Even though we know where history takes this group of heroic men, it's still not easy watching them implode over their differences.
But that's what we get with The Right Stuff Season 1 Episode 5, as tensions mount while the Mercury 7 await notification of the first three pilots to head into space.
Let's walk through it.
I want to start this review on a personal note because it was shocking to learn that some people have asked not to be "spoiled" by conversations about the show.
This is history, people, real-life experiences and achievements in fictional form. There are no surprises here. There is only nuanced storytelling that adds to the historical relevance of the topic.
If anybody has reached the age of reading this who hasn't been familiar with the achievements at hand, I beg of you to do some research on what has made this country and the world at large so great.
My lesson for the day is over, at least on the personal side. Like John Glenn, though, it's hard not to hope that people who want to achieve greatness are great people, as well.
That's not what he's encountered as a member of Mercury 7, and he also learned that others don't see it in him, albeit for different reasons.
While I understand the historical implications of The Right Stuff, I can't say that I have any special insight into the men who flew the mission and their families.
The cursory side of it is well known, but imagining the difficulty of playing well with others when you're hoping to firmly implant yourself in history sounds particularly tough.
We've seen the men struggle with being away from their families. Sadly, even those who have made a habit of stepping out have taken it to new extremes while on the road.
Gordo knows the straight and narrow path NASA wants them to walk. It's why he begged for another chance with Trudy. Only men with a reason to come back home, something to temper their daredevil nature, were given a shot at the program. That meant they needed to be happily married.
So John isn't imagining things when he goes off on Alan and the rest about what they need to do to keep the program alive. They've allowed themselves to be painted as heroes, the best of the best in the air and in the home.
John: It matters how people see us, guys! It matters what we do! The example we set, and not just for the country, by the way. Your own children are looking at you. You're husbands and fathers, all of you. Just show some self control!
Alan: For God sakes! We wouldn't be the pilots that we are today if we didn't have control! But do we have appetites? Yeah. I'm a human being, and I'm going to die one day. We all are. We are test pilots, and we get that fact; we stare it in the face for a living!
John: You're damned right you're gonna die. What I want to know is how you're gonna be remembered.
Alan: I don't care!
John: Look, all I'm trying to do, guys, all I am ever trying to do is help this group.
Alan: You're lookin' out for John Glenn. That's all you ever do.
If they try to defy that as the program itself struggles to get off the ground, it will do irreperable damage.
And although Alan got angry that John went to their publicist for help squashing Alan's jaunt with a woman in Mexico, he went to John knowing very well what kind of man John is, a self-avowed square.
Alan and John have never been friends, and it's hard to even call them friendly. They've been civil because they have to be. Alan also knows how John feels about all of their sexcapades, but he still chose to take his problem to the man.
What I haven't researched is where the two men found themselves later in the space program. Whether they ever overcome their differences would be well worth watching.
There is hope. After losing another pilot, even John couldn't resist sharing war stories (some of them literal) with the other members of the Mercury 7. They've made it a long way, and of late, their lives have been easier.
But all of their brothers are still out there actively piloting every day, and they know how close they've come in the past to meeting their maker. If John managed to connect on that level, maybe there is hope for him and Alan in the future.
It was well played the way the show began with us believing that the tension in the room was due to anxiety over being chosen for the top of the pecking order.
By the time we revisited that room at the end of the hour, we realized that they were bristling with each other, unsure of where they all stood as a group in light of Alan's indiscretion and John's verison of fixing it.
John did leap to action to save the mission over all else and to put himself into better standing after his New Year's Eve gaffe, but it was the exact kind of behavior that got him in hot water in the first place.
Thankfully, for him, the men didn't ditch their respect for his piloting, and he still made the top three.
Kudos to Bob Gilruth for recognizing that the astronauts know each other better than he ever could and trusting their word as gold.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if both Alan and John could learn something from their experience and behave like men instead of little boys? I don't know of anyone of that calibre is capable of it, though.
They're so fully formed to get to that point in their careers that their family and coworkers need accept them for who they are, warts and all.
The other standout of the episode was Trudy getting asked to help form an all-female group of astronauts. All I know of Trudy comes from the alternate history playing on For All Mankind between characters who only share similarities with their real-life counterparts.
It must have been so hard for Trudy to watch her husband from the wings (pun intended) when her dreams matched his. Sadly, she doesn't achieve greatness, and it's hard to find a lot about her. But oh, if she could have, I bet it would have been something.
Still, it shows how far we've come with equality and gives us hope for the future. It wasn't long ago that women couldn't stand beside their male counterparts.
Until next week!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.