What For All Mankind's Huge Mars Reveal Means For The Season 3 Finale, According To The Executive Producers

For All Mankind astronauts on Mars
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Warning: major spoilers ahead for Episode 9 of For All Mankind Season 3, called “Coming Home.”

Only one episode is left before For All Mankind Season 3 comes to an end, and “Coming Home” guaranteed that the stakes are higher than fans could have possibly predicted thanks to the huge Mars reveal in the final moments. With Kelly Baldwin suffering some pregnancy complications, a new obstacle has arisen to cause some problems, set the stage for the finale, and answer a question from all the way back in Season 2. Executive producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi opened up to CinemaBlend about the reveal of the armed Korean astronaut on Mars, and what’s next. 

The team on Mars was already facing plenty of challenges when it came to their resources after the landslide, and Kelly’s pregnancy just complicated things even further. Their one hope of reaching Phoenix without missing the launch window was retrieving a part from an unmanned North Korean probe that they could repurpose. As Danielle Poole and Grigory Kuznetsov learned when they arrived at the site, however, that probe wasn’t unmanned after all, and they were facing a North Korean astronaut who definitely wasn’t embracing them with open arms... and had a gun.

While fans can be happy that the mystery of the boots from the end of Season 2 (which you can find streaming with an Apple TV+ subscription) has been solved, this isn’t the best timing for a new variable on Mars. With all the chaos on Earth, the crisis with Kelly, and the time crunch for retrieving that part, a North Korean space-farer with a gun is a twist that nobody could have seen coming, and executive producer Matt Wolpert shared: 

Neither did we until we got to it! It's one of those fun things in the writers room, which we've said before, like we didn't know at the end of Season 2 who those boots belonged to. So part of Season 3 was really talking through, okay, well, was it the Americans? Was it the Russians? Was it a Helios person? And then the idea of the surprise of there's another person on Mars that you didn't realize was there. And he's pointing a gun at you. [laughs] That was such a great ending, and seeing where that goes in the next episode, I think is going to be a lot of fun.

Talk about bad timing to meet another person on Mars, especially with what might be a language barrier! The episode ended before either Danielle or Grigory could register that the actual first person to set foot on Mars might have been a North Korean instead of an American or Russian. It seems very safe to say that neither of them bothered bringing any weapons with them, and no help is coming. 

It’s certainly a doozy of a cliffhanger leading into the Season 3 finale! While the executive producers didn’t spoil all the details about the last episode of the season, Ben Nedivi previewed how much of an obstacle this North Korean astronaut will be when time is of the essence for Kelly:

That's a tricky one to answer. I guess, on some level, you know right away at the end of [Episode] 9 that this is not ideal timing for them, because they now have to rush back. And being at gunpoint, they're not going to be able to rush back. So I think, as we do with our finales, we do like to ratchet up the pressure as much as possible right before we get there. What’s great in the finale of this year – which is bigger, longer, and more ambitious than I think any one we've done so far – I think we want to tell the story in an appropriate way where you potentially learn more about him, and you kind of see how they are able to get out of that situation.

The promise of a “bigger” and “longer” finale than anything that For All Mankind has delivered to this point at least proves that there’s going to be plenty of time to resolve the situation, and the North Korean astronaut probably isn’t going to appear for thirty seconds before the episode has to move on. Whether they manage to resolve the situation in time for Kelly remains to be seen. As the end of Season 2 and the Molly twist proved, this is a sci-fi series that knows how to end a season with some key cliffhangers.

The Season 3 finale of For All Mankind will release on Friday, August 12 at 12:01 a.m. PT on Apple TV+. The show has already been renewed for Season 4, and the bosses discussed some of the long term plans for what has become one of the best Apple TV+ shows. If you’re in the market for some viewing options once Season 3 runs out of episodes, you’re in luck, because fall TV premiere season is approaching. Check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule for what to watch and when it debuts!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).