This Lost in Space review contains spoilers.
Lost in Space Episode 4
The Jupiter 2 is out of ice. Metaphorically speaking, Lost in Space thawed out and really began its world building in episode four, “The Robinsons Were Here.” The space slugs no longer pose a serious threat, so it allows the show to stabilize as best as a family lost millions of miles away from home can. Breaking out of the worries surrounding Jupiter 2 gave us some new pairings that serve to further development relationships and introduce some potentially significant storylines.
With Jupiter expansion protocols in place, the Robinsons are resigned to the fact that they’ll be here for some time. Contacting the Resolute has been a futile exercise. When they find another Jupiter with a family aboard, it’s obvious that everyone seems to be having the same luck. At some point, the new family picked up Don West and the wounded survivor Angela. We don’t know how it happened, especially since Dr. Smith jacked their flare, but pace is something this show won’t sacrifice, to its credit.
The show has done a good job of not throwing too many balls in the air. Dr. Smith has proven useless since she’s a fake doctor, shouldn’t be on the mission in the first place, and is an all-around bad person and murderer. As could be expected, she’s sidelined in the episode because she has little to contribute from a practical survival perspective and also because they want to save the inevitable showdown with Don West for later.
The episode gives us a few key details that will shape the rest of the season. The obvious is that the cast got a whole lot bigger on this new planet. Two more Jupiters have been found, and one of them carries the family of the elected Alpha Centauri representative. Maureen and John didn’t vote for him, and he kind of seems like a dick. That might throw off the power play between John and Maureen, hopefully bringing them closer together. As it stands in this episode, they may be working side by side, but it feels like they’re drifting apart.
In an excursion, Don West heads off with John and Maureen, leaving the kids alone for the day. What comes out of this is more proof that Don West graduated from the Han Solo School of Flight. As much as I want to call this version of the character a Han Solo knockoff, Ignacio Serricchio brings much needed levity to the situation and he seems to be having a ton of fun doing it. West’s smuggler ambitions are secondary to John attempting to hash out his differences with Maureen. It seems like they were about to have a genuine moment while trapped, but Maureen quickly squashed it by asking where John would live if they ever make it to Alpha Centauri. We finally learn why the Robinsons’ are so resentful of their father: John chose to deploy on a second military mission on his own accord and lied about it to the family.
While the family continues to hold this grudge against John, everyone seems willing to put their blind trust in unknown quantities. In the beginning of the episode, Will questions why John gives Dr. Smith, who they know nothing about, the benefit of the doubt, yet the Robot, despite saving their lives, hasn’t earned anyone’s trust. When Judy finds out from a woozy Angela that it was the Robot who caused the destruction of the Resolute, the rest of the episode becomes a meditation on whether people, or robots, can change. Judy seems to think people can, but she’s skeptical that Robots do.
Eventually Judy and Penny come around on the Robot, working with Will to hide and protect it from the other colonists. Maybe it’s a small step towards them realizing that forgiving the Robot but still holding a grudge against their father is quite the contradiction.
The problem with space colonization, as Don West put it, is that people tend to bring whatever it is they’re running away from with them. That quite literally happened with the Robinsons agreeing to bring John on this trip. As the episode ends, Dr. Smith sets out to prove that some people don’t change. She finds the Robot and begins what she hopes is a brainwashing. Or AI washing. Or reprogramming. In any case, Dr. Smith has one note to play, and for Lost in Space to maintain some surprises along the way, this is one character they don’t need to change.
“The Robinsons Were Here” was a needed gateway to the rest of the season. The kids finally got some time together without John and Maureen, and it resulted in some growth and a cool moment in the cave when they tagged the family name. We don’t know what to make of the other colonists just yet, but it’ll make for some good tension when the fireworks between Don and Dr. Smith kick off. This one may have been less adventure and more traditional family fare, but Lost in Space continues to plant fruitful roots in this new world.