For All Mankind season 3 delivers the show's most monumental scene in the form of Ellen's (Jodi Balfour) public coming-out speech. An astronaut-turned-President of the United States, Ellen Wilson — née Waverly — began the Apple TV+ series as a budding engineer, who became one of NASA's first female astronauts. After several tours on the Moon, Ellen served as NASA Administrator in season 2. For All Mankind season 3 sees Ellen reach the height of her political career, as after serving as a U.S. Senator, she was elected as the nation's 41st president in 1992. However, Ellen's professional success cost her the opportunity to live openly as a member of the LGBTQ community. For All Mankind season 3 provides Ellen with a pivotal moment when she rids herself of her fears and finally announces her true identity.
In For All Mankind season 1, Ellen dated Pam Horton (Meghan Leathers), the bartender at The Outpost. When the FBI suspected that she was a lesbian, Ellen married her gay friend Larry Wilson (Nate Corddry) to ward off their suspicions and keep her place with NASA. When Ellen returned to Earth in season 2, she reunited with Pam, though the latter soon left for the sake of Ellen's career.
For All Mankind season 3 revisits Ellen's journey with her sexuality when Will Tyler (Robert Bailey Jr.), an astronaut belonging to NASA's Sojourner 1 crew, comes out as gay in a televised message from the Red Planet. Upon learning the truth of why Pam left her, Ellen later reconnects with Pam in episode 8 for a heartfelt conversation about what their love could have been. Once rumors of Larry's affair resurface and threaten to derail both of their lives, Ellen takes matters into her own hands. Instead of allowing Larry to confess to his wrongdoing in a press conference, she stands at the podium and declares, "I'm gay and I have been since the day I was born." Ellen's coming-out scene represents both her defining character moment and arguably the most important scene of the show.
For All Mankind’s writers have insisted that the show always puts character first, as relationships and interpersonal strife have defined the show’s narrative just as much as the space race has. Given that Ellen's coming-out scene was entirely three seasons in the making, For All Mankind has not orchestrated a more pivotal character moment than this one. Ellen's address to the American people serves as the pinnacle of her arc. At this point in 1995, she attained the highest point of her professional career, as the President of the United States, and has now reached the moment when her personal struggles no longer burden her. Ellen's act of proclaiming who she is represents the light at the end of the tunnel in her challenging journey that began in season 1.
Considering For All Mankind season 3's setting during an era when coming out as gay was considered highly controversial and not always accepted by society, Ellen's speech sends a powerful message that rings true even today. By depicting an influential figure such as America's commander-in-chief unapologetically telling the world who they are without fear of the consequences, For All Mankind displays its strength as a piece of media relevant to the real world. Ellen's journey of accepting her sexuality reflects the experiences of many queer individuals in a society that continues to ostracize them despite occasional fragments of progress. The scene also effectively pays off Will Tyler's coming-out message in episode 6, as Ellen later signs an executive order banning discrimination against military members based on sexuality and grants Will a Presidential Medal of Freedom. All in all, For All Mankind season 3 delivers a monumental occasion for LGBTQ+ rights in the show's alternate historical timeline that additionally strikes a poignant note for many viewers.
For All Mankind releases new episodes Fridays on Apple TV+.