Who Sent the Letters to Passengers in 1899, Explained

Netflix’s ‘1899’ follows the story of a group of passengers who are onboard a ship on its way to America. Things take a weird turn for them when they come across Prometheus, the ship that had disappeared four months ago. As Captain Eyk and Maura Franklin try to uncover the mystery behind Prometheus’ disappearance, they discover that it might have something to do with their own ship, Kerberos. It is clear that larger forces are at play here and Maura suspects that there is one person behind it all. Could it be this person who sent her the letter inviting her to New York? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD

Did Ciaran Send the Letters to the Passengers?

Everyone has their own reasons for boarding Kerberos, and for Maura, it is to find her brother, Ciaran. Previously, he had found out something about what their father, Henry, was up to. He asked Maura to meet her at the docks in Southampton, but before that could happen, he disappeared. Maura believes that he might have boarded Prometheus, which also went missing around the same time. But then, she receives a message from Ciaran. Inside an envelope, he sends her the cutting of the newspaper with the headline about Prometheus. In a postcard, he writes about their father and how he found out what he did. Instead of giving her more details, he asks her to come to New York and trust no one.

At first, it looks like the whole mystery is focused on Maura’s search for her brother. But then, she discovers that Eyk, too, received a similar envelope with the same newspaper cutting. Before she can make sense of it, things take a turn for the worse. It isn’t until the end that she thinks about the envelope again, and this time, the surviving passengers reveal that they, too, had received a similar envelope. But no one knows who sent it.

Because Maura believes that it was her brother who sent her the letter, the logical assumption is that he is the one who contacted the rest of the passengers, too. But then, a lot of things happen by the end. Maura discovers that they are all in a simulation that she created. But now, it has been taken over by her father. He is using it to conduct an experiment on them. So, it would make sense that he sent that letter to all of them.

In creating the simulation, Henry would have had to give a backstory to the passengers to let them believe that they are, in fact, real people and not just some code in a simulation. Since Henry is studying human behavior, he wants a conflict between people to see how they will react. A complicated past would give all of them a purpose to be on that ship, and a strong reason to not go back to wherever they came from. This is why all the passengers are united when Eyk reveals that he will be hauling the Prometheus back to London.

While we know that other passengers received the letter as well, we don’t know what Henry sent them or what he wrote in that letter. One thing is for sure, there was something that made them want to board Kerberos, something that related to their past. For Eyk, it was the picture of his family with the envelope that did the trick. The letter gives him the idea that Prometheus is somehow related to his family, which is why he goes against everyone’s wishes and decides to turn the ship around. For Maura, it was a postcard from her brother. Similarly, every other passenger must have received an item pertaining to something important in their life.

The letter gives everyone a strong motive to see their journey through, but for Eyk, it becomes a big question mark when he receives the “sink ship” signal from his superiors. He becomes convinced that the company wants to hide whatever happened to Prometheus. Because he trusts no one, he doesn’t share the contents of the letter with them, which is why no one understands his decision. It can be assumed that everyone else received a letter telling them to trust no one either and made it imperative that they land in New York.

For the experiment, Henry needs something to move things along. There is no point in giving smooth sailing to the ship because it isn’t real anyway. It is the letter that becomes the catalyst for the events that follow. Because it is his experiment and his simulation, it is he who sent those letters, not Ciaran.

Read More: What is Lost Will be Found Meaning in 1899, Explained