blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Lost in Space (2018) s01e05 – Transmission

Even though this episode opens with Parker Posey trekking back through the forest after watching the Robinson kids hide the robot last episode… it seems like more time has progressed than a few hours. Unless all the survivors moved all their space-campers (the Jupiter space-camper) to the same campground overnight and legitimately elected, but dipshit leader Raza Jaffrey has got a plan for communicating their mothership.

They're going to build a tower and put a bunch of lights at the top and hope the mothership sees them from orbit. There aren't any establishing shots of the tower during construction, which makes it kind of hard to visualize, but director Deborah Chow instead focuses on Jaffrey being a jackass and how much better it would be if Robinson dad Toby Stephens was in charge.

It's obvious stuff, but it's also totally fine. Compared to the other guys, Stephens is definitely a winner.

After Posey's walk through the dewy woods, the action cuts to Molly Parker. She will have a solo mission this episode, something to do with her calculations of the planet's changing seasons. They're changing way too quickly. Juxtaposed with Parker going out and investigating, there are flashbacks to her relationship with her kids on Earth, scenes where Stephens just happens not to be there. First up, we discover Maxwell Jenkins was born premature and in a NICU, and so obviously, Parker was going to fudge his scores to make sure he got to get lost in space with the rest of them. Later, there's more with the other kids and shade at off-screen Stephen's expense. Maybe not the best flashbacks, but okay.

The majority of the episode's character development and it all happens onscreen. Taylor Russell and Ignacio Serricchio become erstwhile friends and allies. Hopefully, they don't have a romance because Serricchio's fifteen years older than Russell, who's twenty-four playing an eighteen-year-old, so he looks a full eighteen years older than Russell. We also get Serricchio finding out Posey's still alive—or, more, vice versa—and some drama from that interaction, especially since it gets Russell suspicious.

Meanwhile, Mina Sundwall spends most of her time flirting with Ajay Friese. Friese is Jaffrey's son, and Jaffrey's an asshole to his kid. Good enough banter and Friese calls Sundwall on her brattiness.

Jenkins's plot has him wanting to tell Stephens about the robot and never getting the courage. Posey also snoops on that subplot, using it to cause some drama. Really get to see Posey machinating this episode.

The ending is an unexpected (though forecasted) action sequence with heavy Jurassic Park nods, like straight riffs on scenes. Chow's very intentional about it in the direction, but then composer Christopher Lennertz doesn't lean into the John Williams-esque stuff he's done before. It's also weird a little later when there's a big Spielbergian "boy and his robot" moment.

It actually made me wonder if they shouldn't have tried harder to make the movie feel like Spielberg. Maybe they would've gotten a sequel.

The episode definitely has a different feel than the previous ones—the now enormous background cast—but "Lost in Space" still seems to know where it's going.

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