Friday, August 5, 2022

REVIEW: 'For All Mankind' - Ellen Delivers a Major Announcement That Will Dramatically Shift Her Presidency in 'Coming Home'

AppleTV+'s For All Mankind - Episode 3.09 "Coming Home"

Plans to leave Mars are complicated by an unforeseen issue.

"Coming Home" was written by David Weddle & Bradley Thompson and directed by Craig Zisk

The space race started as a competition between the Americans and the Soviets. It was a battle of ideologies. Each side was determined to prove their system of governance was superior. The race hasn't ended either. The goal posts have continually been moving. New challengers have entered the arena as well. NASA and their Soviet counterparts had to adjust their schedules for their respective Mars missions to remain competitive with Helios. A private company asserted itself as being able to accomplish this feat two years earlier. The season followed these three sides battling to earn the bragging rights. It was a point of pride. Every single aspect of their time together in space and on Mars has been a competition. Three missions collectively could survive the journey. It's been absolutely brutal because plans had to shift to accommodate the massive changes to the program. Each side had to lay out an efficient game plan. Yes, the engineers hoped to account for the well-being of their astronauts every step of the way. However, the crews are realizing they may be stranded on the red planet with no way of returning to Phoenix. The shuttle was damaged during the landslide. And now, the mechanism that connects the docking controls has been destroyed. Kelly will have to face the hard truth of giving birth on Mars. The artificial environment on Phoenix was more desirable. It's gravity closely mirrors Earth. That would provide the baby with the best hope of developing according to the science everyone knows. Life on Mars is still full of danger. It has been deadly to so many. Helios wants to blame one of the killed engineers for the landslide. Danny knows the truth. He lashes out over his colleague being used as a scapegoat. He's not offering himself up to take full responsibility though. In fact, the future of the entire space program around the world is in peril because of his actions. That's the impact he's had. It's not some celebration that came from a remarkable achievement or discovery. It's all about messing things up in such an extreme way that the experience has been ruined for everyone else. Humans may not mount another mission to Mars for another generation. People have largely been distracted from the issues at home because there was so much optimism throughout the stars. Now, those dreams have been crushed. More importantly, the terms of the conflict are completely shaken up. The three crews have found a way to work together. That was the only way they were going to survive. They rely on the expertise of everyone who has made this journey. That includes the resources the Soviets sold to other space programs. Many probes were sent out to understand the planet. That technology can be exploited. In exploring that potential, Danielle and Grigory realize they may not have been the first people to step foot onto the planet. That narrative has been shattered. No one can be blind to that any more. The truth has to be exposed - which also creates quite a chilling final twist.

All of this plays out in tandem to Ellen's own conflict in the presidency. She has long been hesitant to make any changes to the structuring of NASA. The opposition party sees an opportunity to strike. The Speaker of the House sees vulnerabilities because of the errors in the Mars mission. That's not even getting to the full extent of the threats present within the space program. Aleida fears Margo has been giving classified information to the Soviets. She wants someone to tell her she is crazy. Margo has done that. Aleida can't believe her because she has a vested interest in the outcome of this investigation. Bill confirms her fears and wants to bring in the FBI to further examine the case. Aleida distrusts the bureau after how it treated her father. She's now spending time with him as he faces increasing dementia. It's hard on her. He wants to comfort her when she breaks down. She's still expected to remain strong and determined. She can't offer that to everyone all the time. She wants to stand firm in her decisions. What she's found though is so absolutely damaging. The space program is already in danger. Congress doesn't want to spend trillions of more dollars at the expense of what matters to people on Earth. This program has done a lot of good over the years. The discoveries made have already provided a clean energy solution. That's remarkable. Human error has simply proven to be too costly. Helios can't even stake out this market for itself. Its stock has plummeted. One of its astronauts was responsible for the landslide. The only way for the company to remain financially solvent would be to sell Phoenix to NASA. Dev was the visionary for this company. The board and Karen may team up to push him out. Everyone has to act sensibly and rationally right now. They can't place all their hopes and dreams on expenditures that have gone awry in so many ways. That wouldn't be a smart business decision. The space program is destined to continue. It's all a matter of priority and resources. For decades, the race has dominated headlines. That will continue to be true as a result of other countries beefing up their programs. The President can still captivate the world with one meaningful declaration. Ellen comes out. She sees it as the only viable way to save Larry from public humiliation. Moreover, she's inspired by what Pam told her. She could make a difference but only by being truthful about what she's fighting for. For too long, she's been made to keep this a secret. Some people beam with pride and joy. The news covers it as the latest divisive topic. It's still a celebration of humanity. Ellen makes progress. Lives remain in danger though. That remains all too true despite how the world changes when people have the courage and willingness to do so. Ellen can't control the political fallout. It may all be a carefully crafted story to keep the world calm. The truth vindicates so much. Even that can't offer complete salvation. That can't happen immediately. History will judge these characters. Right now, it's dramatically satisfying to see them evolve after enduring all they've faced across the years.