The Right Stuff 1×06 “Vostok” jumps ahead a little in time to focus on these first astronauts getting to be, oh yes, astronauts. This is the right choice, mostly because I didn’t even want to attempt to digest the JFK election – which was very close – especially after the last few days. Please, no election fiction, ever. I’ve already got PTSD.
It’s also the right choice because, as much drama as this episode has, we’re all a little over the Shepard/Glenn drama. We’ve always known the answer anyway; we’ve always known who was first, in the end. Russia was first. No one won, not really.
At least, not the way this show had defined winning.
“Vostok” goes into the moments before that happens, when there’s still hope, and how Shepard is trying to hide what could be a big problem, and Glenn is trying to change people’s minds about who should be first.
Ironically, with what we know, Glenn is right. But the way he’s going about it is not what the people in power want to see. A part of me gets the idea of team first that everyone’s trying to push, and yet a part of me, especially from a fictional perspective, is all like CAN’T YOU SEE THE MAN IS RIGHT?
While this is going on, and after an announcement and a LIFE magazine cover, Slayton gets taken off the first team because of a medical problem, which tilts the balance of our sympathies even more in Glenn’s favor. After all, Shepard is lying about something that might not even be that serious and taking an opportunity away from someone who is actually as healthy as NASA wants him to be.
Shepard has been a hard character to like from the beginning, but we are the point where the show actually wants us to like him, and it makes sense, Glenn is a real person, and even fictional characters are never painted in only a positive way. Choosing sides is a little dumb, and yet we chose sides, in life, and in fiction.
The best thing the show has done, however, despite the fact that we might be choosing sides, is give us enough of these two – and frankly, enough of Cooper, and a smattering of everyone else, that we actually feel like these real people that we might have heard about before or read about in history books, are …well, human.
And it’s that type of humanity that makes this show work, even when we don’t like what’s going on, and even when the show never manages to truly hit it out of the park. I’m not typically bored watching it, but I also don’t typically have a problem with just …pausing and continuing again.
Maybe that’s not always a bad thing. The options are limited still, and in a year where everything is uncertainty, at least The Right Stuff remains consistently what it is, and I can appreciate that. I really, really can.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think about The Right Stuff 1×06 “Vostok”? Share with us in the comments below
The Right Stuff is available to stream on Disney+.