What Happened to Krester’s Face in 1899?

Set in the titular year, ‘1899‘ is a mystery-thriller TV series that revolves around a group of migrant passengers on the Kerberos ship, which is traveling from London to New York. Almost every passenger is trying to run away from a dark past. Each one with a woe of their own wants to get away from their roots and start afresh in America. However, all their plans go overboard when the Kerberos receives signals from a missing steamship, Prometheus. When the captain takes a detour to rescue the adrift vessel, weird occurrences begin, and the characters’ traumas come to the surface.

One of the many such people is Krester, a young Danish boy who comes from a seemingly underprivileged and conservative background. Over the episodes, his overall demeanor is quite timid, and the boy doesn’t seem to open up much. In fact, he only gets mildly aggressive when he seeks his mother’s approval. His face has a striking feature, a scar, that piques the audience’s interest. So why is Krester mostly to himself, and how did he get the scar? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD

How did Krester Get the Scar?

Krester was shot in the face because he likely performed a sexual act with another boy. This is perhaps one of the reasons why he and his family go to America for a new beginning. When Krester is on the Kerberos, he crosses paths with Ángel, a Spanish upper-class narcissistic man. What makes Ángel curious is the scar on Krester’s face and how it acts as a mask for the real person. As their interaction progresses, the two engage in a sexual act, and it is revealed that the young boy is gay. This explains why he doesn’t interact much, even with his family members, while also revealing the reason behind the constant tension between him and his mother and sister. However, there’s more to the boy and his innately submissive nature.

Kester’s yearning for acceptance goes beyond his sexuality. The answer to this lies in how he got the scar. Interestingly, his past unravels through his sister Tove’s dream. It shows how intertwined their traumas are and gives us an insight into their relationship. In Tove’s dream, we see a gruff middle-aged man pointing a gun at Kester. He claims that Krester touched his son and took away his innocence.

While this could mean that Krester is a pedophile, his behavior on the ship proves that he’s quite harmless. It leads us to conclude that Krester is gay and likely engaged in a consensual sexual act with the man’s son. However, the show is set in the 19th century, which means that everyone is against homosexuality and is hostile toward gay people. Before Tove can stop the man, he shoots Krester in the face. Following this, he rapes Tove as an act of revenge. However, Tove manages to overpower him and kills him with a heavy rock. But, due to the incident, she gets pregnant.

Tove’s dream gives the audience context for Krester’s mannerisms and even the shift in his attitude toward Ángel. His sexuality tainted his relationship with his family because in some unsaid ways they hold him responsible for Tove’s rape. So, in a way, the incident didn’t just leave a scar on Krester, but also on his sister, while also changing the course of his family’s fate.

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