Netflix’s latest foreign-language series “The Rain” falls mainly on the Danes in a soggy twist on the post-apocalyptic genre. A virus contained in rainfall causes severe and swift allergic reactions in everyone it drenches, which means that a huge swath of the Scandinavian population caught outside is dead within minutes.
Two siblings, Simone and Rasmus (Alba August, Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen), literally weather the storm by hiding out in a bunker for six years and then emerge into a transformed world in which the other survivors have learned to become hard, distrusting, and ruthless. In the end, however, it’s revealed that Rasmus is resistant to the virus and therefore is the one hope for humanity. But wait! He’s now also a carrier of the disease and highly contagious. Way to rain on that parade.
After bingeing the downpour of all eight episodes in the first season, IndieWire has some burning questions should “The Rain” return for a second season:
1. How did Beatrice die?
As a child, Rasmus was injected with an early version of the virus, after which his body built up a resistance to it. His body is a walking petri dish of antigens from which a vaccine could conceivably be made… as long you killed him to get to those precious molecules that are embedded in his brainstem and spinal cord.
When Rasmus spent that fateful night with Beatrice (Angela Bundalovic), they swapped some spit and possibly other bodily fluids. It’s not entirely clear if she died as a result of being in close contact to his contagious self or not, but she certainly didn’t have an immediate reaction. She only died overnight, which could mean that something else — the contaminated rain that fell on her or maybe the dog that licked her — caused her to die. But the rain doesn’t seem to be toxic anymore as Simone and her friends recently discovered.
In the world of “The Rain,” animals are resistant to the virus but can still carry the disease. While the dog did lick Beatrice before Rasmus discovered she was dead, that didn’t seem like much time for her to die (where were the convulsions?). Then again, animals don’t tend to be drawn to things that appear sick or diseased because that is counterintuitive to their health if they ate it. If she was already dead, there was no reason for the dog to have licked her.
2. Did the virus mutate before or after Rasmus injected himself?
The science is fuzzy here. Viruses mutate all the time, which is why flu shots aren’t always effective if a new viral strain has come into play. But everything does seem to point to when Rasmus injected himself with the virus and survived, that caused the mutation. Who knows what his body has been doing to the virus this whole time. But a new mutation would explain why after that Apollon soldier kissed him on the forehead and Rasmus bit the nurse, their deaths were violent and swift. It seems that Rasmus is now like the animals, a resistant carrier.
3. Will one of the gang get sick from Rasmus?
This is not an easy or antiseptic world they’re living in, and so far, it looks like the main precaution used on Rasmus is that Bane-like face mask. Sorry, but if he’s that contagious, shouldn’t he be in a Hazmat suit? For that matter, the others should be wearing face masks in the very least if not suits of their own.
All this is to say that in such close quarters, it’s just a matter of time before a mistake is made and Rasmus drinks from the wrong cup or something. While his sister Simone and her love interest Martin are probably safe from becoming narrative sacrifices, the rest aren’t.
4. Will Rasmus try to kill himself (again)?
Rasmus had been a huge pain from the start (why couldn’t he just keep his seatbelt on in the car when they were fleeing from the rain?), but his situation is somewhat sympathetic. Now we understand why he was always coddled and sheltered. After spending his formative years inside of a bunker with no real social interaction other than his sister and no real continued education that is discernible, he’s still mentally and emotionally a 10-year-old living in a much more mature world. When the first girl you like and have sex with has a post-coital death while still in bed with you, that’s pretty traumatic.
Rasmus tried to kill himself by viral inoculation after Beatrice died, but now that he knows he has the ability to kill and has been the cause of death for others, that information should make him spiral downward even more. The last shot of the boy (we don’t care if he’s technically 16 and of the age of consent in Europe) made him look pretty despondent. Simone will have to watch him closely.
5. Where can the friends find medical care?
The last time the gang found a doctor to stitch Rasmus up, that ended in her trying to kill him. (Ha, ha the joke’s on her, though, because even if she stuck him with the virus, he would’ve survived.) But the gang have two injured people in the party — Martin with his gunshot wound and Patrick having a tooth forcibly pried from his mouth under interrogation — and will require real medical attention, not just more whiskey, soon.
With the whole area under quarantine by Apollon though, it will be difficult to make a move and find actual medical supplies that aren’t connected to that company.
6. How has Apollon weaponized the virus?
In the finale, the evil Sten (Johannes Kuhnke) reveals that Apollon isn’t just the creator of the devastating virus, but has also pioneered a cloud-seeding technology that will allow them to create the tainted precipitation carrying the virus. It’s bio-warfare.
Sten says, “We have found a way to control the world with the worst disease it has ever known. We just need to the boy.”
If Sten means to threaten the world with lethal rain, that seems highly inexact, but also preventable as soon as countries realize that they just have to head off the airborne plane seeding the clouds. If the chemicals are delivered by spraying from the ground, though, that might be harder to pinpoint and prevent.
Presumably, having Rasmus (and those antigens) in hand would allow Apollon to create the vaccine to hold just out of reach of countries affected by the virus. No matter which way you look at it though, Apollon’s scheme is without conscience.
7. Will Frederick be used to hunt down his son?
Frederick (Lars Simonsson) is the Apollon scientist who had injected his own son Rasmus with the virus and had been protecting his son all of these years by not acknowledging his or Simone’s whereabouts. Frederick understood that if Apollon got their corrupt hands on Rasmus, his son would have to die to create the vaccine. Therefore, to protect his son all of these years, he’s had to seemingly neglect them. Hell, he even killed a guy with his bare hands to keep Apollon away from that bunker. Sure, at the end he tried to shoot Rasmus once he realized the boy was now a highly contagious carrier of a new strain of the virus, but he was conflicted and did not pull the trigger.
In the finale, Sten can be heard asking to have Frederick brought to him since he can no longer be trusted. He probably suspects that Frederick would try to figure out a way to help his kids who are on the run inside the quarantine zone. Since Sten is pure evil, he’ll also likely force Frederick to help him lure his son back.
8. How can the gang rid themselves of the “supplements”?
As the saying goes: Fool me once, etc., etc. Despite Martin and Patrick claiming that being callous and suspicious is the only way to survive in the post-rain world, they keep trusting the wrong people. While they escaped from the vengeance-seeking doctor and cannibalistic pajama cult relatively unscathed, they’re not so lucky when they fall into Apollon’s clutches. That’s because they swallowed (so to speak) the story that the “supplements” they took when they arrived were vitamins to offset their six years of crappy diet while fending for themselves. With no outward signs of harm, the pills seemed benign enough. Naturally, they weren’t.
Instead, they are geographically attuned to a specific location. If the gang tries to leave the quarantine area, a rash will bloom on the back of their necks as the first warning sign. If they actually leave, they’ll die. Viewers saw an example of this in the flashback when soldiers were conscripted by Apollon to police the quarantine area. One guy tried to make a break for it and perished as he fled.
This is something that has been taken in the bloodstream though, so perhaps this could be treated as a disease. It would make the friends’ lives much easier if they had the option to leave the zone. Perhaps if the gang could get in touch with Simone and Rasmus’ father, he could make them feel right as rain at the quarantine border. But as we discussed above, he may not be trustworthy.
9. Could Simone be more important than we think?
While Simone helped raise Rasmus in the bunker and kept him safe outside of it (seriously, the boy has no sense of self-preservation!), we can’t help but think that she might have more to do with the solution to the Danes’ problems than has been let on. After all, she clearly has the brains in the family over Rasmus, is a natural leader (as was exhibited in the opening scene when she organized her group at school), and as a sibling, has the DNA that matches Rasmus’ the most. Her father could probably figure something out with her blood, and let’s not forget that she still can travel freely in and out of the quarantine zone. Season 2 would be a wise opportunity to utilize Simone for more than just her handprint access to the bunkers.
”The Rain” Season 1 is currently streaming on Netflix.