April 23, 2024

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Multiverse meets space and has a major headache

Multiverse meets space and has a major headache

Doppelgangers, ghosts, and reversed realities all play a central role in this constellationHowever, more elements like interesting characters and interesting stories are unfortunately missing from the latest Apple TV+ series, which premiered on February 21. A dark sci-fi epic whose mystery is clear from the start — or at least from the moment the show stops dragging its feet in its lengthy introduction — it's surprising only in the sense that it's hard to imagine why anyone would think this tale required eight hours when it could have been dealt with. With her through a two-hour movie. When streaming services inevitably start cutting back on original productions, meandering and mediocre projects like this will be first on the cutting list.

Aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Jo (Noomi Rapace) FaceTimes with her daughter Alice (Rosie and Davina Coleman), as she tours the zero-gravity environment she's called home for the past year. The moment Jo points her camera at Comrade Paul (William Catlett), he activates NASA's top-secret experimental instrument known as CAL (meaning “Cold Atomic Laboratory”) and suddenly the ISS is hit by an unknown object that wreaks havoc on the ISS. Their life support systems. Since Joe was already scheduled to go on a spacewalk that day, she headed outside and identified the cause of the disaster: a desiccated corpse wearing an orange astronaut suit from the USSR decades ago. This is absolutely inexplicable, and to make matters worse for Joe, there are no cameras to capture this discovery, and the body floats away before she can corral it to show the others.

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During this disaster, Paul is mortally wounded, and with only one escape capsule, Jo sends her fellow astronauts back to Earth and remains aboard the International Space Station to repair the remaining capsule. While trying to extract herself from the station, Jo sees and hears many unintelligible things (some of which relate to Paul). She is also ordered to restore the CAL by Henry Caldera (Jonathan Banks), Rocket Propulsion Laboratories' chief scientific advisor, who is convinced that within a few seconds of turning it on, the device has successfully found a new form of matter. constellation It spends most of its first one-and-a-half episodes watching Joe fiddle with batteries and cables in an attempt to leave the International Space Station, thus immediately proving that showrunner Peter Harness' narrative has been stretched to laughable proportions.

The fact that this footage is occasionally intercut by an event five weeks later on Earth does little to alleviate its lethargy. In these future clips, Joe and Alice venture into a dark, snow-covered Swedish forest. Along this journey, Jo listens to the astronauts' static recordings on a Fisher-Price tape that will feature prominently in the proceedings that follow, and she hears of—and then comes face to face with—another Alice in an upside-down version of the cabin Alice in which they reside. This is the beginning of hours and hours of hearing Alice scream “Mama!” While she makes a sad face that is her only expression. Although these ghostly things are confusing at first, everything comes into focus in a fairly short time, what with when Jo tells Alice that she doesn't smell like she used to, and Alice notices that her mother looks different, and Joe's husband Magnus ( James D. Arce acts a little surprised by his wife's warmth towards him.

(warning: Spoilers ahead.)

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Between these many puzzling developments, as well as constant shots of double figures in mirrors, comments about the world being upside down, and strange encounters with surrogate lovers, Henry provides a useful primer on quantum physics – and his claim that two objects, one light and one dark, can In the same place at the same time, as it soon becomes clear constellation It is a multiverse work of fantasy. However, he strives to confuse viewers by endlessly teasing this fact, including via sequences involving Henry's “brother” (also Banks), a former astronaut who is bitter about a decades-old space disaster that he survived but It claimed the lives of his colleagues. , which a reporter keeps claiming is an event that Bud is lying about. Considering that Henry is also a former astronaut who had a similar accident while returning to Earth minus the fatalities, it is easy to combine the two and deduce the actual nature of their relationship.

An image of Jonathan Banks from the Apple TV+ series Constellation

Rage seems haunted, frantic, and shaken throughout, but Joe has never been an engaging hero; It's just one of the many pawns that… constellation It asks us to care without providing sufficient reason to do so first. Banks is undermined by the show's early need to keep Henry's underlying condition a secret, meaning he's just a mysterious, somewhat depressed man ranting about his CAL and his habit of producing results that only he can witness. In the back half, the material gives him more colorful things to do, but by that point it's all become so laborious that it's become too little, too late. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast is presented in one dimension, with Magnus the wet-noodles husband who is always one step behind everyone, and Alice the gloomy little girl who is always hiding in cupboards (of which there are far too many).

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constellation It's all about the “liminal space” between two different, conjoined realities, and also about setting rules (i.e. this quantum physics phenomenon happens to astronauts) and then violating them without explanation (specifically, teenage Alice can also see and visit both worlds). But even more frustrating than its inconsistency is its lethargy. Every other scene is superfluous, and the slowness with which it builds the drama is so egregious that it comes across as a case study in time filler. Entire episodes can be excised without any appreciable impact on the entire story, the complexities of which are less ambiguous than the decision to spend that much energy on it. And even once it stops being shy and starts working, it ends up being illogical, offering twists that only raise further questions about how any of this works, why it happens, and why we should care. Ultimately, a second season with more answers is hinted at, but given the tediousness of this first outing, this ultimately feels like cold comfort.