For All Mankind Season 4, episode 4, “House Divided,” focuses on how the political atmosphere in the Soviet Union affected those in Happy Valley. Cosmonauts with opposing views were in constant conflict, and things soon escalated for the worse when Cosmonaut Svetlana got into a physical altercation with a Helios worker on site. As a result of a tear in his suit, Vasily had difficulty breathing, and an emergency medical crew had to be called upon. Vasily survived, but he had to be kept under observation in hyperbaric chambers to detect if the damage caused was long-term. Danielle Poole realized she had to make an example out of Svetlana, taking into consideration that the situation could turn more hostile if stern action was not taken, but Ed Baldwin was not in agreement with her.
How did the situation in the Soviet Union impact NASA?
Gorbachev’s supporters felt defeated after Korzhenko came to power. They feared that his traditional Marxist principles would bring downfall upon the Soviet Union. In contrast, Korzhenko supporters finally breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that now they would finally stand up to the Western world instead of complying with them. It was not just Earth that witnessed the clash between the two parties but also Mars, where the political unrest had caused disagreements between the Russians at Happy Valley. Svetlana was a Gorbachev sympathizer, and Vasily and his family were devoted supporters of Korzhenko; therefore, things turned quite volatile when they discussed politics. The tear in Vasily’s suit resulted in not just a medical emergency but also a political one. Danielle Poole believed it was her duty as the commander of the ship to take stern action against Svetlana, and she decided to remove her from flight status. But she soon learned from Svetlana that the Russian government had ordered her to return to Moscow. She had to stand trial for the crime she committed by assaulting a Soviet Union patriot. It was obvious that Svetlana would face extreme torture once she returned to Moscow. Knowing how life-threatening the situation was, Danielle Poole tried to convince Eli Hobson to provide some support for Svetlana.
The new regime was not up for negotiation, and they threatened to react if the United States attempted to hinder the way they carried out law and order. According to the negotiations between Gorbachev and President Wilson, any nation could recall its citizens from Mars whenever they felt it was necessary. Therefore, there was no legal way to go about it. Eli Hobson arranged a meeting with the new head of Roscosmos, Irina Morozova, to come to an understanding, but she refused to entertain his plea and, in return, threatened to pull out of the M-7 charter. Later in For All Mankind episode 4, we find out that the Russian government was all the more determined to bring justice to Vasily because his family was well connected; he was the nephew of an influential member of the Politburo. At Star City, not everyone agreed with the decision Irina was willing to take to make an example of Vasily’s case. Eli Hobson was not left with many options, and he eventually realized that the only choice they had was to find a neutral ground where the case could be brought to justice. Since India was the only neutral country participating in the M-7, it was decided that the trial would take place there.
Why was Ed Baldwin in disagreement with Danielle?
In the previous episode, we witnessed the growing proximity between Ed and Svetlana. After spending 8 years mourning the death of his partner, Ed found himself drawn to a Russian cosmonaut, Svetlana. He offered her his secret stash of weed to counter the back pain she was experiencing. Svetlana was surprised to see the secret garden Ed had built, and he felt comfortable with her. Ed was not happy when Danielle announced that she would take Svetlana off flying duty for the next 60 days. He believed it was completely unfair and that both parties were equally responsible for what had transpired. Danielle was not ready to be biased for Ed’s sake, and she made her decision quite clear. But when she learned about the danger Svetlana would be in once she landed in Moscow, she did her best to make sure that her crew members remained safe after her return.
Danielle’s decision to speak on behalf of Svetlana did not sit well with the Helios crew members. They assumed Danielle was supporting her because she was a cosmonaut, and her sympathies were not with Vasily because he was a mere Helios worker. While that was never the case, some workers perceived it as Danielle favoring one over the other. At the end of For All Mankind episode 4, it was decided that Svetlana would travel to India for the hearing of the case, as was agreed upon by Korzhenko and President Gore. Danielle was in support of the decision because she prioritized bringing peace back to Happy Valley over everything else. Ed did not believe that the Soviets would be fair to Svetlana once she landed on Earth, and he was extremely disappointed in Danielle when he found out that she had already approved of the decision. He accused her of prioritizing her own career growth instead of doing the right thing. Danielle did not expect Ed to come up with that, especially since she had no intention of taking up the job initially. Instead of trying to understand her duty as a commander, Ed wanted her to make an exception simply because he wanted her to. Danielle reminded Ed how he always suffered after letting his personal feelings affect his judgment. Ed had no choice but to respect Danielle’s decision, but their disagreement hints at the possible conflicts they might have in the future.
Which side will Margot choose to be on?
After staying out of work for years, Margot was finally back doing what she enjoyed the most. But the situation was not as simple. Her colleagues did not approve of her because she was an American hiding in the Soviet Union, and the only person who seemed to care for her was Irina Morozova. After Irina rescued Margot, she started to trust her. When Margot was asked to look into the reports on the asteroid mission, she discovered that there was a manufacturing defect in the asteroid anchor bolts that were designed by Roscosmos. The quality control did not seem to have noticed it, and that resulted in the failure of the mission. Comrade Kirill, who was in charge of filing the report, chose not to mention their shortcoming and instead blamed it entirely on NASA and Ed Baldwin’s decision to make the emergency EVA. Irina believed that had Margot not taken a look into the report, Roscosmos would have been accused of a cover-up, and that would have led to the embarrassment of the new president. Kirill admitted that he was aware of their failure, but it was a unit error that occurred during the early stage as a result of different scales of measurement. No one was aware of the mistake made in the conversion, and it was only discovered after the failure of the mission. He refused to name the person who made the mistake and took the blame on himself on behalf of his team.
Kirill was asked to leave the office room, and when Margot asked Irina what would happen to the man, she simply stated he would lose his job. For All Mankind episode 4 ends with Margot finding out what really happened to the Soviet engineer. Margot had diligently done her job, but she soon realized there were severe consequences to her action. Not only had Kirill lost his job, but the KGB had abducted him, and no one knew what would become of him. Irina had gotten rid of every Gorbachev supporter in Roscosmos, and she was not to be taken lightly. Perhaps now Margot will realize that she is all the more trapped. She will be in trouble if there comes a point when she might not agree with Irina. Will Margot comply with the new head of Roscosmos, or will she rebel against the injustice?