Well, my head is spinning, and tissues are running low.
On The Astronaut Wives Club Season 1 Episode 7 we continue to speed through the story of the astronauts and their wives just in time for a heartbreaking tragedy.
I knew it was going to happen, because I'd already done the research. But I wasn't bracing myself just yet for the death of Gus Grissom, because we simply weren't anywhere close in the timeline for that to happen.
Boy, was a I wrong.
I'm becoming more and more disgruntled with the speed of this story. As much I'm enjoying the overall plot and the characters, The Astronaut Wives Club feels like an exercise in missed opportunities. There's so much happening so quickly that there really isn't time to process it all.
And there certainly isn't time to develop the characters, particularly when new ones are introduced.
I do appreciate the way it deals with gender roles and issues of the time, especially in the way that NASA treats the women. Who else felt the need to stop, rewind, and listen again as Duncan actually told a room full of women that they needed to be there for their husbands, not make demands, but definitely be available if their husbands felt "frisky."
I mean, that's a joke, right?
More terrible, and more serious, is the reaction when Marilyn's husband dies in an accident. Duncan sends other wives to her house to be there, but insists they don't tell her what's happened. They wait, and wait, and wait, until finally, someone arrives at her door and gives her the news.
And that, my friends, is foreshadowing at it's finest. So is Gus's plan for him and Betty to go to Paris, which tragically gets put off so he can focus on the Apollo mission. Even more heartbreaking is that Betty is one of the women spearheading the effort to convince NASA to change their policies on their treatment of the newly widowed.
That's the most significant part of this episode. The other women refuse at first, mainly out of fear. But they finally all come together to make a stand, and Duncan realizes he doesn't have a choice. It's just too bad we haven't gotten a chance to know the new characters more than we have. We've barely gotten to know them at all.
There's also the pregnancy storyline, with a wife who we also don't know at all. Her story is powerful, but it would be more so had we already been getting to know her.
As we near the end of the hour, we're sped through the successes of Gemini and the preparations for Apollo. Of all the astronauts for us to lose, Gus feels the most tragic. He's been among the most likeable characters, and his relationship with Betty has probably been the most endearing.
I've said it before, but so much of the power in this show comes from the fact that it is grounded in real life events. Were this completely fictional, it would still bring on a lot of tears. But the fact that it actually happened? That Gus Grissom actually died in that capsule during testing when it caught fire, and he couldn't get out?
It's completely unthinkable. He died along with the two other astronauts testing the capsule, Edward White and Roger Chaffee. I'm thankful their story is being told in a way that so many people will see.
What did you think of this installment of The Astronaut Wives Club? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Need to catch up on past episodes? You can always watch The Astronaut Wives Club online right here via TV Fanatic!
And don't miss next week's episode, The Astronaut Wives Club Season 1 Episode 8, titled "Abort."