‘The Stranded’ begins on the final night of graduation. Exams are over and it is time to wrap up the school life and move on to college. The next morning everyone has to go their separate ways. Some have colleges lined up in Bangkok and even in LA, while others will take their time to figure out what they want with their lives. Before they part, a party is thrown, in order to celebrate their last night as schoolmates. Kraam is on his way to the party and is in the middle of a very strange conversation with her father when a humungous wave of a tsunami comes their way. Their car is toppled by the impact; his father dies, but somehow, Kraam survives.
Twenty-five days later, we see that only thirty-six teenagers, the ones present at the party, apart from Kraam, have survived the disaster. Everyone else on the island is dead, from the locals to the staff of the school. How and why they survived is not mentioned, though we wonder how Kraam managed to save himself. A loose social structure has formed up and the teens are trying to find ways to contact the outside world. However, a leader is yet to emerge. Anan tries to be that leader but struggles to enforce control over his peers. It takes a tragedy to stir them into action, and they begin to work on a way to get out of the island by themselves rather than waiting for someone to rescue them.
Alliances are formed and past animosities come to light as the teens come to terms with their situation. Meanwhile, Kraam makes some startling discoveries about his real parents and the island seems to be playing games with all of their psyches. In the end, all the secrets unravel, paving the path for new mysteries. If you haven’t yet seen ‘The Stranded’, head over to Netflix.
In six episodes, ‘The Stranded’ works on various mysteries simultaneously, hinting towards a greater arc for the protagonist. With the seventh and final episode, the tension between the characters rises to the point of paranoia and they become savage in their approach. Anan had been struggling to take control of the group. He wanted to be the leader so badly, but his self-preservation was above all. Through the flashbacks in his past life, we come to know more about his obsession with control. He had been a music conductor, but his failure to control the lead player of his group makes his father disappointed in him, which is why he decides to give up on music entirely. Also, he had a mama’s boy image that he wanted to shake off, and it could only be done if everyone revered and feared him as the leader of the group.
He would come up with all sorts of ideas, sometimes original, sometimes borrowed, but was never able to deliver on anything. Previously, Joey had been able to moderate his relationship with the rest of the group. But after his death, he is left to compete with the jack-of-all-trades Kraam. To his utter fury, the fisher boy steals away May as well. So, when he sees Kraam standing with Professor Lin, or whatever was pretending to be her, he finds his opportunity.
He turns the mob against Kraam and becomes the first person to throw the stone. As the Professor had taught in her class, such things, when repeated, don’t take much time to become a social norm. With the first act of violence undertaken by Anan, we are told that the rest will follow suit, and what we have now is a group of savages who live by the rules of the jungle, not of civilized humans.
The Stranded Ending, Explained
By the end, Anan has succeeded in becoming the unequivocal leader. He might not be good at repairing boats or seeking signals or creating a proper structure for their society or carrying out everything with peace. But he has no trouble with violence, it comes naturally to him and that’s what he will use to keep himself on the top.
While all this happens, Kraam succeeds in escaping with May but loses her in the jungle. She is caught by Anan and his gang, while Kraam reunites with Professor Lin. She had told him before that the entire island is actually a gate, though she wasn’t very clear about where it leads to. He follows to the same place where Arisa, Nat and Gun had been in the last episode, where they found the real professor.
He enters the cave and discovers the same place that he had seen in his visions. This is where his mother had drowned herself and she tried to take him too, even when he was just a baby. He believes that she had tried to kill both of them, but the Professor states otherwise. On her insistence, he dives into the pond, and after struggling for a while, finds his way out.
After wandering about for a while, he is attacked by a group of teenagers. On running farther, he discovers that this is not his world. It is very much like the one described in the Prachaisuriya poem that Arisa and Ying had been discussing ever since they found the tape. The floods did come and almost everything is underwater now. The group of teenagers who ran after him turn out to be his own classmates, though not the ones he just left behind.
What has happened is that Kraam found “the gate” that Professor Lin was talking about. It is actually a doorway to a parallel world. This place has been destroyed too, though not in the same way as his one. Moreover, the ones who had died in his world, like Joey, are still alive here, and it could also be a vice versa situation.
Read More: What is the Gate in ‘The Stranded’?
This also explains what happened to Arisa, Nat and Gun when they went through the cave. After walking into it, they ended up on the night of the party. Joey was still alive then and the tsunami hadn’t struck yet. Now, there are two options in this situation. Since we don’t yet know of the exact nature of the door, it can either take you to parallel worlds or take you back in time.
The trio either travelled back to the night of the party, but got back just in time before the tsunami hit. There could be a number of reasons why they couldn’t stay there for too long and came out before they could die in the past. Another possibility is that they ended up in a parallel world, on the night of the party. But, because they hadn’t gone through the proper door, they couldn’t stay there for much longer. On the other hand, Kraam passed through an actual door, which is why he couldn’t revert back to his world. Though now he knows the way, perhaps, he will be able to return and get help for his friends.
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