For All Mankind E5

This post will analyze the the Episode 5, titled “Into the Abyss”, of the For All Mankind television series using the 5 Commandments of Storytelling and the Editor’s 6 Core Questions from the book The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.


Obviously, I will be discussing plot points from the television series For All Mankind. So, check it out before reading further.

Recap of Episode 4 “Prime Crew”:

  • Deke is told to drop the women project after the accident that killed Patty
  • The Vietnam War is over and Ted Kennedy runs for president against Nixon
  • Deke goes against orders and announces to the press that Molly Cobb is going tot he moon
  • Russian shuttle crashes
  • Apollo 15 will search for base location
  • Molly has clashes with her crew during training, but turns it around
  • Karen is a lesbian
  • Molly and crew launch
photo from Apple+ TV

Review of Episode 5 “Into the Abyss:

  • Enroute to the moon, the landing site changes in order to find water
  • Ed asks for a vote, as it is dangerous, and Molly balks at first, but eventually agrees
  • The wives organize support meetings
  • Danielle is chosen to go to the moon on Apollo 18
  • Gordo and Danielle’s husband have words
  • Molly goes into the crater to locate water, running dangerously low on oxygen
  • Molly finds water
  • Jump forward to October 1973 and the US lands a lunar base

Inciting Incident: 

Mission control determines 4 days into the mission that there can be no water at their original landing location

Photo from Apple+ TV

Turning Point:

Mission Control offers another spot that is likely to have water.

Crisis Question:

The astronauts need to decide if they will risk their lives to land at the alternate location. The stakes are life and death: if they go they may crash and die, if they don’t the Russians may discover water first and other US astronauts will have to take the risk.


They vote to land at the alternate location.

Photo from Apple+ TV


Molly finds water.


I am really impressed with the timeline merge and the changes they are implementing to the actual historical events. It’s very interesting how the screenwriters have interpreted how the world seeing women astronauts, even Russians, and that single event opening doors and breaking glass ceilings. Additionally, as well as making subtle (or not to subtle) political suggestions, the screenwriters manage to keep building tension and producing cliff hangers.

Looking forward to see where this goes.

More Story Analysis

If you want to see more applications of the Story Grid methodology, below are links to my analysis of various novels and television shows in blog posts and podcasts:

Story Grid Showrunners Podcast – Parul, Melanie, and I analyze hit TV series using the Story Grid methodology.

My blog posts analyzing other Television series – my person take using the Story grid 5 Commandments to look at my favorite TV series – Jack Ryan, Batgirl, For All Mankind, Hanna, and more.

Novel analysis – I analyze some of my favorite books using the Story Grid 5 Commandments and 6 core questions – First Blood, Old Man’s War, Waylander, and more to come!

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