It’s by no means a perfect season, but in its final seven episodes, Netflix’s 3% provides a breathless race to the finish line.
This review of 3% Season 4 is spoiler-free.
The irony of Netflix Original shows is that more would probably survive for longer if only their finales dared to be proper endings. I’ve literally lost count of how many times I’ve had to knock off a star or two for dangling plot threads, unresolved character arcs, and a so-called conclusion that feels like someone from the production team turned up with a bowl, begging for change, and fans are losing patience for it too. To survive four seasons, the Brazilian dystopian thriller 3% has already accomplished something rare and sought-after – enough goodwill to last this long. Now, with another seven episodes, it’s ending, and it promises to do so properly. It’s no secret that the story ends here.
I’ll leave it up to you to discover whether it really does, but I suspect the ending will be polarizing all the same. Nevertheless, though, for the most part, 3% Season 4 really does feel like a final season and wastes little time in getting right into the action. Fans are well-served by an eager pace and some big action, and while the journey might not be smooth all the way through, there’s no way you’ll step off at the end without knowing you’ve been through something.
Picking up not long after Season 3, the crux of 3% Season 4 is an overarching conflict between the Process – now being ruled by Andre after the usurpation of the Offshore council – and the show’s ostensible heroes, including a newly promoted-to-lead Joana, who displaces Michele. It’s a classic framework with a simple, explosive goal, and it’s stretched into seven episodes – the latter of which is almost feature-length at 75 minutes – when it could have perhaps been content with six. Because of that, there’s a slightly scattershot fan-service-y approach to some matters that arguably comes at the expense of logic, but now’s not the time for nitpicking.
Despite its intriguing dystopian premise, 3% has always been about its characters, and that remains true in the final season despite the protagonist switcheroo. The usual flashbacks are deployed regularly and well for additional context and to round out motivations, proving that some of the oldest, most overdone tricks are used all the time for a reason. One or two personal subplots are left a little unresolved, though, which given this is the final season will be a bitter pill to swallow for many.
But 3% Season 4 overall boasts a this-is-all-ending urgency that benefits it, racing to a finish that many fans have been waiting a long time for. There’s lots to like, just as there’s a fair amount to puzzle over, but that’s always the way of things when every lingering idea for a show all find themselves sharing space in its final outing. With some solid writing more or less throughout, a clear direction and sense of purpose, and – whether you like it or not – an ending, 3% goes out as it came in: As an underrated and underseen slice of sci-fi that probably deserved to be talked about a little more than it was.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.