"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Saturday, March 6, 2021

For All Mankind 2.3: "Guns to the Moon"

Well, a remarkably unlunar episode 2.3 of For All Mankind this week, with almost no new action on the Moon, and barely a smidgen of alternate history.

In fact, the closest this episode got the Moon was the hotly debated option of arming Jamestown, so our astronauts could maintain control of the lithium mine the Soviets stole from us up there.  And a good debate it was, decided, of course, in favor of arming our astronauts.

Meanwhile down here on Earth, Tracy's take on Ed allowing Gordon to go back to the Moon is "boys will be boys".  She's upset because she doesn't want the story of her going back to the Moon to be the once-married couple back together again on the Moon.  You know what?  I'm with Ed and Gordon on this one.  But I guess that proves Tracy's point of boys will be boys.

Ed also figured in the other big part of this episode's narrative, coming to terms with the loss of his son Shane last season.  The emotion was important and the acting good, but the situation was a little obvious: adopted daughter Kelly wants to go to Annapolis. I'd say here that, in general, the family-focused episodes of For All Mankind work best when set against people pushing the boundaries of humanity up on the Moon, or on the way to it.

I'm very much looking to more episodes in space, or on Earth getting out into space, or on an alternate Earth which is the whole great set-up of this series.

See also For All Mankind, Season 1 and Episode 2.1: Alternate Space Race Reality ... For All Mankind 2.2: The Peanut Butter Sandwich


Nick Leshi said...

I thought the search for and discovery of the Russian tap on the US base was well done, and the flashback by Ed when he had the cosmonaut captive was a nice touch. Had he not debriefed NASA about that?? Also, the weapons debate was a good set up for "taking back the U.S. lunar mine which the Russians have occupied." The cold war and Reagan's Star Wars initiatives are definitely seen in a new light here. I wonder if in this reality he will win a second term -- I was hoping they were setting up Gary Hart as avoiding the Monkey Business scandal, like they did with Ted Kennedy in season one. Also, I wonder if there will just avoid the space shuttle disaster in this reality. It certainly looks like the Iron Curtain won't fall in this timeline, but we shall see.

Paul Levinson said...

Great set of questions and hopes, Nick! I'm with you on all of them. By the way, in my Loose Ends Saga -- a collection of a series of four time travel novelettes and novellas (the first three of which were first published in Analog) -- the time traveler hero struggles with whether doing something that will keep the Soviet Union intact and active in the space program well past the 1990s is worth the danger that the Soviets could play to the United States in the future.