*Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers!*
Well, after two episodes that both contained powerful and surprising plot twists, here we are at the end of The Miniaturist’s series. And, right out of the gate, it goes from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds.
It turns out that Marin wasn’t trying to kill herself, but rather, the baby she was carrying, claiming that the child is, “stained with the parent’s sins.” Has Marin had a single line in this series that wasn’t melodramatic?
The militia shows up searching for Johannes, but before than can tear the house apart looking for him, they receive word that he was captured at the docks, attempting to escape!
Petronella goes to see Johannes in jail and brings him food. He has been beaten very badly. Later, Marin tells Petronella her side of the whole Frans/Agnes/Marin love triangle. Marin claims that it was she who asked Johannes to forbid the marriage, that she wanted her freedom instead. However, her previous actions call this into question.
Petronella, convinced that Frans is the key to having Johannes freed, sells some of the sugar to the gingerbread bakers we met in the first episode. (Just typing “gingerbread bakers” makes one feel like Hans Christian Anderson!)
Johannes is put on trial, rather quickly it seems, and is accused of sodomy. And, of course, Jack Phillips is there to testify against him. This guy is bad news until the very end. The whole thing seems staged by the court to railroad Johannes into a guilty verdict.
After court, Petronella sees Agnes playing with something. Agnes drops the object without knowing, Petronella picks it up and finds it is a doll of Petronella! She confronts Frans and tells him that she sold some sugar, which Frans isn’t impressed with. She begs Frans, but he’s not having it.
Petronella finally comes face-to-face with the miniaturist herself. She’s a very pale and frightened young woman. She has Petronella’s parakeet and lots of miniatures, but very little in the way of answers. It turns out that some of what Petronella thought was a conspiracy, or even magic, was just her jumping to conclusions and seeing what she wanted to see. There is a “mystical” aspect to the miniaturist though. She tells Petronella that she just “knows” things. She doesn’t know how, she just does. She can’t explain it. This scene is honestly the only weak link in the series. If that’s all the “magic” they were going to put in it, they should have just left it out because the story stands on itself without it.
The court sentences Johannes to death. Right before the execution, Agnes walks away without watching. After it is done, Frans stands there alone, then drops his hat on the ground and walks away.
As Petronella turns to leave she runs into Otto! He apologizes for leaving and the two of them return to the house where Marin has had her baby, but Marin herself didn’t make it through the childbirth. Cornelia brings the baby down and gives her to her father…Otto! Otto is overcome and says he thought it would be a boy, but, it’s obvious he loves his daughter.
Just then, there’s a knock on the door. Petronella finds another package and sees the miniaturist standing there. Petronella picks up the package and finds a doll of an infant. She looks at the miniaturist and simply walks back inside.
In the final scene, Petronella walks into Johannes office and sits in his chair. She places her hands on the documents covering the large desk and whispers to herself, “you can do this.”
The Miniaturist wove a complex mystery. And, in the end, viewers have to fall on one of two sides: truth is stranger than fiction, or, sometimes things are just what they seem to be, no magic needed.
The series was also a great commentary on the destructiveness of exclusion and the horrible things it can do to people. Would Petronella have been happier if she never met Johannes? Maybe. Would Johannes have been happier if he could have lived his life in the open? More than likely, yes. What if Otto and Marin could have been together? Probably. But, we’ll never know, because too often in this world, people live the lives they think will please others instead of living the life that makes them happy.