‘Constellation’ Episode 6 Recap Spoilers: Will Alice Finally Reunite With Her Mother?

Considering alternate, parallel realities to be a mirror reflection of the prime one, so far in Apple TV+’s Constellation, the narrative focus has been fixated on astronaut Jo Ericsson’s tribulations after getting displaced and trapped in a world, which is a distorted reflection of her own. With the latest episode, titled Paul is Dead, as the focus shifts to the reality where Jo belongs, a number of troublesome revelations muddle the distinction between both worlds. 


In the previous episode, Jo decided to seek answers on her own after getting a hint of the massive cover-up persisting across the majority of the spacefaring organizations and realizing that her account of the events in the ISS was being deliberately suppressed as it was going to become an exposé. Taking her daughter Alice with her (alternate reality version), Jo went to the Denmark Marine Observatory, where the veteran Bang siblings, the ‘Space Listener’ duo, provided her with audio recordings chronicling the last moments of a Russian astronaut. After listening to the tape, alternate Alice identifies the ghostly figure as ‘Valya,’ and Jo suspects her desiccated corpse to be the cause of the accident on the ISS. Eventually, Jo and alternate Alice realize that they are not the people they know each other to be, while Alice, in Jo’s reality, continues to search for her mother. 

Spoilers Ahead


Why Did Paul Leave Jo On The Iss?

The sixth episode of Constellation brings viewers back to square one as the episode begins on the ISS and the re-enactment of the events leading to the CAL experiment takes place once again. The only difference is that this time, during the accident, team leader Paul Lancaster survives and Jo dies a tragic death. However, there is more to the situation than this switcheroo, as viewers soon realize that Paul from the alternate reality has switched places with his prime version. Which means, just like Jo, the alternate version of Paul has found himself marooned in a reality that is a distorted reflection of his own, and accordingly, a world of confusion awaits him.

Right off the bat, the alterations are observed even when Paul is stranded on the ISS. Just like how Jo decided to stay back at the space station to repair the collision that caused damage and sent the rest of her teammates back to Earth, alternate Paul in this reality does the same. However, when he mentions the CAL experiments to his teammates, they seem to have no clue regarding them, just like the prime version of Jo didn’t either. It was informed that Paul would bring Jo’s corpse back to Earth while returning, but alone in the ISS, Paul gets spooked after noticing a seemingly dead Jo breathing on a number of occasions. Now whether the fear of isolation got to him or trauma from losing a colleague, we don’t know for sure, but scared out of his wits, Paul almost prays for Jo to remain dead. He contacts the central command at Earth to inform them that, due to profuse lacerations, Jo’s corpse might bleed severely while he attempts re-entry to the planet, which will create trouble, and gets instructed to abandon her back at the space station. Voices from the other side (reality) start creeping in, which explains Jo’s experience of uncanny events on the ISS, and unbeknownst to both Jo and alternate Paul, they themselves become creeped out through their own actions and experiences. 


Paul returns to Earth and, as expected, gets thrown into a mess of bewilderment. It doesn’t take him much time to realize that his wife and daughter aren’t the same persons whom he met the last time; his claims about the CAL experiment and Henry Caldera’s association with it get frowned upon as stress-induced delusion as well. 

What Made Alice Think That Jo Is Alive?

The tragic news of Jo’s death reaches Alice and Magnus (prime reality) and affects the father-daughter duo in different ways. Unlike her alternate version, this Alice shared a strong bond with her mother, and as a result, she starts feeling increasingly jaded and lashes out, failing to cope with such a loss. After learning that Magnus will not bring Jo’s corpse back to Earth, the harrowing feeling of abandonment grows in Alice’s mind in the worst possible way. Alice and Magnus’ conversation with Paul goes horrendously wrong. Paul is plagued with PTSD and experiences distorted reality so much that basic sensibilities have started escaping him. Like an apparition, Jo appears in front of both Alice and Paul in different scenarios, apparently seemed to be caused by momentary convergences in reality. ‘Paul is Dead’ was a longstanding conspiracy theory that claimed that Beatles’ member Paul McCartney had died, and later, the band replaced him with a doppelganger with the help of MI5. In this episode, the interplay with the name plays out well, along with the theme of the series, which revolves around alternate versions of characters and ensuing confusion. 


Magnus tries his best to help Alice heal emotionally, but fails as he cannot connect with her as strongly as her mother used to. Fractured reality continues to seep in as Alice experiences the presence of her mother in the alternate reality through voices, sounds, and visions, which eventually makes her feel that her mother is indeed alive. To help Alice move on, Magnus arranges a funeral, and while attending, Paul goes through an emotional breakdown. He blames himself for abandoning Jo, whom he believes might have been alive when he left the ISS. As Paul’s erratic behavior continues, Paul’s daughter Wendy brings Alice for an awkward conversation, stating his belief about Jo still being alive. Right at the moment, both Jo and Alice see an alternate version of Alice in the room, who gets extremely scared after witnessing Jo’s funeral (fourth episode). Paul collapses in shock, and Alice gets frightened after seeing her mother, Jo, be with an alternate version of Magnus, comforting Alice. Seeing a ruckus unfold during the funeral, Magnus quickly takes Alice back to her room.

Will Alice Finally Reunite With Her Mother?

Previously, to clear up the confusion, Paul shared his wish to meet his former mentor Henry Caldera, the chief overseer of the CAL program, but was dumbfounded to learn from NASA chief Michaela that no such program has existed since the 1980s. The only astronaut who shares a similarity with the name he mentioned is Bud Caldera, a washed-up drunk veteran cosmonaut who participated in the Apollo 18 program, just like Henry did. After the events during Jo’s funeral, a bewildered Paul flies halfway across the globe to reach Bud Caldera, whom he considers to be Henry, and gets puzzled when, apart from appearance, Bud appears to be a different person altogether. It is also revealed that, unlike Henry Caldera, who became a hero by repairing a malfunction during the Apollo 18 mission, thereby saving the lives of his fellow astronauts, Bud Caldera, in this reality, was the sole survivor of the Apollo 18 mission. Paul begs Bud to help him clear up the confusion, but Bud seems unwilling to do so and suggests Paul take the pills he has been given. Yes, the same antipsychotic pills that Jo, Henry, Bud, and Irena were taking at some point in the series were being supplied to Paul as well, and he seems to have been tangled up in the large-scale conspiracy as well. Pestered by Paul’s questioning, an irritated Bud pulls a gun on him and shoots, and Paul’s fate remains unknown. 


On the other hand, Magnus believes a change of air might help Alice recover from the trauma, and Alice insists on going to their family cabin in Vindelälven. It seems that for Alice, Jo’s memory is attached to the place, and as she is resolute in her belief that her mother is still alive, she wants to go to the place with which she associated Jo the most. After driving and later walking through snowed-in paths, Alice and Magnus finally reach the cabin. Inside, Alice draws Magnus’ attention to the painting  ‘Devil by the Pot’, and mentions changeling. The reference is suggestive, as in this case, alternate Paul and Jo are both changelings who have swapped places with their alternate reality counterparts. Magnus once again tries to comfort Alice and makes her realize that, contrary to her belief, her mother is never going to return. Alice isn’t convinced, but she doesn’t bother her father much about it either. 

Inside the cabin, at midnight, Alice wakes up and sees a car arriving at the front door. Curious, she notices someone coming out of the car—and it is her mother. The episode ends with the possibility that, finally, Alice might reunite with her mother, as the sequence connects directly with the ending of the previous episode, where Jo and alternate Alice learned about their different identities. 


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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