Mutta might have secured his place in Houston for the final round of exams before becoming an astronaut, but it looks as though this achievement cuts no mustard with his parents when it comes to paying his own way.
As a result, Mutta finds himself job hunting as he waits for a date to make the trip to Houston, and with Christmas fast approaching there's only one temporary job fitting for a man of Mutta's stature - a shopping centre Santa Claus. Aside from the constant guilt of having to lie to kids in this role, Mutta seems to be equally mired in guilt about having, as he sees it, taken friend Kenji's place in the final line-up to make it to Houston.
Only this isn't the case at all, as events play out before us to reveal that Kenji is part of the line-up, with the confusion caused by another of the would-be astronauts selected dropping out of the process to pursue a different (but not entirely unrelated) dream. With that awkward barrier ultimately hurdled, we're afforded the rest of the episode to anticipate the move to Houston, the final examination, and perhaps just as importantly Hibito's big day as he sets off for the moon.
Overall there isn't particularly a lot to say about this episode, serving as it does as little more than a bridge to its next full-blown story arc as things get serious again. It's an example of how strong Space Brothers' character roster is however that the series can get away with doing this with little difficulty, as it still manages to remain broadly entertaining even when it doesn't have a particularly sharp focus on any one event or goal. As a result, this is an unremarkable outing that does only what is required of it as we get to the real meat of the story again starting from next week.