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Archer Wiki

"Space Race: Part I" is the twelfth episode of the third season of Archer. It is the first half of a two-part season finale of the third season of the animated comedy series Archer. It was initially broadcast in the United States on FX on March 16, 2012. In the instalment, Commander Anthony Drake (Bryan Cranston) of ISA urges the field agents of ISIS to travel onto the spacecraft Horizon to aid in ceasing any attacks. After entering and defeating the resistant "mutineers", the field agents are eventually kidnapped by Drake and his aggregation, whose real objective is to colonize and populate the humans on Mars.

"Space Race", which was written and directed by series creator Adam Reed, is a parody of the 1979 spy film Moonraker, the eleventh film of the James Bond cinema franchise. Additionally, the episode is instilled with multiple references to science fiction cinema, including the 1986 film Aliens and The Right Stuff, as well as political events such as the Cold War's space exploration competition between the Soviet Union and the United States. Cranston guest starred in the program, alongside actor Dave Willis, who reprised his role as recurring antagonist Barry Dylan.  Additionally, Dave Fennoy stars as Commander Kellogg.

"Space Race: Part I" received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, who praised the episode's humor and character developments. Although it acquired positive critiques from commentators, the humor and general execution of "Space Race: Part II" was deemed inferior to its predecessor. "Space Race: Part I" garnered 1.157 million viewers during its initial airing, while "Space Race: Part II" attained 1.33 million viewers upon airing, consequently becoming the most viewed episode of Archer's third season.



Archer and his colleagues at ISIS voyage to the final frontier in an effort to prevent a catastrophe on the International Space Station. [1]




Cultural References[]

  • Moonraker (1979): This two-part episode borrows many elements from this James Bond movie.
  • Gráinne O'Malley (1530-1603) - the obscure reference made by Cheryl at the beginning of the episode is to this 16th century 'pirate queen'. A 'boarding party' is a term for a group of people boarding a vessel (such as pirates) not a 'party' in the sense of social gathering.
  • Tang: a fruit-flavored drink that was used by NASA on a flight in 1962.
  • The Great Escape (1963): When Archer is locked up and sitting on the floor with a baseball and glove, he is re-enacting Steve McQueen's character in this movie.
  • Full Metal Jacket (1987): During the firefight when boarding the Space station, Ray Gillette shouts "Get some!" when firing on the mutineers in a manner referencing the Marine helicopter door gunner from this Kubrick classic.

Running Gags[]



  • The commander says that terraforming Mars would allow mankind to slip the surly bonds of Earth. A similar wording can be found in the poem High Flight by pilot John Gillespie Magee Jr.
  • Archer mentions slide rules and Tang.
  • The code that Pam types to release Archer is 6294.
  • The M-41 Mark Two plasma rifle used by the ISA bears a striking resemblance in both name and appearance to the M41A Pulse Rifle from the film Aliens. While also having its magazine placed in a bullpup configuration, similar to the Westinghouse M-27 Phased Plasma Pulse Rifle from the film Terminator, the general aesthetics are the same. Furthermore, Archer's armor features a skull and crossbones design on the chest almost identical to that on the armor worn by Private Hudson in Aliens. It also has a love-knot over the heart, again like Hudson in the film.
  • Jettisoning Pam and Cheryl into space due to them overweighing the shuttle may be a reference to the short story "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin.
  • Archer makes a reference to Charles Benedict Davenport (June 1, 1866 – February 18, 1944) was a prominent American eugenicist and biologist. He was one of the leaders of the American eugenics movement. It's made when one of the mutineers is referring to Lana as "good breeding stock". Some of Charles work was also on the mixing of races, another subtle reference
  • "MOAB" usually stands for "Mother Of All Bombs", a nickname used for the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, the most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever built.  The "B" in how Pam uses it stands for something you should be able to figure out on your own.
  • The dress Cheryl makes out of air vent hose and shows to Malory on the spaceship is a reference to the Swan Dress worn by Björk.
  • The nuclear blast accompanying Drake's monologue about the dying earth is similar to Sarah Connor's dream of watching the destruction of a children's playground by a nuclear firestorm in the film Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
  • The name of the space station in the episode is 'Horizon'. This is most likely a reference to the sci-fi/horror film Event Horizon.
  • Commander Drake's appearance is very similar to that of famed astronaut Chris Hadfield, this is likely intentional.


  • Space Station Horizon, Near Earth Orbit, Space


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Gallery of Images[]

There are 14 screenshots and images from "Space Race: Part I" on this Wiki, visit the category page for a complete gallery.

Here is a sample of four images from the gallery:


  1. "Space Race: Part I".