Gordo returns to space. Molly faces an upsetting new reality. Aleida confronts her first major hurdle at work.
The claim has been taken back by American astronauts and Ellen, Margo and Bradford inform the president about their success. Margo asks about Apollo-Soyuz and Ellen says that since they have the moral high ground, they should keep it and the president agrees, also noting her great work, nominating her to the Senate and naming her permanent NASA administrator and asks her to think about it. Bradford and Margo congratulate her and think it is ridiculous that she was thinking it over, adding that they could go to Mars now. Bradford tells Margo that the Soviets had delayed the Buran shuttle probably due to repairs and tells Margo that they had probably figured it out by themselves.
When he leaves, Margo asks Emma to call Sergei and tell him that they needed to get back as soon as possible. She is told Gordo's flight Columbia would be taking off and she hopes he is sober.
At Kennedy Space Center, a nervous Gordo and his crew prepare for the launch. Gordo greets Ed, who tells him he wanted to take a look at the old shuttles before Pathfinder made them obsolete and tells him he is proud of him. Gordo thanks him and tells him he is ready; when his helmet is placed on his head, he smiles at Ed and the two shake hands before his launch.
Molly has her eyes checked and is told she has normal tension glaucoma. She asks if radiation causes it, but her doctor tells her she does not know. Her doctor tells her that the treatment to slow down the loss of vision would consist of eyedrops, oral medication and possibly surgery, but would ultimately reach blindness at some point. She also tells Molly that flight surgeons would not miss it.
She gets on a jet and starts testing it, trying to get to a high speed and altitude while cursing. The jet started beeping, so Molly let it fall, but regained control over it.
Ed, Gary, and Sally are told by Bradford and Margo that the president had armed Pathfinder, so the mission would now be a joint mission between NASA and the Department of Defense. Ed asks if they would be firing missiles, and Braford informs him that there would be a fire exercise to demonstrate the system, firing towards drones which would simulate Russian satellites. They are told that Pathfinder's missiles were primarily for self-defense, which makes Sally question if they would be used for offensive purposes, but Margo tells them that that is not the mission plan.
Pam asks Ellen if she is okay, so Ellen tells her about being offered to be NASA's administrator. Pam congratulates her, but she says she would not take it and was waiting for the right time to tell her. However, Pam tells her that she could be part of Raegan's cabinet and asks her if that was not everything she ever wanted since she could go to Mars. However, Ellen tells her that she is what she wants and they kiss.
Columbia makes it to the moon and Gordo and his crew are received and brought down. The first thing he does is feel the sand through his fingers and is brought to Jamestown, where he looks around and is welcomed back by everybody.
Nick Corrado tells him that the place must seem huge since the last time he had been there and Gordo tells him that there sure was not a lot of legroom. He is pointed to his old bunk and brought to the new one, which turns out to be next to Tracy's, but she was out with the marines flying their LSAM's.
Aleida talks to Bill, telling him that different teams should talk before having their preliminary designs, but he tells her that it was standard procedure. She tells him that as an engineer, what she was looking at was a bad design, but he mentions that the bad design was the one they had gone to the moon with when she was wearing diapers. She tells him that maybe he should have worn diapers during Gemini and he tells her to get out, which she does after calling him Peanut.
Kelly drives to Little Saigon diner, walking in and being seated right away. She looks around at other Vietnamese families and is comforted by the hostess, who tells her if she likes Chinese food, she would probably like Vietnamese food. The hostess tells her that her father was the cook and gives her recommendations on what to eat, which Kelly likes.
She enjoys the food and asks the hostess to sit with her. The hostess tells Kelly that her father had cut all ties to his mother when he had left Vietnam and does not talk about his family much, while her mother was not there that day. The hostess tells her she is American and gives her the check, but Kelly gets up to look at photos they had close to the back. She finds one and sees her parents on it, turning around to see the chef who looks her in the eye and turns. She pays the hostess and leaves.
Simulating the Pathfinder, Ed, Sally and Gary try firing it, shooting both targets successfully. Sally tells them she could use some air and leaves.
Gordo goes to bed and has no complaints before being scared by Tracy, who whipped his curtain open. They greet each other and he tells her that things were very different. He is introduced to Vance, who was a marine and compliments her flying. They tell him they would get some dinner, but he chooses to sleep.
Molly lays on her couch while drinking a beer, when she is joined by Wayne. She tells him she could use another beer, but when he hands it to her, she does not immediately see his hand until he gets very close. She complains about him creeping up on her, but he explains he had been there a while. He says that she had been acting weird and had not wanted to talk about anything but he now wanted her to tell him the truth. She tells him that she had gone out into the solar storm and had been on the surface for an hour in order to save Wubbo, but now has normal tension glaucoma.
Gordo gets up and sees his picture helping Danielle with her broken arm which said "Don't let this happen to you." He looks out a window and sees Tracy, who was smoking into a tube. She tells him that Jimmy was sending her cigarettes, which surprises him. They share it and she tells him that he looks good and happy. He tells her that the last time he had been up there he had lost his mind and tells her about the truth about Danielle. She sympathizes about it and tells him that the place can feel lonely. He remembers hearing about Tracy talking to Jimmy about his sixth birthday and realized he had been afraid of moving out since he would be losing Tracy, which was the most important thing to him. He recognizes he had screwed up their marriage and says that he would not be happy until he had her back, revealing his intentions of getting back with her, also telling her that he had told Sam. She laughs about what Sam said about her and asks him what he thinks, and he says that she would only be caught if she wanted to. She tells him to catch her if he could and hands him the cigarette.
Emma tells Margo that she had done a budget analysis the night before for the Pathfinder while she picks out her clothes for her meeting. Emma tells her to wear red since Sergei liked it, so Margo asks her why what Sergei liked mattered and Emma dismissed her idea.
Margo greets Sergei with her red blazer, which he immediately compliments her on. He tells her that there was a new directive from Moscow, mentioning the politburo had determined that the symbolism of the first handshake was important and it should be equidistant so, that nobody is the host or visitor. They get into the model, where they practice the handshake, but discuss where the camera would be. They decide to flip a coin in order to decide who would be the host. Sergei flips the coin towards Margo and as they try to find it, his pants get stuck, so their faces get close together. They are interrupted by Emma who tells her that there was a situation she was needed for.
At her office, Margo tells Aleida that Bill Strausser had quit and she was the cause of it. Aleida says she had not done anything, but Margo reads that after their conversation, Bill had seen he did not have the respect of his colleagues. She asks what she had said to him and Aleida admits to calling him Peanut, which shocks Margo. She tells Aleida that Bill had worked at NASA for over 20 years and did not deserve to leave over something like that, adding that if Aleida did not convince him to come back, she would fire her. Aleida tells her that she does not owe her anything and tells her that if she wanted to fire her, she should do it. Margo realizes that when something gets rough for Aleida, she gets mad and left her job.
Aleida storms down the hall angrily and takes a deep breath. She goes to Bill's house, but he tries to shut the door. She convinces him to let her in and is surprised at all his models. She apologizes for what she had said, but he tells her that he had been dealing with that for nearly 20 years. He asks her if she knew what Gemini mission it was and he tells her that it had been during Gemini 8, which she understood nearly meant the death of two astronauts. He explains why he had not left his station, also telling her that they were uncommunicated with the astronauts during an hour. He complains that people still talk about how he had peed his pants.
Aleida reveals that she had been shot at with a shotgun with rock salt and bird shot. She tells him that during a time in her life, she did not know where to live, being homeless for a while. She reveals that she had no money and would scavenge behind restaurants for food, called a wetback by one particular owner. One day when she was getting food, the owner had a gun and shot her, which made her run and stop at a park when she realized that her shirt was full of blood. She tells him that at the hospital, they wanted to talk to the police, but since she was there illegally, she did not want to talk to them and just left. She reveals that she still has a bit of bird shot in there and has scars, so she does not wear tank tops or anything of the sort. She tells him that she has shame too and apologizes for making him feel his again. He hands her a beer and they watch jeopardy.
Karen counts Danny's tips and gives them to him. He says he does not know what had happened the other night, but she tells him that nothing had happened, only two friends had had a nice moment. He apologizes, but she tells him not to be sorry, but to change the subject. They say good night, but he turns around and tells her he cannot forget and wanted to hold her in his arms. She tells him to stop talking, but then throws herself at him and they begin kissing each other passionately. She tells him to lock the door, turn off the lights and meet her downstairs.
The two hug after having had sex and Karen says that she really would be selling the place while he stroked her leg. He asks her if she was not having fun anymore, and she relates to it, but says that when people look at the space pictures, it was great. Danny looks at Karen and tells her he loves her, but she tells him he does not and to get a grip. He tells her that he could leave the academy and they could find a place to live, but she tells him that their relationship would not be going any further even if he had done a good job, but it was over. She tells him to call in sick, and adds that she would still pay him, but Danny tells her de does not care about that. She kisses him and tells him to do an about-face and go.
Tracy takes Gordo and marines to 357 Bravo. Gordo drives the LSAM and mentions that it does not respond like it used to before, but successfully brings them down. The astronauts see movement, so they grab their guns. They tell Bradford that they had company, so he tells them to try to talk first. They see two cosmonauts, who were working on a sort of machine.
Bradford orders them to switch to Russian communication and tell them to leave. They change and they begin to tell them that the site was claimed. The Soviets started moving, but they open a box, so one of the astronauts shoots one. When the second cosmonaut reached inside the case as well, they shoot him. The astronauts look at the cosmonauts, who are screaming because they were on fire. They call Tracy so they could move immediately and ask Webster to grab the Soviets' weapons. One of the astronauts tells Bradford that there had been two casualties, with one of the cosmonauts dead and the other one wounded. Bradford asks for the White House as Webster tells the team that the Soviets had been reaching for their communication card so they could talk in English.
- Joel Kinnaman - Edward Baldwin
- Michael Dorman - Gordo Stevens
- Sarah Jones - Tracy Stevens
- Shantel VanSanten - Karen Baldwin
- Jodi Balfour - Ellen Wilson
- Sonya Walger - Molly Cobb
- Krys Marshall - Danielle Poole (credit only)
- Cynthy Wu - Kelly Baldwin
- Casey W. Johnson - Danny Stevens
- Coral Peña - Aleida Rosales
- Wrenn Schmidt - Margo Madison
- John Marshall Jones - Nelson Bradford
- Lenny Jacobson - Wayne Cobb
- Meghan Leathers - Pam Horton
- Noah Harpster - Bill Strausser