For All Mankind: Rupture
December 6, 2019 2:04 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

[the episode synopsis arguably spoils the previous episode's cliffhanger so I put it after the break.]

NASA preps a Jamestown relief mission, while Karen waits for news at the hospital.
posted by KTamas (8 comments total)
 
Yikes. After a good episode we get this which was very far from good imo.

First, instead of the usual "this was like 10 minutes longer than it should have been", this time that number is at least 20. so much unnecessary fluff.

I just can't escape the feeling that this show is so damn unfocused. It wants to do way too many things at the same time and obviously fails at it.

Frustrating.
posted by KTamas at 2:43 PM on December 6, 2019


I think if I had to come up with a hundred adjectives to describe that episode, "fluffy" would still not be on the list.

When the credits rolled I let out a breath that felt like I'd been holding in for the full hour.
posted by Acari at 7:42 AM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


The end of this episode feels like where the series should have began. A lone astronaut, bereft, insensible, and the only possible people who could offer him comfort - who could save his life - would be his sworn enemies, the Soviets.

However, if this show even manages that simple exchange, I will eat my hat. At no point has this exercise in tedium ever risen above the most baseline examination of history, and never shown anything like understand humankind or drama. I am, in fact, wondering how Star Trek TNG was so good if this was the guy who was supposed to be involved in the best episodes.
posted by The River Ivel at 2:44 PM on December 7, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ironic that it's the Soviets who end up letting news about Shane slip to Ed; in real life, when cosmonaut Georgy Grechko's father died during the three-month Soyuz 26/27 mission to Salyut 6 in early 1978, he wasn't told until he landed.

Given the hostility and no-contact order, how come the Soviet base seems to have a direct line to Jamestown Base? That said, I had though the dot-matrix printer a bit anachronistic, but it seems they started to be sold in the early 1970s.

This episode acknowledged that NASA has developed the LM into what is referred to on a diagram as the 'LSAM' (Lunar Surface Access Module?) with a significant extra cargo capacity. Presumably the further production of Saturn V boosters incorporates some of the proposed performance enhancements to allow the extra mass to be launched. However, I'm still not clear what the plan is for retrieving Ed; is he meant to fly back alone once the Apollo 24 crew relieve him? If so, that doesn't seem like such a good plan right now.

Something that actually happened last episode but which I only just picked up on: Ed getting promoted to Captain. In fact, it was the policy during early spaceflights that military officers serving with NASA would get promoted automatically, as explained in this NASA HR history:

In a memorandum dated August 17, 1965, Mr. Califano announced approval by the President of a policy on the promotion and decoration of astronauts, as recommended by the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator. The policy provided that:
  • Each military astronaut would receive a one-grade promotion as a direct result of a successful space flight, but not beyond the grade of Colonel in the Air Force and Marine Corps or Captain in the Navy. (There was to be only one meritorious promotion given to any individual military astronaut.)
  • Each Gemini astronaut would be awarded the NASA Medal for Exceptional Service (or Cluster) after completion of a successful space flight.
  • The NASA Medal for Distinguished Service, the highest award that could be given by that Agency, would be awarded for exceptional accomplishments in the Gemini program, including but not limited to accomplishments in actual flight.
  • Military decorations associated with space flight, such as awards for exceptional heroism or other distinguished service, would be determined on an individual basis consistent with general policy governing the award of traditional military decorations. (NOTE: All military astronauts completing space flights have received Distinguished Flying Medal awards and some have been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by their respective Services.)

Given that this is seemingly Ed's fourth spaceflight (Gemini 7, Apollo 10, Apollo 15 and Apollo 22) I'll assume that he was promoted from Lt-Cdr to Cdr after his first flight and that this was a separate Presidential decision to promote him again for political reasons. I do recall reading that some astronauts of that era found themselves falling behind in their military careers because this policy gave them automatic promotion into ranks in which they then did not gain any relevant military experience such as to qualify them for further promotions, so maybe Ed has been stuck at Cdr for a while now.

Of the female astronauts, it seems that Tracy Stevens is the only one not to have flown yet? Molly Cobb flew on Apollo 15, Danielle Poole was assigned to Apollo 18, and it's mentioned that Ellen Waverley (now Wilson) flew on Apollo 19. She's also the only one not to get a Moon landing mission; is this her relatively weaker performance during training, or due to her marital difficulties with Gordo?
posted by Major Clanger at 6:53 AM on December 8, 2019 [1 favorite]


Finally got round to watching this series over the weekend, and wish this wasn't the episode with a week until the next one! I've really been enjoying the whole series, coming at it without any technical space knowledge and loving it.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:23 AM on December 8, 2019


It's funny, my assessment of the show is that it isn't too long or fluffy at all.

I'm surprised that Gordo's breakdown is seemingly still a secret among the three. I would have assumed it be kept confidential among a very small and select few. At least Slayton, who seems to me to have the discretion and good sense to handle it wisely. But not letting anyone in on the crisis seems unwise for the whole program, even for the cowboy mentality pervasive among the group. Interestingly, it's the male cowboy fragility that had to be preserved at the expense of a woman's (all women's, really) status. Willingness to see a psychiatrist is a positive step, but the incident can't remain under wraps forever.

I've liked to entertain the thought that Molly wouldn't have made the kind of sacrifice that Danielle did. That she more likely would have broken Gordo's arm rather than her own.

Curious if the nature of the destroyed apparatus will be revealed.

I'm interested to see if we're witnessing a breakdown of a marriage, in tandem with a breakdown of whatever tenuous detente between the Soviets and USA as a result of the tragic incident. Destroying even a hidden Soviet apparatus could certainly be considered hostile under normal circumstances, but the offering of condolences shows they aren't total monsters, at least in the eyes of Ed, who'd been stewing some deep suspicions with the cabin fever. Now he knows among the things that cannot be fixed (his son's life), may also be his marriage, and relations of the superpowers and the future of humanity. What a weight to carry.

But a ratcheting up in tensions between the superpowers may be the lead up to a Reagan era that we'd be more familiar with.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:40 PM on December 8, 2019 [2 favorites]


Given the hostility and no-contact order, how come the Soviet base seems to have a direct line to Jamestown Base?

I think you can see this two ways: first, the scientists at NASA who still see this as an exploratory scientific mission, have coordinated with the Soviets to include channels to share data, but given the no-contact order, those lines were otherwise closed.

Or, the Soviets have been spying on US earth-to-moon communications and know their lunar neighbor's comm channels, just as Danielle knows (broadly) what she saw when looking at Russian communications in a prior episode. The lunar cosmonauts either sent the message to screw with him, like he thought, or because they really were sorry for him.

Can anyone translate the text in Russian from their space-fax? I assume it's standard header/ footer text.


Anyway, I'm kind of losing my interest in the series, as it turns into a kind of standard drama ... IN SPAAAACE! I'm seeing the problem that Major Clanger brought up in the prior FanFare post. But it's not just that, it's that the diverse cast of women has been largely dropped for ... macho posturing and fear of the Soviet Others? Sigh.

It was great to see Cobb on the moon, and see her (dangerously) bold move pay off, and I enjoyed her husband, for his quirkiness and honesty, and I was expecting he'd come back as Karen tries to be strong for Ed, but needs to speak honestly with someone (she's not opening up to Tracy).


Major Clanger: is this her relatively weaker performance during training, or due to her marital difficulties with Gordo?

I think her marital problems (or rather, his -- he's the one having affair(s)) are not coming up at work, so I'm crediting it to her weaker performance.


2N2222: I've liked to entertain the thought that Molly wouldn't have made the kind of sacrifice that Danielle did. That she more likely would have broken Gordo's arm rather than her own.

That would have been amazing.

Gordo: *wakes up screaming* WHAT THE HELL?!?!
Molly: *standing over him, looking at the battery on the floor* Gordo, are you OK? It looks like you broke your arm, I have to get that splinted up right away.
Gordo: What the HELL?
Ed: *Trying to wake up and get up to speed* What's going on?
Molly: *Coming back with the first aid kit* It looks like Gordo dropped a battery and broke his arm.
Gordo: I was ASLEEP! Molly, did you ...?
Molly: You dropped a battery on yourself and broke your arm. You need to go back to get better medical aid, but you'll be able to fly again.
Ed: *coming to terms with what happened* Gordo, we gotta get you back and get treated. I'll stay up here, and Molly can take you back.
...

:)
posted by filthy light thief at 11:39 AM on December 9, 2019 [5 favorites]


So one bit of tech that's bugging me is that I'm not sure a random US Government Okidata dot matrix would have been able to print a Cyrillic font in text mode in the 70s, but it has been more than 30 years since I really thought about it. I just sort of remember that font packages were a very big deal and the speed and quality difference between printing in text mode and making up text in graphics mode meant you didn't really do the latter very often?

Apollo 15 found water with Baldwin/Cobb in October 1971, Jamestown landed 2 years later in October 1973, and Apollo 23 experienced a RUD on the launchpad in August 1974 when Baldwin/Poole/Gordo were already occupying Jamestown base, to get a sense of where we are.
posted by Kyol at 6:38 AM on December 11, 2019


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