1899 season 1, episode 1 recap – what do they find on the Prometheus?

November 17, 2022
Adam Lock 1
Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Recaps


The Dark creators appear to have done it again. “The Ship” is overflowing with cinematic imagery and juicy mysteries that can’t help but pique your interest. This outstanding opener perfectly introduces the cast and a spellbinding plot.

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The Dark creators appear to have done it again. “The Ship” is overflowing with cinematic imagery and juicy mysteries that can’t help but pique your interest. This outstanding opener perfectly introduces the cast and a spellbinding plot.

We recap the Netflix series 1899 season 1, episode 1, “The Ship,” which contains spoilers.

The creators of Dark, Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, are back with another mind-altering mystery. Their second Netflix original series, 1899 is a complex, cinematic treat featuring cryptic symbols, an international cast of characters, all from different backgrounds, all speaking multiple languages, and of course, there is an ocean of secrets to explore. In the opening episode, “The Ship,” it feels like all the central guests aboard the steamship Kerberos are either hiding something, running away from something, or putting on an act of some kind. The premiere does an exceptional job of setting up this elaborate ensemble and presenting the many mysteries you’ll be dying to see solved. Let’s waste no more time at all and dive headfirst into this addictive series.

1899 season 1, episode 1 recap

1899 begins with a fast-paced and expansive opener. Striking, mysterious imagery introduces us to this dark and deceptive world. There are vast views from air, sea and land. Black pyramids against a snowy terrain and an ominous building placed in the middle of nowhere. A poem is narrated over the top of these visual delights, talking of nature and the brain. The camera follows a swirling vortex into the sea, and we cut to an institute, where we are introduced to our lead protagonist, Maura Franklin (Emily Beecham).

Maura has an awful dream that she’s in an asylum, trying desperately to convince the others that she isn’t crazy. She demands to know where her brother is, hinting at a conspiracy aboard a ship called the Prometheus, which seems to involve her father. Her brother has gone missing after finding out the truth, and she complains of her memory being tampered with. All these fine details appear to seep into reality too. Maura wakes from the nightmare and reads of the Prometheus being lost at sea for four months now. She has marks on her wrists that imply she was once indeed a patient at one of these facilities and had to be constantly restrained.

A letter confirms the narrative in her dreams, her brother talks of finding out what their father did, and he asks them to come to New York to meet with him in person. Maura recites a mantra of facts in the mirror, stating her name, birthplace, and today’s date. She reiterates that she is not crazy – this is a woman with a lot of secrets in her past it would seem. Maura steps out of her room and finds herself on the main deck, heading towards American soil alongside many other intriguing individuals.

Everyone is discussing the mysterious disappearance of the Prometheus, from the paupers shoveling coal in the lower decks all the way to the wealthy elite sipping tea in first class. This allows for a quick introduction to some of the more important guests. There’s an unhappy, French honeymooning couple, Lucien and Clemence; Spanish brothers Angel and priest Ramiro; and two Chinese ladies, servant Yuk Je and Ling Yi. Maura emerges from her room and eats alone in the dining room. She is joined by Mrs. Wilson, who moans about sexism, nepotism and rumors. Word has spread that Maura is a single lady, traveling alone, and that she is also a doctor. Maura did study the human brain but was never allowed to practice, although she soon finds an excuse to try out her medical skills for real.

A Danish man with a facial scar (Krester) rushes into the dining room asking for help. He is swiftly dragged away by guards, but Maura follows him to the lower-class decks to assist. She finds a heavily pregnant woman (Tove) in agony and helps turn the baby to relieve some of the pain. Meanwhile, a stowaway roams the corridors and the French honeymooners have awkward, loveless sex in their cabin.

Maura’s time in the lower decks spurs on an unfortunate panic attack, with jolting memories of her possible institutionalization flashing before her eyes. She runs back up the stairs for some fresh air and meets the ship’s captain, Eyk, played by Dark actor Andreas Pietschmann. This unorthodox captain hides a bottle of booze on discovering the woman. He is quickly passed a note from his subordinates. They are receiving coordinates from an unknown sender. Could this be from the missing ship? The sailors check the data using an intricate map and surmise that the Prometheus could be seven hours away. The decisive captain orders they change course and head towards this beacon.

As the ship starts to change direction, certain guests grow suspicious of these alterations, no one wants to head back. A Polish laborer called Olek worries in the coal room, while Angel and Ramiro nervously debate the meaning of this maneuver in first class. The Spaniards are shaken, they cannot return to Europe, the idea alone panics them greatly, alluding to even more secrets to be explored. Later, when Lucien hears the news, he too has a similar reaction.

The Captain addresses the change of course in the first class dining room, gathering all the guests together for the update. Outspoken guests verbalize their anger about this detour, but Eyk explains his reasoning. There are 1,423 passengers on the Prometheus, he needs to at least attempt to save the remaining survivors. On sighting the ship, Eyk goes rogue and defies protocol, deciding to journey to the Prometheus via a lifeboat, even though his shipmates disagree with his decision. Maura asks to come along as a doctor and they ask the priest Ramiro to tag along as well.

1899 season 1, episode 1 ending

Stowaway Jerome and the Polish laborer Olek are found sharing bread by the lifeboats and Franz orders them back inside. The sailors comment on how eerily still the sea is and are quickly spooked by the silent Prometheus. There are no lights coming from the ship and no response, even after they sent out a warning flare. Eyk’s sailors refuse to be involved, and the captain instructs Jerome and Olek to join them on the lifeboat instead. They row towards the ghost ship in silence and climb aboard. If the silence wasn’t enough, there’s one last thing to add to the unsettling atmosphere, the telegraph stops receiving coordinates the exact moment that they step aboard. Is this a coincidence, or are they been led into a trap?

Eyk’s ragtag team investigates the dark corridors of the Prometheus, finding damaged rooms and a destroyed telegraph but no survivors. Eyk hears voices and faint laughter on the breeze while Maura discovers a scarab beetle scurrying towards a cupboard. Something rummages inside, but a crowbar is very purposefully keeping them within. Eyk c***s his gun ready and Maura opens the cupboard. They find a boy hunched inside. He steps out, not saying a word. The boy passes Maura a small artefact, a black pyramid.

Meanwhile, a passenger from the Prometheus swims to the other immigrant ship and clambers aboard the Kerberos, dripping wet. He takes a beetle out of his pocket and places it under the door of a first class member’s cabin. What could it all mean? There’s a strong theme of Ancient Egypt running through the opening episode with the pyramids and the beetles, whilst that pesky upside-down triangle symbol can be found all over the place, from the letters that Eyk and Maura received to Clemence’s earrings. All I can say is, I’m hooked, let’s see how this mystery continues to unfold.

What did you think of 1899 season 1, episode 1? Comment below.

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1 thought on “1899 season 1, episode 1 recap – what do they find on the Prometheus?

  • November 24, 2022 at 3:57 am

    Also, the ship Kerberos’ name is another word for Cerberus, the Hound of Hades

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