Season 2, Episode 3
Date of release: December 24, 2019 (Netflix)
In which the series delivered a ghost ship episode. It was to be presumed right after the Jupiter 2 was unable to radio the Resolute, and that the writers decided to depict no scenes from inside the Resolute about how its crew was anticipating the return of the Robinsons, and when I realized that this episode would be about the Robinsons walking through a ghost ship in the search for clues about what happened, I was hoping to get a bit of horror and thrill with the premise. Then I realized that LOST IN SPACE is still a family show and that there will probably never be a scene that goes full-on horror. But at least this episode tried to be suspenseful, making me remember the good and creepy parts about movies like EVENT HORIZON or the first ALIEN. Hallways that are dark or have flickering lights, monsters that could be behind every corner (it’s a good thing that the second alien robot, also known by its initials SAR, had a red face and illuminated most of the dark ship, which made it easily trackable from the cockpit of the Jupiter 2), and random stuff that seems to always appear in these kind of horror stories, in this case a horse.
It was a solid episode, although a little less intriguing than the previous two outings. This is chapter four of Penny’s second book she will hopefully write, and chapter four barely had anything to do with the first three chapters. The writers essentially figured they could do with a ghost ship premise (every science fiction show that has spaceships in it needs to have one of these, it’s an easy episode to write) and when they were done with it, move on to the next part of the Robinson journey, making this hour something of a filler episode. The only parts that seemed necessary for the greater story arc were the knowledge of two monsters wreaking havoc on the Resolute, with Will’s robot turning out to be the hero (hence the scavenger hunt that was teased by the end of the episode) and the tease of something greater behind the “looking glass,” which for some reason was offered to Maureen and John like they were immediately becoming part of the SWAT team of colonists, ready to find out which secrets the executives of this colonization mission has been kept from humanity. Of course it helps that Maureen and John are being included like this, since it hinders the writers from creating mystery storylines and the viewers asking themselves questions, but I would have figured that the people running the Resolute were still interested keeping “executive things” to the characters who are “executives,” and the Robinsons are just civilians.
The story of SAR creeping closer on the Robinsons for destruction and murder was okay. I laughed a little that the robot was still considered freaking dangerous, even if it was only crawling the entire time (apparently it was crawling faster than the Robinsons were running, which I can’t quite believe), but it was a solid-enough “monster in the dark” premise that led to some fine character moments between Judy and Samantha, as well as Penny and Will. I love it when the kids have screentime together and go for their own adventure, and I even liked that Judy was the most mature she has ever been while watching out for Samantha’s safety. It’s almost like the writers were intending towards maturing all the Robinson children, which Judy becoming a mother figure to someone else (only Samantha has her own mother to run towards), Penny becoming a horse wrangler, and Will becoming the connector to his robot, which would also mean he is the connector between the robot race and humanity (does that make him the leader of the robot race in future seasons?). Anyway, SAR wasn’t doing much that is considered horrific and thrilling, begging the question why anyone else on the Resolute, before the evacuation, wasn’t able to trap it like the Robinsons did.
Meanwhile, Smith was doing her own thing, and I guess it was a nice way to really make her “Zoe Smith” instead of June Harris. This way the characters won’t call her by her real name and the show can continue to carry the “Smith legacy” of LOST IN SPACE, even giving the show’s reviewers ample opportunity to forget all about where Smith really came from and what her real name is. After all, she behaves like a Dr. Smith, so she can be called that way. I just found her story a bit alienating — as the Robinsons were dealing with crap that could have killed them, Smith was able to just walk around the Resolute like it’s nobody’s business, enter and exit rooms she should not have access to, delete security footage she shouldn’t have access to, just so a narrative of “Zoe Smith” can be built. This may manifest her as that false persona, but what it did to the narrative of the show and her character wasn’t much. In a way she was established as a con artist, which is actually helpful (as long as we forgot all about her killing people, which this episode reminded us of multiple times) because that way she isn’t just a psychopathic and manipulative bitch, but all she did in this episode was removing herself from the place of danger and death, even though she was physically in the place of danger and death, doing her own thing rather than getting involved in the premise of the episode. It’s like she was her own ghost during this ghost ship hour.