Sometimes a satellite is just a satellite until it becomes Exhibit A in an act of foreign aggression. This is episode 2 of Space Force (Netflix) titled “Save Epsilon 6!”
General Mark Naird (Steve Carell) and Dr. Adrian Mallory’s (John Malkovich) celebratory cigars and scotch are short-lived as they peal out and make haste to HQ to investigate what foreign meddling may be afoot. It’s just too bad his daughter Erin (Diana Silvers) and her date and (and not to mention Mark’s colleague) Yuri Telatovich (Alex Sparrow) just missed him.
At HQ, as Adrian crunches the numbers with his team, it’s estimable that they have a 10-hour window to amend this atrocity. With Mark’s can-do fervor, anything is possible, right? According to the crack team lead by Dr. Chan Kaifang (Jimmy O. Yang), if they don’t do anything quick, the costly mission will literally burn up in front of their eyes.
With a “No is unacceptable” attitude, Mark suggests they split into different groups to brainstorm, set to the very overly used to the point it is parody tune of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.”
Once the cerebral smoke clears, Mark isn’t satisfied with any of the brilliant but theoretical solutions put forth, save for his own which is simply: Bomb!
Erin, majorly confused by her trig homework calls out to General father, who is currently trying to discern what projects in the 100-mile radius the Epsilon 6 will come in contact with that could help. This includes Mission X-12, which was a classified endeavor to send Assault Rifles into orbit, ordered by the POTUS himself to prove that Assault Rifles will work in space. Being never in doubt, it was more a glorified ad for the Machester Arms Company to tout their R-9 as the first official Space Force gun.
Additionally, assorted food for an adult male chimp and an adult male dog. It was more of a PR stunt ordered by the President, but Mark thinks this could work to their advantage. But it’s shot down by the animals’ trainer, Dewey Pantowski (Paul Jurewicz). The obdurate Mark wishes to make contact with Marcus the chimp anyway. What ensues is a miscommunication of the highest order, as Marcus simply wants food but Mark wants success, which is something oddly you can materialize, but can never be literally tangible. With the helmet on and still confused, Marcus seeks out a tool while Dr. Mallory seeks out some real help from his team.
Back at home, Erin receives a call from her grandfather (Fred Willard) who is glad to hear she is safe and sound from being captured in Mexico. Clearly, he was scammed and wired money to them. I think this scene is meant to be played up for laughs more than anything, but looking at how bad Fred himself was looking, though his mind was sharp as a tack, it comes off as more sad than anything else.
At Mission Control, Marcus finally grabs the right tool for the job, but as we know, congratulations shouldn’t be in order yet, especially when Fuck Tony (Ben Schwartz) drops on by to witness… something being made.
Just as Marcus approaches the satellite with both the fin and drill in hands, he gets frustrated and freaks the shit out. He’s calmed down though by the promise of food and begins to drill the piece back on- though a slight wrench has been thrown into this drilling operation. Poor guy didn’t let go of the drill, sending him into a tailspin before the tether breaks off, sending him hurtling towards the sun. Damn, Marcus, you deserved better, you know, for an animal that eats their young and all.
After learning that Marcus has eaten the dog, Mark and Adrian are not at square one, but at square minus-two, as someone in the ranks is secretly observing this and makes a call. With 11 minutes left, the Chinese have been spotted making a full orbit and scoops Marcus up- or maybe the Chimpstronaut just fucking defected.
Just when things couldn’t possibly look any worse, the Secretary of Defense is learned of Mark’s failure. He’s granted some clemency and is driven home by Captain Angela Ali (Tawney Newsome). She offers a kind word and an open ear. With the first space casualty under Mark’s belt (Theodore), he returns home to his passed out daughter.
Just like the mission that went awry, Mark vows to give his daughter all the attention she requires to achieve success, no matter how fatigued he may be.
This episode tends to show a bit more tenderness in the headstrong Mark Naird, but the centrifugal plot is in Mission Control and it doesn’t shy away from that. The chimpstronaut gets the bigger laughs to me and while John Malkovich’s Adrian Mallory plays very understated and dry, he’s not used as much as Carell. They give the team of scientists a bit more shine and personality, which is great to see them in their element.