Season four of Netflix’s dystopian series 3% completed its self-fulfilling prophecy on a high note. The story of a climactic power struggle between the elite and their oppressed citizens reached its thrilling conclusion in a twist that had been foretold by Michele (played by Bianca Comparto) since the series premiere. Everything, from the growing rebellion to internal politics, foreshadowed the end of The Offshore and The Process. Season four of 3% succeeds because it utilizes the momentum built-up before it to complete its narrative and tie up all the loose ends in a satisfying manner.
Warning! Spoilers below if you haven’t finished the season yet.
The decision to defeat the oppressive regime and finish on a hopeful note is a sharp contrast to where the series started. However, that uplifting climax completes the narrative that the candidates (and the rebellion) worked tirelessly to achieve. The Process, the betrayals, The Cause, The Shell, the Council, and every development in between were stepping stones to create a new reality. Michele started the series with the goal of taking down The Process/The Offshore and get revenge on what The Process did to her brother. While those goals were achieved, it’s the greater legacy that she and her allies worked toward that will have a lasting impact on the “Inland,” and for 3% as a whole.
The story of 3% was about the two factions of 3%-ers and their pursuit of power: one side the elite who used it for control and dominance while the other, a ragtag group of misfits and rebels, wanted independence and to better everyone in the Inland. Season four played with the themes of power struggles, and what one was willing to do to achieve a happy reality they felt they deserved. These aren’t new themes to Netflix’s 3%, but the decisions this season were lasting as the characters made choices with real repercussions, like The Shell being destroyed. The ending, while “wrapped up in a nice bow,” feels more complete than if The Offshore had won the war or if someone assumed control for themselves.
After four seasons, 3% knows its characters pretty well. It knows their motivations, their innate desires, their decision-making abilities, and the potential they have within themselves. 3% acknowledged those traits and made choices for the characters that felt wholly them; the choices never felt like it was a “plot convenience” that went against their character development (except in one instance, which we’ll get to). Regardless if their character lived or died, the cast got their moment to shine in a narrative that matched their journey.
Michele surprisingly took a backseat for much of the action of season four; she had previously spearheaded the plot during the first three seasons. However, that decision benefited 3%’s main theme and her journey in the series. While 3% featured many stories, Michele’s tale of rebellion and revenge stood at its center; she was affected most by The Process taking her brother and warping his mind. So, to then have her story end with him killing her, it brought her journey full-circle to the core motivation of her reason for entering The Process in the first place: her brother. The events of The Shell and post-Process were only ripple effects caused by a sister searching for the truth about her brother. The rebellion was so much bigger than Michele, and even with her gone, the others were able to finish the work. Michele’s legacy will stand as the spark that pushed toward the Inland’s new future.
Joana’s path during season four questioned the human connection she thought she didn’t need. Joana always stood as an emotionless candidate who didn’t need people, care about people, or want the truth about her past. Her final journey exposed that she craves that truth, but that she could create her own family/future regardless of the truth.
It’s a shame that Veronica wasn’t Joana’s mother because that dynamic would’ve been interesting to explore, especially since Joana remembers nothing of her earlier family. And yet, this unofficial family rivalry that Joana and Veronica formed became complex and rich with tension; they weren’t family, but Veronica saw something in Joana that triggered an emotion in her. If season four had more episodes, it would’ve been great to explore more of their dynamic.
The same goes for Xavier, Gloria, and Rafael. Granted, all three received screen time to develop their stories and reach satisfying conclusions, but there could’ve been more. Gloria’s romance with Marco seemed abrupt; we needed more background to their relationship and why Gloria felt desperate enough to get her baby to The Offshore. Rafael’s family only appeared for a short time as he was focused on his trip to The Offshore. He found peace with his mother, but what about the rest of his family? Xavier, on the other hand, won The Process, but more scenes of Andre’s new evil Process would’ve helped to show how dire the situation was with Andre at the helm.
Marco’s storyline is where things go downhill. His innate pull to The Offshore stemmed from generations of family members deeming themselves the elite of the Inland/The Offshore. However, that was Marco during the first season. Marco during the following seasons put his son first and showed his desire to be with family; we saw this during his tearful reunion with Marcela and every time he protected his son. So, why would Marco all of a sudden abandon his son on the Inland for him to die alone on The Offshore? His inner desire might’ve felt complete on the island, but he cared more about family and his son. The new Marco wouldn’t have left his son and his unborn child fend for themselves, especially if there was the chance for Marcela to take one.
The rebellion’s recklessness on The Offshore is another negative hurdle. It’s no secret to everyone that The Offshore helps to keep everything running in the Inland, from enforcement to supplies. Most importantly, clean water and hope for a brighter future. Did The Cause not realize there was a nuclear plant on The Offshore? That seems unlikely since Michele, Rafael, and Elisa came from The Offshore. The EMP solved their problems, but it jeopardized everything and cost them access to files/supplies/an island they needed. They’re lucky that the action didn’t destroy what was left of the Inland too.
Season four of 3% is a satisfying conclusion to a story about post-apocalyptic power struggles and human nature. The narrative is one that will end on a brighter note about helping each other/building something together; standing as a metaphor for life as well about the perceptions of greatness and what one deserves. The characters are well-written, their actions had stakes, and the emotional moments hit their marks. While some developments didn’t live up to their history or potential, the overall season progression is a positive tale, ending with a hopeful note that will leave you motivated just like the characters.