“Defying Gravity”: Rubicon (Ep.5)

“Rubicon” is the Point of No Return. The crew of the Antares make preparations before they reach their rubicon point because once the ship passes that point there is no turning back.


This episode kind of rehashes the “H2IK” episode but takes it one step further. Donner and Nadia have to perform the ship’s system checks. If anything is wrong they still have a chance to head back to earth because after they reach rubicon, then there is no turning back. Here is the rest of the episode highlights:

  • The crew are forming a time capsule and everyone needs to contribute 1 item to it.
  • Donner and Nadia are performing system checks and they find an issue with the water filtration system with 4 hours to go before they reach rubicon.
  • Flashback to the past: Donner and Nadia have a bet going that if Nadia is ranked higher than Donner on the ASCAN (astronaut ranking system), he would have to sleep with her but she conditions the bet to reflect the same if the situation is reversed. They do end of sleeping together as it is known that they have been “friends with benefits” for years.
  • The ASCAN list is revealed. Nadia is #1, Zoe is #28, Donner is #12, Ted is #13, and Wassenfelder is dead last. We find out that Gross (with a personal grudge) handicapped Shaw and Donner because of the Mars incident because he doesn’t want them on the Antares mission.
  • Zoe meets with a guy about an abortion pill. The risks are 1 in a 1000 women experience difficulties. He leaves his card, and tells her to call him.
  • Back to the present, Ted and Donner check the ship’s water filtration issue. One of the panels shows it is normal, but Donner “sees” dirt all over the canisters but when viewed by Shaw it is clean and functioning.
  • Eve checks the old Mars footage from the Mars incident and she discovers that there are 2 versions of the footage. The edited version was given to the press (this is the only footage that Donner has seen), but the real footage shows that the crew had time to complete their work (without leaving anyone behind) and the whole “Mars disaster” could have been prevented. Cover up? Eve checks into who signed off on the footage and we find it was Gross and the National Security Council.
  • Back to the ship, Donner asks Shaw about what would happen if hypothetically someone said that they were seeing hallucinations. Shaw tells him that he has to report that person to mission control and they would be relieved of their duties and they would have to undergo a full psych evaluation. Donner says: “Good to know”.
  • Flashback to the past in the astronaut bar: Donner meets Zoe’s mom. Zoe’s mom performs a tarot reading for Donner and reveals that Zoe was thinking about leaving the astronaut program in order to obtain a grant at an ivy league school for her research because she was ranked #28. Donner’s tarot reading includes the “Fool with Stars” card and Zoe’s mom states that he has a haunted past and that he would have 1 or 2 love affairs in his life.
  • Rollie and Jen discuss a paper she wrote. Jen before this meeting was hesitant to accept Rollie’s offer because she thought he was asking her out on a date (plus she was with Ted Shaw at the time) but Rollie says that it is strictly a platonic thing and if he were asking her out, she would know it. They talk and laugh and they have a moment and then Ted comes by and picks up Jen.
  • Dr. Evram approaches Donner and returns a baseball he threw while in the classroom. The ball belonged to Sharon, she caught it barehanded at a ball game. Donner took the ball from Sharon’s things before her stuff was packed up.
  • Donner visits Sharon’s mom who is not exactly thrilled to see him and he returns the baseball back to her and apologizes for taking it in the first place. Sharon’s mom asks him what she should do with it, and Donner said that it meant a lot to her (Sharon) and he thought that she (Sharon’s mom) would want it.
  • (Still in the past) Zoe’s mom does a tarot card reading for Zoe and she blurts out that she knows Zoe is pregnant because of physical and behavioral changes, and asks what she is going to do. Zoe doesn’t know yet.
  • Donner visits Zoe and he tells her not to leave the program because she is going to be a good astronaut some day. She asks Donner if he wants a regular life with a family some day and he says he does, but some time in the future. Right now he just wants to be an astronaut.
  • Back to the ship problem. Ted and Donner talk about all of the strange issues the ship has and Ted says that perhaps they are not meant to go to Venus and they should just turn back. Donner asks Shaw if there is something he doesn’t know and Shaw says “no” (still no insight into the ship mystery just yet) Donner then decides to go right to panel 5 (the panel he envisioned as being dirty) and says that this is the panel that has the issue. He tests the ph of the water and it is indeed the problem panel. Shaw says it was impossible to visually see a ph issue and asks Donner how could he have possibly known there was an issue with that panel. Donner says he was just lucky.
  • They fill the time capsule. Zoe puts in a card (it looks like the same tarot card from her Mom’s tarot card reading) in the capsule and Donner puts in Sharon’s baseball (there is a flashback of Donner heading to his apartment and he finds a box and Sharon’s baseball was inside it). Rubicon happens. Ted throws the time capsule into space and everyone watches it float [in space].
  • Eve goes to Gross and says she saw the real Mars recordings. Gross panics and she tells him to get off Ted and Donner’s backs and whatever grudge he was holding against them – to get rid of it.
  • Everyone gets their stuff back from the time capsule. Ted says that the time capsule represented what they were willing to give up and that was the point of the exercise.
  • Donner touches the baseball and he “sees” dirt left on his hand.
  • Flashback to Zoe in the past and she makes the call to the mystery man (about the abortion pill).
  • Donner closes the episode by throwing the baseball back into space.

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