For All Mankind: Bring it Down
July 21, 2022 10:06 PM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

A joint mission brings about conflict between crew members.

Danny turns on, tunes out, and hits rock bottom. Aleida gets to the bottom of the stolen engine design. Jimmy reclaims his past. Ellen tries to go home again. Sergei outlives his usefulness. Margo shows emotions. The Sojourner crew is disgruntled.

No non-robotic animals were harmed in the filming of this episode. Kelly hangs up on people. Ed just dares you to hit him. North Korea has nothing to add.
posted by cardboard (46 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Turns out there’s life on Mars and it’s Tremors.
posted by sixswitch at 10:12 PM on July 21 [4 favorites]


Wait so next episode is gonna be…a long maybe deadly conversation or fight between Danny and Ed, a long maybe politically deadly conversation or fight between Ellen and Pam, and… Aleida going to an IG?
posted by sixswitch at 10:20 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Gosh, I really hope Danny Stevens dies soon. I don’t actually think it’s going to happen, but every plot line he’s part of is just the worst. The problem with the multi-generation aspect of this show is that it feels like he’s gonna be around for the next like 5 seasons.

Also, stealing that statue was some weak-ass nasa terrorism. I could really do without either Stevens kid.

Did love the brief, quiet meal amongst the NASA astronauts, though. Guess they’ll be busier soon helping save Helios & Russia from whatever’s happening with that fucked up aquifer.

(A+ plot summaries, cardboard, thank you for your service)
posted by lillielillie at 10:35 PM on July 21 [4 favorites]


This is the episode that started to push over into Prometheus territory for me. Shenanigans leading to catastrophe in earlier seasons was usually the result of misunderstanding or misfortune, but this season it seems like all these ostensibly highly trained, professional people in one of the highest risk scenarios imaginable are complete idiots. Oh, the super unreliable asshole who's been uncommunicative and hostile, not to mention abusing drugs? Yeah let's leave him alone in the room while managing a mission-critical mechanical operation. That'll be fine. Oh, you're all highly trained xenobiologists? Better take off your helmet on an alien planet and get your face real close to a mysterious space organism.

Same kind of dumb, same kind of dramatic tension I don't love.
posted by wakannai at 2:41 AM on July 22 [9 favorites]


I don't understand how they needed the security pass to steal the statue outside the front door, so I wonder if the Hillbilly Underground are keeping that for later shenanigans. The drill design, where you need a remote operator controlling a critical function with no local override/shutdown is probably lazy writing to advance the plot, but could always be construed as a scathing critique of companies like Tesla/SpaceX or Virgin Galactic that like to field flashy hardware while it's still in Beta.

Danny is a plot device more than a character at this point. Jimmy is pathetic, but at least he seems human.
posted by cardboard at 5:58 AM on July 22 [5 favorites]


this season it seems like all these ostensibly highly trained, professional people in one of the highest risk scenarios imaginable are complete idiots.

I agree, but I think that's the point? Like, the NASA crew is... fine. It's the Helios crew that is fucking up, and I think that's on purpose to highlight the discrepancies in training and procedure a for-profit mission would have compared to NASA or even the Soviets. But the show is moving too fast to make that clear.

I hope next season they trim some of the plotlines. We've got way too much going on and not enough time to do any of them justice.
posted by rhymedirective at 6:30 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Karl Rove is even pulling the strings in an alternate timeline.
posted by emelenjr at 9:49 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Like, the NASA crew is... fine. It's the Helios crew that is fucking up

Apart from the decision to land in a dust storm that broke the ship, the drunken party after landing, the crewmember secretly communicating with and sleeping with the Soviet cosmonaut, the gay astronaut deciding to make a personal/political announcement, the homophobic astronaut unable to keep his personal prejudices in check....

On the other hand, NASA probably wouldn't have left the IT guy in charge while they were doing hazardous drilling operations.

Like you say, there's too many things going on with every character at once, and too many highly-trained people forgetting their training. The exploration story, which should be providing it's own stresses, is overshadowed by all interpersonal drama all the time.
posted by cardboard at 10:04 AM on July 22 [7 favorites]


So much idiot ball catching, so much telenovella-worthy drama, this doesn't feel the same show as S1. For S1 (and most of S2) I would happily rewatch immediately. Now it's a watch once to find out what has happened - I still have some engagement - but it's nowhere close to the 'omg what now!!!' of previous years.

It just feels ...lazy right now.
posted by ewan at 1:29 PM on July 22 [4 favorites]


Aside from it being a drag to watch Danny and Jimmy, it is also hard to imagine some of the other plot line set ups turning into anything interesting. White House scandal? Margot’s Senate hearings? Hillbilly Underground’s real mission? Karen directing operations from her new office? I am a bit worried that they are setting up a lot of boring ass non-space stuff. Kelly, find some deadly Martian life form please!
posted by snofoam at 2:48 PM on July 22 [4 favorites]


It seems odd that you’d be drilling an aquifer from the top of a ridge, but maybe I’m just not understanding the geography (and hydrology?) of this.
posted by jimw at 10:18 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Season 4 is a go.
posted by fairmettle at 11:49 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Danny! I can't believe he caused a disaster! If only someone had some kind of hint that he was going to be a problem. Like, I don't know, if something happened IN EVERY EPISODE SINCE SEASON 2 EPISODE 1 to give them some kind of idea.

Astronaut loses his cool, starts smashing things, and talks back to his superior? Let's leave him alone with one other guy. And other guy, go ahead and leave him in charge of something important. I mean, we were all expecting a Dannysaster*, but why make it basically happen because of Nick's incompetence?

Ergh. Otherwise:

- Ellen realizes she's teetering on the brink of political disaster. What a great time to visit an old girlfriend, nobody will notice that, right?

- The hillbilly underground went to all that trouble to steal a badge, and used it to get OUTSIDE THE NASA BUILDING? I hope they're conning Jimmy and they have something else planned, but maybe it could happen off camera because they're all so boring.

- I liked the farewell with Margo and Sergei and the drama with Aleida, who I assume is about to be transferred to the Antarctica station where Kelly used to work.

- Nick was really annoying with that toy dog. I felt a tiny bit of Danny's pain.

- Did Kelly's boyfriend survive? I think we just lost the female cosmonaut? It was hard to tell.

Season 4 is a go.

I'm actually pleased, I really do enjoy this show. Aside from the Danny of it all.


* Dannyvalanche?
posted by mmoncur at 12:10 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Danslide?
posted by snofoam at 3:41 AM on July 23 [5 favorites]


That was a bad episode in so many ways. Can someone just throw Danny out of an airlock?
posted by octothorpe at 5:45 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Every well written drama on TV eventually becomes a soap opera.
posted by COD at 5:51 AM on July 23 [7 favorites]


there's a lot of hate for Danny (including me), and a lot of self-hate from Danny - what worries me is that he made a point of being injured Ed's lone rescuer where it seems almost too easy to "fix" his situation by "accidentally" removing the tape patch and depressurizing Ed's suit......
posted by alchemist at 7:47 AM on July 23


and i saw my reflection
in the dome of my suit
til a danslide
brought me down

cuz mars makes us bolder
weirdo children get older
and i’m getting
older too
posted by sixswitch at 12:59 PM on July 23 [10 favorites]


Poor Aleida -- her loyalty refuses to let her believe Margo could be doing anything wrong, even when it's the only explanation that makes sense.

That scene with the bulletin board! I love Tracy Stevens to a ridiculous degree, so when the kid walked away with that security badge and the show made it clear he was Not Participating in that moment, it was a real wrench.

The thing with Ed's leadership style is that it always comes back to the general that gave him a fifth of whiskey and told him not to surface until his head was on straight. Turns out that that's a terrible way to heal someone! But I think Danny will ultimately want to save Ed, because as much as he hates Ed....he still loves him? Danny's extremely screwed-up issues with his parents have been displaced onto the Baldwin's. (Or I'm completely wrong and he'll take the first possible chance to kill Ed! But it just feels like he's as obsessed with Ed as he is with Karen.)

I feel bad for Karen re: Danny. She made one mistake, one time. But now it feels like she's inevitably caught up in his meltdown, even though she's spent the last decade trying to erect all the right barriers.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:16 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Oh the hudannyty

That’s one small misstep for Dan
One giant creep for Dankind

Oh Danny
You came and you took without giving
But we never sent you away oh Danny

Oh, Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are falling
From drill to drill, and down the mountainside.
The Oxy’s gone, and all the readouts rising,
It's you, it's you must go so plot may die.
posted by sylvanshine at 9:35 PM on July 23 [6 favorites]


Maybe Danny will get to sacrifice himself and get some kind of redemption that way. They’ll have to do something to make it feel earned though.
posted by boogieboy at 10:28 PM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Every well written drama on TV eventually becomes a soap opera.

Don't mention the war.
posted by fairmettle at 2:28 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Poor Aleida -- her loyalty refuses to let her believe Margo could be doing anything wrong, even when it's the only explanation that makes sense.

Danny aside, the most clumsily-written scene in the whole episode was when Aleida--who has been portrayed as being one of the smartest engineers NASA has ever seen and also street-smart-- walks out of Margo's office, then down a hall, then into an elevator, then down another hall, then a cartoon light bulb appears above her head and she turns dramatically to look at the picture of Margo in the lobby...

It's a very emotional situation for both of them but that moment made it seem silly.
posted by mmoncur at 2:54 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


Whose fault is it that this once-great show become laughably bad? They should be fired.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:13 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


a cartoon light bulb appears above her head
I think she figured it out when she said "since when does Margo give breaks?"

I do like how her husband (ex?) figured it out in a few minutes on a park bench, though.

I'm not sure how many people died in that avalanche, but it's just insane. You know that if launch dates were pushed up by 2 years the orders for the humans would be "go outside once, then sit in this foam crate and don't even think about anything dangerous"
posted by Acari at 6:56 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


As far as I can tell from Wikipedia, it's been the same creative team for all three seasons. Nichole Beattie wrote this episode and has written episodes in seasons 1 and 2 also and Ronald Moore has been the showrunner all along.
posted by octothorpe at 7:00 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I'm not noticing a decline in quality; it's always been soapy sci fi.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:45 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


It's always been soapy but it felt a little more earned before. Danny turned into a raging drug addict in about 10 minutes for no other reason than to provide a plot-point.
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


a cartoon light bulb appears above her head
I think she figured it out when she said "since when does Margo give breaks?"


I got the impression that she figured it out when it was suggested that the guilty party wasn't someone below her. The confrontation over the culprit with Margo was a ruse to see if she'd own up or dig in. What we witness after is the deep disappointment, disgrace and dishonor she feels having invested so much in her relationship. I guess to her credit, Margo tried to deflect from Aleida's proposed suspect, and put the end to her search, but I think that just cemented Aleida's suspicion over Margo's guilt.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:33 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]


I'm still on the side of "this show is good" even though I can see some of the issues being raised here are definitely things to keep an eye on. The problem with Danny having the same addiction issues as his dad are that we had reason to sympathise for Gordo and we haven't been given that same time to feel anything for Danny.

I love the big leaps of time between seasons but this puts pressure on the series to really seed the changes between seasons in the early episodes. In the first episode of this season, we saw Danny still obsessed with Karen because he slept with her once a decade ago!

Whereas I feel like Ellen and Larry's story has been a kind of slow burn, even with the jump into the Presidency! The fallout from the story of the truth about their sexualities has been a long time coming. Putting them in the Oval Office is slightly over-egging the pudding but I connect with this emotionally.

Ronald Moore has been the showrunner all along.

Ronald Moore was the showrunner for the first two seasons. His co-creators Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi are now running the show, even though Moore says he works closely with them, I don't think he's there day-to-day. I think this explains the shift in the way stories are being told.
posted by crossoverman at 4:28 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


I think we were supposed to feel sorry for Danny / see the cause of his addition being because his parents died suddenly, on the Moon. But I don't feel for him at all, he's just annoying, please write him off the show.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:10 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I'm still waiting for Chekhov's North Korean Un?manned Rocket to make an appearance. Even if there was no secret astronaut inside, where is it? It seems like this is the desirable area of the planet for landings, but we haven't seen anyone even wondering where it is or mentioning it since they arrived. Is there going to some sort of robot rover? Are they going to scavenge the rocket for parts after this disaster? Turn it into a brig for Danny?
posted by mikepop at 7:22 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


I don't want the Korean rocket to be an end of season reveal or anything. I want to see some of the ramifications for that now.
posted by crossoverman at 5:24 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Mars seems to be about 5 KM wide so I assume that the NK rocket will take out one of the bases.
posted by octothorpe at 5:36 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


I'm not noticing a decline in quality; it's always been soapy sci fi.

The following is clearly IMO

I'd certainly agree with the later, it was there in S1. But what was also there in S1 was an air of competence in the characters... and I like "competence porn"'. Case in point, the final bomb run in Dr Strangelove, and it's just all checklists, done competently, and serving the story. I'm not meant to understand everything and all the numbers, but I can understand the impact.

I saw that in FAM's Apollo 15 LEM descent. It was missing in the MSAM/Helios descent. And without the former, it's hard for me to balance out the telenovela angst that feels more like a bad Jane the Virgin "show in a show" moment.
posted by ewan at 6:23 PM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Are they going to scavenge the rocket for parts after this disaster?

I was wondering if we were going to get into a "Flight of the Phoenix" scenario. I mean, thr Helios craft is called Phoenix, so...
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:05 AM on July 26


I agree Aleida was testing Margo, she didn’t actually suspect her assistant. Although running a credit check in the 90s wasn’t super easy to do for no reason.
posted by tilde at 11:32 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I agree Aleida was testing Margo, she didn’t actually suspect her assistant.

No, I don't think this is right. She absolutely doesn't think it's Margo until she sees her portrait in the foyer when she's walking away from the conversation. It's only then when it hits her. If she really thought it was Margo all along, why have that moment of staring at the photograph? We're debating soap opera here, but that's some heavy-handed shit if she already thought it was Margo.
posted by crossoverman at 6:18 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


I don't think she was testing Margo either, but I will accept that she has a HUGE blind spot for Margo. She basically worshipped her since she was a child. Kind of like young Margo and Werner von Braun, now that I think about it...
posted by mmoncur at 8:31 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


Aleida first suspects Margo when her ex suggests perhaps it wasn't someone who worked for her. That's the light bulb moment, when she looks down at the hierarchy chart, with an arrow pointing to the box at the top of the page, labeled "Office of Director". Which curiously has no name, unlike every other box. Clearly, for Aleida, the notion of Margo being the leak had been absolutely unthinkable. Up to that point, nobody else makes sense.

I don't know that she was testing Margo, exactly. I think maybe she was hoping that somehow, when pressed, Margo would reveal something she had overlooked. She still wants to believe Margo had nothing to do with it. But it was absolutely a ruse. Aleida didn't seriously think the assistant was the leak. We already know that she had ruled out everyone else.

Interestingly, Margo's explanation for the debt wouldn't actually rule out the assistant for suspicion. If anything, the opposite. Nice attempt at distraction, though. That Margo so nonchalantly waves away the debt reveals that she desperately wants it all to go away. Aleida knows that.

You can see the heartbreak on Aleida's face when Margo becomes more forceful, insisting on shutting down her digging. The explanation she hoped that would make everything right was not going to come from Margo. The "since when does Margo Madison give breaks?" remark was Aleida hinting to Margo that she knows something is really amiss here, and maybe one more opportunity given Margo to somehow explain everything. Still, Margo gaslights and hints at a threat. Despite the seriousness of the matter, Margo offers no enthusiasm but to sweep it under the rug, what's done is done, let it go.

Why wouldn't she stare at the photo in the lobby? That's some extreme disillusionment she's experiencing, and there's no going back. FWIW, I interpreted her expression there as forming some resolve as to her next step. In previous episodes, I thought Aleida would figure out the leak, and keep it to herself, the damage being confined the relationship with Margo, and her psyche. Now I'm thinking she's going to make sure knowledge of the leak is going to become more publicized (so far, it seems improbably confined to three people), consequences be damned.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:38 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


We're debating soap opera here

It's a shame Aleida's character has been relegated to being a cut-rate Jessica Fletcher in season three, after she had already been to the moon in season two. Hopefully, season four will offer a return to a bigger scope for this central character which has been developed right from the very beginning scene of the entire series.
posted by fairmettle at 11:49 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Aleida, Kelly, and Dani need to go on a mission together where everything just works. That should be the entire next season. Just one important and difficult mission that they competently perform.

Danny, sadly, had to return to his home planet and can't be in that season at all.
posted by Acari at 7:22 AM on July 27 [6 favorites]


That's the light bulb moment, when she looks down at the hierarchy chart, with an arrow pointing to the box at the top of the page, labeled "Office of Director"

That's a dramatic trick to make the audience thinks she thinks it's Margo but what it means is that Aleida thought about who was working for Margo - she thinks the secretary would be the weak point because she's got the blind spot.

I just think this is how it works dramatically:
- Aleida doesn't know who it could be
- Has a light-bulb moment looking at the org chart, making us think she thinks of Margo
- She decides to has to be Margo's secretary because of her blind spot
- Tells Margo she thinks it's the secretary because that's the most obvious answer to her, given the blind spot (we feel sorry for Aleida because we know the truth)
- Margo reiterates her demand for Aleida to let it go by giving her reasons it's not the secretary (which are actually good reasons to suspect the secretary)
- Aleida leaves, deflated, determined that national security can't just be swept under the rug and the disillusionment starts to creep in... why would Margo be so determined not to find out who is behind the leak?
- Sees Margo's portrait and finally puts everything together, the lightbulb moment and recognises her blind spot and the photo is another visual representation of the org chart (Margo is sitting there right next to the President!) and FINALLY she gets it

If she thinks it's Margo from step 2, everything else is dramatically inert because we already know it's Margo. If the story had played out another way and WE didn't know, then Aleida playing Margo in that scene, trying to get information, makes more sense.
posted by crossoverman at 6:42 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


Also, Aleida is a very WYSIWYG character. She doesn’t do oblique, nuanced, or subtle.
posted by cardboard at 8:10 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


It's a shame Aleida's character has been relegated to being a cut-rate Jessica Fletcher in season three, after she had already been to the moon in season two.

FWIW, she went to the moon earlier in season three. In season two, she was getting back into NASA.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 7:08 AM on August 7


Aleida, Kelly, and Dani need to go on a mission together where everything just works. That should be the entire next season. Just one important and difficult mission that they competently perform.

Yes, I agree and endorse 100%, but also:

what worries me is that he made a point of being injured Ed's lone rescuer

The other plot line will be Misery on Mars, Danny Stevens as Kathy Bates and Ed Baldwin as James Caan. Tell me you don't see it coming!
posted by rocketman at 8:16 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


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