‘Anthracite’ Ending Explained & Series Summary: What Is Enola’s Real Identity?


Anthracite: Secrets of the Sect is a new French mystery thriller series streaming on Netflix with the premise of secret crimes and twisted pasts all hidden beneath a quaint and picturesque Alpine town. The plot follows a young woman named Ida, who arrives in the town of Levionna in search of her missing father, a journalist who had himself returned to the place thirty years after covering a cult mass suicide case. Although Anthracite relies too much on the larger-than-life complexities and twists in its plot, the fast pace and overall presentation make for a fairly entertaining watch.

Spoiler Alert

What is the Netflix series about?

Anthracite begins with a scene from 1994 in which a heavily armed police SWAT team is seen arriving at a house that is known for being the den of a local cult as part of an emergency mission. As the team is about to enter the house, a man wearing a long white robe walks out towards the police, and he is immediately identified as the cult leader, Caleb Johansson. Before he can be arrested, though, Caleb falls to the ground, with blood oozing out of his mouth, and the scene inside the house is even more horrific. All the cult members are found dead inside, having suffered some sort of poisoning in what is evidently an act of mass suicide. The leader, Caleb, is treated before his life can be claimed, and he is put away at a psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life, as he is suspected to have led his followers towards certain death.

In the present times of 2024, a young woman named Ida successfully tracks down her father, Solal Heilman, who is currently in the Alpine town of Levionna, where the incident with the cult had taken place. An investigative journalist by profession, Solal extensively reported on the incident back in 1994, and he suddenly returned to the place after thirty long years. As Ida speaks to him over the phone, asking why he had gone off to Levionna, she hears the man get kidnapped, after which there is no trace of Solal. An internet detective herself with a huge base of resourceful followers, the woman reaches Levionna to find any trace of her father. Going through his belongings at the hotel room where he had been staying leads Ida to a young man named Jaro Gatsi, whose photograph she finds at the place.

As it turns out, Jaro is an ex-convict, currently on probation after getting into trouble in Paris for having been a part of a drug gang. At present, Jaro is looking for a second chance at life and has been staying with his uncle and aunt, as he lost his mother as a young boy. While Ida wants Jaro’s help in finding her father, the young man refuses to be a part of any such matter simply because he wants to avoid any trouble with the law. However, when a woman named Emma Marcais goes missing on the very day that she was seen heading up the mountains with Jaro, the man realizes that he is already in a great deal of trouble.

The police investigator looking into Emma’s disappearance, Giovanna, is rather confused and worried about the fact that a number of people have gone missing in Levionna over the last few years, never to be found again. Her husband and colleague in the police department, Erwan, is not convinced, though, and feels that Giovanna is overreacting, like the time when she went searching for a man who had willingly gone away from the town. Within a couple of days, Emma Marcais is found dead in one of the nearby lakes, and tension builds in the small, picturesque town as she has the same mark on her face as the cult members from thirty years ago. In order to find more answers, Ida and Jaro visit the deranged leader, Caleb, only to come across a series of grave discoveries about the town and their own pasts.

What was the real truth behind the mass suicide?

Searching through Solal Heilman’s things in the hotel room, Ida finds a key to a storage unit where the journalist had hidden stacks of videotapes, all of which he had made during his investigation into the Ecrins cult thirty years ago. In 1994, the police in Levionna found a seventeen-year-old girl named Roxanne Vial murdered, with anthracite smeared across her face, which was a common practice of the Ecrins cult. Within the next few days, the entire cult was found dead, and the two matters were believed to be linked, which later turned out to be untrue. At the time, Roxanne was very close to another woman named Juliette, who happened to be a member of the cult, and Juliette was indeed also the mother of Jaro. 

After the mass suicide and the subsequent arrest of Caleb Johansson, Juliette remained very attached to the leader, as she kept talking of him and his principles, even mentioning that a supernatural entity kept visiting her room every night. While it seemed like Juliette was in a hallucinatory phase at the time, Solal had also come to the conclusion that Caleb was innocent, just like the woman believed. Going through her father’s videotapes, Ida also comes across the evidence of a young boy among the cult members, who had obviously escaped the mass suicide, as there was no child found. Believing that this child, named Mani, might have been the murderer both in the past and at present, Ida and her friends attempt to catch him during the town carnival. However, the truth that is revealed is very different, and it changes the account of the past as well.

The now-retired police captain, Denis Monnier, who had been in charge of the case in 1994, suddenly sees a figure dressed in the cult outfit and is taken back to the past. Denis had secretly been a member of the Ecrins cult in a desperate attempt to heal his physical ailment, and he had even beaten a man to death as part of the ritual that was supposed to heal him. But when the act did not make him better, the man felt that he needed to make bigger sacrifices, and in an almost crazed state, he poisoned the water at the cult’s safehouse, killing every member in the process, excluding Caleb. Therefore, the bizarre incident that had been considered an act of mass suicide for so long is now revealed to have been a mass murder committed by the ex-police chief. At present, Monnier once again dons the cult outfit and poisons the crowd gathered at the carnival, again in a mindless state, before killing himself with the same poison. 

Was the Arcacia Corporation involved in the killings?

A major tension existing in the town of Levionna at present is animosity between the citizens and a big corporation named Arcacia, which is believed to run some dubious experiments. The townsfolk are of the opinion that the corporation regularly runs strange and inhuman experiments on them, especially their children, without ever asking for the consent of the masses. An entire activist group has been formed by the townsfolk, and police officer Giovanna’s failed pregnancy a year ago is also believed by many to have been an effect of Arcacia’s operations. The real truth of the company is revealed later on, as they recently discovered a special bacteria in the anthracite inside the abandoned mines of Levionna that could be used to produce revolutionary medicine. In order to study the bacteria further and harvest it, the company made teams of researchers enter the mines through an underground entrance of their own office. However, they were also failing to achieve the necessary results at the moment, so the researchers were also stealing sheep from the town and testing the bacteria on them. Interestingly, Emma Marcais had also been found with an Arcacia chip stuck in her body, as she was also part of a test trial at the time, and it is possible that her death was due to this very experiment.

The director of the Arcacia company also turns out to be Mani Bachelard, the very boy who was once raised in the cult. Mani originally belonged to a Russian family, and his father was extremely violent and drawn to weird cults all over their native country. When the father lost faith in a certain cult, he kidnapped his son and fled to France, where he eventually joined the Ecrins. While it is initially felt that Mani might be involved in the crimes, it is later revealed that he had no part to play in them. Mani detested the cult and wanted to keep himself as far from it as possible, and it was perhaps this hatred that drove him towards building his own science company in the town. However, the workers in the mines are also attacked by a seemingly supernatural entity, and this eventually shuts down the project. Arcacia heads towards a total shutdown.

Does Ida find her father?

Once again helped by Solal’s old videotapes, Ida and her friends are led to a pastor who vehemently hated the cult and wanted to drive them away from the town. The pastor’s daughter is still alive, although living as a heretic in the forest, and it is at her house that Jaro and Romeo find Solal Heilman. Despite the journalist having lost a foot to amputation, he is alive and fairly well, and the heretic reveals that she had found him in an injured state in the forest. She was the one who had amputated his foot, as Solal had been badly injured by gunshots. As the journalist is admitted to the hospital and still in an unresponsive state, Ida finds a videotape that her father used to always carry with himself, and this tape turns her life completely upside down.

When Solal had been interviewing Juliette thirty years ago, the woman was pregnant, although her body did not visibly show the signs. During one such session, Juliette’s water suddenly broke, and Solal had to help her give birth at that very place since there was no time to call for help. Juliette had given birth to a baby girl, meaning that it was obviously not Jaro, but she did not want to keep her, seemingly because the child was born out of Caleb Johansson forcing himself upon her multiple times. Solal had decided to keep the baby and help both her and Juliette, for he and his wife had also been trying for a child for a long time. Through this video, it becomes very clear to Ida that Solal Heilman was not her biological father but that she was the child of Juliette and a result of Caleb raping the woman. This naturally makes Jaro her biological brother and the deranged cult leader her father. As Caleb also escapes from the mental facility at this very time, he meets with Ida and promises to reveal the whole truth to her.

What secret was behind the mystery of the missing people?

Although police officer Erwan ridiculed his wife’s belief that something gravely suspicious was behind the mysterious disappearances of people in Levionna, Giovanna’s theory was eventually proved correct. When Jaro’s daughter Malia goes missing, he is confident that she has been taken down to the mines, and Giovanna decides to accompany him on his search. Together, they stumble upon a portion of the mines where the dead bodies of all the missing people are found, and the perpetrator behind them is finally found. Back in 1994, when Solal left Levionna after his long investigation, he handed off the storage space keys to a worker for the company, who happened to be a young woman named Valerie Faure. With loads of time on her hands and an interest in what the journalist kept in the storage, Valerie started going through all the videotapes and became obsessed with the figure of Caleb, desiring to be his follower and meet him.

Valerie’s wish came true very soon, as she had been training to be a nurse, and so she took a job at the hospital where Caleb was kept. The woman tried to get close to the cult leader, telling her about her interest in him, but he refused her advances. By this time, Valerie had grown totally engrossed with the cult and its ideas, and she forcefully got physically involved with Caleb, wanting to bear his children. As a result, she got pregnant, gave birth to twins, and made them part of her distorted beliefs. While she raised her son normally, making him a good and honored person in society, she left her daughter inside the mines, intending for her to grow up to be an evil human who would balance all the goodness that her brother would be doing. This son is actually the town’s most renowned and loved doctor, Hari Faure, and the daughter is the one who has been committing all the murders. Each of the individuals who had gone missing had been last spotted near entrances to the mines, and they had all been lured in by the Faure sister, who had always acted on her mother’s orders. 

All of the targets were killed as part of a sacrifice, and Valerie even makes her son shoot Romeo, although the latter is not killed by the bullets. It is then that Hari tells the police about her mother’s real identity and the authorities rush to the place. On the other side, Caleb takes Ida to the cave in order to stop Valerie and her daughter, since he has figured out that they are killing people in the town. When the cult leader tries to stop them, Valerie’s illusion breaks, and she gets Caleb killed by her daughter. An explosion in the mine seemingly kills both of these characters too, while Ida, Jaro, and Malia are able to survive and are rescued from the mines shortly after.

What is the real identity of Enola?

While most of the mysteries are solved by this time, the identity of the supernatural figure that Juliette complained about, Enola, is still left unsolved. Anthracite leaves its last twist for the very end, as Ida has a warm reunion with Solal, whom she still considers her father and the two drive away from Levionna. Ida had been suffering from leukemia and needed donors for surgery very soon, and it was for this reason that Solal had come to the town, hoping to convince Caleb to donate since he was supposedly her biological father. Although Caleb had refused to help, Jaro announced at the end of the series that he had been deemed a compatible donor for Ida and would happily help her with the surgery.

During Anthracite‘s ending, Ida learns from her community of helpers that her and Caleb’s DNA did not match, meaning that the cult leader could not be her father. At the same time, Jaro discovers an old cassette recording of his mother, through which he learns the real truth. Juliette was never sexually assaulted by Caleb, and neither did any supernatural figure ever come to her room. Enola was the name that her shocked and troubled conscience had given to the horrific human who actually entered her room and assaulted her every night—her own brother, Claude. The name Enola was the reversed word for “alone,” which was printed on one of Claude’s t-shirts. At the time, Juliette’s best friend, Roxanne, had found out about this horrific abuse, and this made Claude murder Roxanne and smeared her face with anthracite to make it look like an act of the cult. During present times, it was he who attacked Solal, believing that the journalist had started to investigate the case again, and then also his own wife when she found Juliette’s cassette. In the end, Jaro confronts his uncle and beats him up terribly but decides not to kill him, just as Ida arrives at the place to sympathize with him.

Anthracite‘s ending also provides a short post-credits scene in which a documentary is being made on the whole incident, with Solal’s investigative findings at its center. Naturally, Ida was also interviewed for the project, but she had doubts as to whether the full truth had been revealed to the public yet. Just then, she receives a video from one of her internet detectives and immediately leaves the set. At the beginning of the video, we see a woman opening up a parcel left in front of her house. it contains something horrific, and she shrieks out in shock. The contents are not shown to us viewers, though, and are probably kept away for a possible second season of the series, although that seems unlikely as it is mentioned as a miniseries. Based on the woman’s reaction, my guess would be that the parcel contains a severed body part, possibly smeared with anthracite, which might suggest that Valerie or her daughter might still be alive. However, the whole package and its contents might be unrelated to this case as well, and it might be that Ida walks away from the interview simply excited by the prospect of a new case that she will investigate with the help of her internet sleuth friends.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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