Monday, September 11, 2017

3% Season One, Episode Four: Capítulo 04: Portão

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I know that I've said this before but there's no way that society offshore is calm and serene. People who survive the testing absolutely have to be living with some form of PTSD, given what they are put through during the various challenges.  I haven't even been able to identify what specific traits they are looking for from the contestants at the end. 

When we last left the contestants they were locked in the dorm room. Some time has passed and they are starting to feel both hungry and thirsty and are unsure of what to do next.  Realising that this must be some new test, the contestants start to try to figure out what to do. There are eight rooms and each room has a series of levers. Marco pulls one down but nothing happens.  There's a board on the wall which Marco stares at for some time before figuring out that they are set to a pattern which  the levers must be pulled in.  After a little cajoling, Marco manages to convince the others to work together.  After successfully pulling the levers in order, the contestants are given enough food and water for one person.  Marco is quick to claim the food saying that it was he who figured out the board. It's a hot minute before he gets challenged with everyone pointing out that they all worked together to get the food. Finally, Michele suggests that they go in alphabetical order, that way everyone will get some food and water.  The contestants move the levers every time the pattern changes until each of them has a ration of food and water.

To some of the observers the fact that everyone worked together to get food and water means that everyone passed but of course, for  Ezequiel, a test without any eliminations simply will not work and so he demands that they keep watching to see what happens. When the contestants decide to get some rest because no matter how many times they pull the levers into the correct pattern it won't release anymore food, Ezequiel orders that all of the rations be dropped at once into the dorm area.  The contestants grab at the food quickly, not caring who gets what, and Michele again steps forward and this time she suggests that they count all of the supplies and distribute them equally. 

Marco watches as the food and water given out and it's clear he's not pleased with this outcome.  When Raphael suggests that maybe Marco should just hand over his share, Marco says that what they need to be doing is looking for a way out because that is the next test and the only explanation for why the supplies were dropped into the dorm. Marco decides to gather up the strongest contestants and pry the door open.  They only manage to get the door partway open and it's Raphael who slips through, only to find yet another door which is locked.  The situation looks hopeless.

We are given a flashback to Marco's time inland. It seems even though Marco was forced to live inland he has class privilege.  The walls in his dining room have pictures of members of his family who supposedly successfully passed the process.  Marco has been left in the care of a maid and when she cooks, she gives Marco the lions share. With Marco's 20th birthday approaching, he's given a letter from his parents to celebrate this momentous time. Before Marco leaves to take part in the process, he writes a letter and gives it to his pregnant girlfriend, to be handed over to his child when they turn 20.

The memory of his family's accomplishments is enough for Marco to decide that what he needs to do is take charge violently.  Marco gathers a group of contestants and together they start leaning on the weaker contestants to hand over their food and water under the guise that it's the strong who are going to get them out of there.  The situation quickly becomes violent.

While  Ezequiel is distracted with the testing, Aline decides to sneak into  Ezequiel's room to snoop around. When she checks the computer, it asks for a fingerprint and so Aline lifts a print off of a cube.  Unfortunately for Aline, the print she lifts is not  Ezequiel's. I'm guessing that since the cube looks like it could be a toy that the print she lifted actually belongs to Augusto. The false fingerprint sets off an alarm which Cassia is sent to investigate. Caught red handed, Aline is forced to leave Ezequiel's room with Cassia. 

Joana sees the chaos and wants no part of it.  After checking and finding Agata either dead or unconscious, Joana steals her shoes.  Joana climbs up a chute using Agata shoes on her hands to get a better grip.  After a long struggle, Joana manages to escape the dorm entirely but she's met by  Ezequiel.  Joana is stunned by the fact that  Ezequiel is allowing all of the violence in the dorm; however, he deftly avoids responsibility by saying that it is the contestants who became violent and only the contestants can stop it.   Ezequiel then talks about Joana being just the type of person they need offshore and tells her to embrace the story of the original pair.  It seems the original couple also came from poverty like Joana and when they first conceived of the offshore they were not taken seriously and yet today, everyone wants to be offshore.   Ezequiel then sits Joana down in front of a plate of food and asks her if she is hungry.  After a long pause, Joana picks up a fork and knife and prepares to eat, only to be told that if she takes a single bite that she will be eliminated because it isn't fair to the other contestants.  Ezequiel suggests that Joana return to the dorm and show everyone what she can do by bringing peace to the dorms.

In the dorm, Marco is very much still playing the heavy.  He comes across a young woman who is clearly hiding something. After a search of her person, Marco discovers that she is hiding water.  Marco demands that the young woman apologise for hiding water as Raphael looks on. The young woman is clearly angry and filled with resentment but she apologises to Marco for hiding water, only to have Marco kill her with one blow to the head with a metal pole.  Marco announces that everyone needed to be taught a lesson about lying and respect.  A horrified Raphael rushes to the woman's side, trying to offer whatever aid he can but it's already too late. 

An angry Raphael confronts Marco about the murder he committed but gets blown off. Unwilling to let this pass, Raphael takes a swing at Marco but misses when he is pushed by Marco's henchmen.  Raphael is told that he better run for his life.  Raphael gets a head start and makes it to an area where Michele, Fernando and a few others are holed up.  Fernando is not interested in allowing Raphael into the safe space they have created.  In desperation, Raphael whispers something into Michele's ear and she consents and grants him access.

This is only a temporary reprieve for Raphael because Marco who has gone all Lord of the Flies is determined to rule the dorms.  Marco and his goons begin to hack through the defenses that Michel organised, as Joana makes her way back into the dorms by climbing down the shoot.  Before Joana, Fernando and Raphael are forced to fight, Joana organises the other contestants and as a group they overwhelm Marco's forces and beat the living shit out of them.  With Marco and his people soundly beaten, Joana calls a halt to the violence and tells Fernando, Raphael and Michele that they can exit the shelter they have made because no one will hurt them now.

Ezequiel meets with the councillors  about Aline searching his room. Having caught Aline red handed, Ezequiel now has the upper hand.  He demands Aline's removal and refuses to defer to anyone.  In a great show of power, it's Ezequiel who ends the conversation and not the councillors. 

With the violence brought to an end, Ezequiel opens up the doorway, finally allowing the contestants to leave.  Raphael is helped and his wheelchair is lifted over dead bodies.  They contestants find themselves outdoors.  When everyone has left, a beaten and bloody Marco regains consciousness and tries to crawl towards the exit.  Ezequiel sees this and orders that the door be closed.  Marco is determined and though he sees that the door is closing, he keeps moving forward. Unfortunately, for Marco, he doesn't move fast enough and the door cuts him in two, as a seemingly delighted Ezequiel looks on. 

Finally, outside and free for now, Fernando questions Michele on what Raphael said to convince her to let him into their shelter. Once again, Michele sort of blows Fernando off and says that he didn't say anything specific and that she believed in his story. 

In a flashback, we learn that Raphael's real name is Diego and that when took the testing last year, he failed in the first round.  The real Raphael is nervous because his turn to take the test is coming up and so Diego (who we know as Raphael) gets him drunk. Raphael and Diego are brothers, so Raphael clearly doesn't see Diego's treachery coming.  The moment Raphael falls asleep, Diego cuts out Raphael's chip. Later, Diego meets with a member of the resistance to report that he's found a way to take the test again and vows that this time, he won't let the resistance down. 

Ezequiel meets with the contestants outside and congratulates them because only 9% of the contestants ever make it this far.  This means that despite the high rate of attrition, we still have half of the characters to lose. 

This episode we lost both Agata and Marco.  Given Agata's reaction to the drug, I kind of figured in the last episode that she would be going soon.  What I didn't predict was the loss of Marco, given that he had sort of slipped into the role of moral authority and leader.  Having so many family members on the offshore led me to believe that he would make it to the end.  Marco's flashback did however leave me with some questions. How did his family amass so much privilege if they are all living on the offshore? Do they send back supplies so that that their children don't starve and to pay for the maid?  The fact that Marco's parents had to leave him a letter suggests that once you're offshore that you don't have any real contact with your parents.  Marco's child for instance will never meet Marco and may well assume that his father was successful in his bid to join the offshore. 

Given the way that Ezequiel talked to Joana, I'm beginning to wonder if he's guessed Joana's secret.  His interest in Joana absolutely isn't benign and though Joana doesn't currently have any power, I have a feeling that Ezequiel  is going to find a way to make Joana his ally. While Aline is searching through Ezequiel's possessions, Ezequiel is playing the long game. 

We did find out about the state cult this week.  We know that the original couple pulled themselves out of poverty and then worked to create a Utopian world. We still don't know exactly what happened to drive the people offshore in the first place and I hope that 3% explains this soon. I like the individual story telling about life inland but still feel that not knowing how it all started and what the final objective is would be great. 

Fernando is supposed to be very smart and he's seen Michele make some questionable moves. I wonder if when Fernando gets his back again a wall whether or not he will give up Michele? At some point he's got to put the pieces together about Michele's strange behaviour.  Fernando is so desperate to get offshore and change his life that the resistance actually represents a threat to his hopes and dreams, thus putting him into conflict with Michele. How long can Michele's kisses distract him from the truth?