Tuesday, July 5, 2022

REVIEW: 'For All Mankind' - Margo Realizes Just How Much She Has Given Away in the Name of Space Innovation in 'All In'

AppleTV+'s For All Mankind - Episode 3.03 "All In"

As NASA scrambles to prepare for the launch to Mars, Margo is confronted with a harsh personal reality.

"All In" was written by Nichole Beattie and directed by Wendey Stanzler

Everyone places their hopes and dreams on the space race. It's a way to project their sense of dominance throughout the rest of the world. And yet, the various space programs aren't going to stop simply because one reaches an accomplishment first. The United States had the technology to land on the moon. They lost to the Soviet program. As such, they had to catch up. They eventually did so. That led to the increased military presence in space. It's an aspect of life everyone has to manage now. People are devoted to exploration. It's not solely defined as a conflict between the superpowers either. Margo could rationalize giving information to Sergei because she saw the benefits of fostering innovation. He was always a Soviet asset pushing for more information. At this crucial moment, the Soviets have to be more forceful with their demands. They have to reveal themselves to Margo in the hopes of retrieving the designs for the nuclear engine. That's the only way they are going to remain relevant. That's the only option for getting to Mars on this accelerated time table. Everyone laid out plans for their missions in 1996. It's been moved up two years because Dev made his announcement. He laid out his vision for the future of the space race. NASA was completely fine with the privatization of space when it came to a hotel orbiting Earth. But now, Margo lambasts a private company trying to replace the American government. The public and private sectors are at war. It's a competition for the best talent. Brilliant minds are working on this mission from every possible angle. It requires so much time and attention. It's been that way for decades now. People are still chasing that high. This is the only thing that matters. On the campaign trail, Bill Clinton lays out his vision for caring about people on the ground across America just as much as the devotion to NASA. However, he doesn't win the race. Instead, Ellen is rewarded with the presidency. She's the one dictating the future of this country. That's a show of support for how much patriotism is wrapped up in this narrative. And now, a heroic astronaut sets the pace for the entire government. That's where the priority is. It's going to be absolutely devastating when Margo is revealed to be trading classified information with the Soviets. It's treason. It's a betrayal of her identity as an American. She has devoted her life to NASA. That's been the only priority. She and Sergei have spent years pining after each other. When romance finally has some potential, it can't be acted upon because so many more forces are at play. It's all absolutely devastating. But it's also a personal burden everyone is suppose to sit with. It's not a story exposed to the world. Instead, people simply continue in the lives they've always had as they personally struggle with their roles in continuing this never-ending conflict.

It takes years to prepare for these missions to Mars. It's not something the various programs can adjust in an instant. Lots of big decisions have to be made now. It threatens to turn families against each other. Everyone praises Danny for his heroism in saving lives during the Polaris incident. And yet, his erratic behavior could doom any mission he joins. Danielle has the wisdom to throw him off the NASA team. She doesn't even know the extent of his breakdown. He's lashing out after being rejected by Karen. He places all of his energy into this unrequited crush. He believes it could be great because it was once beautiful a decade ago. It was never good and healthy. Karen is mourning Sam's death. She doesn't want to be around Danny. He is recruited by Helios without her knowledge. Ed sees this as the grand reunion of the Baldwin and Stevens families. They can finally make this historic achievement together. Ed and Gordo missed out when it came to the moon. Now, they can be forever immortalized on Mars. It's Ed chasing that idea instead of doing what's best for Danny. He can see things clearly with Kelly. She is just as determined to reach the red planet. She simply wants to do so at NASA. She's not ready to leave. She still sees a future working for the government. That's where her scientific research can thrive. Helios adjusts its expectations to fit what Ed and Karen need. They are treated with respect because they have the experience. They don't want a poet on the team. They don't need someone to comment on the beauty and meaning of this moment. That comes from them not wanting to address their feelings. They would rather sit in silence and denial. They can personally suffer. That's what life is suppose to be. That's how leaders are suppose to behave. They are meant to repress their struggles in order to support what the world needs. Right now, people need the victory of the space race. Of course, not everyone feels that way. People are protesting. They don't agree with the personal costs of these pursuits. That doesn't have an impact on anyone's thinking whatsoever. The missions go ahead. There isn't one moment of questioning that. Again, people have devoted themselves to this program for too long to ever think they should stop. That rational thought may come along at some point. Some may have to deal with the consequences of what they did in order to achieve this victory. But the narrative is also aware that plenty of people thrive despite what heinous actions they take. The public doesn't always have that clarity. The audience does - which only makes all of this more complicated. Everyone has their eyes on history instead of figuring out how to best be of service to the people right beside them.