The Netflix series, “The Last Bus,” follows a group of school kids from Braelawn Academy who face a catastrophic situation after a tech genius, Dalton Monkhouse, unleashes his AI-driven genie orbs to vaporize humans to save the planet from human destruction and thus ultimately restore the planet’s health. Amidst the chaos, a group of misfits try to survive the orb attack and ultimately search for their missing parents, whom they believe are still alive somewhere. But are they?
Written by Paul Neafcy, “The Last Bus” has ten episodes of half an hour each, which tries to stretch the narrative like a thin rubber band until either the plot loses its charm or the viewer loses his or her interest. Being a science fiction series, some of the visuals are neatly rendered on the screen. However, the lack of a layered narrative overshadows it all. Season 1 of “The Last Bus” ends on a cliffhanger, and thus there is a possibility of another season as well. Hence, without further ado, let’s look deeper into the important events of Season 1 and the meaning behind them.
‘The Last Bus’ Season 1 Plot Summary
A child prodigy, Nasir “Nas” Roman from Braelawn Academy, England, submits an essay for an event organized by his role model, Dalton Monkhouse. Dalton, the founder of Monkhouse Dynamics, is a multi-billionaire tech genius and an environmentalist who has invented next-generation robotics to save humanity and the planet, in particular. As Season 1 begins, a group of students from Braelawn Academy, along with their science teacher, Mr. Short, wait for their bus to take them to the Monkhouse’s prestigious event at the Green Arena.
At the event, through his hologram, Monkhouse reveals his plan to restore the planet by taking out humanity. He quickly unveils his latest innovation, Monkhouse Dynamics Genie Orbs, which vaporize humans with a blue beam. As soon as Monkhouse releases his killing machines on humans, chaos erupts under the roof, in which most adults disappear without a trace. Only eight kids manage to escape, including Nas, his elder sister Sophie, Sophie’s best friend, Misha, son of army personnel, Tom, class monitor and nerd, Chelsea, the bully Danny, and best friends, Bethan and Josh Collins.
Danny ditches the band and leaves on a golf buggy to return to the city, while Misha, an adventurous rider, decides to ride the bus and rescue her friends to safety. On their way back to the city, the bus is followed by a group of orbs, but Misha manages to evade them. However, on their way, they find Danny’s golfer and believe that he is dead. As the kids return to their hometown, they find out that their parents and everyone in the city have disappeared. For the time being, they take shelter in their school but quickly decide to confront Dalton Monkhouse to find out what happened to their parents.
Major Spoilers Ahead
What Did Dalton Monkhouse Want to Accomplish? Did he kill everyone?
Dalton Monkhouse was a child prodigy and a narcist with a broken sense of morality. He wanted to restore the planet’s health and believed that the only way to accomplish his mission was to exterminate the only thing that was degrading the environment in the first place, which was us, humans. However, he didn’t exactly vaporize anyone but teleported them to a sleep facility through his genie orbs, where they were sent into deep sleep inside a stasis. He named his orbs “genie,” probably because they made people disappear in thin air, leaving behind a blue cloud.
After putting seven billion people into deep sleep in different sleep centers all around the globe, Monkhouse programmed his orbs to amplify the process of forestation. He had planned to release everyone after the global carbon levels reached an optimum average and wipe their memories so that they wouldn’t notice the change and go back to their lives like nothing happened.
But there isn’t anything as perfect as a plan, and there is always a slight margin of error that can destroy one’s entire grand scheme. In Monkhouse’s case, it was Nas and his band of misfits who escaped the orbs and reached Monkhouse’s mansion to save their parents from his captivity.
What Was The Kin Chip? How Did It Create Borb And Stevil?
Monkhouse Dynamics Genie Orbs were AI-operated robotics who could have developed sentience, and thus to keep a check on these orbs so that they operate within the pre-programmed parameters, Monkhouse placed an inhibitor called the Kin Chip inside all his drones. The Genie Orbs recognized each other with the help of these kin chips so as not to attack their kin. Monkhouse had also established a Kin Chip Server Network at his mansion to control all orbs with the help of his Nexus key.
At the beginning of “The Last Bus” season 1, a genie orb, which was later named “Borb” by Bethan, was dropped on the floor before a kin chip could be installed inside it. Because of the mishandling, Borb managed to escape from the Monkhouse facility and later met Nas at the Green Arena event. It developed a likeness for Nas and thus followed him to the school, which was the reason why Nas kept it safe even after Tom tried to smash it with a bat. Nas fixed Borb using his technical skills, and later Borb became a friendly orb who saved the group from different perils that they encountered on their journey to the Monkhouse mansion, the most threatening being the attack of a malfunctioned orb named Stevil.
Stevil was a normal orb that followed the kids when they tried to escape their school after an orb attack. It ambushed the kids near a fair after their bus ran out of fuel. Due to some malfunctioning, Stevil didn’t try to vaporize the kids but instead transformed itself into a mega donut robot by attracting particles from the vicinity, with the motive to kill the kids, probably. However, Nas dealt with Stevil using his counter kin chip device, but Bethany got carried away emotionally and unleashed her rage on the orb by constantly striking it with a stick. At that moment, the group believed that the orb was dead, but it wasn’t, and thus, later, when Stevil gained consciousness, it hunted down the kids. Nas surmised that either Stevil malfunctioned from the beginning or Bethany’s attack destroyed its kin chip because of which it developed sentience, and in his case, it was rage and hatred that became the first things he felt. Hence, it ultimately transformed his entire personality, turning him into a vengeful orb that tried to capture Bethany until the very end.
At Monkhouse’s mansion, when Stevil took control of Bethany and tried to kill the group, the kids used their ultimate power of love and friendship and, with Borb’s help, finally destroyed Stevil. However, in the attack, Borb’s CPU got burnt out as well and was later replaced by Monkhouse.
‘The Last Bus’ Season 1: Ending Explained: Who was Lucy? How Did Monkhouse Escape?
Monkhouse controlled his entire network with the help of a Nexus key that was coded with his genetics so that no one else could operate it. While Nas and his group struggled to hack Monkhouse’s nexus key, a band of invited guests arrived at the mansion. It was none other than their old friend and deserter, Danny, who had joined an occult group of social media influencers commanded by Monkhouse’s estranged daughter, Lucy. Lucy not only wanted to take revenge on her father for abandoning her, but also shared his God complex and wanted to have ultimate control of the world and thus reshape the world in her own image.
Lucy was easily able to operate the nexus key as she shared the same genetics, and she finally revealed to her father that with the help of the ultimate weapon, she would get to choose who would wake up in the new world. However, before she could take her evil schemes further, Monkhouse stole the nexus key and locked himself in his private room. Monkhouse quickly activated the implosion sequence protocol inside the mansion to put everyone inside it into a deep sleep and teleport the mansion to a different location while he took shelter in his stasis and programmed it to teleport it to a beach. However, suddenly, Nas showed up and discreetly stole the Nexus key from his pocket, which Monkhouse didn’t realize until it was too late and he was already locked in his stasis.
Danny and Lucy ran out of the mansion while Bethan and Josh helped Sophie, Misha, and Tom escape, and finally, they reunited with Nas and Chelsea outside the mansion. At the same moment, Borb arrived there with the bus that was previously buried underground after wild reforestation. Danny had injured his leg while trying to run, and thus the moment called for an ultimate transformation for Nas’ character, who helped the only person who betrayed him at the beginning of the series, therefore radiating a change in personality that differentiates him from his role model, Dalton Monkhouse.
The kids (along with Danny) quickly boarded the bus to escape the implosion, leaving Lucy behind, who could do nothing else but scream and look at the blue sky. Inside the bus that was flying in the sky with the help of Borb’s power, Chelsea took out the nexus key that paved the way for “The Last Bus” Season 2. To use the nexus key to rescue everyone, Nas has to first break the genetic security code, and for that, he may need Dalton or his blood, Lucy, a hunt that will be further explored in Season 2.
Dalton Monkhouse, on the other hand, arrived on the beach in his teleporting stasis. However, the closing shot of “The Last Bus” Season 1 didn’t portray him on screen. His footsteps were clearly visible on the empty beach, which brings up a series of questions about why he transported himself to the beach, and what happened to his mansion. He might probably have a plan for the situation, but he needs two things to connect with his orbs, the first being his Nexus key, and the second, his Kin Chip Server that was built inside his mansion. There is also a possibility of other orbs going sentient, which may increase the stakes in “The Last Bus” Season 2, leading to a robo-apocalypse.
“The Last Bus” is a 2022 British science-fiction drama series written by Paul Neafcy.