If you’ve seen season one of Netflix’s “Lost in Space”, keep reading. If you haven’t, I welcome you to keep reading too, but be aware there are spoilers and I will discuss all the twists and turns of the plot!
Let’s start off with likes. I really like Molly Parker as the mom, Maureen Robinson. She was a standout supporting character for me in “House of Cards” and it’s great to see her in this role as an empowered woman of science who will stop at nothing to save her family. I also like the overall feel of the set and prop design in the show. As I said before, producers did a good job of showing us a near future setting, not a full fledged Star Trek vessel complete with holodeck and torpedos. Space still seems big and unpredictable as we take our first steps out into the great unknown.
I also enjoyed the robot. His relationship with Will is heartwarming, almost like he is a big dog doting on his master. When Will orders him to jump off a cliff because he is (or is perceived to be) a danger to the colonists, it’s definitely a depressing moment.
I am glad that the last few episodes address a little more of the how and why of the journey. The news clips from flashbacks to earth indicate that a celestial object, some kind of giant meteor, hit the earth. Actual science nerds who have majored in physics can tell you why this is bad in greater detail. If like me you just watched a lot of PBS growing up, you understand that with tons of debris in the atmosphere weather patterns would be thrown into chaos, the sun is blocked, vegetation and crops cannot grow, and life as we know it ceases to exist. This part seems like it was said like a footnote in passing, that if they stayed on earth they’d “never see another blue sky”. I was surprised when Maureen said that governments had stabilized. If the situation really did necessitate humanity colonizing a new world because earth was ruined, wouldn’t there still be some sort of mass panic and collapse of stability? And might it not take many years to build the ships and infrastructure to evacuate any significant number of people?
Later we learn part of why they were able to make the journey to another planet without decades of hibernation. The object which crashed into earth was not just a meteor, it was the robot’s ship. A flashback from Dr. Smith shows scientists saying that, “We always knew they might come back for it.” The implication is that we captured the robot, reverse engineered some of its technology, built advanced space ships quickly, and the robot escaped and wreaked havoc aboard the space station while at least one of his kind came to find him.
What is interesting to note in the final moments of season one is that the robot’s people are apparently suffering a fate similar to earth. The stolen robot engine takes over the Robinson’s ship and hijacks it into some sort of super fast space travel, arriving at its native solar system. There, we see two stars colliding, indicating that the robot’s own home has also become inhabitable and he was perhaps a scout sent to find a new world.
With this cliffhanger ending, the series begins to feel more like the 1998 movie version of the story, and in a good way. The Robinsons truly are lost, possibly in another galaxy, commandeered by a somewhat hostile alien presence, left to fend for themselves. As always, the great benefit of Netflix is that you can devour an entire season in a day or two, but then you’re left hanging and almost forgetting about the series until a year later. Let’s hope this one is worth the wait!