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For All Mankind finally revealed what happened to Danny Stevens after he was exiled on Mars. As Danielle and Ed’s relationship reaches its boiling point after several decades, viewers get the answer about Danny’s fate they’ve been waiting for and theorizing about for months.
As resources dwindled on Mars years prior, Danielle and Ed went to talk to Danny to bring him up to speed on the reality of their situation. Danielle and Ed found Danny dead outside his abandoned North Korean capsule, with a picture of his daughter lying on the ground beside him. Danny took his own life by allowing his space suit to run out of oxygen. Hollywood Life spoke exclusively with Krys Marshall about how Danny’s death has continued to impact Danielle Poole.
“When I read episode 5 of the season, I closed the script and just openly wept,” Krys said. “It’s hard for me to bring daylight between Krys and Danielle. I feel very almost symbiotic and at times a too-close-for-comfort kind of relationship.”
She continued, “As you remember, Danielle and Tracy Stevens were in the program together as young girls in their 20s. She’s seen these kids grow up. She’s been in their lives, so it’s devastating. On a personal level, it’s so devastating to feel like you’ve lost another one. Danielle lost her husband, Clayton, who committed suicide because he was unable to manage the emotions of the horrible things that he saw in the Vietnam War. She’s had so much loss and then to finally return to Mars after losing Kuz, who was her dear friend and held her together during their time on Mars, I think that Danielle is really angry with Ed.”
Danielle and Ed are in the middle of a fight when the truth about Danny is explained. When Ed brings up Danny, it’s like a knife in Danielle’s back. “Anybody with siblings knows that some of the deepest and most intense relationships you have are with people who you’ve known for a very long time,” she noted. “There’s so much pain, so much resentment, so much unexpressed anger between Danielle and Ed that Danny’s death is just, in many ways, the spark that ignites her fire and really incenses her. As we see in their argument in episode 5, it begins to be the nail in the coffin in their friendship.”
Ahead of For All Mankind season 4, countless theories swirled about the fate of Danny Stevens. While many fans were convinced he died on Mars, some were hopeful that he could have made it off the Red Planet. Danny’s fate has now been confirmed, and the impact of the loss will be felt throughout the back half of the season.
“What we will continue to see is how Danny’s death is not a bloom but instead it’s actually the root,” Krys told Hollywood Life. “As time goes on, we see the bloom start to sort of unfold and the pain of how his death affected Danielle, how it affected Ed, and how the tethers of that relationship continue to unfurl and unravel the two of them. It really comes to a head in a big way at the end of the season.”
Danny was exiled in the first place after being responsible for several deaths during a mission failure. After his exile, Danielle visited him to bring him food. The last time Danielle saw Danny, he was a broken man. She tried to lift his spirits by reminding him of his daughter and handing him a Bible.
“I think even though she knows it’s a possibility he may take his life, it’s such a far-fetched idea for Danielle because she’s so aligned to her faith and so aligned to her family that the idea of anybody doing that is just so preposterous,” the actress said. “It’s also the swiftest kick in the chest because she’s already lost someone to suicide. For it to happen again, it feels personal. It feels like she keeps losing control. So it runs through her mind, but I think she’s hopeful that it won’t happen. Unfortunately, she’s wrong.”
The showdown with Ed is prompted by Danielle wanting Ed to take a step back from flight duty because of a hand problem. “You should have gone home a long time again,” Danielle tells Ed. The aging Ed refuses to listen, but Danielle’s orders are clear. She has regrets, but she doesn’t regret sidelining Ed.
With all this talk of regret and Danny, does Danielle regret exiling him? “Looking back in hindsight, did she make the right decision? I don’t know,” Krys admitted. “Danny Stevens’ actions killed people. He was actually responsible for the explosion that sent an entire landslide and that killed a number of people and almost killed Ed. I think she did what she had to do. One of the things that I love about Danielle is that her allegiance is to the truth. Her moral compass is always pointing north. Even if it means that it has to be against what she would want to do, or her own personal decision, she’s going to do what’s right. It’s sort of the opposite of what Ed does. The outcome was horrible, but I think Danielle did the right thing.”
In episode 4, Danielle and Ed’s relationship takes a turn when Danielle sends Svetlana back to Earth. After a fight leaves Vasily in a coma, the Soviets want Svetlana punished. They want her returned to Russia, but Danielle helps Svetlana avoid that fate. She has Svetlana sent to India to face trial. Ed begs Danielle not to send Svetlana — someone he’s formed a deep connection with — away. Danielle is unwavering in her decision. Krys explains why Svetlana means so much to Ed.
“I think for a man like Ed, it’s tough to get old,” Krys pointed out. “I think a lot of handsome, debonair men are so accustomed to being the alpha males, being the best in the room, being the one whose voice is the loudest, and now he’s no longer those things. He’s no longer capable of flying the way that he was because he’s got this condition with his hand. He’s aging. He’s no longer virile. He is no longer handsome. He doesn’t have the characteristics that made him Ed Baldwin. Svetlana, in many ways, represents the memory of who he once was, this impressive captain who was handsome, had this sexual prowess, and he feels for the first time like a little glimmer of his old self.”
After the hammer comes down, Ed gives Danielle the cold shoulder. “It’s more than just losing a colleague,” Krys adds. “It’s more than just her potential punishment in a Russian Gulag. It means so much that she’s taking away his last little glimmer of hope. Danielle knows Ed. She knows Ed like the back of her hand, and she knows this is not just about Svetlana. It feels like the nail in the coffin of him having something to look forward to. She really is dashing his hope. I think Danielle, in that moment, still wants to have the connections and wants him to love her and appreciate her and keep that connection. When he brushes past her and she goes to look for a little acknowledgment or some solidarity, he gives her nothing. I think she realizes then that this is a deeper fracture than can’t be easily repaired.”
Danielle and Ed have the kind of relationship that is multi-layered from age and just being in each other’s orbit for so long. “When you have a relationship that is just old, sometimes with familiarity breeds contempt,” Krys said. “These two people know each other so well that they can’t pull fast ones on one another His tough-guy act may impress other people, but it doesn’t impress her. That’s the blessing and the curse of having a long-standing relationship.”
In the midst of her complicated relationship with Ed, Danielle is trying to juggle her role as base commander of Happy Valley. As soon as she gets to Mars, Danielle notices that all is not exactly well for everyone working on the base. Tensions are bubbling over in the lower ranks about how they’re treated compared to the higher-ups.
“The class warfare that we’ve seen whispers of at the start and the midway point of the season really ramps up as time goes on,” Krys teased. “I think because Danielle comes from humble beginnings and is a salt-of-the-earth kind of girl, she is interested in what it’s like for folks downstairs. This is important to her. Unfortunately, it’s not important to many other people, certainly not important to Ed. This cataract in his eye about the malcontent and the low spirits that the folks downstairs are feeling, it’s in his way and prevents him from being able to see. Unfortunately, that’s going to continue on this season, and it’s going to become a big deal.” New episodes of For All Mankind season 4 premiere Fridays on Apple TV+.