‘Space Force’ Review Episode 4: “Lunar Habitat”

Can you survive in the cold final frontier? Get lost in Space Force with this recap of episode 4, “Lunar Habitat.”

Space Force Season 1 Episodes:

Episode 1 – “The Launch”

Episode 2 – “Save Epsilon 6!”

Episode 3 – “Mark and Mallory Go to Washington”

Episode 4 – “Lunar Habitat”

There’s the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” Well, for General Mark Naird (Steve Carell), it sometimes doesn’t feel like that with his daughter, Erin (Diana Silvers) who abhors the move over to their house in Wildhorse, Colorado. Not being a military brat myself, I would imagine any displacement for a teenager would seem like the worst thing in the world. You’re missing your friends during the formative years when bonds are made and everything else seems infinitesimal when that’s at play. But what if that was dwarfed by your only home being 238, 900 miles from the living world as you know where your only sustenance is the variances on potato dishes and the hope you will return to Earth. Twist: what if that was your mission on Earth now? Welcome to the fourth episode of Space Force (Netflix) titled “Lunar Habitat.”

The project is the Lunar Habitat headed by Dr. Adrian Mallory (John Malkovich) and is imperative it gets off the ground, so to speak.  With one week left to go of a two-year-long project, one of a team of four went mad sending this project into peril if someone doesn’t take his spot. Being of one for the good of his country and his program, Mark volunteers himself. Though he’s not had any psychological counseling, his confidence outweighs any apprehensions everybody else may have.

Elsewhere in the base, Mark’s assistant Brad Gregory (Don Lake) and Fuck Tony (Ben Schwartz) have their own situation in the form of the FLOTUS Chief of Staff. As it so happens, the First Lady is looking to redesign the current Space Force uniforms. Though Brad was tasked with shooting down the situation, F. Tony’s mission is to shoot down Brad, agreeing to take her entire line of designs.

Mark suits up and heads to the desert for one week of pure isolation with his new roomies. Major Jane Pike (Alice Wetterlund) is the microbiologist with a wit drier than the potatoes she grows, Captain Dave Powers (Asif Ali) has an impressive six missions to the ISS under his belt, but that’s not keeping him happy in the slightest as he’s stuck with the civilian sculptor, Jerome Lalosz (Michael Hitchcock) whose claim to fame is making giant phalluses out of the sand. Their first order of business is following the new guy’s orders after finding out he’s the General. Yeah, it’s going to be a long week.

For Erin, however, the week is just starting to her advantage. With her father gone, she’s doing what any red-blooded American teenager would do — throw a house party!

Meanwhile, back in the Lunar Habitat, it’s like he never left his house. He’s cleaning up after the crew and making their beds. He gets exercise around the tent by doing laps before stopping and scowling at Dr. Mallory’s requirement for a Feelings Exam. Continuing his run, he trips over Jerome’s didgeridoo, breaking it. After chastising them for failing to keep the environment clean, much like his daughter, Mark turns in for the night (or day).

Speaking of Erin, it turns out the only person ringing her doorbell was pizza delivery for 20 pies. That’s a lot of Za for a party of one to consume. Though things are also lonely on her father’s side of town, as she falls asleep to a picture of her family in happier times. So much for a great first day!

As data from mission control shows that, instead of balancing the group dynamic, Mark is making it askew, things aren’t looking better with the new shipment of Space Force gear, compliments of the FLOTUS. Clearly a ribbing on Melania Trump’s at times garish sense of style, not Captain Ali (Tawny Newsome) nor Obie (Owen Daniels), and Julio (Hector Duran) are feeling the look and impracticality of the uniforms.

Homesick, Erin visits her mother Maggie (Lisa Kudrow), only to find out her mother is better adapting to the inside better than Erin is to the outside. Back in the Habitat, Mark isn’t having a ball either, not getting along with his colleagues or his true feelings and starts to crack as his dreams turn into nightmares of a past reality, before waking up and then singing himself back to sleep.

On day 4, Mark’s done lost his mind and gone for a real run out in the desert heat with his required space suit. With his obdurate nature (and heart rate) at an all-time high, the proud General collapses. It takes Jerome to find him and carry him back to base. Being nursed back to help by his crew, Mark finally opens up about time behind enemy lines, the setbacks with the program, and with his family before hitting the hay. That night, only good thoughts of his erstwhile family life fill his head. He is cleansed.

At base, they arrive to a hero’s welcome by friends and family. In the base itself, Brad attempts to distract his tired boss from what looks like a Milan runway, but Mark simply orders the uniforms to be gone by the next day. For now, he simply needs to go to the one place he’ll find his welcoming party, and though he finds the place in a bigger mess than when he left it (ants included), the only thing he wants to do is have ice cream with his daughter.

As with the previous episodes, there existed a few funny moments, but they are so lampshaded by more serious moments, their paucity is even more highlighted. Just like with episode 2, the ending attempts to bring tenderness to the relationship between father and daughter, as they are the only ones they have, but though cute, it doesn’t have that emotional punch. Then again, maybe it’s not supposed to. We’ll see if midway this season, next episode there’s a sea change.

 

About Robert Kijowski

Robert Kijowski
Robert J. Kijowski is a screenwriter who enjoys a good chuckle and an even better weep when indulging in art both good and even better bad. He enjoys the company of strangers in a theatre but adores the camaraderie of friends watching Netflix. He also loves to talk- a lot. This can be read through his recaps and reviews on the Workprint or heard through his weekly movie podcast, After the Credits. His presence can be felt through Facebook, Spotify or Ouija. Don’t use the latter though- he almost always ghosts people.

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