For All Mankind: Goldilocks
December 7, 2023 7:59 PM - Season 4, Episode 5 - Subscribe

A discovery sends teams across Earth and Mars scrambling for answers.

Al Gore invented the asteroid; Aleida is sent on a collision course with Margo and international diplomacy; Dev and Kelly have all sorts of mommy issues; Miles puts a down payment on a house; Ilya reads a newspaper ad.

Danielle has to deal with all sorts of Ed; Danny Stevens avoided starving to death; Tom Payne is less problematic than James Webb.
posted by cardboard (42 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I guess that answers the question of whether or not a kid born on Mars would have issues. Yup, though I don't think we've seen evidence of his medical issues so far?

"I HAVE BEEN PUTTING UP WITH YOUR SHIT FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS!!!!" Go Danielle! Still the best.

Oh lord, Aleida's going to Russia. *shudder* Dev's going to Mars *shudder* Kelly's kid is going to Mars...well, that'll be interesting.

And yup, Danny's dead.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:37 PM on December 7, 2023 [4 favorites]


So, uh, if Danny was dead and they were all starving... Did they eat him? Are Ed's tremors from a prion disease?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:41 PM on December 7, 2023 [4 favorites]


Bye Bob! Ed has deserved that for a long time and Danielle served it up perfectly.

@bombastic here predicted that Ed would be on his way home from Mars while Kelly was on the way there and he'd never see her again -- well done! And they threw in the grandson to make it even worse for Ed.

I have to give the writers credit for completely answering our Danny questions. Now we can move on. Nice try but I will feel absolutely no sympathy for Danny, but I ache for what Danielle had to experience.

Wait, writers, before you pat yourselves on the back... so Miles' wife is selling Mars rocks to a JEWELRY STORE and they ran a NEWSPAPER AD for MARS JEWELS and a guy 232 million miles away on Mars finds out about it before the US government or NASA?

I do feel bad for Miles, from Episode 1 he's acted like he believes his wife would come back to him if only he made enough money -- and it turns out it's actually true.

They did well with the family themes running throughout the episode and "Al Gore discovered the asteroid" was hilarious.

Aleida has always been a hothead and is probably a terrible choice for negotiating anything. But I'll believe that Dev would make a decision that stupid. And it does set up the inevitable Aleida/Margo reunion that is NOT going to go well.

(And halfway through the conference all of the chairs are going to collapse due to missing washers.)
posted by mmoncur at 12:31 AM on December 8, 2023 [7 favorites]


I do feel bad for Miles, from Episode 1 he's acted like he believes his wife would come back to him if only he made enough money -- and it turns out it's actually true.

Wow, way to make a guy feel like a wallet. "Buy me a house, I will give you anything."
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:44 AM on December 8, 2023 [1 favorite]


I don't remember them being short of food and starving in the last season. Was that in it? Or was that just something for the flashback?

I'm very glad Danny is dead. I do find it very difficult to believe he survived in the NK capsule for... months? Just sitting there with nothing but a bible? Seems like cruel and unusual punishment to me, no matter how much he sucked.
posted by bondcliff at 6:22 AM on December 8, 2023 [2 favorites]


I don't remember them being short of food and starving in the last season. Was that in it? Or was that just something for the flashback?

It was brought up as what was going to happen at the end of the last season and then referenced at the start of this season. How "hard a time" it was wasn't really clarified until this episode, though.

I'll give it to the actor, I definitely felt bad for Danny when he asked to come back to Happy Valley. The stringency for that punishment really did seem kind of weird. He was basically in isolation for months with even less human contact than someone in prison. BUT, I'm also happy that we can finally move on from that disastrous storyline from the last season.

Any time Danielle lays into Ed, it's a good time.

@bombastic here predicted that Ed would be on his way home from Mars while Kelly was on the way there and he'd never see her again -- well done! And they threw in the grandson to make it even worse for Ed.

I have a different expectation because this ignores Ed being a hot head and idiot. Ed is going to try and lead some kind of uprising/revolt against Danielle (remember, she sent back the cosmonaut and that was "not popular" with people). BUT, just as he's about to pull the trigger, he'll learn that Kelly and Alex are on their way and step down. It'll be like the mission to take the nuclear reactor to Yorktown on the moon all over again, with Ed making the right decision at the very last minute.

The whole time I just couldn't with Kelly. It'd be one thing if a parent stayed home with Alex while Kelly did her thing, but just leaving him with grandmom when he's six or seven, not cool. His grandmom 100% would have hauled him off to the Soviet Union, too. At the same time, I didn't think Kelly would make that choice, either, but I didn't expect her to haul Alex off of planet earth. It creates this situation where, so far as Alex grows up safe and fine, he'll only have distant memories of Earth, a first for humanity. He'll also represent the literal union between the US and Soviet Union on Mars. I wonder if that won't come up at some point.

Dev is like the Bizarro version of Elon Musk.

I don't understand the decision to name the asteroid "Goldilocks." In space terms, Goldilocks is universally used to reference the orbital location of Earth, in the Goldilocks zone, where Earth isn't too far from the sun, but also, isn't too close. It's one reason why our planet was a successful place for life to pop into existence. When I saw the title of the episode and we opened up with a space telescope, I 100% expected them to discover a potentially habitable planet or something in a nearby solar system and that could lead to a future seasonal jump with humanity leaving the solar system. But naw, it's just an asteroid with iridium on it.

I got the joke of Al Gore taking credit for the asteroid, but it also made no sense. The internet thing was based off of legislation he helped sponsor PRIOR to the emerging successful establishment of the internet. This would be like signing off on DARPA Net and five days later going, "I invented the internet!"

Miles and Ilya. The newspaper ad was a fun way to reveal that Miles had found a way to go behind Ilya's back to ship red granite home. And in agreement with above comments, it made no sense because the red granite was going to Miles' wife, who lives in Louisiana, not in Florida or Texas wherever the supply ships are launching. Which means, that the local jeweler who Miles' wife is selling the Mars rocks to had to place an ad in a paper that somehow made it to the person in another state, who then used it to wrap fragile goods in for his/her shipment to Ilya. Not to mention, the casual way Miles talks to whats her name about getting in on the Mars Rock venture made it seem entirely like it wasn't that secret an operation for those who know him.

Lastly, in the Soviet Union, the head of the space agency is claiming the head of the country is on a tenuous perch. Is she bluffing? Or is the coup leader getting ready to be knocked off?
posted by Atreides at 6:54 AM on December 8, 2023 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, the isolation is awful. On the other hand, Danny was literally unsafe to have around people. He'd killed a bunch through his own idiocy and addiction. Like, no way in hell would I have let him be back around others if I were Dani.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:12 AM on December 8, 2023 [2 favorites]


I have to hand it to Kinnaman, he's done a great job portraying toxic masculinity in a sympathetic way with Ed. How the hell do I still feel sorry for this man when his ego's put so many people at risk (or gotten them outright killed)? And then every once in a while, he does the right thing regardless! Maddening.

I still wanna punch him in the face for Danielle's sake, though. Just once. Has this woman ever gotten even 5 minutes to be happy and enjoy her life/accomplishments without sacrificing something for someone else's peace of mind first?

I could certainly see a 20-something Alex leading the charge to fully terraform Mars in Dev's name at the beginning of season 5. It's a dream that's far more achievable if they nail a safe asteroid-mining technique before the end of this season, yes? Dev's reaction to Kelly's speech at the end of this episode makes me feel like there's going to be some serious mentoring going on with that kid once they're all together at Happy Valley.

Dreading/excited for Comrade Stepmom and Aleida's reunion. I hope they at least get to enjoy some warm bread together from her favorite bakery on a nearby bench.

Won't be surprised if the N. Korean wife's arrival on Mars is also the cliffhanger ending for this season. There's no better way to trigger a global political conflict back on Earth that can only be resolved by our intrepid space crew.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:42 AM on December 8, 2023 [4 favorites]


I have to hand it to Kinnaman, he's done a great job portraying toxic masculinity in a sympathetic way with Ed. How the hell do I still feel sorry for this man when his ego's put so many people at risk (or gotten them outright killed)? And then every once in a while, he does the right thing regardless! Maddening.

Ed has never been 100% evil. Mostly he's been at least over 50% on the side of good. Previously he's been supportive of Danielle and others in general. He just has some whopping jerk-ass eruptions periodically, usually about his own ego and issues. He's a mixed bag, unlike Danny who had one good moment of saving the space station and otherwise was fucking awful.

I pretty much figure Aleida explodes when she sees Margo, no bread-sharing unless Aleida shoves it down Margo's throat.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:59 AM on December 8, 2023 [7 favorites]


This is a good point, jenfullmoon. I bet we've all seen otherwise good people turn occasionally awful under duress.

I'm so glad we finally got to see that Danny was dead. Solitary confinement is a special kind of torture, but I for sure thought that buried Chekhov's gun was going to play a role in his storyline's conclusion.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:56 AM on December 8, 2023 [4 favorites]


And it does set up the inevitable Aleida/Margo reunion that is NOT going to go well.
I pretty much figure Aleida explodes when she sees Margo, no bread-sharing unless Aleida shoves it down Margo's throat.

Best case scenario: Aleida goes PTSD catatonic upon seeing Margo, and the Russians perceive her thousand yard stare as the look of the toughest negotiator they've ever encountered.
posted by pwnguin at 10:46 AM on December 8, 2023 [4 favorites]


I was very shocked that Chekhov's gun didn't go off. Like I was all...he's just lying there dead? No gun? Whut?
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:01 AM on December 8, 2023 [3 favorites]


Danny is just the worst. But bringing him back on the show briefly just so he can be eaten? Ok, I’ll allow it.
posted by snofoam at 11:16 AM on December 8, 2023 [4 favorites]


Danny can't even use the gun conveniently buried by his feet.

I guess he must have simply sat outside until his air ran out...or power/heat turned off....or any of those things would typically render someone unconscious, but Danny was staring out into space...which means, he must have simply willed himself to death.

I can't think the show is THAT bleak to have people eat Danny. If this was Battlestar Galactica under Ron Moore, yes, maybe, but this ain't that.

On the one hand, the isolation is awful. On the other hand, Danny was literally unsafe to have around people. He'd killed a bunch through his own idiocy and addiction. Like, no way in hell would I have let him be back around others if I were Dani.


Will say the B.S. of staring at the photo of his wife and daughter was kind of lame. Like had he thought about his wife or daughter at any point, he wouldn't have gone off on his crazy I slept with a mother figure jealousy rage.
posted by Atreides at 11:22 AM on December 8, 2023 [5 favorites]


I appreciate everyone's optimism here, but I am still not convinced that Danny wasn't just having a little nap in the afternoon sun. He looked pretty darn rosy for a hypoxic corpse and there was no conclusive scene where Ed or Dani checked his vital signs. Chekhov lives!
posted by fairmettle at 9:19 PM on December 8, 2023 [3 favorites]


One of the strongest eps recently, and with a marked improvement in the next gen's agency and writing, IMO. Also appreciated what they did with fleshing out Dev's history and motivations – not that that makes him a nice guy, but a more interesting character.
posted by adrianhon at 4:09 AM on December 9, 2023 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I’m sort of wondering if Danny took his leave shortly after Danielle’s last supply drop, so all his final drop’s food is available and it’s all “Danny’s sacrifice ultimately saved Happy Valley” and rehabilitation blah blah.
posted by Kyol at 9:03 AM on December 9, 2023 [1 favorite]


which means, he must have simply willed himself to death.

He Padme'd himself. You can do that in space.
posted by biffa at 10:48 AM on December 9, 2023 [3 favorites]


I was wrong last time I said this but...

I predict that they'll never mention Danny again.
posted by mmoncur at 6:20 PM on December 9, 2023 [2 favorites]


I love that Danielle finally got to put Ed in his place. She tried to give him a graceful out and he just couldn’t swallow his pride enough to take it. He can always smooth talk his way into what he wants… except this time. Danielle has a completely legitimate concern for the safety of crew members and the success of the mission. This wasn’t her on a personal vendetta or trying to settle scores. Ed made it personal and he got exactly what he deserved. Meanwhile, in the Danny flashbacks, we see the Danielle we know encapsulated into a single scene - caring, empathetic (she truly did love Danny) but also firm and doing what needs to be done, no matter how hard it is. Think Ed tells Danny “this is how it’s gotta be?” Nope. Danny would be in that rover for the return trip.

Aleida and Margo meeting up is gonna be quite the scene. Margo isn’t dumb, she knows why Aleida is absolutely furious with her, and she understands. I doubt Aleida is going to come around to understanding Margo’s side of the story. Margo in exile and Aleida leaving NASA does lead to the same thing for both - absolutely brilliant minds that aren’t being harnessed. I think the main difference is Margo wants to solve space problems and Aleida just does what she has to do to get along.
posted by azpenguin at 8:23 PM on December 9, 2023 [2 favorites]


Margo isn't dumb, exactly. But she's never been known to act like a normal person, really. She's exhibited some very poor judgment in the past. As pointed out, she seems surprised that her employer isn't the kind of place where one is simply fired for sub par performance. Especially after her rather intense recruitment interview. Even Aleida's mentorship kind of seemed more like a project to check off than any kind of affection or camaraderie. Neither she nor Aleida are particularly good at dealing with people, but Aleida is notably unyielding with pretty much everyone.

Kid in space plot line has me rolling my eyes.

Dev, listen to your mom for once. He's obnoxious, but nowhere like Musk. If they created a character as obnoxious as Musk, who would have believed it?

Did Ed try to dig at Dani by calling her queer? Pretty weak, old man.

Ilya's gonna fuck over Space Cletus somehow.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:14 PM on December 9, 2023 [2 favorites]


I liked this episode, it seemed to have some deeper earned emotions. I liked the repeated theme of two people trying to resolve long, difficult relationships with family or close colleagues. Dev and his mom. Danielle and Ed. Aleida and Kelly both finding some way forward.

I was confused about Danny's timeline: I thought at first he'd been stewing in the capsule for like eight years. I guess all those scenes with Danielle bringing him food were flashbacks, to the last time Danielle was on Mars? So Danny was only living in tortuous solitary for a few months, not years. Because if it's years I have questions about the shelf life of Martian takeaway.
posted by Nelson at 6:06 AM on December 10, 2023 [2 favorites]


Nelson, yes, those scenes are flashbacks - Ed has no beard, and Danielle's hair isn't grey.
posted by Major Clanger at 6:27 AM on December 10, 2023 [4 favorites]


Something we haven't had clarified yet is whether anyone in the USA knows that Margo is still alive. She disappeared the day of the Houston bombing, and her office was wrecked. I wouldn't be surprised if the assumption is that she died.

However, it would have been suspicious that no trace of her body was found (I've studied forensics and worked with people involved in human remains recovery from fires and explosions; you normally find something). Also, she wasn't exactly in deep cover in Moscow, and although she was claiming to be Canadian I would have thought the Canadian intelligence services would take a note of anyone purporting to be a Canadian expat in Moscow.
posted by Major Clanger at 6:35 AM on December 10, 2023 [1 favorite]


I was wondering this also in the first episode of the season, but I think knowledge of Margo's existence in USSR was mentioned in episode 3 or 4 that escapes me at the moment.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:38 AM on December 10, 2023


those scenes are flashbacks - Ed has no beard, and Danielle's hair isn't grey.

I feel like the flashbacks were a little tricky because they were trying to show them, especially Danielle, as exhausted and malnourished, which made them less distinct from them being old. But also, the base was tiny, the cosmonaut friend was alive, etc.
posted by snofoam at 9:19 AM on December 10, 2023 [2 favorites]


However, it would have been suspicious that no trace of her body was found (I've studied forensics and worked with people involved in human remains recovery from fires and explosions; you normally find something). Also, she wasn't exactly in deep cover in Moscow, and although she was claiming to be Canadian I would have thought the Canadian intelligence services would take a note of anyone purporting to be a Canadian expat in Moscow.

My memory is fuzzy, but weren't the leak of NASA rocket schematics being investigated right up to the time of the blast? Did someone go, "Must have been Margot, but she got disintegrated by the bomb so...case closed!" I expect there was a lot of debriefing that was done after the Soviets got her to Moscow and perhaps even a noticeable boost to the Soviet space program, like a blip or something, that might have caught the attention of the CIA. I dunno, I feel like someone must know, and for sure, there has to be an American/Western Power mole in the Soviet Space Program that has noticed the former head of NASA (not an insignificant position given how much billions NASA had from patenting its tech) walking around and eating in the cafeteria.

(Which now, I'm confused, I thought NASA in the 90s was flushed with cash from its space exploration tech - and now there's all this talk of NASA being defunded?)
posted by Atreides at 7:57 AM on December 11, 2023


> (Which now, I'm confused, I thought NASA in the 90s was flushed with cash from its space exploration tech - and now there's all this talk of NASA being defunded?)

my assumption is that helios is taking all that publically funded research and infrastructure and privatizing the beshit out of the profits, but yeah there needs to be something more clear about what's going on with the relationship between helios and the nation-state programs + esa.

wait have we seen a full list of the mars 7 consortium members? u.s., u.s.s.r., north korea, the superpower which must not be named by decree of apple, india.... then esa and helios itself? okay i'm realizing that that's what i've been assuming, and now i will go look it up

[pause while i wander off to look it up]

lol, okay. helios isn't in the consortium, which is not called a consortium but instead an alliance. and the members are u.s., u.s.s.r., north korea, india, esa, something called "the coalition of communist countries for spaceflight" which has a really interesting member list, see below, and japan — sorry, japan, for missing you in my first list! — with both the country which must not be named by decree of apple and canada as maintaining independent space programs outside the mars seven group. (what, no canada? if mars 7 doesn't have canada, where is everybody gonna get their giant space arms, huh?)

anyway. the wiki mentioning china as outside mars 7 is pretty interesting, especially since canada is outside too — it'd have been cleaner just to tuck canada in with esa, since aren't they kind of halfway in esa out here in the regular timeline?). maybe they're just in there to make it seem somehow less attention-getting that the country which must not be named by decree of apple to be out in the cold all by themselves, though the extent to which they're going out of the way to not name the country which must not be named by decree of apple is itself so glaring that covering them up with a maple-slash-fig leaf doesn't work. i bet that weird "coalition of communist countries for spaceflight" group the members of which i'll be including at the bottom of this comment is only included so that they can get a non-u.s.s.r. red flag onto the podium in order to make people think that the country which must not be named by decree of apple is involved without actually using the actual flag of the country which must not be named by decree of apple and thereby violating the decree from apple to never name said country which must not be named by decree of apple.

anyway, as promised, the members list of the coalition of communist countries for spaceflight:

Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.

Some thoughts:
  • well that is a really spicy grab bag of countries
  • who the fuck is leading this thing? like who is de facto running the show, cause i don't see that group seeing eye-to-eye on much somebody's gotta be riding herd, right?
  • aw fuck yeah mexico's in there
  • okay why isn't chile in there, riddle me that huh, what, if anything, went down there in 1973 in this timeline, huh? did the ira bomb that took out thatcher take out kissinger and pinochet too?
  • worst throuple ever
  • how did east germany wriggle out from under the thumb of the u.s.s.r. enough to get their own space program?
  • hahahaahah greece and turkey are on the same side those two have been beefing since the iliad
  • [redacted]
  • fuck yeah yugoslavia josip tito had a space program
really hope this cccs thing becomes a real thing that's part of the plot instead of just a red flag that you think is for chi uh the country which must not be named by decree of apple but it's not
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 10:42 AM on December 11, 2023 [5 favorites]


Interesting stuff, bombastic! Here's the wiki page for the CCCS. What a fascinating bit of alternate history, there's like a whole novel just in its existence. For starters, how independent are they of the USSR? Perhaps in this alternate timeline the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has more global influence. There'd be a whole chapter on how Albania isn't included.

Thanks to everyone pointing out it should have been obvious the Danny stuff was a flashback. I confess my attention to detail for this show is not very good.
posted by Nelson at 10:49 AM on December 11, 2023 [2 favorites]


yeah, like, is this collection of counties an actually independent titoist bloc allied with the actually independent latin american bloc or is it just a de facto extra seat for the u.s.s.r.?

and like omg there's more than a novel, there's a whole series of novels, there's a spinoff and a half about how latin american socialist revolutions happened in places they didn't and didn't happen in places they did.

does hoxha spend his time glaring across the border at the thriving yugoslavian space program, swearing that some day albania will find a way to launch a concrete bunker into space?
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 10:56 AM on December 11, 2023 [2 favorites]


Geez, for whatever reason, I'd just assumed the Iron Curtain fell and we had reunification with Germany. That Hydrogen-3 didn't just put oil workers out of a job, but kept the Berlin Wall propped up. HUH.

The absence of Canada is weird. Maybe they slipped in a unification between US and Canada and didn't tell anyone.

I guess presumably, a Soviet Union that did not go down in the 90s was able to affect the progress of China with regard to its space race?? I mean...China and the USSR were not friends, and are we to presume that in this timeline, American corporations didn't rush to China to build factories? I suppose one could argue...that China deepened its political engagement with the US because of the USSR that it has some kind of treaty/agreement in terms of space?
posted by Atreides at 12:36 PM on December 11, 2023 [1 favorite]


well, one could not make any of those arguments on this show, because if one tried one would inevitably have to actually mention the country which by decree of apple cannot be mentioned.

but yeah there's nothing in the for all mankind timeline as given to us to suggest that that country doesn't have a thriving space program? or solid diplomatic relations across the u.s./u.s.s.r. divide? but also there's nothing in the for all mankind timeline as given to us that allow us to say anything at all about that country, for reasons of the silence imposed by decree of apple.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 12:57 PM on December 11, 2023 [2 favorites]


the country which by decree of apple cannot be mentioned

I assume you mean China here - I know about how Apple dropped John Stewart's show when they learned he was going to do some stuff about China, but is there something more concrete than this in regards to mentioning China on For All Mankind?
posted by whir at 3:13 PM on December 11, 2023 [1 favorite]


if mars 7 doesn't have canada, where is everybody gonna get their giant space arms

That scene of Miles reaching for the rock makes more sense in this alternate timeline.
posted by cardboard at 3:25 PM on December 11, 2023 [5 favorites]


> but is there something more concrete than this in regards to mentioning China on For All Mankind?

you pick up a book, title: la disparition. midway through you think "a thing about this book is odd! a thing is missing!"

you flip through your book, and find confirmation: a thing is missing! quickly, you call up georges perec and say "you have made a terrible blunder! you've written a book without any 'e's in it!! and somehow i am the first to notice!!"

it is later. you are in the near future, the 2020s in fact. you are watching a television show about space travel in an alt-history where the soviets beat the americans to the moon. you suddenly realize: the show has been on for four seasons and they've never mentioned china. what a strange blunder! quick, get ron moore on the phone so he can fix it!

which is to say: you have in front of you four whole seasons of concrete evidence that they've been warned off from mentioning china.
posted by bombastic lowercase pronouncements at 4:18 PM on December 11, 2023 [4 favorites]


Also, Jon Stewart signaling the alarm on that one for the rest of us.

Perhaps China doesn't exist in this world and has magically been taken over by North Korea?
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:39 PM on December 11, 2023 [1 favorite]


I wonder how Danielle will react when she finds out that Ed was stoned for this entire episode. He doesn't have to share with Svetlana anymore, and somehow doesn't know about the bar where he could drown his sorrows.

I guess we now know why Miles blue spacesuit stunk so much in the last episode. I still can't get a grasp on how stupid that guy is meant to be. He's smart enough to get through space training, but dumb enough to seriously think they're going to smuggle a full grown woman out of Best Korea, ship her to Mars, and into a completely closed environment.

I'm betting that China will pull a North Korea-style leapfrog, and land people on Europa. Thus the next season can open up on 2010, the year we make contact.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 3:16 AM on December 12, 2023 [3 favorites]


. you suddenly realize: the show has been on for four seasons and they've never mentioned china

Why would they? In real life China was basically a vassal of the Soviet Union until the USSR fell 1989. They didn't transition from backwater nation to world power until a decade later. At the year the show takes place, China is just barely getting it's people out of it's farms and into Shenzhen or wherever.

But in the show, the Soviets still exist and there is no room at big boy world power table. Because of the H3 magic horseshit there is no need to offshore manufacturing. In this timeline China is likely just going to be a billion farmers, forever.

Also, have you ever considered that Jon Stewart just had terrible ratings, and perhaps his "I have to shut us down because China was mad" statements were disingenuous so he had cover for laying his people off? No, you should really consider that.
posted by Back At It Again At Krispy Kreme at 9:15 AM on December 12, 2023


They mentioned North Korea last season, like it's no big deal a hitherto unmentioned dictatorship would have the capacity to send someone to mars. If a billion farmers don't participate in the Space Race how do a million?

John Stewart's Daily show without the comedy can have terrible ratings and there can be pressure to avoid political trouble with the CCP.
posted by pwnguin at 10:20 AM on December 12, 2023 [1 favorite]


They mentioned North Korea last season, like it's no big deal a hitherto unmentioned dictatorship would have the capacity to send someone to mars. If a billion farmers don't participate in the Space Race how do a million?

Well, the part about getting someone to Mars was a surprise to everyone. It was introduced as a "failed" satellite launch or something, wasn't it? And then VOILA, dude sent on a one way trip for glory for the Dear Leader.

Why would they? In real life China was basically a vassal of the Soviet Union until the USSR fell 1989. They didn't transition from backwater nation to world power until a decade later. At the year the show takes place, China is just barely getting it's people out of it's farms and into Shenzhen or wherever.

Naw, China and Soviet Union were literally having border skirmishes in the 1960s. At best you could describe them as uneasy frenemies based on a mutual dislike for the US. I guess if we look at the timeline when things really started diverging was the 1970s/1980s.

Nixon was president from 1969 to 1973. In our timeline, he visited China in Feb, 1972. There's nothing I'm aware of that indicates he didn't do this in the show's timeline. The Cultural Revolution was ongoing, however, in China, and did not end until '76. That's when Mao died, and Deng Xiaoping took over, and slowly began reforms to Chinese society, such as introducing a limited form of capitalism, (white cat, black cat, so long as it catches the mouse...).

By the time that happened, Jamestown had already been established on the Moon. At the same time, in our timeline, China had just reached the level of sending a satellite into space and then successfully bringing it back down for recovery. Moving forward, in the show's timeline in 1984, that's when season 2 hits with the Jamestown crisis, and the Apollo-Soyuz meet up in space. In our timeline, China had the milestone of putting a satellite in geosync orbit around the earth.

Fast forward to 1999. By this point, everything in Season 3 has happened, Mars landing and all. In our timeline, China just now successfully launches an unmanned capsule capable of carrying Chinese astronauts. The first Chinese astronaut launched by China into space was 2003, which is where I current season is sitting at.

So...unless the Chinese ramped up their space program in the same regard as the US and Soviet Union, it's not that far ahead of North Korea (in the show). THAT SAID, the Indian space program still hasn't come as far as the Chinese program in 2003. [deep inhale] so the fact that India is part of the M7 and China is not, doesn't really hold up. Which indicates that there is a conscious decision to exclude China from the show.
posted by Atreides at 10:53 AM on December 12, 2023 [4 favorites]


THAT SAID, the Indian space program still hasn't come as far as the Chinese program in 2003. [deep inhale] so the fact that India is part of the M7 and China is not, doesn't really hold up.

Once you start alt-history really anything is up for grabs, especially when you don't even have to fill in all the details. Why is India in the Mars7 and not China? Reasons! That we don't need to detail! Unless we want it as a plot device at a later date!

In the bonus content available on the show page, there are news stories that connect Seasons 3 and 4. The M7 one details that China (and Canada) chose not to join the Mars coalition, implying they were invited. Their program could be advanced, not focused on Mars, early stages, etc. There is also an AR app that connects some details between seasons 1 and 2. All of the bonus content is helpful to pick up what little background info there is on some things. My favorite example is that DARPANET was never opened so the Internet as we know it never developed. They also give us a few drops here and there as televisions play in the background. For example in this episode it sounded like a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving was being discussed.
posted by mikepop at 11:21 AM on December 12, 2023 [4 favorites]


DING DONG, DANNY’S DEAD!
TRULY DEAD!
COMPLETELY DEAD!
DING DONG, DANNY’S REALLY DEAD!

Okay, not the best way to go. But god damn I hated Danny.
posted by Naberius at 9:36 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


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