For All Mankind

For All Mankind season 4 finale burns with new hope [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★

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Kuznetzov Station For All Mankind★★★★
Is this just a foward-looking ending, or is this upcoming season 5? We shall see.
Photo: Apple TV+

You can’t ask for much more than For All Mankind‘s season 4 finale “Perestroika” gives. It wraps up the season in heart-pounding and heartstring-tugging fashion Friday, bringing climax and resolution to the audience along with hope for the future of the space program — and maybe a season 5 of the show.

It’s a satisfying end to the conflict over Mars-based asteroid mining at the heart of the season. But the future development teased as the episode wraps up, which appears to beg a fifth season, could simply make a fitting end to the series (as we wait to see if Apple TV+ will renew it).

Dream of ‘Brazil’ dies in For All Mankind‘s fraught episode 9 ★★★★☆

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For All Mankind season 4, episode 9, Kelly and Ed hug★★★★☆
Tears and hugs aside, Kelly Baldwin isn't falling for her dad's BS.
Photo: Apple TV+

Season 4 of For All Mankind entered its tense final phase Friday, with action heating up on Mars and on Earth ahead of climactic episode 10. Episode 9, “Brazil,” is all about setting up that endgame (and it really could be the End, as we await Apple TV+ news of season 5 renewal … or not).

But two characters won’t live to see that endgame. And many more lives are at risk as forces on Earth seek to control the fight in space over the Goldilocks asteroid’s vast mineral wealth — and maybe even the future of space exploration.

Russian ghost haunts season 4’s ‘Legacy’ episode of For All Mankind ★★★★☆

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For All Mankind season 4 episode 7 Sergei★★★★☆
Sergei ducks deep cover to seek out Margo with Aleida's reluctant help.
Photo: Apple

Hopefully you were already onboard with For All Mankind‘s sometimes brazenly credulity-stretching alternative reality. The first woman president comes out as gay. Homegrown terrorists blow up NASA HQ. Agency director Margo Madison defects to the Soviet Union and then goes to work in its space agency, only to end up partnering with NASA.

If so, then you won’t mind if a Russian ghost comes back to mess with us now, too.

OK, he’s not a ghost. He’s Sergei, the Russian scientist who seemed to fall in love with Margo and got strangled in front of her to get her to give up U.S. space secrets. And as forces now align to mine the Goldilocks asteroid near Mars, he breaks cover on Earth to seek her out — and maybe not just for more romance.

For All Mankind episode 7 finds crisis across the picket line ★★★

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For All Mankind season 4 episode 7★★★
Ed Baldwin and Samantha Massey represent Helios workers in strike negotiations.
Photo: Apple TV+

For All Mankind, season 4, episode 7 — “Crossing the Line” — wastes no time getting into rancorous strike negotiations between Helios workers and NASA management at Happy Valley, Mars, as forecast by the previous episode.

That “line” in the episode title is a picket line, or maybe a reference to the disastrous result of management trying to bust a strike in space.

These 4 Apple TV+ series prove more popular than almost any other streaming shows

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Apple TV+ hits
These four Apple TV+ series all draw big audiences.
Photo: Apple TV+/Cult of Mac

Four of the top 10 most popular streaming series are all on Apple TV+, according to a market analysis. That’s a new milestone for Apple’s streaming service.

The list includes British spy thriller Slow Horses and Godzilla series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, as well as other shows that both audiences and critics like.

Space union forms in For All Mankind‘s ‘Leningrad’ episode ★★★☆☆

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Irina, Aleida and Eli chat in For All Mankind Leningrad episode★★★☆☆
Irina, left, Aleida and Eli discuss asteroid capture at the M7 summit in Russia.
Photo: Apple TV+

Friday’s sixth episode in season 4 of For All Mankind, “Leningrad,” ranks low on the deaths-and-hanky-panky scale of soap-opera criticism, but it’s not without a few revelations and highly emotional moments.

Namely, as plans unfold to capture the Goldilocks asteroid for lucrative mining, Mars may be getting its first union. Nice-guy Miles plays hardball with Ilya Brezhnev. And former NASA director Margo Madison reveals to the world she’s alive and working for the Soviet space agency.

In between space disasters, emotional thrusters propel For All Mankind [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

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Danielle in ★★★
Danieille handles news of the Goldilocks mission in stride, but soon she's screaming "F-You!" at Ed Baldwin. Twice.
Photo: Apple TV_

“Ground control, is that a negative on fatal space accidents in this week’s episode? Roger that. Initiate teardrops protocol.” For All Mankind‘s “Goldilocks” episode, number 5 in season 4, pushes plot lines forward Friday under the power of emotional cataclysms more than space-based action.

But it’s a meaty episode nonetheless. The whole season will turn on the importance of a certain newly discovered space rock named Goldilocks.

Space soap opera For All Mankind hits stride in ‘House Divided’ episode [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

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For All Mankind, season 4, episode 4, Ed Baldwin sees Svetlana off.★★★
Ed got what might be a first and only kiss from Svetlana, headed for trial in India.
Photo: Apple TV+

Not much happens Friday on alt-history space soap opera For All Mankind season 4’s fourth episode, “House Divided.” Let’s see. Two Russians have a shoving match on Mars, almost killing one and nearly causing the return of the Cold War. The former head of NASA goes to work for the Soviets and immediately impresses her frighteningly KGB-connected boss. And longtime space heroes Danielle Poole and Ed Baldwin suffer a major falling out that could threaten peace in Happy Valley, Mars.

And by the way, geriatric Ed — the show wants us to believe Joel Kinnaman’s characters is now in his 70s — finally does get the tender smooch from a young cosmonaut threatened in episode 3. Alas, poor Miles Dale, despite sparks flying on Mars, doesn’t quite get to make out with his burgeoning love interest.

For All Mankind bets big on outlandish Russian plot line [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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For All Mankind, season 4, episode 3, Russian space agency★★★☆☆
After enduring torture during a coup attempt, a battered and dazed Margo Madison is offered work at the Russian space agency.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Sure enough, last week’s hints of looming unrest blossom this week in a full-scale coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in alt-history drama series For All Mankind, season 4, episode 3, “The Bear Hug.” And who’s in the middle of it all? Why, the former head of NASA, of course — Margo Madison.

In the span of one episode — released Wednesday instead of Friday for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend — she gets horribly tortured and finds herself in a big new space-agency job. But it ain’t NASA this time. I’d say you can’t make this stuff up, but someone did. Meanwhile, another coup unfolds at private space-exploration company Helios Aerospace.

Lessons in Chemistry, For All Mankind, Monarch episodes all premiere early this week

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Lessons In Chemistry on Apple TV+
For once, we won't have to wait until Friday for Lessons in Chemistry on Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Apple TV+ episodes that would ordinarily appear later this week are all instead going to debut on Wednesday, November 22. That includes Lessons in Chemistry, For All Mankind and Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.

The reason shouldn’t be hard to guess. In the United States, Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, and many people will either be traveling to visit family or hosting visiting family members.

On For All Mankind‘s Mars, the working man’s life sucks (and then he dies, probably) [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

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Miles Dale (Toby Kebbell) in For All Mankind★★★
Miles Dale and his new Helios colleagues are psyched to work on Mars. But that doesn't last long.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Last week’s season four opener of Apple TV+ alt-history drama series For All Mankind went necessarily big to catch everyone up and start off with a bang. So it’s not surprising episode two establishes a more practical stride, focusing on the realities of life in a working Mars colony.

Turns out life sucks for the working man up there in more ways than just an alarming chance of fatality. Life in Happy Valley, Mars, also tells a deeply unfair tale of haves and have-nots, just like on Earth.

For All Mankind season 4 launches with painful look back [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

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For All Mankind season 4★★★
Graying XO Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) pilots a craft with a Soviet colleague in "For All Mankind" season 4.
Photo: Apple TV+

Alternative-history space-race drama series For All Mankind returned to Apple TV+ Friday with a season 4 opener that handled two tough jobs pretty well — painfully looking back at past tragedies and peering ahead with trepidation to probable new ones. After all, space is dangerous and so are people.

In an episode called “Glasnost,” set 8 years after the end of season 3, For All Mankind sets its sites on asteroid wealth and a joint mission led by the United States and Russia to get it. And it doesn’t take long for people to start dying up there.

Fake news clips launch For All Mankind season 4

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For All Mankind season 4 fake news clips
Before you blast off with "For All Mankind," don't forget to catch up on the fake news.
Photo: Apple

If you’re fan of alternative-history drama series For All Mankind — in which the space race never ended — Apple TV+ has a treat for you. It’s 15 minutes of fake news clips showing you relevant (fictional) events between season 3 and season 4.

Consider it a teaser that gets you ready for the next 10 episodes, debuting November 10.

Race for asteroid wealth heats up in For All Mankind season 4 trailer

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That space rock holds massive mineral wealth, and everyone wants it.
That space rock holds massive mineral wealth, and everyone wants it.
Photo: Apple

It’s 2003, and the United States leads the way on Mars in its Happy Valley Base, having turned its international space-race competitors into allies. But when an asteroid presents an almost-unimaginably rich mining opportunity, it’s back to pitched competition, as seen in the For All Mankind season four trailer Apple TV+ dropped Thursday.

The alternative-history sci-fi series started with an interesting premise — what if the United States lost the moon race in 1969 to the Soviets? — and has run with it into a fourth season, which debuts November 10 on Apple TV+.

Here are the most popular Apple TV+ shows that aren’t Ted Lasso

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Apple TV+
These 10 Apple TV+ shows reached the peak of popularity on the streaming video service.
Photo: Apple TV+

Although Ted Lasso is amazing and wildly popular, it’s not the only hit show on Apple TV+. A search engine focused on movies and TV released a top 10 list of everything on Apple’s streaming service, revealing which other series also draw plenty of viewers.

Subscribers to the streaming service might use it to find additional shows worth watching.

For All Mankind goes out with a bang in season 3 finale [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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For All Mankind season 3 finale recap Apple TV+: Things are getting dicey at NASA.★★★☆☆
Things are getting dicey at NASA because of course they are.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ space opera/soap opera For All Mankind closes its confounding third season this week by introducing us to a new character and a new geopolitical rival for the beleaguered space crews.

In this week’s season three finale, entitled “Stranger in a Strange Land,” Ed Baldwin learns Danny’s terrible secret. Jimmy Stevens hangs out with the wrong crowd for just a few minutes too long. Margo’s in trouble, Kelly’s giving birth, Karen’s making bold choices, and Dev is up a creek.

None of that’s going to matter by this week’s third act, of course. Just you wait and see.

Mars is getting monotonous on For All Mankind [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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For All Mankind recap: It's always something.★★★☆☆
Whether on Earth or on Mars, it's always something.
Photo: Apple TV+

For All Mankind holds a few cliffhangers up its sleeve in season 3’s penultimate episode, but first it must deal with its soapy dilemmas.

Ellen and Larry are in the hot seat, Kelly Baldwin’s baby is coming along ahead of schedule, Aleida Rosales is all out of heroes, Karen and Dev might switch jobs — and Danny Stevens’ goose might be cooked!

A decent episode of the Apple TV+ alt-history sci-fi hit focuses on plot nitty-gritty and emotional turmoil, until it gives way to a typically frustrating final reveal.

For All Mankind faces Martian disaster in ‘The Sands of Ares’ [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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For All Mankind recap: Danielle Poole (played by Krys Marshall) tries to save lives on Mars this week on For All Mankind.★★★☆☆
Danielle Poole (played by Krys Marshall) tries to save lives on Mars this week on For All Mankind.
Photo: Apple TV+

For All Mankind has a Martian crisis on its hands this week’s episode, “The Sands of Ares.” Ed and Danny are trapped, Danielle has to come get them, and Karen, Jimmy, and Amber wait on tenterhooks for news of the rescue.

It’s all hands on deck at NASA in the meantime, in the Apple TV+ space soap. People start confessing dark things as they face down death. And there may not be enough people left to make any sense of the Mars mission when it’s over.

For All Mankind suffers from an unbearable lack of imagination [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆

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For All Mankind recap: The jig is almost up for Ellen (played by Jodi Balfour) and Larry (Nate Corddry).★★☆☆
The jig is almost up for Ellen (played by Jodi Balfour) and Larry (Nate Corddry).
Photo: Apple TV+

For All Mankind spins its wheels this week until a catastrophe in the back half of the episode. Danny’s losing it. Ed’s being Ed. Jimmy commits some low-level espionage. Ellen and Larry find themselves under a microscope. Aleida closes in on the truth. And Margo is losing everything.

A surprise cameo from one of history’s greatest monsters reinforces the lack of imagination on the part of a show whose only job is to imagine greater things.

Americans and Russians spar on Mars, this week on For All Mankind [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆

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For All Mankind recap: Looks like we made it to Mars.★★☆☆
Looks like we made it.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s For All Mankind finally made it to Mars! Still, it’s pretty much business as usual this week, what with Americans and Russians bickering and making back-alley deals, and men being boorish and short-tempered and proud of nothing.

On Earth, U.S. President Ellen Wilson must deal with gays in the military right on schedule. And on Mars, Danny’s going nuts, Ed and his adopted daughter Kelly meet, and the Russians find water — and vodka!

A perfectly OK episode of the alt-history space show is made all the more frustrating by its flashes of greatness.

For All Mankind finally makes it to Mars, and it’s depressing [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆☆

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For All Mankind recap: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner in the race to Mars.★★☆☆☆
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner in the race to Mars.
Photo: Apple TV+

In “Seven Minutes of Terror,” Apple TV+ alt-history space race show For All Mankind returns this week to where it left off last season, with America and Russia once more holding hands begrudgingly to fix some space problems.

Ed and Karen have the same trouble with authority. Danny’s cracking up. Margo’s head is in a noose. Kelly’s got a crush. And Sojourner 1 suffers from a serious a problem.

Behind the scenes, WALL-E helmer Andrew Stanton directs this week. His brand of post-classical Hollywood craftsmanship is much appreciated, if also a sad sign of where we are as a country.

For All Mankind relishes its three-way race to Mars [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆

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For All Mankind recap ★★☆☆
Next stop: Mars. (Maybe.)
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s lunar headache For All Mankind is headed to Mars for real this time. Three competing spaceships strive to make it to the red planet first to win a huge cash prize.

NASA holds some tricks up its sleeve to beat the wilier competition, but you can’t count out the Russians just yet. They’re always willing to do something stupid to make headlines. A mostly fine episode ends on a nice little cliffhanger to boot.

Why you’d be crazy to buy the new MacBook Pro [The CultCast]

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The CultCast 550 Apple podcast: There are very few reasons why anybody should buy the new MacBook Pro.
There are very few reasons why anybody should buy the new MacBook Pro.
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: The first reviews for the new M2 MacBook Pro are … not good.

Also on The CultCast:

  • Benchmarks for Apple’s new M2 chip continue to impress, but you can expect even more amazing performance boosts later this year.
  • What the upcoming CarPlay update is really about.
  • Apple TV+ has another hit on its hands with For All Mankind.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video livestream, embedded below.

Our sponsor: CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac X, from Ukrainian developer MacPaw, is a decluttering app for Mac that can keep your computer in tip-top shape. It includes 49 tools to find and delete invisible junk clogging your hard drive. Cult of Mac publisher Leander Kahney swears by CleanMyMac X (instead of swearing at it, as he does with most apps).

Get CleanMyMac X today with 5% off at macpaw.app/cultcast. Discount valid until June 30.

For All Mankind poses great questions, then refuses to answer them [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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For All Mankind recap ★★★☆☆
This must be a time machine. A completely infuriating time machine.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ alt-history hit For All Mankind makes all the right moves this week, then immediately blows a 26-point lead in the last inning.

For once, the dramatic arcs thrown at Margo, Karen, Dev, Aleida and Kelly all seem pretty satisfying and not at all cheap or hyperbolic. Then the writers ensure we won’t see how any of that plays out, instantly turning this from one of the show’s best episodes into its most frustrating yet.

But hey, at least we’re going to Mars, I guess.