For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 5 displays an uncanny knack for introducing new and unique conflicts that would push the plot further down the line and ensure that characters separated miles apart would have the chance to reunite. It remains to be seen whether the reunion will be pleasant (Kelly and Ed) or unpleasant (Aleida and Margo), but you can almost see the gears turning for the creators as they laboriously move the chess pieces along the chessboard.

For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 5 “Goldilocks” Recap:

The newly constructed Payne Telescope orbiting the Earth identifies a new asteroid chunk currently in the orbit of Mars. The asteroid, colloquially named Goldilocks, officially named L2003C, is of interest to all the three major players in the space race – NASA, Roscosmos, and Helios under the leadership of Dev Ayesa. The point of interest is that L2003C contains iridium deposits, which would be beneficial to the nations mining it. In the interest of political equilibrium, America would want the asteroid capture program to focus on the operation being a majorly American one, primarily because Russia currently has the motherlode of Iridium, which they export to the rest of the world.

Conversely, Russia wants Goldilocks for itself so that it remains at the top of this trade dispute. The political upheaval reached a fever pitch with President Al Gore, not listening to the advice of Director of NASA Eli Hobson, making the announcement that America would own the majority of the pie of Goldilocks, which doesn’t sit right with all the M7 nations. Roscosmos, led by Irina Morozova, was especially concerned, and after Gore’s announcement had enough questions of her own she decided to revise the agreement such that all the resources of Goldilocks would be equally split.

That doesn’t sit right with Hobson, especially the fact that Gore decided to announce it early and take the entire credit of Goldilocks for America as a way to consolidate his position for the next election. Be it alternate history or actual history, the cookie crumbles in much the same way.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Speaking of history, Episode 5 also dives deep into events between Season 3 and Season 4, the moment in time when the Happy Valley crew had been stranded on Mars, Danny had been exiled once his folly had come to light, and Ed had banished him from Happy Valley. We see how the limited rations are affecting the health of all of the astronauts and the cosmonauts, and even within these limited rationing, we see Danielle sneaking out to the North Korean Capsule to deliver him food. We also realize that Ed doesn’t make an effort to stop her. It might be because he has also realized that he was the one responsible for bringing Danny Stevens up on Mars in the first place, overriding Danielle’s concerns.

But that has always been Ed’s folly, as had been pointed out by Dannielle in the previous episode. As it turns out, in the present day, the XO and the Commander of Happy Valley are at loggerheads with each other, with Ed managing to object to every move Danielle would try to make within the last eight months. It is ostensibly because Danielle decided to send Svetlana back to Earth for her to stand trial, a decision that Danielle had to take and a tough one, but one Ed is finding hard to swallow, not just because of Svetlana’s prowess as a cosmonaut on Happy Valley, but also because of the personal connection Ed had forged with her.

The personal connection also entailed Svetlana knowing that Ed suffers from a medical condition that leads to Ed having a tremor in his right hand. While that arguably could be hidden in any other circumstance, considering that Ed is an octogenarian and yet an active XO taking part in flight duty and asteroid capture missions through the front lines, it becomes a decidedly dicey issue that could backfire at any second. While Ed is belligerent enough to select his crew for the asteroid capture mission without informing Danielle about it, his penchant for hiding the tremor finally gets noticed by one of the astronauts.

The astronaut is trepidatious because he would be acting as a whistleblower against the great Ed Baldwin, but after the training mission, he informs Commander Poole about what he has witnessed. It shakes Poole up to her core, and while she refuses to believe it and tries to discern whether the accusation is justified, the relationship has already been cracked open. Back on Earth, interesting shakeups are occurring on the three protagonists leading the Helios front. Ayesa, now back on top of the world, is fully invested in the capturing of Goldilocks, mining of Iridium, and a general forcing of development at Happy Valley.

To that extent, he is planning to personally go to Happy Valley, and he also announces changes in the roster of Helios administration. For one thing, he plans to take Kelly and her project team to Mars so that she can continue her research of proof of extraterrestrial life. For the other thing, since Dev wouldn’t be on the home planet to look after the day-to-day workings of Helios, he leaves Aleida in charge of meeting the representatives of the M7 nations and conducting the negotiations that had been induced by Roscosmos.

For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 5 Recap and Ending Explained
Krys Marshall in “For All Mankind,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

For Dev, as it turns out, this decision is more existential. We see him meeting his estranged mother, who is a social worker, and their conversations reveal that his father’s ambitions hadn’t connected with his mother’s earthbound pursuits, and while Dev had been in a rut after the previous season, the reacquiring of Helios had somehow rejuvenated his ambitions and rekindled his ego. As he informs his mother, this trip to Happy Valley is permanent, and he won’t return to Earth.

This statement does infer that Ayesa has a cynical outlook towards the planet and how colonization could be the only way for humanity to progress and survive, something which his mother is against because she believes that her son could bring about positive change to the community if he decides to stay. She also refuses to take his card and, by extension, his money for any help necessary. For Aleida, the fear was her feeling like an imposter because her role as an engineer doesn’t prepare her to be a negotiator, especially one with stakes as high as the meeting between M7 nations.

To that end, she had been putting off reading the dossiers and trying to avoid it, but as the top negotiator of Helios comes and inquires whether she is ready for the role, and that Dev is sending his entire team and entrusting them to her, she realizes that Ayesa trusts her enough to handle herself in the negotiation table when the time comes. The problem, however, is the confrontation we, as the audience, know is coming. Because that night a phone call comes from Helios, instructing her to pack warm clothes as she would be going to Soviet Russia. Knowing how Margot had become instrumental to Morzova and Roscosmos, there is a high possibility that Aleida and Margot could reunite, which could lead to a tense confrontation considering Aleida still believes that Margot died of the explosion at the JRC last season.

Finally, for Kelly, the hurdle comes with her having to decide to stay away from her son for the better part of a year away from Mars. While she is encouraged by Aleida to follow her dreams and not worry about her son, trusting her mother-in-law to do the deed, she knows the situation isn’t as simple. The absence of Ed from all their lives has made the strained relationship between Kelly and her mother-in-law almost frosty. Informing her son about the decision to travel to Mars doesn’t go the way she hoped because the kid asks the obvious important question – whether her mom would leave them and go away forever as his grandfather had.

It’s a legitimate question that even her mother-in-law asks her while consoling her grandchild without directly asking her. Kelly watches the last video message from her mother, where she explains how proud she is of her and how she wishes she had been there to protect her. That finally breaks the dam of emotions welling inside Kelly, forcing her to make a strong, albeit risky, decision.

For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 5 “Goldilocks” Ending Explained:

The next morning, Kelly goes to Dev’s office and informs him that she would accept his offer of joining him on the Mars mission if and only if she could take her son along with her. She has had conversations with the technicians and scientists at NASA and has been reassured that space travel has become safer over the years. She had consulted with the doctors and had come to the conclusion that the lower gravitational pull of Mars would actually help improve her son’s medical condition. It was convincing enough that Dev, whose conversation with his own mother is already haunting him, agreed to Kelly’s proposal.

One subplot we didn’t touch on is Miles’, who we see is now stuck with a lovelorn visage towards Samantha, as well as continuing his smuggling partnership with Ilya. The North Korean assignment is too risky to be completed, according to Ilya, but it is better to stall because they stand the risk of losing their North Korean customers. But Ilya also learns of Miles’ mission on the side while unloading one of the smuggled goods and looking at the newspaper, seeing the advertisement for jewelry made by Mars Rocks. That doesn’t bode well for Miles, but if looked at in a larger context, it could perhaps lead to the discovery of alien life on Mars indirectly from Earth.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

We also learn that when the rations had ultimately run out, both Danielle and Ed had traversed to the North Korean capsule to inform Danny and perhaps bring him back, only to find that Danny had killed himself. That event scarred Danielle, and she blamed Ed for it in some capacity. And now, this current situation with Ed leads to Danielle ordering Ed to stand down from active flight service because Ed hadn’t reported it. Ed is still stubborn and reiterates that he knows his body, but Danielle retorts that he is only doing this to prove a point and satisfy his own ego.

Danielle takes the rational decision and orders him to stand down, and no amount of snide commentary from Ed will force her to change her decision. The question now is whether Ed Baldwin will return to Earth, considering that his daughter and grandson are currently on the way to Mars, along with Dev Ayesa, which could only run the risk of Happy Valley imploding due to the egos stranded on the base. Time and subsequent episodes will tell.

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For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 5 Links: IMDbRotten TomatoesWikipedia
The Cast of For All Mankind (Season 4) Episode 5: 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 5 Genre: Drama, Sci-fi | Runtime: 46–82 minutes


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