How Does Ye Wenjie Die in 3 Body Problem?

Image Credit: Maria Heras/Netflix

In Netflix’s ‘3 Body Problem,’ a choice made by a human changes the fate of humanity. The story begins during the Cultural Revolution in China, where a young Ye Wenjie’s world is torn to bits when her father is publicly killed. This trauma remains with her her entire life and influences her decisions going forward. One of those decisions is to contact an alien race, which she knows intends to invade the Earth. Even when warned against contacting them, she does so because she believes humanity is beyond redemption. This decision creates a chain of events that eventually brings her full circle, and she meets a tragic end. SPOILERS AHEAD

Ye Wenjie Felt Guilty For Vera’s Death

If it hadn’t been for Ye Wenjie, humans probably would have stayed off the radar of the San-Ti, and the alien race would have found some other planet to invade. But that’s a far-fetched possibility because she and the Red Coast base were not the only ones sending out signals into the universe in an attempt to contact the extra-terrestrial. In the second case, she wouldn’t have had to deal with the guilt for causing the deaths of so many people, especially her daughter.

Image Credit: Ed Miller/Netflix

Ye Wenjie had no qualms about her support of the San-Ti. From the moment she found out about their existence, she dedicated herself to preparing the Earth and humanity for their arrival. She was eager for them to come because she thought they were the only ones who could save humanity from itself. But at that point, she was all alone in the world. Her father had died, and her mother, who had betrayed her father, was as good as dead to her. She was stripped away from whatever family or friends she may have had when she was sent to Red Coast. For someone all alone in the world, there wasn’t really anything at stake.

But then, Ye Wenjie got pregnant and had her daughter, Vera. Still, Wenjie believed that the arrival of the aliens would be good for humanity because, so far, they hadn’t allowed anything bad to happen to her. It is when Vera kills herself that Wenjie starts to wonder if she made the wrong decision to contact San-Ti. At first, she told herself that her daughter may have been going through something she didn’t know about. But by the end, it is made clear to her that Vera’s decision to take her own life was brought about by the secrets her parents had kept from her all this while.

When Vera found out that her mother was the one to invite the San-Ti to Earth, who then destroyed humanity’s chances to advance their science, she was heartbroken and felt ashamed of her parents’ actions. For Wenjie to find out that she was the reason behind her daughter’s death was enough to push her off the edge. She had failed her own daughter, the only person she loved following her father’s death. What did any of her actions mean then? After making her peace with it all, she decides to follow her daughter to death and goes back to Red Coast, the place where it all started, and decides to end her story as she watches the sun set not just on the hill but also on humanity.

Ye Wenjie Had Outlived Her Use to the San-Ti

Ye Wenjie had decided to kill herself even before she came to Red Coast. Her visiting her daughter’s grave and having an unexpected meeting with Saul points towards her tying up the loose ends of her life. But to the San-Ti, she was a loose end of their own. With the destruction of Mike Evans’ ship, Judgement Day, the aliens made it clear that it didn’t matter to them the humans knew about them, about the reasons for their invasion on Earth, and how they’d managed to develop such a dedicated following in a group of humans. Their allowing Mike Evans and his ship to be destroyed and so many of their followers to be killed proves that they didn’t have any need for those people anymore, including Ye Wenjie.

Because Wenjie had been connected to them from the beginning, the aliens worried that following her daughter’s death, she might decide to help humanity, even if out of guilt. They could read her actions, but they couldn’t read her mind. They knew that she was a very intelligent and clever person and could help humans build a defense against the San-Ti if she put her mind to it. Due to this, they wanted her out of the way and sent Tatiana to take care of it.

Of course, they didn’t know that Wenjie had already planned to end her own life. So, when Tatiana shows up, Wenjie lets her know her intentions, and they watch the sunset together. We don’t know what happens after this, but possibly Wenjie lets Tatiana kill her, and perhaps the latter is kinder to her in death, considering that Wenjie was her leader at one point. No matter how it may have gone down between them, it is confirmed that Wenjie died on the Red Coast.

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