In “1899,” a ship named Kerberos sails toward the United States of America with over 1500 passengers. After reaching a certain distance, they receive a distress message from a ship named Prometheus (which went missing four months ago). Captain Eyk decides to go to its rescue even though everyone from his first mate, Sebastian, to his right-hand man, Franz, and even the passengers advise against it. Eyk doesn’t listen to any of them and boards the Prometheus (along with Olek, Jérôme, Maura, and Ramiro), only to find out that all of its 1423 passengers, as well as its crew, are absent. He does find a boy in there named Elliot, whom he brings back to his ship. But, unbeknownst to anyone, another individual enters the ship through the lifeboat loading bay. And that is Daniel.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Who Is Daniel, And What Is He Capable Of?
The first thing that Daniel does after breaking into the Kerberos is that he takes up the room right beside Maura’s. He shows off his door-opening beetle (which is connected to Maura and Elliot’s fictional or real past, as Maura had told him to release a beetle that looked like the one Daniel has) and keeps an eye on Maura and Elliot. He apparently murders Ada and a bunch of other passengers and crew members to create panic. In doing so, he paints a target on Elliot, which leads to a mutiny (something that is partly triggered by the fact that there is a massive wall of fog around both the Kerberos and the Prometheus). And as the passengers demand the boy’s capture and the resumption of the Kerberos’s journey to the USA (because Eyk was towing the Prometheus back to the place from where the Kerberos started), Daniel pulls out a device with movable digits on it that are marked with various kinds of triangles. When he enters a certain configuration, a device in Prometheus’s boiler room fires up, and the ship and the fog completely vanish.
So, unless it wasn’t clear before, the entirety of “1899” (except the final few minutes where Maura wakes up in a spaceship called the Prometheus) is a simulation. There are three major simulations that are running in loops. The first one is being controlled by Maura’s brother, Ciaran. Within that simulation, and under Maura’s command, she and Daniel are treating their dying son, Elliot. That has somehow caused yet another simulation in Elliot’s brain, where there’s a creator, i.e., Henry (Ciaran and Maura’s father). Henry has created a series of interconnected simulations (which are related to the characters’ “backstories”) and then linked them to the ship simulations. And the Daniel that exists in this third simulation is probably not the real Daniel or the Daniel in the first simulation. It’s a projection created by Maura, who is programmed to wake her up in such a way that she breaks through all the layers of the simulation and into reality. He has his hands on the beetle and the remote with the triangular digits, which basically allows him to mess with the coding of these simulations in his, Maura’s, and Elliot’s favor.
How Does He Manage To Break All The Simulations And Free Maura?
Although Daniel is aware of the shortcuts to all the simulations within the simulations and he has the gadgets that help him get around easily and has probably been through a lot of loops, he doesn’t have a concrete idea of how each of them is going to unfold. But in the Kerberos loop, when Maura saves an imprisoned Elliot and Elliot saves her from an oncoming bullet with the help of the black pyramid at his disposal, Daniel understands that things are going to go differently this time. That’s why he risks getting choked to death by a boiler room worker (who, BTW, can be switched off or killed with the help of that console with the triangular digits on it) while accessing the massive steampunk control panel in order to switch off the ticking sound that’s sending everyone plummeting into the sea. Then, in a moment of sheer desperation, he tries to force Maura to remember that she is actually his wife and that they have a life beyond this simulation and that she needs to remember all that and wake up. That ends up being too jarring for Maura, and she imprisons Daniel in the mental hospital simulation.
However, since Daniel is an adamant person, he breaks into the pathways inside the simulation to first get to Elliot to ensure that he is safe and gets his wedding ring from him. Then he goes to Maura to convince her to wake up. Now, as if it wasn’t confusing enough here, it gets a little more confusing. Daniel says that Maura has a son with him but has chosen to forget about it because of the pain. But he contradicts that by saying that everything is just an illusion being cast by Ciaran and that Maura needs to wake up and stop this nonsense from going too far. Because if it does go too far, then Maura’s consciousness will be trapped forever in these simulations. However, before we can analyze what the hell he’s talking about, he delivers a bunch of exposition about anchoring themselves to Kerberos so that when it gets archived in the simulation, they don’t get rebooted. So, when Kerberos does get flushed, it gives Daniel access to the mainframe. He uses that to not only extend the deletion program of the Kerberos simulation to all the simulations but also exchange the definitions of the code and the key from the black pyramid and pendant, respectively, to a multicolored pyramid and Daniel and Maura’s wedding ring, respectively. The combined effect of the extended deletion program and giving Maura access to the code allows her to wake up in the Prometheus spaceship, i.e., reality.
Does Daniel Only Exist In Maura’s Simulations, Or Is He The Missing Passenger Of The Prometheus?
Here are a few things that Daniel says before pushing Maura into reality. He says that Ciaran took over the whole program while she was trapped in these simulation loops. When Maura says that she thought Henry (her father) was controlling everything, Daniel says that he is as stuck here as everyone else. He apparently doesn’t know how quickly Ciaran is going to figure out what he has done to the simulations, but he knows that Maura needs to get out to see the bigger picture. When Maura asks if Daniel is going to be there in reality aboard the Prometheus spaceship, he replies with “always.” Now, when Maura does wake up, she sees Eyk, Krester, Ramiro, Ángel, Anker, Tove, Olek, Ling Yi, Yuk Je, Iben, Clémence, Lucien, and Jérôme. And then there’s an empty pod. So, out of all the main characters that we see in the show, Daniel, Henry, Elliot, Virginia Wilson, Sebastian, and Franz are missing. Out of that lot, Daniel has the best chance of being the missing passenger because he is the one who has messed with the mainframe. As he said, Ciaran must’ve figured it out and unplugged him before he could do more damage.
That said, there’s also a good chance that Daniel only exists in the simulations. In fact, the version of Daniel that we follow throughout the show isn’t actually a part of the first layer of simulation, which is under Ciaran’s control. He is the one that exists within Elliot’s simulation. We only get a glimpse of what can be the original version of Daniel when Elliot wakes up to see Maura injecting him and putting him back into his simulation. However, that iteration of Daniel didn’t look as proactive and outspoken as the one we see in Elliot’s head. This brings us back to the big old theory that “it’s all Ciaran’s doing.” Maybe there is no Daniel. Ciaran has created him through coding and given him the illusion of sentience to see what something or someone with that kind of affection for Maura will do to free her from her captivity. The first version exists to be more demure and subservient to Maura. The second version exists to be the savior who can do everything and anything to rescue the aforementioned damsel in distress. And to really know what the truth is and what is just a theory, we have to watch “1899,” Season 2, which I’m looking forward to more for closure than for a genuine interest in the characters, to be honest.