What is Beetle Bug in 1899, Explained

Netflix’s ‘1899‘ is a sci-fi series that revolves around the events aboard Kerberos, a steamship sailing from the Old World to the New World. The vessel has numerous migrants from various parts of Europe who want to settle in America. However, when Kerberos crosses paths with Prometheus, a ship that had disappeared four months ago, all their hopes and plans are quashed. Created by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese (the makers of ‘Dark’), ‘1899’ is a mind-bending tale that combines the sci-fi and mystery-thriller genres.

Various facets of the show, such as the mechanics behind the devices, pique the audience’s interest. However, one subtle but fascinating thing that catches our attention is the blue-ish green bug. The young boy carries it around with him in several scenes to unlock doors, which makes us wonder what the bug is and how it works. Let us find out. SPOILERS AHEAD!

What is the Bug?

The blue-ish green bug is called Alfred, and Elliot finds it while playing in his dream. Elliot is with his mother, Maura, when he spots the bug. The young boy takes it in his palm, shows it to Maura, and names him Alfred. He then picks up a metal box to keep the bug inside, but Maura asks him not to. Although Elliot wishes to see the bug grow, Maura explains how imprisoning it is not the way to go about it. Elliot must learn to let things go as and when they want. Maura also tells Elliot that one day when he grows up, she will have to let him go too. After all, she can’t keep him forever. Elliot replies that he will stay with Maura and his father, Daniel, forever.

Following this, Elliot wakes up from his dream, but the incident doesn’t explain why the bug can open doors. In fact, it doesn’t just open room doors. When Maura finds Elliot hiding in her room’s shaft, he shows her how the bug works. He simply lets the bug leave his hand, and the shaft’s walls open a portal to someplace else. In another scene, when Maura and Captain Eyk are in her room, the former spots the bug and remembers what Elliot had done earlier. Maura places the bug before the shaft’s wall, and as the insect touches the wall, it turns fluid, and all the bricks separate, thus creating a tunnel for Maura and Eyk to pass through.

Towards the end, the audience and the characters realize they are living in a simulation created by Maura. When she discovers that Elliot is ill and will not survive, she and her husband create a sort of artificial world where they can be with their son forever. So, if we once again look at Elliot’s dream, we can infer that Maura is a conflicted personality who doesn’t want to cage her child, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to let go of him either. So, in her own convoluted way, she gives Elliot the bug in her simulation for him to go wherever he pleases and not be restricted by any kind of walls. Thus, the bug’s ability to open doors and walls symbolizes what Maura wishes for her son, Elliot.

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