For All Mankind: A City Upon a Hill
December 19, 2019 10:56 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

The consequences of Ed's actions and the Apollo 24/25 mishap unfold. (NB this is not Apple TV+'s plot description, which has spoilers!)
posted by Major Clanger (23 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I am good with this. The season has had slower episodes but I feel that they really helped the build to this one. The after-credits scene has me really curious. There is not a great sense of scale but that thing is big.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 1:32 AM on December 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I thought this was a great episode. I guess I'll watch this series again, would love to see more. It sure grew on me. I'm pulling for Aleida.
posted by kingless at 12:49 PM on December 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

That rocket at the end was a Sea Dragon and yes it was much bigger than a Saturn V.
I think the series finale will feature a monolith being uncovered.
posted by Sophont at 10:17 PM on December 20, 2019 [7 favorites]

Yeah, this was pretty good overall. Glad Ed didn't jump the shark by killing the Astronaut. Karen Baldwin continues to be the highlight of the show. It was heartbreaking to see Deke's reaction to Ellen's confession and the subsequently Ellen thanking Larry in the TV broadcast.

That being said... I feel that this show is still very wobbly what it's about. I hope they do better in Season 2.
posted by KTamas at 5:24 AM on December 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Thank you for the summary above the cut.
posted by tilde at 6:45 AM on December 21, 2019

I am okay with how it wrapped up; not sure the consequences for Mikhael but we posited it might be good to see season 2 as the story from the Russian side of things.
posted by tilde at 8:01 PM on December 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Really enjoyed this. Very poignant and I’m glad we saw a somewhat realistic end to the Mikhail episode. Given his look at Jamestown, are we to assume he may have let himself in to drop a bug or for a spot of light sabotage? Perhaps the writers are just giving themselves the option.

I doubt this series will ever become a massive hit, and not just because it’s on Apple TV, but I anticipate a quietly expanding dedicated fanbase. Here’s hoping for three seasons, at least!
posted by adrianhon at 4:49 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also, that last speech from Ellen - dammit, they got me.

Good IGN interview with the showrunners on what’s in store for Season 2. Light spoilers but nothing beyond what you’d expect in a Season 2 trailer.
posted by adrianhon at 4:54 AM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Firstly, remember my gripe on credibility of some of the plot points last week?

Me: Oh, come on, there's no way a simple error could lead to a critical engine burn happening at the wrong time.
Boeing Starliner: Hold my beer liquid oxygen.

So I'm not going to nitpick too much this week about some of the rocket-science issues (no, that pair of little tanks isn't going to be enough to refuel an Apollo CSM). I'll just accept the technical bits and concentrate on what was in the end a pretty good drama. Presumably the events between Ed and Mikhail were dropped into the same we-shall-never-speak-of-this box as Gordo's breakdown and Ellie and Pam's relationship. One suspects that box might get opened up in Season 2 though.

I nearly punched the air during the post-credit scene! I'd been hoping for some upgraded Saturn V versions but the writers were clearly thinking, quite literally, bigger than that.
posted by Major Clanger at 6:51 AM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Of course, we should have guessed from the end title music that there was about to be a time-skip to the 1980s, although Everybody Wants to Rule the World wasn't released until 1985 rather than 1983. Mind you, Ron Moore does say that in their new timeline some things happen a bit earlier...
posted by Major Clanger at 7:16 AM on December 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

You got a post credit scene? I got a commercial for that doll thing.
posted by tilde at 12:48 PM on December 22, 2019

posted by tilde at 1:00 PM on December 22, 2019

Oh, I figured the tanks that Ed brought up were ultimately just going to be for the CSM RCS so they could stabilize the stack, but that was all very handwavey, no doubt. Hey Ed, maybe you coulda tethered the tanks before you just kinda hucked them across the gaping void to 24? And man, I'm not sure that the weirdnesses of orbital mechanics would've played a role in that sort of distance or if it would haven't had time to add up. There are a few videos out there of how cubesats behave after being deployed from the ISS, but they aren't exactly targeted, so it's hard to say if they cross the void in unexpected ways.

I liked Tracey and Gordo's apparent reconciliation after all of the shit they went through this season.

Assuming the post-credits scene is where we'll find the series picking up in S2, that's a 9 year gap from when Apollo 23 experienced the pad RUD in 8/74. I don't want to dig through subtitle files to get spoken timelines, but Apollo 24 was supposed to rescue Ed after 159 days on the moon. That's actually kind of impressive that 23 had a RUD and they figured out the solution for 24 in something less than 5 months but hey, TV and the Apollo era. I mean we've spent what, 14 years on the gotdang Constellation / Senate Launch Systems and only had one halfassed test flight in all that time? I thought I was cynical about NASA's willingness to resume manned spaceflight before, but I acknowledge that the Apollo era was different. So sure, maybe they could've stood up the Sea Dragon in 9 years, stranger things have happened.

Amy Shira Teitel did a video about the Sea Dragon that's pretty good.

But yeah, pleasant end to a solid season. Probably won't get the numbers they need if Apple insists on ATV+ being an actual revenue generating service, but I'm more than happy for it to just be a thing they do to burn off money in the hands of a creative team.
posted by Kyol at 8:39 PM on December 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Kyol, the showrunners had Von Braun allude to the Sea Dragon in his testimony in ep 2 so the idea is they’ve been working on it for even longer than nine years (via the interview I linked earlier).

Another small thing I loved about this ep was the “I stand relieved” moment. Three small words, one giant leap.
posted by adrianhon at 4:15 AM on December 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

Yeah that caught my spice’s attention, too. She shut him up by giving I’m a lawful, unambiguous order and it was his job to shut up and take it.
posted by tilde at 3:05 PM on December 24, 2019 [6 favorites]

*him a lawful
posted by tilde at 7:38 AM on December 25, 2019

Hey Ed, maybe you coulda tethered the tanks before you just kinda hucked them across the gaping void to 24?
Or, you know, just get the LEM a bit closer and hand the tanks to her instead of going for the 300 yard pass?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:21 PM on March 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

In advance of season 2, Apple has posted an AR time capsule app that covers some events in the timespan between seasons.
posted by mikepop at 6:45 PM on February 16, 2021

Also a podcast coming Friday along with season 2!
posted by ellieBOA at 3:19 AM on February 17, 2021

Stayed up far too late watching this, but the speech from Ellen and a freaking Sea Dragon launch made it so worth it.

I do hope that season two has less of characters being forced to carry the Idiot Ball, or maybe in this show it's the Toxic Masculinity Ball.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:33 AM on March 31, 2022 [1 favorite]

> I'm pulling for Aleida

I'm not sure what's going on with her. Our last sight was her walking on a street -- I presume she's homeless now?

Margo looked pregnant. I wonder if it's the character, or the actress, or if it's neither. Since I'm watching this (cue: spooky voice) in the future, I could look it up, but I don't want any spoilers. If we really are jumping ahead to 1993 I bet it's either just the actress or that I'm plain old wrong.

I appreciated that they didn't make Deke have a deathbed "I guess homophobia is wrong" moment. It was appropriate that he thought it was funny at first -- ha, Pam's a lesbian! the ladies are kissing! -- but then I presume it was his realizing that Larry was gay was what disgusted him.

I also appreciate all the comments here about what's going on. I haven't followed NASA beyond the headlines and didn't know that that was a Sea Dragon. Thanks for the context!
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:00 AM on June 16, 2022

I am also from the future (or as we call it now, the more recent past) and had the joy of watching this for the first time this week on a binge watch. Full in the knowledge there's at least two more seasons and everyone loves the show. So that was a lot of fun.

But it's kind of an odd show. On one hand it's a highly realistic science fiction / alternate history story about the American space program. On the other hand it's a soap opera where melodramatic events happen every week and everything so much. I think on the balance the melodrama squeezed out the scifi more than I would have preferred. Killing off Shane randomly was one step too many and while I appreciate all the character events that happened as a result I'm hoping there's a little less of that in coming seasons. I want the drama to come from the space program and the historical period.

Agreed with the comments above that Deke's reaction to Ellen's coming out was very well done. I was ready for some smarmy near-death epiphany, I mean it's right there in the writing when Deke says "it didn't matter you were women". He's so close! But his reaction of disgust felt real and true to the time to me and I appreciated them not whitewashing the homophobia.
posted by Nelson at 7:16 AM on July 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

"This is the moon, mister, it belongs to everyone."

"I'm good, the astro wife is smiling, and Dennis is seasick."

"I'll just call the president back in the middle of his Christmas dinner and and let him know that once again, our good news has turned into shit."

Margo near-crying! Tracy near-crying! Gordo actually being sweet!

Deke, you're dying, maybe don't lecture Ellen about being a lesbian right now?

" has made him even more soft and cuddly than usual."

"There's too many people in the world like me, and it's all they'll see."

"You can stand in my way, or you can fuck right off, those are your options."

"You see that, Deke?.... " :(

Wow. I binged this first season all day and holy shit, I'm tired. And pleased for the survivors. And this distracted me from my own shit, which i am eternally grateful for.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:57 PM on February 18, 2023 [3 favorites]

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