Anthracite: Who Killed Jaro’s Mother?

Anthracite: Secrets of the Sect,’ co-created by Fanny Robert, is an enthralling Netflix mystery thriller set in the fictional skiing town of Levionna. It explores mysterious incidents that repeat themselves after 30 years as the protagonists, Jaro (Hatik) and Ida (Noémie Schmidt), unravel horrific truths about the town and their entanglement in its history.

The two leads are introduced to each other under unpleasant circumstances while they set out to solve their own set of mysteries deeply integrated into the town’s misfortune. As they dig deeper, they find themselves trapped in a web of secrets that leads to more fatal mishaps at every turn, endangering the ones they love the most. The overarching mystery that gives the show its incredibly intertwined narrative is about Jaro’s mother, Juliette, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death. SPOILERS AHEAD

What Happened to Juliette?

In a tale of tragedy and despair, Jaro’s mother, Juliette, sets fire to her own home, trapping herself as the flames engulf the house with Jaro still inside. The boy miraculously survives, but the same can’t be said for his mother. Years later, Jaro finds out what truly happened to his beloved mother. At the end of the series, reunited with his Uncle Claude, Jaro returns to their farm, tending to the sheep. He ventures into his mother’s old room, where she had spent most of her formative and adolescent years. There, he finds a walkman with a tape inside it. Curious to hear the tape’s contents, he plays it but instead of hearing his mother’s singer-songwriter tunes, he picks up on an argument being recorded.

Jaro rewinds the tape to hear what was really happening then. Apart from his mother’s soothing vocals, he hears someone walking into her room. In crystal clear fashion, the recording captures Roxanne’s conversation with Juliette, who walked in, extending a helping hand to her distressed and abused friend Juliette. She tells her that she knows who the elusive “Enola” really is and that she needs to speak up about her brother. Roxanne tells her that she can’t let her brother hurt her anymore. This line ties into all the sleuthing Jaro and Ida did in Juliette’s case.

Jaro looks into the mirror and sees that he is wearing a t-shirt with the word “Enola’ inscribed on the front and bearing the image of a black virgin at the back. With this, Jaro realizes his uncle Claude had raped his own sister. In tears and anger, Jaro looks at Claude who coincidentally is standing at the door of the room. Claude heads down, realizing what Jaro has just heard, and prepares his gun for a showdown. Jaro meets him at the barn and confronts Claude. In this scene, Claude reveals everything, from his murder of Roxanne to assaulting Solal and even killing his own wife, Marie, all to keep a deep, dark secret buried.

Claude killed Roxanne when he got to know that she knew the truth. He assaults Solal when he comes knocking on their door, asking questions when, in truth, Solal is just asking for a compatible donor for Ida. Claude kills his own wife when she hears the tape and understands what her husband did. Finally, when Jaro questions him about Juliette, he admits to setting her house on fire, almost killing Jaro in the process. He reveals that Juliette had begun therapy, which triggered her old memories, including the ones about Claude.

To completely bury the past, Claude did everything in his power to get rid of the evidence, using anthracite to point the authorities in the cult’s direction. Meanwhile, Ida, well on her way out of town, receives word that Caleb can’t be her father, which points to only one person in the mix: Claude. Juliette, who had given birth when being interviewed by Solal, did not want anything to do with the child. This infant is, in fact, Ida, who is then adopted by Solal. Due to Juliette’s complete rejection of the infant and her unstable and traumatic state, the newborn was assumed to be Caleb’s child because of her deep connection with the cult, but it was Claude’s child. He had been secretly raping her every night. Claude was the black virgin that Juliette spoke of.

Juliette’s horrifying experience of being abused by her own brother had ruined her early days. Her affiliations to the cult were a means to get away from the disturbing experience she had to deal with at home. She wanted to be healed by Caleb, and Caleb, who turned out to be an innocent man, thought he could do that, but eventually, he couldn’t. The truth would not have been unearthed if Claude had destroyed the tapes, but he felt that there was a sentimental attachment to them, so he kept them. Juliette, who had given birth early, rejected her first child because the infant was conceived when Claude raped her. Fortunately, this child would be raised by a loving father, Solal.

Juliette then went on to have another child with another man, who eventually left her. However, the second child she bore was loved with no boundaries. This child was Jaro. She gradually began regaining control over her life by going to therapy, wanting to be a better mother to Jaro. She started remembering her past, but as soon as Claude found out about it, he decided to put an end to it for his own selfish guilt. So, he set fire to Juliette’s apartment and killed his own sister.

Also Read: Anthracite Ending, Explained: What Happens to Claude?