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The Society: Where Are The Kids Trapped?

The Society Town Hall Graffiti

Netflix’s The Society features a faux town full of misguided high schoolers, but where exactly are they trapped? Directed by Marc Webb, the new teen drama series takes inspiration from William Golding’s 1954 book Lord of the Flies.  

In The Society, a mystery smell overwhelms a city named named West Ham. The adults attempt to connect the dots, while the teenagers board a bus for a field trip. The students then arrive back at home, seemingly because of bad conditions. But they discover that “home” isn’t what it used to be, as there’s no trace of adults, and there’s no longer a horrible smell. Naturally, the kids are slightly dazed and confused. In addition, they find out that their doppelgänger town has train tracks that lead directly into a forest.

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Related: The Society Review: Ambitious YA Story Has Middling Success With Big Ideas

The Society’s series premiere establishes that the kids are trapped somewhere, but how and why? Here are the most important facts about the location of The Society's season 1 characters.

Everything We Know About The Society's Fake Town

The Society Season 1 Netflix

The Society’s main protagonist is Allie, played by Pokémon Detective Pikachu's Kathryn Newton. As the group leaves West Ham, there’s a graffiti-laced sign that incorrectly names the town as “West Sham.” This comes after the town residents notice Hebrew graffiti on the Town Hall, which comes into play in the season finale. It translates to “you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.” 

For the majority of The Society season 1, the kids only know that everything looks the same, aside from the city limits. Early on, they discover that local train tracks lead directly to a forest, prompting them to form a “Committee on Going Home.” Later, a select group of teenagers are tasked with low-scale exploring, while others spot what appears to be a solar eclipse - a theory that’s quickly debunked through a Farmer’s Almanac. Crucially, most of the town residents don’t learn that information until the second half of The Society season 1. 

Because The Society’s kids don’t know what’s going on, and because they’re a little scared, they mostly stay within the city limits and establish rules. Early on, chaos reigns supreme as the characters attempt to process what they know to be true. Allie’s sister Cassandra (Rachel Keller) emerges as a leader, but she’s then murdered by an unknown assailant. This essentially represents the inciting incident of The Society season 1, as Allie’s peers choose her to look over the group, at least until they know more facts. 

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During the The Society's final episodes, a search party is formed to explore the great unknown. Meanwhile, the mystery town is named New Ham, and the residents grow accustomed to a new way of life. By this point, various subplots have been established, thus resulting in an emotional send-off for the explorer group, of which discovers that rural New Ham has fish, turkeys, and fertile land. In The Society season 1 finale, the explorers return “home” and discover that Allie has been betrayed by a group of militia-like protectors known as “The Guard.”

Who Is Pfeiffer & What Role Does He Play In The Kids' Disappearance?

In The Society’s first episode, a visibly-rattled man is seen leaving a Town Hall office. Soon thereafter, the same man appears to be driving the bus that transports the West Ham kids to “New Ham.” Later, students peer over Town Hall records and discover that man named “Pfeiffer” demanded $1.5 million in order to eliminate the town’s nasty smell, which was ultimately rejected in a follow-up letter. By this point, it’s unclear if the mystery man from The Society’s first episode is indeed Pfeiffer.

During The Society’s second episode, a deaf student named Sam (Sean Berdy) admits that his father is one of the people that rejected Pfeiffer’s offer. This is documented as taking place two days before the bus trip. Rather than telling Allie the truth, however, Sam keeps the information a secret via advice from his brother Campbell (Toby Wallace). Later, Sam reveals that Campbell had previously been diagnosed as a psychopath, or at least someone who displays psychopathic traits. Still, this information is not directly connected to Pfeiffer. 

By The Society's ninth episode, the romance-seeking Kelly (Kristine Froseth) looks over personal photos, and notices the mysterious bus driver. He's identified as Pfeiffer in the The Society season 1 finale: the man who clashed with West Ham adults shortly before the town’s teenagers went missing. The New Ham residents discuss whether they’re being punished for their parents’ behavior, or whether they’re being saved. Life isn’t perfect in the new society, but it is indeed their society; one that’s run entirely by young adults. 

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New Ham Is In An Alternate Dimension - But Can The Kids Return Home?

Netflix The Society

The Society’sCommittee for Going Home” reveals their biggest finding in episode 7. One, the next solar eclipse won’t take place until 2024. Two, they can physically see star formations like Orion’s Belt and The Big Dipper, however the red star Betelgeuse is a few degrees off. In addition, there are no moving objects in the sky, and the satellites have disappeared. The Society's main characters are living in a parallel universe, or at least that's what they believe.

The kids seem mostly hopeful in The Society season 1. They’ve been confused since day 1, but they’ve become accustomed to daily activities in “New Ham” after six months of living there. So, how exactly could they leave? Naturally, they decide to explore the forest to see just how far they can go. Meanwhile, Allie runs for town mayor, and assumes that she’ll be elected and will resume her normal responsibilities. But she’s betrayed by The Guard, along with a seemingly naive girl named Lexie (Grace Victoria Cox), who also decides to run for Mayor. When the exploration groups returns home - armed with agricultural knowledge that can immediately help the New Ham residents - the town’s trust system has fallen apart. And so The Society's teenagers can’t leave if their priorities lie elsewhere. 

The Society acknowledges its alternate dimension premise, but doesn’t offer many overt clues about how the residents could theoretically return home. In the final sequence, a dog shows up in what seems to be the real West Ham. Earlier in The Society season 1, the same dog (based on its physical appearance) is looked after by Elle (Olivia DeJonge) in New Ham. The series climax suggests that West Ham’s missing kids have been declared dead, but the series’ supernatural rules haven’t been fully established in New Ham.

It’s possible that separate yet similar-looking dogs live in The Society's parallel dimensions. But it’s most likely that one dog found some time of portal, either within the town or surrounding forest of West Ham. What does that mean, though? Does the dog represent random behavior, or is it connected to the concept of free will? Or does it come from New Ham? Given the dog’s narrative connection to Elle - a woman who is physically and emotionally abused by Campbell - the mystery canine may represent a spiritual guide; a being that leads characters back and forth to different dimensions. Or maybe the dog is Pfeiffer; a symbolic representation of someone who’s not taken seriously, either in this life or a past life. After 10 episodes of The Society, the characters’ collective personalities have been fully developed, but it’s unclear how the kids could return home, or if they’d even want to. 

Next: What To Expect From The Society Season 2

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