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.
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.
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.