1899 landed on Netflix in November 2022, suddenly becoming one of the platform’s most fascinating and popular streamings. As already happened with Dark, from the same creators, the plot gets quickly complicated, and many questions arise: people need to have some of the critical elements of the story explained, and ultimately they need to understand what’s real and who’s Ciaran, Maura’s brother, a character that we never see in the whole season, but that seems to be the mind behind everything. This article will provide a concise and straightforward explanation of 1899‘s plot to facilitate understanding and allow you to enjoy the details better.
You can find the official trailer of 1899 here on Youtube.
1899: the plot, simply explained
The plot of 1899 starts on a big ship with more than a thousand passengers, directed in America. The year is 1899. A few months before, another ship of the same company, the Prometheus, mysteriously disappeared (triggering fans’ questions on whether a true story inspired this). Maura, the series’ protagonist, is the daughter of the ship company’s owner, a dark character that apparently is doing some strange experiment on those ships. Maura is on that ship under the suggestion of her brother Ciaran, who wrote her a letter claiming to know what their father is doing and asking her to meet him at the docks. This happened the day before the Prometheus started its journey, and four months later, that made Maura board the second ship, the Kerberos, directed to the same destination.
As the episodes go by, we soon see many inexplicable events: people jumping overboard hypnotized by a sound, time getting frozen, tunnels bringing to other realities… characters start to believe that it’s all a dream, but in the last episode we understand better: the whole situation is a simulation created in a technologically advanced future. Every simulation lasts eight days and then restarts again in an infinite loop. We discover that Daniel, the passenger in the cabin next to Maura, is Maura’s husband, and the boy Elliot is their son. There is a Creator, and there is a reason why this simulation has been created. Let’s have this part of the plot explained.
Who is the Creator? And why was the simulation created?
For many episodes, we are led to believe that Maura’s father, Henry, is the Creator. But in the last episode, we discover the truth: the simulation was created by Maura and implemented by her husband, Daniel, and Maura is, therefore, the Creator. She programmed the simulation so that she would completely forget it, so she could live in the simulation believing it was all real.
The reason why the simulation was initially created is not fully explained by 1899, but it has to do with Maura’s son Elliot. As Daniel explains to her, Maura decided to forget “to get rid of the pain,” a pain that must be related to some disease Elliot got at a young age. That’s why Henry describes the simulation as “Elliot’s prison:” it’s a simulated world created by Maura so Elliot can live there, allowing Maura to see her son every day, believing it is the actual reality.
All other passengers are real people who voluntarily decided to join the simulation. Everybody had their own reason. But they are trapped in this simulation forever, and this doesn’t seem to be the original purpose of the simulation. That’s where Ciaran comes into play. But before getting there, let’s have Henry’s character explained.
1899: Henry, Maura’s father, explained
Henry is not the simulation’s Creator. He’s trapped in the simulation as all others. But he hates his daughter Maura for this. His ultimate goal is to get the pyramid owned by Elliot and the key hidden by Maura in the simulation because that’s the only way to wake up from the simulation and return to the real world. Henry is doing everything he can to escape the simulation, and he has no interest in saving anyone else: when in the last episode, he finally has both the pyramid and the key, he plans to escape the simulation and make Maura forget everything again, ready for the next loop of the simulation.
But his plan doesn’t work: the key doesn’t trigger anything, and Maura restarts the simulation, keeping the memory of everything. This happened because, meanwhile, Daniel was reprogramming the simulation from the inside, switching the meaning of the objects and the syringes used on Maura. Daniel has only one purpose: Maura must be the one using the key and the pyramid, escaping the simulation and facing the real villain of the series: Ciaran. Let’s understand everything about him now.
Who is Ciaran? And what is the reality?
As daniel explains to Maura, Ciaran managed to take over the simulation from the real world and trapped all of them inside it in an infinite loop. Ciaran is, therefore, the real villain of the series. We don’t get to know the reason why he wanted that (this should be one of the first questions an eventual season 2 should answer).
When Maura uses the wedding ring on the new pyramid, she wakes up in a spaceship in 2099. The spacecraft has the same number of passengers the Kerberos had, all the people who wanted to join the simulation. This part triggers the doubt that the spaceship in 2099 is another simulation, but we actually have no reason to think it is. The spacecraft in 2099 is the reality. And as soon as Maura wakes up, she receives a direct message from Ciaran, welcoming her to reality.
Having the 1899 ending explained, Maura is the only one who manages to wake up from the simulation, while all others are still trapped there. Her next goal now is to face Ciaran and understand why he trapped everybody in the infinite loop. This leaves the plot open for a Season 2, which, as of November 2022, has not been confirmed by Netflix yet.
In the last episode, Maura’s father describes Ciaran as an “avoider,” unlike Maura, a “seeker” who always tries to step into the void, gaining more knowledge and finding unique solutions. From here, we understand that Ciaran and Maura are opposites, which could justify why Ciaran did all that, perhaps motivated by his hate for his sister.
Will there be a Season 2 that will answer all the open questions? No confirmation yet, but as soon as something new comes up, you’ll know it on our pages.