Will Robinson, falling for Dr. Smith’s shit since 1965. Having not seen the original show and not having great memories of the obvious evilness of Gary Oldman’s Dr. Smith in the Lost in Space: The Movie, I don’t know how this show’s version of Will Robinson, played by Maxwell Jenkins, falling for Parker Posey’s very obvious machinations—“Your parents lie to you to make you feel better because you’re just a kid”—when she’s literally locked up for being a supervillain… I’m not sure if Jenkins’s is a particularly dippy Will Robinson or just the norm.
Posey tricking Jenkins into helping her escape and wreck havoc doesn’t happen until the third act and then mostly just to screw up the imminent resolution to the rescue A-plot. It’s all for the cliffhanger, which is fine. Jenkins and Posey have the least amount of charisma together, and it’s thankfully not a running subplot.
The episode’s kind of an Apollo 13 riff. There’s a quick resolution to the previous episode’s hard cliffhanger, which had colony leader Raza Jaffrey being a bigger dick than usual and then losing his authority to Toby Stephens and Molly Parker. They’re a team now too. It makes Stephens more likable when he admits he needs to check with his wife.
But now all the survivors know there’s not much time left before the planet self-destructs—or at least burns all the humans off the surface—and there’s barely enough fuel for one ship. Parker’s got to figure out what to do, then Jenkins somehow makes her think of the time she saw Apollo 13 and how they should do a science no hyphen fiction episode where they need to strip down a space-camper, so it can get to the atmosphere with less fuel.
There’s a very brief thread about Yukari Komatsu having to fly it because she weighs the least, which upsets Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa—the scene where they argue in Japanese makes you wish the show were about them. And in Japanese.
Turns out the only person who can wake up from unconscious in time is Stephens, which means Parker, Jenkins, Mina Sundwall, and Taylor Russell all have to work out dad going on a potential suicide mission while training him for it. Luckily, they’ve got a few days, so they’re going to work it all out.
Not. The mother-ship has to leave sooner, so it’s now or never.
Probably series best acting from Stephens, which isn’t too high a bar for him to clear, but also terrific acting from Parker and Ignacio Serricchio. Even though Parker knows how the ships are supposed to work based on the manuals, Serricchio knows how they really work. It also gives Serricchio time with the other kids—not just Russell, though they have a rushed resolve to their investigating Posey plot—and it works.
Sundwall’s got a little to do with Ajay Friese—dealing with the fallout from her parents usurping control from his shitty dad, but otherwise, she and Russell end up all support to the main plot. Appropriately end up all support to the main plot. It’s a “clocks ticking” science and engineering action story.
Stephen Surjik directs Ron Howard-style just fine. Katherine Collins and Kari Drake (who are both producers as well) get the script credit. It’s most enthusiastic when on the main plot, which is enough to cover for the drags.
Like Jenkins somehow never realizing, after so much recent experience, it’s not okay when adults talk to children the way Posey talks to him.