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Episode 03: Somewhere in Space Hangs My Heart
AppleTV+  ·  50 minutes  ·  Original Broadcast: February 21, 2024

Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel  |  Written by: Peter Harness

Official Synopsis: Jo notices that some of her memories do not match with those around her. No one believes her claim about the USSR corpse, since no cosmonaut has ever died in space; Irena suggests that Jo had a hypoxia-induced hallucination. Jo is given medication she’s told are vitamins; Irena and Henry also take them. When alone, Jo sees the cupboard with Alice’s necklace on it. While playing hide-and-seek, Alice sees someone stamp on her toy rabbit. The CAL data core only replicates the effect seen on the ISS when Henry is alone; he theorizes this is due to the observer effect. Jo identifies the USSR suit she saw as the same type Irena wore in the 1960s, but she withdraws her claim after she sees Paul at his own memorial. Elsewhere, former astronaut Bud Caldera, who flew on Apollo 18 when two people died, is at a cruise ship convention where he is questioned by author Ian Rogers for inaccuracies in his memoir. Bud blames the Apollo 18 disaster on “Henry” and, in a drunken rage, throws Ian overboard. In the flashforward, Jo takes Alice in search of the other cabin, and confirms Alice’s suspicion that she isn’t her mother.

Episode Recap
Please note that recaps feature spoilers on the individual episode.
This recap was written by Erin Qualey for Vulture, February 21, 2024

Absolutely no one is giving Jo any slack since she arrived home from her harrowing space journey. Internationally, Jo is a hero, but no one in her immediate orbit seems to have gotten the memo. The woman has just survived one of the most intense and traumatic situations a person can experience, and yet! Alice is treating her like a “doofus,” her crewmates are dismissing her theories, and an entire panel of experts has put the incident on trial. And no one is listening to her! She saw a body, damn it! Did no one here have Twitter during Me Too? #BelieveWomen? The only other woman in power seems hellbent on silencing Jo … perhaps because she is the dead body?! It’s all just so wild. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Yet again, we check in with present-day Alice and Jo at the top of the episode. There’s not really any new information presented here, but it’s exceedingly clear that Jo does not give one care about this version of Alice as she races ahead of the child in a raging blizzard with their only lantern. Back at TsUP, Jo goes through a bunch of tests and starts to relearn how to walk and live life with the constant pull of gravity flowing through her body again. The havoc that space wreaks on the human body is insane! NASA tells me that astronauts are actually required to exercise for two hours each day in order to maintain enough muscle mass to get them into shape to withstand the period of recovery when they return. Space is crazy, y’all.

At a press conference a few days after the landing, Jo alternates between expressing gratitude for being home and answering questions with deadly seriousness. When a reporter asks her what caused the accident, Frederic cuts her off, mansplaining what she saw. Throw the whole man away, I say! Rude space bro aside, there’s definitely a cover up afoot. Frederic doesn’t seem to know exactly what he’s covering up, but he’s definitely trying to silence Jo. Maybe it’s a power move since she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. When he goes to caress her face, she violently recoils from his touch — a bit of Lisbeth Salander peeking out in Rapace’s performance here — and he seems offended. It definitely feels like these two had something romantic or sexual going on, Jo seems shocked by his affection. Instead, Jo truly loves her husband, Magnus. What a concept! At first, Magnus is taken aback by Jo’s unabashed affection for him, but he warms to the idea over time, and the two end up falling back in bed together right before they head back home. An interdimensional love triangle is born, but I know who I’m rooting for in this one. (Hint: It’s Magnus.) But first, Jo has to admit that she never saw a body floating in space. Irena is particularly keen to dismiss this notion, and she attacks Jo’s mental state. Jo did ask for her oxygen mix to be checked after she saw the body, but apparently the oxygen mix was fine, so she wasn’t actually hypoxic. But Irena drills down, asking if Jo experienced any other incidents where she felt she was hallucinating or confused throughout the mission. Jo lies and says no. We all know she’s fully thinking about Paul here, right? Later, when she and her crewmates go to visit Paul’s grave, she sees a version of Paul standing at the site on crutches, reciting the poem “On Foot I Had to Cross the Solar System” by Edith Sodergran. The poem includes the line “Somewhere in space hangs my heart,” which is not only the title of this episode but also definitely what happened to Jo due to her now-fractured relationship with Alice.

Irena is an enigma because we know that she’s trying desperately to cover up an incident that we know totally happened. We don’t know the full picture of what happened, but we know that she takes the same yellow-and-red pills that the returning astronauts were given and that she has some sort of secret-laden past with Henry. Henry bobs through this episode like a kid in a candy store. He’s got his magical canister back, and he’s seeing some stuff! Honestly, this part of the storyline still feels a bit silly to me, but my beloved Jonathan Banks is selling, so I’m buying … for now. Henry can’t get the groundbreaking pattern from the CAL to replicate on a screen, and then when he finally does, his phone won’t take a picture of it. So he has to trace it by hand. He brings his scribblings to his co-worker, Eryn, who tries to dismiss him with the absolutely nonsensical claim that he won the Nobel prize too long ago to be relevant anymore. Huh? Anyone who has ever won the Nobel prize is a bona fide genius for life in my book, so I have no clue what this girl is going on about. All of this is to say that none of the CAL stuff is really hanging together for me just yet, but I’m holding out hope that it will soon. We also check in with Henry’s brother Bud on his cruise ship to hell. It’s fun to watch Banks play unhinged and indignant. Bud doesn’t really want to be there, but he’s gotta make some quick cash somehow because he’s probably unemployable everywhere else due to his temper. He’s been traumatized by what he experienced in his flight mission on Apollo 18 — it feels important to note that he lost time, just like Jo did — and he drinks to forget that he forgot. He’s haunted by the two men who died on the mission, and when a snooty little reporter starts challenging his version of events, Bud gets big mad.

In an odd mashup, we see Henry and Irena get together for a drink, a dance, and a possible booty call while Bud storms out to confront the reporter dude. There’s a Shining aura to the proceedings as an old-timey song plays in Henry and Irena’s hotel room as Bud simultaneously enters the cruise ship’s stately dining room. Bud walks with the reporter, seeming to confess some previously unknown things that happened on the mission, but the guy just isn’t hearing what Bud is laying down. Bud needs help. He needs a friendly, knowing ear. So, as he asks for help, he simultaneously pushes the guy away from him. It’s a classic depression move. But Bud goes a bit too far and shoves the dude right off the edge of the ship. Uh oh. At the same time, Henry sees Irena’s face morph from her lovely complexion into a desiccated corpse. It’s a jump scare that recalls the moment in which Jack Torrance dances with the decaying woman in Room 237, but any other connection to The Shining is unclear. The bottom line is that Henry, Irena, and Bud have all seen some shit, and it’s coming back to bite them all in their collective space butts. Bud is going homicidal bananas, Irena is dying of lymphoma (hey! That reporter dude said that would happen!), and Henry is scribbling circles on computer screens. And Jo has clearly experienced what they experienced, but she doesn’t have anyone else to talk to. Eventually, she shifts her story and says that the item that caused the incident could have been a bag of space garbage — admittedly, the images they show her do look very similar to the shape, color, and size of the body she saw — and she gets to go home. At home, Jo drops a glass, believing it will float, and Alice yells at her for being a “doofus.” Alice is already starting to feel disconnected from her mother. Flash forward to the snowiest day, and Alice confronts her mother about all of this nonsense. First, she gently suggests that maybe Jo is having problems because of her time in space. People who have been to space have been known to see things that aren’t there, right? Jo agrees but misses the point. She admits that she doesn’t think Alice is her daughter, but Alice has a zinger for her non-mom. Just as a cavalcade of cop cars starts to zoom toward the location, Alice reels on Jo, demanding to know what exactly she’s done with her mummy.

It’s great to finally see Alice stand up for herself against the increasingly erratic Jo in the blizzard timeline. At the top of the episode, Alice references Hansel and Gretel, and the end of that tale sees Gretel outwitting a witch in a cabin in the middle of the woods and killing her. Just something to think about as we wait for the next episode.

Guest Cast: William Catlett (Paul Lancaster), Barbara Sukowa (Irene Lysenko), Henry David (Ilya Andreev), Carole Weyers (Audrey Brostin), Sandra Teles (Yazmina Suri), Lenn Kudrjawizki (Sergei Vassiliev), Chipo Chung (Michaela Moyone), Rebecca Scroggs (Frida Lancaster), Sadie Sweet (Wendy Lancaster), Shaun Dingwall (Ian Rogers), Eleanor Fanyinka (Eryn Lafferty), Elena Knyazeva-Shmal (Nurse, Star City), Michael Baral (American Reporter), Masha Tokareva (Russian Reporter), Anna Holmes (English Reporter)