December 1, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Lost In Space “Stuck”

Season Three, Episode Five

Before I go any further, let me state for the record that I really like Lost in Space.  The fact I still cover it is proof enough of that.  There are shows I just stopped covering.  Two of those ended, and I could go back and finish ’em off, but I just don’t want to.  They got too stupid or annoyed me or something along those lines, even for ones that I did see some occasional benefit for.

But something about Lost in Space makes it rougher to write about on an episode-by-episode basis.

See, at a certain point, I realized that I was mostly writing plot summaries and not much else.  As reviews go, that isn’t really much of a review.  Yes, I would poke fun at the sillier stuff especially in the more serious-minded shows, but that’s what I was doing.  As such, I have been making an effort in the past year or so to actually, you know, review the episodes.  Sure, there’s still a lot of plot summary, but writing actual reviews is what I am trying to do.  That means I might take a break to talk about a specific character, or I’ll try to discuss a certain theme around a certain episode.  Part of the problem is many of these shows are not written as episodic television.  They’re trying to tell a story, and for something on Netflix, like Lost in Space, that means individual episodes may not have a whole lot happen as it’s really just a continuation of something big that is going to go down in the last episode or two.  That’s in and of itself fine, but I often feel no desire to actually binge watch much of anything,   I actually get bored if I do that and want more variety in my TV watching.  It’s one of the reasons I do episode-by-episode write-ups here.  That actually reflects how I watch TV.  Want to know what I am watching at any given moment?  Just consider that I write these up at least a week in advance and in the order I watch them.  The more daily stuff or the stuff I do with Jimmy Impossible is a different story, but by and large, the five shows I cover here on weekdays are the shows I am mostly watching right now, and I watch episodes in the order they pop up on the site.  So yes, I do follow up the very adult, cynical, crime family drama of Ozark with the lighter, family-friendly adventure show Lost in Space.  I may not watch them both the same day or even back-to-back, but that’s what I do.

However, while something like Ozark or Succession makes writing about a theme easy, or Gotham is good to gently mock for its ridiculousness, or even pointing out what creepy stuff really works on Locke & KeyLost in Space is just very resistant to what I am trying to do.  These are, by the large, fun characters.  This episode had a subplot where Don was chasing his chicken friend around a bubbling alien swamp before a robot scans him and knocks him out.  What do I learn there?  Don loves his chicken?  That’s something I already knew.  I have said very little about Penny for this final season because the Penny plots are about her dating life or basically backing up another member of the family.  Love life storylines are often dull.  I don’t care about a teenager’s love triangle, even if she uses it in this episode to good benefit to distract John during a stressful rescue of the Robot.  That is a good character moment, but not enough to base an entire write-up on.  Even little moments like Smith flat-out saying she just doesn’t do well around other people is nice, but did I really learn anything about Smith or Penny from that reveal?

Not really.  Smith has been rather clear that she has trust issues, and “support each other” is a Robinson family default.

The bulk of the episode deals with Maureen and Judy trying to get out of a fix they are in.  Maureen’s ejector didn’t launch, but it will explode if she gets up.  Meanwhile, a giant slug is swallowing the Jupiter.  Judy has to save herself, her mother, and probably the ship.  The episode does something interesting by showing flashbacks to Maureen’s own youth, her first time visiting her own mother with an infant Judy, and Judy’s own childhood.  These are nice moments.  They help create a sense of a bond between mother and daughter.  But…they don’t tell me much about Maureen and Judy’s relationship I didn’t already know.  Good TV?  Sure.  Good for writing up?  The way I do things, not really.  I mostly feel like like this is Lost in Space telling me thing I already more or less know in a new way.

So, really, as much as I have fun with Lost in Space, I also feel like it’s hard to talk about on an episodic basis.

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