Lost in Space (2018)
Season 1, Episode 1
DIR: Neil Marshall
WRITERS: Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless
Blurb: On their way to a new life on colony Alpha Centauri, the Robinsons face a crash landing on an uncharted planet, and have to survive a harrowing night.
Scene 01: We start with a family of five around a table. They're in space suits in microgravity. Father is dealing out cards, but the atmosphere is full of nervous energy.
The game is "Go Fish". But clearly this is a time waster because whatever is happening is out of their hands at the moment.
One of our daughters, which will be Judy, complains that the Resolute had made 23 successful trips, so what happened this time. Maureen tells her daughter that there isn't any purpose in dwelling on things they can't know. In the background, the computer starts issue low alert chimes. It announces that they are completing the de-orbiting burn, and John Robinson orders everyone to put their helmets on.
With their helmets on, Penny is able to see Will's cards. She cheats.
The ship suddenly bangs and shakes, the gravity returns suddenly, the computer interrupts the music playing and announces that atmospheric disturbance has been detected, as the ship is obviously attempting an unplanned landing.
Maureen assures her children that the computer will land them just fine, as that is what it's for.
Scene 02: But as we pan up & out of the ship, we see burning debris also heading for the atmosphere all around the J2.
A huge chunk of flaming wreckage collides with our family's vessel, knocking it severely out of alignment with its de-orbiting path.
Scene 03: The ship is sent careening into the atmosphere as the computer tells them about how they're about to either be burned alive, or smashed to bits. Because, it's helpful. To be fair, it's also working on trying to stablize their landing, so it isn't all pointless tales of their impending horrible deaths.
Everyone takes each other's and, except when John tells Judy to grab his, she deliberately declines.
The ship reaches impact, and everything in the hub goes crazy with the shaking, and the panels blowing out, and the crates which don't seem to have been strapped down - rather stupidly - fly across the floor. One of these crates hits Maureen's leg hard, pinning it against the table.
As the family are getting their barings, the J2's computer reports that their landing site is unstable as the ship goes through some more rumbling and shaking. John orders an EVAC.
The family have obviously trained hard, so they immediately fall into their roles with the kids going for supplies they'll need, while John deals with freeing Maureen.
Scene 04: The supplies gathered seem paltry, but there isn't really time for a full accounting, as the ship is still groaning, shaking, and panels are still blowing out. John orders everyone to follow him up a ladder to the top hatch.
The hatch only opens halfway, meaning only Will is small enough to get through. Outside, we can see that it is bright, windy and there is a snowstorm in progress.
Will is left temporarily alone on an icescape, as the others have to make their way to an alternate hatch.
Commentary: So, thus far, the digital effects were very nice. The crash landing was handled quite well, and I like the intimated details of the family's journey thus far, that we'll no doubt hear much more about as we go. This is starting out well to kick off the series.
Scene 05: Will hops down off of the ship, and climbs out of the impact crater. He's surrounded by desolate snow and ice.
As he looks around, we find that the J2 has crash landed in high peaks, but the planet itself has a less freezing climate and dense forests at lower altitudes... if the Robinson's can find a way to survive long enough to get off of the mountain.
Above his head, he hears sonic booms, and sees a dozen other Jupiters making their own emergency landings from whatever disaster has hit their mother ship, the Resolute. But none of them are going to close enough to combine resources with, or assist the unfortunate Robinson family.
Scene 06: Will returns to the J2, as the rest of the Robinsons have found egress by the back hatch.
John just gets Maureen settled, when the ship groans more and sink into a lake of water created by its melting the ice underneath it. And with the back hatch opened, this ship quickly disappears into the water.
Commentary: Give a kudo to the prop work: The Jupiter 2 looks amazing in full mock up. A special kudo also needs to go to the
cinemetography ... the scenery porn shots look gorgeous.
Scene 07: As John watches the ship go under, he gets a flashback to before their trip to the stars.
He's on video chat with the Robinson's, where he is on military duty in an undisclosed location. Everyone is opening X-Mas gifts.
The kids try to guess where he is, and Will starts a litany of where John can't be due to the fact he's in night. Penny suddenly asks if the greenery behind John is their own hedge, and he breaks out into a wide grin. He got leave to spend a few days with his family, and snuck home without telling them.
Commentary: Okay, that was pretty amusingly sweet, and contrasts Judy and his relationship then, with the obvious strain we saw aboard the Jupiter.
But this seems like a really bizarre time to have this particular flashback. I don't think the lead-in was very well done. And, to me, it seems like this is much too early in the program to start playing with flashbacks since our family are still at immediate risk of freezing, starving, dehydration and with no easy way to escape their icy landing site.
Scene 08: John and Maureen barely have time to canoodle in flashback-land, when a text alert lights up Penny's phone, and Maureen gets a phone call. Whatever she's being told is shocking, while Penny immediately turns on the television to a reporter sharing that near-Earth object has been detected heading for our planet. Dubbed the 'Christmas Star', scientists were working to track its orbital path.
Maureen is involved in tracking these objects, which is why she's received a call.
Scene 09: Back from flashback-land, Judy is checking out Maureen's leg injury, trained for this flight as the ship's medic. She reports that Maureen's leg is broken. Judy sees Penny checking her phone for reception, and complains that is what she grabbed from the ship, but Penny tells her she grabbed her pack, just like she was supposed to.
Maureen intervenes in the nascent argument by telling everyone that their situation could be worse. When Penny demands how, Maureen decides to remove her helmet to test the outside air.
Nobody is pleased by this impulsive act!
But it turns out it wasn't borderline suicidal. Maureen now notes that John's space suit was torn at the leg. If the air were poisoned, they'd know it by now.
Scene 10: A bit later, Penny stands on the top of the glacier they've crashed on and fires a flare. Which doesn't travel up all that far, so seems pointless, and extremely unlikely to lead to rescue even if someone did see it.
[And instead of firing it over the canyon below, she fires it up the mountain for some insanely ridiculous reason!]
She transmits, but no one answers.
Scene 11: In the temporary camp the Robinson's set up, Maureen tries to figure out where they are between Earth and the Alpha Centauri colony. She wonders at the odds they'd find an emergency landing spot on a habitable planet that nobody knew was here.
Will complains of pain across his chest, and John tells him it's from the crash harness and is normal. Judy snots at John that it may be normal for him, again showing strain between the two. Penny has Will go through breathing deep to check for cracked ribs, but it does appear to be only bruising from the harness.
Scene 12: John whispers to Maureen about their survival gear being sunk in 50 feet of water, and that if they don't get the ship out, it'll be locked in solid ice. They consider this, when Penny asks them to share. Maureen tells them that in a few hours the sun will be going down, and her preliminary scans indicate the temp will drop to -60.
At that time, it'll be too cold for the batteries, they'll drain and everybody dies. But Maureen brings up that they'll figure a way out of this, and if they can't then the rest will head down the glacier to warmer temperatures. Everyone else objects to her staying behind to die.
John offers a different solution - one of them can put on their helmet, and dive down to the J2 for a power cell that will keep their suits charged up overnight to give them more time to figure out a way down from the mountain.
Maureen objects that even with the suit on, the bottom hatch is too far to not freeze him. He reminds her the upper hatch is closer to the surface, and they both look over at Will, who pales significantly at the clear implication.
She refuses, but John reminds her that Will passed the same training as they did for these sorts of emergencies. Will is clearly afraid and doubtful, despite John's assurances that it'll be easy. In the meantime, Judy gets shift looks.
John tells Will it's just like the tank training back home, but this does nothing to relieve Will.
But in the background, we see that Judy has put on her helmet. She jogs to the edge of the pool and jumps in, heading for the bottom hatch despite the risks.
Commentary: I don't know. Will is feeling like a load, and you can understand because he's a kid, but I'm having trouble seeing him as "well trained", with the way he's reacting. And Maureen is confusing me a little bit: She talks to the kids like their team members, but then she suddenly acts like Will is made of porcelain. I can't quite figure out what the deal is with her -- is it just that Will is the youngest, so her decision making is clouded?
And what is going on between John and Judy? It could be that she's just a little to much like him for an extended period of time trapped together. She's obviously taking after him by being the Action Girl.
Scene 13: Judy goes into the drink, and sinks down to the J2.
John orders Judy back to the surface, which she ignores. John tells her that supply closet is too far from the rear hatch and it's too risky. She responds that he takes risks for a living, but he reports that he takes orders and he's giving her one. Judy responds that she's already in the ship.
Will is left with tears that he didn't go when they needed him to, but Penny reminds him that Judy is always okay. It's annoying, actually.
Commentary: Wow. Again, the cinemetography is amazing in this pilot. Okay, I need to take a moment to look up who was in charge of this so I can kudo by name...: Sam McCurdy. Great, great work, Sam!
Uh, but wow. Take a look at that crew list on IMDB! Jeezus, if this program is cancelled after a season due to the expense of the production [The way that Sense8 got screwed over], it'll be the cost of the flippin' crew batallion.
Scene 14: Judy is well inside the J2 now, and under emergency lighting makes her way through the ship to storage for a power cell.
She reports into her father that the main hatch is stuck. He again orders her to get back to the surface, but she decides to use the ladder to go the lower deck into the garage area of the ship.
Maureen gets on the com and tells Judy that she doesn't know when the water is going to freeze, but her daughter is focused on doing the job, as they were all trained to do in cases of emergency.
John and Maureen are both worried now that they can't see her suit lights yet, and this is taking too long. Judy reports that she's taking The Chariot's power batteries to act as a replacement for the sealed off storage cells. This makes John even more worried.
He orders her to get out of there right now, but it may be too late. Even as Judy is trying to swim with the heavy batteries, the water around her is freezing into blobs of ice -- and doing it fast.
She swims frantically for the surface, but the water all around her is freezing up, and she's forced to drop The Chariot battery.
Judy doesn't make it to the surface!!
Commentary: This scene was dragged out a bit for dramatic effect, but I have to admit that the end point of following Judy around the J2 interior was worth it for having the character actually end up NOT succeeding. I didn't see that coming, even though I'm equally sure that her suit is going to protect her juuuuussst long enough to save her.
It also helps that the actress, Taylor Russell, is the most charismatic of the family. And, I'm liking her character the most thus far, though I'm really liking the slightly sarcastic Penny, as well.
Scene 15: Judy is encased in the ice, and Maureen has to get her to stop hyperventilating. While Maureen is helping Judy, John notes that Maureen isn't looking so well, and is in obvious pain. He checks her life signs and finds her vitals in the red, as the toll of her broken leg and the stress of the situation makes itself felt on her signs.
Despite her insistence that she isn't going to rest until she's gotten her daughter back from the ice, Maureen passes out.
Scene 16: Sometime later, John is hacking at the ice with a small pick tool, while Maureen has been moved into a shelter tent with Penny attending her. Will collects some water from the glacier, melting slightly from the direct sunlight.
He and John hear cracking and splitting ice in the distance, and Will notes the bright light coming from a mountain there, as ice goes tumbling down the ravine. Will brings it to the impatient John's attention, that the white fire has to be coming from magnesium. A deposit of which burns hotter in ice and water.
John tells Judy he has to go, but he'll be back as soon as possible.
He and Will start their trek for some magnesium deposits.
Scene 17: Penny watches them go, and returns to flashback-land, after the Earth crisis which causes everyone to have to use filter masks when outdoors due to climactic degradation. It's another Christmas, probably one year later than John's surprise visit home.
The news is reporting that the Christmas Star comet reported the previous year has indeed struck the planet.
Penny is shopping for a watch for John. Maureen tries gently to dissuade her, but she's adamant that she knows John may not be able to get home with the crisis ongoing.
Maureen puts in on her credit card, and tells Penny she can pay her when the bill comes in. It turns out Penny is being paid to study -- obvs as part of the recolonization program. As Penny walks away to continue browsing, Maureen asks the clerk about returns, and assures her that they'll probably have to bring it back.
Commentary: So, this scene I think is really just underscoring that John was estranged from the family prior to launch. Which means that this is going to end up with Maureen and John coming back together through a crisis situation, because god forbid that a couple with kids not work out in the end, real life be damned and all.
But I'm more interested in the global crisis that is ongoing, but that we're only getting through observation and background new reports on screens.
And I am finding the flashback-land trips to be oddly timed.
Scene 18: Coming back from the state of her father's relationship with the family, Penny has taken John's place at trying to hack Judy free, but it's obvious that the tool they have isn't going to allow them to be fast enough.
Judy checks in with Penny on their mother's condition, which is still out and with vitals still in red.
They sarcasm a bit at each other, and Judy asks Penny to read to her while they wait for John's return, or for Judy's oxygen levels to drop to critical.
Commentary: I do like that every scene of Judy under the ice is filmed entirely from the claustrophobic, blinded perspective from inside her helmet. The camera is literally right on her face, and gives us her vantage point of being encased alive.
But I do keep feeling like there is just *something* I can't define missing. Maybe it's because I just don't believe that one of five main characters is going to die, so I know she's going to get rescued. Maybe it's pushing flashbacks into this very first episode, rather than staying in the urgent now. I don't know. I just feel like the pacing is a bit too slow for such a frantic situation.
I do like that nobody is in a panic, like a headless chicken and that they're all following their training and protocols, including Judy keeping a calm head once it's clear she isn't going to get out of her situation quickly. But the filming also seems to be a bit too calm, so it's not keeping me on edge, which is what this crash and aftermath should be doing.
Yeah, actually, I think it's the flashback-land interruptions that are the problem in this first script. Our focus should be entirely on the current, ongoing disaster of surviving the crash landing -- the personal dramas of the family's relations with one another should've been dealt with next episode after our family comes through the first night.
Scene 19: In the meanwhile, Will and John are trecking through hostile arctic conditions.
John tries to rebond with Will a bit, but Will seems more concerned with the fact that they're walking across a glacier whose stability they don't know, rather than trying to connect with dad. We do find out here that Will recognized the magnesium because he had tested into the Geology program during the mission training phase.
Of everyone, Will seems to be the least capable of dealing with the crash and we can see a lot of doubt and worry from him.
Scene 20: Back with Judy, she's in a near-doze as Penny continues with Moby Dick, when they're interrupted by a frantic Maureen asking after John and Will's whereabouts. She seems a bit surprised and proud with Will's idea, for some reason.
Scene 21: With Will, he instructs John about the vein of magnesium, and tells him not to make any sparks.
Will is feeling guilty about Judy's predicament, because he hesitated in going into the water for the power cell, and he could've been in and out much quicker than Judy managed, since he could've entered via the top hatch. John assures him that it's okay, and reminds him that he was chosen for this mission because he passed all of his tests and earned a spot.
John collects what they need, but as they're getting ready to go back, a crevasse that Will unknowingly was standing over gives way. He falls down a natural (*cough cough... it looks a bit too manmade*) ice tunnel and falls down through the ice.
Will is battered along the way, as he slides and bounces off of the ice tunnel. John is left to yell uselessly after him.
Commentary: And the real interest in this scene is definitely the indication that the entire family had to pass strict exams to be considered for the relocation. You could see family's having to make the choice between leaving behind spouses and even children, if they didn't measure up - or giving up their own space to escape a damaged, and possibly dying Earth.
That is something we should've seen more of, if we just had to stretch the script by going back to Earth in flashback-land at all.
I am also finding it mildly interesting that the script seems to be shaped around a non-fatal version of a disaster film, especially not-so-ironically of an Irwin Allen film: The survivors of a disaster have to fight their way to safety, while they're picked off (non-fatally, in this case, of course) one by one.
Scene 22: Back at the J2 crash, Penny is giving her mother some collected water but Maureen tells her that her leg feels like it's on fire. Judy is able to share in the conversation via the open com, and she worries over Maureen's leg. She instructs Penny that she needs to feel the area around the fracture.
Judy clearly tested into the medical support program, as she takes charge in a calm, forceful tone of voice when Penny reports that their mother's leg is hard. Judy tells Penny she'll have to perform a procedure to save the leg.
After knocking Maureen out, Judy tells Penny she'll need to slice into their mother's leg to relieve the pressure. She talks her through it step by step. Penny makes the first slice and reports in relief that she did it, but Judy deflates her by telling her she just has to do it three times more.
Commentary: I really like how their all being treated here as highly, intensively trained for a mission to colonize a new world - not just the parents dragging their kids along, but that the kids themselves had to train and prepare just as hard for a specific function and skill set, as well as being able to prove themselves capable of dealing with the unexpected.
So far, Maureen is sciences and general mission commander. John is the pilot, presumably, in keeping with his military background - so we could also ascribe to him general security. Will is geology. Judy is the medic. That leaves Penny as our odd-man, yet.
I'm impressed that they gave even the youngest member a specific role for a mission, so that none of the characters could be considered an untrained liability. That was very sensible of the show creators to start the series.
Scene 23: Back with John and Will, Will comes to from his harrowing tumble down the ice shaft. Beyond, he finds that he's slid down into a forested, moderately temperatured plateau.
After Will leaves the tunnel, he's able to establish radio contact with John above.
John checks on Will's condition and status, but can't help his son, especially since there isn't time to find him & find a way out of whatever valley he's slide down into & get back to Judy before her air runs out. John has to tell Will that he has to go back to help his sister.
Will tears up, afraid of what he might run into on his own, but John has no choice since Judy's situation is immediately critical. He finally tells John to go save Judy.
Commentary: Ugh. The choice here is appropriately agonizing for both, and I'm liking the drama and all. But... it's such a small thing, but... Why is the snow in Will's hair refusing to melt?
In fact, if you have even a remote interest in weather, thermodynamics, temperature's affects on human skin, paying attention to how long John claims Judy has vs. how fast he and Will would've had to travel on foot to the distant peak they're traveling to, well... just science in general, really - this show is going to pummel you in its very first episode.
Basic Science is beaten to a bloody pulp and then kicked while it's down.
Scene 24: Will slips back into Flashback-land: He and Judy are in the kitchen, where Will has been building a model of The Resolute.
They discuss their upcoming trip aboard it, and Will tells Judy that he won't be going. He relates that he froze up in the water tank test, and his evaluator was making a face as he was extracted from the test. He knows that he failed.
Judy grins at him, and tells him that he had made a face at her, too. She tries to assure him that making disappointed faces is part of their job to push the applicants to do better the next time. It doesn't help Will's sense that he's failed and will have to stay behind.
Judy tells him that they have one rule, written in stone that is never, ever broken: The Robinson's stick together.
She tosses her manuals into the trashcan, to Will's shock. Judy tells Will that she'll just borrow his, when his manuals arrive and gives him another smile.
Will, flashing-back in that forest, is able to remember that Maureen was hiding on the staircase being silent and listening worriedly.
Commentary: NO! NO, No, no! You can't introduce a flashback by Will and have it include characters and situations that he wasn't able to directly witness at the time. C'Mon!
Okay, the longer I'm reviewing this, the less I'm liking it in general because its structure is a mess. We're getting too much detail about the lead up to the 'adventure', but it's all taking place in situations where they don't belong. And now, they're messing up the basics of storytelling by having characters remember things they didn't witness.
Scene 25: We rejoin camp, where Maureen is conscious again, looking on Penny with pride as she sleeps outdoors in subfreezing temperatures -- as you would.
They mother-daughter bond. Penny assures Maureen they'll make it, and she agrees, telling her that every problem has a solution.
Scene 26: Back to Flashback-land, this time Maureen's: She's in the lab where the J2's are being produced, working on the exodus program. She also knows that Will didn't pass one of his exams, and ergo is to be scrubbed from the program. She illegally trades something to an unknown person in exchange for having Will's status changed from Fail to Pass to keep her family together.
She phones up her son with the "good news".
Scene 27: Back with Will, he's awaiting rescue, when bits of orange detritus begins drifting over him. It appears to be burning embers. Will, thinking another Jupiter must've crashed in the valley, radios but gets no reply. He starts treking in the direction of the embers to find the crash site.
He finds crash marks and some burning ground cover, and radios again. This time, he gets what sounds like an inhuman screech over his com system.
Will climbs down amongst the still burning damage to the forest, to track down the presumed crashed vessel. And while he does find the crashed ship, it isn't a Jupiter lander...
He states the obvious, and then digs into his coat for his vidcam to record the apparently alien vessel. He nervously tells the device there are no signs of passengers, before a sound in the woods gets his attention. He sees a pair of possibly insectoid legs through the trees, and makes a run for it.
Commentary: I gotta say guys, usually I want episodes to be allowed to be longer because y'know, I don't want my favorite eps who are doing everything right to end. But with our pilot episode, I feel like it's too long. I kinda wanna get to the end, already. For being a survivalist episode, that sure isn't what they're going for.
But seeing Will gasp at a set of alien limbs barely hidden by trees seems like a natural endpoint/cliffhanger for the episode and we still have 22 minutes to go. [Please tell me this isn't so we get more flashbacks that should've been dribbled out to us later.]
Scene 28: Will runs through the forest: Run, Will, Run.
He ducks behind a fallen tree trunk and watches/listens for the alien. Which is right on his trail, and we now see that the thing following him is a set of robotic limbs, obviously tramatically seperated from its torso in the crash.
Will takes to the trees, climbing up out of the pair-of-legs' reach.
As Will backs away down the branch he's taken refuge on, he finds that he's managed to locate the other half of the robot, which is stuck in a branch. The torso portion takes a few swipes at him with multi-limbed arms ending in long claws.
Will is trapped between the robot legs on the ground, and the upper torso hooked up on his refuge branch!
Scene 29: Meanwhile, back at camp, John has made it back to work on freeing Judy. Night has fallen, but despite the earlier warning of -60F temperatures in the offing, nobody but Judy is wearing their helmet.
Maureen is at first afraid when she doesn't see Will, and then pissed that John left him behind, but he points out he can only save one child at a time [you can't help but see Maureen's extreme worry for Will being a combination of his being her youngest, but also that she knows Will isn't equipped for the rigors of survival - which only she knows].
John uses a bit of the magnesium to melt a small hole of icewater above Judy, that he then starts to scoop out, though clearly there is still going to be some time to go before they can reach her, and she only has another hour or so of air left.
In the meantime, John tells Maureen it was Will's idea to gather the magnesium. She proudly says she knows, but John's point was that he'd noticed during the trip that she's acting like Will doesn't deserve to be on the mission. She passive/aggressives that she'll have to talk to him about that the next time she sees him, and wonders when that might be.
Commentary: I'm, naturally, annoyed. John made the right choice, and Maureen would've been just as angry if John had followed Will on his midadventure, when the kid was fine, and Judy ended up suffocated. So, I get the extreme concern, but: SHUT UP, MAUREEN!
Scene 30: Somehow, this causes a trip to flashback-land, AGAIN!
John is just returning from somewhere to the marine's base camp half a world away from Maureen and the kids. He calls her.
Their conversation is strained, but Maureen had called him to update him on the family's acceptance into the 24th Colony Group.
While she's very pleased, John doesn't seem to be, leading us to conclude that he wasn't planning on relocating to some alien planet. Maureen tells John she's sent him papers he needs to digitally sign and email back to her, and he asks if she's finally filed for divorce. She answers that it doesn't really seem necessary anymore (so, no - John taking the trip wasn't originally planned). But she does need him to sign off on her having sole custody of the kids, so they can leave Earth.
He's upset about her "taking the kids away from me", but Maureen tells him to sign the papers because leaving Earth is the best option for them.
Scene 31: Back at Will's tree, he's still in the position of not being able to leave the branch, while the alien robot can't reach him, either. Will tries to call John again, with no response but the alien screech, which he guesses is a transmission from the wrecked vessel nearby.
He tries to establish communications with the robot torso, while unrealized, the fire has now spread and is coming perilously close to his 'refuge'/'trap'.
Will realizes that the robot/lifeform is weakening as its face-light start dimming, and the disembodied legs falter.
The fire then makes itself known, so that fear of burning to death becomes more of an issue than what the alien robot/lifeform may do if he gets too close to it.
Scene 32: Back at camp, the weather has turned nasty, as John and Maureen work together to free Judy.
[Oh, -60F my ass. Maureen has completely failed in weather prediction or the computer was given severely bad data. Maureen, John and Penny's exposed skin should be suffering horrible frostbite and tissue death by now.]
A cold rain starts to pour -- nobody bothers with their hoods. In the hole, it begins to fill with water faster than Maureen and John can scoop, undoing the small bit of progress they've made. Judy seems to doomed to smothering to death just feet from her family!
Penny shouts a warning that the temperature is dropping, and before their eyes, the melted icewater/rain does an instant freeze.
They start to desperately dig and burn away more ice, while Judy sobs at her impending death....
Commentary: And no, nobody raised their hood, so the faces and heads of our three people above the ice are being destroyed by the severe cold, and they're suffering lethal hypothermia. Or well, that is what you could expect anyway if the writers had bothered with Science 101/Common Knowledge.
But they didn't, so their embarrassing ignorance is saving the Robinson's from the laws of thermodynamics, and heat transferrence.
Scene 33: In the meantime, the ground vegetation below Will has turned into a raging blaze. He's trapped and looking at also smothering, if he's lucky, or burning to death.
[Thankfully, the laws of thermodynamics aren't at play here either, so fire only burns you if it actually touches you. And the burning greenery is producing a remarkable and fortunate lack of thick, toxic smoke.]
Will transmits to John again, uselessly. He becomes calm at realizing there isn't a way out. In the meantime, the robot's independent legs walk underneath where their torso is still wedged in the branch (why only now is a question we shall not ask, of course).
He decides that both of them shouldn't have to die. Will crawls out to the end of the limb, and uses the world's most durable cut-wire from his survival pack to slice through the tree limb they're trapped on.
The robot torso crashes down to the ground, where hopefully it'll be able to reattach to its legs. Will backs back to the tree trunk and cries over his impending death.
[The orchestral music suddenly turns overblown with the pathos, when it had been restraining itself up until now.]
Thankfully for Will Robinson, the robot/lifeform understands reciprocation, and saves him once its two halfs are reconnected.
Commentary: So, overall, I've actually enjoyed the setback after setback that the Robinson's are encountering. And, I've enjoyed the way that the kids are being treated by the script as having been trained to deal with their possible dangers due to the risky journey to the colony. There has been no hysteria, despite their obvs terror, and each is falling back on their training regimen to get to the next moment and keep their heads thinking. I really like that they're being treated just as Maureen and John are in relation to how they're reacting to crisis.
And I also liked Judy facing death under the ice, while Will is facing death above the fire. I just really wish that the script hadn't been written by dullards. Seriously, you can't just tell us of extreme conditions antithetical to life, and then have the characters utterly ignore the real life consequences of being exposed to them (John, Maureen, Penny, and to a somewhat lesser extent Will -- and why Maxwell wasn't directed to pretend he was having trouble breathing and at least unzipping his coat is a directing fault).
So, I am liking the characters, even Maureen's human, if unkind moment toward her supposed-to-be-ex. I am liking the perilous situation they find themselves in after the unexplained disaster. I'm liking how The Robot is being introduced.
But the scripting is still horribly sloppy, and a few of the musical cues are actively schmaltzy, undermining the scenes.
Scene 34: With The Robot having gotten Will to safety (again defying any sort of distance travel/speed limits), the two aliens
are left to stare at one another and waiting for what happened next.
The Robot appears to disengage a battle-mode, becoming less outwardly menacing.
Scene 35: In the meantime, the icy rain has passed, but the Robinson's desperate attempt to save Judy doesn't appear to have gotten any closer to reality.
Judy has now broken down into hyperventilating sobs as her vitals are in the warning zone, and her oxygen levels are nearing depletion.
The hopelessness is apparent. Everyone touches their gloves against Judy's gloved fingers pointing up through the ice.
Scene 36: But suddenly, from the icy gloom, comes The Robot to save the day!
John prepares to defend his wife and Penny, but then Will rushes up behind the machine intelligence to have everybody stand down, and let The Robot get Judy out of her ice tomb.
The robot is revealed to have heat blasters built into its palms. It begins melting the ice with far more effiency and constancy than John could manage with the magnesium.
Judy is rescued.
Next, The Robot radiates heat to keep the humans from freezing, since it has suddenly become a crisis now that the other crisis was resolved. [You have to give a kudo to Alien Mother Nature for being so accommodating. *cough*]
Scene 37: We rejoin flashback-land, aboard the Resolute as warning announcements are going on, and all civilian colonists are being directed to return to their Jupiters.
The Robinson's are under the impression this is just a precautionary measure as their host ship is suffering some type of malfunction that needs to be dealt with.
A pair of technicians talk over sealing a breach on their way to the damage.
Scene 38: Out of a window, we can see debris being blown out into space from the Resolute. In a room, a woman looks around in worry. From out in the hallway, a few blasts are evident. An injured man tells the woman to get down, and warns that something is killing everybody! It wasn't an accident at the beginning, but an attack!
Woman peeks down the hallway, and sees A Robot gunning down fleeing humans in the corridor. Obvs the attacking robot is the same type as the Robinson's have discovered planetside.
Injured man is Dr. Smith. Woman tells him she'll help him, while stripping him of his coat. She leaves Doctor Smith unable to walk in the corridor, pleading, as she slips his coat on and runs for her life.
Scene 39: At the same time, the two technicians start to realize that there is something seriously amiss aboard the ship. Our male (look, he's Don West...) decides it's time to abandon, as he works a control panel to gain illegal access to one of the colonists' Jupiter saucers.
The new "Dr. Smith" comes across them, and invites them aboard 'her' craft to escape.
Scene 40: As the Jupiters desperately launch to escape The Resolute, the mother ship suffers what appears to be catastrophic damage caused by some form of spatial rift behind it.
Several of the Jupiters fail to escape, and they and a large portion of the habitation ring of the Resolute is pulled into the rift to vanish.
The Good: The great in this episode was definitely the digital effects for the opening disaster. I enjoyed the way the crash landing was handled, and the way the characters - including the kids - handled the sudden emergency.
The cinematography was absolutely gorgeous throughout.
The J2 set mockup and its sinking was also some terrific work.
I liked that Will was being set up as an immediate weak link, only to find out later it's because he is... he didn't pass his stress exams, and shouldn't actually be on this mission.
I immediately liked Taylor Russell a lot, and pretty quickly warmed up to Mina Sundwell, also.
The Bad: The most basic science and reality takes a beating, that doesn't let up. Anything having to do with the weather, temperatures, chemistry, and geography/traveling/logistics is brutally assaulted. (No, seriously -- you cannot introduce lethally cold temperatures and then have everyone exposing their skin freely to the elements with no signs of discomfort and no impacts. That was just aggregiously bad scripting.)
I feel like our flashbacks are muddled between an omnipotent 3rd party perspective, and a first person perspective. If you're going to have multiple flashbacks in the same episode, you really need to pick one and then stay with it. Otherwise the scripting comes across as clumsy and/or confused.
Other Thoughts: Although I liked the sketched in world disaster through flashback scenes, I found them really oddly placed throughout the narrative. And, many of the interpersonal flashbacks were not only badly timed for when characters chose to visit them, but it felt like we were getting too much information not related to their immediate problems. I wish that the flashbacks focusing on the family dynamics had waited and been sprinkled out to us as we start to notice how Maureen and Judy continue to have problems relating to John, instead of everything being explained with backstory in this episode.
After Judy is lost in the ice, I dug how every viewpoint of her is claustrophobic and close on her face only.
I think an argument could be made for the episode being a bit crowded with crisis after crisis piling up for the family. But none of them were badly handled, so I could just accept that they're having a spectacularly bad day.
I liked how The Robot was introduced, but I'm much less convinced that it would have the freedom to make friends with the lifeforms it was trying to wipe out prior to the crash. I hope we'll discover some sort of damage makes it different, or that it is indeed an artificial consciousness and not bound by programming.
The musical scoring was a mixed bag for me. Most of the time, I didn't really notice it. Some of the time, I liked what it was doing for the scene. And a time or two, it felt intrusive to induce a specific corny shmaltz in us, that annoyed me.
I'm a bit on the fence of the other main characters outside of Judy and Penny, but I think I'm going to enjoy the acting of Toby Stephens (as soon as I can stop seeing John C. McGinley anyway).
I'm going to put pacing and tone here. I'm not sure if the problem was just mine, or the production, but I had a hard time getting lost in the danger to our family (which is not usually an issue - I'll regularly tear up at traumatic scenes). I think that a lot of the problem is that once I noticed how nobody was bothered by the arctic conditions they were trapped in, I couldn't stop seeing it, and that the flashbacks kept popping up at inopportune times that didn't make sense to me.
I also wish we hadn't gotten that last flashback introducing Don West and faux-Doctor Smith until the opening of Ep 02.
The Score: The production design, cinematography and character introductions were all great. But there was something in the pacing and some really distracting lapses in logic that undermined my getting lost in the episode. I think I wanted to like it more than I ultimately did, because I'm interested in the characters and their survival. But too much of the mystery about why they're in space, and what happened to precipitate the opening crash were shared too soon, rather than staying with the characters dealing with real life-and-death crisises. I'm going with a better than middling:
3.50 stars out of 5