For All Mankind season 3, episode 4 recap – “Happy Valley”

July 1, 2022
Adam Lock 0
Apple TV+, Streaming Service, Weekly TV


Clichéd space banter and predictable story beats aside, this episode ends in fine form, with a tense finale.

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Clichéd space banter and predictable story beats aside, this episode ends in fine form, with a tense finale.

This recap of the Apple TV+ series For All Mankind season 3, episode 4, “Happy Valley,” contains spoilers.

Access the archive of recaps, reviews, and news for the series.

The race to Mars heats up further in episode four, “Happy Valley”, as the three separate missions draw ever closer to the red planet. With that historic landing only days away and the ships only mere kilometers apart, the rival teams start to fight dirty and irresponsibly, all for that coveted prize. The battle for first place won’t be a pretty one or anything close to sportsmanlike and it may end in casualties too.

For All Mankind season 3, episode 4 recap

At the start of the episode, Helios are in first place with their Phoenix spacecraft. Ed and the crew are practically celebrating their victory, knowing it would take something major to trip them up now. Helios boss Dev congratulates the team and Danielle even calls from Sojourner-1 (NASA’s ship) to admit defeat. Kelly talks with her father, stating that being first isn’t everything. There’s a little harmless trash talk between the American counterparts, but Ed is highly suspicious that NASA is up to something. Usually, when things are going this well, it’s predictably too good to be true. Ed’s Spidey senses are rightfully tingling, Danielle has a trick up her sleeve.

Sojourner-1 initiates Operation Jolly Roger, which releases a pair of colossal solar sails from within the spacecraft. These wings will accelerate the ship’s speed and have their crew beat Helios by eight whole days. Dev is furious and starts to think recklessly, planning his next move and smashing a computer in anger. Danielle is on hand to smugly retort Ed’s earlier fighting talk, whilst the Russians call it a dirty trick on national news, as NASA takes first place.

The news segments bring us up to date on all the action back on earth. People are protesting the space race and the introduction of Helium-3, which is putting the fossil fuel industry out of business. President Ellen Wilson is struggling to keep a hold on the political landscape, with her plans falling apart. She decides to visit NASA’s headquarters in Houston to try and win back the voters. Her visit is welcomed by further protestors and her limo is even egged as she pulls up to the building. Ellen attempts to rally the troops and thanks them for their service. Margo may be in front, but she despises the new President and her abrupt appearance.

Back on the Phoenix and tensions are rising. Danny Stevens nearly gets into a fight with a crew member and Ed tries to calm the violent astronaut. On Sojourner-1, Kelly is warned by the Soviets of imminent danger and the Russians fire up their nuclear engines, ready to make their final advance. We’re informed that this assault will be a dangerous and unwise attack, but the Soviets are desperate. It doesn’t take long for their engines to malfunction and the Americans are faced with an almighty conundrum. The Russian crew looks set to perish, with their spacecraft in meltdown. Either of the American missions would have to sacrifice their own glory to rescue their enemies.

Ed instantly steps up to the plate and plans this sacrificial mission to save the Soviets. Dev is less than pleased by Ed’s heroics and puts the issue to a vote. His own team votes against the rescue mission, agreeing that NASA should save the day instead. Ed ignores Dev’s cowardly, selfish plans and moves forwards with the rescue mission anyway, although Dev fights back and assumes control of the Phoenix, forcing Ed to submit.

Dev and Margo have a rather heated debate over the phone. Margo relays this argument to Ellen, explaining that even though they have the larger ship, Helios won’t be helping the Russians. The President must make a snap decision, to soldier on and win the Mars race or help the enemy and forfeit their chances for glory. Ellen decides to do the right thing and help the Soviets.

The ending

In the final, tense scenes, Sojourner-1 approaches the Soviet’s Mars-94 spacecraft. It feels like a double-crossing is on the cards or some tragedy is forthcoming, with the filmmakers creating some palpable suspense. The Americans start to transport the survivors over to their ship, but disaster strikes. The Soviet ship collides with the Sojourner-1, crushing astronauts in the process. The episode cuts out sharply with at least three dead.

What did you think of For All Mankind season 3, episode 4? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Apple TV+.

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