Sunday, April 11, 2021

REVIEW: 'For All Mankind' - Gordo Returns to the Moon as Another Military Conflict Occurs in 'And Here's to You'

AppleTV+'s For All Mankind - Episode 2.08 "And Here's to You"

Gordo returns to space. Molly faces an upsetting new reality. Aleida confronts her first major hurdle at work.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AppleTV+'s For All Mankind.

"And Here's to You" was written by Ronald D. Moore and directed by Dennie Gordon

The military has taken over the NASA space program. That inevitability has been creeping up throughout the season. The mission statement was split between the military and the science. Everyone accepted that as what had to be. It was a necessity because of the danger the Soviets pose at any given moment. They are trained to see everything as a potential military option. That has always been the stakes. The conflict between the two countries can no longer be a Cold War. Each side is emboldened to take more lethal actions. They are preparing for the worst from each other. That preparation only makes it more likely that something dangerous would occur. Everyone is trained to respond accordingly. It's the only proper way to posture one's strength. The Americans have to present as a tough and powerful country no matter what. As such, the astronauts on the moon need to be armed with guns. Pathfinder now has to be retrofitted with weapons. It's the way things have to be. It's the only way to seem competitive and in charge of global dominance. That is a core driving principle for so many. The country has to be the best. It must be the strongest. It has to show off its lethal capabilities as well. Ed and his team are already running simulations for these military exercises. No one particularly likes it. However, these are their orders now. It's the way the government is choosing to respond to recent events. Pathfinder was already seen as the next stage of the space program. It was destined to lead the United States into the future. And now, that image will also carry weapons. That becomes a part of the narrative for why it is so inspiring and powerful. The scientific achievement of it all is cast aside. The astronauts and engineers are inspired by what they are capable of doing. The innovations keep happening. They are proud of these accomplishments. Sure, some are stuck in their ways and refuse to see things differently. However, the program is no longer driven by serving as a symbol for something greater that can be accomplished for the entire human race. Now, it's similar to every other conflict happening on the planet. Two sides are at war. Some clashes occur simply because things get lost in translation. That's the explanation for the fatal confrontation at the end of the episode. The marines believe they have to use force. They don't know how the Soviets operate on the moon. They must take action before something happens to them. They can't disrupt the program in any way. They worked too hard to retake this station. And yet, this mentality creates this outcome. Lives have now been lost on the moon. It's absolutely horrifying as well. So many people risked everything in order to make this happen. The grand ambitions for this program are being destroyed because the leaders of the world are competing with each other and using lives to do so. Humanity is being lost as a result. It's terrifying for Gordo when he returns to Jamestown and sees the space where he lost his mind a decade ago. He finds peace and comfort with Tracy though. Molly finally tells Wayne the truth about her radiation exposure. The damage is irreversible as well. She can't fix any of the issues now appearing in her life. She can't escape to the majestic nature of space either. These personal connections are everything. They provide peace and comfort. Some people are determined for destruction though. They are blind to those consequences as well. Recklessness helps them feel alive to a certain extent. But again, their actions are taken a different way than they intended. Karen has fun with Danny. He professes his love. This is how he understands the concept. Karen knows better. She tries to make that clear. It's still hurtful and destructive. Margo and Sergei bond over the practical solutions to make the American-Soviet mission together a success. They are still incapable of seeing it through to its fruition because of the leadership of their two countries. They are defined by military thinking. That leads to bloodshed. It was unavoidable. That's the powerful lesson from all of this. People search for greater understanding of who they are. Kelly seeks out answers about her lineage. She gets comfort even though it paralyzes her. Ellen is given the opportunity to lead. She has seemingly already made her choice to be with Pam. All of this has the potential to change because the world isn't readily set up to help people embrace these human connections that should provide greater clarity and prosperity across the planet. Instead, it's all about military might and the subsequent fallout. Sacrifices are made. People prepared for that. Those actions simply reverberate across the whole system. It's not contained to pure individuality. Some would like that. Their pleasures are their own. That's how they view things. Some actions extend beyond that though. Acknowledging that is also important. Shots have been fired. NASA will never be the same again.