blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Lost in Space (2018) s03e06 – Final Transmission

Yet another short episode. And it’s got a huge dramatic beat in the latter half, but not for the cliffhanger. In fact, everything after the dramatic beat just serves to reduce the impact of that beat. It plays very awkwardly, which isn’t director Julian Holmes’s fault, just the script’s. Katherine Collins gets the credit; as per her usual, there’s a lousy sappy monologue from one of the cast members. It’s worse than usual because it’s not in dialogue but pre-recorded monologue, so they’re trying to edit to match.

Despite crashing on a bog planet—Dagobah without matte paintings—for once, the space-camper is almost ready for flight. They just need to clean things up and wait for Ignacio Serricchio to arrive. He’s busy walking with his pet chicken in a long shot. Maxwell Jenkins and Toby Stephens go up top to watch him approach and have a painful conversation about Jenkins getting older. I think he’s as tall as Stephens or taller, but I don’t remember them mentioning it.

There’s a better check-up scene between Molly Parker and Parker Posey, harkening back to their original bonding scenes in the first season. It’s okay, but a reminder the show never really gave the two of them anything to do together.

Then we get some earth-shattering news (well, not really) about how the Cylons found Earth in the first place (and when), and it changes everything, meaning Jenkins is going to have to go out and have a showdown with the alien boss. There are a handful more revelations (“Lost in Space” really does go with “It’s okay to enslave artificial beings”) before the huge dramatic beat and fallout. The fallout is everyone scrambling to get to the next episode so they can have their narrative stakes and eat them too.

The episode features Stephens’s worst acting on the show (I’d say so far, but it’s almost over, right… this season’s it). A lot of it is the script’s fault, though the show has never written Stephens’s character to suit the performance, so what can you really do about it. We’re in the final three episodes, not much.

What’s so much worse about it is when the show acknowledges the deficiency—Parker Posey comments on it this time—only it never improves.

There’s also some middling acting from Jenkins, but it’s big swing stuff—embracing his Messianic possibilities—so it’s easier to let it slide. The Stephens stuff isn’t even disappointing; instead exasperating and tedious.

The episode resolves one of the show’s longest-running “mythology” arcs, and it’s the weakest weak sauce. You’d think with so much activity on this arc, they’d have something better planned for the finish.

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