recaps

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.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 7 lays groundwork for future battles [Apple TV+ recap]

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'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' episode 7 -- Lee Shaw blows stuff up
Colonel Lee Shaw gets to blow stuff up in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 7.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewMonarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 7 might not be the most exciting entry in the series, but it offers up important backstory for one of the best MonsterVerse films.

Read our review/recap for Godzilla-size spoilers about the latest episode, plus some speculation about the show’s future.

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.

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.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters references you might have missed [Apple TV+ recap]

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'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' on Apple TV+
TL;DR: 'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' is awesome.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewMonarch: Legacy of Monsters stomped onto Apple TV+ on Friday, bringing the biggest star yet to the streaming service: Godzilla.

As a lifetime fan of kaiju films, I’m here to review the first two episodes, and also to remind viewers of MonsterVerse lore brought up in the new series. I even throw in some speculation on what’s coming in later episodes.

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.

Fantastic Foundation season 2 finale promises hope for the future [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★★

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Jared Harris in ★★★★★
What's next for Hari Seldon and the Second Foundation?
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Apple TV+’s epic science fiction series Foundation concludes its second season this week and it goes out on a remarkable high note.

Who knows what the future holds for the Second Foundation? But I’ve greatly enjoyed this season. The hours I’ve spent getting sucked into this excellent sci-fi show were well worth the investment.

Epic battles lift Foundation to new highs [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★★

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Lee Pace and Laura Birn in ★★★★★
Terminus had better watch out for Brother Day (played by Lee Pace, left) and Demerzel (Laura Birn).

TV+ ReviewApple TV+ science fiction show Foundation reaches the penultimate episode of a very fine second season this week

Brother Day demands answers from the people of Terminus, who disappoint him with their conviction. Gaal and Salvor plot a daring escape from the Mentalics. And a great big dogfight in space precedes the showstopping image of the season.

It’s all secrets and schemes this week on Foundation [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★

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Sandra Yi Sencindiver and Terrence Mann in ★★★★
Rue (played by Sandra Yi Sencindiver, left) reveals something earth-shaking to Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann).
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewSalvor and Gaal are in trouble this week as incredible Apple TV+ space opera Foundation heads into the home stretch of its great second season.

With the Mentalics moving on our two heroines, it seems that everyone has their fair share of trouble in the episode, entitled “The Last Empress.” Cleric and Constant find themselves at the business end of a Trantor firing squad. Dusk and Dawn see themselves fading into obsolescence. And Sareth’s running out of time to make her move.

Imperial intrigue rocks Foundation [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆

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Cassian Bilton, Laura Birn, Lee Pace and Terrence Mann in ★★★★☆
The Empire
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewEveryone’s making compromises this week on Foundation, the gorgeous and exciting Apple TV+ sci-fi series based on the writings of Isaac Asimov.

Day and Demerzel sweat their next move as the Second Foundation rears its head (and Queen Sareth shows her fangs). Salvor and Gaal make the most of a new home. And Bel Riose meets Hober Mallow — with disastrous consequences.

Schemes and a royal screwup shake Foundation [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★

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Leah Harvey and Lou Llobell in ★★★★
Salvor (played by Leah Harvey, left) and Gaal (Lou Llobell) wonder what Hari Seldon's up to this week on Foundation.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Foundation, the epic Apple TV+ sci-fi show about the political machinations and battles being fought for control of a galaxy, finds its players being manipulated in all sorts of scary and surprising ways this week.

Hari looks backward and forward and finds nothing he likes. Cleric and Constant get Trantor’s version of a warm welcome. And finally, Brother Day unveils a new succession plan — that immediately backfires on him. It’s a very fine installment of this most exciting show.

Suspicion is the word of the week on Foundation [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆

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Jared Harris, Leah Harvey and Lou Llobell in ★★★★☆
Who can you trust in Foundation? Hari (played by Jared Harris, left), Salvor (Leah Harvey) and Gaal (Lou Llobell) get a crash course in making new allies.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewFoundation finds old flames, new complications and uncertain allies in a very engaging episode this week. Hari, Salvor and Gaal find themselves in the company of a goddess. Dusk, Dawn and Day start suspecting each other. And Sareth gets closer to the truths she came to Trantor to divine.

Unsurprisingly strong performances elevate “The Sighted and the Seen,” this week’s episode of Apple TV+’s epic science fiction series based on the work of Isaac Asimov.

Swagger dazzles with a flawless season 2 finale [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★★

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Isaiah Hill in ★★★★★
Swagger goes for broke in its outstanding season two finale.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewSwagger closes out its brilliant second season in style this week, as the young basketball players prep for their futures and their most important game yet.

Jace needs to play his best to regain his sterling reputation in time to win over college recruiters — and that’s not all he’s worried about. Plus, Ike and Naim must patch things up in order to be there for the team ahead of a very important game. Entitled “Journey and Destination,” the Swagger season two finale is a very moving sendoff that only this team could provide.

Foundation takes a moment for humanity [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆

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Dimitri Leonidas and Isabella Laughland in ★★★★☆
Hober (played by Dimitri Leonidas, left) and Constant (Isabella Laughland) grow closer this week on Foundation.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewApple TV+’s magnificent space opera Foundation is lost in space this week. A small party heads inside the Vault on Terminus to speak to the prophet — and comes away bewildered by what they find.

Plus, Bel Riose is back in action and finds himself a different creature than when last he stormed the battlefield. And Brother Day’s marriage is about to get complicated by his bride’s secret, all on a very l0vely episode of the series, entitled “Where the Stars Are Scattered Thinly.”

Secrets and hard decisions bring Swagger to a boil [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★★

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Isaiah Hill in ★★★★★
Jace (played by Isaiah Hill) and Team Swagger need to bring the heat.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewSwagger finds Ike and Naim at odds this week, even as CJ and Camden share a road trip and some secrets. And while Emory and Ike pursue a common goal, the team faces more scrutiny than ever.

With so little left of the sports drama’s extremely strong second season, how will the building pressure come between the players and their goals? Entitled “Homecoming,” this week’s stirring and strong episode hits hard as we prepare to wrap up season two of this outstanding Apple TV+ show.

Pumped for Physical season 3? Here’s why we’re really not. [Apple TV+ reviews] ★★☆☆☆

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Episode 10. Rose Byrne in ★★☆☆☆
It's basically more of the same for Sheila (played by Rose Byrne) in season three of Physical.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewApple TV+’s enormously frustrating ’80s fitness comedy Physical bounces back for its third and final season this week. Aerobics queen Sheila faces a new adversary, both physically and mentally, as well as a new business model — and all the same old problems.

In the first two seasons, the show never expanded or focused enough to make its surface-level treatment of a tormented self-help icon the impressively acidic comedy or drama it so clearly strove to be. Season three of Physical opens with a few promising developments before becoming bogged down in the same distraction and confusion that marred its first two outings.

Brace yourself for Hijack’s fiery finale [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆

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Idris Elba in ★★★★☆
Can Sam Nelson (played by Idris Elba) figure out a way to save Flight KA29?
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Apple TV+’s high-altitude thriller Hijack finally hits the runway in this week’s series finale. Our hero Sam Nelson has a new problem on his hand — and an hour in which to solve it as the rest of the passengers panic anew.

On the ground, Sam’s family is in danger. And in the air, Sam’s running out of options. The episode, entitled “Brace Brace Brace,” serves up as good a conclusion as Hijack fans could hope for.

Everyone’s on an epic mission this week on Foundation [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

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Jared Harris in ★★★
Everyone's looking for answers in strange places this week on Foundation.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewApple TV+’s epic space opera Foundation shores up its defenses this week as everyone prepares for the second crisis.

Hari and Gaal have a crucial appointment with an ancient power. Cleric and Day both need to rescue the last men in the galaxy that either of them wants to ask for help. And new and greater puzzles wait behind every corner.

Great pacing, great character work and a couple of welcome additions to the Foundation cast make this week’s episode, “King and Commoner,” appointment television.

Jace walks a mile in someone else’s roller skates this week on Swagger [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★★

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Quvenzhané Wallis and Isaiah Hill in ★★★★★
Crystal (Quvenzhané Wallis, left) and Jace (Isaiah Hill) have some things to work out this week.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewSwagger takes a look at personal responsibility this week, as Jace ponders his future after taking a tough stance.

He and Crystal spend an eventful, meaningful day together, while higher-ups decide what to do with the divisive athlete. Ike, Tonya and Emery must work through the Jace situation, while he needs to deal with his own confidence issues. Entitled “Jace + Crystal,” it’s a very fine episode of an Apple TV+ sports drama that produces little else.