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3%: Blood

"You could be the founder of a really good thing."

This episode could have been the showdown of inlanders versus offshorians we've been waiting for, but Michele cancelled that. Okay, to be fair, her actions also took the story in an unexpected, original direction. So, what do we make of them?

Last episode, it seemed like Michele was going to join Fernando, Joana and Rafael to take down the Process. But she had her own agenda, so she regained Rafael's trust only to betray all of them again. I understand why she couldn't bring Rafael into her plan, she had no time to do it, but to leave him behind like that was such a idiot's move. And this is my biggest problem with the finale: how the writers used Michele's actions to leave Joana and Rafael in bad places. Rafael can at least find solace in Elisa, but who does Joana have? According to this episode, nobody. Urgh, save it, show.

Let's recap. Joana and Fernando struggle to accomplish their mission inside the Process' site, but they get it done: they destroy the bio-technological database, thus erasing all registration data. The Process doesn't start, the candidates go nuts, and Joana presumes that Rafael was successful at destroying the database located in Offshore. So they party. The members of the Cause cheer Joana, and Joana cheers Fernando. It's a beautiful little moment between the two of them. After the party, Rafael contacts them with the news that he failed and the Process is still going to take place. Joana is rightfully angry at Rafael for trusting Michele, and since he can't hear a word of disapproval, he switches to his asshole mode and humiliates Joana by telling her that she is all alone.

Except that she isn't alone. Let me repeat: there was a party in which the members of the Cause cheered Joana, then Joana cheered Fernando and that was a great moment between the two of them. When Rafael contacts them, everyone is gone, but Joana and Fernando are still together. But by the time Rafael is humiliating Joana and telling her "I bet Fernando isn't even there anymore," Fernando is indeed gone. The director of the episode needed to take Fernando out of the scene for no good reason at all, such a weird setup. And how the hell could Rafael tell Fernando had left? "I bet the person that was there ten seconds ago isn't there anymore, you loner." Fernando could have been mere ten feet away, right outside taking some air, cursing the gods, I don't know. It was all incredibly forced, and just so they could leave Joana all alone and depressed in the closing moments of the season. Bad writing, no biscuit.

You deserve better, girl.
After watching this episode, I watched an interview with some of the actors, and when the interviewer asked what they wanted for their characters, Vaneza Oliveira said she wanted Joana to get more nurturing, more affection, because she is always going through a tough time. I completely agree with that. This was the second time that Joana was screwed over in the season finale, but this time it was so contrived and ridiculous. I hope season three fixes this. But will it?

I have a feeling that by placing Joana as the new leader of the Cause (it certainly looked like that), the writers are setting Joana and Michele to be on different sides of the fight next season. Both women are very similar to one another in the sense that they are great at improvising and follow their own truth and consciousness. But Joana isn't backstabbing people left and right. I would trust her, I would never trust Michele. If it comes down to Joana vs Michele, I will be rooting for our favorite inlander.

Michele's arc this season has been excellent, and I was happy that she finally picked a side last episode. Now, as I indicated before, I'm not happy that she left Rafael behind, but it's coherent with who she is and it's the perfect little question mark left by the writers: can Michele be truly good? The evidence suggests that she does hate social injustice. She feels so strongly about it that she couldn't bear learning that her brother supported the current system. Her brother, who meant the world to her. But will she remain true to her beliefs or is she getting a little too used at playing people?

It's her world, we just live in it.
Michele cancelled the rebellion against Offshore and, inadvertently, prevented the deaths of many candidates. I have to be honest, I wanted to see the confrontation between the candidates and the guards. Several candidates would perish, yes, but they easily outnumbered the guards and I believe they could have taken control of the Process' building. Also, killing Glória after developing her for the entire season would have been a perfect emotional blow.

I loved watching the candidates mutiny the way they did. It showed just how fragile the system is: inlanders are brainwashed to idolize the Process; take the Process away from them and they will show their strength. It was as if the veil had finally lifted and all those twenty-year-olds saw the offshorians for what they really were: their oppressors. But they all calmed down and fell back in line when the Process finally started. Did Michele make the right call there?

Michele is a great strategist and now she has Offshore in her pocket. I loved how she took command when she talked to Cássia and faced Nair. She knows she is boss. Her idea to take fertilizers and medicine to the Inland was inspired, and that will probably provide a better outcome to the Inland than a rebellion would. Or maybe her control of the data and a rebellion would've been the perfect match against Offshore. This season, there's been a lot of discussion about what is the better way, both morally and strategically, to fight oppression, and this episode featured the best discussion yet, mostly because it wasn't made explicit. We, as viewers, were left to wonder about it.

Can Michele pull off her Shell idea, though? More importantly, will Fernando take her offer? He nearly died to end the Process, only to learn later that Michele allowed it to continue. However, if Fernando hadn't destroyed the database, Michele would not have been able to make her move. In a way, she didn't render his plan meaningless, she changed the strategy behind it. Can he see that and trust her again? I would definitely live in a safe haven created by Fernando. Out of the four protagonists, Fernando is the one with the purest heart. If anyone can be the founder of a really good place, like Michele said, he is the one.

Bits and Pieces

- The scenes of Joana inside the tunnels were very claustrophobic.

- I usually love Joana's lines, but when she lectured Fernando during their mission, her lines were weird and out of place. This indeed wasn't a great episode for Joana.

- I loved that she bested Marco, though, and ran for her freedom out of the maze.

- Marco failed his mission and Marcela showed no mercy, calling him unworthy of the Offshore. Oh my god, I just realized. Marcela, Marco. It's been right in our faces all along.

- In my review of the season premiere, I mentioned that there had been an obvious budget increase. Now, I'm not so sure. Or, what I want to say, is that this show still needs – and deserves – a bigger budget. Also, better action scenes. I bet that if they had a bigger budget, they would make better action scenes.

- I'm still bothered by the lack of proper education in 3%'s world. See, in most dystopias, it makes sense that the oppressed people don't receive good education. But in 3%, the oppressed ones will become the rulers, 3% of them anyway. Are there schools for them? Are they educated after they pass the Process? I expected this season to answer that, but nada. Where did Michele learn about encryption? How do people in Offshore keep their tech and medicine advanced? When do they become doctors, nurses, lawmakers, technicians, engineers? Well, since they are still using the technology developed by the Founding Trio, maybe they are all just lazy and don't give education the attention it deserves. Still, this is something that bugs me a lot. This season did a great job presenting us the worlds of the Offshore and the Inland, but there are still some holes in 3%'s world building.

- The final shots of season one showed what looked like a very futuristic second island beyond the island that we met this season. Did the writers drop it because there was no budget to pull if off, or are they saving it for a future season?

Futuristic Tower of Babel was MIA this season.
- Is there anyone alive besides offshorians and inlanders?

- Here is the announcement teaser for season three.


Rafael: "Shit."
Computer: "'Shit': unknown command."

Joana: "They owe us much, and we will collect our debt."

Final Thoughts

Season two was very good and a great improvement over season one. Killing Ezequiel was unnecessary  a twist for the sake of a twist  but it didn't hurt the story as much as I thought it would. In fact, the second half of the season was the stronger half and a terrific ride. 3%'s greatest strengths remain its characters and its twists, and this season actually converted me into a fan. I want to know what happens next to these people. Especially Joana. I applaud the writers for not falling into the trap of making season two all about a new Process, nor reverting the story to a status quo. They keep taking it in new directions and that's pretty exciting.

As for the finale, it ended up being more of a bridge to the third season than a culmination of the fight against the Process. All in all, the ideas were good, but the script and its execution could have been more polished. Three out of four encrypted balls?

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