The fifth episode of ‘For All Mankind’ season 2 talks about the weight of expectations that take a toll on a person’s life. The narrative follows the effects of the changes that are ushered in the lead characters’ lives. All of them try to work through their newfound positions, and the past somehow comes back to meddle with the present. Moreover, the Jamestown base is to be armed in preparation for a conflict with the Soviets. The episode also depicts the tough conditions on the Jamestown base and its effects on its occupants. The margin of error is null as a minute glitch can cause difficult situations. So, without further ado, let us delve into the details. SPOILERS AHEAD.
For All Mankind Season 2 Episode 5 Recap
Tracy Stevens is back on the moon, and a fellow astronaut is recording her descent. Her celebrity status has followed her to outer space. After the mishap during the flight training, Karen and Kelly wait patiently for Ed’s news. Karen is visibly tensed as her memories make her anxious with each passing second. Nevertheless, Ed returns home with minor injuries and is cleared by the doctor.
Tracy is accorded a warm welcome to the Jamestown base, where she is assigned the moniker Linus — a tradition for the newcomers at the Jamestown base. Meanwhile, Thomas, Molly, and Margo are miffed at Ed and Gordo for their misadventure. Molly rebukes them, but Thomas believes it is not enough. Aleida joins NASA as an engineer for the Apollo-Soyuz program. Ellen visits Pam Horton’s book launch, and they share some poignant moment of reconciliation.
Tracy basks in her glory in the Jamestown base as she gives interviews conducted via video conferencing. However, the monotony of the routine takes a toll on her. Tracy descends into alcohol consumption, which does not go well with the commander of the Jamestown base. She is stripped of her special treatment and has to do a double shift. Tracy visits Deke Slayton’s grave on the moon and lets out her inner feelings. On the other hand, Gordo trains hard to control his fear and prepare for the upcoming mission.
Ed and Karen share some cold moments as she is upset over the accident. Ellen and Pam reconcile and venture out to share a drink at the Outpost Tavern. They both get back together in a moment of sexual ecstasy. Meanwhile, three astronauts arrive on the Jamestown base carrying what appears to be weapons. In the end, Karen shares a somber moment of reminiscence with Danny at the Outpost Tavern.
For All Mankind Season 2 Episode 5 Ending: The Weight of Expectations
The episode is all about the expectations and the paths taken by the characters to fulfill them. In the end, Danny talks about the moments from his past to Karen. It appears that Danny was a good friend of Shane’s — he reminisces about Shane every day. Danny’s reflection of the past strikes an emotional chord with Karen, and she decides to run back in time. In one of the most poignant scenes of the episode, Karen plays a song by Elvis Presley and grooves slowly to the tune. It tells us that she wants to get back to the old days because the expectations of being a good mother and a wife have changed her.
On a similar note, Ellen visits Pam but is reluctant to initiate a bonding because Pam has settled down with her girlfriend. However, old flames seldom extinguish. Their interaction changes from a platonic conversation to a sexual romp, probably because they both want to give in to their desires. Ellen is stifled because of the constant veiling of her sexuality, and when the moment is ripe, she decides to take the next step.
Molly’s condition can also be read across these lines. She is the new Chief of Astronauts and has to deal with the protocols regarding the rules of engagement on the moon. She faces difficulties with her vision due to the exposure to proton radiation, but Molly cannot divulge the details because it might risk her job. In other words, she is mired by the weight of her own expectations of being a headstrong and independent woman.
Why Happens to Tracy at the Jamestown Base?
Tracy is welcomed on the moon with much pomp and celebration. Even her escort talks about her past efforts that led him to become an astronaut. She is a hero and is even provided a separate bunker for a hassle-free stay. But things do not stay the same for long. Tracy cannot adjust to the mundane routine of life on the moon and even manages to steal a smoke in the base. However, her actions create a false alarm as a blocked vent (Tracy’s doing) hints at an increased CO2 level. She visits Deke’s memorial and says that she misses her life of luxury.
Interestingly, her struggles on the moon are juxtaposed with Gordo’s preparation in an extended montage sequence. This establishes a parallel between Gordo’s time on the moon and Tracy’s current situation. Gordo prepares himself for any eventuality and tries to work through his fears, whereas, on the moon, Tracy’s fears slowly start to take shape. It seems as though Tracy is on the verge of getting a grip on herself, but as we all have seen, life on the Jamestown base can break even the strongest minds.