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In the future, people are divided between those living in poverty and strife in the Inland and those living in luxury and comfort in the Offshore. Every year, 20 year olds get the chance to participate in "The Process", a series of test with the purpose of identifying those from the Inland deserving to join the elite in the Offshore. The Process tests the candidates' mental capacities, motivation, social skills and much more, ruthlessly weeding out all of those less than ideal until only the top 3% remain.

There are, however, those resentful of the system and wishful for a more equal distribution of the wealth. These people have joined to form The Cause, a subversive group that aims to dethrone those in living in the Offshore and create a better world for everyone. The Cause sent agents to infiltrate The Process as candidates in order to get in a position of power and topple the system from the inside.

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3% is a 2016 Sci-Fi Brazilian Netflix original series. Serving as the first Netflix original Brazilian production, the first season became available worldwide on November 25, 2016. Season 2 was released on April 27, 2018.


This show provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Joana is one of the toughest candidates.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Downplayed, while they brought more people, the Offshore was founded by a couple. This ends up being completely averted when we find out that 1) Nobody in the Offshore can reproduce and 2) The founders were originally a trio, not a couple.
  • After the End: The Inland is what's left of the old society, implied to have fallen to war and climate change, while The Offshore is an island designed to salvage nature and technology. Season two reveals the Offshore founders intentionally made the end even worse in order to protect their island.
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  • Air-Vent Passageway: Joana climbs through a more or less realistically proportioned (but oddly placed) one in Season 2's penultimate episode, barely even traversible diagonally for the slender woman.
  • Alternative Calendar: Years are solely based around the founding of the Offshore, particularly around the Process itself. Times are stated as the nth year of the process, and to viewers exclusively as "nth year before the process" for flashbacks of the founders.
  • Anti-Nepotism: The Process ends with the winners being sterilized before admission to the Offshore, and it's taboo to use last names, severely limiting the scope of nepotism. The obvious loophole (and aversion) to this has been exploited by the Alvarez family for generations, who have kids before the age of 20, and there are hints that Offshore members provide aid to Inland members.
  • Arc Words: "Deserve", "Worthy" and it's variations.
  • Asshole Victim: Marco, once he snaps and turns heel. Once he's shown his worst side in Episode 4, it's hard to feel sorry for him when he presumably dies at the end of the episode.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Commander Marcela is no slouch when it comes to riot control, unflinchingly moving toward the front lines and one-shotting anyone who gets near her with a baton.
  • Becoming the Mask: The Cause is wary of this happening to its moles. It turns out that their fear is justified since the first mole (Ezequiel) betrayed them and became the head of the Process. At least, it was until Ezequiel revealed himself to be a triple agent loyal to the Cause.
  • Bi the Way: Joana makes out with a male candidate during The Process, and later becomes an Official Couple with Natalia
  • Big Bad: Marcela serves as this in Season 2. She's a sadistic head of the Offshore's security who won't hesitate using brute force on people living in the Inland. She further cements her position as this when she kills Ezequiel in the season's fifth episode.
  • Blue Blood: Marco comes from the Alvarez family, famous because all of them pass The Process and even have a maid, although he still lives in a dirty old house and has little food, and he as to pass The Process on his own if he wants to join his family. It turns out the system is intentionally set to avoid this, so nobody can get wealth and power just from being born in a wealthy and powerful family.
  • Broken Ace: Marco, oh god Marco.
  • Broken Pedestal: Michele falls victim to this each time a season comes to a close. In the first season, she finds out her mentor lied to her after Ezequiel reveals that her brother was alive all this time. In the second season, she finds out that her brother was not only guilty of murder all along, he did it to hide the fact that two of the Offshore's founders deliberately screwed over the Inland.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Offshore. At first, it looks like an ecological utopia, but it has a very authoritarian and corrupt government. The Offshore also has some very dark secrets regarding its foundation that are unknown to most inhabitants, as those secrets were omitted from its history. Moreover, in order to get in, their citizens first have to pass the Process and undergo sterilization.
  • Crapsack World: The Inland. Everybody looks malnourished and dirty, buildings are little more than rubble and clothing is pretty much only rags.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Season 3 reveals that The Cause has founded by the children of the first inhabitants of The Offshore, who were exiled in The Inland after the law forbidding heredity was created, with the daughter of the Fouding Couple as their first leader. In other words, The Offshore indirectly created The Cause.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In season 2 Michele seems unable to take a side for more than five minutes without betraying her allies.
  • Cult Colony: Implied, given the religious indoctrination perpetuated by churches dedicated to the Offshore and the founding couple on the Inland, and the reverence for the founders on the Offshore itself.
  • Cyanide Pill: The Cause makes suicide capsules from poisonous frogs.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Pretty much a given when you grow up in a horribly impoverished pile of rubble. The end of Season 1 goes one step further by revealing that the purification ritual is sterilization. Since there are no children in the Offshore, everybody grows up in the dark and dangerous Inland.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Fernando is this for Michele in Season 1 and for Glória in Season 2.
  • Disappointing Older Sibling: Rafael became this to most of his younger brothers after he got his younger brother, the real Rafael, drunk and stole his implant in order to get a second try at The Process.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Michele, Rafael, Marco, Joana and Fernando are the candidates that get the most focus, as all five appear in the opening credits and promotional materials. Marco dies at the end of episode four. In episode 8 of the second season, this is subverted, see "Not Quite Dead" below.
  • The Dragon: Cassia, the Head of Process Security, operates as the loyal second-in-command of the main antagonist (First Ezequiel, and later on Marcela after it's discovered Ezequiel is secretly working for The Cause).
  • Dramatic Drop: Rafael drops a glass when Elisa reveals to him she knows the truth about his identity.
  • Driven to Suicide: Julia, after she's taken away to the Offshore.
    • Alex, after being eliminated right at the beginning of the process.
  • Drowning Pit / Water Torture: Ezequiel's favorite way of torturing people... including himself.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The scene where Bruna and Michele are confronted as both being a possible mole is this for Michele. Throughout the episode, she's been presented as a sort of Dystopian Everygirl, hoping to head to the Offshore so she can see her boyfriend again. Turns out she made up the boyfriend so she could pass the interview. She also tricks Bruna into attacking the interrogator so Bruna will appear to be the mole and Michele can continue in the process.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Rafael has no qualms about stealing a cube from another candidate and voting to eliminate Fernando because of his wheelchair, but he's the first to oppose when Marco forms a gang and starts using violence to take the food from other candidates.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: While very sadistic as the process leader, Ezequiel still cares about his wife's son, who lives in The Inland.
  • Extinct in the Future: According to Rafael, zebras and lions no longer exist in this future.
  • False Flag Operation: Upon learning that 105th process leader Ezequiel is a traitor, Marcela subsequently murders him in secret and displays his body publicly in a gruesome manner, dressing it up as a propaganda of the Cause. This paints the Cause as irrational extremists and sways the public further against them.
  • Fan Disservice: Michele has a scene in Season 1 where she's completely naked. This happens while she's being brutally tortured by Ezequiel.
  • First-Name Basis: Enforced on the Offshore, winners have to drop their last name.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When someone is eliminated, the Process employees usually deliver a standard speech about the elimination, saying that "the joy of having children" is the best way to cope with the elimination trauma. In the end of season 1, it's revealed that the candidates approved are turned sterile before going to The Offshore, as heredity is banned in their society and the only way to become a citizen is through merit (that is, being approved in The Process). In other words, they need to encourage the people in The Inland to reproduce in order to avoid human extinction.
    • Ezequiel likes to punish himself by dunking his head in sink full of water until he almost lose his breath and is also found to use a Drowning Pit to torture the members of The Cause. The cause of this obsession is likely linked to the fact that his wife, Julia, drowned herself to death.
    • In episode 4 of the first season, Joana escapes from the test area to the lavish office of Ezequiel but, after a conversation with him, she goes back and leads the candidates to overthrow Marco's authoritarian group. At the end of the season, she is on the verge of passing the process and finally escaping to the Offshore when, after a conversation with Ezequiel, she decides to go back to the Inland and ends up becoming the leader of The Cause.
    • Ezequiel explains that Michele's maze test can only be passed by someone adaptable who's constantly changing strategies. She spends the rest of the season switching sides and changing objectives. In the season finale, Joana and Marco face off in the same maze. Joana, who has shown critical thinking skills and flexibility in her strategies, gets the upper hand on him and makes it out. Marco, who is smart and has the advantage of a gun, but has shown to rely on brute forcing his way towards his goals, ends up trapped inside.
  • Free-Love Future: Season 2 implies being LGBT+ is a non-issue, we see both heterosexual and homosexual couples in the "pro-sex" and Gloria's friend Ariel seems to be MtF transgender with nobody batting an eye at any of it. There's also a prominent polyamorous relationship that all seem to find normal.
  • Full Episode Flashback: Episode 5 of season 1 provides Ezequiel's backstory and the reason that he's being evaluated by The Council.
  • Good All Along: Downplayed, Episode 5 of Season 2 reveals his wife's suicide and the events of process 104 drove Ezequiel to switch back to the cause and has been secretly trying to help them all season.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: Both The Cause and The Offshore have gone to some extremes in order to accomplish their goals, this starts becoming a Black and Gray Morality in season 2, when we see that The Offshore is built on selfishness and lies and The Cause goes through a Conspiracy Redemption.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Marco, having his waist crushed by an automatic gate.
  • Hall of Mirrors: Michele's Process puzzle, a maze mixing transparent glass and mirrors, ends up being where Joana and Chase battle it out in the season 2 finale. Includes a fake-out where Joana pretends to be shot.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Pretty much every time Michele switches sides (and she switches sides a lot) she does it with a somewhat understandable motivation, while still leaving the viewer not quite unable to blame her.
  • The Heart: Fernando is the only one who doesn't cheat, lie, backstab or otherwise play very dirty in order to accomplish his goals, the others learn to value his moral compass. Interestingly, he's also the brains of the group.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ivana ordered Rafael to kill her while the safehouse they were in was being raided so the latter could maintain cover as a spy.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ezequiel had a covert radio link with Michele in his office which he kept running after leaving to move on-site and save said double-agent. He then subsequently confessed his own status as a double-agent only to be overheard by Marcela and another higher up from the Offshore. He was subsequently killed on the street by Marcela, and used in a false-flag operation.
  • Hourglass Plot: At the start of the first season Fernando has blind and passionate faith in The Process, while Michele is an agent for The Cause trying to destroy it. By the time the season ends Michele is on her way to high seas having lost her faith in The Cause, while Fernando is joining The Cause having lost his faith in The Process.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Several candidates do less than honorable things to remain in The Process, Rafael and Joana are particularly prone to this.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Militia never stood a chance against the plucky young members of the Cause during their raid of the Process facility, wasting a considerable number of shots without even spraying and praying.
  • Ironic Echo: In the first day of The Process, Ezequiel tells the candidates "Whatever happens, you deserve it." He hears these words in his mind again in the end, when his actions throughout the first season have only further isolated him and puts all his beliefs into question.
  • Karmic Death: After turning into a tyrannical leader of violent gate openers, Marco is beaten to a pulp by the candidates he subdued. He ultimately ends up being smashed in half by an automatic gate when he tries to escape from the test location while wounded. In the second season, this is subverted. See "Not Quite Dead" below.
  • Klingon Promotion: In season 2, Marco kills Gerson and takes his place as the leader of the militia.
    • In the same season, this is also how Marcela took over Ezequiel's position as the leader of the process, although nobody in the Offshore knows she killed him, as she framed The Cause for the murder.
  • La Résistance: The Cause serves as this in the series. The Offshore government is well aware of the possibility of moles infiltrating their society, and often initiates brutal raids to suppress The Cause's members.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The Offshore has access to technology capable of precisely erasing memories from people. Aline and André are victims of this. Cassia also attempts to erase memories from Michele, but she successfully resists it.
  • Laughing Mad: Fernando deposits well more than a pint of his own blood to contaminate the servers' coolant, is barely saved by Joana after passing out, and then learns that Michele is about to undo the Cause's efforts. Cue this, until Joana snaps him out of it.
  • The Leader: In Episode 4 Marco quickly and effectively organizes the other candidates. This works wonderfully until circumstances break down and he shows his dark side.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Fernando only seems to resemble his father when it comes to stubbornness. His father is a devout preacher of the founders' religion, while Fernando became disillusioned with the Process and gained increasing ties with the Cause during season 2.
  • The Lost Lenore: Julia is this for Ezequiel.
  • Manchurian Agent: Rafael is brainwashed into following orders while sleeping, this leads to a crisis in The Shellplaying for all of season 3 without that person knowing they made it happen.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Rafael is the oldest of six brothers, and when his mother is shown she is heavily pregnant. Rafael specifically says his mother kept having kids in an attempt to get over failing the Process.
  • Meaningful Echo: Joana disses Ezequiel with the same words that his wife used. This echo breaks him, and he's last seen in Season 1 in the bathroom he wrecks from his meltdown.
  • Not Quite Dead: Marco survived the Process, but his body (mainly his pelvis) got severely damaged. He ended up with prosthetic legs and relying on a crutch to walk.
  • Not So Stoic: Even though Cassia shows very little emotion, she sheds a few tears during Ezequiel's funeral.
  • Official Couple: Rafael and Elisa as of Season 2.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Old Man, so much that even in the Offshore's official records of known Cause members, he is registered only as Old Man.
  • Physical Religion: The religion surrounding the Offshore qualifies, with the founding couple serving as an equivalent to God-Emperor. Whether or not the founders survived into their 130s remains to be seen.
  • Polyamory: In season 2, it's revealed that the founding couple were initially a founding trio of one man and two women in a relationship with each others.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • In "Button", Joana gives one to Ezequiel:
    Joana: Listen to yourself! Telling me that Inland was made for people like me! No! It was made for people like you. You're a weakling, who thinks he's better than everybody else! But you're really just an asshole! A piece of shit! With your little process that let you pretend you're superior to everyone else! Can't you see how ridiculous all this is?
    • In Season 2, Fernando delivers two of those, both against the process and his father's process-based religion. The first one results in him being beaten up by some of his father's followers and the second one (through the radio and with the intention to reveal about the Offshore inhabitants being turned sterile) ends with his father giving him up to the Offshore soldiers.
    • In season 3 Michele delivers a devastating one to Gloria it doesn't do much good, but it's clearly very satisfying.
  • Redemption Equals Death: In Episode 5 of Season 2, Ezequiel reveals himself to have changed alligeance back to the Cause. He ends up getting killed at the end of the episode.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: In Season 2, Joana's main goal is to find an alternative to The Cause's plan of detonating a bomb inside the Process building. According to Joana, that would be going down to their level.
  • Rite of Passage: The Process is this, those who pass are admitted into the elite, while those who fail are sent back to live in the dirt.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Offshore propaganda claims that The Cause are just people resenful for not being good enough to pass The Process. This is clearly a lie, since at least 3 Cause agents have made it through. However, in season 3 we learn that the founder of The Cause really was motivated by their failure in The Process, and wouldn't have thought twice about its unfairness if she had passed.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Alex is immediately eliminated and commits suicide.
  • Sadistic Choice: In the end of Season 1, Ezequiel propose Joana to kill a man (which is a bandit that robbed her in the past) or be eliminated from the process.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Ezequiel plays by this, as he willingly alters the Process' tests in any way he wants. His modifications usually make things worse for the candidates.
  • Secret Test of Character: Fernando proposes this as a test for a future Process then he's tested this way and fails.
  • Shoot the Dog: The Founding Couple are forced to send their dughter to The Inland and make her take The Process in order to mantain the Offshore philosophy, it's particularly heat wrenching when she fails The Process and they send her back to The Inland.
  • Slobs Vs Snobs: Season 2 runs by this theme, the slobs being The Cause and the snobs being The Offshore. Interestingly, when The Offshore first began it was the couple who came from poverty who decided to screw over the Inland and the girl who came from wealth who tried to stop them.
  • The Stoic: Cassia hardly ever shows any emotion.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Fernando dies offscreen between seasons 2 and 3.
  • Suicide Is Shameful: In the fifth episode of Season 2, it's revealed that people who commit suicide in the Offshore are denied a proper funeral, because it's considered to be "the utmost defiance to the Offshore philosophy".
  • Take a Third Option: In the end of Season 2, after blackmailing the Offshore council into giving her resources, Michele tells Fernando that she plans to create a new society that isn't going to be "neither the Offshore nor the Inland". She intends to call it The Shell.
  • The Tell: A major plot point involves Ivana deducing that Michele is the traitor based on her eye movements during the initial interrogation. It's a technique for rapidly discovering and looking out for someone's tells.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: The Inland fell because currency was entirely virtual, and society collapsed when a power plant was converted into an EMP bomb. Ironically, at the end of season 2, a lack of hard backups of the Inland citizens' records completely derailed the 105th Process and could have derailed the entire system.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Marco, after the circumstances of a test turn him into a psychotic elitist bastard.
  • Transsexual: Ariel in season 2 is a MTF transsexual.
  • Unperson: There were three original founders of the Offshore, two women and a man, but nobody seems to have memory of the second woman as of 104 years later. It turned out that this was Samira, daughter of the CEO who funded the Offshore's development who violently opposed the others' drastic measures to protect the colony.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The reason why many people stand for The Process' insane demands and why the 3% agree to be sterilized before entering the Offshore.
  • Virtual Reality Interrogation: Rafael is subjected to a VR simulation as part of his guard training with a false waking, after which he is grilled as a suspected spy and watches his lover die. The latter, of course, is a simulation, and he wakes up for real.
    • A far cruder variety is used by Ivana, using a hallucinogenic gas to distort reality to the point that it may as well be a VR sim. Both Rafael and Michele are subjected to this, with their interrogators guiding their thoughts.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: There are many "wanted" posters of Joana spread through Inland. Joana rips one off in the first episode of Season 2.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Some members of The Cause have shades of this, but Silas takes the crown. He was not only willing to detonate a bomb inside the Process building (which would kill several innocent candidates), as he also ratted out Joana to Gerson's militia in order to get fertiliser to make a second bomb, after Michele handed the first one to the offshore.
  • Wham Episode: Season 2 has a few.
    • Chapter 5: Lamp: Ezequiel is revealed to be a triple agent for the Cause. Unfortunately, Marcela overhears this and comes to the Inland to brutally kill him and frame the Cause for his death.
    • Chapter 8: Frogs: Marco kills Gerson and takes over his gang. It's also revealed at the end of the episode that Marcela, like Julia, had a son in the Inland. Her son is none other than Marco.
  • Wham Shot: The ending of Chapter 07: Fog reveals that Marco survived the 104th Process.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ezequiel's Morality Pet Augusto the son of his late wife is mysteriously absent in season 2 and is only mentioned in a flashback.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Rafael runs into Ágata strangling Joanna , who is blackmailing him into an alliance, in a fit of madness. He could just turn around with none being the wiser and get rid of his problem, but after a moment's hesitation he intervenes and saves her life. This is the first sign that he's not as bad as he seems.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The series takes place in Brazil, but where in the country is never stated and the fact that the characters have different regional accents makes the location hard to guess.
    • However, if the opening montage showing a submarine going to The Offshore is of any indication, it looks like Pará coast.
  • You Have Failed Me: Marcela delivers this to her son Marco in Season 2's finale. After Marco fails to stop Joana and Fernando from sabotaging the Process' database, Marcela mocks him for his failure and abandons him in Michele's maze.
  • You Killed My Father: Michele joined The Cause in order to get revenge against Ezequiel because her brother died during The Process. Or so was she told by The Cause...

Alternative Title(s): Three Precent

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