The space soap opera continues with a handful of emotive moments and some stunning visual effects. Unfortunately, the show lacks any real suspense and falls into tired clichés.
This recap of the Apple TV+ series For All Mankind season 3, episode 9, “Coming Home,” contains spoilers.
Episode nine may be called “Coming Home,” but the remaining astronauts stranded on Mars are a long way from earth and currently have no viable means of leaving the red planet at all. With the help of NASA, they must fathom a way home before their short window of opportunity passes them by. There’s scandal over at the White House too and Aleida tries to prove Margo’s criminal misdeeds in the penultimate installment.
For All Mankind season 3, episode 9 recap
The show opens with a time lapse, as the crew dig out their buried MSAM (Mars Surface Access Module). This landing vehicle is their only hope of reconnecting with Phoenix. It was damaged in the drilling tragedy and is far too small for the nine crew members left behind though. To add to their worries, Kelly is now heavily pregnant and the astronaut’s suits are too tight for her new motherly build. Kelly and Ed are checked over by the Soviet doctor, who suggests their more flexible spacesuits instead. They then both listen to the baby’s heartbeat in a rare, touching moment from the show.
The news has reached back home and the media outlets go crazy at this pregnancy bombshell. It is labelled as a controversial birth, with news reports stating that the baby will technically be a Martian if they’re born on the red planet; that the whole story could be a political deflection; and NASA have been inundated with gifts for the unborn child. It’s a historic storyline and the show capitalizes on this unique angle.
The President may have had no say in Kelly’s pregnancy, but she is desperate for any form of deflection. The Mars mission is seen as a fiasco, Larry’s affair is spreading throughout Government and Ellen is threatened with the scandal being leaked if she doesn’t sign the new NASA bill. The government want full ownership of all future space travel decision-making and yearn to completely take control of NASA. Ellen Wilson refuses to sign off on the bill, yet she may have no other option. She’s even threatened with impeachment for obstruction of justice.
Aleida follows up on her own fight for justice. She rakes in Bill to assess her findings, believing Margo is the prime suspect in the case. Bill is shocked to see how similar the two engine designs are and brings in an FBI agent against Aleida’s wishes to proceed with the trial. Aleida tears down her wall of evidence and admits defeat, hurt by Bill’s betrayal.
Dev showcases his latest product, Calypso. This new spaceship will be more efficient and much more powerful than Phoenix. He believes it’ll lead to mining on Mars and the creation of a whole new civilization on the planet. The Board are flummoxed by his naivety, bringing up the deaths and the disaster they are still recovering from. They are currently extremely vulnerable to lawsuits and are hemorrhaging money at an alarming rate. Later, the Board decides to kick Dev out and want Karen to take over as CEO. She’s impressed them with her latest scheme, which entails selling the Phoenix spacecraft to NASA.
NASA are working night and day to plot a return journey for the stranded crew members. They find a North Korean docking system not far from Happy Valley and send a team to investigate. The drilling report is also forwarded to the crew, with Nick Corrado taken a significant proportion of the blame for the destruction. Danny has escaped the consequences once again, avoiding any prosecution due to Nick’s death. He seems infuriated by the injustice of it all, but won’t accept fault by owning up to his mistakes.
Larry decides to confess to his affair to the whole nation after weighing up all the other options. However, when he begins his speech, Ellen takes to the stand and announces her sexuality to the world, beating him to the punch. It’s an emotive sequence as she apologizes for lying for so long to everybody and then she makes some changes. Gay men and women are allowed to openly serve in the military and astronaut Will Tyler is awarded a medal for his bravery. Even Rolan accepts Will’s sexuality after this announcement.
The penultimate episode ends with pregnant Kelly passing out with pre-eclampsia. Then Danielle and the Soviet’s lead-astronaut journey to retrieve the North Korean docking system, but are faced with a rogue astronaut and his firearm.
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