With the cataclysmic events leading to Thomas Paine’s death, the Space Race between the Soviet Union and the USA has turned violent. Ellen has assumed the position of the administrator, and the proceedings are regulated under her watchful eye. The marines of the Jamestown base have recaptured the mining site, which is being constantly kept on guard. With these myriad developments, the Pathfinder is slowly turning out to be the trump card of NASA. However, Ed and Karen’s deteriorating relationship might affect Ed’s stewardship of the spacecraft.
Having said that, the work on the Apollo-Soyuz program is still under development and treads a fine line that might collapse given the increasing hostilities between the two countries. Episode 8 of the second season of ‘For All Mankind’ delves deep into the characters’ psyche as they come out clean with the torments of their past. Let us dissect through the narrative of the episode. SPOILERS AHEAD.
For All Mankind Season 2 Episode 8 Recap
As the mining site on the moon is recaptured, the President congratulates the NASA top brass. He offers Ellen a permanent post as the administrator and gives her a chance to be a part of the senate. Molly is diagnosed with normal-tension glaucoma — an incurable disease that leads to progressive degeneration of the eyesight. Nonetheless, she goes out for a ride on a fighter jet. The President has ordered the Pathfinder to be armed to the teeth, as NASA and the Department of Defense have initiated a collaboration on the mission.
The crew has to undergo a simulation test to acclimatize themselves with the new components. Meanwhile, Gordo arrives on the Jamestown base and is accorded a warm welcome. Aleida has a rough interaction with Bill Strausser, which leaves him in an embarrassing situation. He resigns from the job, prompting Margo to rebuke Aleida. The young engineer visits Bill’s house and manages to persuade him to come back. Kelly ventures out to find her biological parents and tracks them down at a Vietnamese restaurant.
Gordo and Tracy have a heart-to-heart conversation where he tells her the truth behind his last trip to the moon. On the other hand, Molly discloses her problems to her husband. Margo and Sergei work together to make the Apollo-Soyuz mission a success. Karen and Danny give in to their carnal desires as they end up establishing a physical relationship, but things start to get awry. In the end, a fatal confrontation on the moon stands to change the course of the space race drastically.
For All Mankind Season 2 Episode 8 Ending: Why Do the Marines Shoot the Cosmonauts?
With the mining site recaptured, the astronauts aboard the Jamestown base have to guard it around the clock. During one such reconnaissance mission, one of the marines spots suspicious activity near the ridge. Two cosmonauts are seen planting a device that gives the impression of a concerning situation. They are told to hold back, but the language barrier creates a misunderstanding. As one of the cosmonauts reaches out to a box, the marines shoot them down. One of them is burnt to death, while the other is grievously wounded.
As it turns out, the Soviets do not have any weapons in their possession. The box contains a translation card which is mistaken to be a search for a weapon. Essentially, the space race and the continuing hostility have created a sense of paranoia amongst the astronauts. The one-upmanship between the two countries has reached drastic levels as there is no element of trust. This particular scene tells us about the nervous conditions that engulf the site of conflict, resulting from the decisions taken by administrators who are perfectly secure in their surroundings. In a moment of callous judgment exacerbated by the rivalry, the marines take the drastic step, which is sure to backfire.
Moments of Truth
The eighth episode sees the lead characters walking down memory lane and coming out with the harsh truth. In a beautiful scene, Gordo and Tracy talk about their past relationship. Gordo tells the truth behind his decade-old visit to the Jamestown base and accepts his fault that led to his divorce. Similarly, Molly comes clean about her exposure to the radiation, as does Aleida, when she talks about her past conditions.
Moreover, Kelly tries to meet her biological parents, and Karen gets sexually intimate with Danny. All these developments have one commonality, i.e., with the situations changing, they reach out to a form of acceptance that will help them cope up. The narrative doesn’t rush into any exposition as it provides equal opportunity to every character to realize their desires without thinking about the consequences. Karen’s sexual liaison hints at a fading marriage, Gordo tries to win back Tracy, Kelly tries to realize her origins, and Aleida works her way through to alleviate her follies.
All of them have to look back, reflect, and act accordingly, and coincidentally, none of them has an internalization of their thoughts. In other words, they have a listener. However, the consequences of their actions are yet to be seen, especially regarding Karen, who leads Danny into a moment of ecstasy, which he mistakenly thinks is love. Essentially, these moments of truth define the show’s ethos and its layered storytelling.
Read More: Is For All Mankind Based on a True Story?