‘3 Body Problem’: Fairy tales might be a big clue in the Netflix series from Mashable

[[{“value”:”

If you’ve been watching Netflix’s adaptation of 3 Body Problem, you might be scanning for clues as closely as we are. Among the physics lessons and surveillance threats of the series, there are smaller clues as to the bigger burning questions we have.

And that includes several characters’ obsession with something rather unlikely: fairy tales. It’s something that keeps coming up in David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Alexander Woo’s adaptation of Liu Cixin’s books, and caught our eye as something distinctly non-scientific lurking in a series that’s all about facts and reason, and brimming with books from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring to K.H. Erickson’s Game Theory: A Simple Introduction to Michael Bodin’s Fermi’s Paradox: Cosmology and Life.

The first time we see a book of fairy tales in 3 Body Problem is in episode 3, when we join oil magnate and Earth-Trisolaris Organization (ETO) co-founder Mike Evans (Jonathan Pryce) as he reads from a book of fairy tales to the technologically advanced alien race known as the San-Ti, communicating through an old-school speaker. The story he’s narrating in this scene is Hansel and Gretel, the tale of the two lost and complacent kids who rudely decide to eat a witch’s house, and they discuss the nature of fear, on an individual and collective level. The aliens are perplexed by humanity, claiming they have “ceased to be afraid” as a species.

In episode 4, Evans and the San-Ti move onto Little Red Riding Hood, the tale of a confident youngster who skips merrily through the woods to her grandmother’s house, meets a dodgy wolf, then comes face to face with said wolf posing as her grandmother after eating her whole. It’s a tale of stranger danger at its core, with some interpretations seeing it as a coming-of-age tale. But the San-Ti have a different interpretation: it’s a story about deception. And being newcomers to the concept of a story and symbolism itself, a tale of events that never happened in reality, the San-Ti describe Evans’ delivery of such a fabrication as “a lie about a liar.”

Mike Evans, why’d you have to pick “Little Red Riding Hood”?
Credit: Netflix

Why exactly Evans decided fairy tales was the best possible entry to understanding humanity remains to be seen, but suffice to say, it backfires. After decades of communication with Evans thanks to Dr Ye Wenjie’s (Rosalind Chao) initial transmission in the ’60s, it’s this children’s story that turns the San-Ti against humanity, that convinces an entire alien race that people are a bunch of liars to be feared. “We cannot coexist with liars,” the San-Ti declare. “We are afraid of you.” Fucking great job, Evans. It’s like the equivalent of Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo in The Fifth Element, when she learns what a brutal piece of crap humanity has been over the years in about 15 seconds.

But Evans’ nightly alien bedtime stories aren’t the only time we see fairy tales in 3 Body Problem. In episode 4, Following Jack’s (John Bradley) murder by ETO follower Tatiana (Marlo Kelly), “Oxford Five” member Will Downing (Alex Sharp) pulls out a book called Fairy Tales for Young and Old, gifted by his friend Jin Cheng (Jess Hong) in 2015 when they were at Oxford University together. In the front, you can see Jin’s message to Will: “May our stories be happier than these.” And right beside this, Jin has hand-drawn both the wolf and the titular woods-traverser from Little Red Riding Hood. This cannot be a coincidence.

Will is reading the book in his seaside rental in episode 6 and he brings it with him to hospital in episode 7, showing Jin he has it stashed, and reminding her she gave it to him “four days after his birthday” (eep). The fairy tale Will has the book open to is Sleeping Beauty, a fitting reference to the state of limbo Will’s brain will soon be in, floating through space. “Who would this Project Staircase turn me into? Some kind of a Sleeping Beauty character?” he asks her.

In one more fairy tale reference, Will also names his fish Pushkin after the 19th century Russian fairy tale The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish, about a man who catches a golden fish that grants wishes if freed.

What is the connection between Will’s fairy tales and Evans’ decision to read such tales to the San-Ti? Is there a connection or is this a red herring? We’re going to have to wait for the next few seasons of 3 Body Problem to really know if these fairy tale threads will be woven into anything golden, but the showrunners’ insistence of including these references seems more than deliberate.

How to watch: 3 Body Problem is now streaming on Netflix.

The post ‘3 Body Problem’: Fairy tales might be a big clue in the Netflix series from Mashable appeared first on Tom Bettenhausen’s.

“}]]    ​Read More 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *