1899 season 1 ending explained – how will Maura escape her prison?

By Adam Lock
Published: November 17, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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Exceptional filmmaking on a grand scale. The finale is truly astounding, somehow bringing all this madness together in a satisfying way. Fingers are crossed that Netflix renews the series for another season!

We recap the Netflix series 1899 season 1, episode 8, “The Key,” which contains spoilers and provides a detailed explanation of the ending.

In 1899’s season finale, “The Key,” the entire simulation comes crashing down on itself as our survivors attempt to avoid permanent deletion. It’s an unbelievable conclusion that somehow ties everything up in a neat little bow yet still offers up so much more for a sequel. It must be said this series needs a second season. Get the petition ready. This is unparalleled storytelling and a truly cinematic vision come to life. So, let’s explore that season finale in more detail.

1899 season 1, episode 8 recap – how will Maura escape her prison?

Flashbacks reveal a time when Elliot and Maura were a happy family. Elliot discovers a scarab beetle, which he names Alfred. This beetle works as a nice metaphor for prison and the idea of letting things go. Maura says that he cannot keep the bug as a pet, because that is unfair. Then adds that in time you have to learn to let things go. Elliot will one day grow into an adult and Maura will have to let him live his own life out in the world. There are countless parallels between this opener and the story as a whole, which will become more apparent in due time.

Elliot is introduced in Henry’s world and he gawps at the black pyramid in the distance. He searches for his mother and wakes from this nightmare in Henry’s office. Henry wants to explain the true nature of the simulation to his grandson, informing Elliot that he too has forgotten his past. It would appear that Henry and Elliot are both trapped in this loop as well. Henry wants out and he believes that Maura holds all the answers and quite literally the key to escaping. He takes the boy to the mental hospital and injects him with a memory. It is revealed that Maura knew that her son was dying and wanted to create the simulation to keep him alive forever, living inside it. Elliot won’t believe it at first, but he slowly comes around to Henry’s theory.

At the graveyard of boats, Eyk swims over to the Kerberos and joins the other survivors. Maura is forced to confess the truth to her companions. Daniel is her husband, the mysterious boy is her son, and her father owns the shipping company. She warns them that this is all an illusion, that it is not real. The only way to prove it is to ask a simple question, do they remember boarding the ship? No one does, but they all received the same letter. Maura first thought this was all about her, but it is not, they are all in this together.

Daniel tries to fix the broken machine, but the black material is spreading and morphing at an alarming rate. Fearing this plague, most of the survivors decide to seek out the lifeboats to escape on them. Only Eyk stays with Maura to find the truth. The dynamic duo heads to the apartment building simulation and starts tearing down the walls to find a hidden portal. Maura believes that her father is the creator and she wants to find his office so that she can go and confront this man.

While the survivors look for a way out, Daniel is busy hacking into the mainframe, hoping to change the coding entirely to fit his own agenda. This tinkering creates new portals for the survivors to escape into as they run away from the black virus that just keeps spreading. Henry and the first mate watch in horror as Daniel changes the architecture of the simulation. Henry fears that Daniel will destroy the entire simulation or keep them trapped within it for eternity.

The first mate is sent in to retrieve the key from Maura. She hands it over, but he disconnects Eyk from existence anyway. Maura is then taken to her father’s office. Henry talks about seekers and avoiders, those that seek answers and those that avoid them. Maura is a seeker, who wanted answers to the universe. Her desire for endless knowledge led to the creation of this simulation. This isn’t Henry’s sick creation, but Maura’s. She is the designer and they are all trapped inside this loop because of her. Maura won’t accept Henry’s story though. Next, she is strapped into the chair and injected, to relive the trauma all over again and to forget everything that has occurred over the last few days.

1899 season 1, episode 8 ending

As we reach the ending of 1899 season 1, Henry turns the key inside the pyramid, but nothing happens. Daniel has changed the code. The survivors escape to the engine room, but their world is collapsing around them. They stare at their imploding world in disbelief. A computer states that the simulation is corrupted and will delete. The Kerberos then dissolves into nothingness, and so do all its passengers.

Maura wakes in the desolate simulation and journeys into Elliot’s room. She stares at his photographs and is then joined by Daniel. He is relieved that his plan has worked. Maura didn’t start all over again inside the simulation’s loop. She doesn’t quite remember everything but seems happy to see Daniel once again and they embrace. He explains that everything has been reprogrammed, and the syringe didn’t do its usual job, it brought Maura here instead. Daniel also switched the objects, making Henry’s pyramid redundant. He holds the real one in his hand and Maura’s wedding ring is the new key to the exit code.

The husband explains that Maura’s brother Ciaran has taken over the whole program in the outside world, but he refused to let Maura out, even though Daniel pleaded. Ciaran is the real puppet master, not Henry or even Maura, for that matter. This entire scheme is much bigger than Maura could ever imagine, but she must stop Ciaran. She places the ring into the device and wakes in the real world. She finds her fellow passengers, all plugged into the simulation still. None have died. She notices that they are on a spaceship, floating in outer space, the year is 2099. A message pops up on a screen. Hello from Ciaran, welcome to reality. The epic new series fades out with David Bowie’s Starman.

What did you think of 1899 season 1, episode 8, and the ending? Comment below.

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