Warning! This post contains SPOILERS for 1899!
Hidden details in Netflix’s 1899 suggest that Ada’s death may be even darker than it initially seemed. What begins as the simple mystery of a missing ship named Prometheus in 1899 turns into a bone-chilling tale of the skewed nature of human perception and reality. While 1899 has a bleak atmosphere from the beginning, the show’s plot takes a morbid turn when a young girl, Ada, is found dead on the deck of its central ship, Kerberos. With what follows, a series of puzzling events reveal that everything in Kerberos is a mere construct inside a simulation.
Ada’s death sets up Daniel (played by Aneurin Barnard from Peaky Blinders season 6), a mysterious passenger who climbs aboard Kerberos, as 1899‘s overarching villain. He appears to be the only person who meets Ada, and supposedly does something to her with his remote control shell moments before she is found dead. However, as 1899 progresses, it becomes evident that Kerberos’ passengers are living in a fake simulation while still alive, and presumably healthy, in reality. This twist not only affirms that Daniel is among 1899‘s righteous characters but also establishes that there is a lot more to Ada’s death than meets the eye.
Towards the closing moments of 1899 season 1, Captain Eyk (played by Andreas Pietschmann from Dark season 3) meets the same fate as Ada when the ship’s first mate, Sebastian, uses his remote control shell to kill him. Like Ada, Eyk shows no signs of fatal injuries, which indicates that Daniel and Sebastian used their shells to manipulate the simulation’s code in such a way that it simply eradicated Ada and Eyk from the simulation. Since nothing in the simulation is real, Ada and Eyk’s exit may not have necessarily killed them. This is further cemented in 1899‘s finale when Maura escapes the simulation, wakes up on the Prometheus spaceship in 2099, and finds the “real” Eyk, with other primary Kerberos passengers, plugged into a machine that runs the simulation.
Maura’s father, Henry (played by Anton Lesser from the cast of Andor), seems to have meticulously designed 1899‘s ship simulation to ensure that she finds its escape key. Even the key’s triangular symbol, imprinted on everything from the ship’s doors to its carpets, seems to be a subliminal message to jog Maura’s memory and help her find the key. Considering how Ada asks Maura if she has children and triggers flashbacks from her real life during their first interaction, Ada could be a construct, or rather, an NPC, in Henry’s simulation, fabricated to trigger Maura’s lost memory.
In another scene, Ada recites the grim story of a ghost ship to Tove, almost as if she can foresee Kerberos’ future. This seems to be another clue pointing toward her NPC status. The Netflix series nails down this theory in its finale when all the members of Ada’s Danish family, except for her, are on the 1899 finale’s Prometheus spaceship.
Although 1899 never directly mentions it, several details suggest that Elliot, too, is dead in the real world and only exists in the simulation. For instance, Maura and Daniel’s first simulation is a child’s playroom located beneath a grave in front of Henry’s hospital. 1899 also reveals that Maura created the simulation after Elliot fell sick because she could not endure the pain of his implied death, and erased her own memory to peacefully spend time with him in a fake reality. If Maura can create a fake version of her dead son to make her simulated reality more believable, then Henry, too, can likely do the same to sell the plausibility of his simulation to the real people in it.
In the Netflix sci-fi TV show, Henry probably uses the NPCs in his simulation as catalysts to drive the ship’s events in a direction that would get him his desired outcomes. Since Daniel kills Ada to trigger a chain reaction that would help Maura get her memories back, it is likely that Daniel is also using Kerberos’ NPCs to propel his mission in the simulation. Confirming this, there’s a scene in 1899 episode 2 where two workers in Kerberos’ engine room talk like literal NPCs from a video game when they mindlessly discuss how wolves might have killed Prometheus’ passengers. Similarly, 1899 episode 1 also has a glitch-in-the-matrix moment in which all passengers in Kerberos’ dining room sip their tea in sync, hinting that none of their simulation personas can be trusted.
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