I want to share my experience and thoughts on watching my latest films. This will for sure contain loads of spoilers… and I would highly recommend watching them so unless you can handle them read at your own risk! This is not a review, merely a commentary of how I related to what I’ve seen.
I’ve seen the title 3% a couple of times whilst scrolling through Netflix. It wasn’t until the last Friday night that I thought huh I have time on my hands so why not just watch one? The next day I finished all 8 episodes of the first season. Now I guess I’m just waiting for the second season!
I would say on the whole there were quite a number of things I was not expecting. A couple of twists that made me hooked. I guess you can say that I’m the kind of person who likes films like The Maze Runner or … Hunger Games. But those kinds of genres are difficult to be qualified as ‘great’ in my books because Hunger Games I lost interest midway from book two. I’m not a fan of the film but I did appreciate the first book. The 100 was also something I was really like meh after a few episodes. Huh okay I don’t really know what others stood the test of time… I suppose for the moment I think 3% is top quality!
So in a nutshell, the series is about two groups of people. The Inlanders who have tags such as hopelessness, decay, chaos, poverty, crime, violence. The Outlanders (who live on a separate island) are the elite that can enjoy life with satisfying provisions, with enough food and entertainment. This elite group was formed by the ‘Founding Couple’. They state that only 3% of those who have turned 20 years of age from the Inland could join the Outlanders through passing tests, through what they call ‘The Process’.
Interestingly, how they promote people to register for The Process is very much like religion. They have what they call Pastors to preach to the people to almost ingrain them with this idea that their first 20 years of life is all dedicated to passing The Process. If not it is over and they will never get the chance to go again. Those that remain behind may try to instill their lost dreams to their children in the hopes they would be able to have better lives if they do pass the tests from The Process.
Of course there is a rebel group that do not agree with the arrangement and they call themselves ‘The Cause’. Such members infiltrate The Process and although their future goals are not known after passing and entering the Outlanders, so far what is known is that they must pass The Process no matter what.
What I find very interesting is that it almost seems to suggest that man made earthly ‘heaven’. People worship this Founding Couple and terms such as ‘faith’, ‘trust’, ‘purification’ are used that are needed before entering this so-thought perfect world. It suggests only the best candidate would pass through. However the question is what makes a suitable candidate?
We see that Raphael cheats in the first round to ensure he stays on. Although he is seen to have a change of heart and does what is right later on in the tests, he ultimate passes the tests and is accepted as part of the 3%! Joana also made it through the last rounds however a final test was given to her and she was supposed to press a button to painlessly kill someone who had wronged her. It seems so easy but there is something in her that knows this is wrong. She refuses to press the button and so she gets kicked out. So really, what makes a suitable candidate?
The main coordinator of The Process is a man called Ezequiel. There are also underlying political disagreements of how he runs The Process. Other people are desiring to overthrow him. The first few things we know about him is that one of the applicants for entering the Process called Michele has a personal vendetta. It appears that he has killed her brother and so she wants to avenge by killing Ezequiel. Later on we find out that Ezequiel had a wife and she had a son whom she loved in the Inland. The wife was prevented from looking for her son and so she could not go on living feeling captive. We start seeing this side of Ezequiel that instills some kind of pity. Eventually we find out that he claims to have been working for The Cause but after The Process he changed his mind. He shows Michele that he has not killed her brother and shows proof that he is on the Outland. Such complicated history and background. Who is in the right?
The series ends veering towards the fact that something is clearly not right about the entire situation, with Joana and another candidate Fernando exiting with clarity of the deceptiveness of The Process. It was in fact Ezequiel that demanded Joana press the button to execute the man who wronged her.
The question is did Joana have the right to execute the man who wronged her? By what standards could she judge because hasn’t she done bad things too? Hasn’t she made mistakes before? (And indeed it was made clear in the series). What gives the 3% the right to judge when they themselves are not perfect?
Thankfully, our society today isn’t as dramatic as that. And thankfully we have a God who is perfect and is capable of judgement and bringing about ultimate justice at the end of time! The 3% claim that by your merit you get what you deserve. Because you were good, you tried hard you can succeed, but even by that standard clearly things are not working out. God is the complete opposite of that mentality. It is that His Son Jesus who led a perfect life… His merit was perfect and so complete, wouldn’t He have deserved royal treatment? But no. He went to hell to ensure that we won’t need to. How can you not want to know a God like that who’d sacrifice Himself for you? But more than that because He is the all knowing God, Jesus was raised from the dead conquering death. His heaven will not be like the Outlanders imperfect, but through Jesus it will be made with no pain or suffering but joy.