On the fifth episode of Beacon 23 on MGM Plus, we’re back to the present timeline with Halan and Aster. In the complicated aftermath of Aster killing her former lover Coley, she stumbles on crucial data about the mysterious rocks that the former keeper left, as she’s uncovering Halan's past records.
Welcome back to the present day beacon. Last time we were here, Aster had just killed her former lover and partner-in-crime Coley.
She’s still pretty torn up about it, but the sinister way that QTA was behind Coley’s mission has her convinced they’re one of the most evil things in the galaxy. Harmony tries to appease Aster by saying it was all self-defense and that, as Coley was endangering the mission, it would be a convincing reason to report to QTA.
Aster is less confident. She tells her AI that she’s quitting the organization.
Harmony protests and stops Aster from trashing Coley’s combat suit. She says it contains the record of Coley’s fight versus Halan and it will definitely support her case, if she doesn’t quite know how.
Beacon 23 season 1, episode 5 — Why Halan deserted
This gives Aster an idea. She checks out Halan’s own combat suit and Harmony confirms it also stores data from its use.
When Aster asks her AI to pull up the record of his last mission she's surprised by what she finds. What is Halan doing as Aster is poking into his past?
He’s sweeping up the place and replacing broken glass windows. Boy, the beacon really is his home since he deserted the military.
He catches Aster watching the feed from his last mission and though he’s reluctant, they watch it together. It reveals that he encountered the same “rocks” as what they found on the beacon from the former keeper.
During combat, Halan’s helmet had been compromised and he had inhaled some kind of steam that was emanating from the silicate blue rocks. He says he remembers nothing from that point onwards.
Aster makes a leap and connects the rocks Halan encountered, to the rocks on the beacon. “It brought you here,” Aster claims, saying that their chemical effect enabled him to forget and desert his squad on that mission.
Basically, it wasn’t his fault.
Beacon 23 season 1, episode 5 — Reckoning ship en route
Their musings are interrupted with another ship from QTA due to arrive in 14 hours. Since Coley’s bosses haven’t heard from her, they’re sending another team to check on what the heck is up.
Halan and Aster are in agreement: they’ve got to run. As they’re packing up though Halan flashbacks to his PTSD again and gets knocked out, presumably by the rocks.
As he hallucinates, he confronts his former teammate Gashade, whom he fears died because of his desertion. He also hallucinates talking to one of the blue and green rocks.
It’s got a measure of New York accent and talks in a swaggering bro-dude way. Definitely not a trustworthy rock.
Halan ends up outside, unconscious floating in space, with Aster needing to rescue him. Guess those rocks don’t want him off the beacon.
Aster wants Harmony to take over BART’s duties since he almost killed Halan, when he went out into space sans suit. But BART prevails on them to hear him out, saying that he had the explanation from when Halan came over.
Beacon 23 season 1, episode 5 — Solomon’s story
We flashback to Solomon, the previous beacon keeper, who found the rocks and started cataloging them on a physical journal, away from any kind of digitization record. When Halan arrived as a refugee, saying his ship’s level were less than 10%, it all put a wrench into Solomon’s isolation.
Solomon sends the military ship away to another station, but Halan finds a way in anyway, likely aided by BART. Solomon is shocked at first but quickly adjusts.
He tries to constantly find ways to try and dispose of Halan but fails, especially since BART is a stickler for the rules and never goes along with anything illegal that Solomon instigates. Stephen Root, whom we popularly know as Fuches from HBO’s Barry, shines in this episode as the eccentric and minerals-obsessed keeper Solomon.
He’s classy and wears plenty of eyeliner. He’s instantly in friction with the gruff and mysterious Halan.
Most of all, he’s pissed that his isolation has been broken and that he can’t continue his work cataloging the rocks, which he has dubbed Solominium.
Beacon 23 season 1, episode 5 — Who sent Halan to the beacon?
Eventually, things get heated and Halan chains up Solomon. After a few days, this prompts both BART and Solomon to show Halan that he’s traveled in a very roundabout route, about 85,000 systems away from his combat deployment, to simply arrive on the fringes of the galaxy.
Why? Solomon suspects a conspiracy theory: that Halan is after the rocks.
Fortunately for our beacon keeper, Halan gets another PTSD attack and faints. This enables the man to escape on Halan’s own ship.
The problem is the soldier never actually refilled his oxygen tanks and so they’re still at less than 6% from when he arrived. Solomon, in his haste, never checked and ran out of air en route to the nearest beacon.
This explains the whole unfriendly dynamic between BART and Halan. The AI feels that Halan let Solomon die intentionally.
Halan feels that BART assisted and enabled the old man to his own tragedy. Aster, watching this record from BART’s archives, is nonplussed but she knows what to do.
She shows Halan all the data that Harmony has compiled, cross-referencing it with BART’s videos from Solomon’s time.
Beacon 23 season 1, episode 5 — Halan’s redemptive evidence
She tells him that it is all evidence that will absolve him from his desertion and “crimes.” The visual of his brain infected with the rock’s virus will be especially useful.
Well, what about her? Aster is just done with QTA.
She elects to escape before the new ship arrives, asking serious questions that will net her jail time. She preps to pack, while Halan tries to come to terms with the fact that he’s likely facing a court martial.
But then the silicate blues intervene. Specifically, one rock that seems to have been tasked to liaise with Halan.
The guy calls him Rocky. Hence the episode title.
He tells Halan to open the storage level and free all of the rocks that Solomon had collected. As they drift out into space, they bang against the cropping of the beacon’s outer structure.
It seems like there’s an intelligence to them, like a school of fish forming shapes. First, they take out the tunnel that connects Aster’s ship to the beacon.
Then it also surrounds the outer structure. This forces Halan and Aster to retreat to the tower, the cupola where the beacon light itself is situated.
As they watch the rocks float into some kind of spin formation, Aster is hopeful that the folks from the incoming QTA ship will see their strange situation and cut them some slack.
Beacon 23 is now streaming on MGM Plus.