3 Body Problem Ends With a Promise For a Massive Future

The following story contains spoilers for the ending of Netflix’s 3 Body Problem.

ANYONE WHO WAS along for the Game of Thrones ride knows that you should always expect the unexpected when dealing with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. With Netflix’s new epic sci-fi series 3 Body Problem (based on the book series by author Cixin Liu), the duo, along with a third showrunner in True Blood and The Terror writer Alexander Woo, return for their follow-up—and have their old bag of tricks fully in store. Things you think will happen don’t, things you think won’t happen do, and the future of the show (should there be one) looks as big as ever.

After a full season of massive revelations about the fact that Earth is not alone in the universe, and the political machinations that go on behind the scenes after that realization is made, 3 Body Problem comes to a conclusion with a bang in its final few episodes. In some cases, that means taking out an entire boat full of people with nanofibers. In other cases, it means launching a brain—unsuccessfully, sadly—into space as part of a last ditch effort to preserve a dying life and make contact with our visitors/enemies. In other cases, it just means establishing that our enemies (the Trisolarans) know who our anti-heroes (Liam Cunningham’s Wade) are—and that they’ve got plans for him (sounds ominous). And in one very specific case, it means the end of a life—Ye Wenije (Rosalind Chao)—that should have been much better, and could have gone much differently.

But another part of the Game of Thrones playbook that Benioff and Weiss have always tried to deploy is using the end of one season to set things up for the next. And that’s as in play as ever with 3 Body Problem, where major chunks of the end of the season are specifically used to set up the future of this expansive and complex sci-fi world.

Below, we break down the three most vital parts of the 3 Body Problem Season 1 finale.

What is a Wallfacer, and who tried to kill Saul?

3 body problem saul


After the Staircase Project fails (when Will’s brain, intended to make contact with the Trisolarans, is shot far off course), Wade makes a call that appears to trigger what’s called the Wallfacer Project. The key to this strategy is the understanding of the Trisolaran Sophons on earth—those are microscopic, tiny computers that the aliens have sent that can observe and collect anything humans say, write, or do. There’s one thing they can’t do, though: read minds.

So, for the Wallfacer Project, three humans are chosen to carry out specific plans and strategies to defeat the San-Ti—but these plans are not to be shared with anyone until the time to execute arrives. As a result, these three humans will be put under extreme security and be granted extreme, all-encompassing authority. The first two Wallfacers are very official people who’s inclusion makes sense: General Hou Bolin (Clem Cheung), and Professor Leyla Ariç (Salem Murphy). The third chosen, for a specific but unknown reason, is Saul Durand (Jovan Adepo)—who at first rejects the role. Given that we’ve seen him spend much of 3 Body Problem smoking weed and initiating threesomes, it’s understandable that he might feel out of place here.

As soon as Saul walks out of the United Nations, he immediately suffers an attempt on his life. Da Shi (Benedict Wong) saves him, and his Kevlar jacket helps, but Saul is jarred that someone would attempt to kill him—since he doesn’t figure himself to be all that important, despite the title that’s been bestowed upon him. Saul asks to speak with the person who tried to shoot him (he was caught and apprehended) and he turns out to be just fanatic whose devoted his life to the San-Ti, to the point of carrying out brutal violence. “I’m sorry I didn’t aim for your head,” he tells Saul. “Then my mission would be complete, and you’d be free of yours.”

Saul continues to wonder why he was chosen, and gets no answer—only that there is an “indirect reason” for it. Saul thinks its all BS—we’ll find out soon enough. In a typical story, you may think that Saul has some kind of Harry Potter/Frodo Chosen One energy to him. But with showrunners who love to zig and zag—even earlier in the same episode, when Will’s brain was destined to be lost in space for millions of years—we can never be so sure.

Tatiana Hears from the San-Ti Again

3 body problem marlo kelly as tatiana


One character who plays a huge role in the 3 Body Problem Netflix series and isn’t present at all in the books is Tatiana (Marlo Kelly), who essentially serves as the on-Earth avatar for the San-Ti, following them loyally and carrying out all kinds of horrible murders, crimes, and business for them. If you saw Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Tatiana basically functions in the same was to the San-Ti as Gabriel (Esai Morales) does to The Entity in the Mission film.

Regardless, we’re used to Tatiana’s presence meaning bad news throughout the series, from her first meeting with Auggie (Eiza Gonzalez) to when she brutally murders Jack (John Bradley). But we also know that the San-Ti have no problem leaving their loyalists behind when they don’t need them anymore (Sorry Mike Evans (Jonathan Pryce).)

After being sent to kill Ye Wenije, Tatiana is off hiding in the woods when she finds a business card from the San-Ti: “If one of us survives, all of us survive,” it reads. And alongside the card is one of those inescapable 3 Body Problem headsets. She puts it on, and surely gets some kind of sinister message from her Trisolaran overlords.

What about Da Shi and the bugs?

3 body problem benedict wong as da shi in episode 108 of 3 body problem cr macall


Season 1 of 3 Body Problem ends with an extended and not-so-subtle metaphor. Jin (Jess Hong) and Saul are sitting by a motel pool, getting drunk and wallowing in their sadness about the state of the world, and, well, everything. Da Shi, who knows a thing or two about getting drunk, shows up, admonishing them for being “the two saddest-looking bastards” he’s ever seen, before Saul quips back that maybe they’re sad for good reason, considering, again, everything. Saul repeats what the San-Ti message said: “We’re bugs.”

Da Shi suggest they all go for a drive, and the three of them end up by a sticky marsh, where cicadas and all kinds of other bugs are flying around everywhere. He makes a good point: people hate bugs, and if they had their way, they would have been eradicated a long time ago. And guess what? They’re still here. If the human race are bugs in this scenario? There are far worse things to be.

“Look around, they’re not going anywhere,” Da Shi says, before pouring some of the drink out for the bugs, and telling them that it’s time to go back. “We’ve got work to do.”

The San-Ti won’t be arriving for several centuries, but with the combination of personalities that make up the human race, it’s already clear that they aren’t going to be going down without a fight. And if Netflix’s 3 Body Problem continues, we’ll get to see that fight play out on a massive scale.

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