Constellation’s Two Alternate Timelines (& Their Liminal Space) Explained
12 mins read

Constellation’s Two Alternate Timelines (& Their Liminal Space) Explained


  • The show’s complex timelines and multiple alternate realities make it challenging to follow character beats and storylines.
  • Constellation primarily goes back and forth between the events of two alternate universes: Universe A (red car) & B (blue car).
  • Quantum entanglements and superpositions in the liminal universe of Constellation provide a unique twist to the narrative.



Since Constellation‘s storyline unfolds across two parallel universes, its timelines and character beats can often be baffling. Created by Peter Harness, Apple TV’s Constellation initially presents itself as a simple space survival thriller where its main character, Jo, races against time to fix the International Space Station and return to her home on Earth. However, its central mind-bending plot unfolds when Jo struggles to understand how everything around her seems familiar yet strangely different from how she recalls.

As Jo sets out to unravel the world around her and decipher her sense of reality, Constellation presents viewers with a Morbius strip of a storyline that is both exciting and confusing. Since the show unfolds multiple timelines and alternate realities simultaneously, it can often be hard to track what is happening when and to which characters. Therefore, a detailed breakdown of its timelines and corresponding character beats seems necessary.


What Really Happened On Apollo 18 In Constellation?

What happened during Henry/Bud’s Apollo 18 mission in Constellation is a mystery but the show seems to have dropped many clues that provide answers.

Constellation’s Universe A & Its Timeline Explained

The Red Car Universe

In Constellation‘s episode 3, Jo looks at the color of her car and questions whether Magnus bought a new one after she left for space. When Magnus denies buying a new car, she says she remembers them having a red car but sees a blue one in the garage. This “lapse” in Jo’s memory establishes a clear distinction between the two alternate universes in Constellation. Upon close observation, viewers may even notice that while the universe with the red car is color-coded with red overlays and backgrounds, the one with the blue vehicle has bluish hues.

To avoid confusion, Universe A’s Jo has been labeled as Jo A while Universe B’s Jo has been written as Jo B. Paul’s alternate versions have also been named similarly.

Jo’s timeline:

  • Jo A goes to the International Space Station as an astronaut.
  • The dead body of a USSR Cosmonaut collides with the ISS.
  • Jo A is presumed dead after Paul B discovers that she hit her head on one of the windows in the ISS.
  • However, Universe A’s Jo A is actually alive and has leaped into Universe B.

Paul’s timeline:

  • Universe B’s Paul B switches places with Universe A’s Paul A after Paul A dies.
  • Paul B finds Jo B dead on the ISS.
  • While the rest of his crew returns home after the ISS accident, Paul B stays behind to make some repairs.
  • As he repairs the space station, he strangely feels Jo’s presence around him.
  • Paul B completes his mission but decides to leave Jo’s body behind.
  • Paul B returns home and notices lapses in his memory.
  • He even calls his wife “Frida” before she corrects him and reminds him she is “Erika.”
  • Although no one believes him, Paul B claims that Jo may still be alive.
  • Paul B has a vision of Jo A when he visits her grave.
  • Paul B confronts Bud Caldera, believing he is Henry.

Bud’s timeline:

  • Bud returns home from his space mission in 1977, but his fellow astronauts are found dead.
  • Although Bud recalls successfully completing his mission with no causalities, no one believes him.
  • Bud turns to alcohol and spends the rest of his life questioning his reality.
  • In Constellation‘s present timeline, Bud also gets mad at a TV interviewer for calling him a liar and, in a fit of rage, pushes him off a cruise ship.
  • Bud meets Paul B, who infuriates him by calling him Henry.

Magnus’ timeline:

  • Before Jo A left for her space mission, her relationship with Magnus was going well, and she was not having an affair with anyone.
  • In the present timeline, after hearing about Jo’s demise in space and Paul’s inability to bring her home, Magnus tells Alice the truth about her mother’s fate.
  • Alice’s denial of accepting her mother’s death frustrates Magnus.
  • To help Alice deal with her grief, Magnus takes Alice to the cabin in the snow, a place he, Jo, and Alice often visited.

Alice’s timeline:

  • Alice interacts with her mother in Swedish over a video call before the ISS accident.
  • Magnus informs her about Jo’s death, and she questions why Paul did not bring her back home.
  • Paul A’s wife, Erika, consoles Alice, and Alice holds on to her rabbit toy.
  • During her mother’s funeral, Alice sees a strange vision of her mother standing near the staircase with an alternate version of herself.
  • Alice goes to the cabin in the snow with Magnus.

Universe A’s OG Character

Character’s Status

Jo A

Presumed dead in Universe A but actually alive in Universe B.

Paul A

Actually dead but Paul B is assumed to be Paul A.


Switched places with Bud and ended up in Universe B.


Did not switch places with her alternate self.


Did not switch places with his alternate self.

Constellation’s Universe B & Its Timeline Explained

The Blue Car Universe

The blue car universe is where Constellation’s storyline primarily unfolds. It is the universe where Jo lands in the show’s opening episodes and struggles to identify many aspects of her surroundings. She cannot help but believe that her home on Earth is not how she left it behind.

Jo’s timeline:

  • Jo B goes to the International Space Station as an astronaut.
  • The dead body of a USSR Cosmonaut collides with the ISS.
  • Jo B from Universe B actually dies, but Universe A’s Jo A takes her place.
  • When she goes out of the space station to investigate the accident’s cause, she finds the body of a dead USSR cosmonaut inside an ISS panel.
  • While her crew returns to Earth, Jo A stays behind to make some urgent repairs.
  • Jo A makes the repairs in the nick of time and returns home with Paul A’s body.
  • When Jo A talks about the USSR cosmonaut, no one believes her.
  • Jo A sees a vision of Paul B when she visits his grave.
  • While looking for answers, Jo A learns about the CAL experiment.
  • She steals the CAL and goes to the cabin in the snow with Alice.

Paul’s timeline:

  • Paul B triggers Henry Caldera’s Cold Atomic Lab experiment on the ISS.
  • The experiment causes the accident.
  • In the accident’s aftermath, Paul A gets severely injured and dies from a cardiac arrest, while Paul B takes his place in Universe A.

Henry’s timeline:

  • Henry’s 1977 space mission goes wrong and his fellow astronauts die, but when he returns to Earth in Universe B, he finds his colleagues are still alive.
  • Owing to his mission’s success, Henry Caldera is labeled as a hero.
  • Confused by the events of his space mission, Henry devotes his life to studying science and even wins a Nobel Prize.
  • Henry creates the CAL experiment’s setup and sends it into space with Paul.

Magnus’ timeline:

  • Magnus and Jo are on the brink of separation before Jo leaves for space, and Jo is having an affair with Frederic.
  • When Jo returns from space, Magnus is surprised by how their relationship has suddenly fixed itself.
  • Jo denies having an affair with Frederic, but Magnus grows suspicious.
  • When Frederic confirms he and Jo were having an affair, Magnus confronts Jo.
  • Jo hits Magnus’ head and leaves with Alice.

Alice’s timeline:

  • Alice shares her rabbit toy with Paul’s daughter to comfort her.
  • Realizing that her mother is not the same, Alice starts confiding more in her father.
  • After walking down the stairs in her home one day, Alice sees a terrifying vision of her mother’s funeral.
  • Although apprehensively, Alice visits the cabin in the snow with Jo.

Universe B’s OG Character

Character’s Status

Jo B

Actually dead but Jo A is assumed to be Jo B.

Paul B

Presumed dead in Universe B but actually like in Universe A.


Switched places with Henry and ended up in Universe B.


Did not switch places with his alternate self.


Did not switch places with her alternate self.

Constellation’s Liminal Universe Explained

Quantum entanglements and superpositions exist in Constellation’s liminal universe

In one of Constellation‘s opening episodes, Bud attempts to explain quantum superposition to Alice. He asks her to visualize a single particle that exists in two alternate states simultaneously. “While it is black in one world, it is white in another,” he explains. Then he asks her to imagine a liminal world between the two worlds, where the particle is both black and white but only decides to show its color when it is observed. Henry’s explanation of quantum superposition draws a clear picture of what is happening in the show’s liminal universe.

Characters like Paul, Jo, Alice, Henry, and Bud experience a strange sense of duality where they exist in a world that converges elements from both parallel universes.

All main characters in Constellation have alternate-universe counterparts who live in two distinct parallel worlds. However, every once in a while, characters like Paul, Jo, Alice, Henry, and Bud experience a strange sense of duality where they exist in a world that converges elements from both parallel universes. This is quantum superposition. Henry’s alternate version, Bud, even manages to control him, which is explained in Constellation by a phenomenon called quantum entanglement, where two particles are interconnected in such a way that any changes in one can directly influence the other.

Liminal & entangled events in Constellation:

  • The USSR cosmonaut crashes into the ISS in both universes.
  • Paul B and Jo A feel each other’s presence in the ISS.
  • Jo A sees Paul B when she visits his grave in Universe B, while Paul B sees Jo A when he does the same in Universe A.
  • Jo A sees two versions of her daughter in the cabin in the snow.
  • Jo A plays the piano in Universe B.
  • Bud makes Henry urinate himself.
  • Bud interacts with Henry through mirrors.
  • Universe B’s Alice sees a vision of her mother’s funeral and her alternate self.



episodes are released every Wednesday on Apple TV+.

Constellation Apple TV Poster Temp


Constellation is a sci-fi psychological thriller written and created by Peter Harness for Apple TV+. After facing a crisis in space, Astronaut Jo returns to Earth only to discover nothing is quite the same – and that her sanity may be slowly slipping from her grasp.

Noomi Rapace , Jonathan Banks , James D’Arcy , Lenn Kudrjawizki , William Catlett , barbara sukowa , Carole Weyers

Release Date
February 21, 2024


Streaming Service(s)
Apple TV+

Peter Harness

michelle maclaren

Peter Harness

Peter Harness

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *