Anybody watch the Prime Video show 'Night Sky'? I have questions (spoilers)

Mrs. solost and I just finished season 1 of this show, about an elderly couple played by J.K. Simmons and Sissy Spacek who discover a portal in their backyard that can teleport them to another planet. Wow, between this show and ‘Outer Range’, Amazon is really going all out with weird sci-fi dramas in which ordinary people deal with anomalies in space and time.

I think I get the basic plot well enough, but I had several questions while watching that I’m not sure whether I’m meant to understand as a viewer or not. So here goes:

  • What’s up with the ‘order’ or whatever is it that seems to be charged with guarding the portals, and will kill if necessary to protect them or keep them secret? Are they supposed to be humanoid aliens, or humans? I didn’t really get the stuff with the South American mom and her teenage daughter and Jude, the ‘apostate’. Jude, I guess, with his father had been part of the ‘order’ that guarded the portals but rebelled against their tactics, thus the ‘apostate’ designation. I’m not sure if the point or motivation of the ‘order’ is supposed to be well known yet, or if I missed some key plot stuff there.
  • Who created these portals-- was it supposed to be aliens? The remote control thingy that Jude used to travel to Bangkok with the granddaughter looked like it had what was supposed to be alien symbology (or maybe I didn’t get a close enough look and they were just Kanji or Chinese characters or something).
  • The granddaughter, daughter of the couple’s son who killed himself, is a major character, but what about her mother-- is she still alive / around? Not sure if that was addressed and we missed it, or again, we’re not supposed to know yet.
  • Was the settlement on the alien planet that the old couple saw once they ventured out of the airlock supposed to be a human colony, or of a species native to the planet? I know, that’s just speculation, since they discovered it at the very end of the last show of the season. Why, I wonder, after 800+ visits by the old couple to the airlock in which they viewed the planet through the big window, did one or more of the natives / colonists never wander by? I assume that’s why annoying bearded neighbor did not return from his walkabout on the planet- he either went voluntarily to the settlement or was captured.
  • How did Sissy Spacek get so old? She was Carrie not so long ago! I thought she wasn’t that much older than me, but googling her, apparently she’s 15 years older than I am. Maybe all that teleportation prematurely ages a person.

I watched the show, I liked it better than Outer Range because I think Simmons and Spacek just really delivered acting wise. Both shows have some flaws, but I do like that Amazon is experimenting with this type of sci-fi, I think both shows could stand to be improved in their next season (if they get renewed–I think Outer Range already was.)

I don’t believe anyone is implied to be an alien. The implication I got from various dialogue in the series is that Spanish Europeans living in the New World discovered the first of these “rooms” in the colonial era, several hundred years ago. Further, it is IMO the case that a group of religious Spanish colonists went into the portal back then, discovered the habitable world, and established a colony there. This colony was likely founded based on some sort of non-mainstream or extremist Christian religious beliefs that is essentially a cult. As they explored / learned more about the portal system they eventually realize there are other access points around the globe, and they set up people who live on earth and are basically sworn to be “guardians” of this secret. I believe there is a hierarchy here where only the people who live on the other world are “true members” of the group, the order are like associate members. I think the members of the order probably follow the same religious beliefs and have been convinced to continue on their activity in part out of religious obligation / brainwashing. This is implied at a few points:

  • Byron I believe finds an old scan of a historical document showing a rough sketch of something that looks like the door to the teleporter as seen in the York family cellar, this document is linked to the colonial era / location of New Spain
  • There are Spanish doubloons that Jude brought with him, and that the “splinter group” that broke away immediately recognized as coming from the “other side.” My guess is the Spanish colonists took some doubloons with them, and/or some raw gold and the ability to mint doubloons, and since they don’t regularly interact with the outside world, they have a big stockpile of these they can exchange on the occasions where they have to visit earth.
  • Jude angrily reminds Stella that she’s basically defending something that she will “never truly be part of”, this is why I think the “order” of defenders / soldiers who live on earth are basically seen as like a lower tier in the hierarchy of this religious sect. They probably aren’t allowed to reside in the colony or etc, but they do get access to the portals, and probably have been religiously indoctrinated to some degree.

This part is still a true mystery and was not revealed thus far. I think some sort of alien species is a reasonable guess. It is also heavily suggested, at least in my opinion, that the Spanish colonists who settled on the new planet probably found even more alien technology there, because they clearly have access to technology beyond just the portals that I doubt a relatively small colony of religious zealots would have been able to just develop on their own.

She was shown in one of the flashbacks where the son is still alive, as far as I can tell she isn’t implied to be a major character, and there’s nothing mysterious about her. She could show up in a future season though.

Based on my previous reasoning, my speculation is that it is primarily a human colony. It is possible some aliens live there that have taught the humans living there to use their tech, but we’ve not been given any evidence of that at all. The reason I believe this is when Franklin finally walks out into the alien planet, he finds the body of the man that Jude killed when he “escaped.” To me this implies that obviously Jude was coming from that settlement to escape, and the man who followed him (and Jude) both appear to be human. That plus Cornelius also being apparently human, leads me to believe it is a human settlement. The brief view of it that we get makes me think some sort of alien or advanced technology was involved in its construction, suggesting either the Spanish built it with derived alien tech hundreds of years ago, or they discovered it already built. I agree with your guess that Byron is down in the colony. I too wonder why they never saw a person wandering by the view port, but it is possible that it’s forbidden for the colonists to even leave the boundaries of the settlement itself. There’s a lot of open questions there.

She was born in 1949, time wears on us all.

Thanks @Martin_Hyde, nice analysis / informed speculation. I like the theory, or subtext that you picked up on better than me, that religious Spanish Europeans living in the New World discovered and made themselves caretakers of the portals. Explains the cultishness and use of the term ‘apostate’ for those who rebel from the main branch.

There was a sound of a ringing bell coming from the alien planet settlement, like a church bell. So yes, I bet it was originally founded by something like an older religious group of Spaniards, possibly in conjunction with stolen or found alien tech.

I had a couple of lingering questions myself, but are a little more niche:

  1. The body on the alien planet, the man Jude killed whilst escaping, when Franklin discovers him that body is I believe at least a week dead, roughly (the timeline of how long Jude is with the Yorks isn’t 100% clear, but it is certainly at least a week.) However to my eye it basically has not decomposed at all…that is not normal. (Does that mean time passes at a different rate there?)

  2. In one of the early episodes while they are talking about the nature of the viewing room (Franklin has grown disinterested in it, Irene is obviously still super interested in it), it is suggested they could try going outside (through the airlock.) Franklin remarks “those mice didn’t last long at all”, which seems like at some point in the past, Franklin actually did let some mice loose through the airlock and they quickly died. How is it that occurred but Irene / Franklin were clearly fine and breathing normally without spacesuits on that planet.

Good questions. I sort of formed my own theory that might explain them-- clearly the planet is similar to Earth in that it’s temperate and has a breathable atmosphere, but maybe it’s much more exposed to radiation from space and / or its sun(s).

That would explain why the body was so well preserved, why the mice didn’t last long (many things will harm mice much worse or much faster than they will humans) and why a planet with an Earth-like temp, gravity and atmosphere is so barren-looking and apparently devoid of native life. It would also explain the sort of matching half-shells around the settlement-- maybe those are to block much of the solar radiation.

Hopefully, if true, Franklin and Irene don’t hang out al fresco too long, and find that out the hard way.

That was one of the things I never figured out. Could that line have been written before the entire story line had been written? ( I read somewhere that the bare-bones were written but s=that details changed/evolved during filming)

One thing that bugged the hell out of me was that we finally get all three sides of the story (J.K. and Sissy, the Apostate, and the mom from South America) in one room at the same time, and neither Sissy nor J.K. said, “Okay, now tell us what the hell is going on.”

Well, the show did have an actor who also played PEN-NAY! in Lost, so I suspect there may have been some creative influence from that show as well. In which case, the answer would have just been “it’s complicated”.

So is this a plot hole?

Jude came through the portal to Farnsworth. His dad was in Farnsworth some years earlier, but left quickly.

Did Jude’s dad Gabriel come through the same portal? If so, it would have had to have happened after the Yorks dug it up. How did he get past the Yorks? How did he even get out of the shed, when the Yorks had a work bench covering the trap door?

Also, Cornelius said the portal in Farnsworth was unkown to his group. So how would Gabriel have known of it?