Lost in Space is, at its heart, a family-friendly adventure show about a family doing some space exploration.
But sometimes, it does something unexpected that I can appreciate.
Granted, there’s a bit of the expected and the unexpected here. By now, we’ve come to expect the Robinsons somehow make other people better people. We’ve seen it enough times, and it may even be working on Dr. Smith right now. Granted, she’s not the worst person on the show (more on that soon), but she’s far from innocent. Much of what Smith does is out of self-preservation, and even when she does hurt someone, she doesn’t seem too proud of herself afterwards. If she didn’t try to take shortcuts to whatever goals she has, she might be a decent human being.
But that’s not the expected change this episode. The expected change occurs with Adler, the guy who thinks the Robot (and his ilk) are just mindless machines. Will’s interaction with the Robot and Maureen’s insistence notwithstanding, he doesn’t believe the Robot is, well, alive.
Taking Will’s friend back to the Resolute starts to change his mind. Will introduces the Robot to horses, and the Robot, well, he likes horses. Granted, Will doesn’t know the significance of the Robot melting one horse’s bit, but that happens. He likewise doesn’t understand why the Robot doesn’t seek shelter when a stampede comes through. The Robot, instead, is protecting the horse when its reins got stuck in a landslide. And when the horse dies of a toxic scratch, the Robot clearly buries and mourns the poor animal, saving its bit as a reminder.
That basically convinces Adler to not treat the Robot like, well, a robot.
So, that’s the expected change. What was the unexpected one?
It was one that worked off what the audience expected to happen. John learns something is up when a mystery transmission comes in and he’s hustled off the bridge. Normally, he’d ask Don for help investigating that, but Don’s in lock-up. So, John has to go to Smith for clearance to the transmission. We’ve seen Smith is far from trustworthy, and Judy and Penny both race around the Resolute to try and stop Smith from doing whatever dastardly thing Smith is going to do, and the girls arrive just in time to see their father arrested after Smith tipped off the authorities. That’s Expected Smith.
Unexpected Smith happens when we learn later Smith and John worked all that out to get Smith into the higher-ups inner circle, and that plan worked. And it’s a good thing too. The transmission says there are a lot of alien ships coming. The water isn’t purified yet, so the commanders of the Resolute just decided to leave without everyone on the surface. The water won’t be cleaned in time, and even though there are hundreds of men, women, and children down there, they’re gonna ditch them.
Well, maybe if they can speed up the water detoxification process, but they’ll need a lot of ammonia for that. Sure, there’s a nearby gas giant, and the Robinsons have pulled in as many friendly faces as they can to, you know, not leave hundreds of people behind on a hostile planet.
Looks like there’s gonna be a mutiny.