"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, April 23, 2021

For All Mankind season 2 Finale: Definitely Not the End

Well, the season 2 finale of For All Mankind, just up on Apple TV+, was about as good as it gets.  Which is about as good as any science fiction space travel alternate history story can get.  Which, by my lights, is grand indeed.

Apropos space travel, the final covered all the bases [spoilers follow ...]

The US and USSR in this one hour attacked each other on the Moon, with loss life on both sides, and made peace in space with a defiant Apollo-Soyez docking, and on Earth, where this docking inspired the war-prone Reagan to reach his hand out in peace to Andropov (in the alt-history news clip of their meeting, though, it sure looked like it was Reagan and Gorbachev meeting, as they did in our reality, but ok).

Two highlights of the near-war on the Moon and on Earth were Ed firing on and obliterating The Sea Dragon -- great name for a spaceship, now sacrificed for peace -- and just how that came to happen on Pathfinder.  The action on Jamestown the U. S. Moonbase was also nail biting and heart in mouth.  I would much rather have seen Gordo and Tracy survive, of course, but their not surviving, losing their lives by just a minute or two, maybe an hour after they reclaimed love, was more realistic and emotionally profound.

I also very much liked Kelly quoting John Lennon -- "Everything will be ok in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end" -- to get her bearings in her turbulent life. This doesn't come from a John Lennon song that we know.  It's not even certain that the quote comes from Lennon -- he might well have heard it from the Maharishi.  But maybe in the alternate reality that is For All Mankind, John Lennon really was the first to say this.  He wasn't assassinated in that reality, and the world of the early 1980s therefore has had a few precious more years to know him and his work, and that's more than fine with me.  I think Lennon's assassination was one of the most grievous of the 20th century, and I sent my time travel Jeff Harris back to save him in my novel, The Loose Ends Saga (I won't tell you if he succeeded).

I will tell you that I loved the very ending of this second season of For All Mankind, we humans on Mars in 1995.  That’s what might have happened, had the Soviets beaten us to the Moon in 1969. That's what we'll see next season.  I hope we see it by the end of this decade in our reality.  In the meantime, I'll watch the third and every ensuing season of For All Mankind, and be back here with reviews.

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 ... For All Mankind 2.6: Couplings ... For All Mankind 2.7: Alternate History Surges ... For All Mankind 2.8: Really Lost in Translation ... For All Mankind 2.9: Relationships

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


Bacchus said...

One correction: Ed didn't fire on Buran; he fired on the Sea Dragon.

Paul Levinson said...

Thanks for the catch! Comes from writing a review at 2 in the morning. :) I made the correction.