The Two Injections in 1899, Explained

Netflix’s ‘1899‘ is a complex psychological-thriller TV series that centers on a passenger ship, Kerberos, sailing from London to New York. When Kerberos encounters Prometheus, a ship that’s been missing for four months, the passengers start experiencing weird things. Maura, one of the passengers on the steamship, also experiences these strange events. Right from the show’s beginning, she gets dreams and visions that she can’t explain. She sees a mental hospital ward, a chair, and two syringes. If you are wondering about the significance of the two injections, look no further, as we have an answer. SPOILERS AHEAD!

How Do the Two Injections Work?

We see two syringes in ‘1899’; while one is white, the other is black. It is essential to inject a person with them before they can be put in a simulation. The black injection makes the subject forget their memories, and the white injection brings them back. Henry creates an entire loop in the simulation to get something from Maura. Every time the loop restarts, he needs Maura to forget the previous one and feel like she’s on the ship for the first time. To accomplish this, Henry gives his daughter the black injection, which makes her forget the previous loop and wake up on the ship. Henry uses the white injection too, but just on one occasion- when he wants to show the boy the reality and make him remember what his mother made him forget.

Several instances across the show hint that the injections are related to memories of people. We understand this primarily through Maura. The story begins with Maura being dragged into a ward as she yells at Henry and asks him what he has done with her memories. While we do not see the injections in the dream, a few scenes later, Maura gets flashes of the dream, and this time she sees the two injections.

In the next instance, the boy, Elliot, leads her to the hospital. This time when she enters the ward, Henry is standing behind her with the black injection. He inserts the injection into her, and Maura once again wakes up. The third incident, which confirms our suspicions, occurs inside Elliot’s dream. Here he sees Maura walks toward him with a black injection, and before she gives it to Elliot, she says that he’ll forget what happened to him in the ward. Thus, we understand that Maura used the black injection to make him forget that he was ill and dying.

The white injection is used only once in the entire show. In trying to explain that it was Elliot’s parents who created the simulation, Henry decides to take the boy to the ward. While walking to the ward’s door, Henry says that even if the mind forgets, the body remembers. This is precisely why Elliot is feeling anxious and scared. Nevertheless, Elliot volunteers and gets himself injected with the white liquid. It brings back his memories, and he finally understands the truth.

Almost all the passengers of Kerberos don’t remember how they came onto the ship, and it is likely that Henry injected them with the black liquid too. Maura created the simulation and imposed it on everyone. Henry wanted to get out of it and discovered that only Maura has the key that can get them back to reality. With her memories intact, she’d never have told him about the key. So, he removed her memories and created the loops, hoping that one thing or another might lead him to it. And this is where the syringes come in. The black one makes the subject forget their memories. In case they need to remember, the white one is ready to remind them all that had been buried in their minds.

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