‘Beacon 23’ Season 2 Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Aleph Kill Keir, Finch, And Saldana?


MGM’s space-drama series Beacon 23, based on Hugh Howey’s books, is back with another season. The first season ended on a high note, and we expected some new revelations in the new season, but unfortunately, the first episode just moved in circles and put its lead, Halan Kai Nelson, in the same situation where he found himself at the beginning of season 1. So, the question here is: do the creators have something new to tell, or is the entire season going to be a snoozefest?

Spoiler Alert

The events of the second season pick up where season 1 ended. In the finale episode, a member of the activist group The Column, Keir, took a shot at the QTA employee, Aster Calyx, because he didn’t want her to access the mysterious artifact for the evil master, Milan Aleph. Near the staircase, Aster’s head hit the railings, leading to severe blood loss and immediate death. Her alleged lover, Halan Kai Nelson, was devastated by such a loss and tried to kill Keir for his actions, but ultimately, Aleph intervened and stopped Halan. Aleph, being an AI, couldn’t see or access the artifact (or the rocks) himself, which was why he needed those who had made contact with it. After Aster’s death, it was Halan who could accomplish the task and, therefore, became Aleph’s prisoner, quite literally.

What did Aleph do to Finch?

For those who don’t remember, Milan Aleph, one of the founding members of the QTA, was a mad genius who wanted to explore the infinite possibilities that the universe had to offer to ensure human survival. He didn’t want anyone to die like his daughter did, but Aleph soon realized that a human body is quite expendable. In a human body, he wouldn’t be able to achieve his goal, so he sacrificed his body to become an AI so that he could head QTA (and ISA) and live till the end of time. Through his outstanding research, Aleph had established a monarchy in the system, which the rebel group The Column wanted to destroy at all costs.

At the beginning of Beacon 23 episode 1, Finch, a cyber-human, plugged into Beacon’s mainframe to stop Aleph’s access to the lighthouse; however, Aleph was more powerful than Finch had imagined. Inside the technical consciousness, Aleph not only stole all the information from Finch’s mind but also damaged his anterior cingulate cortex, thereby sending him into a coma.

What did Halan finally decide?

At the end of season 1, Aster convinces Halan to go into the artifact with her and explore what is inside. However, with Aster’s murder, Aleph wanted Halan to finish the mission and deliver on the promise that she’d made to Aleph. But Halan was done with the artifact and Aleph’s revolutionary plans. He wanted to leave everything behind and go back to the T6 Colony, where his father, ex-Commander Neilson, lived. He had planned to release Aster’s sleep pod with her dead body into the nearest star and move on.

However, Saldana’s words moved something in Halan, who didn’t want to let Aster’s death go in vain. Additionally, Halan knew that Aleph wouldn’t let him be at peace, even if he would re-settle himself in the farthest corner of the universe. Therefore, Halan needed to destroy Aleph and his mothership before he could move on. With Finch’s help, Halan armed some column explosives in the pod, which he had planned to release on the mothership to take it down. Simultaneously, he told Aleph that he was going into the artifact so that Aleph wouldn’t suspect his moves. Surprisingly, in the end, Halan didn’t side with any of them. He neither destroyed the mothership nor went into the artifact; instead, he released Aster’s pod, along with her body and the explosives, into the artifact, thereby destroying the formation and unleashing a massive force in the vicinity that damaged Beacon 23. After the explosion, Halan tried to run, but an enraged Aleph took control of his ship and brought him back to the lighthouse to make him pay for his betrayal.

Why did Aleph kill Keir, Finch, and Saldana?

To be honest, I failed to understand Aleph’s true motives. Maybe he is simply delusional. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that he is one of the worst-written antagonists ever for two broad reasons. Firstly, he himself doesn’t know what he truly wants. Secondly, whenever anything goes wrong, he blames the algorithm. At the beginning of the episode, Aleph doesn’t kill Keir because the AI isn’t a murderer. To kill is a very human thing. But then he went on to torture Finch, sucking half his life out of him and pushing him into a coma. Furthermore, he was prepared to sacrifice Halan’s and Aster’s lives for his larger goal because he believed human lives were disposable. But was he doing this for the greater good of humanity? It is all messed up, or at least it is convoluted in his head.

At the end of Beacon 23, episode 1, Aleph went the extra mile and suffocated Keir, Finch, and Saldana to death because they helped Halan with the explosives. And I was like, dude? You already knew that these rebels were trying to blow up your mothership. Then why spare their lives earlier, and not kill them then? Earlier, he talked like a fake saint and said killing them would make them martyrs. How about now? What’s changed? Pretty messed up character, just like the artifacts, and none of it makes sense at this point. Beacon 23 is becoming like a soap opera where words don’t mean anything. It’s all a farce.

Why did Aleph keep Halan alive?

I guess the reason is simple. Halan wanted freedom, and therefore, imprisoning him in a lighthouse would be the cruelest punishment for him. Even more so with no Aster to keep him company. Additionally, Halan is the only person alive who can see the artifacts, and therefore, Aleph might need him in the near future if the comets reappear in the vicinity of Beacon 23. The comet dust spread across the Beacon might have a role to play as well. Maybe, after Aleph’s departure from the lighthouse, this comet dust will form a portal in space. Maybe I am just shooting in the dark. However, what’s strange is the fact that Halan, who used to get migraine attacks when he came in contact with the rocks, isn’t affected the same way anymore. Is it a new development for the character?

The ending also suggests a possibility that the alien civilization hiding inside the artifact might fix or resurrect Aster Calyx and send her back to the titular lighthouse. If that happens, then maybe Halan’s punishment won’t be a punishment anymore. His sacrifice will help him meet the love of his life once again, but I am holding back my theories for now because Beacon 23 moves at an incredibly slow pace, and it is quite possible that we might not see Lena Headey’s character again until the end of Season 2. So, I will wait for any major revelations to hit the screen before theorizing any further.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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