Warning: contains spoilers for Apple TV+ show Constellation.

If, while watching TV, you become fixated on the obvious emptiness of a supposedly full coffee cup, or the way that a sipped glass of wine appears to magically refill itself between cuts, you’re either watching a boring show or a great one. Continuity gaffs happen all the time, but for TV audiences to really notice them, either a story has to be so dull that minds wander, or so fascinating that viewers are willing to comb through every mundane detail to piece it all together.

Apple TV+ space sci-fi Constellation is the latter. Its story of Swedish astronaut Joanna Eriksson (Noomi Rapace) coming back from a mission to find that her world is filled with subtle changes, has turned viewers into detectives piecing together the full story. Their work, confirms series creator Peter Harness, is not going unrewarded. Spoilers ahead.

As Constellation’s finale arrives, it’s become clear that the story is playing out in two parallel universes linked by a liminal space where both can be perceived as existing simultaneously. The CAL experiment conducted on the ISS in episode one caused Joanna Eriksson from World A to be pulled into World B, where everything was slightly but crucially different. (The colour of the family car, the state of her marriage, her daughter’s ability to speak Swedish, the fact that she’s alive and not dead…). If you’ve watched this far, you’ll know the score.

Constellation’s two-universes premise emerges gradually over the first half of the series, but for the eagle-eyed, it had already been laid out in episode one. Key moments that viewers either didn’t register in all the excitement of an exploding ISS, or perhaps dismissed as continuity errors, were actually clues to what was really going on.

Speaking to Screenrant, Peter Harness explains: “If anyone would care to go back and watch it again — and I’m kind of aware that people are doing that — it’s really clear from the beginning.

“It’s obvious that there are two different Alices and two different conversations going on at the very beginning of the show. It’s not the same Alice, she’s not wearing the same clothes, her hair is different. Jo is holding the iPad vertically, and then when you cut away, actually, Paul is not working on the CAL in one of the things. So, that opening sequence before the crash, you don’t notice it initially, but it is actually kind of cutting between the two different versions of Alice and the two different versions of Jo.”

Rewatch episode one’s opening scenes and it’s obvious. Alice Facetimes her mother on the ISS while wearing her hair in two plaits and a blue and orange patterned jumper. This version of Joanna has the Swedish flag on the left arm of her uniform and is holding the iPad horizontally in her left hand. Then around 08:16, there’s a cut and when next we see Alice, she has her hair tied back in a ponytail and is wearing a plain blue jumper. Joanna’s Swedish flag has jumped to the right arm of her uniform, and she’s holding the iPad vertically. The scene is cut together from the two different Alices and two different Joannas in two different universes.

Suddenly, the reason that, in episode one’s opening scene, Alice rejects her mother’s offer of a bedtime story in the cabin is clear. Rather than have Joanna read her a story, Alice asks to watch a video of Joanna reading a story she recorded while she was on board the ISS. That happened before the Joanna-switch. Alice prefers the recorded story because it features the mother she knows and recognises instead of this uncanny copy from a parallel universe.

Something similar happens at the end of episode one, Peter Harness explains. At 48:56, we see Alice run out of mission control when communications fail with Joanna’s ship. Her father runs after her, and Alice is wearing a blue jumper and carrying a backpack. At 49:12, we see Magnus running after an Alice who is wearing a plaid jacket and carrying no backpack. The shots are taken from different scenes from different universes, one in which Alice’s mother survives and returns to Earth, the other in which she’s just learned that her mother died in space.

Just as the voice says on the ghost tape Joanna listens to in Constellation’s opening moments: “The world is the wrong way around.” The first time around though, many of us were too drawn in by the story to notice.

Constellation is available to stream on Apple TV+

The post Constellation Fans Need to Rewind and Rewatch Episode 1 appeared first on Den of Geek.

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