Clearly, the newly launched NASA didn't have enough time to get their ducks in a row for a space launch.
The pressure across the board is astronomical, and it's eating away at everyone.
When even a smug dude like Alan Shepard is feeling the heat, then you know the tension is off the rails.
The Right Stuff Season 1 Episode 3 featured the leadup to the launch of Mercury 1. It was doomed from the start because of egos and forced deadlines.
For instance, the Air Force wanted to use Atlas to launch the capsule, something that wasn't even going to be in play when astronauts got attached to the proceedings.
But if there's anything we know about the government, they're extraordinarily good at grandstanding.
Of course, the astronauts aren't too bad at it themselves.
Instead of baring down and giving their all to the program, they're boozing and sexing it up to the point that John Glenn can't imagine his kids getting into the swimming pool because of the shenanigans that take place in there. Ew.
For once, it wasn't Alan who was leading the pack. He had his hands full after they unveiled the mastiff capsule simulator, something he couldn't master.
If anyone has ever experienced test anxiety, then you could see what was happening coming from a mile away. A-type personalities, especially, put so much undo pressure on themselves to be the best, they often stand in their own way from achieving it.
And the more Alan felt shown up by his cohorts, the worse it got. He made himself physically ill with all of the pressure he was under.
If there were any doubts that it was nothing but stress making him sick, when the capsule exploded, he was overcome by the same symptoms. Yep, that's stress in a nutshell.
And it was rather ironic that the only relationship that he has with a woman that appears to be strictly platonic is the one that caused Lou to raise her eyebrows.
Sex is one thing, but trusting and confiding in another woman is another. Infidelity is a fine line, and it seems like what really worries Lou about her husband is that he won't need her support anymore.
Interestingly, it was when John thought he'd found a way to leave the room to pay a visit to other like-minded Christians that he was put to the test emotionally.
It seems like John isn't a team player because he doesn't condone the behavior of the other astronauts. He has known his wife for his entire life. They're perfectly matched.
But he's still human, and he craves contact and support like everyone else. It's something the astronauts haven't yet found a way to inspire in each other.
Still, it was kind of surprising how close John came to cheating. And yes, I think that he came as close as a God-fearing man who loves his wife would ever come. If nothing else, maybe it helped him to better understand the other astronauts.
If it seems weird that I'm not calling them teammates or anything like that, it's because that was the prevailing theme of the episode other than stress. They aren't all working together, whether astronauts or crew.
Chris is trying his best from both directions, but he's not very good at it. His idea to get the crew on the volleyball court to work as a teambuilding exercise was a good one, but he failed in the execution because he was barking orders and making demands in the way that they played.
They need to get to know each other more naturally. As we saw with Alan, you can't just trust someone automatically. It's earned by behavior. Ironically not the kind of behavior he ordinarily exudes, but he knows what it is, even if he doesn't willingly walk that path himself.
Nobody needs a dead astronaut because someone pulls the trigger on a launch too soon or a fireball in a nearby town because they don't pull it at all. Working within life and death situations is hard!
All of this proves that the families couldn't have come at a better time. Those who hadn't sinned yet were on the brink, and those who had were bearing the weight of their mistakes. Everyone needed to feel a little normalcy and maybe to brag a little about all of their hard work.
It's unfortunate that the families were present for of of NASA's first air disasters. If the astronuts and crew were anxious before the launch, after witnessing that, now the families will be carrying the heavy burden of what might be ahead for their husbands and fathers.
And let's be real here. That capsule is ridiculously small. All of the wives have stood beside one for their photoshoot (in which Rene Carpenter decided to break away from the other wives in her fancy dress), and even the astronauts wondered how they'll see to fly with only two portholes.
The surprise was that they won't fly it at all. All of their daredevil qualities are needed now only to sit in there like guinea pigs while the capsule is commanded from the ground. Ouch. That had to sting.
These were extraordinary men and women reaching for the stars, but their heroic journey into space and supporting those who would be making the historic journey was only part of the story.
The Right Stuff is detailing the real price of being on the forefront of science and history, and while it can be a lot of fun and a great adventure, the stress and loneliness takes an incredible toll.
Have you been watching? What's surprising you so far about the Mercury Seven?
Hit the comments and share your thoughts.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.