So, there’s a lot good about this episode. Director Tim Southam leans in heavy on the “we’ve got John Williams music anyway, let’s make it like a Spielberg” to good effect. There’s a very nice arc for Taylor Russell and Ignacio Serricchio (who still aren’t romantic, yay), and there’s a pretty good one for Molly Parker and Toby Stephens. Maxwell Jenkins and Mina Sundwall have a brother and sister bonding arc because Jenkins is so upset about what happened at the end of last episode.
We don’t see Jenkins tell his family about it, so there’s no resolution to that significant plot point and character development moment. Instead, he and Sundwall come up with activities to show the state of his grief over telling his robot to self-destruct. Not even an “I know why you cry” moment. It’s got to be the biggest dodge the series has done to date. Not sure if they didn’t think they could write it or Stephens or Jenkins could act it.
Serricchio and Russell are still working with colony leader and general asshole Raza Jaffrey. Does someone call him an “asshole?” Maybe. The quickly deteriorating planet is making things difficult for everyone out and about (except Parker Posey, who has an uneventful field trip to get her plot in place for next episode). The expedition has to do a timed special effects sequence to get back home, and something goes wrong, leading to a casualty and a stand-off between Russell and Jaffrey. Russell may be a doctor and all, but what does she know, Jaffrey says.
Serricchio’s got to take a side, which then has further repercussions.
It’s a manipulative arc, to be sure, but expertly directed by Southam and very well-acted by Russell, Jaffrey, and Serricchio. If “Lost in Space” doesn’t screw up Russell and Serricchio’s friendship, it’s looking likely to be the best thing about the show.
Parker and Stephens are on their own day trip. Thanks to unexpected seismic activity, they end up in mortal danger. Since Parker and Stephens know the planet’s breaking up, but no one else is aware (well, Sundwall, but it’s only important later on), it adds a certain dramatic weight to their arc. Plus, they finally get a scene together where they aren’t mad (or Parker isn’t mad) and can appreciate one another. It’s… better? I’m not sure what “Lost in Space” gets out of the Robinson family being mad at dad Stephens for the first six and a half episodes of a ten-episode season, but I’ll bet it’s less than twenty minutes of material.
Parker holds up their arc.
There’s a big development in the rescue plotline, which leads to a compelling hard cliffhanger. The cliffhanger also ties into the Posey plotline, as it works to verify her seemingly random lies.
Southam’s direction is first-rate. He really likes doing this kind of show. The scene where they lay on the John Williams isn’t even good. It’s just the most appropriate place for the music.
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