Cook Allender/ABC

The Space Race takes a solemn turn.

July 31, 2015 at 01:02 AM EDT

With two of the Mercury Seven astronauts grounded and two others out of the space business, the Gemini and Apollo wives start to steal the spotlight. “Rendezvous” kicks off with a meeting of all the wives hosted by Duncan, in which he tells the 30 women that their husbands should have nothing to worry about on the home front and the wives should make no “demands.” “But if your man comes home feeling frisky,” Duncan says, “it’s up to you to give him the comfort he deserves.”

With that sound advice, the Astrowives tackle a handful of Gemini flights, and learn about the darker side of the Space Race:

Louise & Alan Shepard

Following his diagnosis with Ménière’s disease, Alan has been earth-bound, assisting Deke at NASA headquarters. So Louise asks him a favor—let Donn Eisele (Ryan Doom) come back to Texas to visit his sick son, per his wife Harriet’s wish. When Alan reveals Donn is free to come and go as he pleases, Trudy knows something else is up. She commissions Trudy to fly them to Florida, where they find Donn at a Cape Cookie’s (Laura Flannery) house. Donn admits he won’t come home because he can’t deal with his son’s illness. “I can’t stand to watch Matt in pain, being poked and prodded. Listening to him cry is excruciating,” Donn says. “I feel useless.”

So the two surrender and leave useless Donn in Florida.

Meanwhile, Alan reveals he casually bought a bank, because why not?

Trudy & Gordo Cooper

Trudy is full of sass this week. In addition to confronting Donn Eisele with Louise, Trudy stands up to Gordo when he protests to her flying her friends. “I’m not asking for your permission. I’m just letting you know,” she tells him before taking flight with a fellow wife. Trudy also has Gordo handle the chores while she’s down at the Cape with Louise, even though Gordo insists he “doesn’t do laundry.” “Honey, you have orbited the earth,” Trudy responds. “I’m pretty sure you can handle carpooling, meatloaf, and laundry.” Agreed.

Marge & Deke Slayton

Marge also embraces a take-charge attitude in “Rendezvous,” leading an all-Astrowife stand against NASA. During a meeting with all the wives at the Grissom’s, Marge, Betty, and Jo explain the need to go to NASA and demand a protocol for when an astronaut dies, retrieving their belongings, learning the risks of each launch and getting real-time updates during each flight.

NEXT: The wives might need those demands met sooner than they think…

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