‘Quicksand’ Full Recap: The Drama and Key Plot Points Explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: May 1, 2024
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Quicksand Series Recap
Quicksand Series Image (Credit - Netflix)

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

Quicksand is a crime/drama thriller that has all the right ingredients to keep audiences engaged. The limited series follows a tragedy at school in a wealthy Stockholm area. A young teenage girl finds herself on trial for murder in the aftermath. I expected plenty of twists, and I was given some. I’ve compiled each episode and an easy to navigate recap so you can keep up with the pace of the story.

Episode 1 – “Maja”

We open with the sounds of a school shooting; the camera pans over the after-effects. Blood, bullets, and bodies. Someone’s phone rings off-camera, and we hear heavy breathing. The camera finally rests on the face of a blood-stained survivor before we see the title card.

Police and paramedics take our survivor to safety and give her medical treatment. In the ambulance, we learn that this girl may be the sole survivor. She is processed, and her clothes gathered for evidence. Her parents rush in and we learn the survivor’s name is Maja. When the police inspector tries to shoo them away she drops a bombshell. Maja is going to be arrested for murder, attempted murder, and accessory to murder.

Maja is taken to the police station where she is processed and given prison-issue clothes to wear. Her lawyer explains to Maja that she is accused of several very serious crimes, she will be questioned and is likely to be remanded into custody. He starts to ask her questions, starting with her boyfriend, Sebastian (something tells me Sebastian is going to be important!).

We have a flashback sequence that takes us back to the previous Summer where Maja’s romance with the creepy looking Sebastian began during a holiday in France. The flashback sequence is brightly lit in stark contrast with the rest of the drama; we know it’s love when they listen to the same song with an ear bud each…

Maja and her family are on an idyllic family holiday, she has a close and loving relationship with her younger sister, they go swimming together… and wait a minute, guess who’s by the pool? That’s right, creepy Sebastian. The two lovers take off on the back of a moped until they arrive at Sebastian’s giant yacht. He’s LOADED! Maja has got it bad…

Quicksand Series Image (Credit – Netflix)

Back to the grimly lit prison cell. The lawyer gives Maja some sage advice – only answer the questions you are asked, don’t make it easy for them. The stern looking police detective starts the interrogation. We learn she got to school just before 9 am, she was driven there by Sebastian. What happened next? Nothing. Okay then, let’s talk about creepy Sebastian.

Back to France, Sebastian’s implausibly wealthy and handsome father is regaling Maja’s family with charming anecdotes on his yacht. Surely no-one is this perfect? It is agreed that Maja will spend a few days with Sebastian and Handsome Dad. Handsome Dad, it turns out, is also a bit creepy and slightly pervy.

Sebastian and Maja walk along the beach hand in hand in the moonlight. Sebastian reveals that his former beauty queen mother simply left them one day; what did Handsome Dad do to get rid of her? Maybe he had her killed…? Time for a quick snog on the beach.

Maja and Handsome Dad have a slightly awkward breakfast together, is he coming on to her? He is certainly very comfortable dispensing life advice. Did you know that Sebastian’s brother Lucas is at Harvard? No? Weird. Handsome Dad casually mentions that he’s about to take off and leave Maja and Sebastian alone on the giant yacht: ‘Hey, why don’t you have my bed? The servants will look after you’

Back to prison. Time for the remand hearing. It is not looking good for Maja. The hearing will be held behind closed doors. We learn during the hearing that her fingerprints were found on the murder weapon. She will be tried as an adult since she just turned 18. She will be held in custody and will spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement with no visitors, newspapers, the internet, and just one hour of outside exercise per day.

The last thing we see is Maja and Sebastian walking down a school corridor before they turn into a classroom. The camera holds on the closed door and we hear gunshots.

Episode 2 – “Custody”

Quicksand Series Recap (Episodes 1-6)

Quicksand Series Image (Credit – Netflix)

Maja is holding a rifle. She is seen gunning down Sebastian. Cut back to jail. She is met by her lawyer and his assistants and is to be interrogated. Inspector Nilsson starts things off. ‘Is there anything in your story you would like to change? If I am going to understand things, I’m going to need to know more about your relationship with Sebastian.’

Flashback to Maja and her friend discussing her new relationship in her bedroom. Sebastian hasn’t called since they got back from France, is it over? Downstairs, Maja’s mum is gushing about Claes (Handsome Dad) and his boat to her friend. A text comes in: Sebastian will pick Maja up for school tomorrow morning.

He arrives in his two-seater sports car and they make up before heading to school. It’s the first day of a new school year and it looks like a typical school, everyone is discussing what they got up to over the Summer and comparing tans. Wait a second, who is this? Turns out Sebastian is going to be in Maja’s class this year. Samir, who clearly has a thing for Maja, looks unimpressed.

Back to the interrogation. ’How did your relationship with Sebastian change you? Your friends all seemed to notice it. When did you start taking drugs?’

Now we’re at Sebastian’s big fancy house at the start of an impressive party, Maja and her friend Amanda help themselves to free cocktails and take in the opulence. Sebastian shows Maja round and introduces her to his fancy friends and his drug dealer. More moonlight snogging (and the rest…) and drugs. Samir is at the party too, he’s had a bit to drink and gives Maja a judgemental speech about Sebastian being a bad influence. She storms off straight into the heart of the party for some more debauchery.

Back to jail. The inspector is asking Maja about her relationship with Sebastian. ‘He was a bad boy, your friends didn’t understand him, you withdrew from everyone and it was just you two against the world, right?’

The morning after the party, the house is a disaster and Handsome Dad is home. He does not seem to care about the mess though and neither does Sebastian. ‘We have people who clean up for us’. Handsome Dad is for some reason holding a rifle and invites Maja hunting in South Africa (because why not?). Maja heads home and her Mum wants to hear all about the party – she is clearly impressed by her daughter’s new boyfriend’s wealth.

At school that day Samir tries to make up with Maja for his bad behavior at the party last night. He seems like a good influence; textbook nice guy who gets ditched for the more interesting bad boy. Something tells me he is going to be important later.

Maja and her little sister are at Sebastian’s where they witness an unpleasant argument between Sebastian and Handsome Dad. That guy is bad news, I’m telling you.

Back to jail, and the inspector is asking about Maja’s experience with guns, ‘when have you fired a rifle before…?’

Maja and Sebastian are driving, he is very possessive of her. They crash his dad’s BMW whilst having a snog. ‘Don’t worry Maja, we’ll say I was driving the car, I’ll take the consequences…’

Maja and Sebastian go hunting, Sebastian has a black eye that we suspect may have been given to him by his father, possibly for crashing his car. Sebastian teaches Maja how to shoot a rifle, he seems to like shooting things quite a lot.

‘Why did you shoot Sebastian?’ asks the inspector? ‘Because he begged me to.’

Maja is about to be interviewed by the prosecution lawyer. Her lawyer gives her a pep talk. ‘It is not your job to defend Sebastian, this is about you’.

‘How do you feel about Sebastian’s father?’ ‘I hate him.’ They read incriminating text messages and show photos of a dead body. They think that Maja and Sebastian killed Claes.

The drama is ramped up in episode 2. We learn more about Maja and Sebastian’s relationship and how they form a ‘us against the world’ bond. There is lots of foreshadowing with the introduction of guns and although revelations begin to unfold we can never really trust what Maja is saying to her inquisitors.

Episode 3 – “The Funeral”

Quicksand Series Image (Credit – Netflix)

Maja awakes in her bed in a prison cell and has flashbacks of the violence that brought us here. Her lawyer walks into her cell and hands her an mp3 device, a small comfort from home.

Flashback to school. Maja and Amanda are discussing the terrible parking situation at school and Amanda’s new boyfriend, Labbe. They have a talk from a Nobel prize winner today. It turns out that Sebastian’s Dad has opened his wallet to make it happen. Sebastian has a question about the global economy, it looks like it may have been prepared by daddy. Samir also has a question, and it’s a doozy. Maja throws him a look of admiration and an unspoken battle of wills between the two boys breaks out, with Maja as the prize.

Maja, Sebastian, and Amanda drive to meet with Labbe at his family’s spread and guess who else showed up? Samir! Labbe’s dad gives a tour of the place which gives Samir the chance to flex his intellectual muscles and Sebastian the chance to mark his territory with Maja. They retreat to a quiet part of the house and Maja reluctantly has sex with Sebastian. This looks like a clear demarcation point in their relationship and a sign that Sebastian is likely to become increasingly more abusive.

The group settles down for dinner, as Sebastian continues to be obnoxious and looks for ways to belittle Samir and humiliate him. In a stunning display of douchebaggery, Sebastian creates a scene at Samir’s expense and is asked to leave. He reveals himself to be at best a snob and at worst a racist. When he asks Maja to come with him, she stays where she is.

Back to prison, and Maja is impatiently asking for the time again and again. From the title of the episode, we can guess that she is waiting for the funeral to start, which of course she can’t attend. She asks to see the prison chaplain who attempts to give her some counseling.

Maja rings the bell at Sebastian’s house; he comes outside and lights a joint. Maja tries to reassure him that she would not sleep with Samir. Sebastian suggests they all go out on the town, he takes a bunch of drugs and ditches Maja in the club. Maja goes on the hunt for Sebastian and finds him off his head at the bar, he shoves her and storms off. Maja catches up with him and he’s in a bad way; she bundles him into a taxi and then home. She nurses him through the night.

Maja and Amanda are talking, Maja tells her friend she is not sure if she still loves Sebastian. Amanda encourages her to stick it out. On her way home, Maja bumps into Samir at the bus stop. They share a meaningful glance and then a kiss. Uh-oh…

Maja is sat alone in her cell. She puts on the MP3 player and a sad song plays over the top of a montage that cuts scenes from the funeral which is now underway. Maja gets upset and has a breakdown in her cell. After, she calms down, shares a cigarette with a prison officer and grieves for her friend. It looks as though Maja’s defenses are starting to come down.

She is once again being interviewed. And is asked to describe how she shot Amanda. She describes trying to shoot Sebastian, the rifle went off in her hands and shot her by accident. The prosecutor tells her that she has witness testimony that contradicts this, that they saw Maja shoot her best friend on purpose…

Not quite as tight as the first couple of episodes, “The Funeral” is slower in pace but not in incident than the rest of the series so far. It feels as though this is a turning point in the narrative and as we start to get a deeper insight into the pattern of abusive behavior from Sebastian that things may continue to unravel for Maja.

Episode 4 – “The Reconstruction”

Quicksand Series Recap (Episodes 1-6)

Quicksand Series Image (Credit – Netflix)

We are in the interrogation room again and learn that 7 months have now passed since Maja was arrested. She is welcome to go with the prosecution to the scene of the crime for a reconstruction of the incident. She says she does not want to.

In conversation with her lawyer, she learns that she might get 14 years in prison. If she does attend the reconstruction she may remember more of what happened. The lawyer does not think it’s a good idea; he draws the meeting to a close and wishes Maja a Merry Christmas.

We flashback to a classroom; the teacher is handing out marked papers. ‘Where is Sebastian? Off sick.’ Amanda asks Maja if she plans to take Sebastian’s test paper to him, it’s important that he gets it apparently. Her teacher expresses some concern for Maja’s wellbeing (it’s about time an adult somewhere did!). Maja pulls Samir into an empty classroom for a smooch. This is not going to end well, surely?

Maja goes to Sebastian’s. He’s making cocktails and seems on edge. He wants Maja to come to South Africa with him and then he acts like a dick.

We’re back at the jail and Maja makes eye contact with another inmate, an older woman. She wonders to the prison officer what ‘Doris’ did to get here. Maja is shown to a room where she finds Christmas presents from her mum. It is going to be a tough Christmas in prison for Maja.

Maja’s family take off to London, leaving her with the house to herself. Who’s at the door? It’s Samir of course! Maja and Samir play house and laugh about chopping vegetables. It is only a matter of time before Sebastian ruins the moment, surely?

Right on cue, Maja receives a picture from Sebastian holding a gun (we get it okay? he really likes guns…). Maja invites Samir to stay the night. In the morning, Samir ends things, he has clearly worked out that Maja has not actually ended her relationship with Sebastian yet.

As he is leaving he runs into Amanda. Amanda and Maja have an argument and Maja tells her friend to get lost. Maja bites the bullet and calls Sebastian in South Africa and breaks up with him. He takes it surprisingly well, but this won’t be the last we hear about it.

Back at the prison, Maja notices that ‘Doris’ is not there as usual, and visibly shaken she calls her lawyer and tells him that she will take part in the reconstruction after all. Presumably, she has worked out that unless she does something she will end up spending many Christmases alone in prison.

Maja is loaded into the back of a car and taken to the crime scene reconstruction. There are various people there, including police, the prosecutor and people filming. Maja takes them through the events of the shooting.

This sequence is intercut with flashbacks from the actual shooting which effectively injects some urgency into the narrative. Maja stumbles over a few of the details once she gets into the classroom, but we finally start to understand what happened in that classroom. Whilst describing the events, Maja breaks down and says, “I shot them, I shot them”.

Maja’s lawyer comes and talks to her to explain that the investigation is now over, the next step is a trial. It is not looking good for Maja.

The final flashback is to Maja’s little sister’s 7th birthday party with her happy family. Maja’s phone rings, she takes the call. Samir wants to get together, he’s such a nice boy. I really hope nothing bad happens to him. Maja and her sister are playing outside, Maja’s mother comes to find them, something has happened to Sebastian, he’s in the hospital. Maja rushes to visit him.

For the first time in the series, the most interesting plot developments come from the present-day sequences, where we finally get a better understanding of the incident itself. Pace-wise, this episode picks up from episode 3 but is still a little on the saggy side.

Episode 5 – “The Trial”

Quicksand Series Image (Credit – Netflix)

Here we go, its showtime. Maja’s trial will now begin. She is sat in the back of a car on the way to court, the radio blares out news stories all about the case, and it seems the public think she’s either guilty or just crazy. The judge opens proceedings and the prosecutor stands to start to make her case. They plan to push for every conviction they can.

We cut to the hospital room where Sebastian is resting, Maja is sat by his side. We learn that Sebastian had gone out and got wrecked with his dealer and attempted suicide. Handsome Dad is nowhere to be seen and Sebastian is all alone. Marja has no choice but to stay with him.

The defense attorney opens his arguments – to be honest, I’m not convinced he’s up to the task. His speech is in way too much legalese. After the opening exchanges, Maja seems a bit defeatist; she knows how the media have been portraying her and is convinced that everyone has made up their minds.

Maja and Sebastian return to Sebastian’s big house from the hospital, and it’s empty. Handsome Dad has totally abandoned his boy. Doorbell: it’s Amanda and Labbe come to visit the patient. Amanda asks Maja ‘does he know you cheated on him?’ Nope, not yet anyway…

Back to court, and we hear the sound recording of the emergency services call alerting the police to the shooting. We get a graphic description of the death of Amanda; the forensic evidence is not looking good for Maja.

Doorbell (the director seems to like the use of the doorbell to transition between timelines): Sebastian is buying more drugs, which I doubt very much will do much for his mental health. Maja heads off to school and bumps into Samir in the corridor at school and they have an awkward exchange.

Class is coming to an end and Sensible Teacher pulls Maja to one side to check in (seriously, is he the only adult that gives a s**t?!). Maja frantically calls Sebastian, who has been ignoring her calls, and rushes to his house and finds him in the pool. Natura,lly she assumes he has drowned himself, but it turns out he’s just having a fully clothed swim (what?).

Handsome Dad is home and making jokes over drinks about his f**k-up of a son. Maja confronts him and demands to know where he has been and basically what his general problem is.

Back to court, now we’re looking at the text messages that Maja and Sebastian swapped about Handsome Dad shortly before he was murdered. Let’s just say they are not flattering. Next, the prosecutor tells us about how Maja must have either been stupid or guilty to have carried a bag full of guns through the school without querying what was in it.

Maja’s turn to testify. Her lawyer asks her to describe Sebastian’s mental health following his suicide attempt. She describes how it was mainly just the two of them since Sebastian was unmanageable, Handsome Dad was nowhere to be seen and their relationship had broken down. “What happened on your last birthday?”

Cut to said birthday and we have a family party. Sebastian is drunk and causes a big scene. Her parents want to know how long Sebastian has been a druggie waster for (at last!) and that they would rather she not go home with him. She ignores them. Sebastian and Maja go home, and she confronts him about his behavior on her birthday. Sebastian hits and then rapes her in a really troubling scene. On her way out of the house, she bumps into Claes who, oblivious to what his son has just done, advises her to get away from him.

The prosecutor is unmoved. She puts Maja through some very unpleasant questioning and implies that Maja made the whole thing up. She destroys Maja’s credibility and then reveals the mystery witness who saw the whole thing won’t be able to testify until next week.

Episode 6 – “The Witnesses”

Quicksand Series Recap (Episodes 1-6)

Quicksand Series Image (Credit – Netflix)

Straight to it then: the prosecutor introduces us to a series of witnesses. First up is Labbe, Sebastian’s best friend. Sensible Teacher is drawing the school year to a close and wishes his students well. As Maja makes her way out of the classroom, she discovers Sebastian, who is buzzing and inviting everyone to party at his place that night.

As the party gets started, Sebastian is high as a kite and busy engineering an orgy with some of the party guests. Frustrated, Maja takes some pills from Dennis the dealer. The pills clearly mess with Maja, and she is really out of it.

Back to court, and Labbe is telling the court how Maja was a bad influence on Sebastian, how when she was around Sebastian was extra crazy. He also tells the court that Amanda was only at the school at all because of the meeting there about Maja.

Our next witness is Mimmi, Amanda’s mother. She recounts emotionally how she was informed about the death of her daughter. Mimmi describes how close the two girls were, that was until Maja isolated herself from everyone with Sebastian.

We also learn that the meeting that was taking place at the school that fateful morning had come about because Amanda and Samir had gone to their teacher and raised their concerns. Court is adjourned, and Maja returns to her cell for the weekend.

The next witness is the mysterious witness who was in the room at the time and was hurt in the shooting. You’ve probably guessed who it is by now, it’s Samir! Samir makes his way to his seat with the use of crutches and is the only surviving witness who is in the classroom at the time.

He tells us about the party the night before. Him, Labbe, and Amanda had planned to intervene at the party but when they got there they discovered that Maja was out of it on drugs too. They show a video clip of the party that shows Maja looking the worse for wear. The footage was sent to Claes by Samir.

Claes turns up at the party angry and demanding to have Samir’s phone. He then finds Sebastian and beats him up in front of everyone. It is after the party that Maja sends Sebastian those incriminating text messages.

Samir proceeds to give an account of what happened that morning. Sebastian shot Dennis, Christer, and Samir. He describes that he heard Sebastian command Maja to shoot and then tells the court that he saw her deliberately shoot Amanda before she shot Sebastian.

After a short recess, the defense opens its questioning. The defense attorney pokes several holes in Samir’s testimony in a gripping scene where he demonstrates that Samir could not have seen what he claims to have seen. Maybe there is hope for Maja yet.

Flashback to the morning of the incident. Maja makes her way downstairs; her family asks her to join them for breakfast before she gets a call from a frantic Sebastian. Despite her father’s protests, she goes to him, and they make their way to school for the meeting.

At last, we see for ourselves what happened. Sebastian hands Maja a holdall which she takes, they make their way through the corridor and she puts the bag in her locker. They enter the classroom and Maja shuts the door as Sebastian shoots Dennis, Christer, and Samir.

Cut back to the courtroom and the prosecution is making their closing statement, it’s a good one and the prosecutor requests the maximum sentence. Time for the defense to make their case. He states that the media created a guilty verdict with their coverage and claims that the prosecution has overstated big parts of their case and all that they have is a compromised witness. It’s the best we have seen from the lawyer so far, and just in time.

Everyone waits nervously for the verdict.

The judge ramps up before revealing that Maja has been found… Not Guilty!

Hugs and tears all around.

Final flashback. We are in the classroom and Sebastian has shot Dennis, Christer, and Samir, she fumbles and shoots Amanda by mistake and kills Sebastian, just as she said she did.

The final episode of Quicksand is the best episode of the series. It gives us a satisfying ending, clears up the loose ends, and keeps us guessing until the end.

And this is my recap of Quicksand! What did you think of the series? Comment below.

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