Welcome to Europa 2074. It's probably not quite how you imagined. In Tribes of Europa, a global catastrophe has left civilisation in ruins, with modern technology no longer functioning. Now, almost 50 years later, the event known as Black December, humanity has split into various tribes, living and dying in the ruins of the old world. If you've watched the show and are still trying to unpick who everyone is and where it all might lead, this review article will help.
I have news of the utmost emergency. You better do. Liv and her brothers, Kiano and Elja, are all members of the Origines, a peaceful tribe who live in the forest, generally keeping themselves to themselves. But when a futuristic aircraft belonging to the mysterious Atlantians crashes nearby, their lives are turned upside down. The teens rescue the pilot from nearby the wreckage and retrieve a mysterious cube. Could this hold the answer to what caused Black December? We'll get to that. It's not long before their enemies, the savage and kind of goth Crows, rock up and destroy their home. But Kiano and their father are taken, prisoner. Elja and Liv are split up and forced to fend for themselves. You will never see them again! Ever!
Elja, played by David Ali Rashed, sets off on a road trip with the cube as he tries to find out just what caused the Black December. Along the way, he hooks up with a shifty scavenger called Moses, played by Dark's Oliver Masucci, who's a bit of a rogue but with a heart of gold, and he specialises in electronics made in the old world. What is it this, my boy, is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The pilot from earlier didn't want the Crows to get the cube.
So, before dying, he pairs it with Elja so only he can open it. And when he finally activates it, it plays back this curious hologram of an unknown figure in some protective suit, like an astronaut. Together, they travel to the decadent Northern Alliance to find out the truth about the cube but quickly run into trouble. Luckily, the cube, an Atlantian fusion module, doubles as a pretty tasty blaster and a handy satnav that leads them to a lake. Frustrated by being led on what seems to be a wild goose chase, Elja chuck's the cube into the water, only for it to reveal the entrance to the Atlantians' secret Ark.
Separated from her brothers, Liv, played by Henriette Confurius, falls in with the military might of the Crimson Republic. These guys seem more technologically advanced than the other tribes, and they claim to be fighting to unite Europe.
But can they be trusted? After all, they're a bit too interested in getting their hands on the cube, too. Liv soon strikes up a will-they-snog, will-they-shoot-each-other relationship with Crimson commander Voss. He's friendly enough but shows his true colours when he tries to coerce her into assassinating his father, the General so that he can take power. She refuses to join forces with him, and Voss eventually abandons her. Luckily, she's soon rescued by a representative of another tribe, the furious Femen. My name is Alia. We are Femen.
While all this is happening, poor old Kiano, played by Emilio Sakraya, is brutally tortured by the Crows. However, when he uncovers corruption within their ranks, Lord Varvara selects him to become one of her playthings, which is a polite way of saying he's a sex slave. After literally sleeping with the enemy, Kiano gets to go to a kinky nightclub, where he witnesses a trial by combat and realises that the only way he can regain his freedom is by becoming a Bozie, one of the crow's elite soldiers. After pleading with Varvara, his wish is granted. Little does he realise, however, that this means fighting and killing his father. After a brief, tearful battle that leaves his dad dead, Kiano is initiated into the Bozies and given a badass new name, Tarok.
That's where we go the Origines siblings at the end of Season 1, and it does leave some questions. Who are the Femen, and can Liv trust them? Has Kiano, sorry Tarok, truly gone over to the dark side forever? Why are the otherwise villainous Crows somehow unable to lie? And who or what is really in that underwater Ark? We also want to know what happened to the teens' mother, Chloe. We were told throughout that she died many years ago. But as Keanu points out, her body was never found. Will this mean she shows up alive, or perhaps not well, when we least expect it? The biggest question, though, is: what caused Black December?
The show doesn't give us a lot of information about what went down, but there are a few clues scattered throughout. Here's what we know.
In 2029, a global blackout wreaked havoc around the globe. It started on December 29th with technology unexpectedly breaking down and North Korea accusing the USA of starting a cyberwar. Then, on New Year's Eve, the blackout hit, taking down the internet, phones and transport networks in one fell swoop. No one knows how or why this all happened, though everyone has theories. Elja thinks it might have been a military supervirus, while Moses blames the shadowy Atlantians and their high technology. There also seems to be a link to the cube that everyone is fighting over. The dead pilot forces it into Elja's hands and says. Everyone will be lost if you don't leave now.
Could this also have something to do with the mysterious Black Swarms? In Episode 4, Elja and Moses meet some refugees from the Altai Mountains. One of them, a young girl, said. It's coming here, to Europa. What is it? You see it, you die. When Elja activates the cube again in Episode 5, it plays a new hologram, showing that mysterious figure again and what looks like a swarm of something.