Caleb In ‘Anthracite’ Explained: Is Ecrines’ Cult Leader Dead Or Alive?

In the small town of Levionna, one hiker who once took shelter in one of the anthracite caves ends up impacting hundreds of lives in Netflix’s latest French crime thriller, Anthracite. Caleb Johansson becomes a cult leader after hearing voices in the caves, and he’s soon arrested for the murder of Roxane Vial. 30 years later, the disappearance of journalist Solal Heilman digs up the buried history of the town, and Caleb sets himself free from the asylum.


Spoilers Ahead

Why Was Caleb Arrested In 1994?

Caleb Johansson ran a cult named Ecrines that attracted most of the young population of Levionna. Caleb preached for a world where light and darkness should be balanced to restore order, and men living like cockroaches must take steps to reform themselves. Young women were enchanted by Caleb, and they’d devote themselves to him. Caleb’s charisma attracted followers from all around town, and his house became a safe haven for drugs and parties. Caleb’s follower Roxane Vial was murdered with her face half covered with anthracite, and soon 12 people killed themselves in Caleb’s house. The cops put Caleb behind bars, and he’s eventually transferred to a mental health facility.


What Does Faure Do With Caleb?

Solal Heilman interviewed Caleb over multiple sessions after he got arrested. Faure, a young girl at the time, worked in the storage facility Solal made his work base in. When Solal left the town, Faure barged into his office and found all the interviews with Caleb, along with the interviews with other people in the town. Faure had fallen in love with Caleb and made her way into the asylum as a nurse. 

Caleb rejects Faure at first, and he has accepted that he’s where he deserves to be after what he’s done. Faure’s insistence led her to do something unimaginable, and she raped Caleb to have his “miracle” babies. While Caleb spent his time in the asylum, Carrie kept brainwashing the babies with Caleb’s preaching, and they grew up under her wicked parenting. 


Why Does Caleb Escape From The Asylum?

On a surface level, it’d seem like Caleb is still a psychopath who manipulated every patient in the asylum to help him get out. Caleb isn’t the monster he is always projected as, and it’s proven that he didn’t kill Roxine or his disciples. Even Juliette wasn’t his victim, but her brother’s. Caleb smoothly worked his way out of the asylum just to keep Ida from taking her own life. Caleb’s preachings were always vague and never harmful enough to drive people to kill themselves or someone else. He saw some light in Juliette, and he was convinced that her children would help restore the balance on Earth. Jaro and Ida were never in any danger from Caleb; all he wanted was to protect them.

Why Did Faure Understand Caleb’s Preachings All Wrong?

Faure raised her children with extreme caution and made them watch their father’s interviews constantly. They both completely believed that one of them was light and the other was darkness. Hari, her son, grew up to be a doctor but still couldn’t escape his mom’s abuse and kept believing in her. Caleb’s prophecy was for Juliette’s kids, and he said the son will do miraculous things, while the daughter will make sacrifices for her brother to shine. Faure’s dumb interpretation of the prophecy led to leaving her daughter in the mines to fulfill the prophecy. Her wish to replace Juliette became so desperate that she turned her daughter into a killer. While Hari was treating people and saving lives, his sister stayed in the darkness of the mines, killing people left, right, and center. 


How Does Caleb Die?

Caleb understood what was happening in the mines. He arrived in time to save Jaro’s daughter from his own. He tries to make her understand that she’s not just darkness and that there’s light inside her too. Faure is furious when Caleb isn’t appreciative of her efforts and tells their daughter he’s lying. She lands a hatchet on Caleb, killing him on the spot. Ida and Garo escape from the psychotic mother-daughter duo thanks to the explosion, and Caleb, along with them, gets buried under the gravel. Caleb’s biggest fault was not reporting Faure to the authorities when he had the chance to. He created a monster unknowingly, but he did almost nothing to stop her from her pursuits. Faure and her daughter killed innocent people who had nothing to do with this. The town of Levionna was never in much danger from Caleb, but rather from his followers. It’s no surprise that young ladies across the town fell in love with Caleb’s charming nature and the appearance of a Greek God. Caleb was an attractive young person who’d cause any straight woman to drool over him, and him running an Ecrines cult didn’t help the town. He was nothing but a pretentious preacher who claimed to find enlightenment and promised to heal people by nasty means. His death served his karma right, and even though he didn’t commit any crimes directly, his actions led to the deaths of many people. 

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Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket Mukherjee
Aniket is a literature student pursuing his master's degree while trying to comprehend Joyce and Pound. When his head is not shoved in books, he finds solace in cinema and his heart beats for poetry, football, and Adam Sandler in times.

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