Wolfgang Hohlbein’s fantasy novel has been adapted by Amazon Prime, as the streaming platform just released the limited series The Griffin this week. Originally in German, the limited series has six episodes with a runtime of 40 minutes each. Based in the ’90s, the series showcases the adventures of three kids, Mark, Memo, and Becky, as they try to save the world from an apocalyptic creature called The Griffin. It’s up to these 16-year-olds to stop a winged monster from entering the realm of humans and capturing it, but how are they supposed to accomplish such a monumental task? Armed with magic weapons and an ancient book, of course. The show captures the ’90s vibe perfectly, with the old instruments and the music of that day and age, and the monster designs are also very impressive, although the story remains a little jagged around the edges. Here’s what happens in the first season of The Griffin and what to expect from the next season.
Who Are The Zimmermans?
If you’ve seen Baby Driver, you’ll know how music often becomes part and parcel of a character’s life, and it was more-or-less the same for 16-year-old Mark Zimmerman of Krefelden, Germany. Mark and his elder brother Thomas can be quickly dismissed as an ordinary pair of siblings who own a music store named Oracle Records with another employee named Memo, but what they don’t tell you about themselves is their traumatic past. As a child, Mark had been the backseat passenger on an adventure his father, Karl, had taken them on. Mark comes from a long line of researchers who’ve constantly fought with monsters from another world. Yes, it’s a fantasy series, and there’ll be a lot of interdimensional travel, so brace yourselves. There’s a vicious monster called the Griffin that resides in the world known as the Black Tower, and it’s seeking a way into the world of humans. Karl, the last line of defense against such a malignant force, needed to extinguish all chances of the Griffin invading the world as we know it. To put his plan into motion, Karl tried burning the research he’d done on this alien invader with the help of Thomas, but because Mark couldn’t stay in his seat, Thomas had to return for his kid brother. With police surrounding the library where Karl took his research because they’d been informed that Karl had kidnapped his sons, the man tried burning the research quickly but instead was immolated in the same fire.
How Did Mark Get The Title Of ‘The Traveler Between Worlds’?
The 16-year-old Alex was happily selling custom-made mixtapes for everyone at school and even experienced the first twangs of teenage love when the daughter of his psychiatrist, Becky, came to town. Having been exposed to his father’s death in such a horrendous manner, Alex needed psychiatric help from Dr. Peters, whereas his brother Thomas was considered a lunatic because he believed in the hokum of things like The Black Tower and the book called Chronicle. Thomas had entrusted his brother with this book and explained how the Griffin that resides in the Black Tower needs to be eliminated, and how only the Zimmermans could do it. This was all too much for their mother, Petra, and she’d sent her eldest son to a mental institute.
Mark finds himself surrounded by a world of doubters who consider him a lunatic, just like Karl and Thomas, because no sane person would believe that Mark had teleported to the land of Black Tower when he tried reading the Chronicle. This constant doubting makes Mark suspect that he might actually be hallucinating, just as Dr. Peters suggested. Desperate to prove to his brother that they’re not insane, Thomas leads Mark to the place that acts as the portal to the Black Tower, where Mark finally becomes a believer when the Horned Ones attack. The Horned Ones are a band of militia that the Griffin commands in the other world, and they call him Father. Made of stone and speaking a tongue as coarse as the Orcs in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, these stone men are the enforcers in Griffin’s world, and Thomas finds himself captured by them. Mark and Thomas had teleported to the Black Tower, and although Mark could escape, Thomas stayed stuck back there and was enslaved by the Horned Ones to work in the stone mines like the other captive humans. Before being captured, though, Thomas gave his brother the title of “Traveler Between Worlds” because Mark has the ability to teleport and is the only one who can wield The Lot. Shaped like a spinning top with a thin chain, this feeble-looking toy is the only weapon that can bring down an ancient and terrifying force like the Griffin.
How Is Mark Framed As A Murderer?
Upon confiding in Becky and Memo about all the fantasies Mark had just experienced, Becky initially believed the guy she’d come to like. They even share a kiss, one of the only happy moments in Mark’s chaotic life. However, Becky’s mind begins racing after she’s had time to think. You can’t really blame Becky for considering her boyfriend delusional if he claims to have a book that allows him to teleport between worlds and fight a monster. Seeking assurances, she confides in Ben and Sara, another couple who aren’t exactly fond of Mark. Now, the protagonist finds himself at odds at every corner, with his mother convinced that her youngest son is insane like the rest of the Zimmermans and getting him admitted into a mental institute. At the same time, Becky lets Mark know that she won’t be indulging him in his fanciful delusions any longer, but she keeps the Chronicle with her. The mental institute is raided by someone who helps Mark and Memo and kills one of the attendants. Now, Mark is considered a murderer, but the one actually responsible is Dr. Peters, who’s not even the actual doctor. Masquerading as Dr. Peters was a hideous, faceless being called Man-Ith, a creature whose lot is to teleport to the human world to spy on Griffin’s commands. With Mark and Memo finding themselves back in the world of Black Tower, Becky is attacked by a creature from the Chronicle, and now she’s a believer.
What Happens At The Party?
As Mark and Memo are busy figuring out how to rescue Thomas, who’s been enslaved by the Horned Ones, there’s a party happening in the abandoned movie theater in Krefelden. Becky attends the party looking for her rucksack, which has the Chronicle in it, while Ben sulks in the corner because Sara’s parents won’t let her see him. The same party is attended by Petra and the detective, who arrived on the scene 16 years ago when Karl tried burning his research papers. Frustrated that it didn’t work out with Sara, Ben forcibly kisses Becky, and his friend Maya takes a Polaroid photo of the embarrassing moment. Outside, Ben learns about Maya’s feelings for him, and just as they’re about to kiss, a hideous monster begins attacking her. The same creature wreaks havoc throughout the party, killing two people until Petra shoots it with the detective’s pistol. However, after killing it, they realized it was a bear used in the local circus, so how did they see the monster?
As it turns out, the Man-Ith posing as Dr. Peters had arrived and used its powers to make the humans hallucinate. The detective explains that years ago, Karl’s body was never found, and he’d completely disappeared. The whole case was hushed up, and the detective pulled a gun on the prosecutor because it wasn’t a human. The only reason the detective could see through the Man-Ith posing as the prosecutor was because of the heavy doses of antidepressants he was chugging back then. Nobody else seems to remember the name of the prosecutor, but that’s because it was a spell cast by these creatures. The prosecutor was none other than Koteas, an employee in a pet shop who’d put a spell on the people, making them forget about the whole incident.
How Does Mark Rescue Thomas?
While practicing teleportation at the makeshift hut in the other world, Mark and Memo have a fight, and Memo constantly taunts him, blaming Mark for his father’s death. Mark begins pounding his fist against Memo’s face when the real Memo walks in. The one posing as Memo was a Man-Ith, and after capturing it, they extracted information from the creature about the Griffin. Meanwhile, the Horned Ones have begun their journey to kidnap the two boys, but they’re one step ahead. They manage to flee to the point where Thomas is being held, and at night, as Memo distracts the Horned Ones, Mark teleports into the caves. He finds Thomas tied up, but he can’t teleport out because the tar mud restricts his powers. The same substance that’s used to discombobulate the Man-Iths is the one that renders Mark’s powers temporarily useless. Thomas explains that Griffin wants Mark’s powers to teleport because he’ll be able to enter the human world if granted the abilities of teleportation. However, using the lot, Mark and Thomas break free of the prison.
Do Mark And Thomas Survive The Encounter With The Griffin?
Angered by this event, the Griffin finally reveals itself and takes flight to hunt the boys down. Mark kills another Horned One that was pursuing them, and they meet Memo, who’s heavily injured while escaping the pursuers. Outside the portal, Thomas and Mark have a fight because the younger brother can’t recognize his older sibling any longer. Thomas knocks Mark out and tries using the Lot on the portal door, but nothing happens. By the time Mark comes around, the Griffin has taken hold of Thomas and wants the younger sibling to attack his own brother. Mark almost gives in until an image of Karl stops him and reminds him to calm down and take a breather. The Griffin feeds off the anger and hatred of the ones it targets, and the only way to defeat it is by not having a shred of hatred in you. Mark abandons his pursuit to fight back and drops the lot. Meanwhile, Becky leads the detective and Petra to the portal door, and they open it from inside, helping Memo escape as Mark picks up the lot and, with a clear mind, aims at Griffin’s claw holding Thomas captive. The claw is hacked off, and the two brothers escape as the Griffin rages and roars in agony and frustration.
What Happens In The Human World?
Having escaped the Griffin successfully, Mark and Thomas are admitted to the hospital, along with Memo. Mark and Memo overcome their differences, and Mark can’t wait to see Becky the next day. However, in another hospital, Ben learns that the injuries Maya suffered have permanently damaged her brain, and she won’t wake up. He swears to set things right. Sara finds the Polaroid of Ben kissing Becky and leaves it with Mark to break his heart as well. Dr. Peters has his throat slit by another Man-Ith that’ll be taking Peters’ position because the previous spy failed in achieving its target. Realizing what truly matters and how her love kept him going back to the other world, Mark returns to Becky, and they wash off all their issues with a loving embrace. Meanwhile, Ben takes Maya through the portal world to help treat her brain damage, and he can be found wearing The Lot. He’d previously raided the place where Mark left the Chronicle and The Lot and knew where to go. Maya and Ben’s fates remain unknown for now.
‘The Griffin’ Ending Explained: Is The Great War Coming?
Yes, indeed, the Great War is coming because the Griffin can’t take this defeat lying down. It mobilizes a troop of Horned Ones to go into the human world, and their leader, whose lover was the stone soldier whom Mark killed, has vowed to kill everyone close to Mark. The Griffin wants vengeance for the way it was humiliated by two puny boys and also sought the power Mark has so that it can invade the world of people. The ending of The Griffin shows us an underground area where several stone mounds are visible, and one of them cracks to reveal a Horned One coming out of its shell, ready to go to war, with several more to follow.
This season, Mark and Thomas have managed to shake off the apocalypse by defeating the Griffin, but it’s not going to let go that easily. The winged monster has plans cooking that will ensure the human world feels the wrath of the Black Tower, and it wants Mark’s teleportation abilities to enter and capture the human world. Unless Mark learns to wise up and quickly come up with ways to permanently sever the ties of this world with the other, the Griffin might end up invading the world as we know it. However, what happens to Ben and Maya because they’re now trapped at the Black Tower, and he has The Lot? Now, Mark doesn’t have a weapon, and the one who does can’t make it work. Will Maya and Ben survive in the other world, and will the Griffin break in? We’ll have to wait for The Griffin Season 2 to find out about the fate of Mark and his friends.