For All Mankind Ep9

This post will analyze the the Episode 9, titled “Bent Bird”, 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 8 “Rupture”:

  • Ed’s son suffers a massive head injury and dies
  • NASA wrestles with the idea of telling Ed while he is on the moon
  • Ed finds out about his son from the Russians who found out from the press, and Ed refuses to speak with Houston
Image result for for all mankind episode 9

Review of Episode 9 “Bent Bird”:

  • Ed is still stranded on the moon and NASA launches Apollo 24 to relieve him
  • Apollo 24 suffers a technical problem that requires Apollo 25 to be re-tasked to fix the problem
  • After fixing Apollo 24, a computer malfunction launches Apollo 24 off azimuth, missing the moon by 1000 miles, and Apollo 25 is left behind with Molly drifting in space
  • Apollo 24 must decide whether to conserve fuel and return without Molly or search for Molly; Apollo 24 goes against orders of Flight Commander and rescues Molly
  • Ed confronts the Russian cosmonaut at his rig beside the crater and they just look at each other
  • The Russian cosmonaut asks to come into Jamestown, Ed allows him to enter then kills him by releasing all the air
Image result for for all mankind episode 9
Image from Apple TV+

Inciting Incident: 

Apollo 24 has a malfunction.

Turning Point:

Apollo 24 blasts into space leaving Milly drifting aimlessly.

Crisis Question:

Does Apollo 25 waste fuel looking for Molly or return to Earth?

If they search, everyone from Apollo 25 might die, or they might save everyone.

If they don’t search, they give up on Molly and lose only one life, but people will lose confidence in the program and morale in NASA will plummet.


Flight Chief Margo orders Apollo 25 to return to Earth, but crew refuses.


Apollo 25 rescues Molly with little fuel and oxygen left.

Image from Apple TV+


One more episodes left.

We’re left with Apollo 24 1000 miles off target and no communication. And one dead Russian on the moon.

Lots of nail biting action in this one, with some more hard decisions. I’m wondering if they personnel who disobeyed orders will be punished. Are the going to pull a ‘Martian’ move to get Apollo 24 back? Does the dead Russian start World War 3?

This episode really worked for me, it followed the 5 commandments very clearly. I still really enjoy the cliffhangers at the end of each episode, I think it’s a great technique the screenwriters have implemented. When I was analyzing Killing Eve on the Story Grid Showrunners Podcast, we were having a hard time separating the 5 commandments for the episode from the cliffhanger, but this series does it right I think. There are other plot threads around the main subject of the episode, but they always manage to map the 5 commandments for the episode and then slip in a cliffhanger involving one of the other plot lines.

I’ll start working on my 6 core questions post now and next week I’ll post the 5 commandments for the last episode.

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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