Who is the Lord in 3 Body Problem, Explained

Image Credit: Ed Miller/Netflix

An alien invasion threatens the existence of humanity in Netflix’s sci-fi series, ‘3 Body Problem.’ Before discovering that the aliens are on their way to attack the Earth and have already made their moves that have drastically reduced humans’ chances of winning the war against them, several weird things happen, like mysterious deaths in the scientific community, the emergence of a unique game, and the appearance of a haunting countdown. In all of this, the mention of a “Lord” comes time and again, revealing an even more disturbing truth about the aliens and their plan for humanity. Who is this Lord, and what does their presence bode for humans? SPOILERS AHEAD

The San-Ti Become Gods For Their Human Followers

The fear of the unknown can have all kinds of effects on a person. Humans have always tried to find some reason or explanation in things, and when they couldn’t, they attributed the phenomenon and events to an unknown, unseen, all-powerful, omniscient entity called God. God started out as an explanation for things like the sun, the rain, the lightning, and thunder. Eventually, humans learned the real reason behind all this, but the concept of God remained to explain the things that haven’t found a scientific explanation yet. When the San-Ti came to Earth, their advanced tech and their unprecedented control of science made them appear as Gods to the humans who witnessed their power, and hence, the term “Lord” was attributed to them.

But that’s not all. What’s interesting about the term is that it is used by people who are in the scientific community and know exactly how the San-Ti are able to manipulate science in their own favor. For example, Ye Wenjie is an accomplished scientist and is the first one to come up with an idea to expand the reach of their signal in outer space, which is how the San-Ti found Earth in the first place. By then, she has been through so many traumatic experiences that she has lost complete faith in humanity. Humans can’t save themselves from their own actions, and salvation can only come from a higher power, which is how Wenjie sees the San-Ti. For her, they might as well be gods because they are the only ones who can rectify humanity’s rotten ways.

When the existence of the San-Ti is revealed to more people, the effect is quite mixed. Some are so awed by the aliens that they see them as Gods. The others are completely taken by their scientific advancements and agree with Wenjie that humans can never compete with the San-Ti’s powers and, hence, must bow down to them and accept subjugation. People like Mike Evans, who are also done with humanity and their destructive ways, are ready to bow down to this higher power and do whatever it takes to serve their purpose. “Serve” is the main word here: this is the only thing that drives Mike Evans and his people. They want to give themselves over to their new masters and do whatever is asked of them. In that context, the term “Lord” makes even more sense.

The Lord, in essence, is the San-Ti. While they are quite a populous species, for humans who haven’t physically met them yet, they could very well be just one entity. They interact with humans through Sophons, and while their decisions and actions might be a result of a discussion between them, to humans, they speak through just one voice, which the humans refer to as “the Lord,” meaning the humans are effectively serving the San-Ti race, not just some particular San-Ti or their leader. With this, the humans accept themselves as being lower in status than the San-Ti and are ready to call themselves second-class citizens and serve their lords.

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