Why did the Scientists Kill Themselves in 3 Body Problem, Explained

A weird chain of events leads to a startling discovery in Netflix’s ‘3 Body Problem,’ as the world is changed forever. The show begins with an investigator, Da Shi, and his team are baffled by the mysterious deaths of scientists. All the deaths appear to be suicides, but what makes them even more confounding is that the crime scenes have some shocking similarities. It makes the detective wonder if these are really suicides or murders, and following the leads brings him to something that he’d never thought of in his wildest imagination. What really happened to the scientists? SPOILERS AHEAD

The Scientists’ Loss of Faith in Science Triggers Their Deaths

What happens to a person when they realize their whole life was a lie? Moreover, what happens when they realize the entire world around them might be a lie, too? What happens when they have lost the foundation of their faith and logic, and there seems to be no reprieve from the bleak future that is about to befall not just them but the entire world? The scientists in ‘3 Body Problem’ suffer from similar feelings as everything around them goes haywire, and they have no idea how to make sense of it.

It begins with the experiments in the particle accelerators. When they deliver abnormal results, the scientists are forced to consider that the laws governing the universe might not be what they believed them to be. As their experiments are shut down and they have no way to make sense of what happened to science, their psyche suffers tremendously. But that’s not all.

The scientists also suffer from scary visions of the countdowns in front of their eyes. They are the only ones who can see the countdown; they have no idea how that’s possible, and they don’t know what happens when the countdown stops. Some scientists are so haunted by the countdown and scared of what comes after it that they poke their eyes out, seeing it as the only way to get the countdown out of their heads.

Others take a step further and receive the video game, which they are invited to play by a mysterious organization. After crossing a few levels of the game, they discover the truth about the San-Ti and their impending invasion of Earth. They are presented with two choices: either join the San-Ti and help their invasion or die. The people who choose the latter don’t survive. If they haven’t already killed themselves, they are murdered by the San-Ti followers, like Tatiana.

Because there is no evidence left behind by the San-Ti followers, there is no way to know which scientists have been murdered and which ones killed themselves. But in both cases, the common denominator remains the San-Ti and their offensive stance against humans, aided by the use of Sophons. It is the Sophons that cripple the science on Earth and keep human scientists from making any further progress. The Sophons mix up the results from the particle accelerators, making it look like the scientists had been wrong about every scientific law they had ever discovered.

The Sophons are also behind the strange countdown that appears only to the scientists, and they lose their minds because they don’t know how to explain it. They also suffer from a complete lack of purpose in their lives. If the San-Ti have effectively put a stop to scientific advancements, if no matter what the scientists do, their experiences will always be tampered with by the Sophons, if there is no future of science on Earth anymore, then what even is the point of anything anymore.

Moreover, if the Sophons have been tampering with their view of science, who is to say some other power hasn’t tampered with it before? How do the scientists figure out the difference between what’s actually there and what is fabricated? How do they know what is real anymore? All of this forces the scientists into a mental state that feels impossible to come out of, and they end up taking their own lives.

Read More: Is 3 Body Problem a Real Video Game?