‘1899’ Character: Maura Franklin, Explained: Why Is She On The Kerberos? Why Is The Show Set In 1899?


Maura Franklin is the protagonist of “1899” and a passenger on the ship sailing toward the United States of America, which is called Kerberos. But before seeing her, we hear her talk about how the brain is wider than the sky and deeper than the sea and that it’s capable of overpowering almost anything that exists naturally. We then see her dreaming about herself in a mental asylum, where she is asking the shadowy figure of her dad, Henry, about the whereabouts of her brother (Ciaran). She says that he was on the Prometheus and that he knew what Henry was doing with the ships. She then complains about her fading memory and wakes up in the Kerberos with restraint marks on her wrists, thereby insinuating that she was a patient or a prisoner at her father’s institution and is now escaping that part of her life to study the intricacies of the brain. However, as the show painfully trudges on, we find out that that’s not the complete truth. In fact, it’s not the truth at all.

Major Spoilers Ahead

What Is Maura’s Purpose On The Kerberos?

Let’s spill the truth pretty early in this article: there’s no Kerberos. Whatever you see until the final few minutes of “1899” is a simulation. You can even argue that the last minutes of “1899” aboard the Prometheus spaceship (that exists in the year 2099) are a simulation as well. But there’s no confirmation for that yet. So, for now, there are three simulations in total. One is created by Ciaran, and it is the one where Maura and Daniel are treating their dying son Elliot. Then there’s the simulation that exists in Elliot’s head, where the apparent mastermind is Henry. After that, there’s the Kerberos and the missing case of the Prometheus (the naval ship, not the spaceship), which is set in the year 1899. Therefore, what is Maura doing aboard the Kerberos? Well, from her perspective, she is going to New York to meet her brother, based on a letter he has sent her, along with the information that he knows what their father has done. And since she’s a doctor, she wants to one-up the only other doctor on the ship, who is a man, when it comes to treating people and diagnosing if someone is dead or alive.

However, her main purpose is to remember that she is not a childless woman who is going to New York. Instead, she has a husband called Daniel and a son called Elliot, who is inside a simulation created by her brother Ciaran, and she is in the Prometheus (the spaceship). Because if she remembers that, she is going to remember the key, which can put an end to the naval ship simulations that are running in loops. And she has to remember all that before Henry gets her to give the key and terminate the Kerberos simulation. Because putting an end to all the naval ship simulations will send Maura back to reality while ending the Kerberos simulation will only put her (and the rest of the characters) back in another ship-based simulation. The first step towards that is by jumping in to save Elliot when he reappears in the Kerberos after being thrown into the sea by Iben and her followers. She clearly didn’t do that on Prometheus (the naval ship). That’s why Elliot was still stuck in there, waiting to be freed by Maura. In addition to all that, she is in these simulations to work out her thoughts about feminism and motherhood. This brings us to the next topic.

Is Maura The Reason Why The Show Is Set In 1899?

If you found yourself wondering why the hell is this entire show set in the 1800s when the characters are actually in 2099 and also because it doesn’t have anything to do with the actual and probable backstories of all the characters, then the answer lies in Maura. To be specific, it’s related to the book in Maura’s room called “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin. It was published in 1899 and the story is set in New Orleans. It followed Edna Pontellier, the wife of Léonce and the mother of two sons, Raoul and Etienne, as they went to a resort on the Gulf of Mexico that was managed by a woman named Madame Lebrun who lived with her two sons, Robert and Victor. Since she was constantly pestered by her friend, Adèle, to focus on her duties as her mother and as a wife, she kind of rebelled and forged a relationship with Robert. But Robert ran away because he didn’t want to have an affair with a married woman, thereby plunging Edna into a dilemma about her maternal duties, her desire for social freedom, and her feelings for Robert.

The rest of “The Awakening” revolved around Edna finding herself through music while going from one extramarital relationship to another and ultimately coming across Robert again. When he left her again, though, Edna went back to the Grand Isle and drowned herself in the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, Kate Chopin has a plaque on the New York City library walk that states that the bird that dares to fly above the plain of prejudice and tradition must have really strong wings to pursue such a task. So, you can see traces of that in Maura’s whole arc. She is clearly opposed to patriarchal concepts and how the opinion of a woman is often disparaged, even if it’s factually accurate. She is searching for herself. There’s a possibility that she is in a relationship with Daniel as well as Eyk in Prometheus (the spaceship). She is clearly married to someone because she has a ring on her finger. In the simulation, she is a little attracted to Eyk and not very accepting of Daniel as her husband. Daniel is the one who keeps insisting that she’s in love with him, while Eyk just runs with her subtle advances. Or all of it can be a ruse created by Ciaran to toy with Maura because it’s ultimately his simulation.

What Does Maura And His Brother Ciaran Share An Antagonistic Relationship?

Just a disclaimer: Ciaran doesn’t even appear in the show, and nothing is explicitly stated about him. Unless he’s disguised as one of the many characters in “1899,” which can very well be the case because it’s his simulation, we don’t actually know what he looks like or the actor who is playing him. So, from this point onward, everything that you read is all conjecture. While inspecting Elliot, Maura tells a story about the time she got lost in a forest as a kid while bird hunting with her father. She apparently waited for him to return. But her father revealed that she wasn’t actually alone in the forest. He was watching her from a distance (just like he once did with her brother, Ciaran) because, in his opinion, being alone tests the mettle of a person. And she despised her father for breaking her illusion that she was enjoying a moment of solitude. As the show goes on, the notion that Henry isn’t a person in a simulation but a shadow or a figment of Maura’s mind grows in prominence. It’s possible that Ciaran is posing Henry as the antagonist by imbuing him with the characteristics that he has so that Maura stops seeing him in a negative light once she wakes up.

The reason why Ciaran probably wants to do that can have everything and nothing to do with Project Prometheus. It’s clear that the spaceship is a vessel that’s taking its passengers and crew to a new section of the galaxy for colonization. And due to the compact nature of the spaceship (which looks to be spacious enough for housing those sleeping pods but doesn’t offer a lot of physical movement), it’s quite possible that the crew and the passengers conduct their meetings and operate the ship via the simulation. You know, like “The Matrix” (which was cited as a major influence by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese while creating “Dark“), where characters trained, built consoles to operate things in the real world, and lived an alternate life. So, it’s highly likely that during their journey through space, Maura, Ciaran, Eyk, and many other members of the crew ended up having a disagreement about their mission’s agenda while they were in a simulation. That’s when Ciaran trapped them and began manipulating them until everyone bent to his will. Maura is clearly the first one to break out of Ciaran’s techno-magic. Whether or not she has been converted to seeing things through Ciaran’s perspective is something we’ll have to wait until “1899” Season 2 to know.

See More: ‘1899’ Ending, Explained: What Happens To Maura? What Is The Significance Of The Pyramid & Prometheus?

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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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