I love science fiction. I love NASA. I love the moon. For me, the Apple+ series For All Mankind was one of the best gifts, and no questions the best series from Apple+’s debute season. Mixing real people with fictional, the series explored what would happen if the Soviets landed on the moon first, and how would America have to change?
The Sacrifice of Women
In season one, the stories that captivated me were those of Nixon’s Women — the first female astronauts. We had Molly, the first woman on the moon, who realizes she has to sacrifice her freedom to be a figurehead for the future of woman. There was Dani, the first black woman on the moon, who literally sacrificed herself (breaking her arm) to save Gordo’s future. Tracy, Gordo’s wife and fellow astronaut, has to find her way to being a parent, wife, and astronaut all in one. Margo, the (eventual) flight director, struggles with her desires and her past, as well as giving up parts of herself just to be this one thing she loves.
And then we have Ellen, our lesbian, who is torn between two worlds. She desperately wants to fly, it’s been her love and passion all her life. But she also is in love with a woman in a time before the Equal Rights Amendment, when the Red Scare was more than just about rousting out Communists. Ellen wants to be in space so much that she fakes a marriage just to be able to fly among the stars.
When Ellen does come out, to the dying Deke Slayton, she is cautioned to never let anyone know.
To simultaneously hold two equal desires in very separate hands and how to navigate that […] The opportunity to be an astronaut came out of nowhere, and I’m not sure up until that point if she’d even — likely hadn’t because there’d been no representation — considered it as a possibility. To suddenly have this thing thrust upon her that becomes the pinnacle of aviation, of science and exploration, and for then it of course to inevitably lead to huge personal risk. Huge fear, huge sense of fraud and pretence, which of course takes away from the pure enjoyment and pure satisfaction of achieving those goals of not only becoming an astronaut but of then getting to go to the moon.Jodi Balfour (Ellen Wilson (née Waverly)) – For All Mankind | Comic-Con@Home 2020 (15:58)
All the women must sacrifice themselves, but it’s in ways familiar to all women. Women are often conditioned to accept this part of the emotional labor of self-sacrifice.
This [sacrifice] is one aspect of playing Dani that came to me very easily because as a woman, as a black woman, you sort of learn to engage the world this way. You walk into a room and gauge the temperature of ‘how much of my real self can I bring to this environment?’ You take a look around the room and see ‘am I the only black person here?’ These are just truths about living life as me that no one ever taught me explicitly, you’re just seeped in it.
Being Dani is very much akin to being Krys. She’s navigating what she can’t say and when she can’t speak up.Krys Marshall (Danielle Poole) – For All Mankind | Comic-Con@Home 2020 (11:20)
Revealed at SDCC 2020, Season two jumps us ten years in the future. Reagan is now President, the Cold War is burning hot, and we’ve sent plutonium to the moon. What could possibly go wrong?
It’s strange to think that in a 1983 where we have women on the moon, we would still vilify Jimmy Carter. He was, after all, the man who pushed science and had solar panels on the White House. But at the same time, when we think about how this version of our world has Russians and Americans on the moon together, and how there’s so much tension between them, perhaps it’s not so surprising after all.
Well, it involves guns on the moon, and it involves a future where we do not ask Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the wall. It’s actually thrilling, terrifying, and entrancing.
When will we get to see this series? I don’t know. They have not yet released dates, and I happen to know first hand they were filming back in April. Logically it stands to reason that Apple wouldn’t be so cavalier to give us a trailer without a completed project, so my guess would be this autumn/early winter.