In the new series from Apple, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, star of the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, finds herself caught in the web of the multiverse and tries to… no, not save the world (or worlds), as in the comics, but only to glue together the only broken thread of this tangled and layered tangle of parallel realities where she returns to her daughter. Or to “glue the pasta together,” to use the same metaphor used by Batman, played by Michael Keaton in The Flash, when he dumped a mixed mess of boiled spaghetti from the pot onto a plate, which had completely lost its clear linear shape but had not yet melted into an indecipherable mess.

Name Constellation
Genre Psychological thriller, science fiction
Director Michelle McLaren

Noomi Rapace, Jonathan Banks, James D’Arcy and others

Channel Apple TV+
Number of episodes 8
Year 2024
Website Apple TV+

Constellation is a space thriller in the spirit of the great Hollywood film Gravity and at the same time a sci-fi psychological horror in the spirit of the small but cult Australian-British film Triangle from 2009. Like Sandra Bullock’s character, Rapace’s astronaut Johanna (or simply Jo) tries to return to Earth from the broken ISS, which has been damaged by a collision with unknown “space debris,” and also uses a Soviet Soyuz capsule to escape (although Bullock eventually escaped on a Chinese module). Like Melissa George’s character in the movie Triangle, Johanna is obsessed with one single desire: to return to her child and to get rid of all the alternative versions in order to do so.

By the way, remember that Bullock’s character also had a daughter, but in that story, the heroine’s little girl died before her mother went into space and there were no other options for reality. So the astronaut, who was in grief and depression, had to decide whether she wanted to live or die and, accordingly, make efforts to return to Earth (and to the ground as well, that is, to descend from the weightlessness of escapist grief and accept reality), or to give up and freeze in orbit, spinning in prostration detached from the point of gravity.

In Constellation, science fiction, unlike metaphorical realism, gives the protagonist many variables, many “editions” of the same plot. So she has not only two basic opposites available to her: to return home to her daughter or not to return, disappearing into space (like Schrödinger’s cat, she is in a box and in quantum superposition, both alive and dead), but also any alternative, such as returning to her daughter, but not quite to her own (like the cat who came out of the box alive, but returned not to his owner, but to the owner from a parallel thread of events, the thread where the cat in the box died).

Unlike Gravity, Constellation is not a chamber film. Therefore, a much broader and more global pasta chatter unfolds around the central mother-daughter bond (the heroine also has a husband, by the way, but their relationship is different in different variations, happy or broken or torn, while the link with the daughter is connected and strong in all parallels), which exploits the well-known conspiracy theory of the so-called “moon conspiracy” (in particular, the mysterious Apollo 18 mission) and answers the question of whether the American moon landings were real or faked from the perspective of the multiverse. In one reality, Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface, in another, he did not; in some reality, Soviet, not American, astronauts landed on the Earth’s satellite. In some variation, there was no Apollo 13 accident or, on the contrary, there was an accident and everyone died. And in another world, the accident happened not with an American shuttle but with a Soviet ship, and because of that wreck, an astronaut died while spinning in endless circles in orbit, whose body collided with and disabled the ISS, where Johanna from another world worked…

So it’s obvious that the series will be of interest not only to those viewers who want to wander the corridors of the insidious psyche, but also to fans of great historical and political conspiracy theories. In addition, the authors offer high tension, eerie atmosphere, tricky intrigue, clear technicality (against the background of blurred science) and a thoughtful dramatic performance by Noomi Rapace, who returned to existential cosmic maxims more than ten years after her landmark participation in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. 

It is interesting that in one of the scenes, which takes place after Johanna’s controversial return to Earth in the cold snowy surroundings of a kind of metaphysical pursuit of something and at the same time of something (of the ramified chaos behind the lost linearity of time and space), the heroine’s daughter, following her mother through the darkness and blizzard to an unknown destination, breaks her necklace, woven especially for her mother, breaks her necklace, woven especially for her mother on a space journey (a symbolic stimulus of figurative gravity that “pulled” the heroine back to earth, and at the same time a symbolic thread that holds the sequence of events strung on it), and throws the beads on the snow like bread crumbs, which she can then return home for. So yes, the thread of the astronaut Johanna’s unified world is broken, and the beads are separated and scattered. However, they are laid out in a straight line, so the way back to order is possible…