Space Force Season 2 Ending Explained: Don't Look Up

Netflix's "Space Force" really put General Naird (Steve Carell) in the hot seat in season 2 as he struggled to keep America's space program going. After what happened on the moon, the department has struggled with budget cuts, personnel issues, and even an ultimatum — turn things around in four months, or the president will get rid of Space Force completely.

What could possibly go wrong?

The intensely high-stakes workplace comedy from "The Office" creator Greg Daniels was met with mixed reviews for its first season, but I have to admit — I liked it. It was like "The Office" meets "Apollo 13" ... and if the thought of Michael Scott in charge of the US space program fills you with terror, that's kind of the point. Season 2 ramps things up after the unfortunate moon incident, which saw the US and Chinese astronauts stranded together. But it's not just politics (or office politics) General Naird has to contend with.

Naird is already under insurmountable pressure when his wife Maggie (Lisa Kudrow) unexpectedly files for divorce. Then there's his daughter Erin (Diana Silvers), who's struggling to decide on a college.

A mixture of family troubles and professional woes come to a head in the season 2 finale. It's crunch time — the Secretary of Defense (Tim Meadows) has called time on Space Force's four-month grace period. Now it's time to find out whether there'll be a Space Force at all.

The budget review is here

After Space Force lost its hefty budget in the first episode of Season 2, it's been an excruciating time for poor General Naird. Now with a minuscule budget, he's forced to make steep cutbacks to save the department some cash. Equipment is sold off, office decorations removed, and science team staff laid off.

Worse still, Naird was forced to cancel Dr. Mallory's (John Malkovich) Mars mission.

"I hate those cheap, lying, DC bean counters," says Mallory. "I know you would have saved it if you could."

Effectively running on half its previous budget, Space Force is clutching at straws to stay afloat. Terrible news for Space Force, but great news for Steve Carell fans, who will revel in his squirm-inducing comedy as he's forced to break more and more bad news to his colleagues throughout the season.

But there's more trouble brewing at Space Force with the untimely arrival of computer glitches that cause various malfunctions throughout the base. First, it's free M&Ms from the vending machine. Then, the sprinklers go off directly over Brigadier General Gregory (Don Lake) while he's sitting at his desk. Something sinister is afoot... and it looks as though it's all down to the Russians.

The Russians hacked Space Force

In one of the most ill-timed coincidences of all time, the Russians have invaded Space Force — at least, electronically. Taking control of the department's computer systems, the Russian hackers wreak havoc on the Space Force base. Their ultimate goal? Disgrace the US ... and they've got a plan.

After effectively shutting down the facility, the hackers take control of the Blue Oyster Cult-181X satellite,  attempting to destabilize its orbit and bring it crashing down to Earth. But it's even worse than that. If they can crash the satellite on Russian soil, they'll humiliate the US and use the political fallout to their advantage.

What would have been an innocuous episode of "Space Force" becomes a rather chilling glimpse of Russian political subterfuge at work.

Thankfully, our favorite rocket scientists are on the case. General Naird hatches a cunning plan to fool the Russian hackers (who are obviously listening to them via their laptop mics) by putting on a play. That's right — Carell, Malkovich, and the gang ham up a bit of amateur dramatics to convince the Russians that they'd be in grave danger if the satellite crashes.

Their little stage play is packed full of gloriously cheesy lines and hammy delivery, but somehow, it works ... and with a bit of help from astronaut Captain Angela Ali (Tawny Newsome), they're able to nudge the satellite back into orbit.  Now, what about that budget?

"I didn't want to do it, but I had to," says the Secretary of Defense. "I fought it as hard as I could but ultimately, I was overridden. So... congratulations!"

That's right: Space Force has been saved. The President of the United States has had a change of heart and has reinstated the department with full funding. But there's a catch.

Just... don't look up

Even when things start to look up, "Space Force" goes for the throat. Specifically, General Naird's throat. 

After months of cutbacks, the General is elated to give his staff some good news — they're back, and better than ever. He tells them: "It seems that we have made some friends in Washington, and they have decided to give us a little present — a new mission. We are now part of the American Strategic Defense Plan."

If that wasn't enough, it looks as though the president is throwing money and resources at Space Force ... with Dr. Mallory's science team getting their nerdy little hands on one of the most iconic science installations in the world.

"That is the Hawaii telescope," says Naird as he points out the telescope on the big screen. "We now have sole access. NASA? Not so much."

Unfortunately, their unbridled geek out doesn't last long. Dr. Chan (Jimmy O. Yang) immediately spots something on the telescope. It seems there's a good reason that Space Force has just become the Defence Department favorite. One very big reason.

"I think that might be an asteroid," says Chan, adjusting his glasses. "A really big f***king asteroid ... and it's getting bigger."

That's right, with great power comes great responsibility, and it's now down to Space Force to tackle a world-ending asteroid that's heading straight for Earth. If I'm honest, it's exactly what "Space Force" needs — a big crisis to pull everyone together, not to mention a chance for the department to really prove itself.

But with funding issues over and presidential approval a given, it feels like "Space Force" could be on course for its "Don't Look Up" moment. Let's just hope they handle it better.