Lost in Space (“Ninety-Seven”)

Season 2, Episode 10
Date of release: December 24, 2019 (Netflix)

As expected, Ben sacrificed himself. As expected, some of the recurring cast died, but replace “recurring” with “main” and switch “died” with “probably died, but if the bitch really made it into the Jupiter transport, then all hell is gonna break loose.” Although I really have no idea how the writers are going to explain Smith’s survival and how she made it into the Jupiter transport without a suit. Granted, having Smith be the only adult in the room with all the kids is an intriguing premise, and if Smith really survived, this better be a great story in the eventual third season, but there have to be some really big deus ex machinas present for Smith to have gotten out of the airlock with an undamaged suit, before the robots woke up, and then made her way to the Jupiter transport. And the writers really made sure to let Smith survive the season and get into the next one, as the suit Maureen saw was empty. So of course she made it out somehow, even if I would love it if she sacrificed herself (to give the colony at least a couple of minutes of a head start). LOST IN SPACE does not even need Dr. Smith at this point, as it has created a lot of other plotlines it can follow, without having to carry along ballast from the original series.

Maureen is a split second before death by evil robot.

This was a good season finale, although it did deliver the usual season finale moments for a show like that. There have been quite a few VFX shots that made the entire episode look like a solidly budgeted feature film (the special effects heaviness of this hour may have been a reason it took 20 months between the releases of both seasons, as they look meticulously animated for a television show), there was a robot army acting like insects crawling into their new ant hill, there has been robot to robot action, repeating what the viewers wanted to see ever since the first season finale, when Will’s robot and SAR were smashing each other left and right, groups of characters were separated and left hanging in cliffhanger endings, Will at one point said the word “danger” and the very last image of the episode brought a new story into the mix, which will then most likely not be followed up on. The first season made such a big deal about the symbol the robot drew, calling it danger, but then it just turned out to be a star system with a couple of planets that have rings on them which looked like those were the homes of the robots. Okay, it was definitely danger, but the writers waited until this episode to make the robot’s “danger” star system shine, and that makes the first season’s cliffhanger a bit useless in hindsight. I am not expecting anything more from this cliffhanger, and I am definitely not expecting that the Fortuna has any survivors inside. Although I did notice there was a light on somewhere (close to the right end of the spaceship), so maybe someone actually lives there? Does it mean we will have a father/daughter reunion soon?

Ben sacrificed himself quite quickly, which means he was sequestered to the curse of recurring characters sacrificing themselves and be forgotten five minutes later. The characters were dealing with a robot army on the Resolute and no one even talked about Ben, let alone was I given the chance to mourn the character or think about how brave his sacrifice was. That happens when the writers retire characters in the beginning of an episode that has way too much going on for itself, especially when Ben’s death was overshadowed by the appearance of all the red lights in the close distance. No time to mourn a character, we already have to hold our breaths for the incoming robot attack.

Will tells you to stop right here and listen to him.

The rest of the episode was essentially the same: Robots attack, characters are running away, and in-between you get shots of emotion and reminders that this is still a family TV show and that nothing too dark can happen. Judy creating a plan to safely send all the kids of the Resolute to Alpha Centauri was sound though and I liked that it had a slight emotional fallout and that none of the parents were rebelling against separating from their children. That makes it easier for all the kids to be in their central plot with the third season, dealing with the Fortuna and whatever happened to the planet the ship orbits, but it also makes LOST IN SPACE a worthwhile show to hope for the best in humanity. And with Judy becoming their captain and leader, she grows out of being a Robinson in the search for a place in the medical world, becoming a more meaningful character in the process. Now, if only Penny would have gotten that job, but I guess she is going to write part two of the book over the break.

The return of Scarecrow was neat. I hoped it would happen and I hoped that Will having two robots on his side now is the “start of something big,” as Penny put it, but I am a little worried the writers did not know what to do with the robot race and whether to give them a back story as well. Right now they are just here to give Will one or two of them and have the rest blow up to pieces in big action set pieces. But what I was interested to know during the climax was why Scarecrow would go against his fellow robots and how a robot’s mind is being changed, just because a kid was talking to them. Not that I am expecting a big story about some robot rebels fighting against robot generals who want destruction and death everywhere while the rebels just want peace and unity with all the races in the universe, but with Will’s robot and Scarecrow, there have now been two robots going against their race without explanation. Who knows, maybe hanging out with humans too long infects them with empathy and love, although Scarecrow did not get any of that during its life as a prisoner under Ben and Hastings.

Lost in Space (“Shell Game”)

Season 2, Episode 9
Date of release: December 24, 2019 (Netflix)

When I was thinking that the mutiny would run its way through the final three episodes of the season, I believed that a more elaborate story arc of a band of heroes versus a bigger band of villains would be exciting enough, especially when the Robinsons lead the heroes against Hastings’ band of antagonists. But the mutiny arc was only one episode heavy, and with its conclusion near the finale of the previous episode, the writers needed to find another way and a different premise to fill the season finale with. And as it turns out, I kind of like the more personal and emotional story the writers have chosen. The Robinsons are doing their thing almost by themselves, Hastings grows more and more into a villain who likes to be recognized in the history books (that is a super white explanation for his actions), and Will’s own story with the robot is turning into something that defines friendship and that could bring a new premise to an eventual third season, in which the characters have to deal with an emotional bond between two alien races (humans and robots). For now, only the colony on the Resolute had to deal with Will’s connection with the robot, but when he manages to succeed his mission and help Scarecrow, not only does the chance grow that Will calls two robots his friend (and vice versa), but other colonists outside the twenty-fourth colony could learn of what happened here. And again, this could make Will the most important human being in the history of this show’s universe.

There are eyes everywhere in this universe.

I also believed for a couple of episodes now that Ben Adler would never turn out to be an adult Will and that the writers would bring time travel into the show, like the 1998 movie did in a twist during its third act. I believed that may happen when Ben got introduced, but I stopped believing in the twist during his trip with Will and Maureen on the amber planet (it is so nice of the writers to call the planets by their color or what element is in abundance). This episode made me believe in future Will again. “Will and I… we’re the same,” Ben said. “I used to be him,” he continued. And in addition, Ben knew where Will and the robot would go during the Robinson kids titular shell game, which means there is more to Ben and Will’s relationship than meets the eye, with the writers heavily impregnating that picture in this episode. I still do not think that turning Ben into future Will is such a good idea though, and not just because it is a twist taken from the movie. But if the writers just wanted a character with Ben who looks like an ally at first, then turns into a villain, and finally realizes what he must to do save the Resolute and humanity, then they are certainly allowed to continue teasing the future Will twist, only to lead the viewers into a different direction. This episode’s title may not just be a reference to Judy and Penny giving Will enough time to escape the Resolute, but it could also be an in-joke by the writers leading the viewers into an obvious twist, only to surprise them with something entirely different.

Ben did turn into a bit of a better character during this episode. He is a conflicted man who is bound by his job and mission, and he has been compromised by the things he has seen recently and by his desire to be back with his family. In a way, Ben could turn into an anti-hero over the course of the next episode and there is a chance he might sacrifice himself for the greater good, knowing that Will will succeed in doing whatever he must to bring the Resolute to Alpha Centauri, even if that sacrifice would sort of bite itself with Ben’s desire to see his family again. But at one point there has to be a moment in the show that sacrifices a recurring character, and Ben seems to be the most obvious choice at that point.

Will lost his robot again.

I was also glad that it was not easy for the Robinson kids to acquire help from other people on the Resolute. You could have thought they would band together a little ragtag group of rebels and that Samantha would just be the first one joining said band of rebels, but Vijay said “No” (understandably so) and Don West was nowhere to be found due to the security cameras locked onto his butt. That makes it more fantastic and entertaining, since the Robinsons are on their own, but one might think the writers were cutting off a potentially interesting story about how the colony has had enough with the white guys running their trip to Alpha Centauri. Then again, no one really knows what Hastings is up to and it is not like he really is a full-blown villain for everyone on the Resolute. All Hastings wants is to get to Alpha Centauri. All the Robinsons want is to take a detour on the way to Alpha Centauri.

Meanwhile, John and Maureen were tripping inside the gas planet, having a meet’n’greet with the planet’s lifeform, and somehow got back into the Resolute even though I believed they were stranded for good. That was a bit of convenient storytelling, but at least the Robinsons are complete again in the final episode of the season, with each of them acting in on the same plan to help Scarecrow and the robot, and to bring the Resolute to Alpha Centauri with all its colonist and not half of them. The writers could have used John and Maureen’s stranding for a bit more character development though — John did not even react majorly on the news that Maureen cheated to get Will onto the twenty-fourth colony and he did not even say that Maureen did the right thing. Let’s just think about the fact that the colony would be dead without Will. The kid brought them off the planet in the first season by having the poop-for-fuel idea, and if it had not been for Will’s connection to the robot, they would have killed everyone on the Resolute. And then the remaining survivors would have been stuck on the amber planet without working tech and spaceships. John could have recognized all this and told Maureen she did the right thing to keep the family together. But he did not, so he is an asshole.

Lost in Space (“Unknown”)

Season 2, Episode 8
Date of release: December 24, 2019 (Netflix)

And here I was, thinking that the mutiny would spin its webs through the final episodes of the season, but before the end credits rolled, the mutiny was already over and the characters were about to deal with something else instead. I am a little sad that the mutiny had to be breakfasted this quickly, but I guess the Robinsons still got to the point I wanted them at after the mutiny: In trouble with the “law” of the Resolute, and with Hastings having established himself as the true villain of the story, the family and their allies can now fight against human scum and don’t necessarily just have to try and find a way off a crazy planet to survive. Still, going into the final two episodes of the season without much of a teaser of things to come is a bit weird. At least the first season signalled what the final (two) episode(s) would be about, but with the exception of the alien ships that have signalled their future arrival in the previous episode, I really don’t know anything about the upcoming story. And now I am wondering if that is a good or a bad thing. Is it good because the show stays surprising that way or is it bad because it may prove that the writers didn’t really know where to go this late in the season?

The women are on their way to captain this spaceship!

I don’t even believe they never knew. So many plot points have been used to get the characters this far, and with certain elements from the previous season’s narrative having returned to haunt the characters (Maureen’s trade to get Will into the colony, Smith not saving the security personnel who got sucked out of the airlock), the writers definitely had a picture of how to keep the characters busy this season, even if it seems a little bit weird in hindsight that Smith was doing her own thing for two episodes, hindered by absolutely no one to become “Dr. Zoe Smith.” Hell, Maureen even transformed from a mother to a authority figure in this episode, and I can imagine that her endgame as a character on this show is taking over in a leadership position within the colony, right after all the white men of power with bad intentions have been removed from those positions. LOST IN SPACE must not generally be about Will’s standing with the robot or robots any longer, because now it looks like Maureen has also found her calling. So did Judy, as she will become a very talented doctor, and even Penny will make bank writing books about the experience of being lost in space. Now what to do with John?

The actual mutiny itself looked pretty solid. I liked that Maureen and Captain Kamal weren’t too much into a conflict on the bridge and that the Captain of the Resolute did listen to Maureen and learned something from what happened here. I liked that the writers made it themselves very easy with this mutiny by letting it happen under a skeleton crew currently running the Resolute, which means there was less resistance from staff and workers and which means the show was able to continue with the family aspect of the show without having to depict a few violent and bloody action moves that preceded the mutiny, which would have pushed the family-friendly narrative out of the show. I even loved the image of the robot being the “emergency repair protocol,” and how Samantha must have liked that image of the good robot continuing to save lives on this space station. Even Don got his little moment of redemption with Ava and the man continues to be a delight in heated and dangerous situations.

Will the real villain of the show please realize the mess he is in right now?

The only thing I did not like about the mutiny was Hastings’ role in it. First of all, I was unable to understand why he needed to open the airlock to the OGS to get his bidding done. I knew that he wanted the workers down there to stop collecting the ammonium, but the Resolute was already below the clouds of the gas planet, so why not just trying to get the command of the ship back and steer away from the planet? Why the convoluted plan of killing people to show Maureen that she was the bad guy in this mutiny? Secondly, Hastings has been depicted way too harshly as a killer, now that he was able to make a move against Maureen or anyone else who wishes to survive this trip to Alpha Centauri and I am not so sure that is going to help him in the long run (just have anyone else hear what Hastings has done, no matter how he did it, and he will find himself in an airlock about to open as well). Did he just pull this stunt to showcase to everyone that he is the bad guy? The answer to that question seems to be an astounding “Yes,” which means not even LOST IN SPACE can create a villain with character depth and whose actions mean something to him and other people. But I guess the only villain the writers really cared about was Smith.

Who is very much in hot waters after this episode, and this time around she is not to be blamed. She was at the bridge, but no one heard her. She was scared when Samantha and her mother were suddenly in front of her and she ran away. All she wanted was to warn Maureen and do an actual good thing for the Robinsons (and everyone else on the Resolute). With John hating her for something that was not her fault, it should define the remainder of the relationships Smith has with the Robinson family. The only good thing she was ready to do this season and she failed to deliver — now her path to redemption has been blocked by a huge piece of rock and she will definitely not be interested in going around or climbing over it, metaphorically speaking.

Lost in Space (“Evolution”)

Season 2, Episode 7
Date of release: December 24, 2019 (Netflix)

“We need a plan,” is almost like the first step towards the final story of the season. With the Robinsons, Izabel, Vijay and Smith planning a mutiny to not only give the colony a chance to survive, but also get the people off the rust-infested planet and to safety, the writers have created the ultimate premise to fill the next three episodes with, since the show is known to carry a premise over two or three episodes and create a narrative that fits for a feature-length presentation. It’s what I like so much about the first three episodes of the series, and even the first two hours of this season, when edited together, could serve well as a feature. Building a mutiny plot in which the Robinsons break all the rules to save lives and lead the colony to safety from rust and more robot aliens would definitely be the plot I would go with and advertise for in the writers room, and I would find a way to expand it into three episodes and make it as exciting as possible. Besides that, it is the premise that would turn the band of Robinsons and their friends into rebel fighters who go against the Imperial army of Resolute captains and executives who have a different agenda, and that is always a premise that works, both in television and in the feature side.

A robot and a horse walk into a saloon…

The episode made some fine work in letting the robot be as mysterious and unexpecting as possible. Robot was looking at the horse and it figured that it was in shackles, a prisoner, a slave only living to do the work for the human race. Yet Will constantly told Robot that the horse was a friend, that it does not know any better, that it would just walk off confusingly when untethered (that sometimes happens to humans, too). At this point I don’t even know if Robot just believes in everything Will says and therefore is not confused about the relationship between a human and their shackled animal, or if it was starting to doubt humanity and whether Will might just be another lying piece of crap who does not realize how dangerous a relationship between a master and their slave can be. Maybe Robot has a bit of experience about that, and since the robot has been able to connect with Will even in distance, the question can be asked if Robot was also able to be connected in distance with Scarecrow, which means Will’s robot knows that Scarecrow has been tortured and currently sits in a box in the engine room, and Robot does everything to just get back on the Resolute to get to Scarecrow. By the way, I would love to see what happens when Will’s robot sees Scarecrow in the box when they enter the engine room, because chronologically speaking it’s where we last saw Scarecrow, not feeling well, terribly treated, ready to become one of the central characters In a story of rebellion between humankind and robots.

Come to the Jupiter, let’s get together, plan a mutiny…

Ben has also been a bit confusing in this episode, as he walked between being a villain to Maureen and Will and a friend to the robot. It seemed inconsistent that Ben would change his mind over “catching” the robot, just because it was able to feel for other living beings, even mourn for them (the thing with the rock was a nice throwback to the first season, and this season has not been shy delivering throwbacks to the previous season, proving that whatever the characters go through, it sticks and is part of the back story now, which is not always the case on television). Maybe that could turn him into an unsuspecting ally during the mutiny part of the season’s narrative (that would mean Ben was stomping on his path to redemption this entire episode), or maybe all this just makes him more angrier at the end — a 12-year-old boy managed to do what Ben could never do, and that is usually something an angry white man gets even more angrier about. But considering how Hastings has been slowly placed into being the chief antagonist of the season, the outcome looks rosy for Ben.

By the way, I have come to stop thinking about the possibility that Ben may be an older version of Will. First of all, the writers would have started seeding the plants for that twist by now, especially after Maureen has been riding alongside Ben for a few days. Secondly, there really is no way for LOST IN SPACE the television show to copy LOST IN SPACE the movie, because it would just be too obvious and lazy. It is a good thing the writers decided to cut that out, and I am almost sure they were thinking about the idea in the writers room at least once.

Lost in Space (“Severed”)

Season 2, Episode 6
Date of release: December 24, 2019 (Netflix)

I was mouthing “finally!” when Will and the robot were reunited halfway through the episode, but it turns out that my excitement was for nothing, because the writers decided to include a twist that was not only surprising, but in hindsight makes less and less sense. That the second alien robot, also known as SAR, would want to trap Will seems kind of plausible, considering his connection with Robot, but the ending of the episode neither gave a reason why Will was being lured into a trap, nor has it explained why SAR didn’t just do with Will what it wanted to do with Will when it and the kid united after the almost attack by the dinosaur-looking monsters. Wanting to lead Will into the cave to show him some paintings felt like a waste of time for the mission SAR was on, but then again, maybe it just needed to stall time because Will’s mother was also around (that would make SAR extremely intelligent, feeling the need to manipulate Will away from his mother). Of course, the whole story does level up the premise of Will and his connection with Robot. That connection is not just known by the people of the Resolute now, the robots also know about this, probably not just SAR. And as Ben is probably manipulating Will into doing his bidding, some of the robots will most likely have the same plan. Again, Will is the central character of the entire series and it seems like the fate of humanity and the robots, or at least this very colony, lies in Will’s hands.

Welcome to the old west, you have to ride horses from here on.

It was a solid episode that couldn’t quite entertain me with Will’s story, but had some great intrigue when it came to Don’s rescue attempt. The writers continued to give Penny screentime and development, having her find out what she is good for as a person in this new life while also creating a rapport with Smith that could either help her towards her redemption arc or help Smith in winning over Penny in her duel against the Robinsons (although at this point I am wondering why she even has to go up against the Robinsons — they might be the only ones who know who she really is and what she might be up to, but just get to another part of the Resolute and live your life while the Robinsons get lost in space again?), and there was something absolutely heartbreaking after Don opened the “fridge” and there he was, holding Penny in his arms as she was crying and being happy about living to see another moment in her life. Penny has had a lot of growing-up moments this season, as she comes close to defying death over and over, and she comes out of those moments as a girl who just grew up a little and who realized that she can trust her family and friends to get her out of dangerous situations. Yes, that kind of makes Penny the damsel in distress, as she had to be rescued by Will and her father in the second episode and by Don in this one, but it shows once more that she is the character she is supposed to be at her age: just a kid, a teenager in love with another teenager, a person who is just figuring out who she is.

Together at last after a wild ride in outer space.

Meanwhile, consider me disappointed that the infection threatening metals on the Resolute was breakfasted like only a little part of the space station was affected, instead of the entire thing. I honestly believed that the infection would have spread to more than just this tiny part of the station, especially since infected people (like the ones with screws in his knees) were walking around like nobody’s business, silently infecting other parts of the station and risking the entire structure falling apart, which meant the colonists would have been forced to evacuate to a random planet quite quickly. But no, here we are, the infection has been severed from the station (hence the episode title) and the writers can get rid of that plot device for the next episode, not giving any thought about the virus reappearing like any good and deadly virus does on planet Earth. Maybe we will revisit that premise in seven months’ time in the narrative, which seems to be the incubation time of the virus.

Lost in Space (“Run”)

Season 2, Episode 5
Date of release: December 24, 2019 (Disney Channel)

The writers were very convenient in their choices to include flashback scenes, just to expand on certain relationships between the characters. It never really helped Smith two episodes ago when her flashback scenes were with her mother and her sister, since those flashbacks did not add anything particularly interesting to her character arc, but in the case of Judy and John, it did help, especially since I am a sucker for good parent/kid storylines, especially when they remind me what my life with my father could have looked like if he had not been an asshole during my childhood. In a way, this episode allowed me to live vicariously through Judy and her wonderful relationship with her father, proving once more that the bond between the Robinsons cannot be broken. It’s what Don told Smith at the end of the second episode this season, which is probably why the writers decided to separate Smith from most of the Robinsons and essentially force Penny to figure out what Smith’s deal is.

Because really, if Penny would not have followed Smith and roamed around the trash compactor for clues, Smith would have been useless in the narrative and the writers could have retired the character. Penny’s sense of justice and never having to live with open mysteries let the writers to continue with the villainous character though, and here we are, with Penny being the only one dealing with Smith, until the two head butts so hard that other people have to get involved. Halfway into the season and it really becomes a construed storyline, but I don’t even know what would have made it better — if Smith had stayed with the Robinsons, would she have been more enjoyable as a villain pulling the strings in the background? Would the show be better in general if it was not forced to keep Smith in the running at this point? It is pretty clear that the show can live without Don West, who was in only one scene this episode (and I did not miss him for the rest of the hour), so it could easily live without “Zoe Smith” as well.

Judy becomes the new central character of a Run Lola Run adaptation.

Still, there is some intrigue in the Smith/Penny story, even if it is full of conveniences, beginning with the fact that Smith’s efforts to manipulate Penny rely on Penny being a snoop, with Smith could not have anticipated. Penny is pretty much the only character on the Resolute who believes that Smith is truly evil, which means Penny can be a hero and save lives, just in case Smith plans to end some of them. Smith could also bring Penny in some serious peril which could bring her family to a boil and that could mean a great confrontational moment between Smith and the Robinsons. And I am definitely here for that story, if it ever comes.

The return of Vijay into Penny’s life was to be expected ever since it was clear that the Resolute evacuated and the colonists would return back to the spaceship (as soon as it has been disinfected), and I am glad that the story was not majorly cliched or too romantically inclined. It is the story of two teenagers having a crush on each other after all — a story that would find room in a lot of episodes of a teenage drama, but not really a story that should take ahold of Penny’s life while her family is doing stuff to save the colony and bring it to Alpha Centauri. However, Vijay is a solid character, and as long as he is not annoying, I can accept wherever the writers were going with Penny’s teenage romance.

The story on the planet seemed solid. I wished Judy’s run through the unsafe zone with dinosaur monsters roaming and ready to eat other living beings would have been the frontrunner of the entire episode and not just the second half of it when her chariot broke down, but the story was nicely connected to an emotional anchor and with the flashbacks the writers made sure that LOST IN SPACE remains about the family and not the premise inside the science-fiction story. Judy pressing her father to not give up or she will hate him when he just dies like that was a strong scene, and it reminded me of the one between Penny and Maureen three episodes ago, right before the thunder was about to hit them — in the eyes of mortality and death, the Robinsons find themselves, connect with each other, and save each other from certain doom. I love how this remains the strength of the show and how the writers continuously focused on that strength, which is also helped by the fact that the cast is wonderful. Granted, when the Robinsons are separated into three teams, each of them doing their own thing (Maureen and Will are on their way to the robot, Penny is investigating Smith, and Judy and John are saving each other), you can’t do much with that family bond and strength, but sometimes it does pop up and then the episode gets better.

Talk to the slowly rising hand!

Meanwhile, the characters have to fight another infection of sorts. As I mentioned during the previous episode’s review, it’s super convenient that the medals start to fall apart after the Robinsons reunited with the colony, but the writers created another ticking time bomb in the narrative which should keep the story flowing in a quick pace for the next few episodes. Something needs to be found to stop the infection (how helpful of Don and his friend to notice that this wasn’t just rust, but a literal infection, which means it’s a virus and viruses can be fought) and that something will define the premise of the next episode. Ticking time bombs in the narrative help when you do not have much of a story or character development to offer, but they also bring enough tension and action into the story to just have fun. LOST IN SPACE is not an HBO drama that tries to be exquisite, it is not a Netflix show that is written and produced to win awards left and right. It is still entertainment that is supposed to give you joy, and for that I applaud the writers. I may be annoyed by a few story moves here and there, as well as certain characters, but I cannot write off the fun I have while watching LOST IN SPACE.

Lost in Space (“Scarecrow”)

Season 2, Episode 4
Date of release: December 24, 2019 (Netflix)

The writers are building a new conspiracy, or at least a new back story of what the Christmas Star was and is, and what Scarecrow really is and how it behaves around humans and Will in particular, and I am not really sure if I like it. Especially when it comes to Ben, the new mysterious character in the fold who could strike up a relationship with Smith and then turn himself into half of a super couple ready to manipulate the entirety of the colony, I was thinking about rolling my eyes more than I was about how he functions in the back story of it all and how he will turn into an adversary for Will, because he would love to use the kid to control the robots. Not just because the engine needs to be carried to the Resolute, but because when you control the robots, you can do and get anything, as Smith has proven in the previous season. For a moment I was even thinking about the possibility that Ben is Will from the future, which means the television show LOST IN SPACE is attempting to steal the premise from the movie LOST IN SPACE, and I realized I wouldn’t even mind. But then again, maybe Ben is just secretly evil, because he was attacked by SAR too often and would like to exact some revenge — after it finished piloting the Resolute to Alpha Centauri.

Villainous thoughts for this friendly-looking man.

That is where an interesting plot kicks in that I didn’t even see coming. Ben was introduced to tell the viewers that SAR was tortured to do the bidding of the humans. SAR has been a prisoner ever since he crashed on Earth (the Christmas Star), which could be the reason why it was never interested in being good to anyone who hangs around his torturer. SAR has probably come to figure Ben as the evil alien, but as a caged-in prisoner that misses half its body it can’t do a lot). And here comes Will, so seriously attempts to communicate with SAR, who is one of the friendly humans, who tells it that he does not think that robots should be in a box, and suddenly there is this urge in me to think of Will as the savior of the robots. In an attempt to control the robot, Ben went the torturous route, but in an attempt to communicate with the robot, Will went the empathetic route. It should be pretty clear who wins out here, but the episode didn’t really make clear whether or not Ben is the future villain of the story. But when I think about how Will could succeed connecting with SAR and have two robots listening to and following him… It would make Will the most feared and successful and admired person among the colonists (and every girl will love him), and it would turn every man who wants to control the robots for strength and power mad that a kid managed to do what they never could. That also makes Will the central character of the LOST IN SPACE saga, which was about time, since I figured from the beginning that it was always about Will saving them all at the end.

Meanwhile, this episode stopped the focus on the Robinson family exploits and split up the characters again. Maureen, Will and Penny stayed on the Resolute, and John, Don and Judy went down to the planet for the B story. The fourth episode of the first season almost did the same, ending the season opening story arc and leading the characters to a split story narrative, in which characters separate to experience their own adventures. At least the story on the planet is destined to end pretty soon, because they might not be able to live long enough to see Ben become the villain, considering how everything is rusting and breaking apart (how convenient that the malfunction and accident start right after the Robinsons returned to the Resolute and joined the other colonists). And rescue has to come quickly for Will’s robot, too, judging by the rusty look at the end of the episode. As if it felt that Will was nearby, knowing where it was, coming to save it.

Will’s robot just wants to be saved before falling apart forever.

The story on the planet did tackle sexism just a tad bit with Judy and how she was not trusted to do the job of a doctor, let alone being listened to by the guys. She landed on this rusty sweaty dusty planet to help and she was immediately sent out to restock the shelves like she is the entry level worker at a Whole Foods store. She screamed at the guys to get away from the well, but no one listened to her because she was a woman. There was some subtle storytelling here, but I assume the writers were careful with it and played it down because this is still a family show, and putting in social criticism was maybe not the right way to entertain audiences. Kind of like how Disney decides not to bother with LGBTQ presence in their films, because they think that is not what the paying family audience came to see (and it’s what China edits out anyway, so why bother sending them half a movie?).

And then there was Smith, who for the second episode in a row was disconnected from everything else that happened on the show. She is in her own little universe now, begging the question if the writers knew what to make of the character this season or if it really was problematic to logically turn her into “Zoe Smith” and leave her cruel past behind. I also would have hoped that after she realized she killed Samantha’s father, she would see what evil she has done and she would stop continuing, but I guess that lesson never came out of the previous episode, and here we are, Smith essentially turning into Walter White who witnessed Jane choking to death on her own vomit. Right now it is the least enjoyable story of the show — Smith continues to manipulate the people around her and seems to have found a willing victim in Penny (in the previous season it was Will, will Judy be the manipulated in season three?). There is no other purpose for her in this show, making her boring as a character. Here is to hoping it will change soon.