‘3 Body Problem’ Episode 7 Recap: What Did Wenjie’s Einstein Joke Mean?

In the previous episode of 3 Body Problem, the public revelation of San-Ti’s impending invasion sparked widespread panic and disorder. Wade is appointed the leader of humanity’s defense, establishing headquarters at Wychwood Manor to coordinate efforts against the threat. Meanwhile, Jin confronts Ye Wenjie with the shocking revelation of her role in inviting the San-Ti. Wenjie’s contempt and her belief in the need to control humanity unsettle Jin.


Wade, recognizing Jin’s promising intellect, recruits her to devise a plan to confront the San-Ti. As expected, Jin conceives the ambitious Staircase Project, drawing inspiration from Polish physicist Stanislaw Ulam’s theory on nuclear propulsion. Despite skepticism from other scientists, Wade sees the project as humanity’s best chance to counter the approaching threat. Meanwhile, amidst personal turmoil, Will hides his love for Jin, ultimately choosing not to confess his feelings when he sees her with Raj. Auggie, horrified by the misuse of her life’s work for the massacre on Judgment Day, initially refuses to aid Jin’s project but eventually changes her mind, acknowledging the intention of saving humanity. Amidst her own disappointment with herself, Wenjie confronts her guilt over her role in inviting the San-Ti, expressing a newfound determination to assist humanity in its fight against the impending threat and hinting at future strategies to combat the San-Ti’s assault.

Spoilers Ahead


Why Does Will Buy A Star? 

To generate funding for the war effort against the San-Ti, even four centuries later, the billionaires of the present world start buying stars in their names. Having inherited a fortune from Jack Rooney, when Will sees the advertisement on television, he makes up his mind to buy a star. It turns out he was actually buying a star for Jin instead. He picks the star DX3906, a star visible to the naked eye, so that Jin can look at the sky and remind herself that the star belongs to her. Will also makes Saul promise that he will never disclose to Jin that it was Will who bought her the star. 

Why Does Wade Intend To Go Into Cryostasis? 

Wade reveals to the panel that he intends to send a human on the Staircase Probe to understand the San-Ti and send back information. With the speed at which the probe would be traveling, it would take 200 years to encounter the San-Ti fleet, and it is impossible for a human to survive that long. For this purpose, his team of engineers has developed the first successful cryogenic chamber. The trial was performed on a chimpanzee, and the results were good enough, even though there were negligible side effects like nausea. It is then that Wade discloses that he will be undergoing cryostasis and will wake up for a week every year to solve the discrepancies in the Staircase Project. Wade believes himself to be the only person who can handle San-Ti’s threat effectively, which is why he insists on living long enough to confront the aliens himself. 


How Does Wade Intend To Transport A Human On The Probe? 

Typically, with the cryogenic chamber, which weighs a ton, it would take a thousand nuclear warheads to propel the probe to 1% of the speed of light. However, he could only get his hands on three hundred warheads, which means the payload on the probe could not be more than two kilograms. Wade therefore implies that, if they put a human brain in cryostasis in the probe, it would be light enough to reach the required speed. Auggie once again objects to the approach, but Wade believes that they would kill the passenger either way of the probe, and since the brain can be recreated into a human by the San-Ti, it shouldn’t be a problem. 

Wade adds that the passenger needs to be someone who is intelligent enough to understand the principles behind the project and can take an informed decision once they are reanimated by the San-Ti. However, it has to be someone who is already dying and has nothing to lose. Quite obviously, Wade is hinting that Will Downing should be the passenger.


Why Does Auggie Leave The Country? 

Despite protests from Jin and Auggie against practically the voluntary death of their friend Will, Wade insists on asking Will directly if he’d like to take this decision. Disgusted by this act, Auggie quits Project Staircase for good and bids Jin goodbye. To prevent her boss from capitalizing on her work or even misusing her nanofibers, Auggie uploads all the principles and applications of her research on open source platforms. She believes that her work should belong to everyone rather than a corporation. To prevent her company from suing the people who use her research, she even adds a guide on how to use free room designs to avoid copyright infringement. Before her boss can have her arrested, she leaves the country.

Why Does Will Agree To Give Up His Brain For Project Staircase? 

Wade’s plan may sound ridiculous, but even Will understands that without his contribution to the cause, it wouldn’t work at all. The fact that he has a background in astrophysics and is dying makes him the most ideal candidate for the project. Wade has suffered from feelings of inadequacy his whole life. He started out as a physicist but never felt good enough, which is why he ended up becoming a teacher instead. He believed that Jin was meant to do something big, but with his contribution to the project, even he could do something of equal importance. When Jin visits Will in his ward, he confesses his love for her and agrees to Wade’s proposition. Even after several requests from his friends to rethink his decision, Will goes through with the plan and bids farewell to everyone before his brain is removed from his body and placed in a cryogenic chamber. 


What Is The Meaning Of Ye Wenjie’s Joke About Einstein? 

Ye Wenjie has had a complete shift in her perspective. She was a misanthrope, but now she has realized what doom she has brought to her own species. Perhaps it was meant as an apology or even an explanation, but she calls Saul Durand and asks to see him. She meets Saul at her daughter Vera’s grave. Saul confronts her about her daughter’s death. He believes that she committed suicide because she found out about what her mother had done. Hearing Saul’s claims, Wenjie admits that she has indeed failed a lot of people. 

Hence, she starts narrating the anticlimactic story of Einstein in heaven, who finds his beloved violin and wishes to play it. But, as he’s about to play the instrument, Einstein is stopped by an angel who warns him against it, as the god is a saxophonist and would hate it if Einstein played his violin. Einstein, however, unconvinced, hears God playing ‘Take the ‘A’ Train’ by Duke Ellington on his saxophone and decides to play along on his violin. As soon as he plays the tune, God appears, furiously kicks Einstein between his legs, and smashes his violin. Einstein ends up spending an eternity without joy, as an angel comes to him and tells him that they warned him. 


It is quite obvious that the joke in itself is metaphorical. Einstein here is Ye Wenjie herself, and the gods are the San-Ti. Wenjie misunderstood her own place in the universe, was moved by the atrocities of humankind, and found herself in league with the San-Ti. Perhaps her violin was the lie she presented to the San-Ti. Wenjie likely never intended to help San-Ti destroy the world and invited them based on a lie. The San-Ti could never understand the concept of a lie, and when they got to know of it, they decided to trample on the human race as a whole. Their realization of Wenjie’s intentions shattered Wenjie’s delusion that she was even in heaven. 

How Does Wenjie Die? 

Tatiana seems to have survived and even recovered from the injuries she sustained during the gunfight at the summit. Out of all the humans, the San-Ti only believe Tatiana to be worthy of their support, and after Wenjie’s betrayal, they order Tatiana to execute her. Meanwhile, Wenjie knows that the San-Ti would want her dead. She heads to the observatory in Inner Mongolia, where she started this chain reaction. She intends to take her own life, but before she can do so, Tatiana finds her. Even though she follows San-Ti’s orders, Tatiana doesn’t hate Wenjie. Wenjie has been like a mother to Tatiana, which is why the assassin offers to put an end to Wenjie’s life rather than letting her kill herself. Wenjie confesses that she wanted to see one more sunset from the observatory before dying. As the two dearly look at the sunset, it is implied that Tatiana executes Wenjie afterwards. 


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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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