Want the BODIES ending explained? Maybe you’re confused about the season ending of the 2023 Netflix series Bodies? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our take on the new British Netflix genre-bending series. *SPOILERS*
Want the 2023 Netflix series Bodies ending explained? The new series is a genre-blending and genre-bending story, so we know people will have questions. For this Netflix series, people are asking a lot of questions about both the plot and the season-ending. We’ve tried to make a little FAQ here and give our answers.
Obviously, this will be full of spoilers regarding key plot elements from Season 1 of Bodies including the actual Bodies ending. After all, we do need to get into all sorts of plot details to cover the various questions about the ending.
Netflix 2023 series Bodies ending explained
Let’s get into the Bodies ending by talking about some of the most asked questions about elements of the story. Many of these elements also play into the ending anyway, so you might find answers sooner than expected.
What does KYAL mean?
KYAL stands for “Know You Are Loved”. It is used by certain people working for a future London. It could be (and is by some) described as a cult. While the core idea is absolutely about love and acceptance, it does become quite forced and one-tracked.
All in the name of love, of course. Know you are loved, and all that.
The constant repetitiveness of the one line might remind you of the whole “Under His Eye” in The Handmaid’s Tale. Well, it did for me, anyway. It’s used in the same manner which is to say at all times. To end and begin conversations or simply explain something.
What is The Throat?
The Throat is a time-travel device invented by Gabriel Defoe, a professor who dabbles in time travel on a theoretical level. Or so he claims.
Who is the real Sir Julian Harker?
In the 1880s, the actual and biological Julian Harker was a prominent member of London’s high society. He tragically lost his life in Burma during a war. His mother was left grieving and wished to have him back.
Fast forward to 2053, where an authoritative figure, Commander Elias Mannix (portrayed by Stephen Graham) of KYAL, hatches a daring plan to alter the course of history.
How does Elias Mannix become Julian Harker?
Elias Mannix uses The Throat Time Machine to venture back in time to 1889. His goal is to assume Julian Harker’s identity. There is an obvious problem in that Elias Mannix looks nothing like Julian Harker, but there’s an answer for this; Elias Mannix simply needs to get Julian Harker’s mother to confirm that he is in fact her long-lost son.
Harker’s mother, Lady Agatha Harker seems reluctant, but also accepting and relieved at first. However, she clearly does know that Elias Mannix is not her son.
Why does Lady Agatha Harker accept Elias Mannix as her son?
Simply put, Julian Harker’s mother confirms that Elias Mannix is in fact her long-lost son because the two make a deal. Lady Agatha Harker asks Elias point blank if he is her son. Elias answers that he is not.
However, she is a believer in the paranormal, supernatural, occult and what have you. As no stranger to seances, the story Elias tells her – which, in all fairness, is the absolute truth – is one she can believe.
As Elias Mannix tells her, that he is from the future, and will ensure her a house full of both love and fortune, she is ready to take a chance on the stranger. After all, this time-traveling individual seems to have profound insights into financial markets.
Also, he promises her grandchildren, which is yet another thing she dreams of.
To make sure the Harker/Mannix swap can work, she has every portrait of her biological son Julian Harker repainted. Instead, the face of Elias Mannix is painted on the portraits as he assumes the identity of Julian Harker.
How does Julian Harker make his fortune?
Armed with knowledge from the future, Lady Agatha Harker embarks on a successful career as a psychic medium.
The Harker fortune, however, comes from something else. Julian Harker/Elias Mannix establishes a financial institution known as Harker & Co. Once he has proven that his “guesses” are always right, it gets increasingly easy to get people to invest.
However, for Harker/Mannix, the goal is so much more than “just” money.
Harker/Mannix is playing the 150-year-long game
Behind the Harker & Co. façade we find Mannix’s true, sinister motive; He needs to form a clandestine group, consisting of powerful people from various institutions. All with the goal of ensuring that the devastating 2023 bombing in London happens.
After all, he needs to mastermind the plan that will result in his teenage self, Elias, activating the nuclear explosion.
This catastrophic event resulted in the loss of half a million lives. It’s an intricate plot that unfolds over 150 years. Elias Mannix sent himself back from 2053 to 1889 with the sole purpose of building the deadly bomb and hiding it within the Harker & Co. bank. His own bank.
Is Mannix his own ancestor?
Indeed Elias Mannix is his own ancestor, which is like something straight out of the German Netflix series Dark.
It’s a neverending loop in which Elias Mannix is his own great-grandparent.
In other words, Elias Mannix travels from 2053 to 1889, where he assumes the identity of Julian Harker and marries the woman who is his own great-grandmother (Poppy Hillinghead).
He even says to Poppy that she is his blood, which is true in a direct ancestral way. It’s one f’ed-up family tree. More of a loop, really.
What and who are Chapel Perilous?
In the year 2053, Gabriel Defoe led a group known as Chapel Perilous. They are a group dedicated to countering the sinister plans of Elias Mannix that resulted in the 2023 explosion.
Also in Chapel Perilous is the 2023 detective Hasan, who has long retired and is working against the establishment.
Hasan was stricken by personal tragedy when she failed to stop the teenage Elias Mannix from setting off the bomb. She lost her son in the devastating 2023 explosion.
That’s why in 2053, we meet an older Hasan who has made it her life mission to prevent the catastrophic bomb from ever detonating.
Her ally, Defoe, balances a daytime career as a professor with a clandestine involvement in time travel.
Who shot the body in Longharvest Lane?
Detective Iris Maplewood from the 2053 time period is the one who shoots the body of Gabriel Defoe as he is about to step into The Troat time machine to follow Elias Mannix.
First, Detective Iris Maplewood found the body in 2053, only to discover that he wasn’t quite dead yet. It turns out he only traveled back in time a few days in this time period. The body is discovered to be Gabriel Defoe who is still very much alive.
As they bring him to see the shot version of himself, he ends up witnessing his own death. With only days to spare to solve who shot him, Defoe stays with Maplewood, and the two become quite fond of each other.
This is why she ends up crying as she pulls the trigger, realizing she is the one who kills him. Performing her duty as a police officer instead of following her heart – and her gut, because she doesn’t entirely believe in Elias Mannix and KYAL any longer.
Defoe had done his best to convince Maplewood that Elias Mannix was the true villain. Even leading her to the headquarters of Chapel Perilous and Hasan. There, they unveil Defoe’s time-travel device, aptly named “The Throat”.
They tell her all about Mannix’s sinister plan to use it to travel back in time and trigger the sequence of events that culminate in the 2023 bombing. Unfortunately, Maplewood has been groomed by KYAL for decades of her life, and cannot be convinced of this new truth, she’s told.
What happens after Iris Maplewood shoots Gabriel Defoe?
After Maplewood helps Elias Mannix use The Throat – and by doing that starts setting everything in motion – Defoe wants to follow Mannix to stop him and this is when Maplewood shoots Defoe. As she fires the shot while he’s in the process of splitting into different timelines, Defoe’s body disperses across four distinct years.
Fortunately, Maplewood remembers how Defoe explained the workings of The Throat time travel device. For every movement in one direction, there’s a movement in the opposite.
Translation: If his body was sent back a few days to when she first discovered him, then it would also be sent forward into the future.
Sure enough, his body shows up a few days later in Longharvest Lane. This time, they are ready for him and treat his injuries immediately, and save his life.
The concept of inception plays a part
Once Gabriel Defoe has been saved a few days later in 2053, they begin to think about new solutions to stop the 2023 explosion. Elias Mannix has already traveled back to 1889, so in order to influence him, they need to use The Throat and go back.
Basically, they need to change his mind, and the plan is actually what the Christopher Nolan movie Inception is all about. They need to plant a seed of doubt that can grow into a change of heart.
In 2053 things escalate and Maplewood makes a rash decision to jump into The Throat and be the one to plant the seed via Detective Hillinghead.
There’s a big issue with Iris Maplewood being dependent on 2053 tech to be able to walk. Only the human body is able to time travel. Everything else, including clothing and metal, will be left behind. That’s why they can never find the bullet in any of the four time periods.
Maplewood is in poor shape as she wakes up, with strange holes in her back, in Longharvest Lane in 1889.
What role does Hillinghead play in the end?
After Maplewood travels back to 1891, she ends up in a cell next to Detective Hillinghead. He has just been imprisoned after having admitted to killing the body found in Longharvest Lane. Of course, Maplewood knows this wasn’t the case as she was the one who shot Defoe (aka The Body in Longharvest Lane) in 2053.
Hillinghead was certain it was Julian Harker in 1891, who shot him, so when Maplewood can tell him a very different version, he listens.
As Maplewood finally convinces Hillinghead that she is from the future, she has so many terrible truths to tell him.
Not only will Julian Harker go on to marry Hillinghead’s daughter, Poppy, which is bad enough. She also tells Hillinghead that he will be killed during his transfer from prison. Before this happens, however, he will get the chance to talk to Julian Harker, who Maplewood tells him is also from the future and actually named Elias Mannix.
Planting the seed of doubt
If ever Hillinghead still doubted Maplewood, it stops once he calls Julian Harker by the name Elias Mannix.
It’s obvious that Harker/Mannix is shocked, which in turn tells Hillinghead that the crazy story he was just told by the strange woman in the cell next to him, was true.
Hillinghead plants the seed that everyone has been lying to Elias since he was born; That he will never know love and he will always struggle for acceptance. The 2023 explosion will have forever damaged him.
This was something Hasan overheard Elias’ foster dad say. He felt he knew that the adult Elias would have regrets.
How Polly Hillinghead plays a key role
After Hillinghead has died and Harker/Mannix goes on to marry Polly, we see his life play out differently. Instead of being happy on his wedding day, he seems to still be haunted by the words of his father-in-law, Detective Hillinghead. A man he has murdered.
Polly also feels this change in the man, who had otherwise swept her off of her feet and loved her. Suddenly, Julian is not a loving and present husband. Polly ends up discovering secrets before she’s supposed to – including finding the body of Defoe. As her father died as a result of having admitted to killing this person, it seems strange that her husband would be in possession of said corpse.
She loses all trust in and love for her husband. The times being what they were, Polly continues to do as she is told she must by Julian, but she isn’t even able to love or care for their son. Instead of being a partner of Harker/Mannix, she is a reluctant accomplice.
As Harker/Mannix makes the final record in 1941, which is meant to serve as a masterplan for everything up until the 2023 explosion, he has a change of heart.
Why does Harker/Mannix change his mind about the bombing?
Before Polly is sent out to be the old lady who will poison the girl, Esther (who is in Detective Whiteman’s care), she says something brutally honest. First, she asks her husband how she will die and how he will die. Then she states that she hopes she is the one who will kill him.
He has lost the love of his life and broken her trust completely. To the degree where she hoped only that she would get to kill him.
This proves, more than anything, that Hillinghead was right; Elias Mannix never did get to experience love as Julian Harker. Despite having listened to records of himself promising this all along.
Knowing that all the previous recordings have already put too many plans in motion, he makes one final record. A new and additional secret record.
When Detective Whiteman comes to kill him – only hours later – he asks one thing of his assassinator. He wants Whiteman to take the record and hide it. Detective Hasan needs to find it in the future.
Whiteman hides it in the pub frequented by cops in 1891, 1941, and (as luck would have it) in 2023. Soon after, Whiteman is gunned down by his fellow police officers.
How does Hasan convince teen Elias to make a different choice?
As these changes were made back in 1941, Hasan started remembering things differently in 2053. The newspaper articles about Whiteman also changed. Before, he was hanged for having murdered Polly and Julian Harker. Now, he’s gunned down by fellow officers in the cop pub.
This change proves that what they set in motion when Maplewood was sent back, is working.
Hasan uses The Throat to travel from 2053 to 2023, where she finds the final recording at the pub.
She goes to see Elias’ mom, who is quite shocked to see a much older Detective Hasan standing at her door. Fortunately, she manages to convince Elias’s mom to let her in, and from there, she calls the 2023 Hasan. Yes, she calls her younger self, who is sitting in the car right outside the very same house.
She gets 2023 Hasan to put the phone on speaker and plays the final record, so Elias can hear it. Also, 2053 Hasan convinces Elias’s mother that she cannot refuse her son again, just because she’s afraid of being rejected herself.
Elias’ mom comes out and hugs Elias who finally feels loved, and then he disappears into thin air.
Why does Elias Mannix disappear in 2023?
Once Elias Mannix doesn’t activate the explosion in 2023, the loop is finally broken.
When the explosion doesn’t happen, then KYAL never takes hold in the UK, and the events that lead to Elias Mannix traveling back to 1889 will never happen.
If that never happens, then the beginning of Elias Mannix’s family tree never happens, as he is his own great-grandfather.
Thus Elias Mannix never becomes the Julian Harker who marries Polly Hillinghead. The child born by these two was the first link in the family tree of Elias Mannix, and it’s now broken, so he never came to exist.
There’s a glitch in the Matrix if you will.
The immediate changes, we see in the Bodies ending
In the blink of an eye, Hasan is back in her home and it’s the morning of the day in 2023 when Detective Hasan would have discovered the body in Longharvest Lane. Instead, she gets to spend the time with her family that she wants.
In 1891, Detective Hillinghead is alive and happy. Again bumping into the photographer that makes his heart flutter, so that might still turn into something.
In 1941, Detective Whiteman manages to make a better decision and also bumps into Esther, whom he seems to have a connection with. Maybe he will actually become a father to the young and sassy girl.
The only unknown is the future as we no longer know what 2053 will hold.
The very final scene in the Netflix 2023 series Bodies
However, in the very final scene, as Hasan is getting into a taxi to go celebrate her father’s birthday, we see something.
It would appear that Iris Maplewood is driving the taxi, which is impossible as she is the age she was in 2053.
In the background, on a tall building, the word KYAL appears in neon lights.
Maybe they didn’t change as much as they hoped, after all. Not if KYAL / Know You Are Loved still exists in some form.
Or rather, maybe Elias Mannix was never the origin of KYAL.
What does the ending of Bodies mean?
When the cryptic message of “KYAL,” which stands for “Know You Are Loved”, makes an appearance on a building in the London city skyline, we know it isn’t over.
The concrete significance of this message leaves us viewers intrigued and wondering about its meaning. After all, we’ve only seen the message before in 2053. Prior to the future scenes, it’s only been spoken or perhaps written in a letter.
Series creator Paul Tomalin shed light on the ending to Cosmopolitan UK, stating, “The characters were brought to an end. But that being said, if it’s a ridiculous hit and people are storming Netflix [for more], we left that ellipsis just in case, with a very exciting idea that does justice to the set up and develops it further.”
He emphasized, “What we knew was it would be a disservice to our audience, if they were going to invest eight hours of their time, not to solve this.”
In this way, the ending of Bodies strikes a balance between resolution and potential, weaving together various storylines to offer audiences a fulfilling conclusion while leaving the door ajar for future developments.
Will there be a Season 2 of Bodies?
The series is labeled as a limited series, but that ending does give us hope that there will be a season 2. At the moment there are no official plans for a season 2.
Still, as stated by the series creator, they’ve left an opening and there’s an exciting idea of how to continue the story, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for Bodies season 2 on Netflix.
That’s it. We hope the above little Q&A helped explain any questions you had about the Bodies ending or plot.