Friday, December 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'For All Mankind' - NASA Fears Delivering Tragic News to Ed While He Is All Alone on the Moon in 'Rupture'

AppleTV+'s For All Mankind - Episode 1.08 "Rupture"

NASA preps a Jamestown relief mission, while Karen waits for news at the hospital.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of AppleTV+'s For All Mankind.

"Rupture" was written by Nicole Beattie and directed by Meera Menon

Ed is the sole American on the moon and his son, Shane, has just died. It's an immense tragedy. It may be the event that brings the two warring sides together in the space race. And yet, it's tragedy defined by trying to deny the truth. Karen wants to believe that the worst isn't happening. She arrives at the hospital expecting her son to have a broken arm. She is dismissive of it all because he has been getting into trouble constantly. However, he was involved in a serious accident. A car hit him on his bike. It was a hit-and-run. Surgery can't save his life either. The doctors are quick to declare him braindead. That is a relatively new phrase in the medical community at this moment in time. As such, people are susceptible to doubt about the diagnosis. Karen holds onto the chance that her son will be perfectly fine after all of this. She calls in the head neurosurgeon from NASA for a second opinion. She receives an outpouring of support from the astronaut community. Everyone rallies around her. And yet, that doesn't change Shane's fate. His injuries were simply too great to overcome. The writing was on the wall immediately. That sinking feeling defines this episode early and often. There is no reason to express the same feeling of hope as Karen does. Instead, it's just one of concern regarding how she and Ed will handle all of this. Ed is in a high risk situation. He fears that the Soviets are surveilling his every move on the moon. He and other government officials believe that espionage may have already spread to space. He constantly has to be monitoring the Soviets to determine what they may be up to on their side of the crater. He discovers one piece of technology that could be used to monitor his movements. And yet, he has no idea what it actually does. Instead, he takes his rage out on it. It is the symbol of Soviet oppression. He believes that they are resorting to mind games because he is getting too close to uncovering their true operations. The American government wants to be extremely cautious in how it responds to any act of aggression. However, Ed is all alone up there. It's his decision no matter what happens. He has a temper. He is furious when things explode out of his control. People are withholding the news of Shane's health from him. Karen appears for a video call as if nothing is out of the ordinary. She goes through with it because she believes it's the best thing for Ed. However, she wonders if that makes her a terrible person who is beyond redemption. She certainly doesn't have the expected reaction to the various tragedies and shortcomings in the world. She can be hard and difficult. But she is still broken and distraught over this news. She needs the support from her community. She receives that. Ed needs that as well. Instead, it's treated as a calculated risk. It's a concern that goes flying out the window as soon as the Soviets send their sympathies to him. Again, he has no idea what it could possibly mean. In that moment, he may have nothing but contempt for the organization he serves. They willingly kept this from him. It's only after he has destroyed Soviet technology that Karen appears and tells him the truth. It's absolutely devastating. It gives this hour a strong hook. Everyone views this as the most pressing concern. Again, it can be seen as a national tragedy. It may help bring the two sides together through a time of collective mourning. Ed just decides to cut himself off from the rest of the world while Karen represses her emotions. It's unfortunate behavior that may be all too common in this time period. People hope that minds are changing. And yet, there is still concern about female astronauts being good enough to do the job. Racism and sexism are still rampant throughout the organization. The world is a mess. It may constantly be teetering on the edge. All it takes is a random car to come out of nowhere to completely destroy a person's life. Karen wasn't expecting that. But this personal drama will have far reaching ramifications. Sure, it may not justify the time spent with Aleida or Gordo seeing a therapist. However, it may ensure that NASA's future will have to plan for situations just like this no matter how dire things may ultimately become for all involved.