On the heels of the next flight, we’re starting to get the hang of how these launches play out. Tension builds between the wives, the astronauts, and the couples as they try to live up to NASA and America’s expectations, and more often than not, the flight doesn’t go as planned. And then the media’s there to make matters worse. “Retroattitude” offers exactly that plus a discussion of faith, another surprise wives trip to Florida, and some alcohol-induced honesty.
Marge & Deke Slayton
Last week ended with Marge learning NASA had taken away Deke’s flight, and while he didn’t know why, it seemed like it might have something to do with Marge’s previous marriage. But it turns out, Deke has an irregular heartbeat and NASA wasn’t too fond of his refusal to step in for John Glenn. So Marge takes the next logical step—to call the POTUS to try to get Deke “ungrounded.” Surprise: She doesn’t get through to him. During a drunken fight in Florida, Deke blames John for his flight being taken away, and says Scott doesn’t deserve to go up instead of him. (This could’ve gone so much worse considering it was right next to the pool.)
Rene & Scott Carpenter
With Scott heading up to space in Deke’s place, the couple holds a press conference on their lawn. When a reporter asks Rene if she’ll be praying for Scott while he’s up there, like Annie did for Glenn, she tries to avoid the question before plainly saying that she will not be praying. This sends the press into an uproar, and Duncan tells Rene she has to be pretty and silent, like Annie, and should be seen at a church.
So Rene tries just that, heading to church with Louise, Betty, and Annie. She doesn’t make it to the door before realizing the press are swarming the house of worship and refuses to go inside. Instead, Rene hitches a ride on Trudy’s plane and the two head to Coco Beach with their kids.
It’s not long before the rest of the wives join Rene in Florida, as does reporter Max. But Rene insists on writing the Life article herself and watching Scott’s launch alone with her children. As Rene heads to the beach for the launch, we get our first hint of the segregation of the time when Rene invites the hotel maid’s black son to watch with her. Unfortunately, all the beaches in the area are “whites only,” he says.
John Glenn calls with updates as the launch progresses, but soon, NASA loses contact with Scott in space. Annie hurries over to the beach house because she wants to be there for her like Rene was during John’s launch. It’s during the uncertainty of Scott’s future that Rene opens up about why she isn’t religious: She had a six-month-old child who died in his sleep. Rene doesn’t explain any further, but Annie understands.
As history would inform you, Scott makes it back alive. He simply went off course investigating some space particles that might’ve been alternate life forms—turns out they were just astronaut pee. You know, a common mistake.
NEXT: Complicated marriages are tested for more than one Astrocouple