Netflix’s hit franchise Bird Box, released in 2018, intrigued us with a compelling storyline much like A Quiet Place. However, the streaming platform’s latest spinoff film, Bird Box: Barcelona, takes viewers on a slightly different and more perilous journey. Similarly, like Bird Box in 2018, Bird Box: Barcelona dives into a world plagued by an unknown and unseen force that drives people to madness and death. But the spinoff film introduces Sebastian, portrayed by Mario Casas, as the central protagonist, distinguishing him from the character of Malorie Hayes in the original Bird Box. Unlike Malorie, who remains a pure protagonist without any negative influences on her mind, Sebastian’s character takes an intriguing turn. In the initial half of the film, he is depicted as a brainwashed antagonist. Sebastian’s journey is rooted in his profound grief as a mourning father. Faced with the unbearable loss of his daughter, he adopts a peculiar defense mechanism by embracing denial. This conscious choice to shield himself against harsh reality allows Sebastian to cope with his grief by maintaining a unique connection with the soul of his departed daughter.
Sebastian, an engineer working on climate change, was in a state of bewilderment when he learned of laborers committing suicide. This unsettling news was followed by his wife revealing a looming global threat—a mysterious and unseen force causing widespread death. Driven by his love for his family, Sebastian rushed out to save his daughter by picking her up from school.
However, his journey took an unexpected turn when he encountered a Pastor from a church who proposed a theory about the entity being a divine being descending from heaven. According to the Pastor, this powerful force needed to be worshiped. Rejecting this notion, Sebastian remained steadfast to ensure his daughter’s safety. Along the way, Sebastian met with his wife, but tragedy struck in an instant as she was hit by a car and lost her life. Now alone, Sebastian sought refuge with his daughter in a secluded location. However, a single mistake shattered their chances of safety and security. On his daughter’s birthday, Sebastian lit a candle to celebrate, unwittingly revealing a faint glow through a window that caught the attention of Esteban. It didn’t take long for Esteban to capture Sebastian and his daughter. Under immense pressure, Sebastian’s daughter, Anna, was forced to open her eyes and embrace her own death. However, the evil force failed to have any effect on Sebastian, forcing him to witness the heartbreaking death of his daughter right before his eyes.
The moment Anna took her own life, Sebastian was consumed by grief, leaving a deep and lasting trauma in his psyche. This trauma manifested itself as a negative spirit resembling his daughter, which haunted him relentlessly. Sebastian’s faith in God and spirits was not founded on logical reasoning or understanding. His beliefs were more rooted in emotions and personal experiences than a rational examination of spiritual concepts. When Sebastian felt the negative emotions within himself, instead of trying to push them away or deny their existence, he chose to embrace them as if they manifested in the form of his deceased daughter.
Esteban’s initial remarks about the entity being divine or angelic ignited a growing fear within Sebastian. This fear was born out of the intrusive thoughts and negative emotions that plagued his mind. Sebastian believed that in order to free himself and humanity as a whole from this pain, he had to commit murders as a way of serving the entity. At this point, after committing each murder, Sebastian may have even witnessed the entity in an angelic form, similar to what the audience had observed. However, the entity’s appearance varied for different people, with some perceiving it as an alien and others as a demonic creature. Esteban, being under the delusion of spirituality, likely saw the entity as an angelic form, much like Sebastian did.
However, Sebastian’s delusion began to crumble when he lured Octavio to his death, only to find that his soul did not leave his body in the angelic form he had expected. This revelation prompted Sebastian to question the underlying reasons behind this supposed spiritual being’s existence. Especially when Octavio, before his death, disclosed a scientific explanation for the entity, Sebastian’s belief system started to unravel, shedding light on his easily influenced character.
As Sebastian started questioning his perception of reality and went on a path of recovery, he mustered the strength to confront Anna’s spirit, acknowledging that she was no longer alive and was merely a creation of his traumatized mind. With this newfound clarity, Sebastian began to reconnect with his own reality, leaving behind the manipulation and illusions that had plagued him.
Ultimately, Sebastian made a firm decision about what he needed to do. He selflessly rescued Claire and Sofia from the seers’ clutch and helped them in their escape from the crumbling city, guiding them toward their ultimate destination—the safe haven in the mountain castle. Despite the dangers and challenges he faced, Sebastian played a crucial role in Claire and Sofia’s journey of survival. Nevertheless, tragically, in the midst of a confrontation with Esteban, Sebastian lost his life. In an intense brawl to prevent Esteban from entering the safe haven, both Esteban and Sebastian met their demise. Sebastian’s struggle ended with a sacrifice, as he gave his life in a final act of bravery and selflessness.
Sebastian’s character in Bird Box: Barcelona may not initially win the same immediate likability as Malorie Hayes from the original film, but Sebastian’s growth unfolds gradually, revealing the depths of his kindness and generosity. Despite his flaws and moments of vulnerability, Sebastian ultimately chose to sacrifice himself, willingly offering himself for the survival of humanity. Sebastian’s story shows us that heroism can take various forms and demands tough decisions and personal development. It serves as a powerful reminder that even during the most challenging moments, there is potential for change, empathy, and surpassing our own limitations. Furthermore, Sebastian’s character development ultimately challenges the notion that all seers are inherently evil. Instead, he becomes an example of how these individuals were also a kind of victim of the entity, used as tools to fulfill its insatiable hunger for human lives.