JJ Feild is shaping up to be more likable than I was expecting, but also far flatter. “Lost in Space” shrugs through its male casting too much. He spends the episode being secretive about his plans if the robot-finding expedition is successful. He’s down on the planet with Molly Parker and Maxwell Jenkins, horseback riding to get to where the robot’s supposed to be. I’m not sure why horseback riding. Again, maybe someone demanded horses if they came back for season two. Otherwise, it’s just to drag out the episode and provide Western thrills. Western Jurassic Park thrills.
And perfectly good ones. It's an outstanding episode despite Feild being too bland and the horses being a little much. Okay, fine, the whole Jenkins, Parker, and Feild arc isn’t the greatest stuff, but it’s okay, and the rest of the episode more than makes up for it.
While the robot hunt is on the planet, there’s practically no other action on the planet; Taylor Russell and Toby Stephens don’t get any arcs this episode; they had their episode. Now it’s other folks’ turn, in this case, Mina Sundwall and Parker Posey.
Sundwall and Posey are on the mothership where the metal-eating termites have gotten on board. The episode does a quick flashback to show how the termites got aboard when they made a big deal out of the mothership being safe a couple episodes ago. Then it’s go time, with the termites quickly feasting on the mothership and trapping Sundwall and Posey. Ajay Friese is there too—the combination stranded and besieged plot happens right after Friese helped Sundwall Nancy Drew last episode and Rob LaBelle as Sundwall and Friese's school teacher.
They’re going to have a very dramatic arc where they face death and destruction multiple times, and characters have to do things they never thought they’d do. It’s a suspense storyline, and it’s excellent.
Figuring into it is Ignacio Serricchio, who knows how to save the imperiled, but he’s having trouble convincing anyone to listen to him. It’s a particularly great episode for Serricchio, who’s also lost a lot of screen time this season, and an easy series best for Sundwall and Posey. They’re in mortal danger for extended periods; it’d be hard not for it to be series best.
The robot hunt is fine. There’s a strange inertness to the scenes because Feild and Parker are usually just there to discuss simmering subplots for later or listen to Jenkins exposition dump on them. It’d work better with Jenkins alone, it’d work better with better music (“Lost in Space” can mimic Williams, but it can’t actually do good John Williams-esque from scratch), but it’s reasonably okay. This whole robot thing better pay off. Especially when the show noticeably struts in its non-robot plot lines.
Fine writing, credited to Katherine Collins, and excellent direction from—of course—Tim Southam.
It’s a swell episode.
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