At night in an dead end alley behind a bank, Mark and Dan are chased by a giant car, then cornered by Security Chief Boulgar and his aide Zarken. Dan manages to get a quick call out to Steve just before the giants use some kind of vacuum cleaner to suck Dan and Mark up into it.
A newsboy sees the two men and thinks they are holding little people but Boulgar chases him away. Dan and Mark are brought to Boulgar's HQ where he gets no answers from them, depositing them onto a high stool. They listen as Senator Obeck calls and find out he is a man sympathetic to the plight of the little people. Mark's shoulder was hurt on the vacuum but he urges Dan to leave without him. Dan climbs down, vowing to return and outside he calls and then meets Steve. Zarken left to get a truth serum which would cause them a lot pain. When Boulgar leaves for a conference, he puts Mark in his pocket. Steve and Dan use the now empty office to call Obeck but have to deal with his secretary, then Obeck. He tells them he will get a court order for the giants to release Mark. The two men hide as the giants return and are just about to give Mark the painful serum. Obeck knocks at the door. Boulgar drops Mark into a film developing can, covers it, and puts it in a drawer. He lets Obeck in and tells him that the little people are invaders. Obeck believes they are victims of strange accidents. But he leaves, being conned by Boulgar's smooth manner--leaving Mark to pass out in the small can.
Working fast and together, Steve and Dan get Mark out and down the from the drawer. They get out and overhear the plot of the two fanatics: they will have every giant hunting for the little people with a vengeance. When Zarken leaves to do this plan, he misses the car keys Boulgar tosses to him. This gives the three men an opportunity to hide in the shoe box Zarken was carrying. He carries them into the car for a ride to a warehouse--where he steals explosives and makes it look like the little people did it, planting evidence. Boulgar tells Zarken they can rule this planet and Earth as well! When the giants go out again, the three men, who walked back, examine the explosive in the vial--it is enough to blow up the Empire State Building. They don't have enough time to steal it from Boulgar's jacket pocket. The giant returns for it and brings the explosive to Zarken. Steve calls Obeck again but only gets the secretary. Waiting in Spindrift's control room, the girls, Barry, and Fitzhugh see a massive explosion--a bridge was blown up.
Boulgar tells Zarken to send out the prop squad to plant more evidence of little people sabotage, to spread fear by innuendo, rumors, and to discredit Obeck so that the Mr. Secretary of the Council will not support him. They even use Obeck's own secretary against him. The three men see a newboy announcing that the little people are now considered saboteurs to be hunting down. Dan figures the giants will step on them first and ask questions later. Mark suggests they hide out but Steve feels they have to clear themselves--this isn't going to go away. Obeck is blackmailed and incriminated--with the result that he is not to bother Boulgar again. Steve orders Mark and Dan to lure the giants outside and to the area he is at---so that Zarken can grab him in his fist.
Dan tells Mark they must wait until Boulgar leaves for his radio-TV broadcast, "It would just be our luck to run into him on his way out." Boulgar's speech condemns the little people and calls for all public citizens to hunt for them dead or alive and when he tells them not to panic, Boulgar hopes to instill nothing but panic. There is something about being told not to panic that induces panic, he tells Zarken. Val and Fitz argue briefly over the issue: he thinks the men blew up the bridge, Val doesn't. Pushing a pencil can off the tabletop, Steve distracts Zarken long enough to turn on a tape recorder in the drawer Mark was once in. He then coaxes Zarken into incriminating Boulgar and Zarken and to clear the little people. Then Mark distracts Zarken outside, allowing the other two to call Obeck, who is pressed to believe them. He doesn't promise anything, not even to come. When Dan asks Steve if Obeck will come, Steve says, "I don't know but I wouldn't want to give you odds." Outside, Zarken drops a handkerchief over Mark, capturing him.
Just as Zarken enters and catches Steve and Dan on the table top, Boulgar arrives. They plan to get to work on the trio using their truth serum. Obeck arrives and takes out the tape recorder, telling them that the Senate Guard are on their way. He tells them this tape will played on the floor of the Senate, freeing the Earthlings of any blame.
Another great from Bob and Esther Mitchell who wrote some of the best episodes. The acting is terrific here. Colbert is very good, much better than he ever was in THE TIME TUNNEL, although he is remembered fondly for that show by me as well. He is really into his role as a baddie--and what a baddie, "the worst" as Dan tells Steve as one point. He is a fanatic loyal to his beliefs and not necessarily the publics. Liz Rogers in this episode played Lt. Palmer in original STAR TREK episodes, taking over for Uhura when she was not working at the communications console. Keith has a bit part here, thankfully. His roles in LOST IN SPACE are not well remembered especially in the near-awful A PROMISED PLANET. He was a bit better as a bully as in RETURN FROM OUTER SPACE.
The story is prolific in a way, predating Watergate by a few years. Here, we have a crooked Security Officer, vying to become Senator who is caught at his game by the use of a tape recording AFTER trying to discredit another politician. Sound familiar? Kudos to the writers for coming up with this plot before it actually occurred in real life--THAT WE FOUND OUT ABOUT. The use of propaganda (as happened in World War One and World War Two) if frightening, much more so than any monsters, giant dogs, or aliens. It shows that we can be given false information and twisted facts that can make us fear enough into doing acts we wouldn't normally do. Steve addresses this very briefly in the latter made sequel SHELL GAME when he tells the father, "Look, I think you've heard a lot of propaganda," and that is why the normally decent man is going to turn in the friendly little people and their spaceship. This can be seen in other episodes--such as the movie producer in COMEBACK mentions them as being alien invaders (and even if he doesn't believe it himself--he uses it to his own advantage).
Despite other episodes which show us this belief in the enemy aliens theory, Obeck has sympathizers on his side who all think the little people are not enemies.
The episode is strange in that it gives us a senator, a superintendent, a senate guard, and other democratic institutions which allow for debates of issues, public opinion, and voting as part of the form of government. It would seem that the giants' form of government is closer to democracy than communism---OR IS IT MADE TO LOOK THAT WAY ? Other episodes give us the feeling that the government was more totalitarian (DEADLY LODESTONE, THE CHASE). However, it seems to be an uneven mixture of the two as well as having tenants of an oligarchy philosophy---rule by a few, not by one, not by many. This Supreme Council not yet mentioned on the show by this episode in production order only---is never really seen on the series. They could be a ruling class, perhaps like a royal family or maybe a chosen group. What they say seems to go but it remains to be seen if they were elected in fair elections or if they were elected in communistic ways (a one party election or an unfair election).
Either way, this one gave us a PRISONER like atmosphere when the prejudice and propaganda came into play. Although only Dan, Mark, and Steve are heavily involved, leaving the others very little to do, this is a strongly woven episode, very adult and entertaining. The entire segment is a night one and there are lots of shadows and darkness that look like dark nights. Many series do not have this--especially shows in the 60's--night scenes did not seem like night scenes.
Sabotage used brief cuts of LOST IN SPACE music for transitions. This episode is the last time, production wise, that we see the control room in the FIRST YEAR. After many screenings of this one, I do see one major flaw: each time the Earth people are in the room, caught by the giants, they are left alone for a short time--usually explained for many reasons--but it does seem as if the giants sometimes conveniently leave---mostly this is noticeable when Boulgar leaves the room with the explosive in his pocket. However, realism wins out: the little men cannot get it out in time before he returns and later during the very end, Boulgar and Zarken walk in and surprise Steve and Dan who are on the tabletop after calling Obeck on the phone.
IN the original script, Boulgar was to kill both Zarken and Obeck and becomes the new regular chasing the little people, replacing Kobick. This was changed.