The Netflix Original “3%” is a show worth binging


During the early days of break, many students, including me, had a surplus of free time on their hands. However, having time and spending the time are two completely different things. It is for this reason that on the first night of break, I found myself mindlessly browsing Netflix for something interesting to watch. My eyes skimmed over the boring, old, and over-watched titles desperately searching for something entertaining. Just as I was giving up all hope, I reached the Netflix Originals section and found something that seemed worthy of my time: 3%.

3% opens by exposing an impoverished society. Graffiti covers buildings, homes are grungy, and clothes are dirty and ragged. This area is known as “the Inlands,” and those who live there are desperate for a chance at a better life. This life can be found in “the Offshore,” and each year a group of 20-year-olds is admitted to this utopian society. The catch, however, is only 3% of each group is allowed to move to the Offshore. To determine the people who will escape poverty, a test is created known as “the Process.” The Process is brutal, and it is for that reason there are those who are against it. “The Cause” works furiously against those on the Offshore and constantly attempts to bring an end to the test. 3% follows a group through the Process and captivates the audience with every episode.

3% follows Michele (Bianca Comparato), Fernando (Michel Gomes), Rafael (Rodolfo Valente), Joana (Vaneza Oliveira), and Marco (Rafael Lozano) through their test and the roadblocks they encounter, as well. Each episode seems to focus on one character and their backstory, which is a unique way to ensure the viewers are well-educated on each and every character. Although Michele, Fernando, Rafael, Joana, and Marco go through the Process together, they don’t always enjoy each other’s company. Betrayal is not uncommon during the Process; these young adults are desperate for a chance at a better life and will do anything to pass. That being said, they still form some sort of bond while being tested.

The plot of 3% mainly focuses on the group going through the Process; however, there is a subplot that exposes the inner workings of the test. Ezequiel (João Miguel) runs the Process in its entirety and is being observed by Aline (Viviane Porto), who is attempting to overthrow him as Process leader. Not only is Ezequiel planting his feet in the ground as Process leader, he is digging to find any infiltrators from the Cause and remove them from his Process. At times, the plot does seem busy and is a bit overwhelming, but it is still extremely engaging.

While the story behind 3% is astonishingly captivating, there are still some major downsides to the series. First off, approximately the first minute of the show is entirely in Portuguese with English subtitles, which leads to extreme confusion and scrambling to find out if the entire show contains subtitles. Past that first minute, English is dubbed over the existing Portuguese dialogue. While the dubbing wasn’t entirely awful, it was distracting and even a little confusing to figure out what was going on in the first episode.

Not only was it difficult to determine what language was being spoken during the first episode, but the actual plot was slightly difficult to dissect. Long, silent scenes were fairly consistent during the first few minutes of the show, leaving the viewer to determine what was going on themselves. While normally this tactic wouldn’t have many repercussions, when inserted in the first episode, confusion runs ablaze, especially when the actual plot is revealed.

That being said, 3% is by no means a bad show. It is extremely unique, given it is the first Brazilian-produced Netflix Original. Not only this, but its plot is unlike any other seen before, and is presented in a way that allows the viewer to make their own assumptions, assumptions that would be later proved as wrong or right. The show is extremely addictive; the eight episodes are easily binge-watched, but still provide enough content to entertain. Luckily, 3% has been renewed for a second season, but a release date hasn’t been announced yet.

Although 3% has its flaws, it is something I would recommend to anyone looking for a new show to binge. The unique plot will intrigue anyone who watches, as well as spark some thought in them. Anyone who stumbles upon some spare time could spend it watching 3%, and every minute spent watching would be a minute well spent.