3%: Chapter 8: Button (Botão)
November 27, 2016 6:32 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

On the morning of the Purification Ritual, startling revelations and shifting loyalties leave the fates of four candidates hanging in the balance. (Season finale)

*Fernando falls for his own test, abandoning the Process to follow Michele when told she has been eliminated.
*Ezequiel interrogates a tortured Michele; she admits that she's trying to kill him because he killed her brother, but Ezequiel shows her footage of Andre happily alive Offshore and that La Causa lied to her about his death to recruit her. He tells her he used to be Causa too, and gets her to tell him how she would have made contact with her Causa contact after elimination, and sends agents to capture the old man with the face mask.
*Aline tells guards she wants to talk to Cesar's widow, tries to convince her that she wasn't the killer, and that they are the only ones now who want to find out what really happened.
*The candidates learn that the final Purification Ritual vaccine is sterilization, that the Founders realized that the only way to maintain the utopian meritocracy was to eliminate heredity.
*Ezequiel puts Joana through a final test, asking her to kill the member of Gerson's gang who robbed and threatened her, but she refuses, and returns Inland with Fernando instead.
*The candidates take the transport to Offshore, with Michele and Aline destined for the Recovery & Treatment Center.
posted by oh yeah! (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Really enjoyed this series - visually unique, and for a dystopia story not horribly bleak and depressing. I did not see the sterilization twist coming.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:51 PM on November 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


OK! So I held off on your other series posts (and thank you for posting them!) because I ended up binging it all this weekend and it's all gone blurry.

That last bit with Ezequiel and Joana just floored me. I thought maybe the test was to see if merciless Joana was capable of mercy, and if she refused to kill the man, she'd be greenlighted for the offshore, because mercy is noble. Instead the test was quite the opposite.

The new friendship between Joana and Fernando felt perfect. They're going to wreck some things in S2.
posted by mochapickle at 10:41 PM on November 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Joana and Fernando..... It was interesting that Fernando's Dad was was making a speech about the Founding Couple returning.... foreshadowing to these two becoming powerful in the resistance or making change in the Inland?

How did the Process figure out her registration was faked? Do they know that Rafael/Tiago's is faked? I know they see a ton of people every year but with their technology how did they not figure out that the same guy showed up two years in a row? (Or maybe they did and that is why they let him get away with the cheating.)

I like how Joana turned out.... they made us dislike her at the start but her backstory and how she evolved really makes me root for her.

Curious about Ezequiel... it didn't look like he was on the transport and in his backstory it sounded like if you missed it, there wasn't another one. He is supposed to be overseeing Michele's treatment and it sounds like he may not have let on what she did. What will happen when she gets tot he RTC?

I am still curious why they encourage the Inlanders to have kids, especially now they the Offshore doesn't allow them.

REALLY hope Netflix orders a Season 2.
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 7:47 AM on November 28, 2016


The Inlanders being encouraged to procreate makes sense - how else would they get a new batch of 3% each year? I'm more curious about how the Inlanders wouldn't know about the sterilization vaccine. Does no one ever quit the Process at that final step and return to spread the word? Is the Process so successful at eliminating anyone who would find that a deal breaker?

I don't know whether I think they spotted Rafael's stolen registration - the technology in the series seemed to vary by plot requirement; enough spy camera tech for Aline to track Ezequiel's movements Inland or for the Process agents to monitor various tests, but then not enough for them to hear any of Michele or Rafael's damning conversations/acts. It didn't bug me too much, since I took this to be more of an allegorical story than hard sf, but I could see it becoming a problem eventually if there are more seasons of the show.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:59 AM on November 28, 2016


That last bit with Ezequiel and Joana just floored me. I thought maybe the test was to see if merciless Joana was capable of mercy, and if she refused to kill the man, she'd be greenlighted for the offshore, because mercy is noble. Instead the test was quite the opposite.

To me, honestly, this was one of the weakest scenes in the whole series. I'm about to rewatch this episode, but it somehow just seemed entirely out of character for Ezequiel and felt like something that would happen in a much cheesier show like 24 or homeland or something.

All the previous captured person/torture scenes had narrowly walked the wire of not feel like egregious torture porn to me. This one completely did.

I'd even go so far as to say many other characters seemed like exaggerated versions of themselves in this one, Even Rafael. It was like "look at my exaggerated motivations, now you get a hint of what i'm going to do in the next season!".

It almost feels like this episode was written by someone different than most of the others. I'm not aware of(and wiki doesn't help thusfar) if this is one of those shows where each episode has a different writer, but it didn't feel like it until this one.

I still really enjoyed this show, and have recommended it to every friend and coworker who would listen. But i do wish this season could have ended on a higher note, at least for me.

Hopefully it gets a season 2 and doesn't get stuck as this pretty-damn-good-but-more-than-a-little-imperfect capsule show.

Curious about Ezequiel... it didn't look like he was on the transport and in his backstory it sounded like if you missed it, there wasn't another one. He is supposed to be overseeing Michele's treatment and it sounds like he may not have let on what she did. What will happen when she gets tot he RTC?

I got the vibe that they only send a ship every time they do the process, and that facility is locked down and unstaffed when they aren't there because everyone leaves. I'm just assuming that there was a "staff" and "passengers" area to that little ship. Whats to say Ezequiel isn't sitting on the bridge? He's one of the most senior officials in the government.
posted by emptythought at 2:20 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


I didn't see sterilization coming, though I had wondered at various points why they were bringing young people to Offshore from outside. What about their kids? Were some young people Offshore kicked out? I'm not good at predicting twists but I'm sometimes good at spotting plot gaps, and this had occurred to me as a weakness in world-building. When the sterilization thing came up, I thought, "Ah, that explains that very neatly."
posted by Orlop at 3:55 PM on December 2, 2016


Is the Process so successful at eliminating anyone who would find that a deal breaker?

Yeah, I was wondering about that too and thought they must do some kind of Men in Black-style memory wipe. So what about Joana? She got far enough to know didn't she? If not, it was awfully convenient for Ezequiel to to pull her out just before she found out. But if she does know, what's to stop her from telling everyone on the Inland? Did the candidates sign NDAs?
posted by fuse theorem at 9:04 AM on December 3, 2016


Is the Process so successful at eliminating anyone who would find that a deal breaker?

I had actually guessed early on that they would be sterilized, it just made sense to me with how people are brought in and their obsession with proving yourself, etc.

And I don't think Fernando's thing was a test - he happened to catch Ezequiel in the hallway, and at that point the fate of Michele hadn't been decided, she was either coming back or not. It was strange how the person at the gate at his departure was apologizing for him being eliminated, to seek counseling because he's not of merit, etc etc. That makes me think there's a whole protocol for people who quit - it'd be bad reputation to have someone who was deemed worthy by the Process (basically the religion and the will of their leaders) to say "no thanks, I don't want it".

Which brings us back to sterilization - I don't think people who have made it that far, with that insider knowledge, make it back to inland.
posted by FirstMateKate at 3:50 PM on December 3, 2016


So what about Joana? She got far enough to know didn't she? If not, it was awfully convenient for Ezequiel to to pull her out just before she found out. But if she does know, what's to stop her from telling everyone on the Inland? Did the candidates sign NDAs?
posted by fuse theorem at 12:04 PM on December 3 [+] [!]


Joana was never told, she was purposely pulled out before she gained knowledge, because there was a chance she could be eliminated and sent back to the inland. Which just more so proves that they have processes in place to make sure this information doesn't get back to the inland.
posted by FirstMateKate at 3:53 PM on December 3, 2016


ALSO (sorry, y'all) I fucking loved this show, just finished bingeing it. I, too, hated the end scene w Joana and Ezequiel. I'm mad that

1)Joana has been a strong, independent woman throughout the show, has had no desire to please anyone, puts herself first, etc (seriously I've loved her since the beginning) but all of a sudden she's unable to kill her rapist, who is also a murdering thug? That doesn't fit at all and just reeks of the whole "forgiveness is the first step to healing after trauma" bullshit that is pushed on survivors.

2)It was also way out of character for Ezequiel, but maybe not? Maybe this is his real character and everything else is a front? Maybe the Offshore is a lot more trigger happy than we know. Or, maybe, he's about to try and start a war against the Cause and is recruiting security in that department.
posted by FirstMateKate at 4:01 PM on December 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


And I don't think Fernando's thing was a test - he happened to catch Ezequiel in the hallway, and at that point the fate of Michele hadn't been decided, she was either coming back or not

It was the exact trick Fernando came up with in his test though -- it didn't matter whether Michele had actually passed or been eliminated, the point was to tell him the lie most likely to make him want to return Inland, and see if he went forward with the Process anyway.

2)It was also way out of character for Ezequiel, but maybe not? Maybe this is his real character and everything else is a front? Maybe the Offshore is a lot more trigger happy than we know. Or, maybe, he's about to try and start a war against the Cause and is recruiting security in that department.

They're already basically at war with Causa though; the 'collateral damage' killing of Augusto's caretaker, the fact that Cassia would have killed both Bruna and Michele if Bruna hadn't been tricked into falsely implicating herself. I don't think it was out of character -- I think Ezequiel's character arc was about a loss of faith. He had been a total believer in the Process, but then his wife killed herself because of it, and he's been teetering on the edge of the abyss ever since. Breaking the rules himself to help her son, but then ruthlessly fighting Causa. I think he was trying to convince himself of the justness of his cause as much as he was trying to convince Joana, hence his utter breakdown at the end.

I see what you mean on point 1, but I kinda love Joana's arc. In the first episode it seems like they're setting up another 'chosen one' dystopia story where Michele is going to be the Katniss fighting the system. But then as the episodes go on, nobody is as they first appeared to be, and it was a true ensemble show rather than the story of one savior with a lot of secondary characters. What's interesting to me is that I think most all of the character arcs were revelatory not transformative. Even Marco going all Lord of the Flies. Nobody really went on the standard hero's journey of becoming a different/better person (except maybe Rafael?), they just had their true nature revealed to the audience.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:05 PM on December 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm more curious about how the Inlanders wouldn't know about the sterilization vaccine. Does no one ever quit the Process at that final step and return to spread the word?

There's that "re-education" center, which is probably where anyone who is having thoughts of leaving is sent.

The lack of child Offshore sounds profoundly deep in the sense that it would radically change who society behaves. Hopefully this'll be explored in a season 2.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 AM on December 5, 2016


So, I've been thinking a lot about this ending, and I wanna dump some of my thoughts here. First off, I think interpreting Fernando's ending requires untangling Ezequiel's character and motivations. The way I read it, Ezequiel's major character driver is a consuming desire for fatherhood. That's why he's so obsessed with becoming process leader (since the Process is essentially the Offshore's sublimation of birth), his hardcore insistence that Inlanders aren't people (because, in order for his fatherhood complex to hold up, they can't be until he's helped 'birth' them), and why he would risk everything to help Julia's son.

In that light, everything that Ezequiel does can be chalked up two one of two motivations: maintaining control over the Process, and ensuring that only the worthy make it through, because he sees doing so as his sacred duty. Everything that happens with Aline obviously falls in to the first point. Michele falls in to the second: if she is willing to turn on the Process when she realizes that they misled her, then that makes her worthy, because that's what made Ezequiel worthy. Cut and dried. (This also dovetails with the first point, since stopping the Cause also removes a threat to his continued leadership of the Process).

That leaves Fernando. Ezequiel knows Fernando lied, and he knows that he didn't do so because he was misled, or even for a bigger cause; he did so because he was blinded by young love. So that leaves the question, is Fernando worthy? Only if he puts life on the Offshore above all else. So, Michele's detention gave Ezequiel an opportunity to give Fernando one last test - ironically the same test he came up with (though I very much doubt that, in a century of Process, he was the first person to come up with it). If he chose to stay, then he would prove himself worthy by virtue of not being willing to throw away rebirth in the Offshore for the sake of his relationship. If not, he would prove himself unworthy (and, tangentially, eliminate someone who knew Michele's secret and thus could possibly pose a threat to Ezequiel's continued process leadership).

(Also, interesting side note: if Ezequiel is a former Cause member driven by an overwhelming desire for fatherhood, that says interesting things about the direction that Rafael might go in the future)

There's several paragraphs more (at least) that could be written about Joana, her arc, and the Button, but this is already way too long so I'll save it for another time.
posted by Itaxpica at 7:35 AM on December 7, 2016


Fernando was going to get the Michele test ever since he lied to Ezequiel about Michele.

I like the Joana/Fernando team-up. I hope they kick ass. The button thing surprised me, but I think it was part of the "revelatory not transformative" theme mentioned by oh yeah! As the series progressed, we discovered Joana was a survivor, but her cutthroat exterior was a coping mechanism for being alone and unprotected. As soon as she found out she passed her whole body and bearing relaxed, and pretty much stayed that way until her final confrontation with Ezequiel. I think her reluctance to hit the button was because she really did have more empathy and guilt than she let on, and now that she felt safe and free she didn't feel she had to hurt others to survive. All that stress poured back in when she realized that there wasn't any safety, and there wasn't any freedom--not really. Offshore wanted her to keep doing terrible shit, literally (by working for Ezequiel) and figuratively (by buying into the Inland/Offshore dichotomy). Hence the fight with Ezequiel and storming out.

I loved it, because to the very end Joana belonged to nobody but herself.
posted by schroedinger at 11:51 PM on December 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Two more thoughts: First, I think the show did a fantastic job of illustrating the social complexities of a society with extreme economic inequalities (i.e. the rich people weren't universal bastards, the poor weren't all perfect noble souls). Second, I would love to see what someone with more experience in disability activism thinks of Fernando. I have not seen a character like him. He's accepting and even defiant about being in a wheelchair. And he also is half of the only romantic arc of the season (including sexytimes), and I don't know if I've ever seen that outside Very Special Episode scenarios. I felt it was pretty cool, but again, I don't know enough about that arena to know whether massive missteps were made.
posted by schroedinger at 11:57 PM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


3% renewed for season 2, yay!
posted by oh yeah! at 8:26 AM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I just want to chime in and say what a surprise this was. I composed a comment that I never submitted in the E1 thread criticizing the show, surprisingly bothered by the costuming, mentioning the tired trope of a guy at a big computer screen who can see and control everything, and at the time I didn't like Ezequiel the character or the actor. I turned off the English dubs and continued.... and I was amazed at the amount of character interest they squeezed out of eight episodes, I ended up thinking all the main actors were excellent, and the show is written well enough that you forget about the absurdity of the core premise. People sometimes dismiss it as a Hunger Games/teen apocalypse knockoff, but I would say this show is the one to beat, especially making fair provision for budget (presumably!). There are some really nice shots too. The limited sets almost become a strength.
posted by sylvanshine at 7:57 AM on December 19, 2016


Addressing your point @schroedinger, I was thrilled by Fernando's personality and impulses. I sought out the show because another wheelchair user wrote how remarkable it was to finally have a show where a disabled person is a complete character.

Off the top of my head I can't remember another show where a wheelchair user's wheelchair use was not the plot point. 3% showed not a glimmer of the standard role for a wheelchair user: to be the help project for a non-disabled person.

The beautiful patchwork of his chair, and the way Fernando managed to handle it with grace, rang very true. (The chair itself reminded me strongly of the Whirlwind, designed for low-tech manufacturing & maintenance.)

Of course Fernando's defiant: after 15-some years in this body (including sexual development), why would he want something so fundamental to be magicked away? He believes himself to be enough as-is. He rejects an inevitable cure because that would make his Process pass somehow conditional.

The distance he came, from the loving acolyte to the enlightened Offshore-rejector, was impressive.
posted by Jesse the K at 6:45 PM on December 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


I sure hope Season 2 spends some time looking at what happens when you form a society entirely out of people who couldn't get there without being really competitive and focused on proving their worth, and then expect them all to cooperate and focus on the collective good for the rest of their lives. 'Cause that's bothering me.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 3:03 PM on January 1, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am really glad to hear he's a positive character for wheelchair users!

Of course Fernando's defiant: after 15-some years in this body (including sexual development), why would he want something so fundamental to be magicked away? He believes himself to be enough as-is. He rejects an inevitable cure because that would make his Process pass somehow conditional.

This is what I really liked about him! It would have been so typical and cliche to make his central character trait his wheelchair and moping about how he wants to walk, but at no point did he regard himself as less-than-whole. It was more like the possibility of walking was analogous to giving a non-wheelchair user wings. It's not like a person without wings is somehow less of a person. His wheelchair wasn't a deficiency, it was just him.
posted by schroedinger at 10:02 PM on January 2, 2017


I really enjoyed this show. And echoing everything schroedinger said.

And all the plot points that we discussed, e.g. Why Rafael wasn't caught, how they didn't worry about quitters at the end telling the Inlanders about sterilization, I think will be explained in Season 2. This show clearly has a tendency to just let you wallow in confusion until they expose the reasons in a later episode.

Like I was so surprised that Julia would kill herself over this child (I can sympathize, but was still shocked), and yeah the sterilization explains a lot.

Can't wait for season 2!
posted by numaner at 9:54 AM on August 28, 2017


Just seen and loved this. I wonder, is Ezequiel still la causa? Cos he just sent two fierce fuckg heroes back into the world full of piss and vinegar...
posted by Iteki at 6:14 AM on December 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


season 2 set for release on the 27th on Netflix!
posted by numaner at 10:20 AM on April 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Y'all are going to start watching S2 eventually, right? I feel a little silly continuing to post the episode threads to the void, but I've only got 3 more to go so figure I might as well keep going to the finale.
posted by oh yeah! at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh shit! Yeah I am gonna watch!
posted by Iteki at 10:55 AM on April 29, 2018


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