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Space Force's 'India Was Just Smarter' Moment Is Reason Enough To Watch Netflix's New Show

Netflix's new web-series 'Space Force' focuses on India in episode 6 - 'The Spy' - combining old stereotypes with new realities to give Indians reason to watch

Space Force Review

Space Force, Netflix’s new big-star big-budget web series packs a big wallop of good ‘ol Steve Carell inspired self-mockery, and in doing so, continues the fine tradition of parody being used to highlight poignant truths that it’s about time the world acknowledges. One particular episode encompasses somewhat of a quadruple-whammy, with one specific aspect being about India’s own space force.

Space Force's India-centric episode 6 - 'The Spy'

Episode 6 of Netflix’s Space Force is called ‘The Spy’, and its focal point is an achievement made by India in space technology that leaves the Americans gobsmacked. Space Force is the eponymous term for the US Space Force - a military wing of the government that in real life US President Trump established in 2019 to ensure US military dominance beyond our planet. In the past, Russia has had such a ‘Space Force’ on two occasions as well. 

In the India-centric episode 6, Space Force Chief General Mark Naird (played by Steve Carell) and his chief science advisor Dr Adrian Mallory (played by John Malkovich) are just as surprised as the rest of the staff at the US Space Force headquarters in Colorado when news of India launching a rocket breaks on their big mission control screen. A close visual inspection of the rocket reveals that its engines apply ‘Pegasus’ technology, which purportedly only the US and its Space Force possess. The conclusion drawn is that India has stolen it from the US, and hence, there is a spy in their midst.

READ | Is Steve Carell's Space Force From Netflix All Set To Get A Second Season? Read To Know

(Source: Screengrab of Netflix's Space Force Episode 6 'The Spy')

In the ensuing scenes, there are various accounts of why such an achievement should be out of India’s reach. The President of the US (who is made to sound like Donald Trump though not named) cancels Steve Carell’s conjugal visit to his jailed wife (played by Lisa Kudrow) with a message that begins with “INDIA?!?” Later, India’s history as a colonised nation is discussed with liberal doses of satirical ignorance lumped in, as the main characters go about probing who the leak could be.

(Source: Screengrab of Netflix's Space Force Episode 6 'The Spy')

At one point, they isolate someone who for a long time has seemed suspicious, and seize his phone. While dismissing the character’s appeal to defend himself, Steve Carell, who is going through the phone’s messages box, even asks if the character’s been in touch with PM Narendra Modi - mentioning the Prime Minister of India by name. However, it’s a false alarm in the sense that the man was only spying for the Air Force, which is the bête-noir of the Space Force, and whose commander has a rivalry with Carell.

(Source: Screengrab of Netflix's Space Force Episode 6 'The Spy')

In the midst of this, three other sub-plots also play out, one involving a ‘white American’ (played by Ben Schwartz) indulging in racist buffoonery while working with an Asian-American scientist (Jimmy Yang), John Malkovich's character embarrassingly having a romantic secret exposed before the whole cast as he is briefly accused of being the spy, and the larger theme of personal privacy versus national duty, especially in the age of social media and mobile phone cameras.

'So India was just... Smarter'

Finally, however, coming back to the India narrative, as Carell and Malkovich ponder new leads on the spy, they get a call from the US Secretary of Defence, who informs them that there was no spy or leak, but that India quite simply was smarter and beat them to the Pegasus. In the end, the portrayal is almost obvious, with the comprehension that dawns on the Americans’ faces being silently heavy with subtext of how India’s space programme - civilian, scientific, commercial and military - has progressed by leaps and bounds of late. The US Space Force then resolves that they must work harder, as they prepare to face a ‘nuclear storm on Twitter’ from their President who is celebrating his birthday that day.

(Source: Screengrab of Netflix's Space Force Episode 6 'The Spy')

Certainly one to watch out for, Netflix’s 10-episode Space Force is out online now.



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