‘War Sailor,’ created by Gunnar Vikene, is a three-part mini-series adapted from his 2022 film of the same name. This wartime drama stars Kristoffer Joner and Pål Sverre Hagen at its forefront, alongside Ine Marie Wilmann and many others. The series chronicles the life of a working-class sailor, Alfred “Freddy” Garnes after the Second World War breaks out. Stuck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Freddy, his best friend Sigbjørn, and other Norwegian sailors have no choice but to work for the Allies. As the sailors try to return home to their families, their lives are constantly endangered by a war they never asked to be a part of.
‘War Sailor’ presents a raw and poignant story of the part played by individual sailors and civilians in a war of tremendous magnitude. Thus, the show unfolds in profound ways for Freddy and his family, compelling the viewers to wonder how the war’s aftermath will change their lives by the end. SPOILERS AHEAD!
War Sailor Recap
Set in 1939, ‘War Sailor’ follows the story of Freddy Garnes, a father of three in Bergen city of Norway. Struggling with employment opportunities, he accepts an eighteen-month-long job as a cook aboard a Norwegian merchant ship, despite his family’s wishes. His close friend, Sigbjørn, a sailor, goes with him. With promises of safe returns, the two embark on their journey to the coasts of New York. However, their plans are interrupted when a few months later, Norway gets occupied by German forces. All Norwegian ships are commandeered and set sail for the Allies at the King’s Command. Freddy and Sigbjørn leave for Liverpool as crew for the Frostneck ship alongside others like Hanna, Aksel, and Braathen.
A few months later, the Germans attack the Frostneck ship, leading to its wreckage. Freddy and Sigbjørn, among other survivors from that ship, dock on Matla and are immediately met with an air raid by the German forces. Two years later, in New York, Freddy and his crew are assigned a trip to Munmask. Their new journey statistically promises a fatality for their vessel, and the crew finally decides to take action. They figure out a way to get young sailors Hanna and Aksel ashore and later plan their own escape. However, Hannah and Aksel’s freedom is not so easily bought, and they end up returning back to the ship. Freddy realizing he can’t leave now, in good conscience, decides to stay back. Sigbjørn stays behind with him, and they sail for Munmask.
Their ship, as expected, is torpedoed by the Germans, leaving numerous dead. Freddy and Sigbjørn somehow survive the shipwreck alongside another crewman and Aksel. After several days spent on the sea battling injury and other demons, the two are picked up by a vessel of the Allies. Freddy and Sigbjørn are taken to a Canadian hospital, where they find food, room, and medicine. Meanwhile, in German-occupied Norway, the British started to bomb Bergen. Freddy’s wife, Cecilia, and their kids face fatal bombing threats and try their best to survive. However, after a brutal second bombing in their city, Freddy receives the devastating news of the deaths of his three children and wife.
Traumatized and emotionally destitute, Freddy flees from the hospital and leaves behind Sigbjørn. A couple of years later, Sigbjørn knocks on a house in Askøy and finds Freddy’s family alive and well. His family had also presumed Freddy dead. The Garners have moved on with their lives, and in their presence, Sigbjørn finds himself doing so as well. But soon, word of Freddy’s survival reaches him, and he leaves at once to get his friend back. Though the war is over now, it has brought so much change in Freddy that he quickly realizes things can never be the same again.
War Sailor Ending: Do Freddy And His Family Reunite?
After Freddy’s harrowing cyclic journey at sea, he finds himself in a hospital in Halifax, Canada. There, Freddy nurses his health alongside his friend Sigbjørn. Freddy’s experiences have significantly changed him, and he showcases an uncharacteristically violent streak after attacking a man who reminds him of a friend. His state gets further aggravated when he finds out about the bombing at Bergen. The attack had been so brutal that it had left little to no remains of the victims. Therefore, Freddy’s family is announced deceased, even though no dead bodies are found. After receiving the news, Freddy leaves the hospital.
Similarly, during Freddy’s oceanic journey, his family remains in Bergen. Cecilia takes up work cutting wood to make ends meet, as there has been no correspondence between her and Freddy since the war started. On October 4th, 1944, the first British bomb hit the streets of german-occupied Bergen. Freddy’s family survives that attack, with Maggie, his daughter, barely making it out alive when her school is bombed. However, soon afterward, Freddy’s family is told about the wreckage of MS Falkanger and his presumed death. The family leaves for Askøy only a few days before the second bombing and manages to escape their deaths. They move into late Uncle Tostein’s house and start a new life there.
With Freddy and his family’s assumptions of the others’ deaths, it would have been impossible for them to reunite without the help of Sigbjørn. After Freddy leaves Sigbjørn behind in the hospital, Sigbjørn finds Cecilia and her kids in Askøy. There he lives with them for a few months, even starting a fling with Cecilia. However, news of Freddy’s survival soon reaches him. Sigbjørn leaves for Singapore to look for his friend after putting his own selfish desires aside. He helps Freddy find his way back to Cecilia and their kids. Much has changed since Freddy first left years ago. His youngest child doesn’t even recognize him, and there is tension in the family. However, in the end, they still find their way back to each other.
What Happens To Aksel And Hanna?
Freddy finds Aksel early on in his journey. Aksel is one of the three survivors picked up by Freddy’s ship. The two quickly form a bond, with Freddy being protective of Aksel, perhaps being reminded of his kids through him. In Malta, Aksel turns 16 while hiding in a bomb shelter and asks Freddy to teach him how to read and write. Similarly, Hanna is also a crew member and helps Freddy out in the kitchen. Her bond with Freddy isn’t as strong as Aksel’s, but Freddy is still empathetic towards the brash young girl. In 1994 New York, the night before their trip to Munmask, Freddy and the others brew up a plan to give Aksel and Hanna a new chance at life. They make up fake ailments for them, and medics take them away from the docked ship. However, their plan fails, and the two kids just end up returning to the ship, regardless.
On their way to Munmask, the German forces torpedoed MS Faulker. As a result, many die, including Hanna. Aksel just barely survives but loses one of his legs. Freddy, Sigbjørn, and another survivor pull him onto a floating piece of wood. A German ship soon finds them and, as an act of kindness, leaves them with food, water, and just enough morphine to kill Aksel. They cannot treat Aksel’s injury on a piece of driftwood, and the blood loss will likely lead to a horrible death. Therefore, Freddy injects all six morphine syringes into Aksel’s body, allowing him a quick, painless death.
What Happens to Sigbjørn?
Sigbjørn is present by Freddy’s side through everything from the start. They are moved from ship to ship together and face many horrors beside one another. However, after the alleged death of his family, Freddy leaves Sigbjørn behind on his own. Sometime after Freddy’s abandonment, Sigbjørn finds Freddy’s family. He crashes on Cecilia’s couch and finds some jobs in the city. Even though he keeps insisting he will be out of the house soon, he remains with Cecilia and her kids and starts forming a new bond with them. He helps William with carpentry, and he’s there for them when they need him. Soon, he and Cecilia start a tentative relationship together.
However, that relationship is brought to a screeching halt after Sigbjørn finds out that Freddy is alive. He travels to Singapore and helps Freddy get back to health. Afterward, he gives Freddy the money some of the crew had collected for him and tells him to return to his family. Even though Freddy urges him to come along, Sigbjørn declines. Sigbjørn tells Freddy that he’s a sailor and it is the only thing he knows to do. It is also possible that Sigbjørn has gotten too attached to Cecilia and her kids. Therefore he does not wish to return with Freddy and interfere in his family. He takes another job on a ship and doesn’t sail back to Askøy with Freddy.
Years later, on Freddy’s 70th birthday, Sigbjørn comes to visit him. The two friends talk, and Sigbjørn tells Freddy of his travels. He kept sailing in different ports across Asia. His travels had taken him to the places Freddy and Sigbjørn talked about in the very beginning— Trinidad, Curaçao, and even Rio.