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"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.



Archer and his colleagues at ISIS voyage to the final frontier in an effort to stop a mutiny on the Space Station Horizon.


S03E12-Zone of danger

The zone will be one of danger?

In the Office of Malory Archer, Commander Tony Drake of the ISA shows Malory, Archer and Lana a video of a distress call from Commander Kellogg on Space Station Horizon. Drake believes that a faction of the Horizon's crew has mutinied. After outlining the purpose of Horizon is to send colonists to Mars, he hires ISIS agents for a rescue mission. Malory is delighted that she can charge whatever she wants while Lana is concerned with the compressed astronaut training schedule of three days before launch.

S03E12-Flight simulator

It's my turn!

At ISA HQ, Doctor Krieger fools Archer into taking many medical tests, believing they are part of his astronaut training. Having fallen behind in the training schedule, Archer interrupts Cyril's flight simulator session by smashing a window and filling the simulator with fire suppressant. Lying to Kellogg that he was putting out an electrical fire, the Commander praises Archer's "quick thinking".

The Vomit Comet

Do not like.

Next up is the "Vomit Comet", a modified KC-135 jet that simulates weightlessness. Lana gets sick several times while Archer delights in zero-G by riding Cyril through Lana's floating puke. After 20 rounds in the jet, the crew washes up in an ISA locker room and then learns that due to another distress call from Horizon, they are blasting off early.

S03E12-Cyril stunned

So, stun is a bit of a misnomer.

Aboard the Intrepid Space Shuttle, Archer becomes enraged when he discovers that his mother is along for the ride. Drake has to subdue Archer by cutting off his oxygen. After a successful launch, Drake briefs the team on the tactical plan to assault the Horizon and regain control. He also introduces them to the M41 plasma rifle which Archer promptly uses to shoot Cyril in the chest. Lucky that the M41 was set on "stun", Cyril is revived with a defibrillator.

S03E12-Pam shot

Whaddya mean how? Mr. Archer...

Flight control then informs Drake that they are off course due to the shuttle being over the planned weight. Stowaways Pam and Cheryl are revealed to be the cause. Just as Pam is about to explain that Archer snuck them on (so he could continue to have sex with Pam), Archer shoots her with the M41 and she needs to be revived. Archer is locked in a cargo hold as punishment.


I don't know what's wrong with me.

As the Intrepid docks, Drake forms a boarding party of Lana, Cyril and Ray. Cheryl believes "party" is an actual festivity and looks for an outfit to wear. The party is pinned down by the fire of the mutineers once they enter the Horizon. Archer tempts Pam into having sex and then leaves to join the fight. His arrival turns the tide and the party makes rapid progress towards the bridge.



Kellogg lets the party into the bridge where they treat the wounded and relieve the ISIS agents of their weapons. Kellogg comments that Lana is "good breeding stock" while Drake informs him about Pam and Cheryl. Growing uneasy, the agents learn Drake and his men plan to launch for Mars immediately and use the women to populate the planet. A wounded "mutineer" confirms that Kellogg and Drake's men are the real mutineers before he's killed. Drake welcomes Archer to the Danger Zone.


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.
  • Charles Benedict Davenport (June 1, 1866 – February 18, 1944): Archer makes a reference to this 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 his work was also on the mixing of races, another subtle reference.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars: Archer assumes a space bar must be called a "Cantina".
  • Event Horizon (1997): The video with the call for help was made in the same way as in the movie also the name of the station is Horizon.

Running Gags / Callbacks[]

  • Danger Zone: Archer tries to get Drake to say it ("Would you say that we are venturing into a zone of danger?") which Drake finally does at episode's end.
  • Stowaways: Pam and Cheryl stowaway (or sneakily tag-along), as they do in "Skytanic", "The Limited", "The Honeymooners" and "Archer Vice: Palace Intrigue: Part I".
  • Get Some!
  • Alcoholism: Malory appropriates isopropyl alcohol.
  • Suppressing Fire!
  • One moment: Malory employs a variant, repeating “hang on” instead of holding one finger up as she drinks before answering Cheryl.
  • Ping-pong paddle: Floating, post coitus between Archer and Pam.



  • "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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pam had a Red Beer while hiding in the storage chest.
  • "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 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 Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. This is likely intentional.



Drake: "I can't trust anyone at the ISA, which is why I came to ISIS."
Malory: "Because of our loyalty."
Drake: "Or lack thereof."


Gallery of Images[]

There are 21 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:


"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.