‘1899’ Character: Henry Singleton, Explained: What Does He Want From Maura? Is He Working For Ciaran?


“1899” follows a ship called Kerberos, which is on its way to the United States of America and is filled with passengers who are running away from their respective traumatic pasts. After traveling a certain distance, they get a distress call from a ship that had gone missing a few months ago, called the Prometheus. And Captain Eyk immediately decides to change course, rescue it, and then tow it back to its origin. This obviously starts a lot of commotion among the crew and the passengers, and the discovery of several supernatural elements confuses the living hell out of everyone. However, what the people on the ship perceive as “supernatural” is actually the handiwork of a mysterious man in a mysterious building called Henry Singleton, who also happens to be the father of one of the passengers, Maura Franklin/Singleton.

Major Spoilers Ahead

Is Henry In Charge Of Looping The Simulations Only?

Henry is portrayed as the primary villain of the show from the get-go, as we see him imprisoning Maura and being accused of doing something to her brother, Ciaran. While talking to the only survivor of Prometheus, Maura paints Henry as a sick individual who thinks that being alone in a forest is educational. But the real kicker comes from the revelation that everything involving the ships is a simulation that is being viewed by Henry. Just to be clear, that’s not the only layer of simulation in the show. In fact, there are three. The first layer is being controlled by Ciaran, in the year 2099, by keeping the following passengers on sleeping boards aboard a spaceship called Prometheus: Eyk, Ángel, Tove, Clémence, Jérôme, Ling Yi, Maura, Anker, Krester, Iben, Ramiro, Olek, Lucien and Yuk Je. In that layer, Maura and her husband are forcibly keeping their dying son Elliot alive. That’s causing the creation of another layer in Elliot’s head, where Henry is the “creator,” and Elliot and Daniel are Maura’s saviors. What are they saving Maura from? Well, she and the aforementioned passengers are in the steamship simulations, which are being run in unending loops and monitored by Henry.

Now, the version of Henry that we see in “1899” can be one of two things. Since he only exists in the second layer of the simulation, which is the one happening in Elliot’s head and is probably an extension of Maura’s feelings of not having a child, Henry can be a personification of Maura’s memory of her father. Maura apparently remembers Henry as someone who watched her and her brother as they aimlessly roamed around in the forest and resented his children for his wife’s decaying mental health. So, his role as the “creator” covers both of those aspects as Henry watches over her as she tries to figure out what’s going on in the ships and does everything in his power to ensure she never escapes this hellish place. However, because Henry watches over the other passengers as well to observe how they follow the same patterns in every single loop of the simulation, he can be a program created by Ciaran to keep said loops running seamlessly. He probably doesn’t have any motivations of his own. He is only meant to keep the 14 characters’ minds running in circles until they lose it and become subservient to Ciaran when he finally brings them back to reality.

How Much Truth Is There To Henry’s Backstory?

In addition to all the information about Henry that’s mentioned above, we learn from Captain Eyk that, in the simulation, he’s supposed to be a “British investor” who bought a total of three German ships. These ships were taken to the dry dock for three whole months, and they came back with new communication systems and a lot of refurbishments. The inverted triangle with a horizontal line through it, which is ever present throughout the show and seen in Clémence’s earring, Ling Yi’s kimono, the hatch on the shafts that lead to the simulations made out of the characters’ past or assigned backstories, and even on the carpets lining the hallways, is apparently Henry’s company logo. Now, we know that Ciaran is in charge of the Prometheus spaceship and not the Henry that we see in the show. But, judging from this story, there’s a pretty good chance that he’s the founder of the company, much like the Weyland-Yutani corporation in the “Alien” franchise, which is in charge of interstellar travel. Ciaran and Maura have probably inherited it after his death or retirement and are running the show. However, a dispute regarding the ownership could’ve prompted Ciaran’s attempt to trap Maura in a simulation and take control of Henry’s empire.

We get two more important bits of information about Henry from Maura. She says that he devoted his life to the study of human behavior and that he’s using the business of owning ships as a front so that he can work on manipulating its passengers’ brains. She says that she used to be a doctor at a mental hospital, where Henry somehow forced her to think she was a patient instead. And she says that the mental hospital was actually meant for her and Ciaran’s mother. Henry apparently loved his wife the most and couldn’t bear to see her lose her mind after giving birth to Ciaran and Maura. So, he devoted his life to studying the human mind and tried to find ways to fix it if it broke. Soon after that, we see Henry talking about how people only believe in what they see and that they need to change their perspective to see the truth. No matter how you interpret Henry, it seems like Maura and Ciaran think of him as an antagonist. If Henry exists in Maura’s mind only, in real life, he must’ve been an oppressive force. If Henry is a program created by Ciaran to torment Maura, then maybe in real life, he did the same to Ciaran and preferred Maura over him. Therefore, he’s turning the tables artificially to give Maura a taste of his experience with their father.

Is Henry A Part Of The Prometheus In The Year 2099? Will He Return In ‘1899’ Season 2?

The big question from the concluding moments of “1899” is that “where the hell is Henry Singleton?” The last we see of him is when he inserts the fake key (Maura’s pendant) into the fake code (the black pyramid), and all the simulations come to an end. When Maura wakes up and goes through all the pods, we see that, (in addition to the pod Maura was in) there’s one empty pod. The characters occupying the rest of the pods are Eyk, Clémence, Lucien, Ling Yi, Yuk Je, Ramiro, Ángel, Anker, Krester, Jérôme, Olek, Iben and Tove while Daniel, Henry, Elliot, Virginia, Sebastian, or Franz aren’t there. So, was Henry, the occupant of the empty pod, and the crashing of the simulations caused him to have a breakdown in reality, after which he has whisked away for medical care? But why would Ciaran take such a risk? Or did he want something like that to happen because that’s how much he hates Henry, and he put him in the simulation so that he can rot in there for his sins against Maura and Ciaran?

Alternatively, Henry is probably chilling somewhere in the Prometheus if he is the owner of a spaceship company and completely oblivious to whatever’s happening between Ciaran and Maura. Wouldn’t that be sad as hell? You’ve seen how Maura views Henry. You’ve partially seen how Ciaran views Henry. But, at the end of the day, if the real-life Henry is too nonchalant about their little family drama because he has a company to run that’s responsible for transporting people from one end of the galaxy to another, it will be low-key devastating for the characters. There’s also the possibility that he has died of old age and is buried six feet under the ground, where he is nothing but a bundle of bones. However, that gives rise to the scenario where Henry has uploaded his consciousness into the mainframe of Prometheus and therefore immortalized himself. Either way, in order to get all or some of the answers regarding Henry, we’ll have to wait for “1899” Season 2. Season 1 is trending at #1 on Netflix all over the world. So, we can hope that Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese are going to get the opportunity to expand upon the Singleton family drama.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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