Beacon 23 Season 1 Episode 3 Recap – Aster crosses another line

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 19, 2023 (Last updated: March 20, 2024)
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Beacon 23 Season 1 Episode 3 Recap
Lena Headey in Beacon 23 | Image via MGM+


Another tense, paranoid episode sees Aster cross yet another personal line, while more of Halan’s backstory and further mysteries are teased in the background.

Beacon 23 is, to use the technical term, a weird show. Like the book on which it’s based, this MGM+ adaptation is kind of all over the place, pulling in disparate sci-fi ideas and influences from everywhere, but also structuring itself a little like an anthology, with a story-of-the-week to focus on while burgeoning mysteries and character dynamics bubble away in the background. Episode 3, “Why Can’t We Go on as Three?”, suffers less from this than subsequent installments will, feeling a lot more like a direct continuation of what happened in the first two episodes.

For instance, there are corpses all over the Beacon, Halan keeps collapsing whenever he’s near the rock samples, and BART needs rebooting. And that’s just for starters.

I like the note that part of BART’s reboot protocols involves him reciting Shakespeare sonnets since Solomon used the Bard’s writing to make his speech sound less robotic, but his diction still isn’t charming enough for Halan to want him fully reactivated. Another fun sci-fi concept is the idea of the Gravity Wave Broadcaster, which is integral to the Beacon’s function as a navigation aid but also drives people a little loopy if they spend too much time near it.

So, Aster and Halan use it to get high, essentially, and while high, they bond. But there’s still no real trust between them, even after they float the Wrecker corpses off into space, and that trust is only tested further by the arrival of Coley.

Who is Coley?

Coley is a QTA manager, technically Aster’s superior, but she also has a romantic history with Aster that seems to be ongoing to some degree. We meet her when she sneaks aboard the Beacon in a cool-looking spacesuit with a helmet festooned with spikes, and Halan has to use all of his jiu-jitsu acumen to stop her from headbutting him to death.

Coley, as an official representative of the QTA, denies any knowledge of the Wreckers, the Beacon being hacked, or Aster’s ship crashing. When Aster reveals the rock samples, her immediate intention is to depart the Beacon with them so she and Aster can split the substantial profits. She’s not thrilled that Aster promised Halan a lift, but she’s willing to put up with him for the payday.

However, a dark matter obstruction makes space travel from the Beacon too dangerous, so everyone is forced to hurry up and wait until they can leave.

What happened on Halan’s final mission?

This allows plenty of time for mistrust to foment. Coley reactivates Bart to look up Halan’s background, and Aster begins to suspect Coley’s motivations. There’s also a ton of obvious bitterness and resentment between Aster and Coley that keeps bubbling to the surface between their flirty reminiscences. It makes for quite a tense dynamic that calls back to the premiere when neither Aster nor Halan knew who the other was — and to be fair they still don’t.

On that subject, Coley confronts Halan about why he went AWOL, and — via BART, who was more than happy to help — pulls up details of his final mission, which he supposedly ran from, leaving his flanked squad to their doom. Something is clearly up with the official record here, but it seems like Halan’s real backstory will emerge gradually throughout the season.

Why did Aster’s ship crash?

Towards the end of the episode, Coley is determined to leave with the rocks. She tells Aster that the QTA has elevated the priority of the mission, so despite the dark matter obstruction, she intends to just bounce and float around for a while without enabling FTL. By this point, Halan recognizes that something is amiss, and Aster has put the pieces together regarding the QTA’s deliberate sabotage of her ship.

Coley reveals that she’s on the money here. Solomon’s psych reports indicated that he wouldn’t willingly let Aster aboard, so her ship was sabotaged so it’d fail and Solomon would be forced to rescue her, getting her aboard that way instead. Coley tranquilizes Aster and goes after Halan, who has been subdued in his escape attempts.

How does Beacon 23 Season 1 Episode 3 end?

Just as Coley is about to kill Halan, Aster stabs her in the liver from behind. Coley can’t quite believe it, but Aster commits by strangling her to death as Coley confesses her love, both of them crying and whimpering.

This is a much more calculated and personal kill than some random Wrecker, and it will doubtlessly sit with Aster much more. The episode ends with this moment, a close-up of Aster’s face, leaving things in a very compelling position for the next episode.

What did you think of Beacon 23 Season 1 Episode 3? Let us know in the comments.


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