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22 July 2018 @ 03:12 pm
Lost in Space, reviewed: S01, E02 (part I)  
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Lost in Space
Season 1, Episode 2

"Diamonds in the Sky"

DIR: Neil Marshall
Writers: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless

Blurb: Another crash brings more travelers to the planet, as the Robinsons work to salvage their ship with help from their mysterious new companion.





Scene 01: We open on a man unconscious in a Jupiter survival suit. He's very clearly in a pilot's seat, and comes to as the ship shakes and warning alerts are sounding.

As his blurry focus clears, he's confronted by a chicken. A chicken in the cockpit. Looking out, he finds that the large windscreen has been shattered in, and his ship is precariously balancing out over a ravine!


Scene 02: The ship turns out to be cracked just behind the cockpit area where it smashed into a mountain.

Our guy releases his helmet, unwisely perhaps. Because of his current angle, he finds that his shoulder harness isn't wanting to release him, as the ship continues making the sort of groaning noises that suggests it would like to slip forward and send him down the mountainside.

He digs out a survival knife to cut the harness, but the ship shakes, and he loses his precarious grip - due to the bulky gloves - on it. It flies out, over and down into the ravine.

He turns to the chicken and asks her to go get it for him, but chicken just clucks back at him.

He next calls for his co-pilot, but the one to answer is faux-Dr. Smith.

The front of the ship shifts again, trying to tear loose from the main body due to that large crack. Our pilot tells Doctor Smith that she needs to toss him her knife so he can get his restraint off. He warns her not to drop it. She asks what happened to his, and he replies that he dropped it.

Our pilot catches the tossed knife, but he doesn't try hacking at the restraint. Instead he uses the extra extension of his hand to cut a bit of tubing, and then uses that to soak the end in some dripping oil and then uses the oil to loosen the restraint coupling.

[Which is actually smarter than trying to cut loose. I didn't immediately register that the restraints look like they're segmented metal clasps. It would be difficult to get between the segments to pry/cut loose.]


Scene 03: With our pilot free, he has to climb/shimmy up to faux-Doctor Smith to help free her. There is no sign of co-pilot.





He gets faux-Doctor Smith out of her harness, but the crack in the ship has all but separated the cockpit from the main body, and is clearly going to be giving way at literally any minute. He tells her they're going to have to climb out.

They both manage to make it out.


Commentary: And once again, the scenery porn is breathtaking.


Scene 04: Back with the Robinsons, Maureen hesitantly reaches out to touch The Robot, who kept her and her family alive through the bitter night.

Maureen is awed, and excited to see evidence that humanity is not alone in the cosmos. She tells the others that the Robot's shell is a synthetic, so it was built by an intelligence. Penny asks if they still get to be famous for first contact, even if it's with a machine, but Will points out his was first contact and jokes with her that she'll only get to be famous for being related to him.

Maureen tries to establish communications. She asks basic questions, but the Robot doesn't respond. Will tells them that its not from this planet, and describes finding its wrecked ship.

The Robot suddenly starts to move, startling Maureen. As the family watches, It begins to melt a path down to the sunken Jupiter.


Commentary: I liked the sense of awe from Maureen at finding this construct, but the rest of the scene felt oddly flat to me, for such a momentous moment. And I'm just a little, tiny bit worried that young-Will is going to end up being a Kenny [Godzilla/Gamera series reference], which would turn the character intolerable.

I also have to wonder why the Robot would suddenly - from left field - decide to go down to the Jupiter. I'm hoping its for some reason unrelated to helping the Robinsons, with Its own agenda at work.



Scene 05: Back with the second wrecked Jupiter, Don West and faux-Doctor Smith are gathering what supplies they can from the storage bays of their colony ship.

Don asks if she's sees a toolbox anywhere, and faux-Smith asks if he thinks he's going to fix the ship and get them out of there. He jokes back that the answer to "Can you fix this?" is always 'yes'. And when you actually can't, you add, "I just need the right tool".

While Don is grabbing a flare kit, faux-Smith finds a photo album that she flips through. Only to find a photo of the real-Doctor Smith, she'd left behind to steal his identity.


Scene 06: Walking around, Don finds Cam - the co-pilot - lying unconscious where she'd been thrown from the crashing ship. He calls for Dr. Smith, but of course, faux-Smith doesn't know the first thing to do. Faux-Smith fakes that she's not that type of doctor, and Don replies it doesn't matter. Alas, Cam wasn't unconscious but deceased. He starts stripping her of her boots, to faux-Smith's shock.

He tells her that if their positions were reversed, Cam would've done the same in the name of survival. Faux-Smith complains someone should represent human decency in this situation (which is pretty appalling for her - of anyone- to even suggest). He tells her to bury her if she wants, but he needs to focus on making sure they won't need burying next.

Faux-Smith starts arranging Cam's body to be at least covered by a cairn. As she very purposely makes sure that the photo album is tucked under her body. Don, in the meantime, fires off one of the flares out over the mountain, hoping that someone was able to land, rather than crash, and they'll get lucky.


Commentary: So. I do like this scene - but it also feels a bit long. And I'm having a hard time getting a handle on faux-Smith. I can't tell if she's just desperate, or if there's something legitimately off about her. It feels like Posey is putting out some awkward acting - like maybe she wasn't exactly sure what was going on with her character.

I can buy that the character was a stowaway, and that she's winging it, but I need something more solid going on here. We've seen the Robinson's motives for being on the ship, and we know Don is a pilot that didn't have a spot on the colony and should've stayed with the ship, whatever the disaster. I think we need to get a flashback explaining who faux-Smith was, and why she was on the Resolute in the first place.



Scene 07: Back with the Robinsons, power has been connected via a hole through the ice to the Jupiter to help power the makeshift campsite. Judy is sitting out in the cold, staring at the hole where she'd nearly died the day before.

She suffers flashbacks of her emotional breakdown under the ice. She's startled when Penny joins her.

Penny offers that she wishes their father would hurry up down under the ice so they can get out of the cold, but Judy solemnly tells her that she's comfortable being above the ice.

In the distance there is a loud moaning over the mountains. Penny unconvincingly tells Judy that they can just agree it's the wind....


Commentary: On one hand, I like a lot that Judy's near brush with death has a lingering impact on her and I like that her focus is on her breakdown - I have a feeling the character wants to be strong and in control at all times (like her military father), and it's her too human reaction to facing death that has her more bothered on the surface, than the actual trauma itself.

On the other hand though -- the flashback of something we had just seen for ourselves last episode felt like a clunky and pedestrian directing choice. I would've liked it more if we only saw Judy dealing with her terror at going back under the ice right now, and then later having a heart to heart with her father about how she completely collapsed emotionally when the real danger of death actually confronted her.

I had this feeling at the end of the first episode, and it's continuing now: The writers and director are feeling obvious and pedestrian. It's undermining these early episodes.



Scene 08: Underneath the ice, at the Jupiter, the ship has been successfully sealed and the water has been mostly drained. The ship was apparently designed to withstand being waterlogged should an accident occur involving submersion.

In the main dining room, The Robot works on drying. While in another part of the habitat, John is working on restoring main power, as they're on emergency lighting at the moment.





John hears groaning in the ship, and confronts The Robot wandering the corridors with his heat hands instantly steaming the water. He's still very uncomfortable with the development of finding an alien robot, despite Its usefulness thus far.

John whispers at it for what the hell it is, but gets no reply.


Scene 09: Back with our other survivors, faux-Smith is gathering bits and pieces that may be helpful. Don is scanning the horizon for any sign that their flare is gaining a response from somebody.

Smith wants to fire another flare, but West tells her that it won't help them. He sees no sign of anyone.

In the distance, at a lower elevation, Don sees a chute and offers that someone may've ejected. He and faux-Smith quickly gather their things to head down toward the mysterious parachute. He tells her that she needs to change into co-pilot's boots, which faux-Smith reacts to with disgust. But Don points out this is about survival (again) and shows her that the sand they have to trudge over is sharp as diamonds. Rolling a bit of sand between his fingers draw blood. He points out that her shoes soles will be tore right through, leaving her little choice.

Don starts to walk away, but hesitates. With a sigh, he goes and picks up the hen to take her with.

Faux-Smith offers an amused smile, and Don tells her that if they find a cow, she's carrying it.


Scene 10: Back at the Robinson's, they've gotten aboard ship again and are going through the damage and repairing systems. Maureen is in sick bay because of her leg. Judy is with her, and tells her she's going to the ship's printer to get the leg brace that she's created. Maureen tells her that it's okay for her to lie down for awhile, but she offers she's fine.

Maureen calls through the intercom to ask Penny about the filters, but Penny's is currently going through some personal artifacts that have been waterlogged. She's told to pick up the pace by her mother.


Scene 11: Going through the air filtration units has fallen to Penny. The filters are soaked through.

She spots the robot, still using Its heating hands to steam away standing water. Penny walks over to Will to tell him that 'his' robot is creepy. She's unnerved to find that Will is planning on keeping it around, but an argument is forestalled by John calling up to say that a hose is freezing up top, and the filters will have to wait.


Commentary: Uh, yeah. I'm not sure why Penny thought The Robot would be going anywhere, but whatever. I like seeing the family have to perform maintenance now that the ship is water sealed again, but all of this is kinda blah. Maureen is correct - we do need to pick up the pace a little.


Scene 12: In the below decks engineering department, John retrieves Maureen's leg brace. He meets Judy at the steps, where she was just wondering how she was going to get down them with the IV she's hooked up to.

She walks past the robot on the way back to medlab, after another strained interaction with John. She thanks The Robot for the save, but her repeated statements to her family about being fine, is clearly overblown. She nearly breaks down into tears with The Robot before suppressing them again.


Scene 13: Back in medical, Maureen is fitted with the leg brace by Judy. After being overjoyed at how well the brace is working, she sniffs the air. She calls down to Penny again about the ozone in the air and asks why those filters aren't replaced yet. Penny tries to explain that she was told by her father... but Maureen interupts that she'd like to breathe, leaving Penny in the middle of John and Maureen's conflicting orders.

John then calls up to her to tell her they're going to burn out a motor if she doesn't get the hose unblocked. She tries to tell him that Maureen wants the filters done, but he countermands again that they can wait.





Scene 14: On the surface, Penny hammers at the snow and ice that have formed inside of the needed hose.

She's distracted by a rumbling noise and sees in the distance, an explosion rise over the forest below.

She calls down to her parents.


Scene 15: Sometime later, John is preparing a pack to head down toward the explosion when Maureen struts into the room. She's planning on going as well, and both are taken aback by each other thinking they're the ones that are going to leave on this mission.

Maureen tells John that the kids need to hear them speaking with one voice, which he agrees with. She then tells him in no uncertain terms that Hers is that voice.

John is left annoyed and Maureen is left smug.


Scene 16: Below decks, John finds Will in his room. He tells him that they're going to check for survivors of another Jupiter. And he's coming. Will asks if his mom knows that, but John just tells him to grab his gear.


Scene 17: In the meantime, Maureen is in the cockpit, giving instructions to Judy and Penny on gently freeing the Jupiter so it can surface and be re-landed elsewhere.


Scene 18: Down in the engineering bay, John slips a secreted thumbdrive into the device printer's computer and orders it to print a gun -- something that his glance around suggests would not go over well with his wife.

He's not able to print the weapon anyway without a colony supervisor input. He leaves it, frustrated.


Scene 19: Meantime, Maureen is upstairs working on a list of things still to do to relocate to a better landing site.

Penny is there and looks put out at the amount of things written down for her to get done before her parents make it back.


Commentary: Did I say we needed to pick up the pace a bit? What I meant was that we needed to move the story along a bit. Not that we had to have more scene transitions to each family member not doing much!

Argh. Can we go back to faux-Smith and Don until you guys are actually traveling to the explosion site?



Scene 20: John helps Maureen up out of the ship (it is very poorly explained how they were getting in and out of the ship without survival suits every time, considering how deep the Jupiter is lying in the previous episode - but apparently, we're to assume they're changing into and out of the arduous survival suits constantly between shots).

Maureen notices Will and The Robot waiting, and gives John a "WTH?" look. He tells her he doesn't want to leave The Robot alone there, and It doesn't go without Will. She snottily tells him that was something they could've discussed before reaching a decision. She then decides it's fine and assures John that she's not worried about Will, or The Robot.

John clearly isn't as comfortable with their silent guest tagging along after his son.


Commentary: I liked the acting in this scene, but Maureen is starting to irritate me. And I'm really hoping the kids are going to get together and refuse to follow any more orders until John and Maureen decide who they're all supposed to be listening to. I like the family conflict going on under the surface, but Maureen's control-freaking is plucking my nerve and I'm siding with Penny on being frustrated at the conflicting instructions.


Scene 21: Down with Don and Faux, they've made it out of the rocky mountains and down into scrubland.

They stop so Faux can catch her breath and Don can scan the way ahead with his monocular. He asks casually what type of doctor she is, and after hesitating over her answer, she gives Psychologist.

Don don't truck with no psychcologizing. He acts like a jerk, she's left mildly pissy (which is amusing, since she's probably not a doctor of any sort at all).





Scene 22: Don and Faux make it to a parachute, and discover someone named Angela strapped into her ejection seat. Her helmet has been broken. Faux reminds Don that he said they weren't rescuing people, and he tells her that he meant it, and starts looking over Angela's effects for anything they can keep. But he's in for a rude shock, when Angela takes a pained gasp - having survived her impact, though clearly injured.

Faux derides Don for not checking for a pulse before he started his scavenging, but he snots that she's not a real doctor, either. You can see a complicated thought process playing across Faux's face, but then she simply asks Don what they shoud do now. He isn't sure, and they both look around in the unrealized hope that someone is nearby enough to help them decide.


Scene 23: Back aboard the Jupiter, the ice has frozen over the ship again, but Penny and Judy are safely aboard ship. Though Judy looks very less than keen on their 'safety'. She gets a timed alert, telling her that it's time for the next phase of slowly raising the Jupiter up through the ice with the thrusters, inch by inch in cycles until they reach the surface.

While she carries out the piloting manuevers, Penny joins her in the cockpit, hiding something behind her back and crumpling the packaging in a clear sign of baiting.

She dramatically sighs. Judy asks what she has, Penny teases, Judy refused to play, Penny pulls out a package of Oreos (product placement, AHOY!) that somehow survived the crash and the ship being flooded.

Just as Penny is about to open it as a reward for finishing the air filter replacements, an alarm warns that the water extraction hose is clogged again [the lowest decks are still flooded, which is going to come up - tiny spoiler - so that is why the focus on the hose to let us know that they're not completely unflooded yet].


Scene 24: Out at the site of the explosion spotted by the Robinsons, John identifies the remains as from J17.

Will has a moment that it could've been them, but Maureen takes his hand and tells him that it wasn't.





Scene 25: At their Jupiter's site, Penny has once again had to go topside in order to clear the ice clogged extraction hose. So, she's again witness to a rumbling sound. This time, it's a large and fierce looking thunderhead heading their way.

She comments to herself that everytime she comes up there, there is something worse on the horizon. She dashes back to the ship, to let Judy know.


Scene 26: Penny gets on the radio to check in with her parents, because the storm is nearly over where they were headed to check on the explosion site. But Judy calmly tells her that they're out of range of the signal.

They have a heated discussion about using the Chariot to go after them, because they won't know the storm is there until it is directly over the valley they're in. Judy points out the obvious: They can't get the Chariot out until they've got the ship out of the ice, and they can't rush that because a collapse could crush them.

She orders Penny to think it through logically, and to stop panicking. Penny paces for a few moment, spots the pilot's controller sitting there without Judy's hand on it, and makes a snap decision to ignore her mother's instructions and Judy's "by the book-ness".

She flips the engines on and shoots the throttle full on, to Judy's exclaimed protest.

The engines blow an opening up out of the ice at an angle, and the ice cliff over them doesn't collapse as she shuts the engines back off. Judy is left breathing deep in fear at Penny's impulsiveness and the risk she just took, while Penny is relieved they're not dead and now can pull the Chariot out to go after their family.


Scene 27: In the motor bay, Penny opens the rear hatch and sure enough, it's sitting enough out of the ice to provide a path to solid ground for the Chariot to pull out.

[This is a real mess, but wait for commentary in a moment....]

She dramatically reveals the Chariot, hidden by a silk wrap. Judy rolls her eyes that Penny doesn't even have her license, and Penny tells her that why she's going to drive.

The dramatic reveal is slightly dulled by the fact that the Chariot only came mostly assembled. It's wheel hubs are bare. (heh)





A window sticker informs Penny that "some assembly required" to her extreme annoyance, and Judy's amusement. Judy tells Penny to let the idea go, but she clearly won't.


Commentary: Okay, so there is a real frickin' huge problem with the whole Jupiter trapped in ice thing that was so much a part of the first episode. The continuity here is AWFUL, and since it's only one episode later, I don't see why anyone thought we wouldn't notice!

We saw the Jupiter's position very, very clearly - it was a set piece for crap's sake: There is NO frickin way that the ship was in the position to allow easy access to the surface and back for one thing. And we should've gotten the survival suits in the background of scenes at least to suggest that they are in constant use, but just too bulky to do all of the work topside while on.

But the Jupiter's positioning also opens up another problem -- the entire scene with the Chariot can't happen!

The Jupiter is too deep, even with their current goal of trying to raise it bit by bit for the rear transport hatch to open above the ice. They're just not in the right position, with a slope rising up toward the surface for this to work properly. The physics of what they're doing isn't how that works --  again, slapping basic science around like the writers are schoolyard bullies.



Scene 28: In the meantime, John has etched a message on the remains of J17 to let anyone else who may be searching that the Robinsons survived and the approximate location of their ship up the mountain.

[Yeah, I don't see anyone risking a trek up the mountain to get that cup of coffee, John.]

Maureen calls on her wrist radio to any other search parties, but gets no response. Will sets up an arrow pointing in the direction of their J17 site.

In the distance, they hear an electronic warbling sound. Unnoticed, The Robot's faceplate lights flicker from blue to red. Will also starts and he's asked if he knows that sound. Will responds that it's coming from The Robot's crashed ship. This excites Maureen, while John reminds her it's a long walk back to their own site.

Maureen and John engage in a power play over Will either going back, or telling It to take them to where he and The Robot met. Will sides with his mother, but reluctantly.

[It's unclear what is going through Will's head right now, but he struck me as defensive to John's innocent questions about The Robot and the circumstances surrounding their meeting. I'm wondering here if Will is worried that The Robot's presence had something to do with the Resolute's disaster and is afraid to know for sure.]

The Robot proceeds toward his and Will's first meet, under questioning, to John's irritation with Maureen.


Commentary: I'm trying to warm to Maureen, because she's had to be strong to basically raise the kids post-environmental damage on Earth, while John was on duty. I can see why she needed to instill in the kids that she's to be obeyed, in the event that they needed to act quickly to evacuate, or if civil unrest broke out at home, or whatever.

But this episode is doing her no favors by her constantly minimizing John's plans, concerns and opinions in favor of being in charge at all times.

Obvs, this has to come to a head at some point, and I think I'd like it to be sooner rather than later. I'm also still hoping it'll be the kids' united front that forces the issue.



Scene 29: Out in the scrubland, Don spots smoke from over a rise, and theorizes it's the Jupiter that Angela ejected from. He hopes that there is a survivor there more conscious that can help them. Don and Faux hear the distant rumbling, and spots the wicked looking storm coming their way.

Don tells Faux that he can't carry Angela, and they need to move. He tells Faux that they have to leave her behind.

Faux-Dr. Smith agrees begrudgingly, but Don has a sudden change of heart. He hands his pack to Faux and heaves Angela over his shoulder, anyway. He warns Faux that he's not a humanitarian, and puts down his saving both Angela and Faux to the reward he'll get: A house in Malibu on Earth, for his decision.

Faux tells Don he puts up a good show of being self-interested, but she's seen through him. She points out that he's a good person, using his saving the chicken as evidence. He points out the chicken's value at dinner time.


Commentary: Don West is another small problem spot for me. He is feeling a little too on the nose cliched in being the Jerk-With-A-Heart-Of-Gold character. And I'm still having a problem with reading Faux-Smith's deal.

I like Ignacio's handling of the role (and I think he's becoming my crush object), but I also feel the script is shortchanging him a bit. I'd like it more if there was a harder edge to him... a simmering anger toward the passengers of the Resolute escaping damaged Earth while he was never meant to be allowed to that could come out at random times and give him this darker shading than what we're actually seeing over what he's telling us.

It'd be more interesting if Don and Faux were both harder, colder characters in a complicated dance around one another as they both try to hide the extent of their darker natures: He a cold, unfeeling creep and she a sociopath.

But I don't think that is what we're going to get, which immediately lessens the interest for me in their characters.



Scene 30: Back at J14, Penny hasn't given up on going after her parents and Will. She uses the garage computer and tools to mount the wheels on the Chariot herself. Presumably, Judy has returned to the cockpit.


Scene 31: In the cockpit, a call from below decks comes to Judy. Penny tells her that The Chariot is ready to roll.

Judy is currently having another emotional breakdown, with flashes of her brush with death immobilizing her.

When Penny doesn't get a reply, she comes up to see what the hold up is in their moving out, and spots Judy through the window, curled up on herself on a bench and sobbing.

She stands undecided on what to do for a moment, before getting a determined look on her face.


Scene 32: She returns to the garage alone, to load up the Chariot and leave. Despite not having a license to operate the vehicle. She brings the Oreos with her.


Scene 33: Up on the command deck, Judy hears the signal that the garage hatch has been opened. She pulls herself together to run down to Penny.

In the meantime, Penny is strapping herself into the driver's seat. Judy is juuuust-too-late to stop her sis from rushing out into a growing snow storm.


Scene 34: Penny looks around herself, telling herself that driving the rig isn't all that bad. She finally turns her eyes in the forward position, just in time to stop herself from driving down a rocky, rough hillside.

She scans the horizon to see the monster storm still headed toward the valley with her family.





Commentary: More beautiful scenery, some great CGI work.


TBC
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