‘Barbarians’ Season 2: Ending, Explained – Is Folkwin Dead Or Alive? Will There Be A Season 3?

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The events of season 2 of the Netflix series, “Barbarians,” take place a year after the Cherusci tribe fought the great war against the Roman forces. Varus had been defeated by Reik Ari. For the very first time in history, all the tribes had united under one banner. For a year, peace and prosperity prevailed in the kingdom. The ego of the Roman empire was hurt. They were itching to fight back and reclaim their lost pride. It was rumored that the Romans were regrouping. Ari had his ears to the ground and was looking for some substantial evidence to prove that the Romans were up to something. And finally, something happened that brought the real intentions of the Roman Empire to light. 

Spoilers Ahead


Ari Gets Captured By The Romans

In the first episode of the series, Barbarians, Ari’s army attacked a regiment of Roman soldiers, and once again, they found their wagons full of the material that was usually used for making “Contubernia,” i.e., huge tents used as accommodation by soldiers. Ari knew instantly that the Romans were once again rebuilding and adding more legions to their army. He told his men to immediately inform Reik Aldarich and Reik Brandolf about the issue so that they could arrange a meeting and decide what had to be done. The chiefs of the tribes met, and they came to the conclusion that unless and until they had the resources, it would be foolish to wage a war on the Romans. They knew that Marbod, the Reik of the Marcomanni tribe, had seventy thousand men under his command. Marbod had never been bothered about the west. He only cared about making a profit and fending for his own tribe. What happened outside the walls of his kingdom had never been his concern. In the battle against Varus, too, he had taken a neutral stand. Thusnelda was of the opinion that Ari should at least have a conversation with him. Things were not the same as before. Most of the tribes had united under one banner, something which was unheard of before. 

Marbod, too, wanted to listen to what Ari was proposing. He wanted to know what the other tribes were planning to do. Ari showed Marbod the Roman Settlement from a cliff, and how they had amped up their construction. But Marbod wasn’t convinced. He knew that going against the Romans menat incurring huge losses in the business. Marbod was a businessman and for him anything that disrupted his trade was unacceptable. The tribes met to decide who would be their King, who would lead them into battle. These meetings were referred to as “The Thing.” Ari gave his speech and told the tribes of the impending doom and of the horrifying plans of the Romans to wage a war against them. Marbod argued against Ari. He told the tribe leaders that war was not the only option they had. He told them that if they made him the king, he would make sure that peace prevailed. Marbod was very clear about the fact that it was not his war. He had a peaceful relationship with the Romans, and he didn’t want to spoil it. Ari tried to reason with him and told him the peace he was talking about would be short-lived. He told him that the Romans were calling in for reinforcements because they had the intention of terminating the tribes and ending the conflict once and for all. Ari tried to make him privy to reality. He tried to make him realize that though he did business with the Romans, they would backstab him at any given opportunity. But Marbod had made his decision, and he was not ready to change his mind at any cost. Moreover, Marbod had secretly met a prefect of the Roman Empire who had been given the task of capturing Ari. This Prefect was none other than Ari’s own brother, Flavus Quinctilius Varus. 

Towards the end of Episode 1 of “Barbarians” Season 2, Flavus is able to capture Ari with Marbod’s help. He took his brother to Tiberius, the Roman General Commander. Tiberius was surprised when he saw that Flavus was able to accomplish an almost impossible task and that, too, all by himself. After Ari had launched a rebellion against the Roman forces, even Flavus was branded as a traitor. Though he was still loyal to the Roman army, he had to prove his worth at each and every step, as it was his blood that had betrayed the Roman empire. That is why Flavus was even more eager to capture his brother and prove his loyalty. Marbod, Ari, and Flavus had spent their childhood together in Rome, and that’s why they knew each other before. All three of them had been taken away from their parents at around the same time. When Marbod was 17 years old, he was dispatched and made the Reik of his tribe. Flavus and Ari, on the other hand, had joined the forces.


Marbod Is The Named The King Of Germanic Tribes

Marbod, like Tiberius, believed that in politics, there were neither allies nor enemies but only shared interests. He knew that the Romans needed him, and due to his large army, he was in a position to dictate terms. He didn’t want bloodshed and was ready to enter into an agreement with the Roman Empire, though he had certain terms and conditions. He wanted the Danube to be the southern border of his kingdom. He wanted independent governance and peaceful relationships. He demanded that the city of Morbidia be made a royal metropolis with direct trade routes. In addition to all this, he wanted five thousand horses and a sum of ninety thousand in cash. We come to know that Marbod and Flavus had feelings for each other. They had been in a secret relationship for a very long time. That is why Flavus was so eager to have Marbod on his side.

While he was still in prison, Ari met a young boy named Gaius. Ari had a family in Rome that nobody knew about. He had a wife, and Gaius was his son. Just like his brother Flavus, Gaius also had to bear a lot of embarrassment for the acts of his father. He had a lot of resentment against Ari, who had left him to fend for himself. It was not like Ari didn’t love him, but at that time, he had no option. He had to wage a war against Varus, and he didn’t want to risk the life of his son. Maybe he had not fulfilled the duties of a father in the past, but he had the intent of rectifying it.

Meanwhile, Thusnelda came to know of Marbod’s real intention. She saw him entering the Roman settlement and knew instantly that he had planned the kidnapping of her husband. Thusnelda tried to enter the Roman encampment, but she was caught by one of the guards. Fortunately, she was saved by a familiar face. Folkwin had come out of nowhere to her rescue. He took her to his house and told her that she was just being foolish by trying to infiltrate Roman territory. Folkwin was living with a girl named Dido, whose family had been killed by Germanicus, the probable heir to the Roman Throne. Dido agreed to help Thusnelda, though Folkwin was still not convinced. The next morning, Folkwin came out of his own will to help his friend. He engaged the Roman soldiers and showed Thusnelda the location of the prison. Folkwin, Thusnelda, and Dido escaped the Roman settlement together with Ari and Gaius. Ari knew that in order to fight the Romans, he had to somehow bring Marbod on his side. He went and confronted the Reik of Marcomanni. He kneeled down in front of him and called him the King of Germania. But Marbod was still in a dubious state of mind. He didn’t know on which side he should lean. Oderike, his wife, blatantly told him to not get emotional and attached to the cause of others. She told him that for years they had stayed neutral, and once again, they had the chance to turn the situation in their favor.


Flavus Wants To Prove His Worth

Flavus was going to be killed when he pleaded with Germanicus and Tiberius to give him another chance. He told them that if he was killed, then Marbod would join forces with Ari and wage a war against the Romans. Tiberius was a shrewd man. He sent a message and a gift to Marbod through Flavus. In the message, he had asked Marbod to prove his loyalty by killing Flavus. So basically, Flavus was carrying his own death warrant, and he didn’t have any clue about it. Oderike was of the opinion that if sacrificing one life guaranteed the safety of an entire realm, then Marbod should go ahead and do the needful. But Marbod loved Flavus. Marbod went and told him that Tiberius wanted him dead. Flavus still wanted to prove his allegiance. He still wanted to stay loyal to the Romans and prove his worth. He went and informed Germanicus that the Reiks were going to be unarmed and under one roof, in a social gathering that was going to take place soon. In the meeting, once again, Marbod said that he wanted peace. Ari told him that he was ready to kneel down, provided he agreed to wage war against the Romans. Just when they were having this conversation, Flavus and Germanicus, together with other soldiers, attacked the tribe. Folkwin arrived at the scene, anticipating that something of this sort was going to happen. He ended up killing many Roman soldiers, who ultimately had to retreat. But still he was not able to save everybody. The damage had already been done. Oderike, Marbod’s wife, was killed in the combat. The personal tragedy made Marbod realize that the Romans were not loyal to anyone. They only looked for their own profit. No matter how lucrative the offer was, Tiberius still considered Marbod a barbarian. It was decided that the tribes would launch a vicious onslaught on the Romans. Folkwin and Thusnelda went to inform the soldiers of the Marcomanni tribe to join them. But on their way, they witnessed something that sent shivers down their spines. Ari had placed his scouts throughout the area. He wanted to stay a step ahead of the Romans. Tiberius knew that. So, he had ordered the reinforcements to take the route of the sea. Gaius, Ari’s son, who had escaped into the forest, met Folkwin and Thusnelda and made them see a fleet of enemy ships. They speculated that it would not take more than a day to reach the encampment. Folkwin and Thusnelda went back, and it was decided that the tribes would have to attack the Romans on the very same day, without any backup from the Marcomanni tribe.


‘Barbarians’ Season 2: Ending Explained – Is Ari Able To Defeat The Romans? Is Folkwin Dead Or Alive?

Thusnelda had given birth to a boy whom she had named Thumelicus. She told Folkwin that he was the biological father of her son. Folkwin felt that doom would fall upon him and those he loved because he had prayed to the gods and made a vow that he would sacrifice his firstborn if they won the battle against Varus. The tribes had won the battle, but Folkwin never sacrificed his son, as he didn’t know that he had a child in the first place. But now that he knew, he started feeling as if something bad would happen.

Dido wanted to kill Germanicus, and that is why she entered the Roman encampment alone at night. She was about to stab him when Ari came and stopped her. Ari took him hostage. He told Dido that she would get her chance to take revenge. They needed Germanicus to provide them with information. Segestes, being the greedy and selfish man that he was, went and told Tiberius that Ari and his men were going to attack them. Segestes was an opportunist, and he didn’t have any principles that he held onto in his life. He didn’t care whether his daughter, Thusnelda, lived or died. For a petty sum, he was ready to sell his own conscience and risk the life of his daughter. Thusnelda had a lot of hatred for her father. He had been banished from the community and had been living in a cave situated somewhere on the outskirts. But still, even after being insulted and punished, he didn’t leave his dishonest and corrupt ways and means. He was once again ready to betray his own.

Tiberius started bolstering his boundaries as he knew that he had to just hold his fortress till reinforcements came. The tribes were fewer in number as they were not able to reach out to the Marcomanni tribe. Their mission was time-bound as they had to take control of the Roman settlement before the ships came, but the problem was that entering the premises was in itself a herculean task. So, the tribes created a strategy to trick the Romans. They started making a commotion from one end and when the soldiers gathered on that side, they attacked from the other end. They took the Romans by surprise. Flavus saved his lover, Marbod, but perished in the battle. All his life Flavus just wanted to be a loyal servant, but the Romans never considered him their own. For them, he had always been a barbarian. Maybe he should have listened to his brother and fought for their cause. But before he could realize that it was too late,

In the last episode of the series, “Barbarians,” we saw Folkwin, Ari, and Thusnelda fighting together, just like in old times. They wreaked havoc on the Roman soldiers who had realized that they couldn’t win the battle. The tribes were driven by strong emotions. They had been oppressed for centuries, and the Romans had always betrayed their trust. Folkwin fought valiantly but was stabbed by Germanicus. While taking his last breaths, he told Ari to take care of Thumelicus like his own son (who probably didn’t know that Thumelicus was not his son until that moment). The fortress was seized by the tribes before the ships had arrived. Thusnelda went back to her living quarters and found that her son, Thumelicus, was nowhere to be found. Ansgar, her brother, led her into the forest as if he wanted to show her something. What she witnessed made her realize that she couldn’t trust anybody, not even her own blood. To her horror, her father, Segestes, and her mother, Irmina, were standing there with her child. After handing over the little boy to General Tiberius, Segestes asked for the money that he had been promised. The general said, with a cold-blooded smile on his face, that he loved betrayal, but he hated traitors. The Roman soldiers severed the heads of both Segestes and Irmina at Tiberius’ command. Segestes had always been arrogant and presumptuous in his approach. He had always believed that he could deceive anybody. He never minded switching his allegiances, and words like loyalty and integrity didn’t have any meaning to him. He had forgotten that someday he would have to atone for his sins. Tiberius took Thusnelda and her son, Thumelicus, with him. What he wished to do with them remains unknown, though we are sure that after Ari comes to know about it, he wouldn’t stop until he burns down the very foundations of the Roman Empire.


Will There Be A Season 3 Of ‘Barbarians’?

Season 2 of “Barbarians” leaves us on a cliffhanger, and there will definitely be a season 3, where we will get to know what happened to Thusnelda and her son. Ari and others were not aware that Thusnelda had been kidnapped by the devilish Roman commander. Maybe they would also get to know about it through Ansgar, who was probably the only witness who was still alive. Germanicus didn’t want to abandon his people, but Tiberius told him that it was a lost cause. He told Germanicus that, for now, leaving the battlefield and saving their lives was the prudent thing to do. Germanicus might have been an oppressor, but he had the spirit of a soldier. He held onto certain principles, unlike Segestes and Tiberius. He obeyed the commands of his superior, but he was still fuming with rage. He will probably face Ari once again on the battlefield in “Barbarians” Season 3, but until then, he knew he had to be patient and not act recklessly. The war between the barbarians and the Romans was clearly not over. The tribes will still have to fight for their rights. The Romans still considered them barbarians, who were not worthy of living. In actual sense the Romans were the true barbarians and not the tribe members. We’ll have to wait until the next season to find out what Ari does after he comes to know about what had transpired. Maybe this time, Ari would be able to combine his forces with the seventy thousand men of the Marcomanni tribe and put an end to the years of oppression that their tribes had been subjected to by the Roman empire. 


See More: ‘Barbarians’ Season 1: Recap And Ending – The Cherusci Stage A Mutiny Against The Romans


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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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