Friday, December 29, 2023

REVIEW: 'For All Mankind' - Dev and Ed Team Up on a Crucial Mission While Kelly Begins Collecting Data in 'Legacy'

AppleTV+'s For All Mankind - Episode 4.08 "Legacy"

Plans are made with interplanetary ramifications. Ed begins working with an unexpected partner.

"Legacy" was written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle and directed by Maja Vrvilo

Everyone is looking to Goldilocks as the future of human expansion. The team on Earth is preparing the mission to redirect its trajectory to them so it can be mined. Meanwhile, Dev and Ed have assembled a team to disrupt that mission. They are eager to keep all the future prosperity on Mars. They never have to look to Earth ever again. That's a limited worldview. They are thinking beyond that possibility. Everyone else who abides by that mentality is simply too weak. Dev and Ed have such disdain for those who refuse to abide by their ambitions. It's still a constant battle for control over this asteroid with vast resources. Meanwhile, Kelly is overcome with hope and pride simply by looking out across a crater on Mars. Ed previously said he would hate it if the Mars colony became nothing more than a research center. That's the precise work Kelly is doing though. She's in pursuit of organic material. She is looking for possibilities far beyond the known existence of humanity. Her research has never been deemed the priority. Once more, everyone is looking elsewhere while only providing her with limited resources to prove her theory.

Kelly needed to travel to Mars to begin running her experiments. She brought Alex believing it would benefit his health. She fully expects her father to step up and look after his grandchild. However, he doesn't have a relationship with Alex. He wants credit for previously raising two children. He's the reason why Kelly became who she is. She's informed by everything Ed and Karen gave her. She has her own identity that was fostered as well. She is absolutely courageous. For the past eight years, she has stood strong while also leading her family. Her decisions must be respected. Ed is baffled by the schedule provided to him. He believes Alex is afraid and timid because he hasn't been allowed to engage with the world as it is. He's furious when Alex runs away in search of him. Alex wants to be with his grandfather. After all this time, it's finally a possibility. Meanwhile, Ed has very little time for him. Alex is useful when Dev and Ed need to break into the secure lockup. That's the only way to fully assemble the system to disrupt the mission to capture Goldilocks. It's not Ed thinking about what's best for Alex. He's prioritizing his own needs once again.

Meanwhile, Sam is the one caught in the most precarious position. She was on the previous mission that attempted to capture an asteroid. It ended in disaster. She saw the pain being inflicted on the Helios workers because they were incentivized to take risks. Personal safety was disregarded because they needed the money. The strike was busted by Dev. He now wants to redeem himself in the eyes of those who stood their ground. He values them as free thinkers. They stand firm in their convictions. They won't back down from a fight. In fact, their ranks grow because they need more assistance to pull off this mission. It still requires Sam to actually replace a crucial device on Ranger. She's constantly being monitored. Palmer wants to punish her for organizing the workers. Dev makes a genuine point in saying how that would be illegal. It's not from a place of compassion or true empathy. It's just the necessary move to keep his options open. Hope remains alive for all involved. They have the potential to reshape intergalactic politics with this move. It simply relies on Sam taking action despite serving on a ship where none of the crew is aligned with her. They remain loyal to the mission control back on Earth.

The stakes of these stories always project transformational possibilities across the ensemble. It's also worthwhile to spend time with the lives these choices ultimately produced for the characters. Sergei escaped the Soviet Union. He was given a new life in the United States. He was no longer involved in the space program. Instead, he teaches at a local high school in Iowa. It's a smaller life with fewer consequences. It's repetitive. He is still more free than he was previously. Margo made this happen. She fought to save his life. Just like the rest of the world, he believed she died during the attack on the Johnson Space Center. He too is stunned by her press conference revealing her defection to the Soviet Union. He reaches out to Aleida believing she is the only person who can possibly understand what he's going through. They share overwhelming feelings of betrayal. However, they are grateful for all that they have accomplished because Margo saw their potential and encouraged it. She believed in them when others did not. They're freedom has come at the expense of her own. She had no ability to make contact. She was a prisoner. She's still confined to a small life in Moscow. It has more responsibilities now with Irina in charge. However, that too has been a long manipulation in pursuit of massive results.

Irina was the KGB officer who oversaw the mission to turn Margo from NASA Administrator to a Soviet asset. She was the handler giving Sergei orders. Up until this point, Margo only knew Irina as the person who still saw something vital in her. Margo sought purpose. Her spirit was broken because she could no longer do the work. And now, she doesn't care which country benefits from her genius. She is simply glad to be relevant again. Her return to NASA is marked by everyone treating her coldly. They have no compassion for her or the decisions she made. She betrayed her country. This is a familiar environment. It no longer feels like home despite her attempts to make it so. She wants to enjoy a meal in the observation room just like she did many times previously. She certainly missed the food that's offered in America. She also knows how dangerous it is to meet Sergei. She still manages to slip her security detail to do so. That's how he passes along his dire message. Margo isn't some innocent bystander. She has shaped the space program more than anyone else. People are eager to use her abilities to their benefit. She is no longer in control despite the illusion. Irina trusts her to deliver for the Soviet Union. This internal tension defines the conflict on Earth. Meanwhile, the high-stakes nature of the mission plays out far away in space. The consequences will be felt everywhere. Everyone has a role to play. Their mindsets at the time will drastically shape the outcome. That's always been true. It still remains just as relevant and tense as always even while primarily setting up what's to come.