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For All Mankind finally drops the first terrible dominos of the pain to come.
by Jeremy Fogelman
The latest episode of For All Mankind is called “Bring It Down”, and everything goes down this episode and everything goes wrong. On the somehow less terrifying Earth storylines, we see the seeds of truly terrible things to come. For the least terrible (for now), naive Jimmy Stevens is completely manipulated by his conspiracy theorist love interest to help them break into the NASA complex and steal the statue of his parents.
It’s the sort of payoff that isn’t so terrible, a kind of petty vandalism that we can understand on Jimmy’s part, if not the conspiracy idiots that think it’s a statue to lies. Sunny is truly a toxic individual, even if she doesn’t realize it herself. But that fake badge is still out there, and perhaps there’s a lot more damage they can do.
Margo can do nothing either, except make things worse, as she is unable to do anything to prevent Sergei from being sent back to Russia and likely his death since the USSR is now working with Helios. Maybe it’s this hurt that causes her to lash out later, but she only makes things worse with Aleida. After Aleida talks to what seems sadly to be her now ex-husband Victor about helping with her own, actually valid, conspiracy theory, she gets that great detail.
Maybe it’s not someone who worked for you... and then I could see how it all might go down. Aleida tells Margo she believes it was Emma the secretary, but Margo starts by saying the debt is due to cancer payments -- okay so far as a deflection, but then she delves into pure gaslighting, throwing so-called “false accusations” in Aleida’s face. I wonder if this was the moment Margo actually destroyed herself, as Aleida tearfully storms out of the building before seeming suddenly to realize the truth as her eyes stop at Margo’s portrait.
Another domino about to fall.
|© Apple TV+|
The other terrestrial storyline is the direct follow-up to that snafu last episode, where Larry is forced to lie under oath about not having an affair with his aide “Jeremy” (a personal attack on me I assume). Larry continues to be manipulative and tells his paramour to lie that he was on drugs and check into a rehab -- all to protect himself and the administration. Definitely shades of the whole Clinton affair situation here.
Larry continues to make things worse by admitting to Ellen that he’s been lying about Pam this whole time, which naturally sends her into a spiral. We see Ellen drop everything to visit her old flame, but we still don’t know what will happen there. No matter what, it feels like a terrible cost for Ellen or Larry or both. Another domino.
But the most horrible domino fell, the final combination of Ed giving Danny too much slack and Danny’s self-oblivion causing him to perform actions and inactions to lead to other people’s deaths. Although Ed still has no idea about the Karen affair, he does notice Danny is overmedicated on pills, yet he still allows him a critical role in communication during their all-important drilling mission.
This was a mistake on Ed’s part, as was taunting him in that toxic masculinity way to hit him and then jeering at him for not doing it as being “pathetic”. It’s almost no wonder a freaked out Danny, out of his mind in multiple ways, that he gets overwhelmed and simply cannot function, just turning off the critical communications channel.
It’s the domino we’ve been expecting for a while -- Ed gets critically injured, and we see one of the Russians (I think Kelly’s Russkie Alexei?) disappear into the coming dust storm. Although I may be wrong about that. Still, if Ed makes it, Danny might not after this terrible screw-up.
This now feels like the “endgame” part of the season, where people’s mistakes finally catch up with them and cause awful consequences. On the other hand, that’s why it’s so enjoyable to watch -- Margo tilted here into unforgivable territory instead of simply “understandable traitor” and now I must simply switch allegiances entirely to Aleida. A great episode, where the human mistakes screw it all up.
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