Summary - Season 1, Episode 4: The Universe Flickers

Episode 4


Wang Miao is introduced to the Three Body V-Suit game. A simulation of a seemingly desolate planet that’s inhabited with historical Chinese figures who talk of Stable and Chaotic eras. These eras are made up of periods of intense cold and heat depending on the apparent random appearance of the sun.

In order to cope with this unstable climate, the inhabitants have developed the ability to “dehydrate” where they shed all the water from their bodies and transform into 2 dimensional skins.

Wang continues through the game and learns the goal: To figure out the pattern of Stable and Chaotic eras and save the civilization of Three Body. Wang’s traveling companion, King Wen travels to King Zhou who tells him that he has figured out the accurate calendar of the Stable and Chaotic eras. When they are supposed to enter a 3 year stable era, King Zhou dramatically orders all of his subjects to “rehydrate”.

However, Wen’s calculations are wrong, and after Wang sees 3 flying stars, there is no sunrise, and the game ends with a message that Civilization 137 has been destroyed, covering the entire world in a deep snow.

After Wang leaves the game, at the suggestion of Ding Yi, he goes to visit Yang Dong’s mother, who turns out to be Ye Wenjie from Red Coast Base.

Ye Wenjie is able to arrange for a place for Wang to observe the cosmic microwave background, as Shen Yufei had asked him to do.

At the observatory, Wang meets with Sha Ruishan, a former student of Ye Wenjie, who allows Wang to observe the background radiation of the universe, but is skeptical that he’ll actually observe any change, let alone the 5% that Wang is anticipating that he will see.

At the time that Wang had been told, he indeed does see the background radiation start to fluctuate and flicker. Sha is initially skeptical, but confirms the reading with other stations.

Wang observes the wavelengths and uses Morse code to decode the signal, which corresponds back to the same countdown that he previously saw.

After leaving the observatory and feeling overwhelmed with what he had just seen, he is met by Da Shi, who tells him “Hahaha, another one bites the dust!”