Netflix’s Vortex, a 6-episode show, is very gripping. While the two timelines are moving in parallel, there is no confusion differentiating between the two. This helps in comprehending the plot and absorbing the emotional arc of the story. Here’s an episodic recap of Vortex.
The date is July 7, 2025. It’s been 27 years since Mélanie, AKA Melou, left for a run (July 19, 1998) and never returned. Her body was found at the beach (it fell off a cliff). Ludovic, aka Ludo, was left alone with their daughter Juliette. And now that Ludo, in his second marriage with Parvana and with their kids Juliette (Melou’s daughter) and Sam (Parvana’s son), is back at the same beach looking for evidence now that another woman has been found dead, he cannot help but think about his wife. It seems like just yesterday that they were in bed together. They gather no proof of identity until Ludo finds the lady’s bag with the little girl who found her body. The name of the deceased is Zoe Levy.
Later on, when Ludo investigates the crime scene that has been reconstructed via virtual reality as scanned by the drones, Ludo sees his wife. But what’s more weird and even scary is that when he calls out to her, she reacts. Wondering how it is even possible, he again accesses the crime scene and approaches Melou, who he finds sitting by the sea.
The date is July 7, 1998. Melou cannot recognize him clearly because he is over 50 years old, and even if she might, what’s stopping her is the fact that her husband is at home with their baby. So this guy, who does look a lot like her husband, must be someone else. To assure her that he is indeed her husband from the future, Ludo feeds her facts that only he could have known. Melou returns home thinking that it is some kind of a prank Ludo is pulling on her.
The next day, after finding a box of cigarettes just where Ludo from the future had told her it would be, she returns to the spot and finds Ludo (from the future) waiting for her. He tells her that in 11 days, she is going to die. It is apparently due to a rift in space-time that they are able to interact. Since they have 11 days, they can avoid her death. So the date is the same for both of them. It’s the year that separates them. Just to test if they can alter her future, she needs to not go to Nathan’s place for the football world cup semifinal. If she disappears from the picture that they had clicked there (that Ludo still has), it would mean that their trick has worked. And it does. However, the date of her death in her case file has moved ahead from July 19 to July 17. When Ludo shows Mel the pictures of her dead body, she notices a ring that doesn’t belong to her. Surprisingly, Ludo has seen the same ring on Zoe Levy’s finger. How can the same ring be on the fingers of two people who died 27 years apart?
Hopefully, a DNA search of Zoe Levy’s apartment will reveal more. Ludo has 24 hours to do that before DA Orsat closes the case. By the way, we must keep numerous things in mind. Melou knew Orsat while her colleague Florence married Ludo’s partner Nathan, who Ludo tries to tell about Melou, but he doesn’t believe him. Zoe Levy’s husband, Niels, is in Germany, and her sister reveals that Niels has filed for divorce. Somehow, all this is connected, and it is up to Ludo to find out how before July 17.
Ludo tells Juliette that her mother was murdered and promises that he will find the one responsible. Then he visits Nathan and finds him with a woman named Ava and not Florence. This is when he realizes that since Melou didn’t go to Nathan’s place on the night of the semifinal, neither did Florence. As a result, Nathan is now married to a different woman. This is nothing but the butterfly effect beginning to occur. A single change in the past will lead to many changes in the present. Even Ludo’s department has a new chief named Yasmine Ben Salem. He doesn’t know her, but she knows him very well. So if Melou survives, she will have to leave Ludo because as much as he wants her to live, he cannot afford to lose Parvana and Sam.
Melou is very upset upon hearing that Ludo has gotten remarried, but she reminds herself that she has been dead to him for 27 years, and he got married again 15 years ago. Together they will have to find out who killed her. All they know is that the killer puts a ring on the fingers of their victims. There is a possibility that he has killed more women so they will have to search for such reports and cases. The only evidence he has that he can put to use is the pearl ring that both Melou and Zoe Levy had on their fingers when their bodies were discovered. Yasmine has granted permission to look into both deaths after Ludo’s statements. However, he isn’t a part of the investigation as he has an emotional involvement that could cloud his judgment.
In 2025, Ludo accessed the digital archives to find out all the homicide cases where the body had jewelry; in 1998, Melou started looking up the files of unsolved cases of murdered women in the last five years (1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, and 1993). Ludo meets Florence and finds out that Hector, Melou’s friend from school, is her ex-husband. Later on, he comes to know of a third woman named Nolwenn Gakou, who also had the same ring on and died in 2000. He meets Battesti, who was the prosecutor on the case, but he doesn’t reveal anything. In a desperate attempt, Melou asks Orsat, who she knows is attracted to her, to help her get info on a woman named Parvana. She wants to find out about Ludo’s second wife. And in return, she promises to take him out to dinner after the 17th.
Meanwhile, She knows she won’t be alive by then. Ludo meets Melou (they are probably meeting once every day now) and tells her to help Battesti in a case so that he finds himself indebted to her. This will make him help Melou 27 years later as an act of gratitude. It works. He will have the fingerprint results from the ring that was on Nolwenn Gakou the next day. Melou brings Florence to the world cup final because she wants her to meet Nathan and try to make amends. There she also tells Hector that she is going to die in 5 days. The next day at work, Melou finds a file on her table sent by Orsat containing info on Parvana. It seems that she is involved in trafficking. She asks her senior to call her for an interview.
To Melou’s surprise, her husband will be interviewing Parvana. Neither she nor we can tell whether this is another butterfly effect. However, Parvana knows nothing about the trafficking. Later we see Parvana desert her home. Melou plans dinner for July 14 to introduce Nathan to Florence. Sebastien Brisset is the name of Nolwenn Gakou’s boyfriend, who’s been charged sexual assault as well. His family has a jewelry shop. After failing to get anything out of Sebastien’s mother, who is at the shop and also shows them their signature pearl ring, they decide to use a warrant to speak to Sebastien. Ludo shows Sebastien’s file to Melou in the VR room. She decides to make Nolwenn lodge a complaint against Sebastien. Unfortunately, Ludo is sent home for the day by his chief for behaving rudely with the lady at the jewelry store. Her brother, who is a lawyer, has reached out to the police department seeking an explanation for Ludo’s misbehavior.
Ludo returns home but doesn’t find either Parvana or Sam. There’s just Juliette, who is high on pot. He then finds his wedding ring missing. Either Melou has done something, or the butterfly effect is continuing to affect his present [although we know that this happened because, in the past timeline, Parvana has fled her home]. Ludo goes to the hospital where Parvana used to work and finds her. Only this time, she doesn’t recognize him. In shock, he collapses. After coming to his senses, he returns to his department. Melou finds Nolwenn and Sebastien. She provokes Sebastien to the point where he beats her up. But all her pain goes to waste as Sebastien isn’t the murderer. At the beach, she meets Ludo, who tells her that his wife and son are gone. He snaps at her when she reveals that she called in Parvana for questioning. Seeing how much pain he is in, she promises him she’ll bring Parvana back by getting her the residence permit.
The next day, Melou reaches out to Hector, who works in a Mutual Aid Association, to help her find Parvana. She finally meets Parvana and brings her back to her residence, and Ludo gets Parvana and Sam back. Melou even manages to get Nathan and Florence together for dinner and then meets Ludo at the beach. He is glad to have his family back but now has to teach her how to use a gun. Unbeknownst to either of them, Ludo, from Melou’s timeline, is on his way to her at the beach. We have no idea what will happen if he sees her with another man, only to find out that it’s him 27 years into the future.
Agathe, the department technician, has been forming doubts over Ludo’s behavior. She ultimately decides to check Zoe Levy’s crime scene for the glitch and also see why Ludo sees it so frequently. Meanwhile, Ludo breathes a sigh of relief as he finds Nathan back with Florence. But this gladness is short-lived as he finds clicks of his chief Yasmin Ben Salem’s dead body up on the board, dated July 8, 2001. She is another victim of the “pearl” killer. Captain Le Goff is back. It seems that the guy knew all these women he killed as the fingerprints match, but there is no way yet to prove that the guy was close to all of these women who had nothing to do with each other other than the fact that they were vulnerable in their own ways. It’s time to use the VR room, but Ludo finds Zoe Levy’s tape missing and realizes that Agathe is using it. Thankfully, she isn’t able to find anything suspicious or come across Melou either. Ludo meets Melou and finds South that Orsat has been harassing her. Interestingly, the guy also knew Yasmin back in the day.
Later, Ludo tells Nathan and Kim that they will have to steal Orsat’s phone to find out if he had contact with Zoe. That will prove that he knew 3 of the four victims, i.e., Melou, Jasmin, and Zoe. Finding a window, Ludo sneaks into Orsat’s office but finds that on the day Zoe was killed July 6, Orsat wasn’t even in town. So he is out of the question. But Ludo comes to know from Florence that Nathan and Yasmine had a thing going on. However, when asked, Nathan denies knowing her. Melou’s tape is ready, and upon accessing the scene, it is revealed that Nathan didn’t wear gloves while checking Melou’s body. It also seems that he was doing something with her fingers. Was he putting on the ring? Nathan even declared her death an accident. Ludo then calls up the surf club where Nolwenn Gakou was registered to find out if Nathan went there too. We can tell that Ludo is trying to find out Nathan’s connection with the victims. He returns home. What starts with his slap on Sam’s cheek ends with him telling Parvana all about Melou. Parvana doesn’t want him to go after Melou because she knows it will change their present. Unfortunately, Ludo makes it clear that he cannot let Melou die again.
Back in 1998, Melou reveals to Ludo his future self, but he doesn’t believe a word she says. Melou and Ludo (present self) miss their meeting at the beach. Melou meets Hector and shares her pain with him. Ludo heads to Nathan’s house in the middle of the night and questions him about his whereabouts on the night of Zoe Levy’s death. Ludo knows that Nathan had an affair with Jasmin, he knows Melou and he went to the same surf club as Nolwenn. If he has a connection with Zoe, it will prove that he knows all four victims. Is Nathan the “pearl” killer, then? Vortex Episode 4 ends with Melou denying a lift from Nathan as she walks home. Nathan seems to be anything but happy about it.
Ludo is having a conversation with Melou in the VR room. She isn’t able to accept that Nathan will kill her in two days. She needs to be armed so that if Nathan attacks her, she can fight back. Later, we see her try to convince Florence that Nathan intends to harm her, if not kill her, but fails to do so. Florence thinks that she is jealous of whatever is going on between Florence and Nathan. Melou has even recorded a video as proof that Nathan killed her. But Ludo will not be able to help her anymore as he is henceforth removed from the case, thanks to Nathan, who has complained against him to Le Goff. He is even sent home for two days. Knowing that he cannot afford to not talk to Melou, he sneaks in the VR glasses of Zoe’s crime scene as well as Nathan’s cup so that he can get his DNA analyzed. Unfortunately, Nathan finds out about it and gets it canceled. That way, he will be able to cross-check it with those found on the victims’ bodies. Ludo meets Melou by accessing the VR glasses at home and informs her that he won’t be able to do anything anymore. As her last wish, Melou wants to meet her daughter Juliette and see what a wonderful woman she has grown up to be. Juliette doesn’t agree to Ludo’s request but ultimately nods. The conversation between Melou and Juliette is overwhelming.
A dead mom from the past looking at her now-grown-up daughter is emotionally surreal. Juliette takes off the VR glasses and leaves the house. She is traumatized to her core. Melou informs Ludo of the tape she has recorded that she will hand over to Hector and bids a final goodbye to him before returning home. She won’t be seeing them again. The night of July 16, which is supposed to be the last night of her life, she makes love to her husband. On the morning of July 17, she leaves a note for Ludo and leaves the house weeping. She has to leave and do what she can to protect herself from Nathan. But Nathan turns up anyway. He is upset with what she told Florence about him, but Melou isn’t willing to listen. Her mind has prepared itself with the thought that Nathan is there to kill her, and thus she shoots him with Ludo’s gun. She then takes cover in Hector’s place, telling him what has happened and giving him the tape she recorded as proof. In the present timeline, Ludo arrives at Hector’s place, asking for the tape Melou left in his possession 27 years ago. But according to Hector, she left with it.
Moreover, on the day Melou died, Nathan was in the hospital, recovering from the gunshot. Ludo finds the picture of Hector’s baby, but what’s usual is that in it, there is Hector’s ex-wife’s hand, and in one of its fingers is the same pearl ring that was there on every victim’s finger. Furthermore, there’s a note in which the letter “H” looks like “N’. This reminds him of the heart with the “N+Z” that he found on the beach where Zoe’s body was recovered from. It was actually “H+Z.” Was it Hector who killed Melou and Zoey? But then, what about Yasmin and Nolwenn? How does Hector know them? Vortex Episode 5 ends with Hector bringing Melou a sweater from his box of belongings, wherein we see many pictures of him with Melou that have apparently been cropped. It seems that he has been obsessed with Melou for a long time but has been quiet about it.
Vortex Episode 6 is the shortest of the lot. It shows how Ludo figures out a way to catch Hector and bring him to justice. Moreover, Melou has to find a way to escape from Hector. How she realizes this is interesting. Hector confesses that he has always been in love with Melou. And shows her a ring. Melou is shocked to see the ring; it is the very ring that has been at the root of all this trouble. Realizing that Hector is the one who is going to kill her, Melou tries to escape through the bathroom. Hector cheeses her until they reach the edge of a cliff, whereby Melou pulls the gun at him. At first, it seems that she won’t shoot him, but in the end, she does and Hector dies. Meanwhile, in the present, Ludo returns to the department and tries to make Nathan understand that it is Hector who has killed Melou.
Unfortunately, Nathan is very upset with how he blames him for all the murders and tells him to leave before he is suspended. He decides to follow Hector and catches up to him. He confronts him about killing Melou, but Hector denies it straight away. Enraged, Ludo punches him and wipes the blood with a tissue, intending to analyze the blood. He goes to the bathroom, where Hector follows him and manages to stab him with a piece of mirror. Ludo dies in a pool of blood, and it seems that everything has come to an end. But a few minutes later, he opens his eyes and finds himself on the floor. There’s no blood anywhere on the floor. He pulls himself up and goes to the car, but he’s unable to find Melou’s case file. It has disappeared. The truth then dawns on him. Melou is dead no more. He heads back home with a smile and kisses Parvana and Sam. However, he cannot find Juliette, so he heads to her girlfriend, Noemi’s house. There he finds out from Juliette, who is a lawyer now and pregnant, that he got Melou arrested for the murder of Hector. He goes to the detention center where Melou is being held and meets her. She has aged. The show ends with a shot of their fingers entwined. Melou has been waiting for 27 years to see him. She remembers how her husband saved her from dying.
While Vortex‘s ending is certainly satisfying, we do not find out how Hector killed Zoe or Nolwenn. That would have cleared everything. Be that as it may, the fact that Melou remembers Ludo is what matters. Melou has been eagerly waiting for some 27 years for Ludo, and so has he. Vortex proves that love transcends time and space, something that Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar also stresses. It is a great watch, although some might find the episodes of Vortex a bit too long. However, patience pays off very well.