Here’s All The Mad Stuff That Happened In Netflix’s ‘Anthracite’

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: April 11, 2024 (Last updated: last month)
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Anthracite Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-6)
Anthracite Key Art | Image via Netflix

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

Anthracite is an absolutely deranged show, to the extent that recapping the whole thing is a genuinely confounding task. However, since I’m so devoted to our dear readership, I just did that, so here’s a recap of Season 1 for the benefit of everyone who is rightly looking to the internet to answer what on Earth they just watched.

Brace yourselves. And here’s a cursory content warning for murders, sexual assault, incest, a close-up birth scene where the baby pops out looking up at the camera like a jack-in-the-box, cults, corporate greed, and dead animals. For a spoiler-free version, check out our Anthracite review.

Episode 1, “Still On Fire”

Anthracite Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-6)

Caleb looking especially Christ-like

In 1994, armed police raid the compound of Jesus-like Ecrins cult leader Caleb Johansson, who is accused of murdering Roxane Vial and tricking the rest of his followers into a group suicide. The event brings a fair amount of scandal to the small town of Levionna.

In the present day, internet sleuth Ida hears her father Solal being kidnapped while investigating this case, so she heads to Levionna herself to figure out what happened. She promptly meets Jaro, a parolee who is working at the Alpine ski resort and whose picture was among her father’s investigation notes.

In this premiere, Jaro is implicated in the murder of another young woman, Emma, who is dragged from a local lake with anthracite smeared on her face. This was the calling card in Roxane’s death and has been adopted by Levionna’s youth as a trendy tradition.

Ida, who we learn has cancer, essentially kidnaps Jaro to take him to the psychiatric facility where Caleb has been incarcerated for the last 30 years. Caleb had called Solal asking him to deliver Jaro to him. While there, he speaks cryptically about Caleb’s mother, Juliette, who had been one of his followers and had later committed suicide, burning down her apartment with Jaro still inside.

Gio, the cop investigating Emma’s murder, is obsessed with the Roxane Vial case and has a history of mental health issues. She authorizes a canine search for Emma that leads to an abandoned mine entrance. A company called Arcacia is reopening the old mines using explosives.

After getting into a fight during a party at Caleb’s old lakeside house, Jaro goes to Ida. By tracing a key, she found Solal’s old storage locker and retrieved the evidence he had accumulated about the case. One of the VHS tapes reveals that Jaro’s mother Juliette was Roxane Vial’s best friend and that neither she nor Solal believed Caleb was guilty of murdering her.

At the end of the episode, Ida’s apartment suddenly blows up, and Jaro is paralyzed by the sight of the flames.

Episode 2, “The 13th Disciple”

Anthracite Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-6)

The Black Virgin, which has despicable relevance to be explained later

In a flashback to 1994, we see Caleb’s followers stone someone to death (this is how Roxane Vial was killed.) Someone in the same horned skull attire watches Ida and Jaro escape her apartment in the present day.

Jaro’s friend Romeo is a former motocross prodigy whose career ended due to injury. He’s also Gio’s brother. He, Jaro, and Ida go to Solal’s locker to go through the VHS tapes in the hopes of uncovering who was trying to shut Ida and Jaro up in the explosion the police have written off as a gas leak.

We also learn that a child named Mani survived the cult’s mass suicide, but DNA couldn’t link him to Caleb or any of the disciples. In footage of young Mani with his foster family, he rhythmically beats his chest, which we also see Caleb doing in the psych facility. All the other inmates do the same and smear whatever’s nearest over their faces. He has influence over all of them.

The local pathologist discovers a biometric chip subcutaneously implanted in Emma’s neck which gets wiped immediately when it’s interfered with. The app on her phone has the Arcacia logo, so Gio goes there to cause a fuss.

Later, the mayor tells Gio’s husband Erwan that Arcacia was doing a paid clinical trial on Emma, but they have no knowledge of her death and everything should be kept hush-hush. Jaro’s DNA was also found on her corpse, which makes him a useful patsy.

While Ida recuperates from smoke inhalation, Jaro and Romeo go to visit Captain Denis Monnier, the policeman who was investigating the cult case. He has Alzheimer’s. Shortly before they get there, a mysterious villain wearing a horned goat skull attacks his nurse.

Ida’s sleuth group digs up a picture of Vassili Derevko, a fanatic who dragged young Mani and his mother to the Siberian shamanic community and from there to France. Vassili became Caleb’s 13th disciple, while after the mass suicide, Mani eventually ran away and froze to death in 2006.

The ending of the episode takes place at the winter festival – sponsored by Arcacia – where Jaro’s daughter turns up unannounced and so too does the man in the goat skull. Jaro and Gio give chase, but when they catch up they discover it is Denis, and that he has fatally poisoned most of the festival attendees.

Episode 3, “Trust No One”

Anthracite Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-6)

Ida and Gio form an unlikely partnership

In the obligatory opening flashback, we see Juliette getting stabbed, though we don’t see who by. More on this later.

Meanwhile, Gio follows Denis to the cult house where he hacks away at the mural of Caleb. Derevko is buried behind it. This was the guy getting stoned to death in the cold open of the previous episode. Caleb told Denis to as part of a healing ritual. He already had Alzheimer’s then.

Afraid he’d be reported, he also poisoned the water supply, killing the disciples. But he didn’t kill Roxane or Emma.

The pace slows a little in this episode. Ida and Jaro sleep together, and the next morning Ida blackmails Gio into a partnership. They investigate Horizon Prestige, a ruined condominium development where they get knocked out and taken elsewhere.

Jaro finds footage of the stabbing in the cold open and this time we see it was committed by a girl with a facial scar. Upon some investigation, Jaro determines she was the daughter of a minister who was vehemently opposed to the cult. She also wears a necklace with a symbol on it which someone draws on Malia’s head, though we don’t see who.

Romeo recognizes the name of this girl – Detraz. The Detraz is a local legend, an old hermit lady who lives in the mountains, so they set out to find her, but they’re waylaid by Jaro’s old enemies from Paris. They end up crashing, but they find the Detraz anyway.

Episode 4, “Levia Borelis”

Anthracite Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-6)

Ida turns to her web sleuths for help

The Detraz says Juliette was possessed and stabbed herself. She drew the symbol on Malia to try and ward off the demon that took hold of her. He came to Juliette at night as the “Black Virgin”. Remember this for later.

Detraz also had Ida’s father, claiming he was attacked by the same demon.

Gio theorizes that Mani didn’t freeze to death. It was Denis who identified his body. She thinks he helped Mani fake his death. She also thinks she saw him at Arcacia.

Speaking of Arcacia, what they’re working on is Levia Borelis, a microbe, protein produced by which has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s found in the anthracite, hence the mines. They’re trying to get the bacteria to reproduce outside of its usual ecosystem, and investor money is on the line.

Bachelard is the guy in charge of Arcacia. Gio confronts him at the office. He is indeed Mani. But they’re interrupted by people being killed in the mine. Something’s down there, as implied by the cold open.

Ida finds two genetic tissue maps in Solal’s stuff. She assumes it’s his and hers but they’re not a transplant match (she needs a marrow transplant for her leukemia.) According to her sleuth group, the other sample is not Solal’s. A tape he has also reveals that Juliette was pregnant by Caleb and had his child, a little girl. Solal delivered her during the interview.

Meanwhile, Caleb escapes the asylum, causing chaos. The nurse at the asylum, Faure, is also revealed to be a bad guy, stabbing a patient to death with a pen and muttering something about Caleb’s mission.

Speaking of Caleb, the episode ends with him in the hospital, locking himself in the room with Solal.

Episode 5, “A Darker Shadow”

Anthracite Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-6)

Caleb convinces Ida not to off herself

Ida manages to break into Solal’s room and stop Caleb from killing him.

In 1994, we see that young Solal left with baby Ida – Juliette and Caleb’s child. This means her encounter with Jaro was incestuous. The woman working at the container rental place is the young Faure. She watched Caleb’s tapes in Solal’s container and became obsessed.

Ida tells Jaro about them being siblings. He goes to see Solal and he tells him that he returned to the town to see if Caleb was a match for Ida’s transplant, not to reopen the case. He also reveals he asked Jaro’s Aunt Marie, but she never told Jaro about the encounter and also refused.

When Jaro returns home, Marie is dead, half her face smeared in anthracite.

In flashbacks, we see that Faure raped Caleb to get herself pregnant. She later gives birth to two babies (this is the jack-in-the-box scene.) She raised the twins on Caleb’s interview tapes. One of them is a girl.

Gio’s son Titouane finds Malia’s bracelet in the mines. Erwan – almost catching Gio and Jaro getting intimate – tells Jaro about the bracelet. There’s a killer in the mines, so he and Gio go to save Malia.

Elsewhere, Ida debates committing suicide. Caleb stops her and tells her she’s the only way to save Jaro’s life. This sibling relationship is mirrored elsewhere…

As it turns out, Faure is Hari’s mother. He’s one of the twins. Romeo enjoys a very awkward dinner there until Faure tells him to leave. He sneaks back in, though, and discovers the weird Caleb-worshipping basement.

When Gio and Jaro descend into the mines, they find the corpses of everyone who has disappeared over the years. They’re also attacked by a killer wearing a gasmask and a cloak, wielding a pickaxe. Erwan arrives in time to save them, but Gio is injured, so he takes her to safety while Jaro descends further.

At the same time, Caleb takes Ida into the mines. A crosscut implies that Hari’s sister was also taken there and presumably left there, the dark half of the sibling pairing.

At the end of the episode, Hari shoots Romeo with a shotgun.

Episode 6, “The Point of Equilibrium”

Anthracite Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-6)

Caleb’s daughter has a unique fashion sense

In an opening flashback to 1990, we see Caleb take shelter in a cave and venture deeper into the mines. The whispering drives him mad and he wipes anthracite on his face, his cult leader persona clearly beginning there.

While she’s getting patched up at the hospital Gio sees Romeo being wheeled past. Hari has taken him in. He explains to Gio about his mother and sister, Cali, the killer who stalks the mines.

Meanwhile, Jaro wakes up in the mines. Malia is bound and sedated nearby. Faure wants Cali to kill her, though it’s not exactly clear why, but Caleb arrives and tries to talk Cali down while Ida frees Jaro. Unfortunately, Faure notices the ruse and Cali kills Caleb with the pickaxe.

Gio goes to Arcacia to see Bachelard. At the same time, Vincent and the other protestors break in. Bachelard is going to destroy the mine but she convinces him to tell her where the scientists were attacked so she can track down the others. He does.

Vincent shoots Bachelard and he drops the detonator, triggering explosives in the mine which inadvertently stops Cali from killing Malia.

Jaro Malia and Ida flee the mines as they collapse. They’re eventually rescued, and we cut to three weeks later.

Hari is in prison. Romeo leaves town. Jaro is a marrow match for Ida. And they wisely agree never to discuss the incest thing again.

Solal is also out of rehab. He and Ida are going home. As they’re driving, though, one of Ida’s iData sleuths gets in touch to tell her that based on the gene maps, it’s impossible that Caleb is her dad.

At the same time, Jaro finds the Walkman in his mother’s room. It reveals a conversation Juliette had with Roxane. Enola is her brother, Jaro’s uncle, the “Black Virgin” who comes to her room at night being a reference to the pattern on his jersey. He raped his own sister.

Jaro confronts Claude, and he reveals he killed Roxane since she knew about the abuse, attacked Solal because he was asking too many questions, and killed Marie because she discovered the Walkman. Jaro refrains from killing him, and Ida turns up.

In a post-credits scene, a film crew is finishing the story of the mines. Ida is pulled away when her sleuths uncover some CCTV footage in which a woman opens a mysterious box that might just contain a second season.

Phew! That was our full recap of Anthracite (Episodes 1-6). We know you’ve got questions, so fire away in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them. You can also check out our Anthracite Ending Explained article for a more in-depth breakdown of the climax.


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