I'll admit, I was worried.
But The Astronaut Wives Club Season 1 Episode 8 honors the story of Gus Grissom's death in a beautiful way.
The past several episodes have whisked us through history without much time for character development or details. Now, though, it seems the rush was to get us to this place, so that we could slow down to deal with this loss.
Time is spent on the funeral in the beginning, which honors Gus and the other two men with him, Roger Chaffey and Ed White. The focus remains on Betty as she sits there with her friends by her side.
JoAnna Garcia Swisher plays a grieving Betty perfectly, completely with visions of her husband, confusion, sadness, and later – anger.
Betty knows that Gus was concerned about that capsule, so when a man approaches her at the funeral and reveals there is something NASA isn't telling her about Gus, she's that much more driven to find out what it is.
Even though we've only had a few installments, we've seen a lot of character growth for Betty. She's become stronger and more confident, and she's even become a mentor to the other wives. In "Abort," she shows that strength as she fights to find out who is responsible for her husband's death. The Betty we knew early on wouldn't have so easily dismissed Duncan and waltzed into a congressional hearing.
Unfortunately, what Betty hears is too much to bear. Heck, it's too much for me to bear. She walks in just in time to hear the recording of the men screaming out, unable to escape the capsule as it burns.
What's worse? Gus is blamed for the whole thing, when in reality, he knew there was something wrong with the capsule, but he was ignored.
Betty wants so desperately for Gus to be remembered in the proper way and for his name not to be tarnished. He was already blamed for an incident once before, which kept him and Betty from their rightful trip to The White House. That incident, also not his fault, nearly killed him.
What tragic foreshadowing.
At least Alan and Deke are able to find a way to take a stand. Despite the death of three of their men, NASA wants to keep moving forward on the same timeline.
At Alan's anniversary party, Deke gives a speech that calls NASA out on their competitive motives, and says that everyone is to blame for the deaths because they've been in too much of a hurry. Alan chimes in at the end as well, saying the best way to honor their deaths to is "slow the hell down."
Overall, I'm just glad the focus remains on the tragedy, especially in the way that Betty deals with it. The visions she has of Gus are as heartbreaking as they are endearing, and they really do honor Gus in a nice way.
- Rene and Scott are back, and they're both fabulous. I'd love to see more of their individual stories.
- Even in a tragic hour, food finds its importance as Louise brings her "spaghetti bake" to Pat.
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 The Astronaut Wives Club Season 1 Episode 9 next week to find out what happens next.