Trace & Gordo

May 27, 2021 2 min read

If you haven’t watched For All Mankind, consider this tweet instead.

I keep thinking about Tracy and Gordo and one of the most beautiful and haunting scenes I’ve experienced.

I’ve gone back just to play it over again. I’ve worked to the show’s soundtrack for hours on end. When I get to The Run, I stop and listen while the waves of emotion turn me over.

It wasn’t the cinematography or that each character’s whole arc sent shockwaves through those perfect seconds. It wasn’t silence broken only by piano that pounded my racing heart one note at a time. It was that powerful, visceral thing storytelling can do when it strikes truth that resonates in your bones. It was triumphant and tragic and painful and beautiful because it wasn’t about Tracy and Gordo even though we couldn’t have felt it without them.

They knew before they stepped out. Watch it again and see it in their faces. In his eyes.

Gordo succeeded just like he said he would. They had each lost one another, and he went to the moon and found her again. He didn’t win her because nobody ever could; you can’t win a person and her character was a forceful reminder of that. It was better than “winning” her, deeper than that: she chose to be with him. Not just in any moment, or a fleeting moment of passion, but in the precious seconds that would be their last. With fear, with agony, and with triumph.

The triumph wasn’t saving their comrades, it was their choice to walk out together.

They stepped into the unknown no matter what would come of it. That’s the relationship: there’s no guarantee of glory or success or that it will even work. There’s no promise of anything but an end.

The soul of the relationship is the choice.

They found each other and walked into a hostile, lonely place together. Every second sent them racing toward their own violent destruction, and still they clung to one another and stumbled together. It’s possible to live and die and never experience that. That was the triumph.

We could only be so lucky.