The season 3 finale of For All Mankind blows everything up and kills everyone again

A few TV shows will do anything not killing beloved characters, even if the situation calls for it. Again and again, For all mankind has proven it’s not afraid to take down the Grim Reaper, and might even enjoy the narrative bloodshed. The explosive season 3 finale is no exception.

Spaceflight isn’t for the faint of heart, and the mission to Mars has amassed quite a number of people thanks to human error (look at you, Danny Stevens) and the cutbacks in trying to become the first nation (or private company), to enter the red planet. It’s been season of disaster after scenario as we explored new frontiers, leaving little time to recover from the physical and mental unraveling.

It’s not uncommon to end an episode and realize I’ve spent part of it yelling at the screen or holding my breath, whatever newfound space catastrophe happened. Let’s just say if I had a jar for when For all mankind running, I’d have enough for dinner and a movie – yes, in this climate!

(Warning: Spoilers ahead for For all mankindwhich premiered its Season 3 finale on Apple TV+ on Friday.)

From the opening flashback scene, Stranger in a Strange Land refuses to take their foot off the pedal, which is just as well – viewers have gotten used to it For all mankind Raising the stakes into a new stratosphere. After all, this season started with a space tourism disaster straight out of a 1970s disaster movie and now ends with several heart-pounding scenarios.

“Okay, that’s crazy. Apparently someone made a bet For all mankind showrunner that they couldn’t make every episode feel like a season finale.” a tweet, which sums up exactly what it feels like to watch this space show. Co-creators Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi wrote the finale and made sure to keep building the suspense – if that’s possible.

Instead of sending two fan favorites to their deaths in duct tape suits – last season’s big trauma – the astrophysicist crack must find a solution to get eight-months pregnant Kelly Baldwin (Cynthy Wu) from Mars when they do don’t have enough fuel for it. Oh, and they only have 24 hours to find out.

It’s far from the only issue on the list, as the penultimate episode’s cliffhanger revealed that the astronauts aren’t alone on Mars. No, For all mankind didn’t turn X-Files since the footprints in the sand belong to a North Korean astronaut actually won this space race. For once, a series justifies its longer run, and the nearly 90-minute portion packs a punch through to the final bar of Radiohead’s “Everything in Its Right Place,” which closes the episode.

Even if the armed first man on Mars is a challenge, it turns out that the most dangerous place in the finale is on Earth. As if one Stevens sibling killing people wasn’t enough, Jimmy (David Chandler) inadvertently befriends local terrorists who are blowing up Houston’s Johnson Space Center (JSC).

Oh, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.

Let’s take a breath, because the authors aren’t content with blowing up NASA’s Space Command, they also draw parallels to the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. (The alternate timeline is full of minor deviations from our own, which also includes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and Bill Clinton’s impeachment) It’s a nod, not meant to be subtle, as the image is uncanny in its resemblance to Timothy McVeigh’s attack on the Federal Building — to the point of Truck full of explosives. Yeah, those conspiracy theorists who told Jimmy it had more to do with his parents’ deaths a lot of to send more than just a video into the world.

Given how frustrating the Stevens boys have been this season, it’s remarkable that both the children of heroes Gordo (Michael Dorman) and Tracy Stevens (Sarah Jones) continue to wriggle in their long shadows. All roads lead back to her death when Jimmy’s radicalized cronies use the so-called holes in the moon rescue story to recruit the youngest Stevens. By contrast, everything Danny (Casey W. Johnson) does is a misguided attempt to live up to his name – while anger simmers beneath the surface. Seriously, that’s why therapy is important.

No, I don’t want to blame the couple for putting out a pair of flops, but it’s not easy being the descendant of larger-than-life characters whose memories are distilled in a blockbuster film, and a statue that no one has noticed stolen from JSC. For all of this season’s careful planning, the anti-NASA group somehow flew under every law enforcement radar. Karen Baldwin (Shantel VanSanten) has done more detective work in five minutes than the people who are paid to monitor threats.


karen did Saving Jimmy’s life, but that will be of some consolation to viewers and ex-husband Ed (Joel Kinnaman), who already blames a Stevens sibling for several deaths. I was positive Danny would reveal that he slept with Karen at some point this season. Danny kept his mouth shut, proving that for once he can do the right thing. Will this be a loose end that can never be resolved like the Russian? The sopranos or Peggy and Pete’s baby mad Men?

Karen sees a major misdirection as she walks around in a bold houndstooth power jacket and makes strides towards a future where she’s the CEO of Helios – long before she leaned over and girlboss took root. All eyes are on Ed and Kelly, but Karen is the one who doesn’t make it out alive. RIP to her fantastic voluminous wig and her ability to cut through shit.

Think of Wayne (Lenny Jacobson) losing his weed pal and woman in the same attack. No shit, Molly Cobb (Sonya Walger) dies like she lived: she made it her own way. “Self-serving dicks change the world,” she tells Karen earlier in the episode (I was sobbing on the second watch during that scene), and Molly is a classic self-serving dick with a heart of gold. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

For all mankind is at its best when it mixes gripping action with rich emotional stories reminiscent of a soap opera. Some of the scenarios and interpersonal dynamics border on the ridiculous, but it remains compelling. It’s infinitely watchable, even if hating the Stevens boys has become a weekly sport. Each new catastrophe is based on scenes of scientists sitting in front of a blackboard dreaming up the impossible. How do you get Kelly Baldwin to the Phoenix when there’s only enough fuel left to get 95 percent of the way there?

A ticking clock further adds to the excitement, and the stakes are incredibly high, with all the lives lost so far. In a soapy twist, baby daddy Alexei died following the recent landslide that Danny is responsible for and there will not be another heroic moment for this Stevens. Luckily, Ed’s “mistake” doesn’t lead to a quick route to redemption or his death — that would be too easy.

There are no bad ideas when brainstorming, and Aleida’s (Coral Peña) bold solution is to strap Kelly to the roof of the vehicle before pouncing on Phoenix. Here’s a new answer to whether you can fly in your third trimester. As for the holy shit moments, this last-ditch plan is heart-tugging, with the backing of composers Jeff Russo and Paul Doucette, who know when to hit the hopeful notes.


I’m not the only one who cries when Margo (Wrenn Schmidt) struggles to hold back her tears. It’s a farewell no one knows she’s giving as she sidesteps all spying for an enemy state (although she had good reason) by defecting to the USSR. This story feels direct The AmericanNot Just because several actors (including Schmidt) are from the FX spy series. The big, mind-blowing revelation at the end (this sequence is set on Radiohead’s Everything in Its Right Place) is that the year is 2003 and Margo lives in Russia. She didn’t die in the bombing, as we (and everyone else) believe. Her glasses may be smaller, but this is a living, breathing Margo.

A time jump is in order For all mankind last move, and there are many loose ends to deal with when we return. How will the remaining astronauts fare on Mars until Soujourner II arrives in 18 months? Danny is relegated to North Korean territory for his past crimes while the other team Lee-Jung Gil (CS Lee) won. Cosmonaut Grigory Kuznetsov (Lev Gorn) buried the weapon that Lee-Jung nearly used to kill himself, and Chekhov’s weapon stood on it entirely – and not just because a Russian planted it in the sand.

You can tell a lot happened in that finale because I haven’t experienced the full aftermath of President Ellen Wilson (Jodi Balfour) while she was still in office. What will happen to her presidency is unclear (although I suspect she will take Margo’s position at NASA), but she is finally free Larry’s (Nate Corddry) wig. “Now what have we done?” asks Ellen’s ex-girlfriend Pam (Meghan Leathers) like they’re in a rom-com, and I’m thrilled that at least one romance is alive and kicking.

keep surviving For all mankind is a win, although the physical integrity of the Stevens boys may seem like a loss. There everyone can die, it adds to the heartbreaking sequences that creators Wolpert, Nedivi and Ronald D. Moore don’t want to relegate to the finale.

It’s hard to imagine how they’ll crank up the voltage regulator in Season 4. Still, perhaps the biggest challenge will be convincing audiences that remaining originals like Ed, Dani, Margo and Ellen aren’t as youthful as the actors who play them. Either way, For all mankind strives for the impossible and always surpasses those starry heights. The season 3 finale of For All Mankind blows everything up and kills everyone again


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