"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

Friday, March 19, 2021

For All Mankind 2.5: Johnny and the Wrath of Kahn

Another good episode of For All Mankind tonight -- 2.5 -- with lots of time in Jamestown on the Moon, which is always one of my favorite places for this series.

And the touches of our reality which made it through to this alternate reality were also enjoyable to see. I especially liked Johnny's interviews with Tracy on the Moon, and Ed's mention of The Wrath of Kahn as a movie option.  Good to see the Star Trek franchise thriving in this alternate history.

The scenes and stories back on Earth were, as usual, the least interesting for me.  Gordo's condition is getting boring already.   Likewise Ed's interactions with his family, and, for that matter, even Molly being tough at NASA.  We've seen all of this, in slightly different configurations, many times in this series. It was good to see Ellen with her true love, though.  She remains one of the most interesting, i.e., unpredictable, characters in the ensemble.

Back to Jamestown. Tracy's rough time there makes sense and was good to see played out.  The scene between her and the commander of the base was fresh, as was the arrival of the military unit.  As of now in this season's narrative, at the end of episode 5, the best scenes are the build-up for some big stories ahead.   These would be US and Soviet relations -- on space and on Earth -- and the Pathfinder mission to Mars.  I'm looking forward to seeing those happen.   In the meantime, the best thing about this second season, as I mentioned last week, is the feeling it conveys that what we're seeing on the screen is more than an alternate reality, and in some real sense actually happened, too.  Kudos to the series for creating and stirring that excellent impression.

See also For All Mankind, Season 1 and Episode 2.1: Alternate Space Race Reality ... For All Mankind 2.2: The Peanut Butter Sandwich ... For All Mankind 2.3: "Guns to the Moon" ... For All Mankind 2.4: Close to Reality

*** Note added 27 October 2023:  Check out my review of Jack Dann's new book, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History


Nick Leshi said...

I'm curious to see how the alternate reality 1980s will play out. Will there be a Challenger type disaster in this timeline or did that already happen with last season's death of Deke and his crew? Will the Soviet Union collapse (likely not, and what will the implications be of that, or will it and will China join the space race replacing or joining the Russians as the show's competitive antagonists driving the Americans to keep investing and motivating them to go to Mars)? Will Reagan win a second term? Great show.

Paul Levinson said...

Yeah, I'd love to see much more of that alternate history in the series.