For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 1 recap: [SPOILER] risks her life during a solar storm

Season two of​ “For All Mankind,” premiering globally February 19, 2021 on Apple TV+.
Season two of​ “For All Mankind,” premiering globally February 19, 2021 on Apple TV+. /

For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 1, “Every Little Thing,” skips ten years into the future and opens with Ellen, who is now the commander of the much-improved Jamestown moonbase. Ellen chats with Larry, who is still her husband, even after 10 years. She’s returning to Earth soon and the many astronauts on base with her are looking forward to watching the sunrise on the moon. Ellen’s already seen it happen tons of times since she’s frequented this base, so she’s fine skipping it this time.

A row of unfamiliar astronauts stand in a row on the moon and watch the sun’s rays stretch before them, they all start singing Bob Marley’s song “Three Little Birds.” But despite the heartwarming feeling, you get the vibe that something is going to go wrong and everything is not going to be alright.

Caution: The following article contains spoilers for For All Mankind Season 1, Episode 2. 

But before we get into what’s happening on the moon, the episode rewinds 24 hours earlier and gives us an update on all of our favorite characters more than one decade since we last saw them. Margo is now the director of the NASA Johnson Space Center, she even earned an award for more than 20 years of service. Ed has also received a big promotion to the new chief of astronauts, Deke’s old job. He has a nice office where he can play rug golf any time of the day.

Even Karen is now employed and the new owner of The Outpost, which is still standing. It’s a family business these days. Since the death of their son, Shane, Karen and Ed have adopted a Vietnamese daughter Kelly (Cynthy Wu) who is prepping for college and waitressing part-time at her parent’s restaurant.

Tracy is now on the talk show circuit and has recently gotten engaged to a new man named Sam Cleveland. The first hour doesn’t tell us exactly what Tracy is up to these days, except we know she and Gordo are divorced and she’s officially famous. While on a late-night talk show, Tracy announces that she and Sam had a Vegas wedding. Ed and Karen watch her appearance from The Outpost and are shocked by the news.

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As for Gordo, it would appear that his astronaut life is behind him as he spends time giving speeches and answering questions about his time in space at a local Rotary Club. People still ask him to tell the story of how he “saved” Dani’s life when she broke her arm on Jamestown.

In the grander scheme, a lot has changed in For All Mankind‘s alternate timeline versus our own. The space race has accelerated tensions like never before between the U.S. and Russia as both countries wait on tenterhooks for the other to militarize the moon or take the first nuclear strike in the Cold War. Other significant changes include Ronald Reagan becoming the 39th president versus the 40th, John Lennon surviving an assassination attempt, Russia has also expanded their lunar base Zvezda — but don’t worry, “Who shot J.R.?” is still a big deal.

For All Mankind Season 2
Sonya Walger in For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 1, premiering globally February 19, 2021 on Apple TV+. /

For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 1 recap: A solar storm threatens everyone on the moon.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yet again, Molly Cobb has put herself directly into harm’s way and this time it doesn’t seem like she will survive by the skin of her teeth or someone saving her.

While monitoring Skylab, America’s first space station, mission control notices something ominous about one of the sun’s flares. They start tracking a massive incoming solar storm, unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. While people on Earth won’t necessarily be affected beyond disrupted communications, those on the moon will face devastating radiation if they don’t immediately take shelter.

Ellen summons all of the astronauts back into the bunker so they can hunker down in the base’s shelter. Unfortunately, Molly and Wubbo (Bjørn Alexander) are too far from base to make it back. Their best bet to avoid the effects of the storm is to hide out in a lava tube nearby. They agree to meet there, but Wubbo crashes his rover. Molly makes it to the tube in time to remain safe.

Each astronaut is outfitted with a gadget to monitor their radiation levels. If it’s green, they’re safe. If it turns red, that doesn’t necessarily mean instant death but… it’s not good. They could get sick within the hour and die, or even if they avoid that, it greatly increases their risk of getting cancer in the months or years to come.

Molly starts off safe. Then she notices Wubbo in the distance and makes the call to save him — after the storm has already started. Knowing what this will cost her, Molly leaves her sensor in the tube and retrieves Wubbo, who may or may not be dead. He has already suffered a nasty head wound.

When they make it back to the tube, Wubbo sensor is red and the episode ends before we can see what Molly will decide to do with hers. Will she switch the sensors? Will she leave hers off and pretend it fell off on the way back to base, claiming she’s fine? There aren’t a lot of options here, but we do know Molly’s life might be in serious danger. Will she even make it out of Season 2 alive?

For All Mankind Season 2
Wrenn Schmidt in For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 1 premiering globally February 19, 2021 on Apple TV+.​ /

For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 1 recap: The US & USSR play chicken with satellites.

Speaking of the solar storm, it has dire consequences for the US and USSR when it comes to the potential for nuclear war and satellite monitoring. The solar storm has the potential to knock out several satellites from both countries.

The Pentagon is concerned that if the USSR loses satellite of the US, they will anticipate that the US will use the blackout to attack first — therefore they will attack first. And vice versa, if the US can’t see what the USSR is doing, it could be assumed they will suddenly decide to launch the first strike. Out of precaution, the country is put into DEFCON 3 until the storm is over, which can take several hours. The president is even escorted into Air Force One on the off chance the Russians attack.

So yeah, this premiere puts a lot of moving pieces on the table. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

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What did you think about For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 1? Do you think Molly is going to make it to the end of the season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

New episodes of For All Mankind Season 2 stream Fridays on Apple TV+.