'For All Mankind' Episode 4 sees Molly Cobb become the 1st US woman to travel to the moon after she wins Edward Baldwin's trust
Edward initially had problems with the fact that she is a woman and so patronized her at every turn of the training. Molly, in turn, was busy making light of his valid points of reference and so she loses his trust as well. But then she wins it back
'For All Mankind' is a space drama that portrays the historical space war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, but with a twist. Instead of Neil Armstrong being the first man to land on the moon, the show portrays a Soviet Union cosmonaut landing on the moon first during the Nixon administration in the 1970s.
Not just the first man on the moon, but the Soviet Union also manages to achieve the feat of taking the first woman on the moon. This results in Nixon wanting his country to not stay far behind.
So Neil becomes the second man on the moon, first from the U.S. and Molly Cobb, who was a part of Project Mercury in NASA becomes the first U.S. woman astronaut to travel to the moon. Will she be successful? Since the episode ended right after the rocket that she was in took off, we will have to wait to know.
In the process of becoming the first woman astronaut in the U.S., Molly goes through many hurdles. Initially, the men in NASA, which includes the head of the Astronaut's office - Deke Slayton (Chris Bauer) - do not expect much of the woman.
Yet, Molly along with a number of other probable candidates go through an aggressive program to train to be an astronaut. Molly's close friend Patricia 'Patty' Doyle (Cass Buggé) loses her life while performing one of the final exercises, which adds a certain level of seriousness in NASA towards the women who are working hard in the training.
So when intelligence arrives that the Soviet Union is searching for a possible water source on the moon, the U.S. president and his advisors feel NASA should abandon the women, cite their incompetence as the reason to move on to what's important -- the lunar military base.
This is the same project the president wanted abandoned when he forced NASA to train women to become pilots. Tired of being "jerked around", Deke holds a press conference where he graduates four women to astronauts - Molly Cobb (Sonya Walger), Tracy Stevens (Sarah Jones), Danielle Poole (Krys Marshall) and Ellen Waverly (Jodi Balfour).
Deke also decides that Molly will be on Apollo 15 with Edward Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman), and Gordo Stevens is out of the mission. While so far, Molly struggled to become a certified astronaut, she now struggled to be accepted as a fellow astronaut by her counterparts at NASA.
Edward especially, who initially had problems with the fact that she is a woman, and so patronized her at every turn of the training. Molly, in turn, was busy making light of his valid points of reference and so she loses his trust as well.
So much so, Edward decides he will take control of the entire mission, even the parts Molly is responsible for. Molly misunderstands this to be an extension of the sexism and doesn't understand the real issue until flight control officer Margo Madison points out to her that her teammates do not trust her.
This ends up putting her under pressure because now, she is not just a pilot but the first woman astronaut who will travel to the moon. She works twice, or even three times as hard as her male counterparts to make sure her performance is nothing but flawless and after all this, Edward decides she is trustworthy.
Molly's worth as an astronaut is so entrenched in misogyny that when she is finally accepted as a part of the team, it is because the men see the many women who cheer for their mission. It is not Molly's hard work that made a difference here and that is just another one of her many struggles.
People at NASA, who Molly trained with have also assumed she is a lesbian woman and that, in a way, plays a part in how she is judged. In fact, during the three-episode premiere, there was a specific scene that showed two teams of women judging one another and honestly, it was not a pleasant experience to watch.
Now that she is on the way to the moon, one would assume that the problems have been solved. However, that is not the case because the president is waiting with an ax for the mission to fail so that he can cut off people who are not useful for his campaign for a second term.
Deke is now on the top of the list of people to be removed for going against the wishes of the president. So, if Molly fails in her mission, it is not just her reputation that is going to end up in tatters, but the other women who trained with her will also go through a tough time.
The next episode of 'For All Mankind' can be streamed on Apple TV+ on Friday.