Blood on Mars… For All Mankind 3.07 review

In episode 7 of For All Mankind, the unthinkable happens. The alliance everyone thought would be impossible has come to materialise: the Soviets and Helios. Water is found on Mars and the Soviets have excluded NASA from all conversations on the vital resource. Helios may have finished last in the race to Mars but they are making up for it in what could be the first step to life on Mars. 

This season has subtly addressed living with your grief but the main talking point is the consequences of actions being realised. The biggest scandal of the season suffers another setback. With the Soviets partnering with Helios, they have no use for Margo and that means Sergei must return to Moscow. In a rare moment, Margo briefly shows her soft and vulnerable side while remaining pragmatic, keeping to her engineer brain and immediately tries to think up solutions but time is not on her side. As Margo’s emotion swells, the music beautifully matches her and breaks when she cannot think her way out of it, she breaks down. When Margo is alone, relenting and crying into a cushion, it’s a stark contrast to the character we have seen throughout the past seasons. It is a moment so hard to watch, in part due to the music but another masterful performance from Wrenn Schmidt.  The breakdown of the hope she had to save Sergei is just one of many problems for Margo as Aleida (Coral Peña) is not giving up on finding out who gave her rocket designs to the Soviets. More and more we see Margo losing her relationships and now we see her losing control. The breakdown of Margo and Aleida’s close bond is one of the hardest to see fall apart after seasons and decades of mutual support and care for each other. 

It is not only Margo that struggles, but Aleida as well. Suspicions of Margo grow with Cora Peña expertly showing the betrayal that is so clearly devastating to Aleida. Margo’s actions are not just affecting her, Sergei, the space programme at NASA, but now Aleida is feeling the repercussions of all that. After the impassioned speech she gave to Karen in a previous episode, you feel for Aleida. Her idol has fallen as Margo’s world is shattering. 

Coral Peña as Aleida Rosales

Mars is aptly named after the ancient Roman God but no other inhabitant takes on the difficult, argumentative, and unpopular nature than Danny Baldwin (Casey W. Johnson). Mars is all about aggression and survival and while that can help act assertively but as shown with Danny, it can lead to reckless and impulsive behaviour that he constantly shows. No matter how small or the context of the scene, Casey W. Johnson creates tension that you feel through the screen. Danny is not a villain but he does things that have you on the edge of your seat, no matter what he does. There are a few eerie scenes with Danny such as Danny becoming agitated with toy puppy, PJ, and then violently destroying it in front of everyone and then, the moment many have been waiting for, a confrontation with Ed. While Danny embodies the volatile nature of Mars, Nick Corrado, the owner of PJ) is a natural light that I loved in the second season. During the Jamestown massacre on the moon, when I first watched it, my instant worry was for Nick and I was relieved he survived. Daniel David Stewart, who portrays Nick, has a similar draw as Krys Marshall. Nick has a draw to him combined with a character that seemingly has a great outlook and dedication to the work. 

The confrontation between Ed and Danny is not about the affair with Karen, (that Ed is still oblivious too) instead it is about Danny’s conduct on Mars and that is something that works well with the show. The confrontation about what happened between Danny and Karen is not needed and focusing on current situations in Mars creates even more tension. Ed has been switching from treating Danny as a substitute son to a substitute best friend, obviously trying to fill the Gordo shaped hole Ed feels. Ed eventually issues a warning to Danny but it seems Danny is gearing up to punch Ed. Ed, showing his own anger, urges Danny to do it and when he doesn’t, calls Danny pathetic in front of the crew but Danny does not punch Ed. Instead, a very disturbing scene follows Danny in private punching himself in the face as he stares in the mirror. 

Joel Kinnaman as Ed Baldwin and Casey W. Johnson as Danny Baldwin in For All Mankind

Actions have consequences and on Mars the danger of those consequences are amplified in more ways than one. With the drilling starting and Danny forced to sit at base, he takes more and more pills as he works with Nick Corrado. Danny is responsible for making sure the pressure on the drill is not too high but Danny is shaken, distracted and high. On a moment when Danny is left alone while Corrado is tasked with something else, the drill speed picks up speed and buckles but as the pressure climbs, Danny zones out and shuts down comms. An instant consequence to this is paid for by Ed as he was injured from the shrapnel of the exploded drill. Tension and fear created so expertly by the For All Mankind creative team as we do not see what happened but only hear the aftermath as Corrado sharply breaks the silence by turning on the comms and we hear the consequences of Danny’s responsibility and impulsivity.  

Everything is heightened on Mars, so the fear and danger of the aftereffects of the Mars-quake is like nothing we have seen on the show just yet. As Danny and Corrado rush out to meet the other astronauts and cosmonauts, Danny and Ed make it into a station, just as a storm caused by the quake (and Danny) engulfs the Helios and Soviet team as the screen fades and the credits roll. 

Romans and Greeks associated the planet with war because of its colour resembling blood and nobody on Mars has more blood on their hands than Danny. 

Normally the MVC of the episode is someone good from a moral perspective but this week it goes to Danny Baldwin. He is chaos and anger that puts everyone else in danger but it makes for an explosive episode. For that, we give MVC to Danny.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s