For All Mankind (Season 3), Episode 4 Recap and Ending Explained: For All Mankind is truly firing on all manner of fuel reserves as the show finally shows us the race it has been building towards for the last three episodes. The three-way race between the USSR’s Mars-94 spaceship, NASA’s Soujourner-1, and Helios’ Phoenix. What occurs throughout the entire hour of this episode would test the mettle, ingenuity, and morality of each of the players in this race as they decide which is the pertinent option – to reach first, or to reach in one piece?


“Happy Valley”

The episode begins with the race already underway. Helios is already a healthy set of kilometres away for Soujourner to overtake it. The Mars-94 brings up the rear, a comfortable enough distance from Soujourner to be of any worry. Looking at the current trajectory of the race, the crew of Helios (both at Phoenix and in the control room) are effusive and in a celebratory mood, ready to break out the champagne. Sojourner contacts Phoenix, where Danielle congratulates Ed on having a definite lead. Ed has a bit of good-natured trash talk with both Danielle and his daughter, which ends with him acknowledging that the efforts of Soujourner forced Phoenix to up their game. After Danielle cuts the call, Soujourner reveals the ace up their sleeve. They implement the plan named “Jolly Roger” (with a sea-shanty as a background score for the moment for added measure), managed to unfurl the solar sails, which could absorb photon radiation from the sun with maximum energy and thus increase their speed, making it possible for the Soujourner to beat Helios in the race by 8 days. We see Helios scrambling to find solutions, with Ayesa proposing to dump fuel and ancillary materials to lighten the ship’s load. A plan that Strausser strongly opposes, while Karen tries to remind Ayesa that reaching Mars in one piece is equally important. But for Ayesa, reaching first is not only important; it’s a necessary objective to conquer to beat the two governmental forces at their own game. That is the reason Ayesa gives to his crew at Helios, but it is pretty evident from how he throws down one of the computer terminals, that there is a healthy amount of ego and power play involved. It’s interesting to see how much love solar sails are getting from For All Mankind and Star Trek Strange New Worlds. A concept first introduced in Star Trek Deep Space Nine as part of the Bajoran lightship, it is no coincidence that it reappears in a sci-fi TV series run by Ronald D. Moore, who was part of Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s brain trust. A wonderful Easter egg for Star Trek fans.

For All Mankind Season 3 Episode 4

We cut to Washington, DC, after the newsreel explains a section of the American populace’s dissatisfaction with the use of helium-3 as the primary fuel component, thus reducing the use of fossil fuels and jobs. And thus Ellen Wilson’s jobs bill comes under fire. Introduced last month to reinstate recently displaced fossil fuel workers, now Wilson faces strong opposition from members of Congress regarding her proposals for the new fiscal bill, which would involve a couple of budget cuts. A strict no-no from Congress and the current speaker of the house, who proposes to tap into the NASA budget for additional revenue, which Wilson is strictly against. She knows that once Congress gets a taste of NASA’s budget, they would drain the agency to the bone, and considering that the space programme is bringing a lot of eyeballs, that wouldn’t be the wisest choice, even as she is bombarded with the question of what to do with the oil, coal, and fossil fuel industries, which are in freefall. As the speaker of the house exists, Wilson reminds him that she will make a decision and find a solution irrespective of his help. Left alone, Wilson reminisces with her husband about the first day of her presidency and how optimistic they were. The change was just in their grasp. But, as Larry points out, they are changing things, but like most administrative policies, it takes time. As Ellen wishes to be able to stand in the mission control room at NASA while the astronauts unfurl the flag on Mars, Larry proposes she go there, meet and congratulate the crew, both for her satisfaction as well as a good photo-op, for positive publicity.

Also, Read – Star Trek: Picard (Season 2) Review – The Greatest Rivalry In Sci-fi History Is Reignited For A Time Bending Rematch

Meanwhile, in space, Kelly Baldwin takes up the responsibility of being the “space DJ” for the three spaceships. The crew of the Phoenix are involved with checking communications and other regulations, while plants are grown and water is recycled for conservation. We are also introduced to the crew of the Soujourner slowly. In this episode, we are given the backstory of Rolan Baranov, the Russian cosmonaut who defected to the United States during the events of last season and is currently a part of the crew of the Soujourner. We see Danielle unable to keep her excitement about finally landing Soujourner at Miller’s chasm, or Happy Valley, as she had known it since childhood. Over at Phoenix, we see the astronauts having lunch and jokingly wondering about how to defeat Soujourner, which segues into one of the astronauts enacting scenes from science-fiction blockbusters like Alien and Wrath of Khan. Upon request, he also starts enacting a pivotal scene from the movie “Love in the Sky”, unaware that Danny Stevens had just entered the room and was looking at that moment noticeably displeased. For the uninitiated, Love in the Sky was a movie made in the universe of For All Mankind, starring Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan as Gordo and Tracy Stevens, which followed their lives as astronauts until their “heroic” deaths. Understandably, Danny has mixed feelings about that movie, which is shown by Danny taking Nick (the astronaut mimicking the moments) aside and asking him to reenact the presumably final scene of the film showing their deaths. Before Nick can complete it, Ed arrives to save his hide. As Nick walks away, Ed argues with Danny, stating that he wasn’t a fan of the movie either, but it is undeniable that a lot of people loved it, including people who had been at the location. As Danny tries to calm himself, Ed reminds Danny that he brought him into the mission, so that they could complete it smoothly together, and he is counting on him. The fact that Ed doesn’t know about Danny’s misguided anger towards him is the tragedy of this situation, even as we realise that he is seeing more of his best friend in Gordo’s son than Danny as an individual.

Back on Earth, Jimmy Stevens, Danny Stevens’ younger brother, watches as the protests line up outside NASA. As a reporter tries to ask him about his opinions regarding the protests, he flips the bird at the reporter and collides with a woman named Sunny, who shares his opinions regarding reporters (“leeches under the payroll of NASA” – a truly disturbing image). Sunny invites Jimmy to hang out with her and her group after the protests, which he gamely accepts. Meanwhile, the president’s cordon reaches NASA, where she is greeted cordially and led to the Mars mission control room, where she is greeted with thunderous applause. As Margo and Aleida look at the hullaballoo, Margo cynically remarks on how they do all the work, while politicians grab the brownie points, irrespective of Aleida’s point that Ellen is one of their own, to which she states “Not anymore”. Cynicism aside, Wilson is a good orator, as she compares the current NASA mission to Christopher Columbus’ expedition to discover America, and also recontextualizes the last two years of NASA having to jettison all their prior commitments and dive headfirst into the Mars mission. The optimistic nationalism as shown by the show sometimes delves into corny territory, but at other times it is genuinely heartwarming. (Clever cutting to Margo’s face when Wilson thanks everyone for their service to the country, wordlessly reminding us of Margo’s transgressions, helpless though she had been). Meanwhile, Jimmy hangs out with Sunny’s crew, where he meets Charles, one of the astronauts who had been at Jamestown in ’83. While he wasn’t up there when the climactic events occurred, he believes that it was a coverup and incongruent with what the American people had been informed. The group also believes that it is part of a wider conspiracy cooked up by NASA and the USSR and that the discovery of Helium-3 is linked to it. A very unique way to add even more wrinkles to this universe while simultaneously commenting on conspiracy theories and how characters like Jimmy Stevens, finding themselves all alone, could be indoctrinated into such conspiracy theories.

At Soujourner, Kelly is contacted via her radio hotline by a cosmonaut from the Mars-94 shuttle, who informs her that his comrades are about to do something extremely dangerous to win the space race by any means necessary. Before she could enquire for any more details, her communication with the cosmonaut was cut off. We immediately saw the NERVA engines of the Mars-94 give a significant boost, as remarked by Ed when he saw them change their heading and velocity spike. Aleida in the Mars Mission Control sees them attempting a midcourse burn and boosting their thrusters over 20%, which Margo remarks could shut their engine down, much to the surprise of the rest of Mars Mission Control, but not to the surprise of the viewers. Phoenix, meanwhile, is worried that if they maintain this burn, Mars 94 could beat Sojourner to Mars by three days, winning the race and putting Phoenix dead last. But the midcourse burn stops abruptly (as Margo predicted, unsurprisingly), which prompts Ellen to contact the Russian ambassador, knowing full well that the Soviets would never admit to an engine failure. As suspected, the NERVA engines are in complete meltdown, and the Mars-94 has 72 hours before nuclear contamination could kill everyone inside. Without missing a beat, Ed, who had been conferring with Dani, takes up the offer to rescue the Russians, citing their humongous spaceship as having enough space to accommodate more souls than the Soujourner. When Danny tries to deflect the responsibility to Soujourner, Ed reminds him that if Phoenix had been in the same bind, they would have wanted the same consideration as the Russians now. However, the law of the sea may be a requirement for astronauts, but not for wealthy millionaire groups, as represented by Ayesa, who, while pretending to discuss the situation, manipulates them into accepting his proposal of letting NASA take over the responsibility while they continue on the race. Karen knows full well that NASA won’t have enough fuel to continue on the journey to Mars, and she realises that Dev knew it too. Meanwhile, upon hearing Dev’s decision, Ed, in a typical maverick fashion, chooses to ignore the order and instructs the crew to go after the Russian vessel, only to realise that Dev had just locked Ed out of his spacecraft by shutting down the manual control of the engine. Phoenix was going nowhere.

And neither was Margo in this entire situation. With the responsibility effectively dumped on them, Margo tries to reason with Wilson to use her emergency powers and nationalise Helios to help, which Wilson staunchly refuses. She instead reminds Margo to lead by example and do the right thing. Soujourner and its crew did under Dani’s leadership, jokingly remarking that government employees wouldn’t have seen the prize money and that maybe the Russians might have awarded them a plaque for the rescue of their cosmonauts. As they plan an intercept burn while re-furling the solar sails back in, Dani tries to console Ed, understanding that the decision was out of his hands. As she expresses so succinctly, “I work for the United States of America, you work for an asshole.”

For All Mankind Season 3 Episode 4: Ending Explained

The newsreel remarks that the rescue operation would be the first time since the Apollo-Soyuz docking mission of 1988 that cosmonauts would set foot on an American spacecraft once the rescue is successful. Meanwhile, Dani carefully manoeuvres the Soujourner beside Mars-94, keeping a healthy distance beside them, and instructs her co-pilot to get a video of their LH2 valves to send to Houston, as the Russians use liquid hydrogen for fuel, which could come in handy for Soujourner to rejoin the race if they can access that from the Russians. As the Russians start climbing towards the Soujourner via tethers connected to Mars-94, one astronaut starts capturing video of the LH2 valves and sending them to Houston. As the downlink of video footage continues, Aleida realises that the heat from the nuclear engine could affect the liquid hydrogen, which would result in both the ships being taken out. Aleida instructs the communication team to warn Sojourner to cease all rescue operations and distance themselves from the Russian spaceship immediately. However, there is still a five-minute transmission delay. The warnings are thus effectively useless, leaving the crew of the Soujourner on their own. As the last cosmonaut makes its way to Soujourner, one of the LH2 valves bursts, leaking and causing the M-94 ship to topple over. The movement effectively crushes the astronaut who had been taking the video of the valves, kills the cosmonaut who had been hanging on the tether and moving towards Soujourner, while the astronaut coordinating the rescue sees the now loose tether moving towards him and cracking his helmet before the screen cuts to black.

For All Mankind Season 3 Episode 4 Review

It starts as a good-natured race with an ingenious streak shown by NASA in effectively overtaking Phoenix, but ends with Phoenix still at the front, with Soujourner barely managing to save the cosmonauts. In the next episode, we might see a conjoint operation between the USSR and the USA aboard the Sojourner, which is going to yield interesting results. On Earth, it is mostly a table-setter episode, with Wilson’s arc taking greater precedence and Margo’s secret slowly and steadily threatening to reveal itself. A much slower episode in the middle, with a fantastic beginning and a well-done terrifying cliffhanger.





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