DISCLAIMER: This recap of Beacon 23 Season 1 Episode 3, “Why Can’t We Go on as Three?” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
It’s another bottle episode in this week’s Beacon 23. This time, Sandrine Holt guest stars as QTA Manager Coley, who boasts a complex romantic relationship with Aster and detests Halan upon their first meeting. Holt delivers a layered, messy, compelling performance as Coley. She finds those nuances.
Admittedly, Coley’s death smarts a bit. She’s an intriguing character who could’ve been our window into the QTA (I still have no idea what the initials stand for, and it’s driving me bonkers) and added more context to Aster’s past. All we really learned is she and Coley had an on-again, off-again romance, and Aster had various “conquests.”
“Why Can’t We Go on as Three” provides more questions while giving us some backstory regarding Halan. He doesn’t recall leaving his squad to die on DX-113, but it might have something to do with the mineral deposits. He’s always fainting in front of them. Overall, the episode is carried by entertaining performances from the cast and offers decent world-building. However, I’m not entirely sold on this series yet. It leaves something to be desired despite the fun slow-burn elements.
Ready to delve into “Why Can’t We Go on as Three”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Halan (Stephan James) putting the bodies of the Wreckers into body bags before they get spaced. Aster (Lena Headey) and Harmony (Natasha Mumba) watch him on camera. Aster believes Halan has his PTSD under control now. However, something new arises — Halan collapses when he comes into contact with Solomon’s mineral deposits. Aster surmises they’re inexplicably connected. Then, we hear Bart (Wade Bogert-O’Brien) try to collect himself as Harmony reaches out to him. The Wreckers really jammed his system in the previous episode.
Once he regains his bearings, he recalls what transpired, from Halan saving Aster to our pair taking out the Wreckers. Harmony remarks on Bart’s quoting of Shakespeare, to which Bart responds that Solomon taught him Shakespeare to make him sound less robotic. Bart insists he’s ready to retake control of the beacon. Harmony relays his desire to Aster and Halan. The latter rejects the request, claiming he’s tired of hearing Bart’s voice. Harmony continues running things in Bart’s place.
Next, Aster gives Halan a security ring for the beacon. Then, she shows him a puzzling mystery: the design on her necklace matches the exact pattern on the space rocks. It’s all connected (like the MCU). Later, the pair head up to the top of the beacon. They get high via exposure to gravity waves. That’s got to be the best view in the galaxy. Halan asks Aster about her necklace. She reveals her mom gave it to her, explaining Aster’s connection to it. The conversation turns toward the photo of the man standing outside a lighthouse on Earth as the waves crash around him. What’s up with that?
Later, Halan and Aster space the Wrecker bodies before the lights flicker off. Aster asks Harmony to remedy the issue since Bart is on silent (like a phone). They return to the top of the beacon, where they chat about missing Earth-specific weather like rain and snow. They talk about how neither trusted the other upon their first meeting. But do they trust each other now? The jury is still out on that.
Elsewhere, Harmony summons Bart, who flies toward her as he does in the premiere. He can’t communicate with words, but Harmony understands him. She reminds him that Halan didn’t kill Solomon. She checked the files, and the late Beacon Keeper’s death was an accident. Then, Harmony asks Bart to assist with system issues. After his refusal, she bids him goodbye before vanishing. Harmony’s not in the mood for Bart’s temper tantrum. Meanwhile, Halan fixes the lighting problem. He also notices there’s an unauthorized docking.
Suddenly, a person in a silver suit with a spiky helmet appears, taking Halan by surprise. They fight. Not gonna lie; this costume looks like something from Spirit Halloween. Anyway, Aster defuses the situation. Spiky Helmet Person removes said helmet. We see it’s QTA Manager Coley (Holt).
Coley knows Halan isn’t Solomon and demands to know where the late Beacon Keeper is. Aster gets Coley up to speed, reassuring her that Halan is a friend. Aster tends to Coley’s wounds from her battle with Halan. Coley reveals she had no idea about the Crest crash. She also never received Aster’s message about it or Halan. Aster shows Coley the space rocks. Coley realizes this will bring them quite the payday. They can deliver the mineral deposits to QTA in exchange for a hefty sum. Aster insists that’s all well and good, but she promised to take Halan wherever he needs to go on the way to QTA headquarters.
Coley isn’t a fan of this and doesn’t trust Halan. Aster leaves the decision up to her. She vows to think about it. Halan calls Aster to show her a significant dark matter obstruction surrounding the beacon. It won’t clear for at least four or five days. That means they’re stuck inside. Aster urges Halan and Coley to get to know each other. Become besties! Coley asks Halan about his military career. Halan reveals he served seven tours, while Coley tells him her father was also in the military. She inquires about his presence on Beacon 23. Halan evades the question, claiming it’s a “long story.”
Next, Coley visits Bart. She restores his access to the beacon. Then, she asks him to dig up everything he can on Halan. Naturally, Bart obliges, but not without disclosing his well-documented hatred of Halan. Meanwhile, Halan and Aster discuss Coley’s bubbly personality (thick sarcasm here). He notices she’s stressed. So, he gives her a massage. Of course, Coley walks in right as Halan is massaging Aster. After that, Aster insists there’s nothing romantic brewing between her and Halan. Coley believes her. They cuddle on Aster’s bed before Aster shows Coley the similarities between the design on her necklace and the pattern on the rocks.
Then, Coley reveals she knows Halan is a deserter. She appreciates Aster’s desire to help “soldier boy,” but transporting Halan to his destination is asking her to go against her orders from the QTA. That’s understandable. After grabbing a bite to eat and drinking some wine, they head to the top of the beacon for a euphoria-inducing dose of gravity waves. They start making out. Fun fact: this isn’t the first time Lena Headey has played a queer character — see Imagine Me & You. Holt also appeared in five episodes of The L Word.
Halan barges onto the top level to ask who restored Bart’s access to the beacon. Coley admits she did it, poking fun at his self-serious attitude. She promises to ask him before doing something like that again. Oh, and she’s agreed to take Halan with them.
Later, Coley surreptitiously looks up info on Halan. She still doesn’t trust him. Meanwhile, Aster talks to Harmony about a nagging suspicion she has. She starts disassembling the sleeper pod in which she arrived. Aster spots something she doesn’t like. Uh-oh.
Next, Halan informs Aster of a ping in the system that matches his ship, which Solomon stole. That could be important. That evening, the trio has dinner together, and things get heated. Coley tells Halan that Aster is a liar before divulging to Aster what she learned about Halan. Coley asks Halan why he went AWOL. Halan claims it’s “all a blur.” She orders Bart to pull up the report on Halan concerning a combat mission on DX-113. Apparently, he ran, leaving his squad to die. Halan denies it.
Coley asks him to rattle off the names of his fellow soldiers. Halan gets emotional as he recites the name “Gashade,” revealing they had a special connection. Then, he storms off. Aster asks Coley if she’s happy. Coley merely insists she wants them to know the truth about each other. Nah, that’s some Grade-A sh*t-stirring.
After that awkward dinner, Aster reassures Halan that she won’t leave him there. She also doesn’t think he’s a coward. Halan understands it might not be up to her, though, with Coley being her superior. Aster reunites with Coley to discuss the upgraded mission. According to Coley, their mission is now a “C-file.” Meanwhile, Halan searches Coley’s bag for something important. He dodges out of the room before Aster and Coley arrive.
Then, Aster reveals what she found in the sleeper pod — two additional oxygen canisters. Meaning the QTA set this up. They expected the Crest to explode. Coley admits that, yes, the plan was to destroy the Crest so Solomon would take Aster in. Coley insists that Aster was never in any real danger. The QTA did what it always does — stack the deck in their favor. Coley sticks a tranquilizer patch on Aster’s arm to render her unconscious. Coley claims she could’ve done worse, i.e., ensure Aster never wakes up. However, she doesn’t “have the heart.” Coley grabs a blaster before making a beeline for Halan.
Speaking of, Halan finds Coley’s key among her belongings. He tries to access the room Coley was in when she researched Halan. Unfortunately, he’s barred access. We see a blast send him flying across the room when he tries to open the door. It knocks him out.
Aster crawls out of her quarters. She asks Harmony for help. Meanwhile, Coley points her blaster at Halan, who wakes up. After Harmony reverses the effects of the tranquilizer patch, Aster stabs Coley in the liver to protect Halan. Coley begs Aster to grab the medical patches to save her. Instead, Aster cradles Coley in her arms as the latter dies. Coley tearfully tells Aster that she loved her. She would do anything for Aster. Then, Aster puts Coley in a headlock, killing her. Talk about a climactic ending.
Do you think Aster killing Coley will come back to bite her re: the QTA? Why did she save Halan? Why does the design on her necklace match the rock pattern? Only time (and more episodes) will tell.
Beacon 23 drops new episodes every Sunday on MGM+.