In many ways, this really is the best episode of the whole series, because it tells stories we never knew before it aired. _The Right Stuff_ gave us some insight into the lives of the wives, with its efforts to show us the Coopers' challenges, but even that was incomplete. Other than Rita Wilson's poor acting, this episode shines with excellent performances by the women playing the wives: Sally Field, Cynthia Stevenson, Elizabeth Perkins, DeLane Matthews, Debra Jo Rupp, Jo Anderson, Deirdre O'Connell ... these performances are just brilliant. Perkins especially steals the episode as Marilyn Lovell, revealing in multiple scenes a wonderfully amazing sense of vulnerability that Wilson just can't capture herself in comparable scenes. When Perkins tells her husband about the kids and the tonsils, you just can't help but feel for her character and the challenges these women faced while their husbands rode rockets, got the fame and received all the attention. Anderson's portrayal of Pat White is equally stunning, as she runs the gamut of high (Gemini 4 space walk) and low (Apollo 1 fire). Why this woman never had a bigger career is a mystery. And Matthews just sparkles as Pat McDivitt, wife of a lesser-known astronaut. This episode on its own is better than the whole ABC series "Astronauts Wives Club" or the book it was based on. Just remember that if you want to pursue those experiences AFTER watching this episode. This does it best, by far.
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