‘3 Body Problem’ finale: 8 burning questions we have for Season 2

After eight mind-bending episodes, Netflix’s 3 Body Problem has come to a close for Season 1. While the finale answered many of the complex questions fuelling the series, showrunners David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo left plenty unsolved for Season 2.

What plan to save the world will Saul Durand (Jovan Adepo) come up with as a newly minted wallfacer? What will happen to Will Downing’s (Alex Sharp) brain, floating through space? We saw Tatiana Haas (Marlo Kelly) putting that alien VR headset on, but what exactly did the San-Ti want to show her? Will Auggie Salazar (Eiza González) remain atoning for her weaponised nanotechnology or will she return to her bestie Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) to help save the world?


‘3 Body Problem’ ending: What does Dr Ye Wenjie’s ‘joke’ about God really mean?

Let’s dig into the burning questions we have for 3 Body Problem Season 2, in no particular order, because everything is chaos. While you will find spoilers for the ending of Season 1, importantly, you won’t find spoilers in here from Liu Cixin’s books, on which the series is based on. So you’re safe to read on if you haven’t read them!

1. What is the San-Ti’s actual plan?

Sea Shimooka as the San-Ti AI warrior in “3 Body Problem.”
Credit: Netflix

OK, so we know the technologically advanced alien race known as the San-Ti hail from an unstable three-body star system four light years from Earth, where, according to the San-Ti AI warrior (Sea Shimooka), “There will eventually be a cataclysm from which we cannot recover. Our planet will be ripped in half. Or pulled into one of the suns. Or expelled into space forever.” They responded to Dr Ye Wenjie’s (Rosalind Chao) transmission in the ’70s, decided Earth sounded like the perfectly stable new home, built a 1000-ship-strong fleet and hit the intergalactic road — leaving some of the San-Ti behind, which is where the “if one of us survives, we all survive'” mantra comes from.

Working with the Earth-Trisolaris Organization (ETO), the San-Ti then became afraid of humanity through their discovery of deception while discussing Little Red Riding Hood with oil magnate Mike Evans (Jonathan Pryce). They then threatened to kill humanity’s scientific progress dead, scaring the shit out of everyone with their sophon sentient supercomputer and worldwide surveillance. But what’s their actual plan when they finally get to Earth in 400 years? Will they enslave the human race, destroy it entirely, or come to the negotiating table?

In episode 4, Wenjie tells the ETO she genuinely believes the San-Ti are coming to teach humanity “how to survive and thrive”. But the aliens are perplexed by humanity, claiming they have “ceased to be afraid” as a species. “You contacted another planet. Is this the act of a timid species?” the San-Ti asks Evans in episode 3. “A lack of fear leads to extinction. If your ancestors had followed the fearless, you would not exist. Humanity must learn to fear again.”

This all connects with questions about the San-Ti and their control of technology on Earth. Why don’t they take over Earth’s technology 24/7? This powerful alien race took over every screen and device on the planet for a threatening message and skyward demonstration of might, yet then allow our TV broadcasts, internet feeds, and personal devices to function as normal — they could send us right back to the Dark Ages with a thought. Also, the San-Ti let the all-important Earthly defence strategy, the launch of Will’s brain into space, continue. Are the San-Ti not quite sure what they could get out of this, or are they indifferent? The answer to this one may lie in the book, which has a slightly more detailed explanation of what the sophons are capable of.

2. Will the San-Ti find Will’s brain and will they rebuild him?

A man wearing sunglasses walks through a sparse building lobby.

Where there’s a Will…
Credit: Netflix

In the major sacrifice of the season, Will signed his brain over to Jin’s sadly failed Project Staircase (but refused to pledge allegiance to humanity itself). Unfortunately, during the mission, one of the cables keeping the space sail in place detached and the probe, with Will’s brain inside it, was sent off course, now doomed to drift through space. But will the capsule eventually reach its destination, intercepting the San-Ti? And will they do exactly as the scientists expect them to do with their advanced technology: rebuild him in some form? Only time and space will tell.

3. What will Saul come up with to save the world?

A man with glasses stares at the sky with a worried look.

Any ideas?
Credit: Netflix

In what might be the most “no pressure!” job ever, Saul was made a wallfacer in the finale of Season 1, putting a target on his back and the fate of the world in his hands with no restrictions. But the thing is, he’s not allowed to speak about his plans, write them down, or use any form of technology to realise a strategy to save humanity — everything must happen within the recesses of his mind. If you want to know why Saul is chosen, it’s all hidden in this scene. But what will he come up with? We’re given a clue as to how Saul could approach his planning in the finale, when Detective Da Shi (Benedict Wong) takes Saul and Jin to see the insect population booming — maybe “bugs”, as the San-Ti call Earthlings, have more power and resilience than they’re given credit for. And remember, there are two other wallfacers: distinguished veteran Professor Leyla Ariç (Salem Hadeed) and military historian General Hou Boulin (Clem Cheung). What will they come up with in their mind palaces?

4. What did Tatiana see in the game?

A woman with a cigarette in her mouth holds a lighter aflame for another woman.

Tatiana finally got her own VR headset.
Credit: Netflix

In the finale, we see Earth-Trisolaris Organization member Tatiana in hiding, living relatively off-grid in the woods, following the raid on the alien-worshipping group in London. In episode 7, Tatiana is contacted by the San-Ti through her TV set, and told she’s not done yet. In the finale, returning from her Tesco grocery shop, she finds her door open and a VR headset with her name branded on it awaiting her inside, with a card reading, “If one of us survives, we all survive.” It’s the first time we’ve seen Tatiana put the headset on herself, though she knows very well what to expect for players. But what exactly do the San-Ti want to show Tatiana? Is she being asked to rehydrate the masses like other players, or is there something more the alien race wants to brief her on?

5. Will Auggie return or will she stay atoning for Panama?

A woman stands in the city of London staring at the sky looking worried.

Auggie was devastated by the Judgment Day attack.
Credit: Netflix

Following the Panama Canal nanofibre ship massacre in episode 5, Auggie hasn’t been doing great. The first time her own groundbreaking technology was deployed at scale, it was used as a slicing weapon against a literal boatload of people, including children, caught up in the attack on Evans’ ship Judgment Day. Auggie did stick around long enough to care for Will during his final weeks and joined Wade’s project to help her best friend Jin create a space sail for the probe to soar through the universe, but when Will’s brain is signed over for the project, she packs up and leaves. In the finale, we see her helping a community beset by dysentery to filter water using her nanotechnology. It’s clear she’s on a mission to atone for Judgment Day, but will she stay there? Or will she eventually return to help Saul and Jin come up with a way to protect the planet?

6. Who is Wade, really, and what will he do after the San-Ti threat?

A man in a suit sits behind a polished black desk, on which sits a silver VR headset.

Wade had a rather unpleasant chat with the San-Ti.
Credit: Netflix

Leading the military response to the San-Ti, Thomas Wade (Liam Cunningham) is quite the mysterious one, with separate plans to develop hibernation technology to be present when the San-Ti arrive in 400 years. It’s not really made clear who Wade reports to — in episode 1, Da Shi explains Wade’s managers as “governments…most of them” but in episode 5, Auggie points out that no one really knows who Wade works for. All we do know is he runs the Black Palace, the headquarters of the Strategic Intelligence Agency (SIA) in London — an agency that doesn’t exist beyond the story, but seems like a play on the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In the finale, Wade is directly threatened by the San-Ti during his flight, when the aliens cut the technology of his plane and speak through the plane’s screens. “We hope to meet you if your hibernation technology works,” the San-Ti tells Wade, praising him as a strong leader. “We want you to know there will be a place for you when we arrive. You are part of our plan.” But Wade’s conversation with the San-Ti turns dark when he suddenly sees his own countdown and the warrior appears in his own space and terrifies him with a vision of Wade with gouged-out eyes. What do the San-Ti want from their incessant enemy?

7. What happened to the moon base plans?

A military officer in a suit stands in front of a green hedge.

Raj might be off to the moon.
Credit: Netflix

Remember in episode 6, when Wade made reference to the fact that Earth was building a base on the moon? We’re keen to see what happened to that, and whether we’ll see a moon base in Season 2. Wade tells Raj Varma (Saamer Usmani) the plan is to build a base on the lava plain Mare Imbrium in a giant crater, where larger ships will be assembled, ready for the San-Ti’s 1000-strong fleet.

8. What do the aliens actually look like?

Mashable’s Sam Haysom dug into this one.

How to watch: 3 Body Problem is now streaming on Netflix.

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