1899 (2022) Season 1, On Netflix – Recap and Ending Explained
1899 (2022) Recap and Ending Explained: It is not hyperbole to say that “DARK,” Netflix’s twisty-turvy time-traveling romp, is one of the company’s biggest successes. Fans hold it in the highest of regards, heralding it as a masterpiece, while even skeptics would begrudgingly state that the show understood dense plotting and executed it well. Thus, the names Baron Bo Odar and Jantje Friese would not hold much recognition in a vacuum but associate them with the creation of DARK, and they automatically have the viewers’ attention even more so when they announced the creation of a new show, “1899”, three years after the conclusion of DARK. Theories, dense plotting, and some unique science-fiction concepts are the requirements for 1899, and the trailer doubled down on those expectations. Thus, anticipation is raised to higher notches and reaches a fever pitch when the show finally drops on Netflix. The question is, did it deliver?
A detailed Recap is incoming. So Read ahead at your own risk
Episodes 1 – 2 – Meet the Passengers (Main and Ancillary)
Every episode begins with a critical event in a character’s life, usually a traumatic one, and then ends with an image of a black pyramid swirling into a vortex, the camera spinning out to reveal an eye and Maura Franklin (Emily Beecham) whispering “Wake Up.”
The first episode opens with a dream sequence of Maura Franklin, a recounting of her poem “The Brain Is Wider Than the Sky,” which is an assertion about the metaphorical width of the brain being “wider than the sky,” or an assertion of the incredible imaginative power of the brain, which grants it the closest approximation of godliness. It’s not a coincidence that the poem was recounted in the first episode with the character of Laura Franklin, as the show would go on to prove. We are also given snippets of information via visions, which we could perceive as Maura dreaming. In a dark desert landscape with a stone pyramid in the center, Maura is restrained in leather handcuffs to a chair in a hospital while an older man watches from the shadows. She frantically screams for her brother, and then a voice (her own) tells her to wake up. She wakes up in room 1011 on the steamship Kerberos.
As we follow Maura to the dining hall of Kerberos, we see the ship’s passengers, at least the upper crust of the bunch.
Virginia Wilson (Rosalie Craig), a wealthy British socialite and a hoarder of gossip, is curious to understand how Maura, the first female doctor, computes in this scenario. It is also revealed that she is the secret supervisor of two Chinese passengers: Ling Yi (Isabella Wei), a young woman from China who has disguised herself in Japanese Geisha garb and is traveling with her mother, Yuk Je (Gabby Yong), who is supervising her and also helping her learn Japanese so she can maintain her disguise; and Yuk Je (Gabby Yong), who is watching her and also helping her learn Japanese so she can keep her disguise. As revealed in later episodes and with interactions of Mrs. Wilson with Lucien, Wilson is effectively a pimp who is training Ling Yi in the art of prostitution.
Speaking of Lucien (Jonas Bloquet), he is a former French army lieutenant and is now a member of the Parisian elite. He is visiting America with his newlywed wife, Clemence (Mathilde Oliver). They are both struggling with their arranged marriages, Clemence especially so because Lucien cannot satisfy her due to taking a medicine required to cure his epileptic strokes, reducing his libido. It is further complicated by the presence of Jerome (Yann Gael), who is a stowaway hiding in the coal storage and on his way to America. Unbeknownst to Clemence, Jerome and Lucien have a shared military past, which calls Lucien’s service into question.
We also have Angel (Miguel Bernardeau), a member of the Spanish elite, traveling with his brother, Father Ramiro (Jose Pimentao), a Portuguese servant disguised as a priest traveling to America with Angel. It is later revealed that Angel and Ramiro are lovers, but Angel’s outgoing nature also showcases a voracious sexual appetite, which is evident in his attraction for Krester (Lucas Lynnegard Tonsen).
The dinner at the dining hall of the Kerberos is interrupted by Krester running in, searching for a doctor. Amidst the language barrier, Dr. Reginald Murray (Richard Hope), a doctor from a long line of doctors, seems reluctant to help, as Krester belongs to the passengers in the lower-class cabins. As crew members pull him back and drag him to the lower decks, Maura follows eagerly to help.
There we see, amongst the myriad of passengers, Tove (Clara Rosager), who is pregnant and in a lot of pain because the baby is wrapped with the umbilical cord, according to Maura. Tove’s mother, Iben (Maria Erwolter), is hesitant to let a stranger interfere, but Maura can turn the baby around, which helps alleviate the pain.
Tove’s sister Ada thanks Maura for her assistance, and while Maura doesn’t understand her language, her gestures force Maura to reveal that she cannot have children. She continues to feel sick and is affected by visions, and she runs to the top deck, where she meets the ship’s captain, Eyk Larsen (Andreas Pietschmann), who is both curious and concerned. But before they begin getting to know each other, Eyk is called by his first mate and other crew members due to a strange signal they had managed to intercept. And they believe it’s from The Prometheus, one of the same company’s ships that have been missing for months. Eyk learns that they have been getting the exact coordinates for the last 20 minutes, and Eyk makes the maritime decision to turn the ship around, much to the chagrin of the passengers.
Meanwhile, Maura is examining the letter addressed to Henry, which she has in her possession. On the back of the envelope is inscribed, “What is lost will be found.”. She searches for Eyk for answers about the missing ship. While Eyk is intrigued by her curiosity about the ship, he says it could be possible the signal is coming from the Prometheus, though he is doubtful whether anyone survived. Eyk, in private, pulls out a letter addressed to him, with the same inscription on the back – the same letter Maura had received.
As the crew finally locates the ship, some suggest contacting the company before exploring it, but the captain is hellbent. He enlists Jerome and Olek (one of the engine crew members Jerome met while Olek had been sitting alone), and Maura volunteers. Angel suggests that Ramiro goes with him, as he is a priest, and he agrees with visible hesitation.
The Prometheus, meanwhile, looked like an abandoned ghost ship with no lights on. As they climb on board, the group finds the ship deserted. Eyk hears laughter and sees a blue ribbon with a floral print (later revealed to belong to his daughter, who we learn died because his wife had set fire to their house).
Eyk also discovers that the ship’s telegraph has been destroyed, leaving him wondering how the signal with the coordinates had been sent. As the group enters the ship’s dining hall, they hear a banging noise through one of the cabinets jammed with a crowbar. Maura bravely shimmies the door open, revealing a young boy trapped there. The boy gives Maura a black pyramid, a miniature version of the one Maura had seen in her dream.
As the events occur on the Prometheus, we see another figure has managed to board the Kerberos. Wearing a black trenchcoat, soaking wet, he walks over to Room 1011, managing to sidestep any of the passengers or the members of the ship, and releases a shiny green beetle under the door (we saw the beetle in the Prometheus before). He then goes to Room 1013 and walks in.
Episode 3: The Chaos Builds
Maura begins looking after the boy while the crew members receive a message from the company that alarms them: “Sink Ship,” the ship presumably being the Prometheus.
Meanwhile, Eyk and Maura reconvene, and Eyk reveals that he has been hearing voices and experiencing visions disturbing him. Their questions about the boy’s identity go unanswered because he is unable to or doesn’t choose to speak.
Meanwhile, Maura meets the stranger who had managed to embark on the ship without anyone noticing. He reveals his name as Daniel Solace, and Maura feels the man is familiar, but she can’t place him. Maura tries to get the boy to eat something, but the boy refuses to, instead choosing to stay silent and gaze soulfully at her. She notices a tattoo on his neck, an inverted triangle with a line cutting through the middle horizontally.
Eyk continues to hear singing through the ship’s hallways and decides to follow the voice as he calls for Nina. He has a lucid dream where he remembers how his wife burned down their house. He eventually wakes up in a hidden room under one of the floorboards with one of the green bugs. The floorboard had a logo similar to the tattoo. While the green bug, which was seen in Prometheus and the hands of Daniel Solace, was also seen by Ada. She followed it to the top deck until it was collected by Daniel, who ominously stated, “I am sorry,” before presumably killing her.
Eyk chooses to tow the Prometheus back to port, which makes the passengers livid. But no amount of strong-arming could convince him, as Olek had already informed Eyk that they didn’t have enough coal to tow it to America. Maura, too, shares the sentiments of the passengers privately with Eyk, arguing that it is a bad idea until he informs her that he has received the letter. Unaware of the similarities between their letters, she urges him to reconsider.
Meanwhile, seeds of mutiny and distrust among the crew are already spreading as they think about sinking Prometheus themselves. As the crew gets a new telegram with triangles drawn in patterns, like a code, Franz, one of the sailors, discovers Ada’s dead body, while Daniel, in his room, looks at a photo of Maura. The second episode ends with the revelation that all of the major characters are being watched via TV screens by a mysterious stranger.
A brief examination of Ada’s body fails to reveal how she died. Eyk orders Maura and his crew not to inform her family about her death. However, the ship lurches and starts to slow down. They realize a thick fog has descended upon the ocean, decreasing visibility significantly. Eyk orders the ship to stop until the fog has dissipated, returning with Maura to his quarters, with the crew disagreeing with his orders. In Eyk’s quarters, Eyk shows Maura his dead daughter’s ribbon that he found on the Prometheus, walks toward his bed, and moves it to show Maura the secret passageway. He tells Maura that he believes the shipping company is trying to hide what happened on the Prometheus, and he will figure out what happened by locating the logbook. Maura agrees to come with him.
As Eyk and Maura sail towards the Prometheus, the young boy takes the pyramid and crawls below Maura’s bed, but it is not revealed what he was doing. Meanwhile, the fog had been affecting Ling Yi, who had been the subject of nightmares and reliving her past via lucid dreams, until she was brought back to Earth by Olek, the engine hand, who showed her kindness.
Meanwhile, Franz, the crew who had been disillusioned with the captain’s recent orders, finally informs Tove about Ada’s death, taking her to the morgue and allowing her to carry her body back to their cabins. Back on the Prometheus, Eyk and Maura find a similarly tiled shaft leading deeper into the ship with a similar logo.
Eyk reveals that a fleet of three German ships had been sold to a British investor named Henry Singleton. The ships went to the dry docks for three months, where a new communication system was installed, and the ships were refurbished. The logo is Singleton’s company logo. Daniel meets with the boy back on the Kerberos and asks him if he found something.
Episode 4: “The Mutiny” Begins as Events Get Murkier
Aboard the Prometheus, Eyk and Maura locate a control panel that gauges steam pressure. The company had installed it on all their ships, and while it had never worked on Kerberos, it might have worked on the Prometheus. As they search the incinerator nearby, Eyk discovers the passenger manifest and discovers something that spooks him enough to urge Maura to return to their ship. Things, however, degrade as three more bodies turn up, having been found in the crew quarters with the same diagnosis as the girl on the deck.
Having had the final straw, Franz takes leadership of the other crew members and leads them into Third Class. He convinces them to take up arms and help him commit mutiny against the captain. Olek tries to leave after being refused, determined to tell the captain everything. He is consequently imprisoned alongside Jerome. Meanwhile, Daniel approaches Maura on the deck and questions Eyk’s judgment on turning the ship around, to which Maura disagrees. It turns out Maura’s name is also on the list of passengers in the Prometheus.
The mutiny-leading passengers disagree and show up with guns to the captain’s room to seize control of the ship. Daniel tells Maura to lock herself up in her cabin. Ramiro realizes this and tries to warn Eyk of Franz’s plans, but both of them are captured by Franz and thrown in the brig. When they do so, Daniel remotely controls the Prometheus, utilizing a bizarre mechanism to restart the engines. As the dense fog is pulled into this contraption, the Kerberos vanishes.
The brig now has Jerome, Olek, Ramiro, and Eyk, the captain. At the same time, Jerome and Olek are dragged out of the brig to throw the dead bodies piled up on the top deck overboard. Meanwhile, there are more mysteries on the ship. The bow is now facing towards the west, and the ship is back to the heading it had been on three days ago, and the Prometheus is missing. Franz dismisses the oddity and decides to press on because their destination is the west.
Elsewhere, the people in the third class discover that the boy is the source of all the strange events on the ship. They choose to find the boy and kill him now that they have this new information. The lower class finally finds Maura and breaks into her room to find the boy, but he isn’t there. Following their departure, Maura hears a knocking sound coming from under her bed. When she moves the bed, she discovers a shaft similar to the one on Prometheus. She opens it and discovers the boy inside. Meanwhile, Daniel tinkers with the ship’s steam pressure console.
She confronts the boy about the shaft in Maura’s room, but he remains silent. As Maura tries to pick the lock to her room, the boy pulls a green beetle from his pocket and uses it to open the door. Meanwhile, Jérôme tries to flee from several crew members. He enters Clémence and Lucien’s room and hides until the guards leave. She allows him to stay there until he is no longer pursued, but Jerome is adamant. He intends to free the captain, and Clemence will assist him.
The Captain and the Priest have already escaped, breaking free from their shackles and escaping through the vents. With the help of Jerome and Clemence, they devise a plan to jump off the boat and skip across to the Prometheus, determined to send out a distress signal. However, as they prepare to descend, they are joined by the boy, Maura, and the mob. With guns drawn and things about to get out of hand, the boy goes willingly. Jerome tries to stop them and is shot for his trouble.
Jerome’s backstory (he and Lucien were soldiers, and Lucien planned to disguise himself as a French resistance officer to escape, but Jerome refused, resulting in Lucien knocking him out and imprisoning him) is traumatic enough to awaken him. He heads down to Third Class, telling everyone that he’s now willing to die on this ship and that they must fight back to take control. This inevitably leads to a big fight on the deck, especially when it’s suggested that they throw the boy overboard.
Elsewhere, Tove comes to her senses and decides not to participate in throwing the boy overboard. While a fight breaks out between the two groups, Iben pushes the boy off the ship into the ocean. Eyk’s gang decides to retreat and regroup when things do not go as planned. There, Maura goes over what happened to the child, including how he accepted his fate without even fighting it. Eyk had had enough, and the mystery of her name on the passenger manifest on the Prometheus was weighing on him. Thus he confronts Maura, aggressively asking her what she is hiding. Their confrontation is interrupted by the child, who has reappeared inside the cabinet where he had previously appeared on the Prometheus. Carrying the pyramid with him, he walks up to Maura and hugs her while the passengers look on in stunned silence.
Episodes 5 and 6: Some Answers and More Questions
Maura sees herself stuck in a dream, rushing towards a grave with the engraving “Wake Up.” She suddenly feels pulled backward as hands lift her and tie her up in a room, suddenly injecting her and forcing her to wake up. As she wakes up, she realizes that Eyk and the other passengers have trapped the boy inside the cabinet with a metal pipe. She protests, and as she tries to free the boy, one of the crew members shoots to stop her. Daniel jumps in the way, but Maura discovers that she can control time, as is evident by how she manages to freeze time and pluck the bullet out of the air. She frees the boy and manages to rush out of the room before time resumes again.
All the passengers are shocked and bewildered, and as Eyk questions Daniel about the events of the night before, Daniel reminds him that they have more significant problems. They would run out of coal within two days and needed to ration it. However, all their plans, from Eyk and his group to the mutineers below deck who planned to kill everyone so that they wouldn’t be arrested once they arrived on land, were fed a monkey wrench. The sirens of the ship suddenly stopped, replaced by a ticking sound. As the ticking sound consistently plays in the background, passengers begin walking towards the top deck and throwing themselves overboard, including Ling-Yi’s mother and Krester. Meanwhile, Maura and the boy hide in their room, where the boy finally speaks and tells her he can’t reveal anything because “they are listening,” and she would need to talk with the creator.
Meanwhile, the first mate of the ship, now revealed to have an agenda, opens a secret panel and starts sending cryptic messages with the triangles typed in patterns. The boy in Maura’s room moves her bed and opens the hatch, revealing a tiled chamber. He uses one of the green beetles to open a secret passageway within that tiled chamber, which leads him to the mountainous area we had seen in Maura’s dream, complete with the manor in the distance. Realizing that the hatch has been opened, Daniel races down toward it and uses his machine to open the passageway. He then lands at the location where he meets up with the boy. Their conversation hints that Maura knows far more than even she realizes or has forgotten, and the events happening around her had happened before, but no one had progressed this far. Meanwhile, the remaining passengers either tie themselves or their fellow passengers to stop them from walking and throwing themselves overboard.
Another message comes from the shipping company, bearing the same message: “Sink Ship.” However, this time it might be referencing Kerberos instead of Prometheus. Recognizing that time is running out, Daniel goes down to the engine room and attempts to restart the mysterious console, which everyone assumed was installed to measure steam pressure. He gets questioned by one of the workers at the furnace, and as he fiddles with the controls and tries to start the console, the worker attacks him. Daniel barely manages to struggle and uses his machine to “power” down the worker. Maura enters the manor and confronts her father, trying to get answers. Unable to get them beyond a cryptic statement, she feels herself being pulled back from the chair, injected with something, and again waking up back in her room with Kerberos.
As she walks out of the corridor, she is confronted by Eyk, who demands the truth. She finally reveals that Maura Franklin is her maiden name. She is Maura Singleton, the daughter of Harry Singleton, the owner of the shipping line. She believes that this entire facade is an experiment, and he bought these ships to undertake a sociological investigation. She reveals that the letter both she and Eyk had addressed to Henry was addressed to her—”Henry” being short for “Henriette,” her nickname given to her by her brother. Ciaran, Maura’s brother, contacted her four months ago and asked to meet her at the docks in Southampton, claiming he had learned something about their father. Maura waited for him, but he never showed up. She discovered that one of her father’s ships, the Prometheus, had left that same dock the day before. Her brother has been missing for four months, the same length of time Prometheus has been missing.
Maura suddenly sees another of the green beetles in the room they are in. Capturing it, she uses it to open another passageway from the hatch beneath Eyk’s bed, which opens up a passageway leading to Eyk’s nightmare. They theorize that each of these hatches is present in each passenger’s room, leading to them reliving their dreams or nightmares. Sort of “pocket dimensions,” which Eyk still doesn’t understand as he wonders, “how can something still fit inside the ship?” They return to the room, where Maura theorizes that the passengers committing suicide must be part of a “shared dream” they are all experiencing. She doesn’t remember being on the Prometheus, but she wouldn’t put it past her father, which prompts Eyk to reveal his second secret: the logbook shows that he was the captain of the Prometheus, but he doesn’t remember.
Daniel’s fiddling with the machine finally stops the ticking sound. The passengers convene on the top deck. Meanwhile, Harry Singleton, sitting in a room and watching the events from his screens, receives the triangular coded messages and orders his assistant to inform their agent inside the Kerberos that they need the boy. He walks towards the window and opens the curtains, revealing a vast, towering pyramid on the horizon.
Tove wakes up from a nightmare where she and her brother have been racing through the woods. It triggers her into proclaiming that the boy is a devil, joining in the search with a vengeance. Cooler heads take charge, however, as Eyk finally starts acting like the ship’s captain and splits the group up. The number of passengers had whittled down to a handful, and Eyk instructed Franz and Olek to take the men into the engine room and try to fire it up. Meanwhile, Ramiro and Tove’s father, the two priests, are to stay with the first mate and repair the telegraph machine and try sending out a distress signal. Mrs. Wilson, Clemence, and Tove are instructed to search for survivors, while Eyk and Maura leave together to search for the boy. They don’t reveal their knowledge about the ship to the rest of the passengers.
Meanwhile, a black sludge starts oozing from the console in the engine room and begins to crystallize. Franz, Olek, and the other men see the black crystalline object coming down from the ceiling, and Daniel warns them not to touch it. In the furnace room, Ling Yi and Olek share a moment of affection before managing to jumpstart the engine.
Maura takes Eyk to the mental hospital, explaining that her father built it for her mother. Her mother was the only person Henry ever showed genuine affection to, and his obsession with the human brain stems from her illness, which gradually caused her to forget everyone. They enter the room with the creepy medical chair we’ve seen Maura strapped into a few times. Eyk opens a window and is surprised to see what appears to be the ship’s hull. Similarly, Maura discovers a loose panel and rips it off, revealing more of the boat behind it. Daniel follows them into the hatch. Mrs. Wilson quickly finds herself in trouble when she touches some strange black substance on one of the portholes.
It begins to engulf her hand, and outside her room, we see more of it appear in the corridors, coating the walls like rock formations. Back in the telegraph room, the first mate is growing antsy and leaves a bickering Ramiro, and Tove’s father walks down to the dining room, where he climbs inside the cabinet where the boy had come from. The light emanating from the cabinet suggests that there is a hatch from where he travels to and fro. Ramiro and Anker, Trove’s father, quickly realize the first mate’s absence and try to figure out how to steer the ship from the books on the first mate’s table. However, they realize that all the books contain the same line repeated repeatedly: “May your coffee kick in before reality does.”
The first mate, revealed to be Henry’s agent in the Kerberos, arrives to inform Henry about his inability to find the boy. Henry admits that it would take “48 hours” for a complete transfer, and time is running out, with a shift in reality and perspective the only method to solve their current predicament. They are standing in front of the large pyramid, with the black rock formations surrounding it and becoming part of the dark landscape.
Maura and Eyk discover those black protrusions in the hallway at the mental hospital. Maura reaches out to touch one, but Daniel arrives just in time to stop her. He warns them that they don’t have much time because “it’s spreading.” He begs Maura to remember who he is as Eyk pulls a gun on Daniel, suspecting him of working for Henry. Eyk and Daniel get into a fight over Eyk’s brandished gun. Daniel gets the upper hand by using the console to transport Eyk to a location in the woods. Maura, stunned, points the gun at Daniel, who implores her to remember her husband of 12 years.
Naturally, Maura doesn’t believe him. She forces him inside the examination room with the chair and locks him inside. Rushing out, she screams to the heavens, asking her father to reveal himself, knowing he is watching her. She throws the gun toward the horizon, but it suddenly hits the air, forming a crack resembling a dent in a glass window. She manages to remove the layer, revealing another hatch in the ship. Back at the Kerberos, the three women reach the upper deck. Mrs. Wilson tries to conceal her hand, which is now covered with black goo, and the passengers look horrified at the thunderstorm rolling in. Meanwhile, Eyk manages to locate a hatch and climbs upward, only to find himself in the steering room of the Prometheus. Except he realizes in horror that this is just one iteration of the Prometheus amidst numerous such steamships stuck in an eerie ship graveyard.
Episodes 7–8: Answers Revealed (Somewhat)
A dream sequence reveals Daniel and Maura in bed, sleeping together, talking about memories and the processing abilities of the mind, including its ability to create constructed reality. Alarm bells sound off in the background as Maura walks out of their shared room. Daniel dresses quickly and walks out of the room, finding clothes on the floor and the vision of the mental hospital in the distance. He wakes up from the dream with Maura’s voice whispering to him to do so. Daniel, locked inside the room, pleads with Maura to let him out, pointing out that the shutdown has started. Back on the ship, the thunderstorm is strong enough that the ship is close enough to be capsized. Realizing they are out of their depth, the passengers go on a mad dash to find Eyk, the ship’s captain.
Daniel discovers a way to get out of the mental hospital. First, he goes to a window and notices that the ship’s hull is blocking his view. He then looks around the room for an object to crack open. Daniel discovers a tangle of wires when he unravels the ship’s hull. Then he makes his way through the cables to another unknown location. He finds a rosary necklace on the ground and then goes inside a well. Meanwhile, Henry monitors him and the other passengers via TV screens from a hidden location. It is easy enough to infer that all of these locations are traumatic dream sequences for all the passengers, and Daniel now has access to move from one location to the next.
Meanwhile, the first mate enters another office and procures a high-end computing device to search for the boy via a 3D ship mapping. Completely incongruent with the timeline of the current event, the machine also shows a countdown to a shutdown about to take place. Meanwhile, Maura makes her way to Room 1013 on the ship (Daniel’s room). Through the hatch, she enters a room where she sees photographs of her with Daniel and the boy. Elsewhere, we see Daniel rushing along the empty fields to a graveyard. He opens the gravestone to reveal another passage, through which he drops down, revealing a young boy’s playroom and the boy sitting on the small bed. The boy asks Daniel whether Daniel has recovered the code, to which Daniel shakes his head. The boy smiles sadly and says, “She will wake up this time.” Daniel agrees, believing that she could end the loop for good. Before Daniel leaves, the boy gives him a gold ring.
On the Kerberos, the first mate finally manages to locate the boy and sends a coded message to Henry. Meanwhile, Daniel finds Maura in the room, which we realize was the room where they had been making love in the dream. He tries to explain to Maura that all of these events result from them being trapped in a simulation, which is scheduled to be shut down soon. He knows she remembers, having heard the Plato’s Cave allegory repeated to her. Plato describes a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners’ reality but are not accurate representations of the real world. The shadows represent the fragment of reality that we can generally perceive through our senses, while the objects under the sun represent the true forms of objects that we can only perceive through reason.
Only Maura knows the code that will allow them to break the loop and get out of the simulation, but to protect herself, she makes herself forget. Maura finally discovers that her locket, with the same insignia, has a key. Maura is unsure whether that is the key, but they plan to try it once they have solved the shutdown issue. Daniel enters the room through the hatches, where his first mate has hidden the device. As Maura looks at the machine in bewilderment, Daniel explains that this device, along with his own, contains cheat codes that help them control the simulation by hacking through the inside. He explains that the simulation occurs for eight days, with the ships never reaching their destinations and the passengers dying before the simulation restarts. He inserts a code into the machine, allowing them to be anchored into the simulation, buying them more time to figure it out.
Meanwhile, all the passengers start to die. Lucien suffers a seizure, and the engine room ceiling falls, with a massive piece of rubble landing on top of Angel, killing him. Olek dies from being washed away by the ocean from the top deck, with Ling Yi looking helplessly. Franz, Iben, and Anker all drown as the water threatens to overflow the air-locked areas, and Franz manages to save Tove by closing the slush doors.
Meanwhile, the first mate finally brings the boy in at Henry’s office after having unearthed his location. Henry then uses a PA system to break through the simulation and requests Maura bring him the key in exchange for rescuing the boy Elliot. Daniel gives Maura a ring and promises he will explain everything as the countdown reaches zero. The ship slowly enters the center of a whirlpool and emerges from it in the ship graveyard beside the Prometheus, where Eyk is looking through the viewing gallery. He walks up to the top deck to see the surviving passengers of the Kerberos looking at him.
Elliot has a dream in which he runs up to his mother while holding a green bug. He decides to name the bug Alfred, but Maura warns him not to put him in a lockbox, telling him not to trap it inside a cage. As a result, Elliot decides to abandon the bug. He opens his eyes and finds himself in front of that strange pyramid in the dark. Henry greets Elliot, remarking that his mother is the true culprit of the situation they are trapped in, as he looks at the monitors showing the passengers of the Kerberos looking over the ship graveyard. He also tells Elliot that only his mother could extricate them from this situation.
Eyk finally reaches the Kerberos and demands to know the identity of Daniel. Maura reveals that she doesn’t know what is happening, but she reveals that Daniel is her husband and the boy they were looking for is her son, but she cannot remember any of these events. She also turns to the passengers and remarks that no current events are real. She believes her father is the one pulling the strings. They don’t believe her, and she asks a simple question: Do they remember how they embarked upon the Kerberos? They start to answer before realizing they don’t know events beyond being on this ship.
Meanwhile, Daniel is near the console, working to restore power to his device so he can hack and control the simulation. As he meddles, the black protrusions are growing and breaking through the walls of the ship and the memories. Eyk and Maura go to Maura’s room, only to find that the hatch in her room has disappeared. In Daniel’s room, they go down to the hatch and come out to the room belonging to Daniel and Maura. The photographs still don’t feel real to Maura, but she is determined to figure out the nature of the simulation. She theorizes that, like the human brain, different memories are stored in different areas but connected via neural pathways. Emboldened, Eyk and Maura start taking down the walls to see tunnels with walls covered with wire. Finding a flashlight connected to one of the thicker wires, they turn it on and explore the pathways.
Meanwhile, at the hospital, now revealed to be Maura’s memories, Henry shows Elliot the room with the chair and the leather handcuffs. He forces Henry to sit on the chair and injects him with a serum to remember. Henry finds himself experiencing a vision where his mother has him tied up to the chair while his father advises her not to go through with the plan as she can’t save him. But Maura is determined, believing this is the only way they can be together. As the vision ends with Elliot crying out as he sees Maura injecting him with a serum, he comes out of that vision and looks at Henry.
Henry reveals calmly that Maura created this entire simulation so Elliott could remain alive. This is Plato’s Cave again, and knowledge, and thus the mind’s ability to conjure constructed reality, has limits. Inadvertently, Maura had created a doll’s house, but now its inhabitants had enough. There is, however, a way out, and Maura has the key, which would fit in the slot hidden below the capstone of the pyramid with the engraving “Wake Up.”
Meanwhile, Daniel has finally managed to hack the simulation, distorting its nature and throwing the passengers into different dreams. The code is being manipulated, causing the virus (the black goo) to spread uncontrolled through the dreams. Each of the passengers experiences distant memories, and sirens call and try to escape to locate their loved ones, only to land back in the ship’s hallways again.
Meanwhile, Eyk and Maura finally land in the hallways of the mental hospital. Still, as they proceed towards Henry’s office (Room 1011, the same room number as Maura on the ship), they are stopped by the first mate, who forces Maura to hand over the key by manipulating her through his device. He then manages to “power” down his captain before dragging Maura to her father. Henry ominously remarks that this is the least of her concerns as she demands to know where her brother, Ciaran, is.
The simulation changes, and she finds herself trapped in the chair, and Henry reveals to Elliot that Maura is the actual simulation creator. She tried to heal her pain and constructed a simulation so that she wouldn’t remember, but she only ended up exacerbating the situation. Henry and Elliott stick her with another memory serum, presumably to erase her memory before the simulation ends. As the countdown reaches zero, Henry sticks the key into the pyramid slot, but nothing happens, as Henry realizes that, amidst all of the meddling, Daniel has managed to change the code. The simulation commences, and the ship and the passengers break apart into lines of code.
Maura wakes up in the graveyard. As she walks up to the gravestone and enters the cubby hole hidden beneath it—the playroom belonging to Elliott, she turns around to see Daniel climbing down. Daniel reveals that this cubicle was one of the first simulations the two had ever created together. His meddling and changing of the code had worked, and Maura had managed to wake up outside the loop with her memories intact. He then picks up a colorful pyramid, revealing that he had changed Henry’s pyramid such that it and the corresponding key did not hold any power. But now, this colorful pyramid and the ring could wake Maura up from the simulation, and they needed her. Daniel revealed that her brother had taken over the simulation and controlled everything in the real world. Maura inquires whether Daniel will be present, to which he responds with a smile and the words “always.” They open the pyramid’s capstone, place her wedding ring on the top, and the simulation breaks.
1899 Ending Explained
Maura wakes up to find herself strapped to a strange machine. As she disconnects herself, she sees other characters (all of the passengers on the ship) connected to the machines as well. But Daniel isn’t there. As she walks over, she finds herself on the bridge of a spaceship. The central computer screen had a piece of paper taped to it with the message – “May your coffee kick in before reality does.” Confused, she removes the message and looks outside the window. The camera pans outward to show her in a futuristic spaceship hurtling through space. The spaceship they are on is called the Prometheus. She looks at the screen where the date is specified: October 19, 2099. And then she sees a message from Ciaran, stating, “Welcome back to reality.”
Inferences and theories
Plato’s Cave allegory and Emily Dickinson’s poem The Brain is Wider Than the Sky are keys to understanding 1899, which slowly reveals its layers like an onion. The creators, Baron Bo Odar and Jantje Freeze, are intrigued by the concepts of actual and constructed reality and how the brain copes with trauma by molding its reality to various situations. It is perhaps no coincidence that the show’s final revelation bears more than a passing resemblance to The Matrix.
The name 1899 could signify the year in which most simulation takes place. It could also mean October 18, 2099, as Maura wakes up to find the actual date to be October 19, 2099. Since time passes differently within the simulation, it could be possible that they had been stuck in this simulation for a day in real-time but for years or numerous loops within the simulation. Questions abound as to what Season 2 will tackle. Would it take place entirely in that far future? Would it deal with a new simulation? Or even the 2099 timeline, the true reality, or a part of a more extensive simulation while Maura’s brother plans something far more sinister?
It would be interesting to see where the show could go from here. However, its propensity to craft mystery boxes upon mystery boxes for different characters with no discernible payoffs is emblematic of a larger problem. Characters are used and created with the bare minimum of character fleshing out to serve a specific plot thread, create a mystery, or even deal with a sociological context such as class division or immigration. As a result, plot machinations, convolutions, and general mind-boggling storytelling don’t hold any impact because the emotional quotient is missing. It is hard to completely fault a show so committed to remaining obtuse about its intentions, but with a total runtime of eight hours, it is harder to expect people to stick around with a show where the plot doesn’t kick in until more than halfway through. There is potential there, and in the next season, I hope the show finds its feet.