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The Three-Body Problem Ep. 27 Review: Meet Mike Evans, Evil White Guy

The Three-Body Problem Ep. 27 delves into the story of Mike Evans, the series' Evil White Guy & an interesting commentary on story villains.

Episode twenty-seven of The Three-Body Problem completes the history of Science Grandma Ye Wen Jie's story and how she came to form the Earth Trisolaran Organisation with an American named Mike Evans (Kenan Heppe). This is the last episode devoted to backstory so that all the cards are on the table for what it's been all about, namely Mike Evans.

The Three-Body Problem Ep 27 Review: Meet Mike Evans, Evil White Guy
Kenan Heppe as Mike Evans in "The Three-Body Problem", Tencent

The Three-Body Problem's Other Bond Villain

Elderly Ye Wen Jie (Chen Jin) tells General Chang about the time she and a team were sent to scout a location to build a new radio astronomy telescope when she came across a foreigner digging and planting trees. As the only person who could speak English, the locals asked her to talk to the guy to find out what his deal was. Turns out he was an environmental activist who wanted to save the local species of sparrow from extinction by restoring their habitats after deforestation was causing them to die out. His ambition was to save an endangered species.

The Three-Body Problem Ep 27 Review: Meet Mike Evans, Evil White Guy
"The Three-Body Problem", Tencent

Evans is the son of an oil mogul who was traumatized in his childhood when he witnessed an oil spill that resulted in an environmental disaster that killed a lot of birds and sea life. His father gives him a lecture about how in Capitalism, lives and species are sacrificed to ensure humans have a comfortable life. Evans has developed a manifesto called Interspecies Egalitarianism that declares that all species should be equal.

When Evans' father died and left his fortune of four billion dollars to him, he didn't know what to do with it and asked Ye for advice. He's spent years planting trees all over the world, only to see them cut down again. He wants to know what to do with his money that would be meaningful. That was when she told him about the alien signal she received from space. He falls off the grid for a few years and shows up again with an invitation. She meets him on his new tanker ship Judgment Day where he introduces her to the Earth Trisolaran Organisation, which he formed after he checked out her story about the alien signal and found it was true. He has even built a satellite dish on the ship to send and receive messages from the Trisolarans. Ye Wen Jie is shocked that there are so many people who hate humanity so much they want aliens to come and kill everyone. The members worship her because she was the one who sent the reply to invite the Trisolarans to Earth, and agrees to be the Commander of the cult because she had hoped to reign them in. She wants the Trisolarans to redeem and lift Humanity, not wipe everyone out. She was planning to take control of the ETO from Evans' Adventist faction when General Chang ordered them rounded up.

The Three-Body Problem Ep 27 Review: Meet Mike Evans, Evil White Guy
"The Three-Body Problem," Tencent

Let's Talk about Mike Evans

Chinese thrillers like to have an American bad guy these days, always a proxy representing the US rather than the US military or government. "Mike Evans" may be the most generic white guy name ever. "Evans" is really a Welsh name, but author Liu Cixin probably picked it because it sounded so white. What's interesting is that Mike Evans is not a military man or an evil capitalist but a man who hates capitalism and blames it for the destruction of the environment and other species. He is, in his own way, a child and victim of Capitalism. His and his acolyte Pan Han's polemic about the horrors of pollution and climate change from capitalist greed are what make them compelling villains who have a point, to the extent where they want to wipe out humanity for its greed and cruelty. Environmentalist extremists who want to kill off humanity have been mythical bogeymen for the right wing and governments in the West for decades, their peak place in pop culture being the villains of Tom Clancy's 1998 novel Rainbow Six. In fact, Mike Evans is practically identical to the main bad guys in Clancy's novel, a genocidal terrorist who came from money and privilege, except his big plan is to help aliens from outer space wipe out humans.

The Three-Body Problem Ep. 27 Review: Meet Mike Evans, Evil White Guy
Two Bond villains meet in "The Three-Body Problem", Tencent

Mike Evans is played in The Three-Body Problem by Kenan Heppe, an actual American professional actor who does the character justice. Heppe plays Evans with unkempt hair and beard and fading clothes, the signs of a man so pissed off at society he doesn't care about his personal appearance or probably hygiene. Heppe's Mike Evans fills in the emotional gaps the book version lacks: his body language conveys frantic loathing and depression, slightly hunched as if he was being crushed by the burden of living as a human. Heppe conveys the sense that Evans never grew beyond the traumatized thirteen-year-old boy who is unable to truly think long-term, which is why his tree-planting campaigns perpetually fail. In the end, Mike Evans is pretty much like Elon and any other billionaire, a rich guy who decides to get what he wants by throwing money at it. He's not in many episodes, but Heppe makes every moment he's on-screen count. The only drawback isn't his fault – the producers decided that Heppe didn't sound old enough as the Evans of 2007 and got some old Chinese actor to dub him, which explains why Old Evans' accent sounds weird and barely American.

The Three-Body Problem Ep. 27 Review: Meet Mike Evans, Evil White Guy
"The Three-Body Problem", Tencent

Kenan Heppe is a fan of the books and has been doing his best to promote the series on YouTube, including this video about The Three-Body Problem's place in the Science Fiction pantheon.

And we're down to the final three episodes of the series, where things get really intense and weird. We'll be breaking them all down because there is much to discuss.

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Adi TantimedhAbout Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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