‘High Tides’ Ending Explained & Series Summary: What Happens To Claudia And Patrick? 


High Tides, or Knokke Off in native Dutch, is a new Belgian-Dutch romantic drama show on Netflix that makes for a fairly entertaining watch because of its characters and their internal strife. The plot features a group of rich high-society friends and their families enjoying a summer holiday in the Belgian beach town of Knokke, when old secrets and personal disagreements tumble out to take menacing forms. Overall, the content about the super-rich in High Tides might at times feel overbearing, and the end might also come off as too dramatic, but it is good enough for a single watch.

Spoiler Alert

Plot Summary: What is the Netflix series about?

High Tides begins in the picturesque coastal town of Knokke in Belgium, where a group of rich families live in utmost luxury and privilege. Alexander Vandael, popularly known as Alex, belongs to one such family, with his father, Patrick, being an extremely successful and influential businessman, while his mother, Eleonore, mostly manages the house and her children, Alex and young Olivia. Alex is in love with Louise Basteyns, a teenager his age hailing from an equally rich family of doctors. Louise and Alex are in a relationship that all of their friends and families know about, and they are considered a powerful and loving couple, almost resembling ideal love. But the characters individually have to deal with their own internal struggles—Louise suffers from bipolar disorder, because of which she has to take regular pills against her wishes, while Alex has an extremely strenuous relationship with his father, which keeps interfering with his normal life.

The couple still manages to hold on to their regular, ordinary lives until a new character joins them in the beach town. Daan, who is of the same age as Alex and Louise, arrives at Knokke with his mother, Melissa, to spend their summer holidays. Unlike the rest of the crowd, these two characters come from modest backgrounds, staying at a rented camper and looking for work to support the month-long vacation. Daan soon finds a job as a server in the local surfing club and restaurant, run by a man called Jacques, and it is here that he first comes across the rich brats of the town. From their very first glance, Louise and Daan seem to share an interest in each other, and as Alex notices this, he humiliates the server and creates trouble for him.

But this animosity gradually changes into a softer and more accepting friendship, even though a sense of tension always exists between Alex and Daan because Louise starts to feel attracted to both of them. As this group of teenagers and their friends continue to learn more about themselves and the confusing age that they are going through, Melissa finds a job as the nanny in the Vandael house. But she clearly has some other motives, and the fact that the woman secretly carries a handgun with her makes it evident that there are some dangerous mysteries hiding behind this apparent holiday-mood vacation town.

How do the parents’ lives affect their children in the series?

One of the consistent sources of drama in High Tides is the parent couples and their personal troubles affecting the lives of their children. The biggest instance of this is Patrick’s relationship with his son Alexander, which is extremely toxic and hurtful at almost all times. Patrick always considers Alex’s actions and decisions to be worthless and embarrassing, but the exact reason for this is not made very clear. It seems that this lack of confidence in his son is not a result of any event in the past but simply exists as a characteristic of Patrick, which is all the more distressing for Alex. This lack of confidence takes the most extreme shape in the series when Alex decides to start his own business in the form of an exclusive men’s club that would host lavish parties. Although the business idea is often laughed at by others, Alex’s sheer determination and passion to be an entrepreneur show when he finally manages to start the club. While his mother helps him raise the capital to start the venture, Patrick is utterly disappointed to find out about this.

Along with their differences, Alex had found out very early in the series that his father was having an affair with Eleonore’s best friend, Christine. He had secretly shot a video of Patrick and Christine as well but had decided against showing it to anyone yet. When Alex confronts his father about his extramarital affair, a literal scuffle breaks out between the two, and as a result, Alex is sent away from his house, and all his credit cards are deactivated by his father. Therefore, when Patrick finds out that his son has already opened his club, the man buys off the property and decides to shut it down. This is all the more because Alex had teamed up with Jacques in this venture, and Patrick and Jacques had a bad history as well.

During their own younger days, Patrick had convinced Jacques to be his business partner, but this had led to great financial losses for the latter. While Patrick survived the matter because of his family’s wealth, Jacques had to remain restricted to the beachside restaurant for the rest of his life, and it is suggested that he also resorted to alcoholism during this time. Later on in the show, Patrick takes this very restaurant away from Jacques as well, after the man acknowledges Alex’s business acumen and decides to buy him a venture to run. Patrick decides to buy the restaurant and oust Jacques, which, added to the latter’s resurged alcohol addiction, leads to the death of Jacques from a cardiac arrest.

On the other side, the Basteyns family also has their own secrets, but they are not really as toxic as the Vandaels. Louise’s father, Jan, who is a doctor by profession, is also revealed to be a closeted homosexual who has been in a relationship with a colleague for the past five years. Although the outside world does not know of this, Jan’s wife Angelique is very much aware of it, and the couple has a sort of understanding between them over this. At one point in the show, Louise is informed about this by Jan, and while she takes it very well, she also develops a sense of distrust towards her family. Louise’s elder sister Emilie is about to get married to a man of equal wealth and stature, but the woman gradually realizes that she is not in love and should, therefore, not get married just for her family. This causes tension between Emilie and Angelique, and Louise has to deal with this, too, along with her own internal strife over love.

What happens to Daan and Louise’s love?

After their first acquaintance, Alex and his group of rich friends continue to meet with Daan as they always hang out at the surfing club restaurant where the latter works, and eventually, they invite Daan to hang out as well. During one such night out, Alex falls out of the boat into the water, and it is Daan who immediately dives in to save him. This establishes a slight friendship between the two, but this is short-lived because Louise starts to feel attracted towards Daan. Alex and Daan’s friendship was anyway not encouraged by the people around them—Jacques advised Daan to stay away from ultra-rich teenagers like Alex, while Eleanor advised Alex to stay away from lowly immigrant teenagers like Daan. But Louise’s attraction does not follow such prejudices, and she starts to enjoy Daan’s company.

This is mainly because the girl finds in Daan a gentle and art-appreciating side, which is starkly missing from Alex and also from the rest of the male friends in their group. When she opens up to him about her displeasure with taking regular pills, Daan romantically wonders whether Louise’s real personality is suppressed whenever she takes the pills. It cannot be denied that Daan’s words and ideas make Louise skip on the pills, which gradually gets her sick, but the two teenagers do not obviously do any of this intentionally. After some intimate moments together, the two start a secret affair almost helplessly, as they uncontrollably fall in love with each other. At times, Daan wants to end it because he feels like he is hurting the trust and friendship that Alex has shown him, but Louise is more attached to Daan, so they continue to be together.

Eventually, Alex finds out about this affair after he sees the two kiss in his club, and when he confronts Louise the next day, the young man shows the same toxicity as his father that he so wants to avoid. Alex is abusive both physically and verbally, and it leads to an ugly fight between the two. He also goes on to physically attack Daan at the latter’s house, in a show of toxic masculinity. The utter confusion and the inability to choose between her two lovers push Louise towards drugs, and she has a horrific overdose at the beach, where Alex saves her. Finally, after recovering, she chooses to be with Alex because of his constant support for her, but her feelings for Daan never go away, even at the end.

What had happened to Claudia?

The only mystery, as such, that High Tides covers is the disappearance of a woman named Claudia, who was the sister of Melissa. When Melissa first comes to Knokke with Daan, her intention is only to find out about Claudia, who had disappeared from the beach town some two years earlier. The last known information about Claudia was that she had started working as a nanny for some rich family in the town, after which she had never contacted anyone or even used her bank accounts. Suspecting that something had happened to her sister, the woman came to the town to look for her. Gradually, it is revealed that Claudia had actually started working as the nanny for the Vandael family, but she had gone missing during this time.

The real secret is revealed in parts by Alex and also by his mother, Eleanor, for the woman had grown very close to Claudia when she worked as the nanny. Perhaps more pushed by her husband’s numerous illicit affairs and also a suppressed sexual interest in herself, Eleanor grew attracted to Claudia and started a romantic affair with her. However, Patrick caught the two women in the act one night, and the abusive husband started to physically assault both of them. As he was about to beat Claudia terribly, Alex tried to intervene and was himself beaten by his father. Finally, when he tried to stop Patrick from his toxic act, the man and Claudia were standing on the balcony, and as a result of the scuffle, Claudia fell from the balcony and died.

Although it was technically Patrick who was to blame for the incident, Alex kept secretly blaming himself for the death of the nanny, and even at present, he is unable to forget the past and totally forgive himself for it. But on the other side, Patrick had no remorse or guilt for what had happened, and in true ultra-rich-man fashion, he had very easily moved on from the incident.

Is Patrick punished for his crimes?

High Tides‘ ending comes at Patrick and Eleanor’s marriage anniversary ceremony, when a gala party is arranged for their friends. Despite their problems and empty marriage, the couple keep up a pretense of happiness, while Eleanor prepares for a surprise for her husband. Her plan is to have Christine at the party to possibly speak out about her affair with Patrick in public so that the man’s true nature can be revealed in front of everyone. However, before this can play out, a distressed and frustrated Alex decides to expose his parents’ fake show of love, and he shares the video of Patrick and Christine’s intimate moments with everyone present at the place. This obviously brings an early halt to the party, and Patrick’s true self is truly revealed to all.

Patrick now attempts to assault Alex, but the younger daughter, Olivia, intervenes when she expresses her anger at her father and runs upstairs. At the very beginning of the show, Melissa was seen keeping a gun among her belongings, and on one occasion, she had pointed this gun at Alex as well. As a result, Alex took this gun away and kept it at his own house. He remained unclear about what to do with it, at times wishing to shoot his father while then thinking of hurting himself. However, Olivia now finds the gun, and as Patrick learns about Melissa’s identity and attempts to hurt her, the young girl comes out of the room holding the gun.

At the end of High Tides, it is Olivia who shoots her father and kills him. Although Patrick’s crimes cannot be punished by the law, he is ultimately punished in a twisted manner by his own daughter. The unfortunate part about this is that it not only ends the life of the man but also destroys the life of Olivia, who still cannot fathom what she has just done. Louise, who had decided to go away from all this chaos with Daan, shares one more kiss with the boy before finally realizing that she cannot realistically have a life with him. The last scene of High Tides shows Louise walking away from Daan, as the latter must have truly realized by now that he cannot be a part of the lives of the rich, no matter how genuinely he tries.

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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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