael could’ve been his usual douchebag self and blackmailed her back, but he chose the higher path. That surprised me. He was sweet to Joana when he told her he could see she was a good person, and you know he meant it, which can only mean there is also a good person inside that little douchebag I no longer hate. How about that?
We learn more about Ezequiel too when a boy from the Continent walks into the Process arena looking for him. It’s not stated that the kid is his son, but it sure looked like it. The glasses Ezequiel had with him last episode were meant for the boy, and when he wears them his face brightens, as if a whole new world unfolded before his eyes. It’s an endearing moment, and Ezequiel’s interaction with his (possible) child brings more layers to him. Now why would he have a kid living in the Continent? Did he have an affair with a woman that failed to cross to Offshore?
Maybe the boy is just a diversion from the writers, to make us assume Ezequiel was looking for him last episode, when in reality he had other reasons to go down into the Continent. I hope that’s the case, because otherwise Ezequiel going to the Continent because of a kid on the first day of the Process, with Aline right there watching him, would be reckless.
Aline told Ezequiel that everyone who lives on Offshore went through the Process. I had assumed that the ones born there were automatically offshorians. Now, I have three theories: (1) the “vaccine” offshorians receive is actually a sterilization thingy, (2) their children are sent to the Continent, which would be even crueler, or (3) it’s just a writing booboo and the offshorians’ children are indeed privileged and never have to go through the Process.
The episode ended with a cliffhanger: all the exit ways out of the dorms have been shut. What will the candidates need to do to get out?
Bits and pieces
- In the tunnel, Michele saw Ezequiel, who asked if she was there to kill him, and heard others calling her a traitor; Fernando saw himself rising from the chair, which was a great little moment, by the way; Pretty Face heard the others saying he wasn’t worthy of the Alvarez’ name; Rafael heard his fellow candidates calling him a cheater. We didn’t learn why Ágata was so affected by the gas, though.
- Michele and Fernando are now an item. Michele’s surprise kiss was cute and Fernando’s reaction even cuter. I think she is just working him, though.
- This episode made me think of The 100, another futuristic series featuring young people that went hallucinating for an episode.
- Translation curiosity: the name of the Utopian island in Portuguese is “Maralto”, which would best translate to High Sea, not Offshore. In fact, on my first draft of the review of “Cubes” I called it High Sea. Then I decided to check the English subtitles and voilà, Offshore it was.
- The Process runners are evil, they didn’t schedule a bath time for the candidates.
Rafael: “They are making us sleep in the engine room.”
Marco: “Because where you slept before was so much better.”
Joana: “I won’t tell anyone that you helped me.”
Valéria: “I will know that I helped you.”
Joana: “I know what I saw. I know what I did.”
Rafael: “I don’t know what you did. I don’t know what you saw in the tunnel. I don’t give a fuck. I don’t wanna know. I know, I feel that you are a good person. You’re the only one that doubts that.”
Best episode so far. Three out of four corridors of despair.