"Bent Bird" is the ninth episode of For All Mankind. It released on Apple TV+ on December 13, 2019.
A crisis in space puts the Apollo 24 and 25 crews in peril.
Apollo 24 launched in order to bring back Ed, who had been stranded on the moon for 159 days. Deke called Houston, telling them they were ready for trans-lunar injection. Gordo confirmed they had received the message and asked Deke if he liked the view. And so Deke, Ellen and Harry moved forward. However, when they tried to ignite, it failed.
Karen walked with Tracy through her house; they looked at the suit they had bought for Shane to be buried in and Karen realized that that was the last set of clothes she would ever buy her son. Tracy tells her that she would drop it off at the funeral home. The bell rings and Tracy tells Karen that Marge and a few others had come to join them, but Karen tells Tracy that she is not up for it and just wants to get in bed and wants to be left alone. Tracy tells them that they are not there to be comforted, but to help her in case she needs them.
On the moon, Ed receives a long fax; forcing himself to wake up, he looks out the window.
The crew of Apollo 24 tries to look for the problem. Gordo calls them and tells them that the flight control computer had a bad board in the control circuit that could not be repaired. They are told that they would be brought one soon by Molly Cobb.
Molly tells a crew about what they would be doing in order to help Apollo 25. Margo tells Weisner that they were the best people to do it. Weisner agrees and they decide to launch in two days.
Aleida walks in her house and finds her father with the Kennedy school papers. Octavio asks her why she did not tell him and she mentions that she was not sure that she wanted to go. However, her father found that ridiculous after all they had sacrificed and saw her as throwing it all away, realizing that it was probably because of the boy she was seeing, but she argued that she only wanted to stay with her friends. Octavio asked Aleida if she believed Margo had gotten to where she was by chasing boys and she reminded him that they were not in Mexico anymore and people liked to have fun sometimes, telling him that he did not understand America, so he grounded her.
Danielle goes to Outpost and finds Gordo, who is drinking Ginger Ale. He tells her that he had good news and told her that he had decided he would not keep secrets anymore and wanted the world to know what had happened. He tells her that people should know that she was the real hero and not the other way around, but she told him that she knew and that was all that mattered. She told him not to reveal the truth or she would be grounded.
Karen is woken by Marge, who brought her cornbread. Marge suggested she take a shower and join the rest of the women, but Karen just switches sides of bed, so Marge tells her to call them if she needed anything.
On the moon, Ed rides the rover and builds a grave for Shane by placing a bunch of rocks together, also writing down his name.
Tracy reminds her son that she would only be gone for a few days and asks him if he did not want to talk about what had happened to Shane. Tracy tries getting Danny to talk about the situation, and tells him that they would both go to Galveston when she returned and the two hugged.
The FBI agent talks to Octavio, asking if he enjoyed working at NASA, which the latter called a dream. The agent told him that working at NASA had also done wonders apparently since he had been pronounced dead. Octavio mentions he does not understand, but the FBI agent asks him who gave him his social security number, then pulling out a photo of the man he suspected. The FBI agent asked him if he knew a man who sold NASA secrets, but Octavio mentioned he simply worked there, but the agent told him that he had stolen and found photos in his locker. He told him that he had only taken the photos to give them to a friend and did not know anything about the people he mentioned. Octavio was grabbed from his seat and handcuffs were placed on his wrists.
Karen watched as it was announced that Tracy and Molly's spaceship reached the Apollo 24. She looked at herself in the mirror and took a shower, getting ready to go outside. When she opened her door, she saw Marge and other women, but she closed the door again. Across the hall, she saw Danny; she asked him what he was doing in Shane's room and he told her that Shane had left his derby car at his house, so he returned it, asking Karen not to tell his mother. Karen told her that it was fine, and Danny told her that he had had the idea of breaking the water meters, but had let everybody think it was Shane's idea.
Karen stormed off and went directly to Wayne Cobb's house. He asked her what she was doing there, but she did not know. She smoked marijuana and the two had a conversation in which Wayne told her that he was into organic chemistry, but was expelled from it. He told Karen that his father had disowned him, but instead of feeling bad, he felt triumphant since he was free. Karen thinks back to her childhood, meeting Ed when she was twelve and falling in love with him pretty much at first sight. However, they were distancing lately and she did not know what her life was anymore since she did not even know who her friends were.
Apollo 24 and 25 started working together to fix 24. They installed the FCC they needed and then started a test, which Margo directed. Ellen mentions that the tank pressure had gone up. Margo realized what was happening and told them to get the remaining astronauts to get away from the booster since it was still armed. It was too late the booster ignited, making Deke slam into an steering nozzle, and Harry slid down the booster into the exhaust plume of the engine dissolving in the heat of the exhaust. Molly disconnected the tether holding 25 to 24 and then lost her grip and let go. Molly mentioned that she had almost no oxygen left and they tried to find her since they could not see her. Tracy managed to see her, but Apollo 24 was still uncommunicative.
On the moon, Ed saw something strange. He saw a Soviet rover nearby and saw a Russian using his lift. The two looked at each other and the Russian brandished a hammer threateningly. Ed backed away from the Soviet, who then moved off towards his rover .
Margo blind to the possibilities of Apollo 25 saving Molly and safely returning and made the call to leave Molly and come home, Gordo disagreed and refused to do so, so she did so herself. Tracy also disagreed with Margo even though Cobb had agreed and asked for Gordo to be put back in communication. Margo told Gordo to not make her regret letting him attempt saving Molly.
Gordo guided Tracy through the process, while Margo asked about Apollo 24, but was told that they would know in two minutes. Tracy was losing fuel, but Molly was getting closer to them. In the end they managed to get to her and bring her back on board.
Mission control got the trajectory on 24, but did not know if they were dead or alive. Apollo 24 was not heading for the moon at all and could not communicate.
Ed got a knock at Jamestown base from the Soviet. Ed sarcastically asks if his rover had broken down and he did not have enough oxygen to get back to base. The Soviet lifted his visor and Ed told him to come in. The Soviet entered the base and put his suit down, showing Ed he had no weapons as well. However, Ed removed the oxygen from the room Ivan was in, and suffocated him till he lost consciousness.
- Joel Kinnaman - Edward Baldwin
- Michael Dorman - Gordo Stevens
- Sarah Jones - Tracy Stevens
- Shantel VanSanten - Karen Baldwin
- Jodi Balfour - Ellen Wilson
- Wrenn Schmidt - Margo Madison
- Chris Bauer - Deke Slayton
- Sonya Walger - Molly Cobb
- Wallace Langham - Harold Weisner
- Arturo Del Puerto - Octavio Rosales
- Olivia Trujillo - Aleida Rosales
- Krys Marshall - Danielle Poole
- Mark Ivanir - Mikhail Mikhailovic
- Meghan Leathers - Pam Horton
- Rebecca Wisocky - Marge Slayton
- Lenny Jacobson - Wayne Cobb
- Stephen Oyoung - Harrison Liu
- Charlie Hofheimer - Dennis Lambert
- Chris Agos - Buzz Aldrin
- Noah Harpster - Bill Strausser
- Nick Toren - Tim 'Bird Dog' McKiernan
- James Urbaniak - Gavin Donahue
- Megan Dodds - Andrea Walters
- Mason Thames - Daniel Stevens
- Tracy Mulholland - Gloria Sedgewick
- Aria Song - Cecilia Liu
- Carin Chea - Penny Chen
- Theo Iyer - Carl Reid
- Brian McGrath - Sam
- Ben Solenberger - LMSYS