Lost in Space (2018) s01e04 – The Robinsons Were Here

So Ignacio Serricchio is playing Don West, a character from the original show (Matt LeBlanc in the movie). If they mentioned his name before, I missed it. However, given Serricchio refers to himself multiple times in the third person this episode, maybe I wasn’t the only one confused.

Last episode ended with the heroes finding out the colony spaceship survived; this episode begins with Molly Parker and Toby Stephens heading over to another escape ship to confab with their fellow survivors. Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa plays the dad on the other ship (apparently, they’re all families and all cishet). It’s good to see Tagawa in something, but he’s gone after a second once the episode reveals Serricchio made it (along with Sibongile Mlambo). Posey abandoned them to a killer storm a couple episodes ago, and so now Posey’s in additional danger of being found out. She was already worried about the colony ship, knowing she’s an imposter; now everyone on the planet’s going to find out she’s an attempted manslaughterer.

The other significant development is Mlambo telling Taylor Russell about the killer robot attacking them. She immediately goes to tell her parents, who’ve already left on an adventure with Serricchio. So Russell goes home to confront Maxwell Jenkins about the robot, and since he already knew, he’s going to run away and hide it in a cave so she can’t rat him out to dad Stephens. Or something. It’s unclear why Jenkins is hiding the robot once everyone finds out it’s a killer robot. Because Russell goes with Jenkins to hide the robot, then Mina Sundwall tags along too, so it’s an outing.

It’s a good outing too. The character development between the kids is solid stuff, even if the excursion seems ginned up (though by an eleven-year-old, Jenkins, so a little better given that context). Posey’s following them because she wants to get the killer robot on her side. It’s a kids’ quest trope; it works.

The other plotline is Parker, Stephens, and Serricchio going to a crashed portion of the colony spaceship for supplies. There they make a few discoveries like they’re in more trouble than they thought, but also, Serricchio’s a smuggler who talks about himself in the third person. It’s funny how much different Serricchio’s character plays in this episode than in the one where he and Posey were trying to survive immediately post-crash. He was likable in that episode.

He’s a jackass in this one.

We also get a big reveal in the backstory with Stephens and Parker—what he did to wrong his family—and it’s underwhelming. No wonder it’s hard to write the character relationship when they’ve got such a slight conflict.

There’s a really funny Ferris Bueller’s Day Off reference, some more great Christopher Lennertz riffing on John Williams music (Jurassic Park this time), and generally better timing with the cast. Finally, we’re getting to the actors working off each other, which is nice, especially for Parker and Stephens. Even if their backstory is jank.

It’s the best episode so far. Really good direction from Alice Troughton, and hopefully, the characterizations in the script (credited to Katherine Collins) hold.

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