Netflix series ‘Zero’, based on the book ‘Non ho mai avuto la mia età’ by up-and-coming Italian writer Antonio Dikele Distefano and created by Menotti, is a science-fiction teen drama, one of the first to portray black Italian immigrant youth as protagonists depicting their lives and experiences.
A 25-year old shy black teen of Milan’s Barrio neighborhood has the power to turn invisible and being a zero for others. He aspires to write a comic book about a superhero, but actually gets to play one when his neighborhood comes under threat from those attempting its gentrification. As Distefano had put it in an interview, “It’s about the importance of existing.”
Omar (Giuseppe Dave Seke) is used to being overlooked because of his ethnicity. But this is only until he meets Anna (Beatrice Granno of 2020 release ‘The Time of Indifference’), an architect-in-training.
Out to deliver pizza one day, he gets locked in her apartment. Both get talking and share their dreams and confide their fears. He has a strained relationship with his father because he believes he lost his mother because of him.
Omar does not like the neighborhood and wants to leave to fulfill his dream. But destiny has other plans. Omar is accused of setting a bike on fire and unwittingly reveals his invisibility secret to a local thug, Sherif (Haroun Fall), in a car park.
The rents and living costs are being deliberately raised in neighbourhood with an aim to displace the residents. The neighbourhood generator is sabotaged in the process. Sherif asks Omar to help raise money to fix it given his power of invisibility. Omar, who is initially preoccupied with Anna, is enraged when his father uses his money without his permission to pay for an increased rent and decides to join Sherif and his friends.
Omar cannot become invisible when he decides. He eventually overcomes that block and they win lot of money in poker. He, however, sees a mystery woman called The Virgin (Roberta Mattei of 2016 movie ‘Italian Race’) at the poker club with similar power as his own staring at him. Suddenly Anna appears, and Omar gets thrown off guard. He wants to confide with Anna but they break up.
When Sara’s (Daniela Scattolin) recording studio is vandalized, Omar and his friends set out to find the culprits. Omar with his invisibility trick unravels a conspiracy by Sirenetta Real Estate Firm to push them out of their neighborhood with the help of a Cuban henchman, Rico (Miguel Gobbo Diaz).
Omar and Anna regret their break-up when they meet at a comic book convention. He plans to stay back in the neighborhood. Rico sets up Sherif’s brother and turns him in. Omar finds out that Anna’s father Bruno Ricci (Giordano De Plano of the 2019 TV series ‘The Trial’ fame) is none other than the owner of Sirenetta.
Anna tells Omar that she has won a scholarship and will be moving to Paris. He spills the beans on her father. An angry Anna accosts her father asking if he is behind the neighbourhood attacks. He admits that it is all a part of business. Omar manages to take a video of Rico and Ricci making a deal but becomes visible to them. There ensues a chase and their friend Momo (Dylan Magon) gets stabbed.
Omar discovers that his sister Awa’s (Virginia Diop) vision is affected whenever he goes invisible. Anna visits Omar and apologizes for her father’s deeds and asks Omar to join him in Paris. However, Omar has realized that his destiny is in Barrio.
‘Zero’ ending explained in detail:
The final confrontation
Omar and his friends rejoice because Momo had managed to upload the video of Rico and Ricci from Omar’s phone before getting injured. Rico is arrested, but Ricci manages to go scot-free.
Ricci and Omar have an altercation outside court during which Ricci reveals that, since all Sirenetta assets are under Anna’s name, she will have to face the consequences ultimately, as very powerful people are behind this plan.
Awa is very upset about losing a basketball game and her vision problem. She is approached and befriended by The Virgin. She pacifies Awa telling her that she knows a lot about her and her brother and wants her to do something for her; and, in turn, tells her not to hold back her feelings when she is hurt.
Awa realizes the enormous power of her vision thereafter, as she manages to turn her boyfriend blind and make him turn over her friend cheating on her with him from the roof.
Anna’s abduction and rescue
Anna and her friends are abducted by men working for The Virgin. Omar manages to rescue her and but is brutally hurt. Anna is looking for him but he gets fixated on his mother’s portrait on the wall.
Suddenly his mother comes out to him and tells him to hug with love. We see him hugging his mother, but the next moment, he is hugging Anna and is able to make her invisible too, a power he was not aware of earlier.
Anna panics when Omar is not visible even after the police arrives and she is taken in an ambulance. Omar holds her hand to comfort her and confides that he cannot be visible anymore. He asks her if she would like to move away with him and opt for a simpler life. She agrees and suggests they could go to Paris.
A twist ending
The Virgin then shows up at the hospital threatening Omar about Anna and asking if he would like to save his sister from going blind. Omar follows her to a mysterious place, where she says he will be able to find answers to all the secrets about his origin and about what happened to his mother.
He goes inside and sees his father and mother doing a ritual with several other people and is completely dazed by it all and the episode ends there.
The series thus ends with the last fight that Omar and his friends have with the enemies of the neighbourhood. The episode, however, ends with certain twists and clearly does not answer many questions.
Who is that mystery woman? What happened to Omar’s mother? Why does his father desert his mother? How did he and Awa get these powers? All these questions will, perhaps, be revealed in the next season.