The quest to become a member of the 3% continues in episode 2. “Coins” is not too dissimilar to the opening episode. There is still a peripheral search going on for the mole and the process is still weeding out the hopefuls in large numbers.
3% is moving at a slow pace, but in spite of this the show is still addictive viewing. The main storyline has managed to keep the interest up. While Ezequiel’s secret missions to the ghettos and his loose interpretation of the process itself lends to a separate level of interest all on its own.
The leader of the process is being investigated by Aline. Ezequiel is aware of her subterfuge but continues to take part in his daily jaunts.
The competitors who are desperate to join the world of Offshore, the Utopian island where only the privileged few are allowed, are thinning out. The main players, however, have cranked up their brain cells and competitive spirit to meet the increasing demands of the tests they face.
While Aline and Ezequiel play cat and mouse, we learn more about Fernando and his long quest to take part in the 3% process. Crippled as a child, he has believed that the ability to become a member of the Offshore community does not rely upon having the use of his legs.
At the start of the episode, each candidate is tested for overall fitness. Not too surprisingly, Fernando is given a red screen, green is a pass, and someone takes him for a special examination.
After being given an injection, the young man can feel his legs. The doctor administering the test tells Fernando that Offshore medicine would enable him to walk. Instead of being overjoyed, the candidate becomes angry, he does not want his legs to become an issue. Fernando believes he does not need them to gain access to the island.
One of the tests involves the group as a whole. The candidates are given a scenario and must solve it. Not independently, but as a group. The goal, explains Ezequiel, is not to test their deductive reasoning but their inductive powers. Can one person persuade the group that they have the correct solution?
Initially Fernando seems to be the hero of this scenario but it is Rafael who sets them in the right direction.
Later, after they lose one of their number for not taking part in the exercise, the seven remaining hopefuls enter a room to discover six coins. As a group, they must vote on who cannot have a coin. Fernando is chosen by Rafael and the whole group, sans Michele, agree until the lad in the wheelchair gives an impassioned speech.
After the talk, they decide to allow luck of the draw to be the deciding factor. After pulling bits of scarf, Joana is the loser. However, Joana has, like Rafael in the cube test, cheated. She palmed her coin and moves ahead.
As noted in the first episode of this Brazilian series, it looks beautiful. The cinematography, lighting and superb editing practically leaps off the screen at the viewer. The acting, overall, is spot on. Although Ezequiel’s jaunt through the slums looked a tad “overdone.”
3% draws the viewer in despite the snail-like pace of the show. The mental processes the candidates undertake are interesting but not nearly as much as the way each character responds to the tests. It is going to be very interesting to see how Fernando fares later on.
He and Michele, the mole, are bonding quite nicely. Will she sacrifice the underdog to reach her real goal?
3% is streaming on Netflix in its entirety. All eight episodes can be viewed in one go. The science fiction thriller/mystery does move slowly and can be a bit “wordy.” It is, however, worth watching for the exams alone.