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“3 Body Problem:” an emotional foray into physics, friendship, and duty. (Op-Ed)

Netflix’s 3 Body Problem is an incredibly intellectual show that follows a tight-knit group of physicists who discover that not only is science “broken,” but there are alien entities who are headed to Earth. While you may roll your eyes, this is not your typical alien invasion story; 3 Body Problem is so much more than that. Our story begins in the ‘60s, when a young Chinese physicist, Ye Wenjie, watched her father be beaten to death during the Cultural Revolution. When she is taken prisoner for her own beliefs, she is granted the opportunity to work on a remote Chinese military base, instructed to make first contact with extraterrestrial life. Meanwhile, in the current day, physicists are dying left and right for no apparent reason and receiving strange readings in their experiments that simply aren’t possible. When a prominent researcher commits suicide, her old students gather for her funeral and reconnect, trying to make sense of what has happened.

The issue becomes apparent: there is extremely advanced alien technology on Earth that is disrupting science, causing physicists to hallucinate a rapid countdown that will end in death if they do not stop their experiments. Ye Wenjie did more than just speak to them, she invited the aliens to seek refuge on Earth, for she believes that humanity cannot save ourselves.

In order to find willing followers, the aliens invite select humans to play a video game that engagingly shares their struggles; their planetary system is dying. They have no home, and nowhere to go, and they are headed to Earth to survive, though they won’t make it to Earth for another 398 years. A cult-like following refers to them as “Lord,” seeing their advanced technology as almost spiritual, and truly believing that the aliens will save them from the horrors of Earth. However, when the cult leader upsets the aliens, referred to as the San-Ti, the aliens decide that humans are liars, and they cannot be trusted. The San-Ti broadcast a message to Earth: “YOU ARE BUGS.”

Exploring friendship, honor, and duty, 3 Body Problem shows the human spirit at its finest. Even though all currently living humans will be long gone when the San-Ti arrive, humanity still has the responsibility of defending itself from annihilation. Is it even worth it to fight a war so far in the future that you will never personally see? War is bloody, but an interplanetary war is far worse. The characters are complex, well-written, and relatable. Testing the bounds of human cruelty for the advancement of science and the survival of the human race, 3 Body Problem is a compelling tale about the inherent human struggle and search for meaning in life.


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