For All Mankind: The Sands of Ares
July 28, 2022 8:29 PM - Season 3, Episode 8 - Subscribe

After a sudden crisis, the Martian crews pull together.

On Mars, when the shit really hits the fan, everyone sits down and talks about their feelings. Except for Dani, the one beacon of professionalism and competence.

President Waverly disappoints Pam again. Karen shows Amber how to be an astronaut’s wife. Jimmy is skeptical. Dev suggests approaching a problem from a new direction.

North Korea has no comment, and the Hillbilly Underground has nothing to add, despite all the great minds in rocket science converging on a single NASA conference room
posted by cardboard (31 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Know what I am already familiar with? Suburban living rooms.
Know what I know nothing about? Planting explosives in lava tubes on Mars.

Guess which one I would like to see more of on my sci-fi TV show, Apple? Go on, guess.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:13 PM on July 28 [15 favorites]


Also, we are all annoyed in this suburban living room that Space Boyfriend died and Jackass lived. Apple really really really does not know what I'm here for.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:15 PM on July 28 [7 favorites]


I was cringing the whole time leading up to Danny telling Ed about fucking Karen, but now I’m even madder that they are going to keep fucking teasing the big stupid reveal. I have always hated everything about that plot line but now I especially hate that it just. won’t. end.
posted by lillielillie at 10:59 PM on July 28 [9 favorites]


It seems like it may have been a calculated move by the Russians to get Kelly pregnant, in order to knock a competent American scientist out of commission.

Calling it: Season finale ends with a montage of competence porn on the blue planet and the red planet as a piano plays and David Bowie begins singing, building up to the birth of Kelly's baby synced with the chorus of Life on Mars.
posted by emelenjr at 5:04 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


"Except for Dani, the one beacon of professionalism and competence."

Err.... this would be the same Dani that acknowledged she was landing blind on Mars into a dust storm, refused to abort the landing, and crashed the Sojourner so it would never fly again? That sort of competence? Once more the writers are throwing the idiot ball around to make things happen. The characters I remember from S1 and S2 would never make half the idiotic decisions we're seeing in S3.
posted by ewan at 9:47 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


You are correct, but there was a shining 2 minutes this episode where Dani was in charge and told everyone to focus on the task at hand where I had hope for something better.

Listening to the Official Podcast, the actors are quite proud of all the drama in the series, and Ron Moore is gleefully flying the Danny-Karen storyline into the ground in spite of or even because of the hate he's reading online. Drama is good: Danny's revelation to Ed about how his son was a better person when Ed wasn't there was a great metaphorical gut punch and character revelation. Having the two of them deciding to lose their shit and Danny literally punching Ed in his freshly-bandaged gut in the middle of a catastrophe is where they go too far.
posted by cardboard at 10:48 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]


I thought this episode was a bit better than the last few and was pushing along the Danny plotline to a conclusion, but then the deus ex that prevented him telling Ed scuttled that, and the reveal at the end really highlighted how much of a soap opera this has become.

How do the Russians know that Kelly is pregnant?
posted by benbenson at 12:19 PM on July 29


Maybe they stole a lil’ bit of her blood during the surprise transfusion. Why they thought to check, though…
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:36 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


i thought this was a really good episode. i can’t blame them for leaving on a cliffhanger.

getting to see margot recognize this might be her last go around was wistful. def something going on between aleida and bill.

hero gay astronaut, hero lesbian astronaut-president… fuck you, squirrelly larry. potus needs you to dial it back about 110%. it’s what, ‘96 now? kinda shocked larry hasn’t gotten sick.

this show likes to show growth, so seeing dev eng up was really well played. dani once again demonstrates she was the right person for the job: she demonstrates great crew resource management, strong and empathetic leadership, and total attention to detail. Also i could listen to her say “isosceles rise on the highs” every day.

you could tell they both thought, “hi bob” when ed woke up!
posted by sixswitch at 1:01 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Getting pregnant on Mars invites birth defects.

Current estimates of radiation dosage (primarily galactic cosmic rays) for a Mars mission are in the 375 mGy range, which is roughly equivalent to 600 chest x-rays. This, among numerous reasons, is why we're not going to see a manned Mars mission anytime soon, kids. Sorry.

There is no way — none — that there'd be such a mission without utilizing some form of reversible sterilization, probably for both sexes.

But, you know . . . drama.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:50 PM on July 29 [6 favorites]


I was curious how they'd know about pregnancy. Maybe they monitor everyone's urine routinely and do regular overall checkups. though it seems weird they'd not notify the patient.

It seems there's not some kind of protocol for such an event, which would be weird. The likelihood of a pregnancy during such a mission would absolutely be something to have been considered in the planning, but the Russian seems to have unusual concerns for some reason. Like, duh, a baby will greatly complicate everything about the mission, if that's what the Russian is worried about. I was wondering if there was going to be some concern about doing a stealth abortion? Or maybe deciding that for some reason, Mother Russia has a say if Kelly must terminate? I have no idea where this is going.

I'd defend Dani's judgement overall. She has made very risky decisions. But the whole endeavor is a giant pissing contest among three parties who were completely obsessed with being the absolute first on Mars, so riskiness seems baked in and expected.

On the whole, I found this episode among the most tedious. Having the three parties come together to make a dramatic rescue felt kind of too heroic for me, and I really dislike Dev's brooding engineering genius role at every level. I'm not interested in the astronaut wife thing, Ed's testosterone driven personality and Danny's adolescent explorations piss me off. Jimmy's Alex Jones-ing nonsense has him as the oldest looking grumpy 20-something.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:20 PM on July 29 [5 favorites]


Know what I am already familiar with? Suburban living rooms.
Know what I know nothing about? Planting explosives in lava tubes on Mars.


It would have been more honest if they'd just put up a title cards that says "Explosion and rescue happens here but we can't afford to show it".
posted by octothorpe at 5:31 PM on July 29 [8 favorites]


I was curious how they'd know about pregnancy. Maybe they monitor everyone's urine routinely and do regular overall checkups.

Kelly was a blood type match to Russian space boyfriend; there was a throw away line about analyzing her blood before committing to the transfusion so I’m assuming her pregnancy was discovered then.

And good that Arkady is going to report to The Centre who will likely inform Tatiana and Kate. Oh wait — right actors, wrong show.
posted by nathan_teske at 5:33 PM on July 29 [7 favorites]


pushing along the Danny plotline to a conclusion

God willing.

(Ron Moore: I have altered the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.)
posted by fairmettle at 10:06 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I have always hated everything about that plot line but now I especially hate that it just. won’t. end.

Worse, Danny might have GOTTEN AWAY WITH the Danslide. Nick got killed and I'm not sure how much of what was going on Louisa saw. So now he has TWO deep dark spiteful Ed-exploding secrets in his pocket for future episodes...

Maybe there are cameras recording or something? I really want Dani to declare Mars Law, put Danny on trial, and then send him out for a walk without a spacesuit.

---

Other than that I liked this episode. I was bothered by the slow suburban living room scenes at first but in the end it even made me like Jimmy a little bit, when he and Karen had that one-on-one "I hate space" talk reminiscent of Karen's talks with Wayne in earlier seasons.

I really liked the Apollo 13 competence porn at NASA with all of the engineers working together, and Margo looking fondly at the pizza and paper aftermath of the whole thing. Aleida and Bill got to spend some time together, and they even made me like Dev, which I never thought would happen.

Part of the Danny and Ed scene actually worked, but the idea that this was the ideal moment to confess the tryst with Karen was insane, and the perfectly-timed explosion was lame.

I thought for sure they were going to use the lava tube as an opportunity to fridge Will, but he just had some good teammate-time with Rolan and everything went OK there.

there was a throw away line about analyzing her blood before committing to the transfusion so I’m assuming her pregnancy was discovered then.

Yes, the medic said he needed a match test and someone said they'd put the samples into "the analyzer". Which makes perfect sense, there are a lot more factors than blood type involved in a transfusion. Except that they're on a Mars mission and they would have done a detailed analysis of everyone's blood beforehand...
posted by mmoncur at 2:07 AM on July 30


Am I the only person who saw some worrying ambiguity in the scene between the Russian commander and doctor? Their dialogue could be read completely straight, but I thought that it could also imply that the doctor deliberately allowed Space Boyfriend to die on the commander's orders (or perhaps even poisoned him earlier, although that seems too elaborate), which is why he was so upset, and the commander was reassuring him that he'd done the right thing.
posted by confluency at 2:08 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


we are all annoyed in this suburban living room that Space Boyfriend died

deliberately allowed Space Boyfriend to die

A super secret team of Russian genetic and social engineers had been working feverishly for decades to create the world's first Space Boyfriend.

The rushed first manned Mars mission has given them the perfect opportunity to unleash their final product: Alexei Poletov, as he embarks on his first and final mission to charm, woo, and impregnate American astronaut: Kelly Baldwin.

Season three will tell you their REAL story!
posted by fairmettle at 3:58 AM on July 30 [5 favorites]


Okay, okay, I've resisted previous discussions of Soap Opera because I've felt like the show - until now - was on the right side of the line but this episode tipped over to a major degree. Competence porn be damned, here's two dudes punching each other and a secret pregnancy that the woman doesn't even know about.

I'm going to think about this for a while and hope the last two episodes pulls the show back into what I used to like about it.
posted by crossoverman at 4:37 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


Clearly in the FAM timeline, five brave explorers discovered Space Boys about four years early.
posted by sixswitch at 5:15 AM on July 30


Competence porn be damned, here's two dudes punching each other and a secret pregnancy that the woman doesn't even know about.

Indeed. I missed more strong women in this episode. It feels like the writers forgot how to do this, and made this a classic “white guys do it all”
ep.

Kelly being pregnant is maximum soap. I mean, at least we’ll see her kid next season in the 2000s if the show has her keep it.
posted by hijinx at 7:18 AM on July 30


Not just white guys: we have Dev figuring out how to rescue the Thai soccer team, I mean, Ed and Danny.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:44 AM on July 30 [6 favorites]


"...Ron Moore is gleefully flying the Danny-Karen storyline into the ground in spite of or even because of the hate he's reading online"

What's frustrating to me is that if instead of this crappy daytime soap contrivance, Moore had decided to show us Danny's conflict, anger, and resentment over his contribution to Shane's death, Ed's blasé attitude, Karen's willingness to let Ed change the family atmosphere... imagine the show if Danny had let this all out in front of Karen at the Outpost, and Karen forbade him to talk to Ed about any of this (or other emotional device to drive the plot wedge)., hiding it away, "being a man", and we had a near season of this emotional pressure cooker instead of what we have.

Danny would now have an almost similar motivation, he would be fighting to be Shane around Ed, resenting Ed and Karen, angry at himself... and realising he was mirroring Ed with his own family... and then it all comes out in the broken Hab in this episode.

Damn that would have been a moment.

(relevant side-track: why are we only now being told Danny feels this way? Why not show us this over the season?)
posted by ewan at 1:33 PM on July 30 [8 favorites]


They won’t let her keep it. Ru-486 was available in Europe, no reason to assume the Russians couldn’t get it or have other off label options, but the sooner the better. They cant exactly slip it to her, either; it’s got to be taken a specific way, not gonna crush it into her space pop tart.
posted by tilde at 8:31 PM on July 30


I'm afraid it's going to go like this:

-- Kelli finds out about her pregnancy, everyone agrees abortion is the best option, but there's no Roe vs Wade in this universe so the President forbids it

-- six months later, it's time to leave Mars but the pregnancy makes it very risky

-- three months after that Ed helps deliver his own grandchild in a space capsule while it spins out of control

-- Back on earth, everybody celebrates and Ed says "I think you should name the baby Danny because it's a great name and we've never known anyone of any significance with that name".

-- Danny listens and silently plots his revenge. "In twenty years or so they'll all be sorry," he thinks to himself. He swallows three pills from a large bottle labeled "DRUGS".

-- Season 4 Episode 1: It's 2024 and the baby is NASA's newest recruit
posted by mmoncur at 8:46 PM on July 30 [3 favorites]


It wasn't bad enough that Kelly is secretly pregnant, she also flung her body over the body of her dead lover and then turning to see her ailing father, flings her body over him, even though he's wounded and hurts a lot. Embarrassing.
posted by crossoverman at 11:49 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]


Every generation shall have its Dani / Danny the Astronaut.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:01 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


And each time you add another Dan*ee, they split the originals IQ between them.
posted by tilde at 1:40 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


We can be better than the show's writers and call them "crewed" missions, not "manned."
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:03 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


I just can't believe they didn't at least give the women IUDs even if it's too early for contraceptive implants. Or even a stock of condoms? What do current astronauts do when they're on long stays on the ISS?
posted by harriet vane at 7:42 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sending folks off for that long a trip with so few medical resources and not doing something to curtail fertility and prevent pregnancy seems egregiously incompetent.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:14 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Also, okay, fine, Danny isn't a stone-cold psycho, he's just a trashfire. As I was watching, I called the "oh, Danny will start to tell Ed and then they'll be rescued", because that was a painfully obvious bit for an underwhelming extended plot line. And I guess Ed has been juicing on steroid or something rather than taking insulin or something else more medically appropriate. Please, show, don't have a Very Special Episode where Ed confronts his performance enhancing drug problems.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:45 AM on October 5


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