‘For All Mankind’ Season 3: Episode 1 – Recap And Ending, Explained – How Did Polaris Go Astray?

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Season 3, Episode 1 of the AppleTV series ‘For All Mankind’ takes us back to an alternative 1992 universe, where the USSR continues to exist. The United States of America and the USSR have signed a lunar peace treaty by dividing the moon into two halves. In ‘For All Mankind’ Season 2, Karen Baldwin had sold The Outpost pub to Sam Cleveland, and in Season 3, we are told that the pub has opened multiple franchises in major cities of the world like New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Berlin. The Soviets continue to have a strong influence in Latin America. The rise of nuclear fusion has led to a decrease in the global warming level. Ellen, who was chosen as the NASA administrator, has now won the Texas Senate race. The partnership of Sam Cleveland and Karen Baldwin continued as they launched the first-ever space tourism company, naming it Polaris. Huge deposits of helium are found on the moon, a piece of great news for the future of nuclear fusion. The North Korean government has shifted its focus from missile programs to space programs. A film titled “Love in the Skies” has been released that narrates the romantic tale of Gordo and Tracy Stevens. Danny, the son of Gordo and Tracy, is now an astronaut and has spent his time in Jamestown. The Mars mission is the next big thing for the United States as well as the Soviet Union. After winning her Senate race, Ellen Wilson announced that she would run for the Presidential election as a Republican nomination. Bill Clinton, the Democratic nominee, is running against Wilson for the Presidential election. The year 1992 in the world of “For All Mankind” is far ahead of the future of the world we live in. The future is the past in the series, and the Space program is at the center of it all. While the billionaires are thrusting their rockets into space and dreaming of building resorts on Mars, in “For All Mankind,” space tourism is already a reality, and people are enjoying the view of Earth from above.

Spoilers Ahead


Season 3: Episode 1 – Recap Summary

“For All Mankind” Season 3: Episode 1, titled “Polaris,” is centered around the space luxury hotel that goes by the same name. Sam and Karen are excited about their new venture. Karen had proposed the idea of common citizens enjoying space, and Sam carried out the dream. Their first guests were joining them to attend the wedding of Danny Stevens and Amber. Margo Madison now heads NASA as administrator, and she is focused on getting to Mars. Aleida Rosales has taken over Billy’s position while he has been promoted to the position of Flight. The Soviet Union has announced its commander for the Mars mission, but the United States has yet to reveal its commander. The reason for the delay is the disagreement between Margo and Molly. Margo believes Poole has the right mindset to head the Mars mission, whereas Molly believes Ed’s spontaneity would help them succeed. They decided to take a little longer to conclude.

Danielle Poole has remarried and has a stepson. She is happy with her new life. Edwin and Karen have divorced, and Ed is now married to Yvonne. They had a small wedding ceremony in their backyard, which Yvonne revealed during their discussion with Sam and Karen. The guests gathered to attend the wedding ceremony of Danny and Amber. They met in their congregation, and romance sparked immediately. Jimmy, Danny’s brother, shared a grim toast after the wedding ceremony. Jimmy cannot accept the glorification of the death of his parents, and he makes it clear in his speech. He knew his parents were far from perfect for each other, and he hoped that his brother could find the love that his parents could not.

Margo continues to be in touch with Sergei Nikulov, the Soviet engineer she met during the Apollo-Soyuz mission. For All Mankind, Season 2 ended with the revelation that the KGB monitored Sergei’s phone calls with Margo, and they made him take advantage of their friendship. Margo continues to remain in the dark; she believes her friendship with Sergei is honest, and there is no room for ill-intent. Sergei sends Margo a music recording and initiates a conversation asking for her help with the Mars orbiter. It is hinted that they have both helped each other several times with various technical issues. After their call ended, the KGB contacted Sergei, asking him to discuss the nuclear design created by the United States with Margo. Sergei and Margo are set to meet again in London for the IAC meeting.


‘For All Mankind’ Season 3: Episode 1 – Ending Explained – What Went Wrong With Polaris? How Was The Problem Solved?

Jimmy left the room with Danielle’s son, Isaiah. They shared a joint and smoked it out through a vent. Jimmy explained that he had learned the trick of smoking in space from his mother. Meanwhile, the couple had their first dance, and to Karen’s surprise, “Don’t be cruel” started to play. The song that used to be Karen and Danny’s secret was played aloud as the wedding song. In a way, it indicates how Danny might not have been able to completely get over Karen. As the guests enjoyed the party, panic started to spread in the control room. An object from the disintegrated North Korean rocket flew into Polaris and ignited a portion of it. The ship started to rotate faster than before, and the centrifugal gravity started to rise. The wedding cake turned into mush, but the guests were not yet aware of the problem at hand.

Even now, Ed is controlling his partner as he instructs Yvonne to leave the dance floor. Yvonne feels that Ed is ashamed to be married to her, and as a result, he wants her to stay in the room. As the two argue, Yvonne suddenly notices an object flying into their window, creating a hole. As they tried to hold on to the ground, Ed fractured his leg. The two somehow managed to leave and lock their room. They met with Danny and Amber on their way out.

Meanwhile, the commander of the ship informed Karen and Sam about the increase in gravitational force and how they were planning to close the thruster’s valve manually. They jointly decided to not alert the guests. As the astronauts tried to fix the problem, they noticed that a stabilizer cable had broken off. The loose cable injured the astronauts, and they started to lose pressure from their suits. The astronauts lost all contact, and they went astray, resulting in their deaths. Karen and Sam realized that it was time for them to leave, so they decided to gather all the guests and take them to the shuttles. The plan was to take the elevator to the central hub room, which had zero gravity, and board the shuttles back to Houston. Sam took the first lot to the central room and was returning in the elevator, but suddenly alarms started to go off, and the elevator crashed. Karen forcefully opened the door of the elevator and found Sam lying on the floor, lifeless. Karen announced that the elevator was inaccessible and that the guests must only use the access shaft.

Ed expressed that it would be impossible for him to climb the ladder with a broken leg. Danny agreed and added that it would be difficult for Amber and Yvonne as well since the gravitational pull was twice what it usually was. There were pressure suits in the shuttle, and Danny believed that if he could get to them, he could get to the thruster and fix the problem. Ed warned that even if he made it to the thruster, the gravitational pull from the ring would fling him off. He decided to take the risk. Danny climbed the ladder with all his strength and wore the pressure suit. He reached outside and managed to escape from the death trap of the loose cable and closed the thruster valve manually. The thruster slowed the ship down, back to its normal speed. The gravitational force stabilized. Danny was able to save multiple lives with his act of bravery, much like his parents.

Season 3 Episode 1 is quite promising with various new storylines and the evolving relationship between the characters. The chaos unleashed in Polaris will surely affect the future of the “For all Mankind” universe, considering how space tourism was considered a new business model.


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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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