Friday, December 8, 2023

REVIEW: 'For All Mankind' - The Pain of the Past Causes Further Tension in Ed and Danielle's Fraying Dynamic in 'Goldilocks'

AppleTV+'s For All Mankind - Episode 4.05 "Goldilocks"

A discovery sends teams across Earth and Mars scrambling for answers.

"Goldilocks" was written by Jovan Robinson and directed by Sylvain White

One discovery in the far reaches of space can drastically change the entire world. The asteroid mining program was commissioned because of the inherent promise of the materials that would be discovered. It offered the possibility of Happy Valley becoming self-sustaining. It also offered the potential of dramatically changing life on Earth. Humanity has already moved forward in crucial ways because of the prosperity of the space race. And now, every news report details the ways in which this singular asteroid holds the promise of a more prosperous future. Whomever controls the minerals will dictate the path forward for the entire human race. It puts the unity of the M7 nations to the test once more. They face one diplomatic crisis after another. They solve one issue only to immediately be flung into another. That's often the nature of diplomacy. It's all about recognizing how these partnerships can be beneficial for both sides despite their differences. The Soviet Union is at risk of losing its control of an entire market. They move out of fear. Everyone else sees the potential for them to move ahead.

A narrative forms about the prosperity that can only be found in space. This asteroid was discovered simply from appearing as a spec on a satellite image. That innocent discovery is transformational. It's the inspiration for Dev to finally make the journey to Mars. He no longer sees Earth as a sustainable society worthy of his inclusion. He's willing to walk away from all humanity. He doesn't cherish his heritage like his mother does. He sees a better world amongst the stars. He has the means to make it a reality. Of course, people on Happy Valley understand they don't live amongst a utopia. Dev is driven by this false reality of what has been built elsewhere. It's better to run away and never look back. He believes that's what his mother did. She killed his father's dream and crushed any hope of a fulfilling life. Dev has spent his life trying to live up to that ambition. It has never been a bad thing. As a powerful CEO, he believes he gets to do whatever he wants. He operates with that freedom. He doesn't consider how it impacts others. And yet, they have lives too. They are willing to make different choices. That highlights how grounded they are while Dev remains painfully alone.

Kelly refuses to let her project be sidelined once more. She expects that once Dev makes his announcement. He gained the confidence to reclaim his company because Kelly and Aleida reignited his hope in the mission. He has never been engaged by the daily aspects of running this company. He believes the responsibilities can easily be handed off to Aleida. She has never served in that kind of role before. And now, she has to operate with all this immense power. She offers a different perspective. Kelly believes she will actually be pretty good at it. She just needs to step confidently into the role with as much passion as she has devoted to many projects over the years. Meanwhile, Kelly doesn't have to abandon her son to accomplish her dream. That doesn't have to be a choice that plagues her. She leads with compassion. Her empathetic nature has been strong from a young age. Life will be difficult for Alex during the travel to Mars. However, he may serve as the crucial next step for what this colony can become. Space travel is becoming more accessible. People reside on Happy Valley without having much training as astronauts. They are at the complete mercy of Helios. Some still believe in the overall ideals of this company and the good faith negotiations for prosperity amongst the unified countries in control of the base.

In command though, Danielle sees how Ed has fooled everyone into believing he's still capable of doing this job. He must remain in control of the flight crew. He is the only person who can be trusted to accomplish any dangerous mission in space. He has to be at the forefront of the story. He's even crucial to Kelly's plan to care for her son without disrupting her work. She doesn't talk about that with him first. Moreover, he may not even be commissioned on Mars for much longer. Danielle relieves him of his command. It simply took one man to report an issue knowing he would be respected for doing so. It's not the news Danielle wants to hear. It's a further extension of the tension with Ed following Svetlana's departure. Ed is antagonistic to Danielle's command. He views her as making countless mistakes just like she did with Danny. In the years since that tragedy, Ed has placed all the blame on Danielle for what happened. In reality, she sacrificed everything to ensure Danny maintained a life for as long as he did. He still died. Danielle carries that burden. She retired believing she couldn't reckon with the consequences of that betrayal. However, it was a group decision to banish Danny for the damage he caused. He had to be held accountable for his actions. No one else was going out of there way to reach out to his humanity. He couldn't come back. He was left with no hope. Danielle was the messenger. She wasn't the only one who should be burdened by this tragedy.

Ed was in an authority position from the moment Danielle joined the space program. He has always operated with that superiority over her. Of course, they've bonded as friends over the years. They've supported each other throughout the most turbulent of times. They've built remarkable careers that have earned the admiration of the entire universe. They carry secrets too. They know the truth of their shared story. They can't hide from each other. Ed deflects. He believes he is the best man for the job. He doesn't see Danielle's motives as genuine. They are just a way to get back into the helm as a pilot. That's what she has always wanted. That isn't true. Danielle is looking out for the crew. She doesn't have any evidence that Ed hiding a medical condition has compromised any mission. Him taking that risk is dangerous enough to question his judgment. He is no longer of sound mind to lead. He lashes out because his leadership has never been questioned before. He has made numerous mistakes. He's been insulated for so long. Danielle is in command. She expects him to move in sync with her decisions. They can have disagreements. The tension extends beyond that now. This is about the lack of respect and trust. It will take time to build that back up. That's what they don't have given the short window to capture a precious asteroid and redirect the story of the human race.