×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The 12 Best Moments From Netflix's 1899 Ranked

Abandoned ships are one of the tried and true tropes of horror, offering an immediately unsettling mystery to captivate any unlucky seaman who crosses their paths. The existence of real wrecks amplifies the creepiness of these ghostly vessels in fiction. Supposedly haunted watercraft like The Mary Celeste and others have long fascinated countless people. For Netflix's "1899," capturing that authentic sense of plausible horror through a sci-fi filter is a major part of what makes the series click.

Tapping into the migration of millions of Europeans to North America that took place from the end of the Napoleonic wars to the 1920s, the series sees a group of strangers board a ship called the Kerberos en route to their new lives in turn-of-the-century New York City. These well-laid plans are cast aside when they happen upon an abandoned ship called the Prometheus and the captain, Eyk Larsen, chooses to tow it back to London, to the dismay of most other people onboard. Appealing to both horror and sci-fi fans, the story offers many thrilling moments as the ship seems caught in a reality vortex with a deeply haunted child at the heart of its mystery. Here are some of the highlights from "1899."

12. Maura discovers the neutral space

While explaining what exactly is up with all the neat little vortexes hidden around the two ships in "1899" is a task best left to the possible second season, there are plenty of hints and theories around them. Maura is haunted by memories of being forcibly injected with substances unknown in an asylum. In the fifth episode, "The Calling," while hundreds of passengers seemingly possessed walk straight into the sea, Maura is busy in her room attempting to get the mysterious Elliot to explain himself, though she quickly realizes that it's a dead end.

Instead, Maura pulls away the cover with a triangle carved into it, revealing a black tiled tunnel, which she decides to follow. She climbs down, finding that it leads to a beautiful but isolated field. She sees a lonely grave marked by a cross, and beyond it, an enormous building. She enters its empty halls, exploring further. Meanwhile, Daniel, the mysterious man who appeared on the ship just as the Prometheus was boarded, speaks with Elliot, who cryptically observes that they never made it so far as they have this time. This eerie statement suggests the ships might be caught in some kind of time loop. Maura is grabbed by orderlies who drag her back to be injected once more. She awakens, but now has even more questions than answers.

11. Jerome does the right thing

Jerome is easily in the running to be one of the best characters of this series, and his sense of determination and pursuit of justice shine through even on a show with a limited runtime and a whole lot going on. A stowaway who befriends Olek, it's clear from the moment we meet him that there is going to be a good story about how exactly he ended up on the lower decks of this ill-fated ship. In the fourth episode, "The Fight," he and Olek are tasked with throwing a mound of mysteriously deceased passengers overboard while heavy rain falls over the deck. This gruesome scene is interspersed with glimpses into his backstory as we discover he knows the passenger Lucien a little too well.

He and Lucien were in the French Foreign Legion together, but when Lucien decided that they should desert, Jerome argued passionately against doing so. It seemed as if his words were getting through to his friend, but when he let his guard down, Lucien hit him in the face with a gun and locked him in a cell. He tossed a medal in and told Jerome that he intended to report him as a deserter, which forced him to go on the run. In the present day, Jerome makes a valiant attempt at escaping the ship, with Olek attempting to cover for him. With his enemies in hot pursuit, Jerome again does a selfless thing and leaps in front of Elliot, taking a bullet to save his life. Thankfully, he survives, but it's quite a harrowing episode for Jerome.

10. Olek helps Ling Ye

Olek is one of the coal trimmers aboard the Kerberos, put through backbreaking labor to keep the ship on course. Though not much is known about him and he's often in the trenches of the most difficult parts of keeping a ship operational, he's able to support other characters in key moments. His willingness to help Jerome puts his own welfare in jeopardy several times, but the two share good intentions that make them a solid pair during these bizarre misadventures. Olek is most drawn to Ling Ye, a young woman haunted by the person whose life she inadvertently stole. In trying to sneak into the other woman's identity as a geisha with the hope of enjoying the luxuries promised her, Ling Ye accidentally killed her through an overdose of sleeping powder, forcing her mother to cover up the death.

To make matters worse, she might not have been dead from the sleeping powder, instead trapped inside a crate and dropped into the sea while still alive. Understandably, this haunts Ling Ye. In the third episode, "The Fog," she is very much in danger of meeting a similar fate as horrific visions of what she did drive her to aimlessly wander the ship alone. However, Olek finds her and successfully calls her back to reality through his mere presence. This eventually blossoms into a romance as Olek strives to stay by her side.

9. Ramiro stands up for himself

At the start of the series, we meet passengers Angel and Ramiro. They say they are brothers, and the latter also claims to be a priest. However, the two don't look much alike. Their mismatched appearance and personalities make more sense once it's revealed that they are in fact lovers. Angel becomes fascinated by the younger, less worldly Krester, which leads to tension in his relationship with Ramiro. Though Angel completely dismisses him and the two temporarily make up after an argument in the second episode, "The Boy," Angel refuses to give up his affair with Krester. In "The Fog," the situation comes to a head as Angel happily announces that there is about to be a mutiny aboard the ship and they'll be going to New York after all.

Ramiro knows Angel is having an affair and attempts to hold him accountable for his actions, which Angel completely dismisses. This angers Ramiro, who reveals that they're both fleeing something that might have easily landed them both in prison or the graveyard. He also notes that the priest costume was Angel's idea despite feeling uncomfortable with the masquerade himself. Angel continues to dismiss his concerns, smirking and noting that he can't be anything but what he is. This frustrates Ramiro, who walks to the door, saying that he's going to do the right thing and warn the captain, which is the first step in Ramiro's ultimately quite heroic arc.

8. Clemence and Jerome meet

Most of the characters in "1899" seem to share inexplicable connections, be it the rapport between Maura and Eyk or Olek's love for Ling Ye. Yet none of the bonds are quite as haunting as that between Clemence and Jerome, who are linked through her husband, Lucien. Though she knows nothing of Jerome and very little of what is actually going on with Lucien, Clemence understands that there's something very wrong with her husband. Taking to the deck to get some air, she stares at the birds flying overhead while Jerome hesitantly approaches. 

Clemence sees that he's dressed like a member of the ship's crew. She notes that you're not supposed to judge people based on appearances, but that looks are all you have to work with when you first see someone. Clemence then turns her lens on Jerome, noting that she believes he made up his mind about her the moment he saw her. They take in the view together, with Jerome noting grimly that even the birds live in prisons of their own. Despite the strangeness of their conversation, they clearly have chemistry. Clemence quickly says she needs to leave, while Jerome enigmatically notes that she was right, and he did make up his mind about her the moment he saw her. The two continue to share an intriguing connection as Lucien's secrets are revealed.

7. Ramiro helps the priest find his faith again

The start of Ramiro's arc positions him as the nervous and jealous lover of Angel, but he gradually steps into his own. After defending Eyk through the mutiny and then escaping captivity with him, Ramiro is there to see most of the ship's passengers and crew jump overboard. The priest of the lower decks, Anker, sits with Ramiro, disclosing to him that his wife, Iben, suffers from delusions that he feels pressured into going along with. Breaking down in tears due to the trauma of the last several hours, he confesses that he never wanted to be a priest and has never heard god's voice.

Despite not being a priest himself, Ramiro smiles and tells him sincerely that all his sins will be forgiven, granting Anker some hope despite the direness of the situation. At that moment, the ship's motor kicks suddenly back on, and Ramiro and Angel rush to shovel coal to keep it alive. Angel is struck by a metal beam and dies in Ramiro's arms, confessing that he was the better of the two and couldn't believe that he'd ever gotten the love of a man as good as him. As much as Ramiro has grown to be a comfort to others, the pain of losing Angel devastates him. Still, he keeps trying to survive.

6. Clemence and Tove team up

When we meet Clemence, she's bound in a loveless marriage to the manipulative but tragic Lucien. After meeting Jerome and learning the truth about Lucien's complex web of lies and deceit, Clemence feels emboldened to act. While most of the people remaining aboard after the mass exodus run to the engine room to shovel coal and keep the motor running, others branch off to look for survivors. Iben and Virginia team up while Tove and Clemence make another pair to cover the most ground. Though Tove has expressed disdain for the rich and Clemence has been stuck in her own troubles, the two find common ground.

Much of "The Pyramid" follows Tove's horrific backstory in which her brother is shot and permanently disfigured due to his affair with a feudal lord's son. Tove attempts to defend him from his attackers, who turn on her in an assault that leaves her pregnant and lands her family on the Kerberos. Tove's story is shocking and painful, further distancing her from the comparatively privileged Clemence. However, Clemence is growing disillusioned with the way society treats women. She decides that if she's going to go wandering around a haunted ship, by golly, she's going to do it wearing pants — not the complicated, restrictive outfits that she's heard men invented to keep women from physically being able to flee them. Clemence shows a surprising feminist spirit that Tove appreciates.

5. The captain turns the ship back to Europe

"1899" is chock-full of exciting, believable characters with interesting backstories. Nearly every passenger and crew member of the Kerberos reveals some trait or personal history that shows there's more to them than meets the eye. This applies to Eyk, the jaded captain who's full of remorse for spending too much time at sea, only to return home one day to find his family lost to him forever. Eyk's actions make him one of the show's most enigmatic figures.

Arguably his greatest moments come when he stands in front of hundreds of people, telling them what they don't want to hear. First, he decides to detour to the Prometheus despite protests from his wards. Then, after boarding the ship against advisement, he announces that they'll tow the wreck back to Europe due to his suspicions that the boat company is attempting a coverup of some kind. Even those who'd grudgingly gone along with the first choice are enraged by this, with Virginia asking how many people are aboard the ship and noting that all of them save one disagree with this move. Though this eventually leads to mutiny, Eyk is a man of conviction, and this is one of his shining moments.

4. The mystery unveiled

The entire series is a wild ride with plenty of plot twists, but it's not until the eighth episode, "The Key," that we finally start getting some answers as to what Maura's Machiavellian father, Henry, has been up to all this time. The surviving cast realizes that they all received letters encouraging them to board the ship — a trope from classic Agatha Christie mystery novels like "And Then There Were None." Maura attempts to convince them that they're all in a simulation. This isn't particularly easy for a group of folks born during the Victorian age to accept. She's only able to convince Eyk, who's been plagued by visions of his deceased wife and daughters.

The rest of the "1899" Season 1 finale is full of wild revelations that ultimately leave more questions than answers, but discovering that Maura, not Henry, is perhaps the creator of the simulation is a pretty big moment. After eight episodes of trying to figure out what exactly Henry's endgame was, seeing him casually shift blame to his daughter is stunning. Yet, nothing's more surprising than the last minutes of the episode, which, instead of answering some of the season's big questions, show Maura awakening on a space station in the year 2099, surrounded by the exact number of people as on the ship, all asleep in stasis. What's that about? Guess we'll have to wait for the possible second season to find out.

3. The passengers go overboard

In the fifth episode, "The Calling," we learn more about Tove's dark story. Despite her tragic past, Tove is trying to do the right thing in a terrible situation. As Iben and Krester terrorize the rest of the ship's passengers with Iben's claim that she's heard the voice of God, Tove defects to the loyalists. Meanwhile, the loyalists have their own problems, as they're busy locking Elliot into a cabinet, much to Maura's dismay. Horrified, she reaches toward the handle, insisting on freeing the boy. When a gunshot rings out, the bullets slow and stop. Elliot calmly leads her away from the melee and back into one of the black-tiled tunnels to the asylum.

A loud ticking noise puts the vast majority of the passengers and crew into a trance. One after another, they climb to the deck and leap straight into the sea. Much of the central cast is unaffected by the sound, but they're horrified by the mass death happening all around them, and they fight in vain to keep the mass of people from ending their own lives. This is easily one of the most harrowing moments of the series, as heroes like Eyk and Ramiro nearly topple under a stampede, desperately trying and failing to save even one life.

2. Endless boats

By the end of the second episode, "The Boy," it's obvious that "1899" contains sci-fi elements. Despite being set in 1899, the show offers a literal futuristic lens on the escalating situation on the Kerberos. A peculiar figure viewing all of the escalating drama on the ship through a series of TV monitors, indicating that there's another layer to the ghost ship story. Yet that's only the tip of the iceberg, as the end of the sixth episode, "The Pyramid," reveals. 

When Virginia touches a sparkly black substance she comes across, it begins to spread across her hand and up her arm. Believing that Daniel knows more than he's saying, he and Eyk fight, but Daniel teleports him away. Daniel then tells Maura that they're actually married and that this apparent reality is nothing more than a simulation, although she struggles to believe him and locks him away to investigate other happenings on the ship. That's when we discover what has happened to Eyk, who awakens on the Prometheus. Confused, he walks to the deck, only to find himself surrounded by dozens of copies of the Prometheus, all abandoned and floating aimlessly. 

1. Boarding the Prometheus

The story of "1899" takes us through many twists and turns over its eight episodes, but its first entry, "The Ship," hits the hardest. We kick things off with a horrifying memory of Maura in the asylum, only for us to realize that she is in fact on board the Kerberos. Introducing herself as a doctor who was allowed to study but not practice because of her gender, she quickly meets other passengers. She even helps save Tove's baby from its tangled umbilical cord. Meeting the captain, the two quickly become allies. 

When Eyk hears of the Prometheus and chooses to go meet the craft to see if there are any survivors, Maura bravely insists on going with him even as his most loyal crew members balk at the idea. Taking Olek and Jerome along, they board the Prometheus, realizing that the ship is completely abandoned — that is, until they hear a loud banging from inside a cabinet, which Maura hesitantly opens. Inside, we find Elliot, known at this time only as "the boy," who steps calmly out while keeping eye contact with Maura. He unwraps a black toy pyramid and hands it to Maura, kicking off the mystery at the heart of the series, all set to the tune of "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane.