‘For All Mankind’ Season 4’s Burger Moment Has a Deeper Meaning


Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for For All Mankind Season 4

The Big Picture

  • Margo Madison’s first bite of a burger in For All Mankind Season 4 symbolizes her return to her American home and a brighter future.
  • Sergei helps repair Margo’s relationship with her protégé Aleida Rosales and clarifies Margo’s motivations.
  • The significance of the burger marks a turning point in Margo’s fortunes and her ability to rebuild important relationships.

There is a lot to digest in the mind-bending Apple TV+ science fiction show For All Mankind. Space shuttles are racing to Mars, $20 trillion asteroids need to be captured, and all manner of complicated interpersonal relationships have been ongoing throughout the show’s 4-year run. But there is one scene in Season 4, Episode 8, “Legacy,” that peels away all the high-tech, sweeping space elements of For All Mankind and gives us one of the most relatable moments so far. And it involves something as simple as a good old hamburger. Sometimes a big bite of some grade-A beef inside a bun is just what the doctor ordered, and it becomes a symbol that has a much deeper meaning than Margo just having dinner.

For All Mankind

Exploring the possibilities that might exist if the global space race had continued and where humanity would be now.

Release Date
November 1, 2019

Main Genre



What Is the Deeper Meaning Behind the Burger Scene in ‘For All Mankind’ Season 4?

At about the halfway mark of the episode, we see Margo Madison (Wrenn Schmidt) finally settled into her hotel room trying to catch up on some work regarding the upcoming Goldilocks asteroid redirect mission. As she is toiling away at the desk, there is a knock on the door. It’s the room service that she has ordered. She pulls the patented silver cloche away to reveal what appears to be a run-of-the-mill hamburger with a hefty side of french fries and a side of pickles. But it’s much more than that for Margo.

Remember, the disgraced former head of NASA command and control has been banished to Russia for close to a decade where she has been eating a steady diet of potato-based goulash and loaves of bread daily. So to her, it probably looks like the best burger she has ever laid eyes on. Whether you are dieting or have been deprived of something as savory as a thick, juicy hamburger, it can taste 10 times better than if you had one regularly. And boy, does Margo enjoy this burger. At first sight, she lets out a relieved sigh. Then she scrapes all the prepared fixings off the bun and drops a huge dollop of ketchup in their place, spreads it across, and wraps her hands around the whole thing.

She lifts it to her mouth and takes what looks like the most satisfying bite ever. She chomps down on that thing and rips a huge chunk out of it.

The look of pleasure on her face is priceless, unadulterated bliss, and it means more than you think. It means that Margo is back. Back on her home turf where she belongs and away from the hellhole in Moscow that she has been calling home. If you have been following our coverage of For All Mankind Season 4, you know that we’ve already established that we think the show has done Margo dirty. Giving NASA secrets to the Russians was wrong, but she was doing it to save a friend and possible romantic interest’s life in Soviet engineer Sergei Nikulov (Piotr Adamczyk), whom we see has been given a new name and job as a physics teacher in an American high school at the beginning of the episode. We maintain that she should have been treated with more respect. There is nothing more American than a good old-fashioned burger cooked medium rare with ketchup, and we love that she is back where she belongs working with Americans.


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The Burger Symbolizes a Brighter Future for Margo Madison in ‘For All Mankind’

As soon as she takes that enormously glutenous and American bite of the burger, things start to turn around for the once fearless leader of NASA. Before the burger, Margo had an icy reunion with her protégé, Aleida Rosales (Coral Peña). The girl that Margo has been mentoring since Aleida was a young girl is a huge part of her life and someone she has been missing desperately in the years that she has been excommunicated. Margo values her intelligence and her opinion, so a big part of getting back on her feet is reestablishing that relationship. What Aleida thinks she knows of what went down between Margo and the Russian government is not the whole picture. And it is Sergei who does what he should have done many years prior.

Margo did what she did to save the life of her Russian counterpart, Sergei. The hardline Soviet communist government was using Sergei as leverage to make Margo deliver the American space program and rocket secrets. Should she have let Sergei die to protect the top-secret information? It’s hard to say, but she chose to save a human life and paid the price for it. But as we see at the beginning of the episode, he is miserable in his new life. He has a mundane day-to-day life teaching disinterested students about physics. So he heads down to Houston after he sees on the television that Margo is back in the States.

Sergei Sets the Record Straight With Aleida in ‘For All Mankind’

Upon arriving in Houston, Sergei meets with Margo and tells her she can’t go back to Russia because her life will be in jeopardy. But he also does something equally important when he sits down with Aleida and gives her the whole picture of why Margo did what she did. Aleida has had no idea of the pressure the Russian government was applying to Margo and comes away from the encounter with a new, more compassionate view of her mentor and benefactor. He also disavows her of the notion that Margo could have at least let her know she was still alive, telling her that Margo wasn’t allowed outside contact. It begs the question: why didn’t you do that sooner, Sergei? Instead of clarifying the situation and repairing Margo’s reputation, he sat for years in his hum-drum suburban life (in a nice American neighborhood, by the way).

The most important part of Margo’s unfortunate circumstance has always been her falling out with Aleida, and after the discussion with Sergei, it appears that she is now in a position to reestablish some form of the mother/daughter type of relationship they enjoyed before all the shit hit the fan. Was it because of that glorious room service burger with ketchup? Who knows? But it certainly did mark a sea-change for the fortunes of Margo Madison.

For All Mankind is available to stream on Apple TV+ with new Season 4 episodes dropping every Friday in the U.S.

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