For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 2, “The Bleeding Edge,” shows us how Gordo has been coping for the past decade and the aftermath of Molly’s risky decision in the Season 2 premiere.
Caution: The following article contains spoilers from For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 2.
After the action of the first episode, “The Bleeding Edge” is a much slower, character-driven hour of television that primarily focuses on Gordo, Molly and Ellen. Ellen is relieved as commander of Jamestown to transition into a cushy desk job that will focus primarily on building the Pathfinder and helping NASA send their first voyage to Mars.
According to Ellen, she’s done enough tours and spent more than 700 days on the moon, and she’s had her fill. Her sentiments are echoed by Ed, who also doesn’t seem to share much desire to return to Jamestown. Although I suspect Ed’s reasoning is driven by what happened to Shane the last time he was in space. He tells Molly that he values having a job on the ground to be there for Karen and Kelly.
Someone who isn’t done with the moon, however, is Dani. I found it heartwarming and sweet that Ed, Dani and Gordo steal regularly meet at The Outpost to catch up over beers and chat about those dire days on the lunar base. But Dani isn’t content to spend her years with two feet planted on Earth. She wants to return to Jamestown and see what’s it like there after all the improvements — especially since she was part of the team that designed it.
Further motivating Dani is Clayton, who we find out committed suicide after battling with PTSD for years. While Dani doesn’t regret the time she spent with him, she wants to get back out there and be a real astronaut again.
Also of note in this episode is a brief scene where Margo receives a message from Aleida. After not hearing about her at all in the Season 2 premiere, I feared the show had forgotten about her or decided to drop the character. It doesn’t look like that’s the case. Margo is genuinely rattled by Aleida’s message, so something must have happened between them during the last 10 years.
For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 2 recap: Kelly shows interest in joining the naval academy.
Karen and Ed’s adoptive daughter Kelly is meant to be preparing for college. Karen is rooting for Kelly to look into William & Mary, her alma mater, but little do her parents know that Kelly is contemplating going to the naval academy. We still don’t know much about how Kelly came to be part of Ed and Karen’s lives. Still, something motivates her to keep the naval interest a secret as she keeps the catalog hidden inside of her dresser buried beneath layers of clothing.
Later in the hour, Danny and Tracy’s older son Danny returns home from his first year in the naval academy. Gordo and Jimmy put together a welcome home barbecue for Danny. Tracy also attends. For the most part, she and Gordo seem to be on good terms despite their divorce five years ago. He congratulates her on her wedding to Sam.
After dinner, Jimmy and Danny slip off to hang out with friends, and Kelly is among them. She can’t hide her fascination in Danny’s year away, asking him several questions about what it was like to fly in an aircraft and looking awestruck as he describes his experience. I wonder if Ed and Karen worry that they could lose another child if Kelly were to pursue a dangerous career path.
For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 2 recap: Gordo is assigned to return to the moon.
Michael Dorman is coming for his Emmy Award this season. It’s a shame For All Mankind has been mostly snubbed by the award shows thus far. Hopefully, that will change this season. Even when the series isn’t at its most tightly-plotted, the performances have always been top-notch. This is a shining hour for Dorman, whose character, Gordo, is struggling with depression and leftover trauma from his time on Jamestown.
He drinks copiously and hasn’t returned to the moon since. He feels hopeless, and as if his life is rather meaningless now after all the time he spent trying to do something more for humankind. This culminates in a drunken night at The Outpost shortly after the boys leave the BBQ to be with their peers. Karen is forced to call Ed to retrieve Gordo, and they have a serious discussion by the side of the road.
Gordo collapses into tears as he tells Ed he feels like he left a part of himself behind on Jamestown. Ed decides to take matters into his own hands and surprises Gordo by announcing that he will return to Jamestown on one of the next flights alongside Dani. Instead of being happy, Gordo looks shell-shocked. He tells Ed there’s no way he can do that, but as Ed says, it’s not up to him to decide.
For All Mankind Season 2, Episode 2 recap: Molly struggles to deal with the radiation’s effects.
As expected, Molly doesn’t tell the truth about what happened between her and Wubbo on the moon. She says she waited to save him until after the storm had passed and hands in one green and one red radiation sensor. Wubbo’s time on the moon is done, for good. He experienced more radiation exposure than any human should in one lifetime, which means Molly’s probably did, too.
It’s all but guaranteed that Wubbo will get cancer and potentially die within the next few years. Molly is sent back to the moon alongside Wubbo and Ellen. NASA wants to ensure she’s safe and clear before she’ll be allowed to return to the moon, which could take six months to one year. No one knows that Molly is likely going to get sick, although she shows some signs of uneasiness as she returns home.
The only person who notices is Ed, who knows Molly well enough to know she didn’t sit idly by while Wubbo was lying on the ground. Yet he takes Molly’s word for it that she’s okay. I also found it sweet that Molly/Wayne and Karen/Ed are quite the foursome now. Wayne and Karen are still very close, and Karen has continued to smoke weed with him across the years as they gossip and catch up in the golf cart while Molly and Ed golf.
Toward the end of the episode, Molly finds out Wubbo is leaving the program. She’s upset that he would give up so easily on the off-chance he might get sick. Molly is projecting her fears onto him. He has a family. If he only has a few years left, he wants to be with them. It’s a reality Molly certainly isn’t ready to face yet.
New episodes of For All Mankind Season 2 drop Fridays on Apple TV+.