‘For All Mankind’ Season 3, Episode 9: Recap And Ending, Explained: What Was President Wilson Controversy?


After the disastrous landslide, all humans on Mars are working together to restore the MSAM so they can travel back to Earth. Danny heals through the restoration process and dedicates himself to fixing Popeye, the MSAM. “For all Mankind,” Season 3, Episode 9 also deals with the first Martian, the offspring of Kelly and Alexei Poletov. The news created a sensation on Earth, with people coming up with various ways to celebrate the unexpected. Along with that, President Wilson continued to be in a tough spot after Congress indicated their knowledge of Larry’s extramarital affair. The episode ends with an unexpected twist, making life on Mars all the more complicated. While the first half of the season was engaging with the competition between the Soviets, Americans, and Helios members to be the first human on Mars, the second half is a bit of a drag. “For All Mankind” tends to be preachy, and it is by now established that in every danger, it will be America/NASA who will come to the rescue, as usual. Of course, there is nothing to complain about, considering it is an American show, but it would be great if the space exploration dream was not dominated by petty drama.

The First Martian

Ed Baldwin looks forward to bringing home his grandchild, and he takes care of Kelly while they are stuck at the NASA base. The conditions of Mars might be a risk for the unborn, but that is a truth they all had to live with. Kelly is to give birth after boarding Phoenix in two months, though the pressure suit she will be wearing during the MSAM launch remains debatable. Back on Earth, some celebrated the news, whereas others found it to be controversial.

President Wilson Controversy

Congress was after the NASA fund, and they wanted President Wilson to support their interests. Ellen knew that once Congress had direct authority over the NASA budget, they would curb as many space programs as possible. As an astronaut, she could not let it happen. She added that she would veto it if necessary, showing how she was absolutely against it. Congress wanted to cater to the workers who lost their jobs due to the new energy source-Helium 3. While Ellen’s passion for exploration is commendable, she also needed to solve the crisis that the people in her country were experiencing.

The congress member, Dick, warned Ellen that if she failed to sign an agreement to their proposal, then the secret of her husband would become national news considering that he lied about it under oath. Lying under oath resulted in imprisonment, and Congress would later impeach President Wilson for attempting to hide the truth. He mentioned how her White House office consisted of a tape recorder that recorded every conversation that took place in the room, and they would check the tapes on the day Larry was asked about his affair. Ellen was shocked to learn about the tape recorder, and she knew that they could not get away with it. Larry proposed coming out in public. He wanted to do the right thing instead of coming up with plans to conceal the truth as usual. He believed that he was already a laughing stock to the public, and his coming out would be another reason for the audience to laugh about. But he knew his confession would help Ellen from getting impeached, and he wanted to protect her position.

The White House held a press conference, and Larry went onstage to tell his truth. He struggled to find words, and that was when Ellen joined him onstage. She took over the stand and declared that she was gay and had been since the day she was born. She confessed to having lied to the people of America, believing that nobody would accept her for who she was, but in the process, she lost her true self. She forgot to fight for the rights of the most vulnerable population, who needed her support more than ever. She also did not stand up for the rights and dignity of Will Tyler. Many celebrated her coming out in the form of rallies and marches, whereas the rest held counter-protests, believing that she would be a dangerous influence. After her announcement, she signed an executive order allowing gay men and women to serve in the military openly. Will Tyler would receive a presidential medal for his service on Mars and his courage to stand for gay rights. Ellen Wilson’s courageous stand did not just help her live with herself but also strengthened the lives of queer Americans whose voices would not remain unheard anymore.

Aleida Digs Deep

Aleida could not give up on her doubts regarding the association of a NASA member with the Soviets. Her garage became her den to unravel the mystery, and she had a wall pasted with information and pictures to justify her case. She invited Billy to her den and asked him to take a look at her theory regarding Margo Madison’s involvement with the Russians. She hoped for it to be proven wrong because Margo was her mentor, and she hated herself for doubting her, but Bill pointed out that her doubt was justified. He advised her to talk to the FBI since this was a security breach that they had to look into, but Aleida did not wish to take it to them. The next day, Bill introduced her to an FBI agent, and he had already briefed her about the whole situation. Aleida was angered by Bill’s guts to take such a crucial decision about the matter without consulting her. She refused to cooperate with the FBI, though she was informed that the FBI had already started looking into it, and it was an open case. Aleida was torn entirely; she did not wish to ruin Margo’s life, but she did so nonetheless. Perhaps approaching Margo directly would have caused less trouble, but now the matter was beyond her control.

Season 3, Episode 9: Ending Explained

The rendezvous radar was destroyed, and without it, the MSAM would be unable to dock with Phoenix. Upon opening the box, it was found that the primary integration card was destroyed, and the spare was in Phoenix. They needed to find a spare as soon as possible, or else they would lose the launch window and remain stranded on Mars. Sojourner did not have a rendezvous radar since they had no plan of docking; therefore, they had to look for other sources. The Soviet commander informed the Americans that they had Kars Units all over Mars’s surface; they were sample return probes that were launched. The only problem was that the closest Kars unit was 1500 km away from the NASA base, meaning that they could only get it after a month of travel. Since it was not a viable option considering that Kelly Baldwin needed to be in Phoenix in time, they studied the locations of the rendezvous system that the Russians sold to other countries. The closest one belonged to the People’s Republic of Korea. Taking the docking system from North Korea without their permission was a risky operation, but they had to go ahead with it nevertheless.

As Danielle Poole traveled to the North Korean probe site, she was informed that Kelly Baldwin was in a critical state. Her heart was beating faster than usual, and she had lost consciousness. Doctor Mayakovsky determined that she was suffering from preeclampsia. Therefore, Poole needed to return with the Kars system as soon as possible. After reaching the site, they noticed that there were footsteps on the surface, indicating the presence of others. As they were trying to comprehend the situation, they were greeted by a North Korean man with a gun in his hand.

The secretive existence of North Koreans on Mars will add to the troubles of the rest. It also meant that there was a fourth competitor who managed to survive on the planet without the knowledge of the others. But what remains important is for Poole to get the Kurs Unit, especially for Kelly, who had to board Phoenix at the right time to give birth.

See More: ‘For All Mankind’ Season 3: Ending, Explained – Is Karen Baldwin Dead Or Alive? Will There Be A Season 4?

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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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