This article contains spoilers for the ending of War Sailor Season 1 and particularly the events of Wair Sailor Season 1 Episode 3.
Written and directed by Gunnar Vikene and essentially retelling the story of his same-titled 2022 feature film, War Sailor is the story of working-class sailors becoming embroiled in World War II and having to live with their participation in it long after the conflict has ended.
War Sailor Season 1 Episode 3 Recap and Ending Explained
Primarily focusing on the relationship between Alfred Garnes and Sigbjorn, aka “Wally”, two friends who’re trapped aboard a merchant vessel in the Atlantic Ocean when the fighting breaks out, the three-episode limited series provides a humane account of the conflict from multiple perspectives in a non-sequential format.
Alfred and Sigborn are aboard the ship with Hanna, Braathen, Monsen, and Aksel, while their loved ones are far away in the Norwegian city of Bergen, where British bombs accidentally level primary schools and civilian homes. Neither the sailors nor their loved ones know anything about the well-being of the other.
Does Aksel survive?
The war claims many victims on the open water. Gradually, the crewmembers are killed off. Vessels sink. Alfred and Wally barely survive, but not without cost. After the sinking of their ship, they’re left stranded with a badly wounded Aksel. Alfred is forced to cross a line he never thought he would, strangling a man to death. Aksel eventually expires and is consigned to the depths.
Why does Alfred run away?
Communication in all directions is delayed. When Alfred and Wally are eventually rescued and taken to Canada for treatment, Alfred gets the news of his family dying in the bombing of Bergen. Alfred’s family, likewise, gets the news of his ship sinking.
Given what he has already been through and the prospect of having nothing to return home to, Alfred experiences a mental breakdown and runs away, purposeless, while Wally recuperates and tracks down Alfred’s family.
Does Alfred reunite with his family?
Eventually, Wally, living with and caring for Alfred’s wife Cecilia and their children, essentially assumes Alfred’s life on his behalf. He and Cecilia develop feelings. When he discovers Alfred’s current whereabouts, he debates even mentioning it.
But Wally is as good as his word. As we saw at the beginning of the series he’s able to track Alfred down in Singapore and convince him to return to a world he no longer recognizes – and that no longer recognizes him in return. His kids, grown up, fear him.
But life goes on – whether we like it or not. The great tragedy of War Sailor is that both Alfred and Wally end up living the lives the other wants; Alfred lives to be an old man knowing that his best friend pines for his wife, and vice versa. The two, even as old men, far removed from the war, are still defined by it, its legacy etched into their faces forever.
You can stream War Sailor Season 1 Episode 3 exclusively on Netflix. Do you have any thoughts on the ending of War Sailor Season 1? Let us know in the comments.
1 thought on “War Sailor Season 1 Episode 3 Recap and Ending Explained”
Your line, “The great tragedy of War Sailor is that both Alfred and Wally end up living the lives the other wants” is completely FALSE. Yes, Wally wanted Alfred’s life, but Alfred did not want his. They both wanted the same life – home with the children and wife of Alfred.
The tension at the end of the fact that Wally and Alfred’s wife had been in love, but Wally’s friendship and obligation to Alfred was so strong he went across the world to find him and bring him home to his family.
They had each saved each others life and shared horrors no one else would ever understand creating an unimaginable bond that words can not say, and so, the silence.