Netflix’s 1899: That twist ending, explained

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New Netflix series 1899 is filled to the brim with mysteries, but how does it all end? Here’s the show’s ultimate twist, revealed.

One of the newest kids on the block for Netflix is also one of its most anticipated: 1899. This new series comes from the same creators that gave us one of the greatest mind-bending shows of the past few years, Dark. We certainly enjoyed 1899, and you can read our review of the show here.

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1899 is a mystery thriller set on a migrant ship in – you guessed it – 1899. Everyone there already has a mysterious past, but things take a turn for the stranger when the Prometheus, a ship that disappeared months ago, suddenly starts sending the migrant ship coordinates.

The series has plenty of reveals, but there are also a number of questions left unanswered, including that shocking final scene. But what happens in it? Let us explain, but first MAJOR WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD…

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What is the show’s central mystery?

Firstly, a disclaimer: Not everything we write here may be true. In this show, everyone is keeping secrets, implanting visions, and trying to turn everyone against each other. So there’s a chance that some of these reveals are lies, but only time will tell, should there be a second season.

Now, there’s lots to unpack, so let’s just reveal the biggest twist of the show: Everything that happens in the show isn’t real. It’s all a simulation, made by the owner of a psychiatric hospital, who also happens to be main character Maura’s father. He has seemingly picked people with troubled pasts and plonked them all into a dangerous situation in order to see how their behaviour changes. This is also not the first time this has happened; there are multiple other ships, including the infamous Prometheus. In fact, the Prometheus seems to be the central ship of the project.

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The same subjects have been placed in the simulation multiple times, after having their memories wiped. And apparently, they all die in the end after letting their emotions impact their decisions, much to Maura’s father’s frustration, who believes that feelings are what makes humanity weak.

As for the mysterious boy, man, beetle, and passage ways, that can all be explained together as well. The man who stays in the room next to Maura’s is actually her husband, Daniel, and the boy, Elliot, is her son. The two males have been working to get Maura out of the simulation, by hacking into the ship – likely causing all those children to die – and hanging around her, telling her to remember her past.

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The beetle that has been scurrying through doors is from a memory, a beetle that Elliot found when they were still a family. It is also able to open the passage under the floorboard trapdoor, which is a pathway into the memories of those on the ship, including Maura’s time in the asylum that her father built.

Now, much is left to be answered for the other passengers on the ship, but we’ll likely find that out in a potential second season. We don’t know if the other members of the simulation all have the same backstories and regrets as they do in the simulation. Hell, some characters may not actually be real, just creations of the project.

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What happens at the end of 1899?

Now, that all sounds crazy enough, but there’s more. A lot more, a lot of which is hinted at in the show’s final scene.

If you’ve watched any of the show, you’ve probably noticed how there’s always music at the end of each episode, music that comes from the later 20th century. There’s also technology – which is used for the simulation – that seems very futuristic, certainly for 1899. That’s because we’re not actually in 1899, but 2099.

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Not only that, but remember how we said that Maura’s father is running things? Turns out, he’s actually not, his son, Maura’s brother, is. This twist is somewhat confusing, as it seems like he had also been trying to snap Maura out of the simulation all throughout the show.

And snap out of it she does, as she wakes up in the simulation machine, which happens to be on a space craft. That’s right, we’re actually in space. It seems like they’re travelling on a survival mission, though we have no idea where to.

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Not only that, but it’s actually revealed that Maura and Daniel had been involved in the running of the entire simulation, known as the Project Prometheus. Maura swears this isn’t true, but it’s what her father says, and when she awakes from the simulation, she is greeted with a message from her brother that states:

“Hello sister. Welcome to reality.”

She looks out of the spaceship’s window in confusion, reads the message with determination, and we are left with our minds officially boggled.

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What questions are left unanswered?

To be honest, 1899 is such a mind-bending show that it’s hard to keep track of what you don’t know, let alone what you do.

But there’s plenty of obvious questions: What is Maura’s brother’s plan? Why did everyone start killing themselves? Did Maura actually create the Project Prometheus? Why all the injections? Why have these people been selected to be a part of the simulation? Why are they in space? And what was with the giant pyramid?

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There’s so much more to find out, so here’s hoping that 1899 will get a second season, just to clear our heads a little.

1899 is currently available to stream on Netflix.