Spoilers for 'Kissing Game'
Netflix's new Brazilian thriller might be a slow burn but doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to what is causing the outbreak of a mysterious virus. It is the titular 'Kissing Game' that Fran and her friends indulged in at a local rave of course, and while we know how the virus spread, the origins and source of it remain a mystery still. This sense of mystery is maintained even at the end when all the students who were affected by the virus are provided the cure and helped to somewhat go on with their lives normally, but Manu is somehow still locked up somewhere. The six-part miniseries ends its debut season with Manu, locked up inside a closed room, with someone opening the door to slide in a plate of food for her. With her eyes and veins glowing, the look she gives hints she is being held against her will. And that has our curiosity piqued.
Viewers are led to believe Manu was one of the first pupils who contracted the disease, so she runs away and finds refuge at the rave's location, where an apothecarist offers her a cure that helps her live, and not die under the virus, the way Bel did. The virus targets young teenagers prone to suppressing their feelings. It then breaks them down internally to no feelings or emotions anymore. They lie in hospital beds like a shell capable of movement and breathing with their brains functioning but sensations and feelings going kaput. Yet Manu, being one of the first to contract it, was spotted by the apothecary right in time.
She tells Alex Nero how she needs to be "close to the fire" and "feel the heat." Whenever she starts losing the feeling, she has to be dipped in a shallow well, while the woman who offers the cure, hums and chants, bathing her in the water and pouring the magical oil down he throat, which acts like a serum binding her lifeless body to the mortal world. Alex and Chico first tell Fran's mother of the cure and once her recovery is successful, others follow suit, dousing their kids in the school's swimming pool and recovering their ability to feel through the magic oil. Once recovered, in what looks lie a proper epilogue, these kids can be seen accepting themselves in their full hybrid zombie form - translucent eyes and veins sticking out prominently, they begin propagating a wholesome note of acceptance which somehow doesn't go with the state we find Manu in, at the end of the six-part series.
The fact that Fran was probably the only person to spill the beans to Manu's mother and the school's principal might have something to do with it. As Manu started getting sick, her control-freak mother planned to send her away to Texas for her treatment. But Manu never left the tow; she faked her travel and a life in Texas with photoshopped images on social media to convince her mother, as she took abode at the apothecary. So it's possible that Manu's mother, upon learning of her goody-two-shoes daughters' rebellion, decided to lock her up at home lest she runs away again. Why the principal would do this is uncertain as of now, but does give a haunting hint for the prospect of a second season. But know just how creepy the principal got with Fran, Alex, and Chico while interrogating them of the rave it wouldn't be all too surprising if she was holding her own daughter hostage.
The alternative explanation is the apothecarist herself, known more popularly on the show as a cult leader, who keeps Manu locked up for her own motives. At the end of the penultimate Episode 5, the cult leader and her personal sidekick look over a hallucinating, zoned out group of kids at the rave, all running the risk of turning into hybrid zombies. The sidekick warns her of the consequences should even one of them make it back to the town like this, but the cult leader is unphased. She just says it's about time the city took notice. It is possible that she feels cheated by Fran's mom stealing that bottle of oil from her to revive all the kids back at her daughter's school. The cult never got their due credit. So when the police came to raid the venue, along with them, they took Manu too and she never made it back home to her mother. The cult leader plans on keeping Manu locked up as a hostage for her own plans to be answered. Some foundation for the next session, huh?
'Kissing Game' is now available for streaming only on Netflix.