Friday, November 17, 2023

REVIEW: 'For All Mankind' - Danielle Reunites with Ed While Aleida and Kelly Work on a New Project in 'Have a Nice Sol'

AppleTV+'s For All Mankind - Episode 4.02 "Have a Nice Sol"

New Helios employees arrive on Mars as NASA undergoes major changes.

"Have a Nice Sol" was written by David Weddle & Bradley Thompson and directed by Lukas Ettlin

Danielle and Miles have wildly different experiences upon landing at Happy Valley. Several months have now passed since Grigory's death. The base still mourns his loss. That hasn't changed the basic structures of this environment. Everyone professes a message of unity. Governments follow the example of the crew that first landed on Mars eight years ago. That unit survived for a year waiting for more supplies to arrive. Danielle hasn't returned since then. Ed never left. What Happy Valley has become is ultimately his vision for human expansion. He believes everyone should remain in awe of standing on another planet. So many never believed this was possible. He has been at the center of the mission making it all happen. His leadership has brought civilization to this moment. He has earned the respect he commands throughout the base. However, he doesn't empathize with the concerns that have led to a divided society. It's an upstairs-downstairs approach of who matters and who is ultimately viewed as disposable.

Grigory wasn't the only person who died in the mission to start mining astroids. He's the only one people are willing to remember. He was guided by patriotism. He stood for something larger than himself. He represented his country proudly. Everyone expects him to be around the next corner with his sense of optimism for the future. He risked it all in the pursuit of changing lives. Meanwhile, the Helios workers are motivated solely by money. They shouldn't be shamed for prioritizing that. That's the way the system has been set up. Everything on the base has a price. The private company totals all of that up. That maintains a connection to the capitalistic society back on Earth. The company lures its employees in with all these amazing promises. Reality on Mars is far from that. Miles was convinced this mission was worth leaving his family for two years. He now sees the magnitude of that sacrifice. It's too late to make another choice. He's stuck in this environment. He's at the complete mercy of whatever his superiors seek to extract from him. He's a hired hand and nothing more.

Danielle isn't oblivious to the divisions amongst the people. She's told about the bandwidth problem right away in the lower decks. She only has one brief interaction with Miles. They are completely inconsequential to each other. And yet, they serve as the examples for how life is wildly different on this base. Danielle has obviously suffered horrendous conditions in the past. She fought for something greater as well. She's committed to the mission. She also understands the plight of those who believe they were misled. Those workers are suppose to suffer simply because Helios believes it can do no wrong. It designed its satellite so that it couldn't be fixed. That's a horrible design flaw. It ensures the mission remains dependent on the private company. They are in charge of the schedule of when things get fixed. They get to create a new satellite and determine when it ships out. Danielle shows initiative. She aims to unite the crew. Seeing a soccer match for the first time in months is just the first step. She wants everyone to be completely honest with her. She has such a strong connection with Ed. But they still have different perspectives on the struggles people are meant to endure in the name of the greater good. She won't tolerate that while he has grown accustomed to the influence he wields over the station.

Ed has simply abandoned Kelly in the process. She hasn't responded to his message detailing the latest extension of his mission. She understands the sacrifice and the call to serve. She was raised to completely idolize NASA. Her career led her to follow in her father's footsteps. Even when she's angry at him, she doesn't believe she can walk away from the institution she has spent her life revering. That's just not in her nature. She will continue to suffer. She believes that is the natural thing to do. She wallows over a couple of shots. Her research has been scrapped so Eli can redirect money to the asteroid project. He must maintain a sense of fiscal responsibility. That's the image he projects. Lives are disrupted as a result. He would gladly take Aleida back. However, she physically can't cope at NASA anymore. She hears Margo's voice in her head. She feels the pressure of disappointment. However, the agency isn't the only way they can make a difference in the world. Aleida and Kelly only meet for the first time now. Through that commiseration, they feel emboldened and exhilarating by the promise of changing the world. That's a real possibility for them if they have the courage to break free of the system that has held them back for years. They need each other for that confidence. And now, they are excited by what comes next.

Of course, that moment of discovery also comes at a moment of unrest elsewhere in the world. The Soviet people are in the dark about what has happened to their leader. Margo was told to be patient. Her sacrifice would be rewarded at the proper time. She notices the disruptions to society. She asks questions. She investigates. She's caught in the crossfire. She doesn't know what's going on. It all presents as the government falling apart. The Soviet Union no longer immediately presents as a strong and noble nation. The people remain full of pride in their national identity. Something has clearly shifted. It's chaos and confusion. Margo is no longer being monitored. Even then, she doesn't feel the confidence to break free of her patterns. She still embarks on the same day as always. It's impossible to avoid the disruptions though. She's curious about them as well. The police demand compliance. The citizens should remain inside. Any agitators will be met with violence. People are confused. A street vendor shouldn't abide by the order to close up his business for the day with no explanation. He's forced into compliance. A riot breaks out. Margo defends the people she has relied on for years. She simply doesn't have the influence to make much of a difference anymore. And so, she's whisked away in the disruption. Answers will probably be forthcoming. The world is changing. It's just unclear what comes next.