On the final episode of Beacon 23 season 1, on the wrap-up of everything that’s transpired, comes to a climax as all the noise and the ruckus of the whirling Artifact, the boarding of The Column terrorists, and Halan’s desertion attracts the attention of the biggest authority in the galaxy. In the previous episode, Keir and his accomplices, Saldana and Finch, had infiltrated the space station.
They intended to take over the Beacon and find the Artifact with Keir, believing Aster was instrumental to communicating with the space entity. We segue from the cliffhanger of episode 7 right into the new one, as Aster gazes into the depths of the whirling, bright space rocks from the cupola.
She flashes back to her childhood when she was still Parsim, and to the first time she saw The Artifact. Keir’s offhand comments about how it’s all holy and the aliens in the rocks just might be the Second Coming of something. is getting pretty hammy.
I mean, since he’s still technically a terrorist. He considers Aster’s fugue states as “communion.”
Start of a cult, right there, for sure.
Beacon 23 season 1, episode 8 — Halan to the rescue
We’ll see a lot of Aster as Parsim flashbacks throughout the episode but really only one of them is crucial to the story and we’ll get to that later. Meantime, the QTA’s Attack Cutters are still coming and they’re still very raring to board to find out what the heck’s been going on at their property.
So Halan, their own dear deserting soldier, ratchets up the tension fueled by a volatile cocktail of protectiveness for Aster and refusal at being made a military PTSD pawn, by sabotaging the Cutters’ lasers. I knew Halan’s ship Amboyna had some real-world use, aside from just a floating Chekhov gun in space.
All that ruckus though has attracted an even bigger baddie than the currently disarmed Attack Cutters. In comes a huge mothership.
Piloting it is the AI of the long-deceased ISA elite, Milan Aleph. The very same guy who birthed the current AI template and beacon systems.
Maybe it was the Cutters or the rocks that alerted him? Who knows.
Everyone is now scared, and The Column folks are certainly not in a good position to bargain, well, since they’ve been a terror group for nigh around 200 years now.
Beacon 23 season 1, episode 8 — Cult of Calyx, anyone?
One of the true highlights of this episode, and actually of the season, is the conversation between Keir and Aster. Incidentally, Lena Headey (Aster) is married to Marc Menchaca (Keir) in real life.
Keir wants to pry the secrets of The Artifact loose from Aster, while she is just put off by this unwarranted and certainly cloying petitioner’s vibe. But what to do, what to do now that the proverbial Death Star is looming down on the beacon?
Well, Aster wants to take a spacewalk and dive into the heart of The Artifact. But before that can happen, Aleph the Quantic AI projects himself into the beacon and has a heart-to-heart with his employee Aster.
She bargains for Halan’s freedom and a pardon for desertion in exchange for data about The Artifact. Eric Lange as the super AI version of Milan Aleph (aka himself) from a few episodes ago, now long of hair and sporting a five o’clock shadow.
This AI looks like a harassed Steve Jobs slash burdened artificial king of the known galaxy—engages in banter and negotiations with Aster.
Beacon 23 season 1, episode 8 — Meet the AI big boss
While they’re talking, down below, or at least on the other side, Saldana and Finch have gotten new orders from their higher-ups in The Column chain. They are to make explosives, put them on the nose of their ship, and chart a collision course with the mothership.
That should hopefully blow up the mothership and the Quantic AI persona of Aleph too. But Keir is nonplussed, and he picks up the concussion gun from Saldana that Halan left on the kitchen countertop for what nefarious deed, we know not.
At least not yet. But Harmony pulls off a surprise and traps Finch and Saldana in the airlock.
Easy peasy. But there’s still one more Columnist left, and Harmony orders the two to collect him and go.
But where’s Keir?
Beacon 23 season 1, episode 8 — Keir’s non-smoking gun
Keir, the budding Calyx cultist, is busy trying to glean anything he can from Aster’s box of childhood stuff. In any case, Aleph agrees to Aster’s deal: they collect data from within the mass of rocks and deliver them to Aleph.
Keir comes in and finds out about the deal. He shoots Aster with the concussion gun.
The back of Aster’s head hits the metal railing of the stairs and she’s bleeding out from a head wound. Isn’t that apt, how the terrorist just mucks up everything?
Despite what seems like a tragic ending, I have plenty of questions that I hope will be answered in the future. Is Aster really dead?
Does the vision of young Parsim and dressy, alien-seeming older Aster, mean that her consciousness was uploaded to The Artifact before she passed? Will Aleph take all this data and just say screw it, then blow up the beacon?
Color me intrigued. At the very least, with such a cliffhanger, season 2 promises to be one heck of a galactic trip.
Beacon 23 is now streaming on MGM Plus.