Warning: SPOILERS for For All Mankind Season 3 Finale – “Stranger In A Strange Land”A shocking terrorist attack at NASA in For All Mankind season 3’s finale completely changes the space race and escalates the drama on Earth and Mars for season 4. In For All Mankind season 3’s penultimate episode, Commanders Danielle Poole (Krys Marshall) and Grigory Kuznetsov (Lev Gorn) were stunned to discover that there was someone else on Mars: a North Korean astronaut named Lt. Colonel Lee Jung-Gil (C.S. Lee). To everyone’s surprise, it turns out the North Koreans launched a Mars mission weeks before NASA, Helios, and the Soviet Roscosmos initiated their race to the Red Planet. Therefore, in the alternate history of Apple TV+’s acclaimed sci-fi series, Lt. Colonel Lee Jung-Gil is the real first person on Mars!
For All Mankind season 3’s finale, “Stranger in a Strange Land,” detailed the harrowing months Lee Jung-Gil spent alone on Mars until Danielle and Grigory came across him. On Mars, the primary crisis involved how to transport the pregnant Kelly Baldwin (Cynthy Wu) to the orbital Phoenix spacecraft so that she can safely give birth. Thanks to an ingenious plan by Aleida Rosales (Coral Peña) at NASA, Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) piloted a daring mission to break Mars orbit and safely deliver Kelly to the Phoenix. However, back at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Jimmy Stevens (David Chandler) tried to stop his friends from committing a terrorist act against NASA. Karen Baldwin (Shantel VanSanten) saved Jimmy and tried to warn security but once they were caught, Jimmy’s terrorist friends detonated their car bomb. The results were devastating and have upended everything going into For All Mankind season 4.
For All Mankind season 3 centered on a three-way space race to Mars, with the astronaut teams led by Danielle, Grigory, and Ed forced to work together as tragedies and calamities piled up on the Red Planet. Back on Earth, Margo Madison (Wrenn Schmidt) realized she had become a kompromat whom the Soviets manipulated as an asset, the discovery of which tormented Aleida. In the White House, President Ellen Wilson (Jodi Balfour) decided that the only way to protect her husband Larry (Nate Corddry) from a scandal that would bring down her Presidency is to publicly admit she is gay, which finally allows her to live openly as her true self. Meanwhile, billionaire and Helios Aerospace founder Dev Ayesa (Edi Gathegi) found himself pushed out of his own company in favor of Karen Baldwin being installed as the new CEO. But For All Mankind season 3’s finale has rearranged the show’s game board once again, and here’s every major event in “Stranger in a Strange Land” and what it all means.
Every Major Character Who Died In For All Mankind‘s Season 3 Finale
There were many casualties as a result of the terrorist bombing at Johnson Space Center but in terms of For All Mankind‘s main cast, there were two major deaths and one character only believed to be dead. Karen Baldwin died from her injuries after she was caught in the brunt of the explosion and was buried underneath debris. When Jimmy found her and tried to dig her out, Karen was already at death’s door and the last thing she saw was the clouds parting to give her a view of space, which she always hated and took so much from her. Jimmy now has to live with his role in Karen’s death in For All Mankind season 4, and he’ll have to answer to Ed, Kelly, and his brother, Danny (Casey W. Johnson), when they get back to Earth.
However, Molly Cobb (Sonya Walger) also died as a result of the JSC bombing, which may have escaped some viewers. Molly’s death was made official in the newspaper headline that landed on Sergei Nikulov’s (Piotr Adamczyk) lawn, which announced that NASA was renaming the rebuilt Johnson Space Center as the Molly Cobb Space Center. After the bombing, Molly, who is blind, heroically helped lead other survivors to safety. The newspaper’s story details that Molly was last seen reentering the remains of the JSC to look for more survivors and Molly’s body was recovered 7 days later. Like Karen, Molly was part of For All Mankind since season 1. They are both beloved characters who are huge losses to the show, and they will be missed.
Finally, when she searched for her mentor, Aleida found Margo’s office completely destroyed by the explosion. For All Mankind left her (and the audience, briefly) believing that Margo was also dead until her true fate was revealed in the final seconds of “Stranger in a Strange Land.”
How The JSC Terrorist Bombing Sets Up For All Mankind Season 4
The bombing of the Johnson Space Center, which happened in 1995 and resembles the real-life Oklahoma City bombing that same year, will force NASA to change its leadership. However, the fact that the Justice Department was ready to arrest Margo, the head of NASA for treason, had the bombing not happened would have also created a void at the top of NASA. Someone will have to replace Margo as NASA’s director, and the most likely candidates are Ed Baldwin, Ellen Wilson, Danielle Poole, and Aleida Rosales.
By For All Mankind season 4, Ed will realistically be too old to go back into space, and running NASA may be his best career move. Similarly, Ellen’s heart has always been at NASA, and running the agency could be her next step when she’s no longer President. Danielle may also be tapped to run NASA but she likely still has one more season of being an astronaut to come. However, Aleida was always groomed as Margo’s heir apparent, and Madison essentially passed the torch to her during what became Margo’s farewell speech to the flight control team. However NASA restructures, which will also provoke a response from their rival agencies in Russia, North Korea, and Helios, it will radically affect the future of the space program and the continued colonization of Mars.
How Karen’s Death Changes Ed, Kelly, And Danny In For All Mankind
Karen’s death is a real tragedy, especially since she has so many family ties. Karen is mourned by her daughter Kelly, her ex-husband Ed, and also the Stevens family, and Karen will never get to meet her grandchild, who was born to Kelly in Mars orbit, Karen essentially raised Danny and Jimmy while their deceased astronaut parents, Gordo (Michael Dorman) and Tracy (Sarah Jones), were in space, so they’re essentially a part of the Baldwin family. Danny, of course, fell in love with Karen in For All Mankind season 2, and he slept with her (which Danny still hasn’t confessed to Ed, although Jimmy knows). Karen was also a fascinating character who reinvented her career every season, starting from a housewife to becoming CFO of Helios Aerospace. Her death will have a lasting impact on many For All Mankind characters in season 4.
Will Dev & Helios Return In For All Mankind Season 4?
Karen’s death will also force major changes at Helios Aerospace, which will hopefully return, along with Dev Ayesa, in For All Mankind season 4. Thanks to Karen, Dev lost the confidence of his devoted employees, and he walked out on the company he founded. But with Karen gone, Dev could return to Helios, or he could make good on his promise to start a new company. Dev remains committed to colonizing Mars so that should continue in season 4. But if Dev doesn’t return to run Helios again, it’s possible Bill Strausser (Noah Harpster) could be the new CEO, unless a new character is introduced in For All Mankind season 4.
Who Will Be President In For All Mankind Season 4?
It remains to be seen if Ellen Wilson politically survives coming out as gay and gets a second term as President, or if her Presidency ends in its first term. Regardless, Ellen won’t be POTUS when For All Mankind returns for season 4, so who will be in the White House in 2003? Possibilities include George W. Bush and Al Gore, who battled for the Presidency in 2000. Another likelihood is Hillary Clinton, who may win the White House as revenge for Ellen beating her husband, Bill Clinton, in the 1992 election. 2003 may be too early for Barack Obama to become President in For All Mankind‘s universe, but it could still happen later on in season 4 or in season 5.
Will NASA Go To Jupiter In For All Mankind Season 4?
By every measure, the combined efforts of NASA, Roscosmos, and Helios to colonize Mars have been a disaster, with 7 astronauts from all three agencies dead and the loss of vital spacecraft and equipment. For All Mankind season 3 ended with all of the astronauts opting to remain on the Red Planet until NASA can rescue them, and they committed their remaining resources to safely deliver Kelly to the Phoenix so she could give birth. In addition, the Mars team added a new member from North Korea, while they also banished Danny Stevens to the Korean spacecraft as punishment for causing the drill disaster that killed their colleagues. However, life on Mars may be thriving in For All Mankind season 4. If so, the next stop in exploring the solar system would be Jupiter, but without President Wilson, it remains to be seen if NASA has the clout and political backing to reach the Gas Giant.
How Margo Being In Russia Changes The Space Race
The reports of Margo Madison’s death at the JSC bombing were greatly exaggerated, and For All Mankind season 3 ended with the revelation that Margo now living in Russia in 2003. This means that Roscosmos’ director, Lenara Catiche (Vera Cherny), got Margo out of the United States. But questions abound as to how and when. Was Margo caught in the JSC bombing and survived or did the Russians get her out before the explosion? (And did the Russians know about the planned terrorist attack?) If Ms. Madison is believed dead from the bombing, then Margo is now living in secret in the USSR. Unfortunately, it’s likely Margo now has no choice but to work for Roscosmos. Ironically, Margo is now trapped in the Soviet Union just as Sergei and his family defected to America, which Margo enabled.
Of course, having the former director of NASA now working for Roscosmos, voluntarily or not, is a coup for the Russians. Margo is still a brilliant engineer who knows everything about NASA since the 1960s. How much information Margo will give the Russians will determine the next phase of the space race. Tragically, the finale’s title “Stranger in a Strange Land” ultimately refers to Margo. Who knows if Margo will be able to come back to the United States in For All Mankind season 4?
For All Mankind Season 4 Time Jump Explained
Every season of For All Mankind moves the story about a decade past the previous season so For All Mankind season 4 now brings our characters into 2003, although the show’s first decade of the 21st century will be very different from the real world’s. For Ed, Margo, Danielle, Aleida, and others who have been around since For All Mankind season 1, they are all now over 30 years older than when the show started. It also means technology will have changed by leaps and bounds since the space race accelerated technological development like helium-fusion, electric cars, and combating climate change.
For All Mankind season 3 already had laptops and cellphones in the mid-1990s as well as flatscreen HDTVs. For All Mankind season 4 could introduce holographic technology next. Meanwhile, For All Mankind is heavily influenced by Star Trek, with many Easter eggs throughout the series dropped in by the many Star Trek alums in the writers’ room. Thus far, the show has resisted sci-fi tropes like warp drive and introducing aliens to maintain its realism. But could NASA develop faster-than-light travel (i.e. warp drive), which would enable rapid space flight to Jupiter and beyond in For All Mankind season 4?
For All Mankind Seasons 1-3 are available to stream on Apple TV+.