The crew is working with Gordo in a simulation while Alan and John look on. Gordo had to abort. He's dead meat.
He tried to abort, but the controls wouldn't work.
After a rocket blew up in front of their children, the program is on even shakier ground.
Bob and Chris are arguing over hiring a Nazi to get them to the next level.
The astronauts are not interested in a ship they cannot fly, especially after what Gordo just experienced in the capsule simulator.
Chris thinks part of it is because their astronauts don't go crying up the chain every time their egos don't get stroked.
Yes, things are getting pretty heated.
Alan has taken D to help shop for his kids. She's smart, picking up a Barbie instead of the Betsy Wetsy he tried to choose.
Lou's sister died, and they're watching her daughter. She's eight years old. It's what Louise wants, Alan says. D says the little girl is going to need a lot more than just a Barbie.
Lou is meeting Judith at the bus station.
Chris visits someone who asks about the launch. It's a guy in a Christmas Santa outfit. He's the German guy.
The next day, the rocket is ready to launch. T minus ten and on and on...
The rocket doesn't fire. The booster is still on the pad, powered up, and going nowhere.
The Nazi is looking for a gun. Chris is racing toward the rocket.
There is a parachute hanging off of the rocket. There is a dude with a rifle walking toward the rocket. What the hell is going on?
They were going to shoot holes in the rocket to end the boosters. The thing needs to run out of juice, instead.
Hardware and procedures is what made the rocket fail.
Gordo braves a crowd to follow a woman names Jolene somewhere. She tells him to read the card.
He opens a Christmas card in the back of a cab on his way home, throwing it into the trash before entering the house.
Alan joins the table at home to learn that Lou has changed Judith's name. Is she insane?
John and Annie are jogging in the living room, and he's talking about putting his support behind Nixon.
Kennedy doesn't like the program, apparently. John says he's been asking around and is very skeptical. Annie says to change his mind.
Lou finds Judith's doll under the dinner table. Lou never thought she would actually miss her sister, and didn't realize Judith would be so much like her.
Gordo's daughter says that Santa doesn't care about the good girls or boys in Russia, and Gordo says he does. Dumping food in the trash, Trudy finds the ripped up Christmas card.
They have the coolest silver Christmas tree!!
Alan is dressed in a sweater vest when his parents arrive. Alan has a cool tree, too, filled with tinsel!
Alan's father can't believe they changed Judith's name, either.
John's kids are playing Cowboys and Indians while he tries to get in touch with Kennedy about the manned space program. He makes call after call.
Dinner at the Shepard house is horrifying. Alan and Mr. Shepard are at each other's throats after the latter wonders why they changed Judith's name on a whim, among other things.
Gordo is making excuses to go visit whoever that woman was in the hotel. He's got a big, artificial smile on his face under the guise of going to get a different Christmas tree.
von Braun is talking with one of the astronauts, Deke, in a a bar. He is speaking down about Chris, suggesting that his deformed hand doesn't allow him to be a pilot, and that's why he's piloting it from the floor instead of letting the pilots do it from the capsule.
Trudy goes to the hotel room. She tells the woman that she lost weight. Her name is Arlene, maybe.
Donald left her, her folks took the kids, but they won't take her because they're ashamed. Trudy gets out her checkbook and writes a check. They taunt one another, and then Gordo calls. Trudy answers, slams down the phone and leaves.
Deke chats with Chris, offering a beverage.
Deke lost a finger in a hay mower when he was five. It's the only one you can lose and still be a pilot. Deke says he'd rather have Chris as a wingman.
John's kids are still playing cowboys and Indians when Bobby Kennedy calls.
Christmas Eve is pretty damned busy with these guys.
Trudy arrives home to Gordo writing his Santa note to the girls. He has the nerve to ask her where she was. She hesitates and asks, do you still love me?
Then she tells him where she was. The call was the tell. He only came home, Trudy says, because he would never get to space with a busted marriage, or at least because he loves the girls. But does he love her?
Lalene? Good god. What a terrible name.
Alan asks Judith to help him outside. They're going to raise the flag. He wants her to understand its meaning, too. An idea. The freedom to choose your own life.
He gives it to her as her special job from now on. It's good to have a routine. She's rechristened Alice after a thoughtful exchange.
John has invited John F. Kennedy to the New Year's Eve party. He brags about it to Scott Carpenter but asks him to keep it quiet so it can be a surprise. Then Scott begins telling everyone while John hits the can to practice talking to Kennedy in the mirror. Alan is already in there and cracks a joke about John practicing his sermon.
John is outside when the vehicles roll up. It's not Kennedy. Jerome Weisner was sent in Kennedy's stead as he was unavoidably detained.
Alan is thrilled when the all join at the bottom of the stairs and discover John F. Kennedy is a no-show. Bob and Chris are not amused.
Gordo can't find Trudy at Midnight. Then he spots her across the room, and their happiness is evident.