Still overly long and steadily paced, episode three lacks any heightened drama. Margo and Sergei’s relationship heats up, and the three competing missions race towards that 94 launch date.
This recap of the Apple TV+ series For All Mankind season 3, episode 3, “All In,” contains spoilers.
The three-way space race is ramping up on For All Mankind, as NASA and the Russians speed up their launch dates to challenge Helios for that 1994 departure. In episode three, “All In”, the two American competitors try to steal one another’s crew members with that all-important launch date looming. It’s another slow and steady instalment, with the sci-fi excitement of the premiere now a distant memory.
For All Mankind season 3, episode 3 recap
A clever montage starts off proceedings. Margo and Sergei meet in the same lift at the same IAC Convention in London every year. Each passing meeting their clothes and hairdos alter slightly, whilst the simmering flirtations build. In 84 it’s an awkward encounter, whereas by 91 they touch hands. Their unusual relationship continues at the latest convention. Helios founder Dev can be seen sweet talking guests, whilst Margo and Sergei head straight for the hotel room with a bottle of booze at the ready. There’s no messing around this time.
Meanwhile, Danielle and Danny are asked to fast forward their training and recruitment process, compressing the schedule to fit within the launch window. Stresses are high and Danny Stevens isn’t coping well. He’s back drinking and seems happy to cheat on his new wife. The astronaut meets a woman at a bar and the two go skinny dipping in a stranger’s pool, as you do. Danny is subsequently arrested, but evades any prison time on status alone. Danielle worries about the struggling alcoholic and bans him from any further flying. Ed and the Helios team are quickly on hand to swoop in and nab the astronaut.
Helios themselves are making leaps and bounds with their mission. Ed and Karen are guided around the new and improved Polaris by the entrepreneur Dev. He’s made many adjustments to the spacecraft, hoping to make it more efficient and safer than before. Ed is impressed with the potential of this space ship and the vast advancements. This is after all completely different from NASA’s cramped ships. Ed is concerned by the automated ship though and disagrees with some of Dev’s approach. Luckily Dev is happy to make adjustments.
Ed’s daughter Kelly returns from Antarctica and asks to join NASA’s program. It’s a shock to Danielle and later Kelly’s parents too, but a decision that actually makes a lot of sense. Kelly argues that NASA will be more science orientated and she doesn’t want to get to Mars on nepotism alone. She wants to be valued for her own contributions. Danielle accepts her offer and eventually Kelly’s parents are talked round as well. They’re all just proud of one another’s achievements. It’s a feel-good moment, with Ed and Karen happy their daughter is becoming independent. Other members switch teams as well or reject offers. Bill Strausser is poached by Helios and accepts, whilst Aleida turns down Karen Baldwin.
Let’s get back to Margo and Sergei at the Convention, and that awkward first kiss. Things pick up after the initial small talk, although Sergei stops early on, confessing his anxieties. He tries to persuade Margo into providing him with NASA’s engine designs, but she flat-out refuses. Things take a sinister turn and Sergei’s cronies arrive to intimidate Margo. It all leaves a sour taste in the mouth, as Margo is threatened by the Russians. They show her incriminating photographs with Sergei, stating she will be seen as a spy or traitor in the US. Margo won’t budge though, even when Sergei is strangled. The Soviets pass Margo a number to call if she changes her mind.
The episode ends with a sudden jolt forwards in time. All three missions launch within the same two week window, all heading to Mars. It’s quite a detaching sequence, with the show happy to jump forwards in time without hesitation. Ellen Wilson is now the President and she phones Margo to congratulate her on the successful launch. Hopefully the series will deliver some action again, as we head towards the red planet and an imminent showdown between the three competing crews.
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