'For All Mankind' Episode 7: Stranded on James Town, Gordo has mental breakdown as Soviet sets up moon base
The moment Gordo Stevens (Michael Dorman) spotted two red lights blink during one of his long walks on the moon in episode 6 of 'For All Mankind', it was clear the Soviets were up to something. In episode 7, we see further proof surface to support this, and it is this suspicion that leaves Edward Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) marooned on the moon alone with no way to return home.
The episode begins with Margo Madison (Wrenn Schmidt) informing the James Town base crew that the valve of Saturn V, which was the reason behind the blast of the rocket recently, has been manufactured by a different company now. However, there is something else that stops NASA from sending a team to relieve Edward, Gordo and Danielle Poole (Krys Marshall).
There is some other technical difficulty which will take a couple of weeks to be fixed. The crew takes it in their stride and accepts the position of scientists back in Houston. They get this update on November 9, 1974.
However, further delays in getting the next mission ready, affect the crew. They have been away from home for far too long and this has left the team's morale plummeting. Danielle's husband is struggling with PTSD after his time served during the Vietnam War and Edward and Gordo's sons are rebelling, finding trouble that leads their mothers to attend multiple PTA meetings.
Gordo is struggling to live in a confined space any longer. So much so, he develops a condition that leaves him anxious and jittery. Danielle, who saw the same symptoms in her husband, tries to warn Edward about this, however, he doesn't heed to her warning.
Instead, when Gordo picks a fight with Danielle about surveilling the Soviets who have also managed to get their base eight miles northwest of the James Town base, Ed grounds him and tells him he is now confined to the base and is not to be taken out on their missions.
When Ed and Danielle are on a mission run to the crater where they are collecting samples of ice, they see track marks left behind by the Soviets, which Ed reports to NASA. The confinement aggravates Gordo's mental condition further and Edward realizes the extent of it when he sees Gordo wake up in the middle of the night wanting to reenact scenes of a TV show the crew would watch to pass their time.
The VHS tape is now worn out and the only thing the three of them could do was mimic dialogues they had memorized. When Edward suggests Gordo and he take a walk and tries to understand what Gordo is going through, he sees there is nothing he can do to help.
Gordo explains he did not sign up to be confined to a base, and from being astronauts who are expected to explore space, the crew is now reduced to "playing house" trying to keep their base safe from Soviet plans. Something about this conversation unsettles Edward.
Then Gordo claims he saw an ant inside the suit, somewhere near the face fo the helmet and freaks out enough to want to remove his helmet. Of course, doing so would have resulted in his death.
Edward, however, manages to stop him, calm him down and bring him back to the base. He explains that Gordo and Danielle would have to return on the safe boat while he would stay behind to man the base and keep the Soviets away.
He also explains to Gordo that he would have to tell the truth to Houston, explain that this is a medical emergency to get it approved. Danielle, who is already seeing her husband lose himself, doesn't want Gordo to follow suit.
If Edward were to report what happened with Gordo, he would be referred to a psychiatrist, and his license to fly would be revoked. Danielle realizes how this would affect Gordo, and so she decides to give Edward a way to claim a medical emergency without revealing Gordo's condition.
In an attempt to change the battery of heavy equipment, she breaks her hand. The fact that this conflict even arose because of corruption in the U.S. government or the delay in finding a way to relieving the team is not acknowledged.
Edward's decision to stay behind fetches him a promotion and Gordo can now keep his license, but what about the Soviets? How can Edward be expected to handle surveillance alone?
The fact that he has no way of returning and especially considering we have learned of his son's accident, we can expect the next episode to be heartbreaking. 'For All Mankind' Episode 8 will air December 6 on Apple TV+.