Another slow-burner that saves all its excitement for the finale. And what an ending it is. Enthralling drama with some rather impressive special effects.
This recap of the Apple TV+ series For All Mankind season 3, episode 5, “Seven Minutes of Terror,” contains spoilers.
It’s a somber start on For All Mankind, with the now combined crew of Russians and Americans on Sojourner-1 mourning the loss of three of their team mates. The dead astronauts are released into space with the show exhibiting some of its impressive special effects shots. In episode five, the two rival missions must work together to battle Helios for that historic first Mars landing.
For All Mankind season 3, episode 5 recap
The Russians make themselves at home in NASA’s Houston HQ, demanding Margo’s unquestionable cooperation. They want to continue their own specific mission objectives, but Margo was unaware of these requests. The Soviets need special equipment and satellites, although Margo withholds the technology unless her Russian counterpart and friend Sergei is brought to her. She gives them two weeks to provide evidence of his existence and to bring the engineer to Texas.
On Helios, Ed’s crew manage to hack the system and regain control of their ship. Ed contacts Dev to inform him of this mutiny and call the entrepreneur dishonorable, due to his decision to selfishly leave the Russians to die. Because of this disagreement, Karen resigns. Whilst over on the Sojourner-1, the Americans try to adjust to their new life with the Soviets. Poletov thanks Kelly for saving them, implying that he was the astronaut who contacted her, asking for help. There are sparks of romance afoot with these two and Kelly bashfully smiles to herself.
Back on Earth and Aleida has uncovered Margo’s deepest secret. She has realized that the Russians stole her engine designs and used them for their own spacecraft. Aleida informs Margo of the scandal. She tries to act surprised and downplays its significance. They have bigger fish to fry, with both opposing missions fighting for that first place spot on Mars’ rocky surface. Sergei arrives to add further stress. He appears weaker than before, with a bald head and a rather nasty cough. Sergei explains how he was imprisoned and tortured for his betrayal. Margo vows to get him and his family safe asylum in the US.
Both ships are in Mars’ orbit now, ready to land, although a growing dust storm upends any early celebrations. Helios monitor this disruption, hoping to capitalize on any early signs of the storm waning. While the crews wait, there’s just time for Kelly and Poletov to steal a kiss, whilst Ed and Danny talk about Karen in a candid discussion. Danny is fast become the villain of the piece and the naïve astronaut pushes Ed for information on the affair. Ed doesn’t know who slept with Karen, but he threatens to kill whoever did, when he finds out.
It’s then the day of the landing. Margo calls the landing “Seven Minutes of Terror”, with Sergei adding that the Mars landing will be trickier than the moon landing ever was. It all builds to the suspense for an exciting finale, as the two missions access their options. The storm is clearing slightly, but with vision compromised it’s a risky maneuver. Ed of course goes for it and Helios make the first move. Danielle chooses to hold back, even though the Russians strongly disagree. As visibility clears, Danielle changes her mind and her crew rocket towards the red planet. At the last minute Ed aborts and Danielle’s team are victorious.
NASA wins the space race and celebrates in style. Margo tells Sergei that she will make sure that he and his family are kept in America no matter what. All that is left is those historic first steps on Mars. Danielle prepares her team, but the Russian leader usurps her hierarchy and goes for the exit. Danielle chases after him and manages to step foot on Mars at the very same time as the Russian. The footage broadcasts globally of the two stepping out together and then falling, possibly even tussling on the planet’s surface. This new alliance hasn’t got off to the best of starts.
What did you think of For All Mankind season 3, episode 5? Comment below.