For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 3 is called “The Bear Hug,” and this is the episode where the show slowly begins to unfurl a semblance of where the plot progression would lie forward. At the very least, the show reveals its hand in how the US-Russia connection, which had been a source of positive affirmation towards the end of last season, will slowly start to have ripple effects. It makes sense that Margo Madison’s actions will have such major ripple effects, but such is the situation when information shared between two such countries causes these two countries to become neck to neck in terms of the space race.

At the very least, this episode’s name makes absolute sense. The bear – a widespread symbol and caricature of the USSR by the Western world – giving a hug and covering the world with its huge hands is kind of how all of the plots begin to get involved with the uprising in the USSR in the world of “For All Mankind.”

For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 3 “The Bear Hug” Recap:

The first plot immediately following last week’s episode could be called Plot A of this episode, concerning Margo Madison. Margo is arrested and taken with the group of rebels outside the newspaper office to what could only be termed a Russian gulag. She is then interrogated about her presence at the political demonstration, but Margo tries to defend herself. Disbelief is the name of the game for the Russian authorities.

At this point, the hardliners of the Communist regime staged a coup to take Gorbachev out of power, and that is why Russia became a no-communication zone throughout the world and outside it (Moon and Mars). Thus, the interrogator is not in a mindset to believe Margo. It is compounded by the phone number on the card that was found on Margo’s person, which the interrogator is suspicious about because it looks like a government number. Margo has no idea about the motivation of the woman who gave her the card, but her truth isn’t enough to dissuade the suspicions of the authorities.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Happy Valley, too, hears about the political coup in Russia. The Roscosmos astronauts and Helios employees are also worried about their family members back on Earth because there is now a communication blackout. Svetlana, Ed’s compatriot in Ranger I, is worried about the safety of her family. To keep her mind distracted, Ed hands her the reins of the Ranger I to dock with the asteroid capture machine. It is also because Ed’s tremor in his hands has started to become noticeable. Realizing that Svetlana has become adept at the docking job, he invites her to “his garden.”

It could be taken as an intimate invitation, and to a certain extent, it is because Ed’s garden is his personal space, where he feels closest to his wife, the late Karen Baldwin. But his reason for calling Svetlana is also to show his hidden stash of marijuana, which he grows on his own—the old seeds belonging to the late Molly Cobb’s husband. As he teaches Svetlana how to smoke marijuana, she asks why he takes the drugs—for pain and backaches, as Svetlana does. To answer her question, he shows her the tremor in his hand and says that he doesn’t know what to do about it. We see Svetlana placing her hand above his shaking ones, making them distinctly calmer. There might be a new romance on our hands.

The closest example of how “The Bear Hug” is applied in a micro sense is through Miles’ plot. Miles is frustrated with effectively making the same, perhaps even less, salary than he made in his previous job back on Earth. Now stuck on a base 1400 miles away from his planet, he wants to make a little extra money. So he is automatically drawn to Ilya and his entrepreneurial efforts in making sure to smuggle contraband from Earth for a price. While Ilya is reticent about asking for help for obvious reasons, considering he had started this similar business back on the moon base, when he finally leaves the moon base with the business left in the hands of someone else, his replacement would get caught by the authorities on tax evasion.

However, he is convinced to hire Miles as his recruit when he learns that Miles has a green card because he is responsible for the environmental check-ups of all the pods. Thus, Ilya starts teaching Miles about the distribution and sale of contraband items in Happy Valley. The scene resembles a heist movie, with Bear McCreary’s score sounding similar to David Holmes’ in the Ocean Trilogy. That lucrative partnership between Miles and Ilya finally leads Miles to earn some legit scratch.

Back on Earth, Kelly and Aleida bring their pitch of researching life on Mars utilizing robotics to all private foundations, but they are all rejected because all of these companies are risk-averse especially Helios. Aleida finally takes a wild stab at a final option, and they both go to the mansion of Dev Ayesa, the ousted owner of Helios, who had been removed from office by the machinations of Kelly Baldwin. Ayesa has now become a recluse, enjoying the position of being one of the majority owners of Helios and lining his pockets.

But that betrayal and his change in circumstances had made Ayesa even more jaded than he had been in the past. He previously rejected Kelly and Aleida because he didn’t see a return on investment for this project. It doesn’t help that Kelly, to have a final word on the matter, brings up how her mother had praised his passion for seeing the world be better, which understandably isn’t the right perspective to invoke for Dev.

For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 3
Tyner Rushing and Toby Kebbell in “For All Mankind,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

Miles’ progress in Happy Valley had been going pretty smoothly until he fried Ilya’s thermostat while trying to fix Ilya’s alcohol. Ilya fires him more or less, but Miles is not giving up. In searching for the model of the thermostat, he discovers that while Helios had updated all of these older models for the newer ones, there is one older model still active in Happy Valley—in the North Korean pod. The North Korean pod is strictly denied admission to both the US and Roscosmos and Helios. But Miles, in good old-fashioned American derring-do, hatches a plan to steal the thermostat. He first makes changes to the environmental indicator of the North Korean pod, which would signal a methane leak.

Miles appears outside the North Korean pod as a Helios technician to repair the pod, giving him a proper alibi for the higher-ups. When he finally manages to convince the North Koreans about his intention to repair the leak, the North Koreans exit the room, giving him time to steal the thermostat. He, however, is caught by Lee Jung-gill, who sees through his lies and threatens to expose him to the authorities. When Miles reveals his thermostat issues, Jung-gill allows Miles to keep the thermostat on one condition. He knows about Ilya, and he wants Miles’ help in solving a major problem.

Back on Earth, Aleida and Kelly are met with a surprise as they see Ayesa standing in Kelly’s kitchen. Having taken a private jet to fly here, he has come to convince the two of them that while it is not a good idea for Ayesa to invest in their venture, it is a better idea to pool Ayesa and Kelly’s shares of Helios and form a strong majority such that they could take over the company and focus on the research there. Kelly is hesitant but realizes that this curveball might be the best option. Thus, the trio gets to work on bringing as many shareholders to their side, with Aleida taking one member personally.

We learn that Aleida has gone to meet Bill Strausser, the ex-NASA and Helios engineer who is now a recluse and has lost his legs from the explosion that rocked the JSC last season. The relationship between Aleida and Bill had become strained after Margo’s disappearance, but Bill was shocked to learn that she had left NASA. He asks her whether it’s a good idea for her to leave NASA when she could have been a director by now, but Aleida reminds him of the “smell of burnt plastic,” the phantom smell that they both are haunted by as a result of the explosion. Aleida tries to convince Bill to join her at Helios, but Bill refuses, trusting her with his shares but choosing never to come back.

We then see Dev Ayesa make an entrance at the earnings call of Helios. After announcing to the media and the shareholders that he is taking over, he informs them that if they try to invoke bylaws, he could countersuit them. The resulting case would go on for a long time, while the share price of Helios would tank. Instead, Ayesa convinces them that to secure a brighter future, the best way is to invent it. The man is a fantastic orator, but he is also a taskmaster. And as we see him fire all the members of the board who had slashed the budget and invested in troublesome programs, we are faced with a sense of foreboding for Kelly and Aleida. Have they signed their fate with the devil?

For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 3 “The Bear Hug” Ending Explained:

The Miles subplot finally ends with him repairing Ilya’s still and enjoying the resultant beverage in the process. In return, Miles presents Ilya with a new customer at his bar: Lee Jung Gill. However, Lee isn’t interested in Ilya’s bartending skills but rather makes use of his smuggling skills. He asks Ilya for a favor—to smuggle his wife into the station, which sounds like an insane proposition. Meanwhile, Margo is met by one of the high-ranking members of the KGB, who has managed to ask and brutally interrogate her interrogator in front of her.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

When satisfied that Margo’s mild link with the mysterious woman is only known to the people in the room, she shoots him. Then he, having already unlatched her handcuff from the table, relatches it to a rod above her and starts questioning her while she is hanging, the blood from the dead man streaking across her face. It is a brutal, horrifying moment that goes on for the night, but Margo doesn’t deter (because she actually doesn’t know).

The next morning, we finally see her unlatched, and she drops to the floor. She is dragged up, and a burlap sack is put around her head before being transported to a secret location. Once reached, the sack over her face is removed, and we see the old woman for the first time with her face revealed. She tells a shaking and overwhelming Margo that her name is General Irina Morozova, and Gorbachev’s troops have agreed to the terms of the hardliners, which means she currently has carte blanche over Star City (the headquarters of Roscosmos). She now wants Margo to work for her. Something tells me Margo doesn’t have a choice.

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For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 3 Links: IMDbRotten TomatoesWikipedia
The Cast of For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 3: Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Shantel VanSanten, Jodi Balfour, Wrenn Schmidt, Sonya Walger, Krys Marshall, Cynthy Wu, Casey W. Johnson, Coral Peña, Edi Gathegi, Toby Kebbell, Tyner Rushing, Svetlana Efremova, Daniel Stern
For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 3 Genre: Drama, Sci-fi | Runtime: 46–82 minutes

 

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