‘The Stranded’ is the first Thai-language series by Netflix. This teen drama follows the story of a group of teenagers who are left on a deserted island after a devastating tsunami. With no other adult in sight and no help on the way, they try to come up with something, to get out of the island before it gets any worse for them. However, the island is hiding a secret, just like all of its inhabitants. If you haven’t yet seen ‘The Stranded’, head over to Netflix. You don’t want that ending spoiled for you.
What is the Gate?
Let’s get this mystery out-of-the-way first. What the hell is actually going on this beautiful island? Despite its white sand seashore and hidden beaches that prove to be a dream hangout, there are a lot of other things that would keep us from visiting it anytime soon. To begin with, why hasn’t anyone come to enquire about the kids? Where are their parents and isn’t the government concerned about the rescue and clean up after the tsunami? It is impossible that everyone has forgotten about it and the people on it.
This means that either the rest of the world is no more, or that the kids aren’t really in any danger. In a flashback, Professor Lin teaches the kids about psychogenic illness and mass hallucination. Now, out of all the things that she must have taught them over the years, why was this particular topic singled out? Is this an indication that the 36 people are not in any danger, but are experiencing mass hallucination? Has the tsunami done something to the island which has resulted in an effect on their collective psyche?
Another thing that alarms us about the place is the forest. Okay, fine. A forest is always a dangerous place, especially in stories like this. But this forest is particularly tricky. When Arisa makes the mistake of going there alone, she not only hallucinates about the girl who committed suicide because of her but also falls down a ditch. Similarly, when Nat and Gun come looking for her, they set up camp in a normal place. But, in the morning, find themselves in a place they didn’t even know about.
Furthermore, there is also the trick of the time. Arisa believes that she has been there only for two days, but the boys tell her that she has been missing for two weeks. It could be possible that Arisa has lost track of time, and might have been hallucinating. Or maybe, her mind tried to not keep track of time lest she loses her sanity. But, because no proper explanation was given to solve this mystery, we can conclude that this time dilution has something to do with the mist in the forest. As soon as they come out of the mist, they easily find their way back. But as long as they are in it, they keep walking in circles.
The reason that the island has been behaving like this could be because of “the gate” that Professor Lin had mentioned to Kraam. She said that the name of the island in Malay translates to “gate”. Further, she tells him that there are a number of gates on the island and they all converge in the cave. Perhaps, it is the energy of these gates that results in the anomalies in the surrounding area.
From the information we could gather after seven episodes, these gates look like wormholes. They help a person in travelling to parallel worlds and or through time. In the cave, there are a number of smaller wormholes, or gates, that are temporary or can’t be sustained for too long, which explains the experience of Arisa, Nat and Gun. On the other hand, there is one proper gate, which looks like it has come right out of the Thai-mythology and might have something to do with the ancient poem on the tape.
This gate allows you a proper passage from one reality to another. Whether or not it allows unhindered passage through time is yet to be seen. This also begs the question, if there is another reality and another time, does this mean that Kraam’s parents came from there? Did they leave him in this world to protect him from some danger in their own? And also, while we see the dead body of his mother, we don’t see what happens to his father. Could it mean that he is alive and is in the same reality as Kraam is in now?
What is Professor Lin?
After the tsunami that wipes off everything, it seems weird that only 36 teenagers have managed to survive. When finally, an adult does manage to show up, it is Professor Lin. Everyone agrees that she has been acting weird and it soon becomes clear that she is not entirely herself. She must be possessed by something, because not only does she seem to know everything, but she also actively sabotages their plans to run from the island.
In the penultimate episode, we discover that she isn’t Professor Lin, at all. The real one had been caught up in the cave and is rescued by Arisa, Nat and Gun. So, who is this one then? And why was she pretending to be Lin? The answer to why is simpler than who. This entity came out of the water from the lagoon, the one which suddenly turned scalding while Ice and Ying were swimming in it. Nahm mentions that some geyser might have cracked underneath due to the earthquake and the tsunami, which is why there was suddenly so much hot water.
It was after this incident that the Professor showed up. We could interpret it in this way. This entity is actually the soul or the spirit of the island. It recognized its connection to Kraam and came out to help him. It knew that he needed to find the gate, which is why it was so adamant about him not leaving the island. It needed a familiar face to get close to him and found it in Professor Lin, the loving and revered teacher. It could very well have been some other teacher if it helped its purpose.
Because this entity comes from the island, because it is of the island, it knows so much about it. It knows about the history of Kraam’s parents and there must be something about them that the entity cares about him. At first, we thought it was something sinister, but later, it turns into a guide. Also, Nahm, too, changes her mind about it and believes that it is not the bad spirit they thought it to be. To know what exactly it is, we’ll have to wait for the second season.
Read More: The Stranded Ending, Explained