'For All Mankind' Episode 6 picks up with witchhunt 2 years later with corruption, sexism and homophobia still rampant at NASA
It has been two years since Molly Cobb found proof of the existence of water on the moon in 'For All Mankind', and not much has changed. Gordo and Tracy are still having trouble, Margo is a victim of workplace politics and Ellen may just get outed
'For All Mankind' episode 6 titled 'Home Again' is set two years after Molly Cobb's (Sonya Walger) mission to the moon for the military base the US president Nixon wanted so badly? He has it now. Or rather, President Teddy Kennedy does.
The US is the first country to have placed a military base on the moon after having found the existence of water there. On August 24, 1974, Edward Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman), Gordo Stevens (Michael Dorman), and Danielle Poole (Krys Marshall), the team of Apollo 22 are now on the moon researching and getting everything set up at the military base. They are waiting for the arrival of the next mission in a week.
On the ground, we see a lot has changed. Margo Madison's (Wrenn Schmidt) seat at the flight control room has changed, but not so surprisingly, she is not the first woman flight director of NASA.
Yes, she was the first woman to enter the Flight Control Room, work with a room full of men (literally), but where is the drama were she made the first flight director as well? So we see Irene Hendricks (Leonora Pitts) take charge of the position after Gene Kranz (Eric Ladin) gets promoted as the Director of NASA.
She is awarded this position by President Kennedy, mainly because of the leadership she showed while the James Town base (military base on the Moon) was being launched. In the meanwhile, Margo doesn't look too happy.
In the following scenes, we come to know Margo has been passed over, and it is clearly the result of workplace politics at play here. Then she is told to collect a report about Saturn 5 (the rocket that ended up in smoke just before its launch).
This report is supposed to help the scientists do quick work on getting the next mission set up, but the only person who can access it is Margo. You see, the man who designed Saturn 5 rockets is Wernher von Braun (Colm Feore) and he is ready to hand in the report only to Margo and in person.
She has hated this man since the truth about his time in Nazi Germany during the war was revealed. She considers him a war criminal who needs to be prosecuted, and now, to be instructed to meet him in person, is something Margo is unable to come to terms with.
She does it anyway, and at this meeting, she learns the truth about her father's work from von Braun. The former NASA director tells her how her father's work as a physicist helped the bombing at Nagasaki and resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
This, of course, comes as a shock to her because all this while she had thought her father was a lonely man who found his stamp collection more important than his daughter. While Margo is dealing with this, Ellen Waverly (Jodi Balfour) learns the special agent Donahue, who is tasked with finding the truth about the Saturn 5 explosion, is targetting her boyfriend for visiting a gay establishment in Houston.
You may wonder how this connects to the explosion of a rocket. Turns out, there are some militants who pose as gay men to extract sensitive information which can then be used against the US. In this case, it lead to the explosion of an important NASA mission.
The agent is expected to question Ellen next to corroborate her boyfriend's statement and by doing this Ellen will be committing a felony. She comes to understand that it is either this or getting thrown out of NASA for being a lesbian and then being looked at by the people in her country as if she were some pervert.
So Ellen has a lot on her mind, and under all this pressure she tries to tell her girlfriend Pam (Meghan Leathers) that maybe it is time they take a break. She is fearing losing everything over her sexual identity enough to wonder if all this, "kissing girls" is just a phase. In an attempt to keep her job, she breaks Pam's heart.
When people are dealing with all of these conflicting emotions, the investigation into the rocket explosion is clearly turning into a witchhunt. The defects in the manufacturing process of a valve in the rocket resulted in the plane crash.
The culprits are men in power who have signed contracts for their benefit and are far removed from NASA and one of the things Braun reveals to Margo is this exact same thing. However, the investigation is not moving in this direction and there we have it, ladies and gentlemen. Corruption in alternate history!
The next episode of 'For All Mankind' can be streamed on Apple TV+.