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"Pathfinder" is the fourth episode of the second season on For All Mankind.

Synopsis[]

With a little help from Molly, Ed plans a career change - as his old Jamestown crewmates Gordo and Danielle struggle.

Plot[]

Karen prepares breakfast and is joined by Ed, who reads over a paper she wants him to sign. He asks why she was cancelling their trip to the Bahamas and she says that she did it since he would be going back to space, which confuses him, but she says that he would be going on Pathfinder. He tells her that he would not be going back up, as he was happy where he was, but she tells him that he obviously was not. He said that he was very upset and had overreacted, but she says that he has a special look when every launch goes up or when he talks about Pathfinder. She tells him that things would be different since she would be running Outpost and would not be sucked into being worried about him all the time, but tells him to go.

Ed makes it to NASA and looks at his board and eyes his Pathfinder model with a smile.

Gordo gets into a space suit and is asked if he feels comfortable. He says that he does like it, When they put the helmet on and lock it, he feels his heart pumping faster and breathes heavier, but manages to tell the people helping him that everything was alright. He goes to the bathroom, breathing heavily.

Ed celebrated going back to space with Gordo and Danielle.

Ed is poured three shots by Danny Stevens at Outpost. He tells him not to let anyone harass his daughter. Ed is joined by Danielle and Gordo; and they all drink their shots. He tells them that he has decided to go back to space and command Pathfinder. When Danielle asks why, he tells her that she inspired him and that they had been doing great on their performance tests. Gordo does not look so good, and says that he had a weird moment in his suit where he felt trapped and mentioned that he had to take his helmet off. Ed mentions that Gordo had changed a lot in 9 years and Danielle says that he had gone to therapy. Danielle says it is good to be back, but mentions that she has to take care of family business in Dallas. Danielle asks who would be taking command of the astronaut office, and Ed laughs.

Molly was told about the astronaut office job by Ed, who would be returning to space.

Molly smokes in the bathtub and is joined by Ed, who laughs at her appearance. She asks what he was doing there and offers him a beer. He grabs one and tells her that he was there to put her back to work. He tells her that he wanted her to run the astronaut office since he would be commanding Pathfinder, but she tells him that she was missing with him. She tells him that she did not want to run the astronaut the office since she wanted to fly, but he tells her to take the office until her medical leave finished, when she could assign herself to any mission she wanted.

Danielle visits Clayton's sister Rae with a box of Clayton's belongings. Rae thanks Danielle for bringing her them, and Danielle tells her that she hoped they could make a fresh start. When Rae asks why, Danielle says that because they are connected through Clayton, but Clayton told Rae the truth about what had happened on the moon and she confronts Dani over how she sacrificed her reputation and the reputation of all other black astronauts for a white man. Rae gives Dani the only one of Clayton's medal he didn't throw away. She tells her that Danielle had filled Clayton with ideas with patriotic ideals, which were what sent him to Vietnam and ultimately killed him.

Ellen asked Thomas about funding Mars instead of the moon.

Ellen visits Thomas and tells him that the moon had sucked up a lot of funding, but Mars could give them an upper hand. He tells her that she has a problem - she did not fool anyone and he told her that she needed to be a better poker player, revealing that he had written a speech in which a senator attacked their lunar costs. She asked why, and he said that the senator needed to demonstrate independence, which had in turn granted NASA the ability to self-fund and would give them enough money to explore Mars as long as the democrats did not win. She tells him that it must have been difficult for him to have lost his job once Kennedy had gotten elected. He says it was part of the job, which he had lobbied his way into during the war after being impressed by the stars. Ellen mentions she was surprised that he actually loved space and was not just some politician, but he says that it was fine if people saw him that way since they were the ones who made everything happen. He tells her that she would help him greatly since she was very genuine, but tells her not to lose track of who she really was.

Larry is having dinner with another man when Ellen gets home. Larry asks her how her day was, but they told her they would head out. Larry asks her to join them, but she declines. He hands her her mail and leaves. As Ellen opens it up, she stumbles upon a package sent by Pam, which was her book. On the front page Pam asks if Ellen knew which poem was about her, and Ellen starts reading the book.

Tracy's launch was broadcast so she could do an interview.

Tracy's launch was about to begin and she was interviewed during the launch. Gordo watched while Tracy mentioned that she kept to Stevens since she was known by her last name. Gordo changed the channel, but could not find anything he wanted to watch. He retuned to Tracy's launch, saying "see you soon."

Ed stumbles upon Gary, who got a sandwich from the vending machine. He gives him a navy hat, but Gary tells him that he was air force. Ed told him to put the cap on, which he does, but pulls it down when Ed tells him to. Ed told him to meet him in Palmdale California, since he would be joining him on Pathfinder.

As Ed cleaned up his office, Danielle joined him. She closed the door and told him that she appreciated the assignment to Jamestown, but she mentioned it was not good enough since she wanted a command slot since she had risked a lot and was still riding in the back. She said she wanted to be the first African-American woman to command a mission since she did not want to be seen as weak. Ed mentions that skin was not everything, but she tells him that out of the 205 pilots, they only had 11 black pilots, of which only one had commanded a mission. Ed tells her that the pilots just were not ready, but she tells him that that was not good enough. She tells him that the program could change the way people saw the world, but he told her that he had to get to a meeting.

Ed told everyone that he wanted Danielle to command the Apollo mission, and everybody agreed.

Ellen, Bradford, Margo, and Thomas congratulated him on his nine years of service as head of the astronaut office. When Ed asked if he had to make a wish, Margo told him that it had already been granted since he would be commanding Pathfinder. Ed blows out the candle and the meeting begins. Thomas tells them that the Soviets had agreed to mount a mission with them on the moon, which nobody likes. Bradford says that the only reason they accepted was so that they could get a closer look on American technology, but Ellen says that they have old technology which they could use. Everybody likes the idea of that, and Thomas asks Ed to choose a crew. He says the commander would be Danielle, but Thomas says that they might want to consider different possibilities since they only wanted the best. Ed asks what that was supposed to mean, since what had happened to Danielle's arm was not her fault; Ellen agrees with Ed and Margo does as well. Everybody likes the idea and Bradford mentions that this would be a powerful message, and after Thomas says that he would let everybody know, he asks him to tell him if anybody gave him any trouble so he could call the Secretary of Defense so he would support it.

Ed looks back at his office one last time and just as he was about to leave, Thomas asks him what had happened, since he thought they were friends. Ed says that it had not been premeditated, and Thomas mentions that lately nothing had been with him since Gordo's mission and assigning himself to Pathfinder had come out of nowhere. Ed defended Gordo, but Thomas counters that everybody knew he had a drinking problem. Thomas says that he hopes there was reason to his actions as opposed to nepotism.

Later, Ed wakes up and heads into the bathroom. He leaves dressed up in his suit and makes himself a cereal. As he left his house, he decided to use his corvette he had in the garage. However, as he left, the car broke down.

Gary wore his cap and was nervous since Ed was late. His colleague asked him about his hat since he was from the Air Force, and he says that he had lost a bet which he could not remember since he had been drunk. The woman found it strange that NASA had picked him to fly right seat in its first nuclear spacecraft. Ed arrives and tells them that he had car trouble. He tells them that he wanted them to supervise the sim mods while he flew out to the Cape to check out the launch control center upgrades. First, Ed shows them Pathfinder and tells them that it would help them reach Mars faster. He mentions that they needed to test the ship, and reminds them that he had chosen them since they were the best. He tells them that they could not fuck up, so they would train a lot.

Danielle was proud that she would be commanding a mission.

Danielle walks into a room with a security guard, who takes her to a storage room, where she saw the ship she would be commanding.

Gordo sits at Outpost and yells at the TV while a wrestling match is on display. Karen smiles, and is joined by Danny, who is surprised she knows about wrestling. Karen asks Gordo if he was going to Ellington since he would fly down to the Cape with him. Gordo mentions that he could not miss the fight and would drive fast.

Gary tells a Helena that Pathfinder was amazing, but almost died when Sally made fun of Ed's car. She tells him that he had to call Ed out if he fucked up, but Gary interrupts her saying that she was ruining the excitement for him. She pretended to greet Ed, and Gary rushed to put his cap on again, which made him realize he was scared of him.

Gordo looked at his Pepsi can, but saw a bunch of ants, which made him lose his concentration. Danny asked if he was okay and mentioned that he too could see the ants since they were hard to miss.

Ed yelled at Gordo when he started worrying about losing his mind and being scared.

Later, Gordo meets up with Ed, who asks him if he is ready to go. Gordo told Ed that he had seen ants while watching TV at Outpost while sober. He mentions that Danny had been there, but that the ants were real. Gordo tells his friend that he had thought he was losing it again and wonders if it would happen on the moon again, but Ed told him he was fine. Gordo told Ed that his father was a very tough man, and had never backed away from anything until he got cancer, which scared him. Gordo says that that had been too much for him and says that maybe his father had always lived in fear. He asks Ed what he needed to do, and Ed told him to act like a man since he was an astronaut and started mocking him. Gordo told him to cut it out lest he do something about it. Ed walks out and Gordo follows him. They flew and Ed told Gordo he would test them to see if they had any balls.

Danny worked the bar at Outpost, but as he took out the trash, he saw Karen who was smoking weed. He told her that he would not tell anybody if she did not. Karen said it was fine, but did not want him smoking with Kelly as she passed him the joint. Danny took it and agreed.

As Gordo and Ed flew, Ed showed Gordo a few tricks, but Gordo told him that he had seen it coming. Ed's jet caught fire and he was forced to eject. He opened his parachute and headed straight for water.

Cast[]

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