"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, December 15, 2023

For All Mankind 4.6: Aleida and Margot

I usually focus on the alternate history flourishes in my reviews of For All Mankind, but the story of Aleida and Margot in episode 4.6, up on Apple TV+ today, was so good that I wanted to devote this review to that.

Aleida had realized last season that Margot, who had brought her into NASA, was working with the Russians.  But that part of their relationship had come to a brutal end with the explosion at NASA headquarters.  It did kill Molly Cobb, and Aleida thought it had taken Margot as well.

Of course it had not. Margot was already on her way to the Soviet Union, where she has gone to nearly being killed in prison to now serving as Irina's literally secret advisor.   When there's a summit meeting in Leningrad (the title of this episode) to work out a plan to bring the iridium asteroid and its riches to Earth, Margot is literally talking from another room in Irina's ear, as she chairs a meeting in which Aleida is also present as the Helios representative.  The meeting doesn't get too far, leaving Aleida frustrated, still wanting to talk, and the others rushing off to eat.  This sets up the best scene in the episode.

Margot realizes that the combined space leaders of Earth won't be able to solve the immensely difficult problem of getting the iridium asteroid to Earth.  She also realizes that she and Aleida, working together, could and would figure out what to do.  The two meet.  Margot expects Aleida to be furious at her for betraying NASA and US.  Instead, Aleida hugs Margot, crying with joy at finding Margot alive.  That's what I call realistic, subtle, and memorable writing.

After the long hug, Aleida then takes to berating her idol for betraying her country.  And that's realistic, too.   In the end, Aleida agrees to work with Margot to come up with a plan for the asteroid, setting up some good stories in the ongoing season and series.

All in all, a really satisfying episode that portrays how the impetus to get our species into space can transcend personal as well as national differences.  A good portrayal, very well played by Wren Schmidt as Margo and Coral Peña as Aleida, in how there can still be some hope for humanity.

Chuck Todd and Paul Levinson talk Alternate History, including For All Mankind

See also For All Mankind 4.1: Back in Business and Alternate Reality ... 4.2: The Fate of Gorbachev ... 4.3-4.4: The Soviet Union in the 21st Century, On Earth and Mars ... 4.5: Al Gore as President and AI

And see also For All Mankind 3.1: The Alternate Reality Progresses ... 3.2: D-Mail ... 3.3-3.4: The Race

And 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 ... For All Mankind 2.10: Definitely Not the End

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