For All Mankind – S02E10 – The Grey [Transcript]

Tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union reach an all-time high on the moon, throwing multiple missions into jeopardy.
For All Mankind - S02E10 - The Grey

Original release date: April 23, 2021

Amid rising tensions with the Soviets, the Apollo-Soyuz crews are told to repeatedly delay their docking, to Danielle’s frustration. Houston is unaware that the Soviets have attacked Jamestown. Gordo and Tracy hide in the galley, and manage to send Houston a signal which Aleida notices. The US marines and Soviets engage in a firefight, resulting in several deaths and the unseen damage to the nuclear reactor’s cooling system. Houston, Gordo and Tracy plan to fix the reactor from outside, using temporary suits that they construct. Danielle disobeys Houston’s order to abandon the Apollo-Soyuz mission, and the astronauts and cosmonauts finally greet each other. This public gesture of friendship defuses the nuclear tension on Earth. Meanwhile Pathfinder and Buran nearly launch missiles at each other in lunar orbit, but Ed decides to destroy the Sea Dragon supply ship instead. Tracy and Gordo save the reactor from melting down, but die from vacuum exposure. The Soviets leave Jamestown. On Earth the Soviets are shown to be using Sergei to try and recruit Margo. In a pre-credits scene it is 1995 and a human is walking on Mars.

* * *

[Frank] It’s all just a cycle. Panama does one thing, Reagan does another, Soviets do something else, and then Reagan’s got to respond so that he shows the public he’s standing his ground. Honestly, at this point, I just tune the whole thing out.



[beeping rapidly]


Uh, Flight. Jamestown is showing a depressurization event.

That can’t be right. Raise Rossi.


Jamestown, come in. Jamestown, do you read?

What’s going on?

Pressure issue on Jamestown.

Jamestown, we’re showing readings of a depressurization event. Ops/Comm cabin pressure is less than one PSI. Do you copy? Jamestown, do you–

[Rossi] Jamestown here. We’ve been having some issues with our sensors. Think we’ve finally got it under control.

Ops/Comm pressure is returning to normal.

[Rossi] Just a faulty sensor.

Copy that, Jamestown. Thanks for the clarification.

[Rossi] Okay. No problem, Houston.

[in Russian] Good.

[in Russian] They are not aware of the situation.


Leave this hallway depressurized to protect our flank.

[in English] We want they release Rolan Baranov. Where is he?

Like I said, I don’t know.

[Tsukanov] Like I said, you help us…

I would. I just don’t know.


[Rossi spits]

You will help us.

Wait. I’m just tryin’ to– [groans] Wait– [groans]

[no audible dialogue]

[no audible dialogue]

[Gary] Skipper?


[Gary] It’s your turn to get some shut-eye.

No. I’m okay.

Sir, you haven’t slept since TLI.

How far are we away from the blockade line?

Two hours, 15.

[Ed] Where’s Buran?

Already in low lunar orbit. On course to intercept us when we cross the blockade.


Give me updated numbers for LOIT and delta-V total.

You okay, sir?

Not if you keep looking at me like that, I’m not.

You get back to work, Mr. Piscotty.

Yes, sir.


What’s the latest with Apollo-Soyuz?

The Soviets are asking for more time before docking. Again.

We can’t just keep orbiting ad infinitum while they get their act together.

What are they saying the holdup is this time?

No official reason was given.

Sergei said they need more time before docking. That’s all.

Which is what they’ve been saying for the past five hours.

[Margo] I know. I know.

But… [exhales] I still think this can work.

I don’t know why they don’t just admit it’s to do with the lunar blockade.

Save us all some time.

What’s the latest with that? Have we crossed the blockade line yet? Is Buran…

Margo, you know I can’t get into the details. It’s a classified operation.

How are we supposed to make informed decisions without knowing what’s really going on in there?


[Margo scoffs]

I’m sorry. I wish I could, but…

Just making friends left and right, Wilson.

Speaking of which, you want to give Apollo the bad news, Bill?

Apollo, that’s a no-go on the coplanar rendezvous burn.

Star City’s still dragging their feet.

We’ll give you an update as soon as we have one, but that’s another orbit on deck.

Sorry, guys.

Copy that, Houston.


Damn it.

Hurry up and wait, huh?

Guess it’s one more trip around the world.

It’s really depressurized out there.

[Tracy] What the hell is going on?

Maybe a meteorite hit the base.

Maybe, but no one’s responding on the comm. It’s like they all vanished.

Not everyone.

[Tracy] Well, try to get their attention. Let them know we’re–

Shh! Get down.

Jesus, Gordo, what the fuck is going on?

I don’t know.

[Rossi] Jamestown Base, this is your commander.

I am being held by the Soviets.

They have not harmed me.

They are offering an exchange, me for their fellow cosmonaut, Rolan Baranov.

Don’t do it. Don’t do it–

[punch landing]


We must do what they say.

No. Not a chance.

Isn’t this at least worth discussing?

No. There’s nothing to discuss.

The president has given this man asylum, and we are not giving him back.


They’ll kill Rossi. We are outmanned. Two of your marines aren’t even here.

They’re still guarding that stupid goddamn claim site.

You really think we can take them at their word?

They get him back, they’ll probably just kill Rossi anyway.

They won’t leave… until they have me.

Then we make ’em leave.


Wow, this place is impressive.

It’s not too shabby, huh? [chuckles]

It’s nothing compared to what Trace and Ed wake up to every morning, but, uh…

Well, for us earthlings, it’s really something.


Morning, Mr. Cleveland.


Hey, do you…

Do you ever worry about Ed when he’s up there?

Of course.

You know, I just try not to think about it.

We all find ways to manage.

Pot really helps.


[chuckles] I bet.

You don’t have anything to worry about, though. Tracy is as tough as they come.


Well, tell me. What is the next big move for Karen Baldwin?

‘Cause you’re about to make yourself a nice chunk of change.

I’m not too sure.

We’re just right on in here.


If you’re having second thoughts, we can stop right here.

I don’t want you to do anything you’re uncomfortable with.

No, uh…

It’s okay. I’m ready.

[Sam] Right this way then.

Houston, approaching lunar orbit insertion.

[man] Copy that, Pathfinder.

We’re about to cross the blockade point.

Entering orbit in five, four, three, two, one.

[man] Pathfinder, Houston. We show you in lunar orbit.

Any sign of Buran?

Negative. They’re not showing up on our radar.

Where the hell are they?

[keys clicking]

[radar beeps]

Houston, we have no radar contact with Buran.

Pathfinder, wait one while we check with Goddard for an update.

Houston, any sign of Buran?

Buran has crossed to the far side of the moon.

We can’t track their orbit until they reemerge.

They were bluffing.

You don’t know that.

There’s still over two hours till we’re able to deliver Sea Dragon’s cargo to the lunar surface.

Oh, come on.

Our badass nuclear-powered space fighter scared those Russkies back to their cave.

All right. Sally’s not wrong. Let’s stay vigilant here.

[speaking Russian]

[translator] You were warned not to cross the blockade.

[Ronald Reagan] Now, Yuri, you’re being unreasonable.

[speaking Russian]

[translator] We were quite firm, Ronald. Sea Dragon cannot enter lunar orbit.

[Reagan] Well, we were very clear the United States does not recognize your blockade.

[Andropov speaking Russian]

[translator] It is not a blockade.

It is a quarantine against offensive weapons.

[Reagan] There are no weapons on Sea Dragon, Yuri.

And it is provocative actions like this that lead–

[Andropov speaking Russian]

[translator] The US was first to shoot a gun on the moon.

The first to kill someone on the moon.

If the US fires on Buran, we will have no choice but to respond in a substantial way.

[Andropov speaking Russian]

[translator] The Soviet Northern Fleet off the coast of Panama has 30 targets in the southern US.

If Buran is destroyed, we will have no choice but to strike back.

[Reagan] You know our missiles in Western Europe–

[Andropov speaking Russian]

[translator] Our position is clear.

-[Andropov speaks Russian]

[dial tone]

[male news anchor] Further signs of escalation in the Atlantic today, as the Russian Northern Fleet has taken offensive positions off the Central American coast.

US carriers have been deployed in the Gulf of Mexico as people across the nation begin to stockpile supplies in anticipation of an all-out conflict, causing runs on everything from bottled water to toilet paper.

We must again delay the docking, I’m afraid.

[Molly sighs]



All I can say is that we need more time. You must hear me.

That’s not good enough, Sergei.

Every time we’re supposed to dock, you come up with another delay.

And we both know what this is really about.

I’m sorry, Margo.

Best I can do is to give you our state vector for next docking opportunity.

Fine, go ahead.

[Sergei] 07 853


58… 72.

[pen clicks]

Thank you, Margo.

[Molly] He’s so full of shit.

[Ellen] If this is a lost cause, I want to bring our people home.

Every trip around the Earth increases the chances that something will go wrong.

I hate to say it, but she’s right. Takes two to handshake.

Ellen, we’ve gone through too much to just give up on this now.

Up until a month ago, you thought this whole thing was a waste of time.

Yeah, well, a month ago we weren’t on the brink of war.

This is what Tom was talkin’ about. Just–

Just give me one more orbit.

Ninety minutes. And then they come home.

Five minutes to the coplanar burn and docking initiation, Apollo.

[Dani] Copy that, Houston.

Strausser, tell ’em they won’t be docking.

Russkies are kicking the can again.

One more time around. After that, we’re pulling the plug.

Oh, just like that? No, everyone has worked so hard.

You can’t just say it’s over like it’s nothing.

Bill, who is this? Why is she speaking to me?

Uh, she apologizes.

-No, I don’t.

Yes, you do.

I like this one.

[sighs, chuckles]

Uh, Apollo, some, uh– some news over here.

Uh, unfortunately we’re gonna need for you to proceed with another orbit.

The docking with Soyuz has been delayed again.

We didn’t come all this way just to wave at each other through the window.

[Bill] I hear you, Apollo, I do.

Going off VOX, Houston.

[Bill] Copy.



Raise the Soyuz.

Soyuz, Apollo? Do you read? Soyuz, Apollo?

[Stepan] Soyuz, copy.

What are you guys doin’ over there?

[Stepan] Uh, Comrade Orlov continues to struggle with space adaptation.

Still puking his guts out, huh? [laughs]

[Stepan chuckles] Yeah.

[Orlov] Is not joke.


I’m starting to get the feeling this handshake isn’t gonna happen, Stepan.

[Stepan] Yes. I also have this feeling.


Guess it was stupid to think they’d ever go through with this in the first place.

At least we got a nice view.

[coins clinking]

[line ringing]



[Margo] Sergei?

[sighs] I’m sorry for this diversion.

I could not speak openly over normal channels.

I understand, but I’m puttin’ myself on the line over here keeping this docking alive, and every time I do, you pull the rug out from under me.

You need to come clean with me, Sergei, right–

I’m sorry, Margo. I’m doing the best I can.

Well, that’s not good enough.

You need to tell me what’s really goin’ on. I can’t do this by myself.


We are having avionics issues.

[Margo] Avionics?

You’re sayin’ this is a technical problem?

[Sergei] Yes.

I don’t believe you. Why didn’t you say this earlier?

If I were to admit to United States that Soyuz were malfunctioning, Andropov would cancel docking. I know this.

Please, Margo, please.

[recording] Please deposit 50 cents…

[Sergei] You must give me more time.

We have almost resolved the problem. You must trust me.

I trusted you once before, and you guys sent an armed Buran to the moon.

Pathfinder is also armed, is it not?

[Margo] That’s not the point, Sergei. You took advantage–

No, Margo. I’m like you. On the outside, trying to do the best I can.

One orbit, that’s all I can manage.


[dial tone]


Morning, Miss Madison.

[female newscaster] The United States and Soviet Union have postponed the expected handshake yet again.

No word yet as to when–

[male reporter] And what I’m hearing now from sources in the Pentagon is the canal standoff is very much linked to Sea Dragon…

There’s nothin’ on Jamestown.

It’s all Apollo-Soyuz or this blockade crap.

You check CBS?

I checked them all.

You know, last time I was up here… all we had was six tapes of Bob Newhart to keep us company.

Bob Newhart?

We watched ’em so many times, damn near memorized the whole thing.

When the Betamax broke, we even used to act them out.



Even Ed?

Yeah. Yeah.

Course, he only ever played Bob.

[chuckles] Of course.

Yeah, didn’t have much else to do.

And those days just stretched out forever.


You know the only thing I really looked forward to?


Was fighting with you on that damn thing.


Yeah, we always had fire.

Yeah, we did.

Hey, there was this old S-Band directional antenna.

Linked us to JSC.

Oh, you know how to sweet-talk a girl, don’t you?

Yeah. It’s just when Ops/Comm went operational, they routed all base communications through the new high-gain antenna.

It’s more bandwidth and all, but…

But maybe the old antenna still works.

There’s only one way to find out.

[hammer cocks]

[air hissing]

Hub’s fully depressurized.

Covering right.

[Vance] Webster, you see them move, radio immediately.

Lopez. On me.


Okay, stay alert.

When we round the corner, I’ll cover.

You set the breaching charges on the Ops/Comm hatch.

[Lopez] Copy that.


Goddamn it.


I should have lost a few more pounds.

You’re doing great, Gordo. Keep goin’.

[Gordo] Oh, wait.

I think I see it.

Yeah, think I got it.

[Gordo grunts, groans]

[grunts] Yeah.

Oh, man.


That… That should be it.



What is it?

[chuckles] Shit.


Cavalry’s here.

[Gordo] Thank God.

I can see Vance.

I’m not sure who’s with him, but–

[no audible dialogue]

[no audible dialogue]

Vance! Damn it, they can’t hear me. Vance!

[no audible dialogue]

I’ll be a son of a bitch. Look who it is.

America’s sweetheart.


Put eyes on that hatch. Don’t get famous.

Aye, aye, skip.

Oh, my God. Vance.



[no audible dialogue]


Vance! Vance! Come on!

Russian! Turn ar– [screams]

Vance? Vance, come in.

Vance is down. Jesus.


I’m hit.



[Helena] How bad is it?

[Lopez] I’m okay, I think. But my suit’s losing pressure. [pants]

He shot him.

He just… shot him.

[Lopez gasping, grunting]

There was nothing I could do. He just–

[Helena] Pressure up.

Hang on. I’m gonna repressurize.

[air hissing]

[Lopez grunting]

[electricity crackles]


[beeping continues]


Pressure again?


This is real weird.

The nuclear reactor’s primary coolant pump has shut down.

Have they radioed down for assistance?

Negative. Rossi said that there was gonna be a communication hold for an hour or two while they worked on some maintenance.

Override the hold and get Rossi on the line.

We need to make sure this isn’t what it looks like.

Jamestown, this is Houston.

Did you command an emergency shutdown of the primary reactor coolant loop?


Come in, Jamestown.

A lot going on here, Margo. What do you need?

We’ve got a problem at Jamestown.

The primary coolant loop for the nuclear reactor has shut down.

[Ellen] What does Al Rossi think?

Jamestown is not responding to comms.

Not responding?

Radio silence.


Could this be related to the defector?

It may be a diversionary tactic by the Russians.

Whatever it is, there’s a backup loop that should compensate in cooling the reactor, so–

[Bradford] It might not be that simple.

What do you mean?

[sighs] There’s a second reactor.


Now, this is above your security clearance, but the Pentagon used last month’s Sea Dragon payload as cover to bring a second reactor to Jamestown to, um… [clears throat]

Produce weapons-grade plutonium.

Now, that reactor is hooked up to the same primary coolant system, but due to national security priorities, we had to bring it online before it was connected to the backup loop.

Which means there’s no fail-safe.

It’ll go into full meltdown.

Forget for a moment just how nonsensical it is to have nuclear weapons on the moon at all, but to keep this a secret from the very people who are in charge of the safety of that base, of this agency–

Margo, this was a top-secret program run through the Pentagon.

I’m the director of JSC, goddamn it.

Look, even if we wanted to tell you–

We? You knew about this?

-I– [clears throat] At the time–

Don’t waste your breath, Ellen.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got your nuclear meltdown to prevent!

Margo. Margo.

[Gordo, through radio] Houston, this is– [static] Houston. Do you read?

Houston, this is… [static]

Do you read?

Houston, this is Jamestown One. Do you read?

This is Jamestown. Can you hear?

Do you read?


[Gordo] Houston, do you read?


Houston, do you read?


W– Hi.

[no audible dialogue]

We’ve been stuck in the galley since it started, and they’re keeping the area just outside the module depressurized.

Have you been in communication with anyone?

[Gordo] Negative. They shut down the comms, and we don’t have any suits in here.


What is it? What’s going on?

The nuclear reactor’s control computer has gone off-line.

The reactor is overheating and fast.

In approximately 45 minutes…


…it will cause a massive nuclear meltdown, killing everyone on the base and rendering Shackleton uninhabitable for a thousand years.

Jesus Christ.

Okay. What can we do?

The backup coolant loop has its own control computer that is functioning.

Normally, we’d just have you switch it over in Ops/Comm.


HAB SYS says that it’s possible to swap out the cable connectors from the backup computer to the primary loop.

You’re talking about hot-wiring a nuclear reactor here?

[Molly] Pretty much.

All right. So what are we waiting for?

The cable connectors are outside of Ops/Comm.

So, without suits, there is no way for you to reach them.

So what are we supposed to do?

Are we just supposed to sit here until the whole thing blows?

How far are those cables from us?

[Margo] About 25 meters.

I think I can get to ’em.



I can cover 25 meters in less than 10 seconds.

Hell you can.

I started jogging again.


Jogging? We’re talking about running on the surface of the moon without a suit on.

Are you out of your goddamn mind?


Gordo, I appreciate the–

[chuckles] It’s just– It’s not a possibility.

Well, maybe it could be. Technically.

I mean, he’d have 15 seconds before he lost consciousness.

If we could jury-rig some sort of protection for him against the vacuum, maybe we could do this.

Y’all know what’s in the galley.

Help me make as close to a suit as I can get.

[Ellen] All we know is there’s been an attack on Jamestown with multiple casualties.

[Ed] I put every one of them up on that base.

Gordo, Tracy.

[Gary] Helena Webster…

Is she okay?

[Bradford] We don’t have an accurate picture yet.

Why would they attack Jamestown? Is this because of the blockade?

[Ellen] It’s unclear.

It could be an effort to recapture the defector or part of a broader plan.

[Ed] Does it matter? They attacked ’cause they smelled weakness.

Trying to take the moon for themselves, just like they did with Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

I guarantee you this lunar blockade is part of it.

[Bradford] Exactly. And we’re fighting on multiple fronts now, and you’re our last line of defense up there.

[Ed] Has Buran come out from hiding yet?

[Bradford] We expected them to reemerge from the far side of the moon by now, but we haven’t seen them yet.

Oh, they’re back there waiting for us.

[Ellen] It looks that way.

They must have slowed their speed. They’re probably in an elliptical orbit.

Why would they do that?

We’ll be isolated. Unable to communicate with Houston.

Sir, if we’re to encounter them while we’re back there?

[Bradford] Ellen just got word from the White House.

Your orders stand. If you are to–


[Ed] We’re losing you, sir.

Nearing Loss of Signal.

Fifteen seconds till we cross over to the far side of the moon.

[Bradford, distorted] I’ll keep it simple. Protect Sea Dragon at all costs.

[Ed] Yes, sir.

[Gary] Approaching Loss of Signal.

[Ellen, distorted] Godspeed, Pathfinder.

As the astronauts and cosmonauts of Apollo-Soyuz await their handshake in space, tensions between the two countries here on Earth remain at heights not seen in two decades, all the way back to the Cuban missile crisis.

The long-simmering conflict seems to be on the verge of turning from what has come to be known as a cold war into something much more dangerous.

Across the nation, people are growing increasingly concerned about the events of the past several days.

[door opens, closes]

Musician and activist John Lennon drew tens of thousands…

[Karen] Hi, Kel.

…to his concert for peace at Madison Square Garden, saying, quote…

Why are we closed?

Because the bar isn’t ours anymore.

What do you mean?

I sold it this morning. [chuckles] I just signed the paperwork.


Mm-hmm. Yeah, it all happened very fast. But I sold it.


I got a really great offer, and it…

I don’t know, just felt like the right time.




I’m gonna miss it.

[sighs] I’m not.


So what are you gonna do now?

I don’t know.

I don’t have any idea. I’ve– I’ve got nothing.


And it feels damn good. [chuckles]

I can’t really picture you sitting on the couch, eating ice cream and watching TV all day.

Okay, well, that’s not gonna happen.

I don’t know, you know?

Maybe I’ll travel. Go to India. I’ve always wanted to see the elephants.

Or maybe I’ll go back to college.




For what?

Well, you know, a master’s in business is very useful.

And where would you go?

I was thinking William & Mary.

[Kelly sighs]

Are you and Dad getting a divorce?

What? Kelly, that– that’s not–

I saw you guys fighting in the driveway, and William & Mary is in Virginia.

And you’re talking about all these plans, and none of them seem to involve Dad.

Okay, well, Kelly, your father went back to space. I’m just trying to figure–

[siren blaring]

What is that?

It sounds like an air raid siren. I’m– I’m sure that it’s just a drill.

Everything’s gonna be okay, all right? And I don’t–

[man] This is a message from the Emergency Broadcast System.

In the wake of events in the Gulf of Mexico…

That doesn’t seem like a drill.

Let’s head downstairs, okay? Come on.

[man] This is not a drill.

[siren continues]

In the wake of events in the Gulf of Mexico…

He will have about 15 seconds total to reach these cable connectors here, swap them out…

Then reboot the computer with this switch here and get back to the air lock before he loses consciousness.

Best we have, people. So we gotta work with it.

[siren blaring]

We’re at DEFCON 2.

The Soviet fleet off the coast of Panama is threatening the southern United States.

Nelson thinks there could be up to ten nukes targeting Houston alone.

Christ. It’s all falling apart, isn’t it?

[siren continues]

All right, everyone, listen up.

The doors to the bomb shelters are at the rear of building 30.

Anyone who wants to should go now.

[siren continues]

[siren continues]

Well, okay.

Turn that thing off. Let’s keep going.

George, Alicia, get me the list of every item in the Jamestown galley.

[siren stops]

Sedgey, help me figure out how to use that stuff to make a counterpressure suit.

We gotta do what we can to protect Gordo.

Yes, ma’am.

Margo, we have–

I know. I know.

We have to call off Apollo-Soyuz.

Bill, raise Apollo.

Tell them it’s time to come home, and calculate their reentry at the next window.

Yes, ma’am.

[Bill] Sorry, Dani. We’ll get you your reentry protocols in the next few minutes.

Well, that was a waste of time and money.


[static hisses]

Soyuz, this is Apollo. Come in.

This is Apollo. Come in.

Stepan, it’s Dani. Have you heard?

[Stepan] Yes. I have.


You know, my husband Clayton used to say…

“When people tell you who they are, listen.”

[Stepan] I don’t understand.

I guess what I’m saying is… I am tired of pretending I can’t hear it.

Tired of being used.

Being told to smile, keep quiet, be patient.

We’ll get to you next time around.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

[Stepan] No, I’m happy with Soviet space program.

Oh, come on.

I know you don’t like this any more than I do.

At least Laika got to do her mission.

[Stepan] Danielle, what are you saying?


What are they gonna do to us? Hmm?

We are a hundred miles above Earth, floating around in these two old tin cans.

Don’t you want to just go for it?

[Molly] And now look for the stowed oxygen masks that have the full face covering.

And you gotta grab all the rolls of duct tape you can find.

What’s that for?

Well, you’re gonna wrap yourself in it.


Beats aluminum foil. That was the first idea.

Now, you are gonna wrap every single inch that you can see of your skin.

Every single inch. Because anything that is exposed is gonna balloon up the second you set foot on the surface.

It’s also close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit out there, which is gonna cause the adhesive of that tape to melt.

So, you know, move your ass.

Yeah. Got it.

[Molly] And remember, you gotta breathe out all the air in your lungs, or they will burst.

So you will have just 15 seconds before you pass out.


If you want to change your mind, I am sure they will understand.

No. I’m good.

‘Cause once you’re out there, there’s–

Yeah. Thanks, Mol.

[Tracy] I don’t know if we’re gonna have enough.

There’s plenty.

Well, not for both of us.

Trace, you’re not–

Oh, the hell I’m not, Gordo.

This is too important. You don’t pull this off, and everyone up here dies.

American, Russian, all of us.

Look, maybe– maybe if you only had to swap the cable, you could make it back, but there is no way you can do this and reach that power switch.

It’s suicide, and you know it.

But if we both go, we– we have a shot at making it back.

But if we don’t. Danny, Jimmy.

Uh-uh. Uh-uh.

Don’t you dare make me tell our boys their daddy didn’t have to die.


End of discussion, Gordo.

We can do this. Together.

Let’s go.

[female newscaster] Sources inside the White House tell us the president has boarded Air Force One as a precautionary measure and is currently somewhere over the US.

Civil defense authorities have advised the public to remain in fallout shelters or places of safety until further–


I need to tell you something.

But you can’t get mad.


I– I went to see my birth father.



I didn’t even know that you– you could. How? I– I don’t–

He has a restaurant in Arlington.

And I wrote to the orphanage in Vietnam and… found out he immigrated here.

Wha– Uh–

I– I’m– [exhales]

I don’t– I’m surp– I’m surprised. [chuckles]

You never told me that you wanted to meet him. I would’ve–

I’m sorry I didn’t tell you guys.

I wasn’t sure how or if I even could.

Especially Dad.


And I didn’t want you guys to think that–

No. No, no, no, no, no, no. It’s okay.

It’s perfectly normal to be curious.


Tell me.

What was he like?

I didn’t even talk to him.

I couldn’t. I– I just stood there, waiting for… something.

I’m not even sure what, like a connection.


I was just another customer.

And he has his own life, his own family.

And so do I.


[radio static]

[radio crackling]

That’s weird.

[man] …your ship.

We’re getting a transmission from Houston.

[Russian man] Repeat.

That’s not Houston.

[Russian man] You are in violation of Space Treaty.

If Sea Dragon does not immediately return to Earth, we will be forced to fire on your ship.

Where are they?

Radar shows 11:00 high, 3,000 kilometers.

Jesus, they’re closing in fast.

[Ed] How long till Sea Dragon is within their missile range?

Just over five minutes.

Mr. Piscotty, open the payload bay doors.


Apollo, Houston.

Your pitch will be minus 49,3 degrees.

Deorbit burn will begin in T-minus five minutes.

[Dani] Negative, Houston.

Come back, Apollo. Didn’t read you.

[Dani] You did.

We are going to proceed with the docking maneuver.

Uh… [sighs]

Apollo, you’ve been ordered to initiate atmospheric entry in five minutes.

[Dani] And I am telling you it ain’t happening.

[clicking fingers]

[Bill] Flight?

What’s going on?

[Molly] Commander Poole, you have been given a direct order to commence reentry procedure.

And I am choosing to ignore it.

Now, I suggest you all begin docking procedures down there if you don’t want us to crash into each other on national television.

She doesn’t know everything that’s going on. Maybe if we tell her–

I don’t give a rat’s ass what she knows. She’s been given an order.

Guess this is what happens when astronauts get away with disobeying orders.

Tell her she can proceed.


I thought the president canceled the docking.

He did. But I speak for the president in this room, and I think one good thing should happen on this shitty day.

Okay. Tell them to begin the docking procedure.

Yes, ma’am.

Is this for real?

It’s about to be.

Go ahead.

Seriously? You– You want… me to tell them?


[“Well Well Well” playing]


Apollo, Houston.

You are go for docking.

Get him out of here! They’re coming through!

[song continues]

[song fades]

You look fucking ridiculous.


Take a look in the mirror.

Kidding me? I make this suit sing.

I love you, Trace.

Yeah, I love you too, Gordo.


[inhaling, exhaling repeatedly]

[air hissing]

Air lock is open.

They have 15 seconds.

They should’ve reached it by now.

Wait, the reactor’s stabilizing.

It’s taking too long.



[speaks Russian]

Hello, Apollo.

So nice to see you again, my friend.

The pleasure’s all mine.



[Frank] Reactor has stabilized.


The air lock has repressurized.

They made it back.


[air raid siren continues]

[siren continues]

The president wants the Sixth Fleet to be ready if the Soviets launch, all right?

Mr. President, we may have to do something forceful.

[Reagan] Yes.

[man] Mr. President, sir. Take a look at the TV.

[man] Ma’am.

[door opens]

Thank you.

[door closes]

This is Ellen Wilson.

[woman] This is the White House operator. Please hold for the president.

[line rings]

[Reagan] Ellen.

Mr. President.

[Reagan] This Apollo-Soyuz business…

Sir, I– I know we had discussed canceling the mission, but I felt–

It was beautiful. And Nancy thought so too.


Four patriots of different nations coming together.

Well, it– it was just inspirational.

We need that now more than ever, sir.

Yes. Yes, we do.

Now, there might be a way out of this yet, if we have enough time.

What’s the status of Pathfinder and Buran?

[Ellen] They’re still out of communication range, sir.

[Russian man] You have two minutes to comply with blockade.

[Ed] The United States does not recognize your blockade.

If you take any aggressive action, we will respond in kind.

Buran’s radar signature shows no sign of missile lock, sir.

Maybe they are bluffing.

No, they’re just biding their time.

Activate radar lock system.

I have target acquisition.

Confirmed. Target range shows 180 kilometers, relative velocity two meters per second.

Within targeting parameters.

[Ed] Once Buran engages its missile lock system, there will only be seconds until they fire on Sea Dragon, so we gotta be ready.

Ride, lock weapons system on target.

Ride, lock weapons system on target.


Ed, this can’t be the only way.

We can–

We can what?

Ask them nicely to leave us alone?

You heard the general.

They attacked Jamestown.

They killed Americans. We have orders to protect–

Yes, but you are the commander of this ship.

The ultimate decision is yours.

Ed, I watched you testify on Apollo 10.

You sat there in front of the world, and you said that that was your call.

That’s right, and I don’t intend on losing the moon a second time.

The only thing these people understand is strength.

I saw it in Korea.

If we didn’t stand our ground and fight back, the enemy would’ve gone all the way to the South Sea.

Ed, this isn’t Korea!

You’re goddamn right it isn’t!

It’s a lot bigger. Now lock weapons system on target!

Cover my station.

Step aside.

You’re relieved of duty.

That’s an order.


System lock.

Step away from the console, sir.

Sally, what the hell are you doing?

I said step away from the console.

Put the gun down, Sal.

I’m not kidding, Ed.

[Ed] The Soviets attacked Jamestown.

They got American blood on their hands, and Sea Dragon–

Is unmanned! And whatever its cargo, that’s not the same as a human life.

We fire on Buran, we kill everyone on board and probably start a war that kills millions more.

That’s not your call to make.

Sally, put the gun down.

Stay back, Ed. I mean it.

You gonna shoot me, Sal?

I’ll do what I have to.

So shoot me.

Never shot anyone before, have you, Sal?

Jesus! You both know we’re in a pressurized spacecraft, right?

Sally’s not gonna shoot anyone. Are you, Sally?


Enough! This is insane.

You’re both so goddamn sure you’re right, and– and maybe you are.

We can’t let them shoot down the Sea Dragon, but we can’t shoot down Buran either.

Maybe it’s not some black-and-white choice. Right?

Maybe there’s some other way.

[alarm beeping]

Buran has missile lock on Sea Dragon.

[beeping continues]

Ed, stop.

Don’t. Ed, please.

Ed, stop.

I’m gonna do what I gotta do, Sal. You do what you have to.

Please, Ed.


Wait. Wait, that’s not right.

Yeah, it is.

[man] Pathfinder, this is Houston. Do you read?

Pathfinder, Houston.

Houston, this is Pathfinder. It’s good to hear your voice.

Uh, Houston, I don’t know quite how to say this, but, uh–

Ed, it’s Ellen. We need to know, did you engage with Buran?

Did you shoot them down?



Thank God. [sighs]


Come again, Houston?

[woman] Ladies and gentlemen, we have breaking news.

Reports have just come in that President Reagan has rerouted Air Force One to Moscow after making a last-minute entreaty to Premier Andropov.

The two leaders hope to negotiate…

[in Russian] Hold your fire!

We are being ordered to pull back!

…a mutual pullback of forces both here and in space, ending the current standoff.

Sources at the White House conveyed that President Reagan, like millions around the world, was so moved by the images of the Apollo-Soyuz mission that it inspired him to reach out his own hand in peace.

Andropov’s surprising willingness to negotiate is thought in part to be linked to the explosion of NASA’s Sea Dragon 17 rocket, which is being blamed on faulty circuitry.

NASA has not yet commented on the incident.

The Sea Dragon has had a perfect safety record to this point, but production of the large rocket has been halted at its Huntsville plant until further investigation.

[Reagan] A grateful nation opens her heart today in gratitude for their sacrifice, for their courage and for their noble service.




[Kelly] On April 3rd, 1972, a C-5A Galaxy transport plane with 243 infants, children, volunteers and crew took off from Saigon as part of Operation Babylift.

One minute, 23 seconds later, the plane crashed into a field.

Forty-seven children were rescued. I was one of them.

There are these moments that shape your life, moments you have no control over.

If the pilot had banked left instead of right, if the south had won the war in Vietnam, if the Russians hadn’t beat us to the moon…

You okay?


[Kelly] I always thought things happen for a reason.

Good and bad, there’s a design, a plan.

But lately I’ve started to wonder if maybe we just say that to make ourselves feel better.

Maybe we’re just drifting from moment to moment trying to do what we think is right.

To give some meaning to our lives.

So who am I?

I’m Hanh Nguyen, born in Saigon, daughter of Le and Binh Nguyen.

And I’m Kelly Ann Baldwin, raised in Houston, daughter of Karen and Ed Baldwin.

A child of the space program.

Is this the journey I was meant to be on?

[engine starts]

Applying to the Naval Academy, following in my father’s footsteps?

I don’t know.

All I know is the more we look back, wondering what might have been, the less we’re living for today.

And the future…

John Lennon probably put it best: “Everything will be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

[phone rings]




[Sergei] Hello. Margo?


I wished to call to convey my respects.

I wanted to be there myself today, but, uh, alas, I could not get the clearance.

I’m sure that would have been complicated.

They were heroes for America and for the Soviet Union and for the whole world.

Yes, they were.

Margo, I wanted to ask, will you be at the ICSE conference in– in the UK this summer?

I’m not sure. Why?

Well, uh, I will be there. So, if you come, perhaps we could meet for a drink?


Uh, yes.

I, uh… I’ll have to see.

If I– If I’m going, I mean.

There’s a lot happening around Houston around that time and…

Yes. Yes, of course, I understand.

But I’ll see what I can do.


I’ll speak to you soon, Sergei.

Goodbye, Margo.



[man speaks Russian]

[in Russian] Good.

Very good.

[Sergei] I’m telling you, she will not come.

It doesn’t matter.

She already opened the door with Buran.

By the time she realizes she is working for us, it will be too late.

[“Come as You Are” playing]

[song continues]


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