"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 26, 2021

For All Mankind 2.6: Couplings

A really excellent episode 2.6 of For All Mankind on Apple TV+ today, I'd say the best so far of the second season.  The theme was couplings.

First and foremost, in terms of space travel and alternate history, would be the Apollo-Soyez joint mission, or, as of course the Soviets would have it, Soyez-Apollo.  This mission is a perfect vehicle for both of the intertwining narratives, humans in space and the alternate history of The Soviets getting to the Moon very shortly before the United States.  And as a special treat, it's Aleida who comes up with the final fix to the technological solution of the docking problem, in which both sides want to do the penetrating and neither one the passive receiving.

And there were some good human coupling stories in this episode, too.  I'm glad that Gordo told Sam he aimed to get Tracy back.  I guess the odds are against him, but, hopeless romantic that I am, I hope he succeeds. And Ellen and Pam was good to see, too.   The scene in which Ellen breaks the news to her husband was really moving -- in fact, in many ways, the best scene in this episode, in which about every scene vied for being the best.

Including that ominous last scene, in which our astronauts are now in Russia.  The two groups -- the astronauts and the cosmonauts -- learned to work together, in free America.  But the Soviet Union was totalitarian, and the question will be whether the humanity we saw in the cosmonauts in America -- including another primo scene in which we learn the truth about Laika the dog -- will survive on the other side of the world.

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 ... For All Mankind 2.5: Johnny and the Wrath of Kahn

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

No comments: