A key ingredient for a well-made survival drama is showcasing how different characters respond to a common set of conditions or external influences. MGM+’s sci-fi mystery thriller gains strength in this particular aspect as an ensemble of talented cast members manages to capture the viewers’ awe through deft characterization and a story that always keeps them guessing. The hellscape of Fromland traps unaware victims in its clutches in regular intervals or cycles, and in the present cycle, which the series begins with, two groups of newcomers get ensnared at the same time. Among them are Tabitha, from the Mathews family, and Jade, one of the two friends, who in the course of the two seasons of the series, prove themselves to be pivotal in their ‘destined’ role in the context of the fate of other trapped victims of Fromland. The way their roadmap has been charted out so far is the topic we shall discuss.
Jade And His Changes: Both Positive And Negative
Fresh off selling his multimillion-dollar company, the software developer Jade ended up in Fromland with his friend Tobey. While driving rashly in an intoxicated condition, they met with an accident that caused Matthew’s RV to topple down the road. Unbeknownst to Jade, who was in a state of delirium, Tobey later died despite being rescued when Sara killed him while she was under the influence of voices in her head (Unseen Fromland Observers). Like the majority of rich inventors, Jade is a narcissistic prick, and as a man of science, he could not even fathom the fact for quite a long time that he was, in fact, doomed. Instead, up until a certain point, Jade treats the entire situation in Fromland like an elaborate prank. It is only when he gets to know that Tobey has died and sees a vision of a bloody Civil War-era soldier that he realizes the gravity of the situation he has been put into.
Jade’s inquisitiveness leads him to ask for Jim Matthews’ help in creating a long-range radio signal transmitter in order to somehow communicate with the outside world, and while doing that, he gets haunted by a bloody Civil War soldier and a peculiar sigil a number of times. His frustration increases as efforts to communicate with the outside world fall apart (although Jim gets a warning or threat from the observers), and he gets increasingly traumatized by the visions for which he can’t find an explanation. Jade learns that Victor might have an answer to what the symbol implies and gets a sense of foreboding as Victor states how a previous resident of the town, Christopher, ‘changed’ after having the vision of the symbol multiple times and somehow contributed to the deaths of all the townsfolk at once.
The change in Jade was perceivable as he grew somewhat during his time in Fromland. Initially an insensitive, arrogant dolt with zero awareness of social cues, Jade at times showed that he is able to empathize with people, as he comforted Tian Chen when she was grieving her husband and later agreed to play the violin for Victor in memory of his mother. But all the while, Jade was also getting exceedingly erratic, almost neurotic, as the visions plagued him all the time. Fromland is getting to him, and unless he opens up to someone like he somewhat did with Tabitha, he is going to implode—or worse, he will be controlled like Christopher was.
Will Jade Turn Rogue?
Jade had learned from Tabitha that while escaping from the subterranean tunnels, she had seen the particular sigil on the walls. By the end of the second season, we see Jade making a tough call as, after a round of introspection in the form of conversing with the deceased Tom’s vision, he decides to save Julie’s life by going into the tunnels. Reaching there, he gets another vision, but this time it is of seven disfigured children lying on rectangular slabs and looking upwards at a hole in the tunnel roof, where tree roots have made the exact same sigil Jade had been seeing for so long. As the vision dissipates, he sees the hole being blocked.
Fromland accords different roles to different characters, and like Christopher, if Jade is indeed driven to insanity by the strange association with the sigil, he will be the cause of the annihilation of all the townsfolk. On the contrary, it can also lead him to find more answers to understand the reality in which they are living and eventually beat it. In the third season, Jade’s revelation will play a key role in the struggle for the survival of the Fromland residents.
Among all the residents in Fromland, some are inexplicably connected to the place, and one of them is Tabitha Matthews. Before their arrival, the Matthews couple hit a bad patch in their marriage, and the trip they ventured on with their kids was supposed to mend their relationship. In a roundabout way, that actually happened, as getting stranded in Fromland brought the family closer. But amidst everything, Tabitha can’t help but feel that they are getting punished for a past sin—an incident for which she hasn’t been able to forgive herself.
Before the birth of her youngest child, Ethan, Tabitha and Jim had a son named Thomas, who died during infancy in an unfortunate accident, and Tabitha blames herself and Jim for the negligence that resulted in this. This also contributed to the gradual estrangement between the couple, which was later mended during their time at Fromland. But Tabitha’s feeling of guilt never left her, and it was even aggravated as she saw her kids, Ethan and Julie, getting into mortal danger time and time again in this godforsaken place. The place has its own way of twisting people’s psychology and weakening them mentally, and Tabitha fears her husband, Jim, falling prey to that as he gets excessively busy solving the convoluted mystery of the place. But while doing so, she forgets to look at herself, as she too has been preoccupied with getting answers; in the first season, she basically hollowed out the basement of the house they lived in search of the power source that was supplying electricity to the town. She isn’t able to find a satisfactory answer to that question, but accompanied by Victor, she ventures into the underground tunnels, which, as Victor says, are the daytime hibernation grounds for the monsters. In the tunnels, she also sees a number of mysterious symbols, including the sigil that Jade saw and a mah-jong cairn, along with disfigured children.
Did Tabitha Save Julie In The End?
After returning to the town, Tabitha continues to see visions of the disfigured children occasionally and later learns from Victor that his mother speculated that saving the children from the lighthouse might be the way to return home. After Boyd manages to kill one of the monsters, the threats from Fromland take on a new form in the form of vivid nightmare attacks, which affect Julie Matthews along with Randall and Marielle. Seeing her daughter in a near-death situation, Tabitha’s past guilt gets triggered, and she decides to go to the lighthouse in a last-ditch effort to save her.
As Tabitha reaches the top of the lighthouse, she is pushed through the panels by the boy in white and seemingly wakes up in the outside world, or whether that is a part of the simulation, too, we don’t know yet. Boyd’s actions of finding the music box in the dungeon and destroying it save Julie and others, but Tabitha never gets to know that, as she is on a different plane of existence altogether. The immediate feelings of regret when she discovers that she has escaped ‘Fromland’ speak volumes about her maternal feelings, and in the third season, we will see whether the Matthews family eventually gets reunited or not.