Good morning, wifeys! Since it would be terribly unpatriotic to recap on the Independence Day holiday (what would The Navy Wife say?), we've got two episodes to get through, and there's lots of space-style to discuss.
"Retroattitude," last week's episode, saw Rene get her turn as the wife of the week, ruffling feathers as husband Scott got the launch instead of Deke (who is grounded over his arrhythmia, and maybe over Marge's previous divorce) and Wally, who was supposed to be Deke's backup. It turns out that not all is peachy keen when it comes to Rene, despite a pair of excellent sheath dresses; she tells the press that she won't be praying for the mission, and might not pray at all. After three episodes of her stealing the spotlight by showing up late in amazing tropical-colored outfits, she's not willing to be the silent, beautiful wife that NASA wants, like Annie Glenn, and she balks at a photo op of her attending church with a couple other wives when she spots the press camped outside.
Instead of another couch party, Rene (followed by the rest of the club) heads to Florida and watches the launch from a beach house, and despite a scare after he almost loses contact with NASA and lands 250 miles off course, Scott's mission is a success. Rene finds her own voice, too, discussing her son that died of SIDS with her husband and writing about her experiences for Life.
In Florida, Trudy sees Gordo flirting with another Cape Cookie in the pool, and gets drunk and tries to get the bartender to tell her she's pretty. She gets better affirmation from the cookie sitting next to her, who tells her that when it comes to bagging an astronaut, Alan is easy but once you get Gordo alone all he wants to do is talk about how much he loves his wife, moving their marriage from sham back into "its complicated" territory.
The other wives were more or less spinning their wheels in this episode: Jo starts to question the system when Wally is skipped over, Marge tries to call the president to get Deke's status overturned, Louise's sexual tension with reporter Max continues to grow, and Betty makes a cheeseball with pretzels stuck in it, like a porcupine. But they are all getting ready to move to Houston finally! Let's just hope Jo and Wally changed their minds and get air conditioning. Going to the moon in one thing, but surviving a Houston summer without A/C is truly an impossible task.
Best 60s sexism: Evan Handler extolling a woman with a severe speech impediment as the perfect wife: seen and not heard.
Best outfit: Rene's bathing suit is a strong contender, but her sparkly tangerine dress is so tough to pull off it has to win.
Onto "Liftoff," which opens in September 1962 with President Kennedy's speech at Rice University about going to the moon. Houston quickly offers some surprises for the Wives: the "city of magnolias" has no magnolias to speak of, and there's a new crew of astronaut wives from the Mercury project to compete with—wives who wear bikinis, flip their hair and make meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato icing. Mmmm, the Sixties.
Betty gets another taste of reality stardom when a space tour bus pulls up at her house while she's mowing the lawn in her curlers, running for cover when tourists flood her yard for photos. Meanwhile Trudy gets exposed to Gordo when he finds a "personal massager" in her drawer. He says it means she misses him, she says it means she doesn't need him. Oh, these two.
Jo is on a mission to impress the Mercury wives and, more importantly, the Houston society ladies of the Junior League, scoring an invite for all the wives to a JL gala (I agree with Betty; you're not allowed to call it a fundraiser if it's rude to ask how much money you're raising). But while NASA has gifted the Mercury wives with $1,000 gift cards to Neiman Marcus, the OG astronaut wives are stuck shopping on consignment. But before the husbands can join the party, the news about the Cuban missile crisis breaks and the guys (who are technically still military) head in to see if they are needed for duty and end up drinking on the NASA patio.
At the party, everyone's fears and priorities come out. Jo throws Betty under the bus for not being fancy enough in an attempt to impress the society women. Marge argues with anyone available trying to get Deke ungrounded, only to get good news: he can't fly, but he's been promoted to chief astronaut.
Max crashes the party in the guise of covering it for Life, but ends up with Louise talking in the barn behind the party. (Note: the Junior League of Houston does not have a barn on the property, and I'm borderline offended that whoever wrote the show was like, "It's Texas, surely they have a barn in the back." End rant.) There is dancing. There is sharing of secrets—Alan was not Louise's first boyfriend, and she had a sister that died, and Louise is raising her niece as her daughter. This would be inappropriate if Louise's kids hadn't just found a bunch of condoms in Alan's emergency bag. I think we can all agree that Louise would be 1000 percent more interesting if she acted on this growing attraction. Two can play that game, Alan.
By the end of the episode, unity is restored not only among the astronauts but among their wives as well. After the Junior League admits some Mercury wives but not her, Jo is reminded who her friends are, and is rewarded with a chainsaw to cut a path through the fence so they can go to each other's houses anytime, curlers be damned.
Best 60s sexism: Considering Gordo's mild and unsurprised reaction to Trudy's vibrator, this episode gets a pass.
Best 60s outfit: There were a ton of excellent sixties swimsuits and dresses in this episode, not least of which was the plaid number on the blonde Mercury wife, but the gala dresses stole the show, no pun intended. Rene was stunning in turquoise and purple (is there a color Yvonne Strahovsky can't wear?) but Trudy's sparkly black halter, at left, gets the win this week.