Alternate reality continues in For All Mankind 3 as the race to Mars is on. Ten more episodes will drop Fridays on AppleTV+ in a three-way march to the Red Planet by 1996. Episode One brings us up-to-date since we last left our friends in a near war on the moon. Only the Apollo-Soyuz handshake saved the world from nuclear holocaust. As the viewer moves to 1992, it’s unclear what happened to George H.W. Bush but Gary Hart is now President after his victory over Pat Robertson. Notably, Hart refuses to defend Kuwait against the Iraqis. Apparently unpopular, the nominees for President are none other than Bill Clinton and former astronaut, now Texas Senator, Ellen Wilson. And, we are go for launch!
For All Mankind 3 continues the excellent CGI of spacecraft and its environs. The series has the look of a blockbuster space film. Multiple storylines keep the viewer engaged although somewhat upset that you can’t binge. The KGB continues its efforts to recruit Margo. NASA does not intend to lose, although several technological problems threaten to delay their launch window. Now, insert those pesky private investors, always out to make a buck. Everyone knows “space is no place for tourists.” Why not start out with the first wedding in space? Who thought that was a good idea? For sheer entertainment, For All Mankind 3 gets 4.0 Gavels and a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating with an excellent 8.7/10 IMDb score.
After the moon dust-up, President Reagan and General Secretary Andropov signed a treaty dividing the moon in half. An unsuccessful rocket firing test at the Jamestown colony forces Madison to again confer, surreptitiously, with her counterpart in the Soviet Union, Sergei Nikulov. Aware of his contact, the KGB pushes harder for Sergei to acquire more American technology. Meanwhile, Danny Stevens, son of deceased heroes Gordo and Tracy, gets married at the new space hotel, Polaris. Run by Ed Baldwin’s divorced wife, Karen, all is well until space junk from an exploded North Korean rocket damages a thruster. Houston, we have a problem.
Nearly-blind flight director Molly Cobb wants Ed to command the mission to Mars. Margo prefers Danielle Poole acted by Krys Marshall. Something tells me both get the ride. Casey W. Johnson, as Danny Stevens, presumably will be absent from his marital responsibilities for two years or so. Likewise, Coral Pena, steps up her duties as engineer Aleida Morales. Margo sends her to the moon to make repairs to that balky engine.
The whole premise of For All Mankind 3 and its predecessors is that Sergei Korolev, father of the Soviet space program, survived an operation in early 1966. How that might have changed the direction of their program is undeniable. Still, it is the radical changes in the US political hierarchy that startles at times. If Wilson overcomes Clinton, will there be no Monica, no Hillary? The possibilities are endless.
“If you have been on board already, season three proves as addictive as season two, albeit slightly more heightened because the technology of this timeline’s 1990s is advanced beyond space-faring technology then or now.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“In the endless barrage of mediocre series pushed out weekly, ‘Mankind’ stands out, a shining star (or moon or planet) among the replaceable rest.” USA Today
We’ve yet to meet Dev Ayesa, an Elon Musk-type character with Helios. Allegedly, he’s a bit Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, too. Fasten your seatbelts.