For All Mankind: Have a Nice Sol
November 16, 2023 9:10 PM - Season 4, Episode 2 - Subscribe

New Helios employees arrive on Mars as NASA undergoes major changes.

Space HVAC Technician Miles lands on Mars and joins the underground. XO Ed plays favourites, believes in bootstraps, and cuts up his pasta like a savage. The new CO Danielle gets to know the base and fixes the dmail router. North Korea is absolutely just fine.

Back on Earth, Aleida is also just fine. Kelly is forced to join the private sector to get her research funded. Margo has difficulties keeping up with current events.
posted by cardboard (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Space Mistakes:

- when Swan Lake’s on all the channels, stay off the streets of Moscow!

- not reading your employment contract!

- Aleida, there are other therapists than this Lana!

- there’s a janky cut in the tequila scene from Aleida in profile cackling gleefully to her more frontal, suddenly calmer and head level

- Mars is 0.3g, I feel like they’re not even bothering to sell it
posted by sixswitch at 10:44 PM on November 16, 2023 [2 favorites]


Was just thinking during the "last time on" sequence how this Dale dude has like one of two possible narratives: the desperate guy who lied and fucked up the station in a big way, or labor organizer. Did not expect to get an answer so quickly. Full on company town and Ed has hypocritically bought into it. Reddit says this is typical navy behavior between enlisted and officers.

Other predictions:
- the lower levels are not "under construction," and off limits for the same reason Jamestown was. North Korea may have had a hand in it. Might even be much deeper than 5 levels, with a special Danny Prison
- Margo is going to be picked up by the KGB and used as an asset internally. Maybe installed as a replacement Space Program minister after the Coup successfully purges the Gorbachav administration, not because she can be trusted but because she can be punished just by being returned to the US.
- Kelley and Aleida's company finds energy on mars in the form of methane or oil. They will, only after spending the season struggling to succeed in finding life, realize the discovery will be used to further ecological damage of mars and object. The board will relieve them of the position leaving Dev in charge (again).
posted by pwnguin at 1:28 AM on November 17, 2023 [2 favorites]


Danielle broke the fourth wall by being aware of what was going on with Miles' half of the screen. No way did she pick up that the lower decks were dissatisfied otherwise. I call hacks!
posted by Molesome at 7:37 AM on November 17, 2023 [4 favorites]


Hahaha so Ron Moore isn’t satisfied with doing TOS and TNG in one series, he’s also throwing in LOW.

I can see Aleida and Kelly hitting it off, but that better not be the last we hear about Aleida’s PTSD. Maybe Kelly can educate her on the biology of it?

Margo displays a shocking dumbness here. I dunno, seemed unlike her.
posted by sixswitch at 8:22 AM on November 17, 2023 [3 favorites]


Margo displays a shocking dumbness here. I dunno, seemed unlike her.

I wasn't surprised she tried to help her newsstand pal, but at that point when you are tackled you can't exactly claim you're not involved with this.

Aleida bemoans telling her husband they lost their health care after she quit NASA. Even in the alt-future we can't get Medicare for All! Get to work on that, alt-President Gore!

that better not be the last we hear about Aleida’s PTSD

No doubt inevitably finding out Margo is alive will trigger another PTSD attack.
posted by mikepop at 10:35 AM on November 17, 2023 [1 favorite]


Another space mistake: Mars doesn't have a radiation belt, so the prime real estate in the habitat would be the lower decks, as they'd have naturally better shielding.
posted by adamrice at 5:02 PM on November 17, 2023 [7 favorites]


Even in the alt-future we can't get Medicare for All!

It’s alt, but this is actually the past by about 20 years, right?
posted by snofoam at 5:26 PM on November 17, 2023


the lower levels are not "under construction," and off limits for the same reason Jamestown was. North Korea may have had a hand in it. Might even be much deeper than 5 levels, with a special Danny Prison

Or a gateway to hell. Perhaps Ron Moore has been doing a prequel to Doom, the video game, all along.
posted by Pryde at 5:59 PM on November 17, 2023 [4 favorites]


Has anyone checked the credits to see if the Wienersmiths are consultants on the show?
posted by pwnguin at 7:50 PM on November 17, 2023 [1 favorite]


- Mars is 0.3g, I feel like they’re not even bothering to sell it

The thing is, no one really knows how people will walk and move in lower gravity. The Apollo astronauts have been the only people to do so, but they were wearing bulky spacesuits. There are certainly theories and some experiments, but until there are humans on the moon or Mars wearing normal clothes in a enclosed environment we won't know for sure.

I think it's just way too hard to simulate walking in lower gravity in film. If there are moon or Mars stations in the next few decades, I think we'll finally see what human movement in low gravity will be, and all the contemporary shows where people are living in reduced gravity will look very dated.

Here's a question about it on Stack Exchange, a NASA article "Lunar Gaits", and an NIH paper "Human Locomotion under Reduced Gravity Conditions". A video Biomechanics of Movement | Demo: Walk to Run Transition with Altered Gravity, but with a device that can reduce your weight to what it would be in a lower gravity environment, it's not actually reducing the gravity, so the pull of gravity would be the same, meaning you still fall at normal 1 G.
posted by ShooBoo at 9:46 PM on November 17, 2023 [1 favorite]


- there’s a janky cut in the tequila scene from Aleida in profile cackling gleefully to her more frontal, suddenly calmer and head level

Good catch - - with tequila it's always the other way around.
posted by fairmettle at 1:14 AM on November 18, 2023 [2 favorites]


So, as a grunt employee of Helios, you are an indentured contract serf billed for every consumable and piece of life support, in debt for the cost of your training, subject to 24/7 corporate surveillance and on a tight work schedule.

Do you think anyone on the writing team has been playing Hardspace: Shipbreaker?

(If the plot developments include 'workers try to unionize' and 'management replaces tough-but-fair supervisor with obnoxious corporate quisling' then think the answer will be clear.)
posted by Major Clanger at 1:48 AM on November 18, 2023 [2 favorites]


I do like the 'secret Danny dungeon' theory for the lower levels. Alternatively, there's a weird deal where he's a prisoner in the North Korean enclave.

Does Ed know about the secret bar? Surely he spent enough time in the Navy to realise that if the XO doesn't know about a secret crew bar, then that just means the XO doesn't know that it exists and is an inept XO.
posted by Major Clanger at 1:54 AM on November 18, 2023 [2 favorites]


Thanks ShooBoo, cool reads! I was thinking more of how the Expanse aimed to do a few ‘hero’ establishing shots in differently-G’ed locations. Pouring a drink against Coriolis forces, or swishing weirdly slow whisky around a glass. For Mars it seems like they just decided to ignore the difference here rather than, like, have a dropped wrench fall more slowly or a character easily lift something heavy.
posted by sixswitch at 4:37 AM on November 18, 2023


"Hi Bob."

Ed continues to be a 'tudey dick and refuses to fix anything. Danielle, as usual, is the best person on the show and notices they don't have good wi-fi below. "You talking to Kelly counts as essential comms, am I right?"

Told you Aleida won't get mental health help. She goes from "I'm ready" to "I quit" in 30 seconds. Honestly, I get it, but also she makes me tired.

"I don't know how to tell my wife I came all this way to make less money than I'd be making at home." And that's awful, right there.

"We should TP Hobson's house." Ohhhhhhhh no, drunk ideas. Did they do it?
"Hey lady, you barfed on our carpet last night, it smelled REALLY BAD."

At least Ed got the satellites fixed.

Miles lies to his family. Sigh. "Where'd you get the Mars rock?" "I think it's Maya's leftover meat loaf."
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:37 PM on November 18, 2023 [3 favorites]


This wasn't bad but it felt like setup for future episodes.

- I liked Aleida and Kelly getting together, they have good chemistry and maybe it will give Aleida the change she needs.

- Ed continues to be terrible.

- Prediction: After teasing that something happened in Ep 1, they'll never mention Danny again.

- Dale doesn't read his contracts before signing them. I don't entirely buy his attitude. He doesn't seem like a risk-taking hero type (like say Ed, or Gordy from earlier seasons) and as a fellow non-risk-taker I'd be ECSTATIC to learn I'd be staying indoors and repairing HVAC systems. I guess he's more worried about money, though.

- I hope Margo's going somewhere because it really seems like there's been no point to her so far this season. She's such a good hyper-competent thinker and manager I'd hate to see her only role being "fly on the wall for what happens to Russia".

- Credit where credit is due, I was mocking the writers for the newscast saying "The accident claimed the lives of legendary Space Hero Victor Kuznetzov and some other guy" but they actually called that out and used it as evidence of the upstairs / downstairs inequality.

- Even if they're working for scientists on a peaceful mission to find life on Mars, robot dogs will never not be scary.

- Slightly weird that they've made a pact with North Korea, just because their guy was first on Mars doesn't mean it's required. I'm sure it won't cause any problems though.
posted by mmoncur at 2:42 AM on November 19, 2023 [2 favorites]


Cletus could have at least read his employment contract. He's one of those characters that goes through life making less than optimal decisions.

That being said, Ed treats the Mars base like a military outpost, but it looks like few others do. Most of the grunts are there for the money, not patriotic duty or new frontier exploration. They signed up for an employment deal, not a military commitment. They're not going to suck up unnecessary discomfort just because Ed might have been willing to do so. Hopefully, Danielle bails him out (once again) before he finds himself with a mutiny.

Aleida has pissed me off ever since she grew up. A brilliant woman, and complete malcontent, even moreso since the explosion. I'm curious what kind of pitch she's brewed up. Getting private sector funding for Kelly's project is sweet, and presumably giver her a new focus, but she's still a trainwreck. She could just as easily derail anything she touches.

Margo has to be going out of her head. As a spy, nobody will ever really trust her. Her body grows creaky, she has a dingy apartment and enjoys a meager existence, which would be fine with her except she also has nothing to actually do. She wants to be of help, but her knowledge has to be largely obsolete by now.

Was Aleida aware that Margo defected? I don't remember the details. The way she spoke about her, it sounded like she thought Margo was dead.

Is Putin staging a coup in the Russia? Apparently, the Soviet Union is in a period of relative good prosperity, but regardless, the younger folks were all gloomer over the state of the country (sound familiar?). Some kind of populist unrest? And what was the deal with mystery lady speaking to Margo on the park bench?

I'm curious if they're going to reveal what happened to Danny. Not that he doesn't deserve to be still locked up in the NK capsule.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:31 PM on November 19, 2023 [1 favorite]


- Slightly weird that they've made a pact with North Korea, just because their guy was first on Mars doesn't mean it's required. I'm sure it won't cause any problems though.

I read somewhere that Apple is afraid of China and thus China is...not featured in this show.

Was Aleida aware that Margo defected? I don't remember the details. The way she spoke about her, it sounded like she thought Margo was dead.

Margo presumably got out of the building with the Russians before the building was blown up. Coincidentally, everyone thinks Margo is dead because her office got super blown up and open. So the Americans think she's dead.

I'm curious if they're going to reveal what happened to Danny. Not that he doesn't deserve to be still locked up in the NK capsule.

From what I recall, there was a gun left around the North Korean capsule area. I'm pretty sure Danny ate that gun.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:36 PM on November 19, 2023 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the wife and I were trying to remember how much is known about Margo and how much of it is just her using the bombing to slip out unannounced, but presumed dead. I mean, we're curious, but not enough for me to skim through the episodes, either...

And yeah, I'm sort of trying to remember if the August Coup would have (eventually) happened in Alternate USSR/Russia as well, as the same response to glasnost and perestroika and all that, or if we're already deep in the Yeltsin/Putin era in Alternate Russia. I'm sure someone who paid more attention to the history catch at the start of each episode might know, but ech - bad times in Russia, Margo, time to scoot!
posted by Kyol at 6:37 PM on November 19, 2023 [2 favorites]


I figure he ate the gun.

I'm pretty sure Danny ate that gun.

That horrid colloquialism doesn't bear repeating in this context.
posted by fairmettle at 10:47 PM on November 19, 2023


And yeah, I'm sort of trying to remember if the August Coup would have (eventually) happened in Alternate USSR/Russia as well, as the same response to glasnost and perestroika and all that, or if we're already deep in the Yeltsin/Putin era in Alternate Russia. I'm sure someone who paid more attention to the history catch at the start of each episode might know, but ech - bad times in Russia, Margo, time to scoot!

The August Coup was notable for the playing of Swan Lake on the tv, which was exactly what they did in this episode. Things 'bout the go down in the Union of Soviets.
posted by Atreides at 10:09 AM on November 20, 2023 [3 favorites]


> That horrid colloquialism doesn't bear repeating in this context.

i think we should make an exception to that rule for the specific case of that badly written surrogate motherfucker danny and i'm not afraid who knows it.

anyway, i'm grooving on this season pretty hard so far, and am surprised to see people not doing so. my only reservation is that if they biff the labor/class themes it will be an insult to the audience and the show's premise both. two reasons why i think they might not biff it, though, are :
  1. the headline from the opening newsreel about a strike on the moon in 1999
  2. the labor episode of battlestar galactica was maybe the last good episode of that series, so there's prior art for ron moore handling space labor
if we ourselves were in an alt timeline where i was a showrunner and i had come up with this concept instead of ron moore, i would have made it an anthology show with most episodes having more or less totally different casts. separate one-shot-ish plots showing different aspects of the timeline, though with each season building to a climax wherein all the separate new-each-season characters' storylines come together into one interlocking overarching plot. but here in this timeline, i kind of forgive all sins (i.e. the super-cringe astronaut family drama) due to the worldbuilding being so exactly my cup of tea.

relatedly, i tend to like the largely plotless episodes more than the plotty ones, or the plotty ones other than the invariably excellent end-of-season episodes, specifically because plotlessness means there's less stuff getting in the way of the lovely lovely worldbuilding.

i think it's my desire for this to be an anthology show rather than a meh soap opera with the best setting possible and with some incredible, tense space adventures at the end that makes me really, really, really like the new guy who's good at repairs nearly as much as other people seem to hate him. here's hoping that he'll light the fuse, finally get let out of his cage, and maybe see some panoramic views of mars along the way.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 10:19 AM on November 20, 2023 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Battlestar had its issues but I liked the labor plots. Hope they make it all manageable.

My worry is that the last episode will be "Labor movement starts a riot while simultaneously the wayward asteroid plummets toward Happy Valley, Russia sends a missile to Mars, and Danny wanders out of the desert with a gun."
posted by mmoncur at 12:54 PM on November 20, 2023 [2 favorites]


They leaned way too heavily into haves and have nots in the last episode not to build up to some kind of proletariat uprising on the "red" planet. Best guess? The workers find out the North Koreans have been stockpiling guns in their section of Happy Valley, grab 'em, and stage a mutiny. Though, any mutiny where the people in charge can quite literally cut off your lifeline doesn't seem like one that will last very long unless there's an expectation of public pressure back home forcing Helios to make concessions. Who knows, perhaps the secret bar where vodka is fermented will also ferment some uprising.
posted by Atreides at 11:37 AM on November 21, 2023 [1 favorite]


The workers find out the North Koreans have been stockpiling guns in their section of Happy Valley, grab 'em, and stage a mutiny

Alternate theory: there is exactly one gun in on mars, and only Danny knows where it is. So many ways that could go:

- Danny is imprisoned and tortured to reveal the location.
- Danny gets free of his cage, retrieves it and holds the entire station hostage, threatening to shoot it.
- Danny has to choose whether to support the NK, Helios, or the strikers.
- (best option) danny is dead and they have to retrieve it off screen.
posted by pwnguin at 5:50 PM on November 21, 2023 [2 favorites]


any mutiny where the people in charge can quite literally cut off your lifeline

Actually I'm assuming the labor pool fixes things like oxygen generators as well as HVAC, so there's a good chance they could threaten to turn off the oxygen rather than needing guns...
posted by mmoncur at 3:53 AM on November 22, 2023


Margo was so dumb. Yeah things have been opening up, but you're still in the soviet union, and interfering with a cop like that will get you in trouble basically anywhere.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:28 PM on December 22, 2023


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