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As usual, For All Mankind Season 3 is whistling through episodes at breakneck speed.
No sooner is one problem solved than another two emerge. This week, the big rescue effort was underway, and Margo had to work with Dev, which was an experience in itself.
We touched base with Wrenn Schmidt to catch up on the latest happenings in Margo’s world.
The Soviets repeatedly blackmail Margo for that relationship with Sergei.
Does she have regrets? How is she processing that?
I mean, honestly, I think by the time she realizes how caught she is, it’s really like a step-by-step thing because she shares the information that she does gradually.
And then I know it’s meant to be a little bit of a guessing game for the audience about whether or not she shares the nuclear engine information, but there’s a long period of time that passes between sharing that information and hearing from the Soviets.
So Margo doesn’t know how much he’s on the hook. But of course, I feel like she also understands that even though the Soviets say one thing, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll say that the next time.
So I think it’s all a bit of a surprise when they come back, knocking with more needs and more blackmail.
And it also puts her relationship with Aleida in jeopardy. Because although she doesn’t know it yet, Aleida has pretty much figured out that the only possible way for her plans to have gotten in the Soviet’s hands is through Margo.
How is that going to affect their relationship?
I mean, I don’t think Margo knows. I think what Margo does understand is, I think, her relationship with von Braun in Season 1 is really pivotal in her history because she doesn’t understand.
When she was younger, she never understood how he could have made the decisions he did in World War II. And she never really forgave him for that.
But now that she’s in somewhat, I don’t want to say similar situation, but similarly complicated situation, where there’s no right answer and everything’s very gray, and no matter what she chooses to do, that’s probably going to be horrible.
I think she has a much more nuanced perception of what von Braun might have been going through and understands like, “Wow, this is so much harder than I could have ever realized 20 plus years ago.”
And, of course, she knows Aleida’s reaction might be just as strong and as damning and as painful as hers was to von Braun.
But I really feel like the way that the writers set it up; it’s a really nice kind of step-by-step progression.
I think most of the time, Margo’s having to make very careful choices from scene to scene.
And by Episode 7, everything falls apart — literally — on Mars. And in Episode 8, Margo and Dev work closely to rescue Ed and Danny. How does that affect the way she views Dev and Helios, and how will it impact their work relationship going forward?
Well, I think first and foremost, Margo’s a humanitarian, which is why she’s gotten herself into such a terrible situation because she’s always choosing or considering humanity as well as all of the other things she has to consider in order to make a decision.
And when it comes to Dev, I think he both turns out to be just exactly who she thought he was in a lot of ways, which is somebody who wants to win and succeed at all costs and who’s incredibly narcissistic. She just thinks he’s so much bluster.
But at the same time, I think she also realizes he’s incredibly smart and that, actually, maybe they’re a lot more alike than she realized. I think she still thinks he’s kind of an asshole.
But at the same time, I think that she respects him. She respects him for his intellect. And I don’t think she respected it in the same way before. I think she really understands; wow, he’s an incredible thinker, and he’s incredibly smart. It’s too bad that he’s also kind of an asshole.
So once they have that, they have that moment where they’re in the control center there, and she’s trying to understand him, and they do work well together after that, and they rescue Ed and Danny.
How will facilitating the successful rescue help Margo if and when her secret is revealed? It seems like whenever something spectacular happens in a space race, people are more forgiving and look at the heroic acts versus mistakes.
Yeah. That’s a great question. I think Margo is never interested in the accolades. I think that she’s fine with the astronauts being first and foremost out in the limelight. And she knows that the politicians are going to take credit for the things when they go wrong and throw blame when things go terribly.
I’m not sure. I think, if anything, one of the things I love Margo most as a character is that even if somebody’s an asshole or hard to work with, at the end of the day, she’s like, “I don’t care about that. I don’t care about the personal kind of scuffle. There are people who might die. Let’s like get over ourselves, and can you please … “
I’m just using Dev. “Can you get over yourself enough to come back and help me save your people? These aren’t even my people. These are your people, but I don’t want people to die because we can’t figure this out. Let’s find a solution.”
But I think then she’s very comfortable to go back to her office and hole up and start working on the next problem. She’s not waiting for the ticker tape parade.
We’ll have interviews with Cynthy Wu (Kelly Baldwin) and Casey Johnson (Danny Stevens) later in the week, so check back with TV Fanatic!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.