Rook has reservations in “Rats”, while the base’s recyling begins being stolen by a mystery intruder.
This recap of Moonbase 8 season 1, episode 2, “Rats”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Moonbase 8 episode 2 opens with Rook recording videos for his obviously extensive family, which is a reminder of both how far away the team is from their loved ones and how much further they could be if this were even remotely the real thing — judging by the activities Rook manages to capture, they’re by no means prepared for the real thing, which is only reinforced throughout the episode and indeed the season.
So, when Skip wakes up in the middle of the night to unexplained noises outside, it’s no surprise that the helmets for their suits are missing after Rook was cleaning them. Outside, there’s evidence of local wildlife getting into their store of cans — it’s not exactly a major sci-fi calamity, is it?
Cap seems to realize this, which is why he insists that the emergency protocols need to be faster — that they need to get the suits on and get outside much quicker, since if this was really on the moon that’d be kind of important. Rook, though, isn’t receptive since he’s “missing his brood.” He’s homesick. His wife, Sue, is pregnant, and due any time now. Cap decides he needs some skin on skin contact, which unsurprisingly doesn’t seem to help much.
Skip’s father, apparently, led the design team for the original Apollo mission suits, which means he’s uniquely qualified to devise a system for faster suiting-up based on the rhythm of Indian music. This is hilarious even before a series of disastrous dry runs, but they start to get it down just in time for another noisy intrusion outside. Surprisingly, they’re not quite fast enough.
Rook’s missives to his family start to take on a much more defeated note, as he laments that Cap and Skip don’t seem as devoted as him to spreading God’s word. Cap overhears this, so the next morning asks Rook to lead them in prayer over breakfast. As it turns out, he’s not as fluent in God’s word as he thought. Maybe it was the pressure.
Speaking of which, Cap turns straight to Rook for advice on the suit issue, which also flusters him. Skip’s idea is for one person to wear the suit all the time, so there’s no suit-up process at all — an idea that Cap credits Rook for, and then immediately nominates him for the first suited watch.
The first watch doesn’t go well since Rook neglects to tell anyone that he can’t actually hear anything in the suit. Skip opts for a more high-tech solution instead, with cameras and a musical alarm system. Rook announces to a thoroughly disinterested Skip that he’ll be leaving on the next delivery truck, and Cap decides that’s cause for a goodbye party. But his ulterior motive is that the party will make him feel valued enough to stay, thus showing NASA they can work as a team.
Skip opts for a more direct guilt-tripping approach, telling Rook that he’s worried what’ll happen to Cap if the program gets shut down, and it will get shut down if Rook leaves (Cap has lost his condo and has no home to go to.) Meanwhile, Cap runs into their thief — a hippie mushroom-dealing local named Wally (Josh Davis) who turns out to be pretty reasonable. He can also provide a white rat to replace Jeffrey, the missing lab rat, who it turns out Skip and Rook have found anyway.
After another video message from home, and a long prayer that he fell asleep during, Rook had a dream (which he also prayed in) that convinced him to stay. They’re still going to the moon — for now, anyway.
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