1899 Season 1 review: Down the rabbit hole

1899 Season 1 review: Down the rabbit hole

1899 Season 1 review

1899 Season 1 is the new, highly anticipated series created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese, known for creating Dark , the best time travel television series you will ever see. 1899 Season 1  moves on parallel tracks to Dark, revealing a very similar structure, while remaining independent and original, especially from a narrative point of view.

1899 Season 1 review: down the rabbit hole

Just like that of Dark , the story told in 1899 Season 1  is dark in color and features main characters tormented by nightmares from their past . To give you an idea of ​​the plot of the series, you can consult the official synopsis, which you will find below:

“Some mysterious events change the course of a migrant ship bound for New York in 1899, bringing passengers perplexed by an unsettling enigma”.

We are fully aware of the fact that this synopsis is incredibly vague, but there is a reason: further details would risk greatly affecting the vision of the series. For this reason, we would like to clarify that we will exclude certain aspects of 1899 Season 1 from our analysis, precisely to avoid exposing you to massive spoilers.

Dark and 1899 Season 1: same structure, new experience

if (jQuery("#crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh2_1").is(":visible")) { //console.log ("[ACTIVATION TEST] adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh2"); } if (jQuery("#crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_bx2_1").is(":visible")) { //console.log("[ACTIVATION TEST] adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_bx2_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_bx2"); } Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese have accustomed us, with Dark , to an incredibly dense and branched narrative structure that offers many different ideas, which is certainly not unusual. What makes Dark's story unusual is a sort of schematic superstructure that overlaps the narrative one, thus creating a diversified story which, however, remains bound to a series of schemes that are revealed even after several visions. For example, some shots mirror others, some events take place on the same day, at the same time, but in different periods, and there is also a very strong numerical symbology.

In 1899 we found a very strong symbology linked to the number 3, as also highlighted by the poster of the series, which shows us the waves of the sea forming a triangle. The very symbol of the series is an inverted triangle crossed by a horizontal line, and the last episode is entitled "Pyramid". What else is hidden behind the number 3?

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1899 Another feature of Dark are the frequent plot twists, twists and turns that completely overturn the pre-acquired knowledge and which even make the series ascribe to different genres: one goes from the investigative thriller of the first season to time travel in the second, to lead to the plot twist of the parallel universes of the third and final season. But why are we talking about it? Because 1899 Season 1 really seems to follow the structural scheme of Dark: in fact, you will see your ideas change rather drastically …

In this regard, we give you some advice: regardless of everything you see, listen carefully pay attention to the words of the external narrator at the opening of the series. Just like the voice of Tannhaus at the beginning of Dark , this female voice (we won't tell you who it belongs to to avoid spoilers) reveals the true theme of the series . So, don't be fooled by what you see, because “ everything is not always as it seems, in this place “.

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Kaspar Hauser among the passengers?

The initial part of 1899 Season 1 , of which we were able to preview the first 6 episodes (out of the total 8 of the first season), shows us a ship, the Kerberos , traveling from Europe to turn of America. Inside there are people from all walks of life who, for different reasons, want to reach the New World. One day, the Kerberos intercepts a message from her sister ship, the Prometheus, of which she had lost all trace 4 months earlier. When the commander of the Kerberos, Eyk Larsen (Andreas Pietschmann, former protagonist of Dark ), decides to assist the Prometheus, problems begin…

The passengers do not want to delay their journey, nor risk not reaching never the American shores, but that's not the only problem… If you're already familiar with horror like Alien and Point of No Return, this premise will certainly be familiar. What is hidden on the Prometheus? Where did she go for 4 months? What happened to her passengers?

A decidedly intriguing detail, then, is the presence of a child. We know almost nothing about him, also because he is decidedly taciturn. His always impassive expression, his clothing and the fact that in practice he never speaks suggest a real historical figure: Kaspar Hauser. On May 26, 1828, a boy, Kaspar Hauser, was seen for the first time in a Nuremberg square. The boy hardly spoke and showed up holding two letters written, according to him, by two different people: his mother and the man who would have held him prisoner up to that moment. The letters, however, were written in the same handwriting, so it is thought that Hauser himself wrote them. The boy was then the victim of strange attacks whose cause was never ascertained, the last of which was fatal. To date, there is no evidence that the story of the imprisonment told by the boy is real, and for this reason there have been various speculations about his true identity, which has never been discovered. On his tombstone we read:

“Here lies Kaspar Hauser, the enigma of his time. His origin unknown, his death mysterious – 1833 ”.

Most likely, the boy we see in 1899 Season 1  and Kaspar Hauser also share other traits, not to mention that the two letters with which Hauser introduced himself on the day of his first appearance recall the letters that some also received Kerberos passengers … Who wrote those letters? And why? And to return to the symbology of the 3, Hauser had the bizarre habit of folding his letters into a triangular shape.

“What is lost will be found”

This mysterious motto is written on each of the letters that we have seen so far, and is also present in the poster of the series. But what does it refer to, exactly? If you already know Dark , you will know that even in that series there is a sort of mantra that is often repeated by different characters:

“Everything is connected”.

Also in this case, therefore, it will be advisable to always keep these words in mind, because they are much richer in meaning than it might seem. The protagonists of 1889 have different stories, but each of them has lost something or someone. This and various dramatic and traumatic events unite all these people, even though they did not know each other, before embarking on this "journey of hope" to the United States.

1899 Even the reasons that prompted these people to emigrate from Europe are different, but it is clear that some of them are fleeing from something. Of course, not all of their secrets are revealed, but we are sure that the story will excite and shock you, just as you would expect from a series created by the creators of Dark!

Science fiction & rock 'n roll

Thanks to the narrative expedient of the flashbacks we are able to understand the stories of the Kerberos passengers a little better, thus entering their minds. However, the rabbit hole is much darker and deeper than it seems … Soon unexplained, mysterious and decidedly disturbing things begin to happen on the ship. And the final scene of the sixth episode, the last of those we were able to preview (the first season will consist of a total of 8 episodes), will leave you speechless. Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese have accustomed us to stories that always acquire new elements as the narrative progresses, thus showing us a very broad and diverse general picture. And 1899 Season 1 is certainly no less!

Another characteristic trait of Dark that is also taken up in this new series is the importance of the soundtrack: each episode ends with a classic rock song, and the choice is never random , starting right from the opening theme , a cover of White Rabbit by the psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane . The song is about, as the title itself suggests, the White Rabbit and the other characters in Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Even if this is the literal meaning of the text, Alice's intake of pills and other substances that alternate perception and dimension symbolically represents the intake of psychotropic substances such as LSD. The piece closes with the famous phrase, repeated several times,

“Feed your head”.

The songs that close the first six episodes that we have seen, starting from the first, are:

White Rabbit (“White Rabbit”) by Jefferson Airplane, in its original version. Child in Time ("Child in Time"), Deep Purple's hard rock suite which concludes, not surprisingly, the episode entitled "The child", in which we see him for the first time. The Killing Moon by post-punk band Echo & the Bunnymen. Don't Fear the Reaper by the rock band Blue Öyster Cult. The Wizard ("The Wizard") of the hard rock and heavy metal band Black Sabbath, not surprisingly at the end of the episode entitled "The Call". All along the Watchtower (“Along the entire Watchtower“) by Bob Dylan in the most famous version of him, or the cover by Jimi Hendrix. The passage significantly closes the sixth episode, "The Pyramid", and the text speaks, metaphorically, of two characters who seek a way out of Evil and the fall of Babylon. In reference to the series, the text takes on a further meaning: from this moment on, the protagonists of 1899 will begin to free themselves from the lies of which they are prisoners and will begin their long process of becoming aware which will inevitably lead to the fall of their Babylon.


The first six episodes of 1899 Season 1  show a series with very solid foundations based on an original and fascinating narration and a symbology that runs through every single episode like a common thread. Nothing is left to chance, so you will have to leave nothing to chance: look at the images of the theme song, look at the settings surrounding the characters, listen to their stories and their words and, above all, don't let your mind deceive you. It doesn't matter what you think you see; only what the narrator says at the beginning of the first episode matters: that is the one and only correct interpretation of what you will see.

1899 In the light of this, it is evident which 1889 also plays with viewers and their perception, just like Dark . In fact, already in the first six episodes you will see the perspective of the characters change and, consequently, yours. 1899 Season 1  both intrigues and satisfies viewers, leaving them in suspense in anticipation of future events.

Having said that, the last two episodes of 1899 Season 1 contribute enormously to understanding the big picture at the within which these bizarre events develop. Without making too explicit spoilers, we can say that there are several events that bring to mind the structure and narrative devices of works such as The Matrix (regarding, among other things, constantly questioning our perception of reality, which could be altered), Being John Malkovich (especially as regards the presence of mysterious "tunnels" that open on the floor of different rooms and which lead to something very reminiscent of the film) and even Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (known in Italy with the unfortunate title Se Mi Lasci Ti Cancello ).

Of course, not all the cards in play are revealed: just as we have already seen in Dark , a new doubt arises for each piece of information given. Now that 1899 Season 1 is available in full on Netflix you can also enjoy it in binge watching to discover more and more details about the characters, their past and what lurks in the darkest recesses of their minds.

Once again including what is really happening aboard the Kerberos ship, it still remains to understand who is really behind all the strange and inexplicable events we are witnessing, and it certainly cannot be excluded that, in the coming seasons, the picture may get even more complicated. with the insertion of new plots and twists that could overturn our beliefs at any moment.

Ultimately, therefore, the two final episodes of 1899 Season 1 confirmed and further strengthened our impressions already expressed earlier in this article. Unfortunately we have to stop here in our analysis, although there is much more to say, to avoid revealing too many salient details of a courageous, bold and ruthless narrative, perfectly consistent with the spirit that also animates Dark. 1899 is a very successful series at the moment, which we are sure will satisfy the most demanding viewers.

1899 Season 1 will be available for viewing starting November 17 exclusively on Netflix, at this address. To take advantage of these and many other contents, you can buy Fire Stick TV directly here on Amazon.

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