For All Mankind (Season 3), Episode 6 Recap & Ending Explained: The Space Race is over, and the result is clear. We have a pretty obvious winner that the whole world has witnessed. But if you thought that the writers‘ room did not have conflicts up their sleeves for the humungous ensemble, you have been watching a different show. While none of these hyper-serialized shows is supposed to have distinct halves, Episode 5 (titled New Eden) feels like the start of a distinct second half, with new conflicts and new characters delivering big monkey wrenches to the proceedings.

For All Mankind (Season 3), Episode 6 “New Eden” Recap:

After last week’s fantastic ending, where we saw Soujourner attempt a heroic landing, we see the astronauts trekking, carrying most of their supplies to the location where their mobile modules had landed months ago, according to the mission parameters. Thus, now, for at least a few days, they are supposed to transport all their cargo from the spaceship to the module habitats.

Meanwhile, Ed and Danny finally manage to reach and land on the surface of Mars, where they finally plant their flag. But there is nothing majestic about saluting the flag of a private company on the surface of a conquered planet. It is a far cry from the situation at the NASA habs, where the astronauts salute the twin flags of the USA and USSR, a moment of pride for the two nations. Before the astronauts enter back inside the habitat ( as temperatures drop below a balmy -100 degrees at night), we see one astronaut looking out at the horizon in awe, perhaps pinching himself, unable to believe he is here.

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The narrative back on Earth is the US’s victory over Mars after they had lost the moon years ago. Even though it became a joint mission, the news anchor claims that the spaceship that landed on Mars was American, so there isn’t much room for debate. Meanwhile, as this show is wont to do, the news channels double as exposition delivery systems, and we learn that the search for water is one of the primary missions for the Mars missions, and the Valles Marineris (the landing site) had been selected because of the promising indication of ice deposits below the surface of Mars.

Helios had managed to scrounge up enough raw material to start making methane for the return trip home, as they are the only ship currently capable of making and carrying all the astronauts back. To make matters worse for the already damaged Soujourner and its crew, their search for water had mostly yielded no results, while the mobile habitats were slowly feeling the weight of accommodating eight astronauts when they were created with six in mind.

Tensions are rising high within the mobile habitats of NASA. The thermal control system was malfunctioning, and thus they would have to ration water, as their search for water hadn’t yielded results yet. Dani, as the commander of the group, tries to bring all of the astronauts together, but she faces opposition from the cosmonaut commander, who isn’t appreciative of her giving orders to “his crew”, especially “his doctor” on keeping tabs of everyone’s hydration levels. Instead of losing her cool, she manages to accept and request that he cooperate.

Meanwhile, at Helios’ base, Danny is still watching the videos which Ed sends to Karen, where his suspicions are confirmed when he learns that Ed didn’t go with the landing because he wanted to save Danny. That depresses and distracts Danny further, which leads him to cut his hand while working on the drill, boring holes in the Mars surface. Clamping his hand and keeping it airtight, Danny manages to rush indoors and get his hand patched up, with the ship doctor giving him codeine for the pain, to be taken every 8 hours. When Ed hears about this and asks if he is okay, Danny is withdrawn, answering in the affirmative. When Ed asks whether he had disabled the motor drive of the drill, Danny snaps back at Ed, rejecting his sympathy and stating, “Believe it or not, I know what the hell I am doing.”

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Meanwhile, at NASA, Margo talks with General Nelson, head of the Joint Chiefs task force, to facilitate the defection of Aleksei and his family to the United States. When asked whether it would pertain to the use of black ops, Margo is hesitant, and Nelson states that it is possible, provided he runs it up by the flagpole. To grease his palms and make everything run smoothly, Margo reminds him of the budget the army requires for their F-22 project, and Margo might be able to share some of NASA’s funds with their cause.

Nelson is pleased, and he promises to do his best. It would have to be a quick one, though, because Aleida is distracted from the revelation she was responsible for discovering, and now, as she looks around the Mars Mission Control, her frown deepens, and her concern grows exponentially. At Helios headquarters, Karen walks in to witness Dev walking away from his board of directors after a heated argument. When asked the reason for his outburst, Dev reveals that they are losing faith in him and his vision for the company. The Mars project, which cost a pretty penny, is now ballooning with nothing to show for it as they lost the race.

Karen then reveals that the head of Roscosmos had reached out to Karen due to their shared past regarding Polaris and requested the help of Helios. She hints to Dev that this might be too good an opportunity to pass up. When asked whether that means she would be back, Karen accepts on the condition that she would be an equal partner, have a definite title as COO, and have an actual legitimate office. The smile filtering through Dev’s visage indicated that he would accept any condition, provided Karen Baldwin would come back to help.

The big pivot point of the episode occurs when we see the astronauts recording their testimonies and answers to present questions, which would be sent back to Earth. As Dani, Kuznetsov, and Kelli all answer their questions with alacrity, confidence, and idealism, Major Tyler (the same astronaut who had been looking over the horizon with awe) continues extolling the limitless possibilities of new land, a new beginning for all intents and purposes, and a fresh start, before finally revealing to the camera, and the extent to the whole world, that he is homosexual.

As Margo watches the news back at NASA, learning that this is the first time this has been revealed within his six years in the army, she is reminded that he is still in the army. This presents an undeniably sticky political situation, which is evident at the White House, where President Wilson and their first husband read the news and lament with anger at Tyler for revealing this secret so cavalierly. (Lest we forget, Wilson and Larry are in a lavender marriage going back almost a decade).

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The Vice President and Chairman Nelson Bradford of the Pentagon enter the oval office, where they present Wilson with the current situation: according to army policy, homosexuals are dishonorably discharged, but Tyler is currently on Mars. According to the Vice President, the sanctity of the military and the future of the children are at stake (which elicits a hilarious eyebrow-raising reaction from Bradford at the Vice President’s outburst). But the reality of Wilson’s situation is that her jobs bill would not pass without 50 Republican votes, and Democrats would not hesitate to destroy it in the next election unless the president takes a stand.

Back at Happy Valley Base (NASA habitat), Dani and Will have a poignant and revealing conversation. Will Tyler, through the conversation, reveals himself as a man who has been lost in the romantic concepts of living in a new world, a new “Garden of Eden,” where the concept of sin is still unexplored. When asked by Dani whether he couldn’t have revealed it after he had been back, Will retorted that he had been hiding his secret for his entire life and was now tired, and Poole was unable to understand the judgment that would pass.

Poole retorts back, stating that she had some idea as to how people back home judge anyone who looks different, be it skin tone or sexual orientation. The damning phrase by Poole, though, is her stating, “At least you have the luxury of hiding it.” The bigotry of all types shapes different people with different defense mechanisms and different pragmatic viewpoints, as we see Polle finally snap back and remind Will that NASA’s current mission is far more important, and their living situation at Happy Valley Base depends on the thermal controls being fixed, which Will returns to, ignoring the stares of all his crewmates.

Lenara Catiche, with her cadre, reaches Helios, where they have a meeting with Karen and Dev. It is revealed that somewhere on Mars, there is a huge reservoir of water deposit the size of Lake Tahoe, and they require Helios’ MSAM for flight purposes and drills to extract the water. When refusing to divulge the location of the reservoir, Dev and finally Karen force Roscosmos’ hand, asking for 50% of the available resources because the MSAM is currently assigned to the refueling of Phoenix, and unless the incentive is large enough, Helios has no reason to change their mission plan. While not explicitly stated, we know that Catiche takes the bait, as in Happy Valley Base, we see Poole and Kuznetsov talking. More like Poole asking about a joint mission between Roscosmos and Helios and Kuznetove refusing to divulge any information.

When reminded by Poole that they owe NASA, Kuznetsov, without losing a beat, says, “We don’t owe you a thing.” Meanwhile, Kelli and Ed have a video conference where Kelly informs him about the technical difficulties being faced by NASA habs, be it the thermal systems or the CO2 scrubbers. Ed becomes concerned after learning about the malfunctioning CO2 scrubbers and informs her that he will be arriving at their base soon but that he is unable to reveal any details about the joint Roscosmos-Helios Mission. While the discretion of her father she could handle, Kelly was unable to handle her new boyfriend’s sealed lips, even after a hot and heavy consummation at the makeshift greenhouse called “The Swamp.”

It’s interesting how the Russian view of discretion is so different from the American perspective. His national duty is so absolute that no amount of cajoling could make him reveal his country’s interests. Tensions rise between Baranov and Tyler. Baranov, who had been shown to have the closest friendship with Tyler, is now slowly pushing himself away. While working on repairing the thermal systems, Baranov hesitates to touch the flashlight, which Tyler had held in his jaw while repairing.

As he explains to Poole later, his worry is about contracting HIV, which, in a high-pressure and unknown environment like Mars, could be fertile ground for contamination. Poole, flabbergasted, reminds Baranov that if they die, it would be because they were unable to bring the base to working capacity instead of William Tyler. Taking the hint, Baranov returns to work.

Ed Baldwin, before taking the Helios Mars Lander to travel to Happy Valley Base, talks with Danny, and he tries to apologize. It would have worked had Danny already started slipping. Unbeknownst to everyone, Danny had started indulging in prescription drugs to conjure the high that would distract him from his troubles. To improve their relationship, Ed promised Danny to set it up with the brass, such that he would not have to return to Phoenix with the next rotation. Even after not having seen the rest of the episodes, you know for a fact that this is a decision Ed is going to regret.

Ed arrives at Happy Valley Base, where he is greeted by interest from the Russians and happiness from Poole and Keely. That happiness is contagious, as Ed reveals he had brought gourmet food and drinks from Helios to share. As the crew begins to celebrate their impromptu thanksgiving, the three captains, Poole, Baldwin, and Kuznetsov, raise a glass of vodka to Kuznetsov. A toast to fantastic flying, to be able to reach in one piece (more or less), and to their new home, for the next two years. While Ed isn’t exactly chummy with all the Russians (his interactions with Pelotov are especially hilarious, as Kelli had warned Pelotov not to reveal their tryst), his burgeoning friendship with Kuznetsov arouses Poole’s suspicions.

Back at NASA, Margo is met at her office by Sergei, who, after exchanging pleasantries, manages to scrawl a formula on the record label of Margo’s jazz records (coincidentally gifted by him) before leaving. As Margo manages to crack the formula, she realizes that Sergei had managed to answer her question regarding the joint operations without answering her directly. Margo reveals this information to Aleida, which sends her into an indignant rage, and she rushes to inform Poole about this latest development.

At Happy Valley, tensions reach a new fever pitch as Tyler finally confronts Baranov regarding his reticence to interaction. This leads to a brawl as Baranov protests, stating Tyler lied to him and everyone else. As most of the crew indulged in vodka for a bit, the tussle evolved to fisticuffs until Poole shouted to break it off. When Kutsenov remarked how Americans lack discipline, Poole sarcastically remarked how he doesn’t have a problem with “that American,” pointing at Ed before revealing that she knew what they were up to. The camera finally pans away from the Happy Valley base as the argument intensifies.

Back at the white house, Ellen and Larry watch the full video testimony of Will Tyler, and while they sympathize and empathize with him, Larry reminds Ellen that she can’t touch this issue with a ten-foot pole if she wants to keep her seat. Ellen recalls telling Deke Slayton about Pam and her sexuality during the Apollo 24 mission and how he was supportive despite the palpable sense of disappointment she felt from him.

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It gives Larry the idea of drafting an executive order where members of the army would not be asked about their details, including their sexuality. This would allow them to serve their country without being in the crosshairs of the higher-ups. However, they both know that this will not be helpful for Will Tyler, who would have to face the consequences irrespective of the passing of this act. It is both too liberal for Republicans and not progressive enough for Democrats, which Larry terms the “best compromise.”

For All Mankind (Season 3), Episode 6 “New Eden” Ending Explained:

Back at Happy Valley, Kelli and Ed discuss the ramifications of the discovery of liquid water and what it means to confirm the presence of life on the red planet. She emphatically states that she needs to see the water samples the Russians would discover, as her equipment is far more sensitive than the ones with Helios or the Russians, and more importantly, she needs to be a part of it. And Ed, being the loving father he is, accepts, promising her “he will see what he can do.” Back on Helios Base, Danny listens to the new video recording that Ed had sent to Karen.

Still, his subject of interest occurs at the tail end of the recording, where Gordo reminisces how Danny’s erratic, short-tempered, unfocused demeanor reminds Ed of Gordo back in 1974. Now he is wondering whether it was the right thing to do to bring Danny to Mars. Riddled with anger, Danny punches at the screen with his injured hand, deepening the cut.

Back on Earth, President Wilson announced the “Uniform First Act,” which would prohibit other service members from discovering and reporting the sexual orientation of their armed brothers. In contrast, openly gay members would be forbidden from serving in the military. Upon being asked, Wilson also remarks that this current act wouldn’t change the status of Major William Tyler, whose actions are a violation of the regulations of the Department of Defense.

Thus he would be discharged upon his return to Earth. Back at a high-end bar in Washington, DC, Jeremy Zielke, one of the aides to the White House, is having a drink with his friend, where we learn that Zielke is having an illicit affair with Larry Wilson. After joking about whether “they had done it in the oval yet?” and getting an affirmative answer, the friend enters into a limousine, driving towards Dupont Circle, when a call comes on his cordless phone. He answers the phone to inform the person on the other end of the big bombshell he had just received regarding Larry Wilson.

For All Mankind (Season 3), Episode 6 “New Eden” Review:

This William Tyler storyline, while coming out of nowhere, definitely manages to tie together the Ellen Wilson story arc with the main Mars Mission arc in a far more substantial manner while also exploring how even an alternate universe is affected by the butterfly effect bigotry remains the same. It also shows the compromise Wilson has to make to remain in power, while the ending forces you to ask, how far could she go on like this?

Meanwhile, the Mars Mission and the partnership between Helios and the Russians provide a fascinating wrinkle, which will be explored in the coming weeks. At the beginning of the second act of Season 3, the table-setter episode, where many events occur, building into each other in exciting ways. This season hasn’t yet missed a step in five episodes, and so far, it doesn’t seem like it will.




Where to watch For All Mankind (Season 3) Episode 6

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