‘Constellation’ Episode 4 Recap And Ending Explained: What Spooks Alice?


AppleTV+’s latest psychological space thriller production, Constellation, continues its intriguing tale with the release of episode 4 this week, which raises yet more questions than provides answers. We have been following Swedish astronaut Jo Ericsson of the European Space Association as she faces some unexplainable situations in her life after returning from an outer space expedition on the International Space Station. But Jo seems to strongly feel that her life has drastically changed, almost as if she has returned to her own self, but in some alternate reality. Constellation episode 4 manages to build up interest for the future episodes, as the show seems to be taking the sci-fi route so far.

Spoiler Alert

Why does Jo suspect a conspiracy against her?

Constellation episode 4 begins with Jo having finally settled into her life in Cologne, together with her husband and daughter, but she still feels a major discrepancy in her everyday life. The previous episodes had already focused on how she remembered their family car to be red, while it was now blue, and how she used to often speak Swedish with Alice, and yet the daughter now cannot even understand the language. This time around, she also feels that the arrangement of cupboards and items put in each of them, inside the kitchen of their house, has changed as well. Jo believes that it is the doing of Magnus, but he states that he never took any interest in rearranging the kitchen, suggesting that everything was still kept just the way she had left it at the house. Jo is even more surprised to see a piano at her house, even though she supposedly cannot play the instrument. 

But the psychological aspect of it cannot be ruled out yet, as Jo eventually sits down to play the piano very skillfully, even reading the music sheet without any hitch. This sudden change shocks her as well, but instead of considering it to be an effect of her space travel, she firmly believes it to be proof of something unexplainable occurring in her life. Among the things from her life before going to the ISS is also the very personal matter of Jo having been involved in an affair with the ESA head, Frederic Duverger. After her return, Frederic did try to get close to Jo on a few occasions, but she supposedly had no clue about this affair and so reacted in a negative manner. The fact that she was supposedly on the brink of ending her marriage with Magnus is also something that Jo does not remember. Therefore, now that she is quite loving towards her husband, he takes the moment to discuss these matters and clear things out between themselves.

Magnus reveals that he had heard rumors about Jo and Frederic’s affair from many people at the ESA, but she is totally unaware of any such relationship in her life. Jo outright denies the matter and claims her absolute faithfulness to their marriage. Since his wife has denied the claim, the only other way to confirm his suspicions for Magnus is to directly ask the other party—Frederic. This does not happen until towards the latter parts of the episode, though, within which time Magnus admits that he had believed his marriage to have been over. Because of the numerous signs that he had gotten from Jo before she left for the ISS, the biggest of which was the woman not even bidding him goodbye before leaving the planet, Magnus had tried to start a new life for himself. He reveals that he had been out on a few dates with a woman during this time, even sharing a kiss with her.

Jo does not take this news well at all, as she feels that her husband has disrespected their love and marriage, and she keeps wondering who the other woman might be. Jo finally finds her supposed target, as she sees Magnus to be quite close with a colleague of his who is also a teacher in Alice’s class. The protagonist lashes out at her husband in public and then also forcibly drives the car, almost causing an accident for her family. Jo still has very specific hallucinations of Paul Lancaster still being alive and of her still being on the ISS. These flashes occur in sudden instances, and there is no way for her to avoid them. Jo starts consulting a therapist for these struggles of hers, including her hallucinations and also seemingly misremembering things, and the doctor only prescribes a medicine for her. The therapist diagnoses Jo as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the pills she suggests will calm her nerves. Although Jo is reluctant to be perceived as someone with serious mental ailments, she does agree to taking the pills.

However, she decides to change her mind after realizing that the pills she had just been given looked the same as the ones that she was prescribed back at the Russian facility in Star City after her return. Jo takes apart both the capsules and finds the same white powder in them, with the quantities matching as well. She decides to analyze the two pills and reaches the ESA facility to clear up her doubts. Running tests on the two capsules, it was confirmed that both are serotonin inhibitors, meaning antidepressants, and both contain lithium-7, which is quite unusual. Digging through the medical records of the astronauts at ESA, Jo finds out that she had been officially prescribed doses of vitamin B, while most others had been given vitamin A after their return to Earth. She looks into the records further to find out that the ones who had been prescribed Vitamin B had all reported strange sightings and unnatural events in space, just like Jo had. 

All this makes Jo certain that there is a conspiracy in the works against her, which desperately wants her to take the lithium-7 antidepressants, most probably to ensure that she does not report her sightings from space. She had not taken the pills from Star City, and so now she has been given the same pills by her therapist, only packaged in different bottles. She still refuses to take the medicines, though, and when Magnus discusses the matter with Frederic, the latter talks of a clinic that treats mental health issues in astronauts after space travel. Frederic also confirms that he and Jo were very much having an affair before she left for the mission, and all of this makes Jo feel like Frederic is also a part of the conspiracy against her. In her effort to not take the medicine and also to prove that she is not losing her mind, like everyone else is stating, Jo even physically attacked Magnus, making him senseless. This could be the reason why Jo is seen to be on the run along with Alice in the present timeline, with police forces looking for her as well.

What does Henry theorize about the CAL device?

Henry Caldera still continues his research into his CAL device, trying to prove that he can show the practical implications of quantum physics in real life. After both NASA and Roscosmos declined to further support Henry’s demands to continue research with the CAL device, he has now been looking to collaborate with ESA. However, Henry Caldera knows that he will not be supported by the Europeans for long either, at least not before he can prove the effects of his research. Thus, he approaches a friend from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to look for funding and help with his research on the CAL device. In this very passionate pitch for the project, Henry refuses to believe that the device has shown a faulty result in space. He states that the device must have correctly identified two different states of matter at the same time, but it is now not showing up in the results.

He also theorizes that the multiple states of matter exist in a form different from any physical experiment result and instead spread all across reality. Henry believes that the duality, or existence of matter in multiple states, is having an impact on life in general, all around, and this goes hand-in-hand with the situation that Jo is suffering from. To put it simply, Henry seems to be saying that the multiple realities are not showing up in the official experiment results but are affecting reality. However, the episode also perhaps hints that Henry Caldera is not very mentally stable either, for he, too, had been prescribed Vitamin B and Lithium-7 after his return from a space expedition. Whether people like Henry and Jo are somehow more able to experience certain things that others cannot or whether they suffer from mental health issues after space travel remains to be seen.

On the other side, Henry’s twin brother, or himself in an alternate reality, Bud Caldera, faces questioning aboard the cruise ship for an investigation into the death of his professional rival. The FBI takes over the cruise ship, and a detective goes through all the clues, eventually coming across the CCTV footage as well. However, as Bud and the murdered man are seen in the same frame, the detective’s eye is caught by something else on the same screen, which appears to be a physical anomaly or a sort of warp in reality. Although no proof against Bud has been found yet, he still remains the prime suspect in the case, it seems.

What spooks Alice at the end of the episode?

Towards the end of Constellation episode 4, Alice is terribly scared to suddenly find herself in a different space, or a different version of her house, in which she sees numerous people gathered. The gathering is for a special purpose—the memorial service of Jo Ericsson—and Alice is further freaked out to see herself staring towards her from the center of the room. As this scene lasts only a few seconds, it seems like Alice has hallucinated the entire matter. However, the presence of similar scenes throughout the episode seems to suggest that a third alternate reality has been introduced in the episode. In this other reality, Jo has indeed died in space on the ISS, and so her family is grieving her loss.

There are a few instances when Jo experiences a sudden, sharp pain in her left eye, and glimpses from the possibly different reality show Jo’s dead body floating around in the ISS with a bloody patch over her left eye. The patch suggests that her eye was wounded terribly, and it was the reason behind her death as well. Thus, it can be assumed that certain events or occurrences from different realities are overlapping and getting into the other realities, making Jo’s eye hurt while she is still alive. This is also why Jo finds her room in the ESA office being cleared out, as she somehow makes her way into the alternate reality in which she has died in space. As she tries to reach out to the workers, who cannot see or feel her presence, one of the young men is spooked by a sudden flash of Jo, like a ghostly appearance.

The mystery behind Alice’s ability to see or experience the different realities is still left unclear, as she is terribly scared by seeing the memorial service scene. The young girl has been feeling uneasy in her mother’s presence for some time now, and she has also developed a habit of hiding inside the wardrobe whenever feeling nervous. Magnus supports this habit as well, as he puts Alice to sleep inside the cupboard, which is simply baffling to Jo. The mother wants to stop such hysterical behavior by Alice, partly because she is eerily familiar with finding and rescuing Alice from inside a wardrobe. This disagreement is also a reason for the altercation between Jo and Magnus, which left the man injured and faint. The scene at the very beginning of the episode is also seemingly from the reality in which Jo is dead, for we see Alice being accompanied by Magnus to a cabin in the woods. Constellation episode 4 ends with a close-up of the same painting on the wall as earlier, but the content of it has further changed, most probably proving that this is a different reality once again. 

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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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