Cobra removes TV satellites and takes control of television in order to create an advertising monopoly and influence public opinion with pro-evil programming.
Unaware that a Cobra space shuttle is removing several satellites orbiting Earth, the Joes train and relax at headquarters. Wild Bill, who is trying to complete a crossword puzzle, asks Roadblock for a French word that has the clue of "cubic decimeter." The gourmet chef answers "liter" and then turns on the television to catch the news.
However, the only station he can pick up is the Cobra Television Network, featuring shows like Father's No Beast, which is the story of a man who is a werewolf by night and tells the viewers to not trust anyone. As Mr. C, from the show The C-Team, tells the viewers that he "pities the fool who doesn't join Cobra," Roadblock calls the other Joes into the room.
Believing they're watching a joke on video, Duke tries to changes the station, however, he finds Cobra Commander on a talkshow and explains to the host that since he was 6-years-old, the age he learned that he could run society better than "the morons in charge," he has devoted all of his resources to making the world a better place. "Slow learner, I guess," Lady Jaye says with arms crossed and a scowl on her face. "You don't think anyone will watch that garbage?" Scarlett asks, but Lady Jaye tells her that some people will watch anything on television. "That's not the worst of it, Lady Jaye," Duke says. "Some people will believe anything."
In a base in the Himalayas, Cobra Commander, Destro and the Baroness watch King Kong destroy the planes while a detective on the street turns to the camera and explains that if someone is bigger and stronger than you, then you cannot beat them. Cobra Commander then explains to the twins that he changed the ending with computer graphics and voice synthesizers in order to promote the social philosophy of Cobra. Cobra Commander explains to the curious Baroness that the base was set up in the mountain range so that Cobra could broadcast their shows uninterrupted. And to quell Destro's worries, Cobra Commander explains that people trust television since it is their friend, and since Cobra controls all of the television, they have the power to create truth, which allows Cobra to show the Joes in any light they wish.
As Colonel Sharp walks with Duke, Scarlett and Lady Jaye, he tells Duke that Senator Flim is a bit odd, however, the Joes need his help since he is in charge of the aeronautics commission. The four enter the room and Scarlett answers the senator's question about why he called him to his office, but before he asks another question, Duke interjects that the Skystrikers need rocket boosters to navigate in space. Senator Flim claps Duke on his shoulder and happily tells him, "Well, if it will make the world safe for democracy, you've got them, son." He then tells Duke that he remembers why he called him to his office. Lowering his voice and leaning in, the senator then asks Duke if he can find some tickets to the Army-Navy football game for him. Duke rolls his eyes up and tells the Senator that he will look into the matter.
Tomax and Xamot tell a group of advertising executives that 30 seconds of commercial airtime will cost five million dollars, and the group decides that the fee is outrageous and asks what will happen if they don't pay. The Crimson Guard Commanders, who are dressed in their blue and gray suits, explain that if they don't pay the only television network in town, then their competitors will be able to sell their shampoos, deodorants, and designer jeans while they go bankrupt. Asking if there are any questions, the group replies unanimously and sadly, "No."
As a purple cartoon character in a suit in tie tells two green cartoon characters that no one likes him, the green characters explain that because he looks different, sounds different and thinks different he will never be liked. But the green characters change the purple cartoon guy to a green outfit and skin, and they walk away happily while an announcer explains that more fun will air tomorrow on The Likables.
Duke then turns off the televisions and growls, "enough is enough." Mutt, Flint, Roadblock and Shipwreck mumble in agreement and Ace breaks to the front of the crowd to tell Duke that the Skystrikers are ready for flight. Lady Jaye and Alpine explain that they are ready and Duke is shocked by Alpine decision to volunteer. Alpine tells Duke that unless he stops Cobra, then he will never see Bowling for Dollars again.
Cobra Commander dances with a globe, sits it on the ground and tells Tomax and Xamot that the world is completely in his control. But they flip, land on the globe and explain that "the ball is still in play." Activating a monitor, Tomax and Xamot introduce the Joes to Cobra Commander, who tells the twins to contact Zartan on the satellite. As the Joes break through the atmosphere and fly into space, Ace tells the Joes to ready their missiles. To their surprise, however, they soon find that the job is far tougher than they ever imagined: rather than the relatively small, unmanned comm. satellite expected, Cobra has actually constructed a large space station (which is manned by the Dreadnoks) for their takeover of the airwaves. Worse yet, it's armed and able to defend itself against an attack.
Zartan orders the Dreadnoks to prepare the heat-seeking missiles and Buzzer taps his heel on a button. On Zartan's order to fire, Torch activates hits the button with his elbow and the rockets destroy the Skystrikers. As the Joes tumble together in space, Buzzer tells the "Joeys" to have a nice trip home. To Zartan's dismay, the travel back to Earth by using their oxygen to propel them and release their parachutes when there is enough atmosphere.
The ever-skeptical Alpine tells the Joes, "Seeya wherever." Ace tells his friends that whatever happens next, he was proud to serve with Lady Jaye and Alpine. But the Joes survive and - miracles of miracles - they land back at Joe headquarters. Rolling up her parachute, Lady Jaye jokes, "And for our next trick...".
Duke tells the Joes that Cobra caught them off their guard, however, the next mission will have a squadron ready for space travel and Ace will lead the mission, find and train the crew so that they will have the right stuff to stop Cobra. Ace asks for volunteers and Shipwreck, Tripwire, Mutt, Wild Bill, Roadblock, Lady Jaye, Flint, Snake-Eyes, Gung-Ho and Scarlett - every member of the Joe team in the room - raises their hand.
The first test is pushups and Shipwreck, who is between Flint and Barbecue, quits after 104 and asks why they have to do pushups. Ace explains that even with no resistance in space, stronger is stronger. Shipwreck sets one arm over the other, rests his head and tells Ace that he will settle for weaker.
The next test is in a zero gravity room where the stomach and mouth switch places and the brains turns to soggy cotton. After one hour passes, Ace leads the Joes to a G-force test room. Cover Girl, Gung-Ho, Flint, Shipwreck, Duke and Mutt sit on a couch after experiencing 10 times the Earth's gravity and Ace tells them that they have been eliminated, but Duke raises a fist and tells Ace that he can still make mincemeat out of Ace in the boxing ring.
Ace leads the washed out Joes to a room and they watch as Scarlett, Alpine, Lady Jaye, Wild Bill, Roadblock and Bazooka bounce around in chairs to simulate the effect of re-entry. When the chairs stop bouncing, the Joes stand up. But Bazooka is eliminated when he falls to the ground.
As Cobra Commander informs the television audience that one of the most precious rights is free speech, Lady Jaye tells the Joes, "Now that takes gall!" Cobra Commander adds that the television station's satellite was attacked by the Joes, however, they were repelled. Unfortunately, the price of vigilance is high and he asks the viewers to send large contributions to Cobra TV, which can be reached in care of Extensive Enterprises, Box 22-22, Viper Beach, California 90287.
Turning off the television in disgust, Duke then tells Ace to prepare for launch, and as the rocket's countdown begins, Senator Flim asks what happens if the Joes fail. "Then, Senator," Duke says gravely, "we lose some fine soldiers and Cobra gets to poison the minds of everybody on Earth." The rocket flies up and Duke cheers the Joes on. Senator Flim asks Duke if he thought the Joes wouldn't make the lift off. "Riding a six-story bullet into space is always dicey, Senator," Duke replies.
The Joes fly toward the space station and the Dreadnoks, who are looking out of a window, state that the Joes are coming into the range of the station's weapons. "Your Dreadnoks have a knack for stating the obvious," Destro tells Zartan. "And you for showing up where you’re not wanted," Zartan snaps back. With arms crossed across his chest, Destro calmly retorts, "You wanted my new weapon system badly enough, though, didn't you?" Zartan orders the Dreadnoks to fire at will and Torch asks Buzzer, "who's Will?"
The shots hit Ace's Skystriker, and the Joes disengage from the booster and watch dismayed as Ace tumbles toward the sun. As Ace tells the Joes to knock the satellite out of the sky, Cobra Commander, who is laughing hysterically at the scene, tells the confused twins that he can't help but laugh since he is "a sucker for real-life drama."
Lady Jaye calls out for Ace, but her shouts are cut off as she avoids a shot from the station. Scarlett tells the Joes that they can't rescue Ace until they knock out the station, otherwise, they will be picked off one at a time. Roadblock tells the Joes to follow him to a meteor belt and Alpine shouts, "Great! We'll finish ourselves off and save Cobra the trouble."
A lone and empty Skystriker races toward the station and the cannons blast at the jet, however, the Cobra agents quickly realize that the plane's kamikaze attack was a decoy for the Joes to fly above the satellite and strike from above and out of the range of the cannons.
As Zartan begins to panic, Destro tells everyone to remain calm and that they will act like technological warriors, not swamp rats. A small satellite dish is raised to the top of Cobra's satellite and Destro explains that the thermal molecular destabilizer will trap the Joes' planes and pop the molecules like popcorn.
Lady Jaye and the others are trapped and she orders the Joes to eject. As the planes are destroyed, the Joes land on Cobra's satellite and climb into the cannons while the Dreadnoks congratulate Destro. Unpleased to be second-best in the eyes of the Dreadnoks, Zartan sarcastically suggests that they asks Destro for his autograph. The cannons are retracted and the Joes slip inside. They make plans to steal shuttle and destroy the base from the inside, and Wild Bill adds that they better move quickly since Cobra will figure out their ruse.
Destro sees nothing on radar and tells himself repeatedly that he has missed something. "The gun ports!" he shouts. Opening the door to the bay for the gun ports, he finds the Joes’ space suits and runs back to the control room, where Zartan and the Dreadnoks raise their glasses in a toast. And just as Destro enters the room, the Joes enter at the other end and begin to pound on the Cobras. Ripper accidentally hits the button for the gravity to cease and the Joes use their training to continue their attack on the Cobras. Destro fires several shots with a laser built into his glove and the station catches fire and begins to fall apart.
As Cobra retreats, Roadblock grabs the unconscious Alpine and Lady Jaye and leads the Joes out of the control room. Aboard a Cobra space shuttle, Zartan states the obvious, that Cobra Television is coming to an end. But Destro reminds Zartan that six Joes will be killed, which is a fair exchange in his mind.
Still on the slowly disintegrating space station, Roadblock asks Wild Bill if he can fly the space shuttle. "If I can't," he tells Roadblock, "you won't be around to moan about it." Flying ahead of the deadly flames, the Joes escape and Wild Bill shouts a long, loud and very happy "Yee-haw!"
Mechanical arms from the space shuttle grab Ace's Skystriker and Lady Jaye and Roadblock retrieve Ace after removing the canopy. The shuttle then flies toward Earth after the Joes bring Ace aboard the shuttle and release the Skystriker into the depths of space.
Inside the Joes' infirmary, Duke, Lady Jaye, Roadblock and Wild Bill stand around Ace's hospital bed and the recovering Joes asks if the station was destroyed. Duke tells him, "For better or worse, TV is back to normal, Ace." Scarlett tells Duke that he has a visitor and Mr. C steps inside after telling Scarlett, "Stand aside, woman." Mr. C removes his Cobra necklace smashes it and tells Duke that he is mean, bad and out of work, and while saluting Duke, he asks if there are any openings in G.I. Joe.
Duke looks sideways then tells the muscular ex-actor, "Maybe, if you can pass the physical." And as Mr. C rests his fists on his hips and strikes a pose to demonstrate his enormous strength, the Joes laugh at Duke's joke.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"I pity the fool who doesn't join Cobra!"
- -- Thank you, Mr. C.
Animation and/or technical glitches
- Ripper is seen wearing Destro's gloves when the weapons dealer takes over the Dreadnok's control panel.
- The G.I. Joe team members are inexperienced with space travel, despite having been to space in the Pyramid of Darkness miniseries (starting with "The Further Adventures of G.I. Joe").
- Cobra Commander changed the ending of classic films using computer graphics and voice synthesizer? Now that's evil!
- 90287 is not a real zip code.
- Cobra Commander's decision to televise the battle on live television predicted reality television, real life war reporting, and symbolizes the philosophy of "If It Bleeds, It Leads".
- Why was it difficult to get political support for the mission? Wall Street and the Fortune 100/500 corporations should have been screaming for action since Cobra raised the advertising prices.
- The price named by Tomax and Xamot for advertising and commercial airtime is 5 million dollars. This is close to the prices seen with sporting events such as the Superbowl.
- Mr. C tells Scarlett, "Outta my way, woman" and then brushes her aside. The moment would have been more infinitely more interesting if Scarlett would have lashed out at him with a lethal kick, releasing a fiery temper built around years of suppressed frustration about being called a "mere girl" on the Joe force.
- The "Now you know..." segment attached to this episode had Roadblock telling kids not to play around downed power lines. Yeah, that one.
- One of Cobra's television series is The C-Team.
- Another is Father's No Beast.
- The Likables are a reference to the Smurfs.
- The title is a reference to the 1983 film The Right Stuff.
- Cobra Commander's dance with the globe is a reference to Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator.
- The Army-Navy Game is an annual football game between the armed forces' respective schools, and is highly popular with both military and civilian audiences.
- Alpine is desperate to watch Bowling for Dollars.