‘Constellation’ Episode 2 Recap & Ending Explained: How Did Jo Return To Earth Safely?


AppleTV+’s new psychological space thriller series Constellation builds on the established base in episode 2, as the protagonist, Jo Ericsson, finds herself in immense trouble. Stranded on the International Space Station all by herself, Jo has to prepare the evacuation capsule before time runs out. Back on Earth, the various space program leads react to the matter to varying degrees, with one particular man heavily keen on trying every possible means to rescue Jo. While Constellation episode 2 mostly covers Jo’s miraculous escape, some other details about the plot are also developed along the way.

Spoiler Alert

How does Jo manage to return to Earth safely?

Constellation episode 2 has Jo in a rather scary situation, as she is still stuck aboard the damaged ISS, with the limited supplies of oxygen about to run out in a few hours’ time. The bizarre accident, in which something had crashed into the ISS, had damaged one of the evacuation capsules as well, and Jo had stayed back to fix it before leaving the space mission. Her current mission is to screw out a number of batteries from various parts of the station and then fix them inside the evacuation capsule to give it enough power. She has to do all of this amidst a cycle of forty-five minutes of electrical power followed by an equal duration of complete darkness, since the ISS can only now use solar power for all electricity. As seen in the previous episode, Jo had suddenly heard loud bangs from a position on the station and had gone to check on the matter, only to realize that it was probably part of her imagination.

However, along with the strange incident leaving a fearful impact on the protagonist’s mind, she also realizes, once more, that she has lost time. A certain amount of time has passed without Jo noticing it, and she immediately asks for her blood vitals to be checked, as she doubts if her brain is receiving less oxygen, leading to hallucinations and probable fainting. Nonetheless, she keeps at her current mission, removing batteries from the station’s blind and attaching them to the Soyuz capsule, despite the fact that, theoretically, there is not enough time for her to complete it. Amidst all of this, she admits to feeling extremely lonely and scared, and in her efforts to fight against them, she starts recording audio messages for her family. A little while later, when Jo does manage to get all the batteries attached to her evacuation capsule, she records a final message for Alice on her iPad and leaves the device on the station, ensuring that her daughter will receive it even if she does not make it back to Earth.

But the most significant matter in this whole situation is an eerie and uncanny feeling that Jo is not really alone on the station and that there is some other-worldly presence around her. This begins with the noise of an unexplainable static in the voice note that Jo records while working on the batteries. When she replays the message a number of times, things get more bizarre, as the static and unusual distortions increase every time she plays the recording. In the final instance, a different voice is heard, which takes only a few seconds to ultimately turn into that of Paul Lancaster, the astronaut who had died from blood loss and cardiac arrest earlier. At one point, the cloth covering Paul’s corpse also mysteriously catches the attention of Jo, and she has to go back into the capsule to cover the body respectfully. Matters become graver when she feels like Paul is calling out to her, and while traversing through the dark tunnels of the station, the man’s severed hand floats towards her. As soon as Jo grabs hold of the hand, merely out of curiosity, she sees Paul in front of her for a split second before she considers the matter to be another hallucination.

During the most crucial phase of her current mission, when Jo has prepared the Soyuz capsule for evacuation and needs help determining the flight course, the communication service stops working. This leaves her even more abandoned, and Jo has to figure out the course all by herself, which is extremely dangerous, as a mistake in the calculations can easily kill her. But Jo’s mathematics is beyond brilliant, and she is able to fix a proper flight course and feed it into the capsule’s computer system. Right when the astronaut is about to launch herself out of the ISS and into open space with the intention of returning to Earth, one more severe problem crops up. The screen pops up with errors of bolt malfunction, which can only be fixed from the outside of the capsule and, more importantly, requires two technicians working on it at the same time. 

Jo obviously cannot help herself any longer, as the situation suddenly gets out of her control. All she can do is try and fix the error from the inside, clicking on multiple buttons at her disposal, but to no avail. This is where the most unexplained scene in this episode plays out, as a shadow is seen in front of the terminal inside the ISS, and as the figure approaches the buttons, the bolt malfunction is suddenly fixed inside the Soyuz capsule. This means that someone else was still present inside the ISS, and they now helped Jo with her problem, ensuring that she could have a safe evacuation. Whether this being is actually alive, which seems extremely unlikely, or whether they are really some other-worldly being, ghost, alien, or otherwise, remains to be seen. Midway through her return to Earth, Jo is able to re-establish a connection with the ground team, and she informs them of her situation. In the end, Jo is able to safely land back on Earth, and the rescue team eventually finds her, too. 

Why does Henry want the CAL data?

The character of Henry Caldera had already been introduced in the opening episode, but we are given slightly more details about him in Constellation episode 2. Henry Caldera is the chief scientist at Rocket Propulsion Systems (RPS) in the USA, a privately owned foundation that is also currently working with the International Space Station for a particular research project. The CAL device, which has been an important part of the plot, was sent by Caldera to the ISS, for he is on a personal mission to prove a theory. Henry was a distinguished astronaut in the past, having been a part of moon-landing NASA missions, and he is currently leading new innovations at the space research company. His primary interest is in quantum physics, and the CAL device is specifically purposed to find new life forms, for which it has been sent to outer space. 

As was seen in the first episode, Henry had found some extraordinary results during the space test, for the results that were found from the CAL device showed two separate points at one particular instance, right before the accident on the ISS. Since finding this result, Henry has been impatient and tremendously excited to get his beloved device back into his hands. As the result had been a simulation run on Earth, and so was not the exact findings of the CAL device, the scientist desperately wants the device and its data to be brought back so that more extraordinary discoveries can be made. However, the loss of communications between Earth and the ISS creates a hindrance to Henry’s plan, as nobody knows whether Jo is still alive or not. To make matters worse, the Roscosmos head, Irene Lysenko, suggests to Henry that Russia is considering leaving the International Space Program, which would take away the chance of new discoveries even further. 

However, when Jo is able to establish communications once again, now aboard the Soyuz capsule, Henry is delighted by the news. His excitement is not because of the survival of the astronaut, like everyone else’s around him, but Henry is rather still interested only in the CAL device. He asks for reassurance that Jo is carrying the device with her, and the man cannot contain his excitement once the capsule lands safely back on Earth. He refers to the device as his own child and takes it away for further examination.

What does Jo believe about Alice?

Just like in the previous episode, Constellation episode 2 also features scenes from both the space program, which took place in the recent past, and from the present time, when Jo is running from someone along with Alice. This segment of the last episode ended with Jo finding an eerily similar house in the middle of snow-covered fields, inside which she found Alice hiding inside a wardrobe. Despite knowing that her daughter is fast asleep inside the original house they had taken shelter in, Jo reaches out to Alice inside the wardrobe and almost immediately feels like this is her real daughter. Holding the girl close to herself, Jo gets the same smell she was acquainted with with regard to young Alice, and she takes her back towards her original cabin, traversing through the fields once again.

Back at the cabin, Jo attempts to give Alice a bath, quickly realizing that multiple things about her suggest she is the real daughter. While Jo was seemingly in the regular habit of speaking Swedish with her daughter, the Alice who received her after her return, did not understand a word of the foreign language. Another strange and unbelievable scene plays out when Jo sees both versions of Alice inside the cabin for a few seconds—one sleeping on the bed and the other waiting for her mother to return with hot water. But this hallucination does not last long either, and the sleeping Alice wakes up to be dumbfounded by her mother’s hysterical questioning. In the end, Jo believes and accepts that there are two versions of Alice existing at the same time, while only one is original. Since the girl from the wardrobe mysteriously vanishes, Jo once again goes out in search of her, tugging along the other Alice as well.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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