Nightmares and Daydreams Episode 2 “Orphans” Ending Explained

In the second episode of ‘Joko Anwar’s Nightmares and Daydreams,’ titled ‘Orphans,’ we follow a desperate poverty-stricken couple trying to climb their way out of squalor by adopting a young boy with a special gift. Iyos and Ipah live in a rundown shack on a landfill where they work as trash collectors. The two dream of a life blessed with wealth and less misery. Consequently, when they learn about the existence of an orphaned boy, Syafin, who gifts his adoptive parents with riches, the pair decide to adopt the child with financial gain in their minds. However, the only caveat to the equation remains that those who adopt the child die in 7 days.

‘Orphans’ explores the selfish streak within humans and how thoughts of personal gain can come back to haunt us in unexpected and unintended ways. As Iyos and Ipah take Syafin in, their lives are changed by the inexplicable circumstances that arise from the new addition to their family. Complications surface in the manner of strains within relationships and the corruption of the mind. The married couple’s initial goals get twisted into macabre outcomes, which leave a sense of pyrrhic victory behind as the cycle is repeated. The warped ending crystallizes the central themes of the narrative while also leaving much room for exploration! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Syafin’s Double-Edged Gift

Iyos and Ipah are a married couple living in a ramshackle hut in the middle of a massive landfill. Their house is decrepit, and they barely have enough food to eat well. Iyos learns about an orphan boy, rumored to be the Devil’s child, who showers his adoptive parents with riches beyond belief. The pair are warned that night by their thuggish landlord to pay their overdue rent within three days. Desperate, Iyos attempts to convince his wife to adopt the orphan for their monetary needs. Although initially against it, Ipah secedes her arguments when they both realize they must find some cash as soon as possible.

At the orphanage, the caregiver warns Iyos and Ipah to rethink their decision to adopt the child. She reminds them that their bond is strong and that they have some food on their table every day. This advice is brushed aside as they have already made up their minds. Syafin, the orphan child, is introduced to them. The new parents learn that they must shower him with love to gain something back in exchange. On the journey home, Syafin stops outside a posh restaurant where he wishes to dine. However, his new guardians do not possess the wealth to feed him at the establishment.

The first day passes with little incident. After having a well-cooked meal made by Ipah, Syafin goes to sleep while the two adults are gifted with their first reward of the day – a total of 500,000. Overjoyed, Iyos believes it is easy to please the kid and make money from the transaction. He treats him to more food and toys while Ipah grows close to him emotionally. By day two, Syafin calls Ipah mom, a term which makes her reminisce about her biological child, Rian, who died when a trash van backed into him in the landfill. The two connect further the same night during dinner when she learns Syafin is allergic to peanuts.

Observing his wife and Syafin grow more and more inseparable, Iyos gets worried that the former is developing a genuine bond with the kid. He pays off the debt to his landlord and keeps his relationship with the boy confined to the realm of monetary gain. On the fourth day, Syafin falls sick after eating at the same restaurant he had seen after being picked up from the orphanage. Unfortunately for Iyos, the treatment and medical fees amount to nearly all the money he had made thus far by treating the boy well. Frustrated, he takes out his anger on him the following day, which leads to a rift between Iyos and his wife. As their agendas begin to diverge, the pair get further and further away from each other.

On day six, all the moving parts come collide in an apocalyptic fashion. After Syafin heads out to play in the landfill, a massive landslide is triggered. As Ipah rushes to save him, and Iyos rushes to save his wife, the entire family ends up buried under trash. When they wake up, they are transported to a palatial residence where they hold the ownership deeds. Iyos is delighted at having achieved his dream of leaving behind his miserable existence. Ipah, on the other hand, is not enamored with the wealth on display. Her attention remains on the well-being and care of Safyin, who she considers her son at this point. The difference between the couple leads to heinous decisions taken with grave consequences.

Does Iyos Kill Syafin?

Over the course of Syafin’s stay with Ipah and Iyos, the latter feels more and more alienated from the other two. His intention to adopt the kid for money remains his sole and primary drive throughout the narrative. He doesn’t wish to grow attached to the boy like his wife. When Ipah explains to him that she considers him her son, the husband is vehemently opposed to the notion—insistent that nothing can replace his dead son, Rian. Monetary gain remains Iyos’ sole concern. Due to Syafin’s amazing ability to reward his caregivers with riches, Iyos is okay with treating the boy as a golden goose and nothing more. There is no emotion attached, only greed.

Once the married couple moves to their new luxurious home, Iyos achieves what he had set out to do. Adopting the boy was meant to help him exit his wretched existence as a trash collector, something he repeatedly reminds his wife of. Now that they were the new owners of the mansion, that ambition had been met. However, despite having gained much in the process of letting the boy live with them, Iyos still worries about the curse carried by the Devil’s child. The curse that has sent all his previous adopters to the grave in seven days. He is certain the same will be visited upon him and Ipah if he doesn’t take action. Knowing that his wife would never assist him, he takes matters into his own hands.

After a fresh bag of money is deposited on the living room floor of their house, Iyos kidnaps Syafin and ties him up while his wife is sleeping. She wakes up and realizes something is amiss when she watches her husband dig a spot in their yard in the middle of a downpour. Locked in her room, Ipah escapes through the balcony and saves Syafin, only to be chased by her frenzied husband, who is convinced that the boy must die. They rush back to their old home in the landfill, where Iyos finally gets his hand on the orphan. However, before he can seal the deal by killing him, his own wife stabs him. Although Ipah loved her husband dearly, she could see that his greed had taken over his conscience, pushing him to nearly kill a child. Thus, she ends up killing Iyos as a last resort. Having failed in killing Syafin, he has a final moment with his wife before passing away.

Why Does Everyone Who Adopts Syafin Die?

By the time Ipah and Iyos adopt Syafin, they are aware that everyone who adopts him ends up dead on the seventh day. While this gives Ipah pause, her husband is convinced that all who have died were killed by the child and not through suicide or outside forces. He believes that the boy is at the root of the evil persisting around his caretakers, thus branding him the Devil’s child. However, as the day progresses, the underlying cause of the deaths is laid bare bit by bit through the corruption and descent of the mind depicted in Iyos and Ipah. Both husband and wife bring the child into their home with ulterior motives, and those intentions are warped into something ugly by the end.

Iyos’ greed for money and a bigger house drive him to treat Syafin as a cash machine. He objectifies and demonizes him into something unworthy of his emotional and mental investment. Instead, the only good thing about him is what he gives in return, not what Iyos can give him. On the flip side, Ipah is stuck on the notion that she can replace the spot left in her life by her dead son through Syafin, who mirrors Rian’s boyish innocence. She is hung up on the idea to the point of blindness for anything else. This creates a fissure in her relationship with Iyos, who feels less and less wanted around her and the orphan he has brought in for a purpose.

In the end, as he attempts to sever the bond between Ipah and the child, he is met with resistance he did not foresee. Unlike his initial belief that Syafin was the one who had killed his previous caretakers, it was the actions of the selfish parents themselves that had led to their downfall. After Ipah stabs Iyos, both adults finally realize their descent into darkness over their collective greed. For the former, it is driven by hopes of uncountable riches; for the latter, it is her selfish need for emotional fulfillment. Their two needs collide at the end in an ugly, unedifying manner in which both end up losing everything.

As the dead body of Iyos lies in the dirt, Ipah walks over to Syafin, who is huddled in the corner crying and aims the knife at her chest. While the boy pleads for his mother not to abandon him like everyone else, she reminds him that this is what always happens to him. Devastated at the death of her husband and her part in it, she sticks the knife into her chest and kills herself. In the aftermath, the young boy attempts to save Ipah, using his powers to perhaps save the only person who has truly cared for him.

Nonetheless, as a bright light engulfs their hut, the episode ends without resolution, highlighting the damned nature of Syafin’s existence. Much like those who adopt him, the kid is also cursed to gain something valuable for a few days, only to lose it in a week. Thus, as both adopted parents lie dead in their dilapidated hut, the cycle of death surrounding Syafin’s adopters continues as the curse prevails once again.

Read more: Nightmares and Daydreams Episode 1 “Old House” Ending Explained