“The Weight” is a Tracy-centric episode, which I’m not opposed to; she hasn’t had much of a focus this season, and she deserves it because she’s an interesting character. Her arc this episode is mostly to show us just how boring day-to-day life can be on the moon when you’re accustomed to a life full of luxury. The montage we get of Tracy increasingly growing disillusioned, with canned scrambled eggs, literal “moon” shine, and a peskily loud ventilation shaft, is a well-edited one, even if it feels like it goes on for a little too long.
She’s contrasted with Gordo, who’s going through his own trial, as he physically and mentally trains for his own trip to the moon. He hides in the closet with a helmet on and a timer beside him, clearly trying to psych himself up. He goes to the bottom of his pool in a diver suit and just sits there, which leads his sons to discover him and create an impromptu pool party to cheer him up. It’s a cute moment, in an episode that feels rather foreboding.
Tracy’s solution to her peskily loud ventilation shaft is to tape something over it, which causes a CO2 spike on Jamestown. She gets caught being drunk by the commander of Jamestown and begs for a second chance, which she gets, somehow. But she also gets double shift duty in her role as an LSAM pilot and now as a trainer. Ed’s also getting disciplined for his irregular flying by Molly, but it’s mostly a slap on the wrist. There aren’t a lot of consequences for the star astronauts, it would seem.
That might actually be my minor gripe with “The Weight” — it feels like a set-up for the second half of the season and what should end in major consequences for both Ed and Tracy mostly just ends in minor consequences. Ed’s minor consequence gets him guff from Karen, who can’t believe he risked his life just to goof off — and cheer up Gordo, but no one needs to know how bad a shape he’s in. I just wish Ed got grounded for a little bit, or Tracy was forced to just eat scrambled eggs for the rest of her five months on the moon. But maybe being stuck five more months is a major punishment for Tracy, despite how much she wanted to get there.
Karen and Ellen bring up the C and D plots of “The Weight”–Ellen reconnecting with Pam at a bookstore reading, before going to The Outpost for drinks and… back to Ellen’s place to have sex. That last part wasn’t planned, I get the feeling. Karen is having cute moments with Danny Stevens, who reminds her of some of her past, like dancing alone to music–but not alone, because Danny saw her. She goes back home in the end after her dare I say a flirtatious conversation with Danny (which yes, is weird) and dances alone in her home, happy again after her quarrel with Ed. By the way, she spoils the end of The Wrath of Khan for him, a nice little reference to the sci-fi that came before.
Aleida gets a moment in the spotlight this episode when she comes back to Johnson Space Center for the first time in forever, and she’s clearly elated to be there, but she’s awfully cagey to Mission Controller Bill Strausser (Noah Harpster) about her past and who she is. She’s placed on Apollo-Soyuz, which I guess is still moving forward.
All in all, “The Weight” is very similar to some of the initial episodes of this season — setting things up, putting people into place, etc. But it does end up giving us a ton of Tracy, which in my mind, is never a bad thing.
Watch For All Mankind Season 2 Fridays on Apple TV+.