The Three-Body Problem Ep. 30 Finale Review Part 1: We're In Trouble
In Part 1 of our The Three-Body Problem finale review, aliens are coming, things are much bleaker than expected & the Earth is screwed. Fun!
We're at the final episode of The Three-Body Problem, one of the most cerebral and conceptually ambitious Science Fiction television series and China's first real Science Fiction series. Liu Cixin's novel is a huge deal in China, heralding the country's entry into the annals of the global Science Fiction scene and a signpost of modern China. The first book in a trilogy, it reinvents the alien invasion genre from scratch, starting as a murder mystery and investigation, a commentary on a chapter in China's brutal history and its impact on subsequent generations, and expanding to an alien invasion story with existential, scientific ideas beyond most mainstream television.
Episode 30 of The Three-Body Problem is faithful to the book but deepens the emotional nuances that were just hinted at in the text. It's an extra-long episode, clocking in at 55 minutes instead of the usual 45 to make sure it touches all the main scenes in the book. Once again, it's an episode of two halves: one where the heroes learn the full extent of the Trisolarans' invasion plans, and the second how they react to it. We have to split the review in two again because there's so much to cover.
Winning the Battle but Losing the War
The first half of the episode sees Wang Miao, Shi Qiang, Ding Yi, and General Chang putting together the Trisolarans' plan to invade Earth and why they needed to lock down scientific advancement on Earth. The Battle Command Centre successfully taking down the entire Earth Trisolaran Organisation should be considered a victory. After all, this was a global terrorist group that had been blowing up research labs and murdering physicists to help aliens succeed in conquering Earth and killing all humans. That's the very definition of a Crime Against Humanity.
The problem is that humanity's war against the Trisolarans was lost the moment they decided to invade Earth back in 1983. The Trisolarans worked out Earth's location from Science Grandma's radio signal and launched their fleet immediately. Since Earth is light years away and they haven't developed faster-than-light travel – the show follows Einstein's belief that it's impossible – it would take them four hundred and fifty years to arrive. The Three-Body Problem VR game developed by the Earth Trisolaran Organisation was created from what Mike Evans knew about Trisolaran civilization based on their radio communications to him. The Trisolarans felt that humans were too warlike and aggressive, and civilization was developing so fast that Earth would be advanced enough to successfully defeat their fleet when arrive in four hundred and fifty years. That was why they decided to sabotage humanity's scientific advancement. Once they conquer Earth, they would let the remaining humans live but prohibit any reproduction, which effectively condemns the human race to extinction.
Yup, the Aliens in The Three-Body Problem are Dicks
Things get worse when they see discover how the Trisolarans have halted advancement in Physics research on Earth: the two particles they launched to Earth are, in fact, quantum supercomputers compressed into the size of molecules so that they're undetectable. Dubbed "sophons," the purpose of the supercomputers is to keep the Earth under surveillance, communicate its observations instantly to the homeworld via quantum entanglement, and also sabotage the results of all particle accelerator experiments so the data becomes unreliable and useless. That explains the dead physicists who declared "Physics doesn't exist", including Yang Dong. Wang Miao and Ding Yi explain to the Battle Command Centre that without further advancement in Physics research, it'll be impossible to develop the technology – especially weapons – advanced enough to fight the Trisolarans when they arrive. It's Game Over. Earth has been cut off at the knees with information warfare.
Any hope that the Trisolarans might be benevolent colonisers is killed off when the Trisolarans send a message into everyone's eyeballs the same way they sent the countdown to Wang Miao, except it's a short sentence: "You are bugs." That's the ultimate expression of contempt from an alien species. Bugs are there to be squashed. The human race is screwed. This is the most pessimistic exploration of The Fermi Paradox in fiction – the aliens will be genocidal dicks, just like human colonists have been dicks throughout history.
Does the series end on a complete downer? We discuss the second half of the finale next. The story is the first part of a trilogy, after all.
Stay up-to-date and support the site by following Bleeding Cool on Google News today!