There are limits to human needs, but not to human greed. Our ancestors used to depend on natural resources. But then came a man who taught us to store and exploit nature to establish our authority. Soon, we started exploiting our planet, causing climate change, global warming, and, last but not least, extinction. In the film Tides (also marketed as The Colony), director Tim Fehlbaum depicts a post-apocalyptic Earth devoid of any plantations and unsuitable for human habitation.
As humans, our most basic survival instinct is to run away, and that is what the ruling elites portrayed in the Tides did. The elite fled to Kepler 209, a space colony, after the earth became unfit for human habitation. However, soon, they felt the need to return to Earth. Why? Let’s explore further.
‘Tides’ Plot Summary
After surviving two generations on Kepler 209, the ruling elites send their astronauts back to Earth. The first mission, Ulysses, failed shortly after landing. Tides begin with the second mission back to Earth, Ulysses 2.
The space shuttle with elite astronauts, Louise Blake (Nora Arnezeder), Tucker (Sope Dirisu), and Holden, experiences a malfunction while entering Earth’s stratosphere. Astronaut Holden gets killed in the cross-over. Fortunately, Blake and Tucker successfully hit the ground in their space pod, but due to the crash landing, Tucker develops severe knee injuries, and Blake takes charge of the command.
Blake moves out of the pod to initiate the first recon. Their sole purpose is to check their fertility, which got depleted on Kepler due to its excessive radiation. Blake tests her fertility but gets negative results. She decides to walk back to the pod, but suddenly, some masked survivors from the planet attack Tucker and Blake. These survivors, also called “mud people,” destroy the space pod and take the astronauts captive. Tucker dies due to excessive blood loss, leaving Blake alone to carry out the mission.
Why did the Elite Keplers want to return to Earth?
Elite humans on Kepler discovered that due to its radiation, humans have lost their ability to reproduce. Before leaving Earth, they left weather stations all around the globe to monitor Earth’s healing process. Blake’s father (Sebastian Roché) discovered a new regeneration area near a weather station called Henderson Hub (Blake’s shuttle was routed to the exact location).
Blake’s father, Stafford, and Gibson (Iain Glen) came to Earth in Ulysses 1, but their ship was destroyed by the “muds.” When Blake reached Earth, her period cycle started again while she was in Gibson’s stronghold. Her TSH levels recovered, but she didn’t have a biometer to test her fertility.
During the climax, Blake’s father told her that Gibson’s adopted son, Neil (named after Neil Armstrong), was a Kepler. He was the legitimate son of Blake’s father, which proved that a Kepler could reproduce on Earth. Gibson knew the truth from the beginning, but he lacked a transmitter to communicate the information to Keplers. However, with Blake’s biometer, he could finally finish his mission.
Why didn’t Blake’s father want Keplers to return?
While nothing is explicitly explained in the film, Blake’s father, from time to time, comments on human plunder and exploitation. As a result of their greed, elite humans depleted Earth’s resources and exceeded the rate of exploitation compared to Earth’s healing capacity, as a result of which the planet became inhabitable.
These humans left for Kepler 209, and the utmost burden on the planet ceased. It started healing itself, and the remaining survivors, “muds,” lived a pretty nomadic life. When Blake’s father came back to Earth, he witnessed the healing process. He even got back his fertility and married a “mud” woman, giving birth to Neil. Nevertheless, he didn’t contact the Keplers because he knew that the cycle of exploitation would spin again after their arrival, leading to another devastation and annihilation. There was no end to elite human greed, and thus, he rebelled against Gibson. He soon realized that the planet could only sustain human needs, not their greed.
Why did Gibson kidnap the Mud Girls?
During her confinement, Blake befriended a mud child, Maila, who was later kidnapped by Gibson’s men. Maila’s mother, Narvik, and Blake conducted a rescue mission, and that was how she ended up on Gibson’s ship.
When Narvik attacked Gibson’s stronghold to retrieve her daughter, Gibson’s men thrashed her and announced a death sentence. Blake furiously questioned Gibson’s judgment and demanded answers to why he was purposely kidnapping mud girls.
Gibson revealed that when Keplers would arrive on Earth, the average age of their women would be around 50. Even if their fertility was restored, it would be too late for them to conceive. Through mud girls, Gibson was creating a diverse and vigorous gene pool. They would be inseminated by Kepler’s men to repopulate the planet.
At that moment, Blake realized that her father was right. Elite keplers like Gibson thought that the human race needed the elites to survive. But they were wrong, and the “muds” were a living example. Gibson and other elite humans were just trying to create their own supremacy. It wasn’t a mission for survival but to maintain their sovereignty.
‘Tides’ Ending Explained
In the middle of the film, Blake informed Gibson that she could connect the biometer to the Henderson Hub weather station and communicate with the Keplers. However, the biometer was lost when Muds captured Blake. During her imprisonment in the pit, Blake befriended Maila to steal it from her pod, but before Maila could deliver the instrument to Blake, Gibson’s men raided the tribe and kidnapped Maila.
Gibson found the biometer hidden in Maila’s doll, with which his adopted son Neil was playing. In the end, Blake turned against Gibson and helped Narvik capture Gibson’s stronghold. Blake knew that to convince the Keplers to come to Earth, Gibson needed proof that humans could procreate on the planet. She believed that she was the only proof, but there was one more piece of evidence.
Gibson knew that Neil was Blake’s father’s offspring, and thus a substantial piece of evidence to prove that Keplers can reproduce on Earth (Neil was a Kepler born on Earth).
Blake reached the Henderson Hub weather station, but it was too late. Gibson killed Neil’s mother and took him hostage. He successfully transmitted the message to Kepler 209, and they would leave for Earth as soon as they received it.
In the combat, Blake pushed Gibson into the water and jumped along. The two struggled underwater, and Gibson was killed. Narvik pulled Blake out of the water and saved her life. She was reunited with her father, brother, and extended “mud” family.
Blake comforted a grieving Neil, who had just lost his mother. She handed over her father’s souvenir, a matchbox with pictures of the first astronauts who landed on the moon. Neil also aspired to become an astronaut, and thus, the souvenir motivated him to believe in his dreams. However, in the end, Neil asked the most inquisitive question, “Are the Keplers coming?”
Blake hinted that they might be coming back. She doesn’t speak with certainty because Gibson had only transmitted the message. Whether it would be received and what decision they would take is at their disposal. But she clearly stated that if they decided to come back, then the whole colony would arrive because, without fertility, humans would perish on Kepler. Hence, they would be obliged to take a considerable risk. She lied about Kepler’s bringing trees with them because Blake’s father suggested in previous scenes that there was no way to grow a sapling on Kepler 209.
The last frame depicted mud girls returning to their families. Their families celebrated the reunion.
Tides (also known as The Colony) is a 2021 Science Fiction Film written and directed by Tim Fehlbaum.