It’s been seven months since the Robinsons and company were cut off from the 24th Colony fleet and their ultimate destination: Alpha Centauri. In that time, they’ve made a home on a somewhat hostile planet and, despite having to keep an eye on the grating Dr. Smith, things have been pretty good. Of course, since we’re talking about the season two premiere, that tranquility lasts only so long.
From its start,last season, Lost in Space carried a natural tension of a family uncertain of their future. Maureen (Molly Parker, House of Cards) and John’s (Toby Stephens, Black Sails) relationship was on shaky ground, with the kids having their own crises of faith in themselves. Aside from the need rendezvous with the Resolute mothership and get back on track towards their original destination, a major part of Season One was the methodical healing of wounds the Robinsons did as a family. In “Shipwrecked”, they’ve had seven months together, working and surviving while solidifying the familial bonds with each other — and Don (Ignacio Serricchio, Bones, The Young and the Restless) — while trying to find a way to power up the Jupiter long enough to reach space.
More than anything else, Lost in Space is a family adventure and it couldn’t have been made more obvious than what “Shipwrecked” gives us. From the sweeping score at home on any epic soundtrack playlist to the cascading difficulties they face when circumstance forces them to take the dangerous chance necessary to escape this planet — by turning the Jupiter into a sailboat no less! — “Shipwrecked” hits all those adventure notes, even tossing in the curveball of having the series antagonist, Dr. Smith (Parker Posey, Superman Returns, Granite Flats), be the unsung hero, stepping in as sailor supreme when John is temporarily incapacitated. Even with her skills, the Robinsons don’t escape their forced home at the end and instead run into another mystery; a metallic trench of alien designs that add another layer to the mystery of what type of aliens are out there.
After the darker (yet incredible) seasons of The Witcher and The Expanse that have premiered in the last ten days, Lost in Space was a welcome return to a more hopeful and fun adventure. But while there was that welcome air of whimsy like Will (Maxwell Jenkins, Sense8, A Family Man) learning how to drive, the heartfelt moment of Will reading Penny’s (Mina Sundwall, Freeheld, Law & Order: SVU), one that nearly brought a tear to my eye… or even Dr. Smith’s overt suggestion that she was the one to sabotage their garden, “Shipwrecked” doesn’t do without an apt dose of drama.
For a series that has been absent for more than a year and a half, “Shipwrecked” went a long way into reminding fans of the show what it was we loved about Lost in Space. It may not have done anything extraordinary, but what it did do was from the heart and gives us just a taste of the mystery that awaits.
Danger, Will Robinson
- Next to the genuine connection I felt between the characters last season, Will’s relationship to Robot was every bit as captivating. It was the tale of a boy and his dog — if the dog was an unknown piece of alien tech capable of murdering a host of people without batting an eye. It also touched on the idea that the way humans look at things when it relates to alien species is a fallacy considering it highly unlikely (to an infinitesimal degree) that we’d share a similar thought process. Still, I’m most eager to see these two reunited and gauge how Robot continues to evolve.
- Season One was a lot of fun but the one thing that always held it back was the lifeless Dr. Smith. Though Parker Posey deserves her share of blame for this character falling flat for me, there were some errors in the writing as well. It was as if they mislabeled her character, who would have fit perfectly into parodies like The Orville or Spaceballs rather than this series. Though it’s only been a single episode, Posey’s Smith came across much better in this premiere than she was at any point last season. Considering what the Robinsons (and Don) are facing, Dr. Smith must be more than the vaudevillian, mustache-twirling bore she was last season.
- This is such a minor gripe but, after watching the realistic portrayal of space travel in The Expanse, I couldn’t help but groan at the lack of security (nothing gets tied down, folks?). Yes, this is more a Star Wars-level of spacefaring (with some very solid CG) but at least prescribe to some level of OSHA standards.
Lost in Space – “Shipwrecked”
7.5 out of 10