blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Lost in Space (2018) s02e08 – Unknown

There are a couple moments in this episode where characters could’ve easily gotten away saying, “That’s white of him” or, down a notch, “That’s not very cricket.” Once when Toby Stephens—who gets top-billing again in the irregularly included opening credits–is having his episode-long chitchat with newly revealed series villain Douglas Hodge. Hodge isn’t just the bad guy this season; he’s been the bad guy since before the show started, just in the background.

Hodge isn’t bad. However, given the meatiness of the part, they could’ve cast better.

At some point, he tells Stephens his evil plan, and it doesn’t really rile Stephens up too much because, you know, we’re all in the same country club or whatever. It comes off less as gentleman adversaries and more desperate stringing out of the story. Especially given Stephens was gung ho to confront female captain Sakina Jaffrey last episode.

The other moment is when Maxwell Jenkins and the robot see some dudes torturing one of the other robots—who the show has already established is dying—and Jenkins can’t figure out why the robot’s not cool with it. Jenkins might’ve gotten taller, and his voice has started changing, but he’s really not doing much character developing. Though given it turns out “Lost in Space” is about humanity being, well, shitty humans….

The main plot is about Molly Parker leading a mutiny against Jaffrey to save the survivors she and Hodge were going to strand on the planet. Jaffrey comes out of the episode looking all right, all things considered, but it’s because the episode skirts over her being okay with Hodge murdering her non-comms to get what he wants.

Also, given the episode’s about Parker in a mutiny suspense drama, Stephens getting that top-billing again makes even less sense.

Parker’s figured out a way to save the stranded survivors, which will require a very extensive effects sequence where she flies the mothership through a gas giant. There are reasons to fly through the gas giant, but they don’t matter as much as the fantastic sci-fi action sequences. The robot’s got a big part in helping with those sequences; Jenkins and Mina Sundwall tag along, mainly for Sundwall to explain to Jenkins and the audience how the robot’s behavior has subtly changed since last season. She thinks it’s going to be important. Jenkins thinks she’s a silly girl who doesn’t understand boys and their robots. Guess who’s right at the cliffhanger?

Ignacio Serricchio gets a good, albeit contrived, plotline with his boss, Tattiawna Jones, as they end up suffering Hodge’s wrath. The episode tries really hard to imply Hodge is conflicted about his villainy, but it never comes off. Not sure if it’s the script—wait, I just realized it’s a Kari Drake episode without a saccharine family speech (she gets co-credit with Katherine Collins; maybe Collins cut it)—Jabbar Raisani’s direction, or Hodge. I’m leaning towards Hodge and the show’s general indifference to making him anything more than a stock villain.

But the episode does look great, and the mutiny plot’s compelling. And the robot’s arc is good. Probably shouldn’t be the best arc, but whatever. It’s something. The only other character development arc is an unnecessary and forced one for Taylor Russell; Hodge gleefully (well, with muted enthusiasm, anyway) dishes on her mom Parker’s dirty deeds.

Oh, and Parker Posey’s got a whole, not very good arc about how sometimes you can’t have a redemption arc.

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