Review: Space Force Season 1 Episode 1

When one talks of space, the mind wanders off to events like the Moon Landing, the unending darkness of the universe, and the sci-fi movies that push our understanding of space-time continuum. But Steve Carell and Greg Daniels’ Netflix comedy, ‘Space Force’, is more about the clash of science with bureaucracy and the impossible struggle of a man to find a balance between them.

Space Force Episode 1 Recap

After years of serving in the military, Mark Naird finally gets the four-star position, which brings him in league with the heads of all branches of defense. He thinks he would be replacing Kick Grabaston, the chief of the US Air Force. However, he is surprised when an entirely new branch is declared by the President. It turns out that Naird has been selected to take control of Space Force, and his job is to get “boots on the Moon” by 2024. Despite the change in plans, Naird is positive that it will turn out for the best.

One year later, nothing is going right at the Space Force. He is nowhere close to the 2024 deadline. His wife, Maggie, is in prison and is going to be there for a long time. His daughter, Erin, feels isolated and has trouble making friends. On top of that, she has started dating Bobby, aka Yuri, a Russian soldier who is a part of the Space Force, whom Naird suspects to be a spy.

Alongside him works Adrian Mallory, the head of a team of scientists from all over the world. His secretary Brad is well-meaning but cannot stop people from entering his office. On the day of the launch of a satellite, Epsilon 6, Mallory advises Naird to delay it because of the change in weather. The circumstances are not ideal for the launch, but with three congresspeople arriving at the facility to witness it, Naird has no intention of delaying anything.

Space Force Episode 1 Review

If you go into ‘Space Force’ with the expectations of ‘The Office’, then you should know that these are two very different shows. Steve Carrell’s Mark Naird is unlike his much-beloved Michael Scott. While one was a dunderhead, a fickle-minded person who took his time to figure out what he wanted, the other is more clear-headed. Naird knows what his job is; he is very clear about authority and protocol and is ready to make tough decisions.

In contrast to Naird’s military-man is John Malkovich’s Adrian Mallory. He is a man of science and only follows reason, never caring about what the bureaucracy wants. He also means to turn Naird to his cause. Both the characters appear on a seemingly opposite spectrum of thought process, and their conflict sets a ground for the commentary on science and politics.

While one of them is entirely focused on increasing their prowess and gaining the upper hand on the competitors, the other is dedicated to their research and considers the collective good of all over the political needs of one. But it’s not about “one giant leap for mankind” anymore. We see this tug-of-war between the two of them, and Carrell and Malkovich’s chemistry makes it all the more amusing.

The series also uses its characters to parody well-known figures, while also commenting on war, space budget, and the influence of social media on everything. Ben Schwartz plays the role of F. Tony Scarapiducci, not-so-fondly called Fuck Tony, who is the social media handler for Space Force, and becomes a necessary evil for Naird. He uses Twitter to keep the world updated on everything that is going on inside Space Force, though his language is not approved of by Naird. In a similar vein, the show also uses Twitter to tell us whose America the show is set in without ever naming names. The staff has to decipher what POTUS wants to say by clarifying his typos (if they are typos at all) and consider the next step of action.

These are the things that Naird has to navigate in his job; the pressure of not screwing up when everything is pitted against him, being cautious of suspected spies who have more influence with the President than he does, and being the head of something that he doesn’t completely understand.

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