NARRATION: Last week, as you recall, we left Penny and Will Robinson watching from the safety of the Jupiter II as the final moments of a space experiment ticked off, an experiment that Will Robinson hoped might save them all.
TEASER-fully recapped--different brief opening shot
Night: Penny and Will look out the Jupiter II main viewport window and see Robot standing near a small balloon which is attached to a rocket. Robot warns all people to leave the area immediately. In the control room, Will and Penny watch this via the window. Will tells her that rocket may be small but it has enough hyper energy fuel for a real blast. Robot does a countdown. This 6th try is a message from the shipwrecked "space sailors" to anyone who gets it for help. The rocket goes up. At 1000 feet, Will tells her it will fire up. Penny asks if that is when the pull of gravity will end and he tells her no but every bit helps. She laughs, "I know all about gravity." Will says, "Let's see what my balloons doing to it." (To gravity?). John walks through the garden. The balloon goes to 1000 feet and Will wonders what is holding it. It blows up. Two blasts. Robot warns, "Warning, warning, it's coming this way!" John runs behind Penny and Will. Penny yells, "It's coming this way!" Robot warns it is out of control. A ball of fire descends at Will and Penny who John takes and shields with his own body. Judy, Don, and Maureen run out of the spaceship exit to see this. NOTE: New dialogue: over the ball dropping we hear Judy yelling, "Ahhh, lookout!" The ball is almost on top of the trio (John has the kids under him). Cliffhanger ends here. The ball blows up, seemingly engulfing John, Will, and Penny.
Freeze frame--titles are written in black, not the usual white since the blast is white. John's line as he picks up Will by the belt and lifts him clear off the ground and helps Penny up is dubbed over the soundtrack, "It's okay, kids, the forcefield saved our necks." Then Guy Williams says, "That's enough shipwrecked sailor experiments for one night." Maureen tells them there won't be any more. Smith comes out, "You people are so busy making noise and getting nowhere with your ship building activities I have conditioned myself only for the dinner bell." Maureen tells him that won't be for another two hours. Smith says, "The pain." He is dictating spools of tape--his book and has time for another. He is writing a book called the Social Psychology of Galactic Castaways, using his own point of view. Maureen wonders if that is narrow but Smith explains he can see himself as other see him and vica versa. Will is confused by his vica versa part. Smith says it is about knowing who are your friends--he looks at Will and Maureen and then turns to Don, "...and who are your enemies." He goes in. Don tells the others he may just have to buy that book--"I might just sue him." Maureen laughs, "If it ever reaches a publisher." Below Deck, Don is on the computer, "Galactic Castaways, I'll show him." As much as Smith is such a child, so is Don, innihe? John comes down the elevator. Don tells him as much as he's been hording fuel, they are out. Don goes to Smith's cabin, throwing a rag at the door. He opens the door and Smith says, "I'm right in the middle of a sentence." Don says, "It'll be a death sentence. Alright my friend, what did you do with it." Don will beat it out of him. John will seem to let him. Just before Don hits Smith, Will runs to them, "Don't hit him!" Will confesses--he might have taken more than he thought he did for his shipwrecked sailor experiments. Will looks at a mad John. Don says, "Oh no. Which makes us galactic castaways...forever." Later, lower deck: John does tests on a unit as it lights up and out. He asks Maureen, "Where's Will?" Maureen tells him he can't go on blaming Will--he meant to help. John says, "I'm not blaming him. I just wish he'd leave things alone and let Don and me take care of getting us out of here." He looks at Maureen's face, "Alright, I know, we haven't been doing a very good job ourselves." Maureen says, "Your doing the impossible--you're keeping us alive." John asks her about the 4th state of matter--plasma (she didn't seem too sure--some scientist they've made Maureen, huh). He tells her with ionized nuclide electrons they can expand the plasma process long enough for more power, giving them an endless supply of propellant to take them anywhere in the galaxy. The plasma test works and John feels they can soon have a lift off. Maureen says, "Then I guess would be alright to say I never really liked this place." Penny says, "But you'll miss it when we're gone." Maureen says, "Wanna bet?" Will and Penny run to tell Smith. Maureen and John sit on a rock that night and look at the stars. Maureen says, "The night sky is so beautiful no matter where you are." Cheery John says, "It's more beautiful if you've chosen where you are." Maureen asks if he has chosen. Duh. John says, "Well, if it works and we can get the Jupiter II into space--there is one place we should try for--Alpha Centauri." Maureen says, "Yes, that always was our destination."
Smith's book on tape excerpt (which isn't as stupid as one might think): ...so strange as though it may seem to a dweller on our bountiful and hospitable Earth, the galactic castaway is likely to be afflicted by a form of insanity which distorts the values and urges him to prefer the hostile uncharted wastes of deep space to the comfort and safety of Earth. In the case history of the family R (as he listens to this tape, Smith rolls his eyes), for instance which it has been my lot to observe scientifically at first hand, the absurd and utterly illogical resolve to continue on a voyage into space which can only end in even worse disaster then these they have already endured. In stances such as these, it is force alone which can help galactic castaways recover their sanity.
Smith ends his listening to the tape and commends himself on the excellent use of the language, as always. He says, "Let them go wherever they wish--but not before they have taken me home." In lower deck alcove where Don works on the propulsion unit, Judy tells him he is the hardest working astronaut she's ever seen. He adds, "And plumber, gas station attendant, all around fixer upper, and radio announcer." She adds, "And not such bad company either." He admits he hasn't been such good company later--maybe once they are off the planet and in space. Tomorrow he tells her, they will test the propulsion unit at minimum thrust; Judy is sure it will be all right. Morning, John and Don will be the only ones in the ship. The others will watch from a distance. Smith calls this time wasting, "Why can't we just lift off and be done with it. We'd be back on Earth before you could say...John Robinson." John tells Smith he would readily admit that testing is not time wasting if he wasn't in such a hurry and also tells him Earth is not their destination. Smith says it is his and they can drop him off on Earth first. John tells him, "The Jupiter 2's destination is Alpha Centauri, end of discussion." Smith says, "Indeed." John tells them they will test the power on thrusters, power ore (?) or core, the retros, main thrusters, and it will not even lift them higher than the belly of an ant. John takes his shirt off, revealing a T-Shirt beneath and goes in. Don is also in his T-shirt. They have a device on the control panel. The power goes on and hums at phase cycle 400 and steady, which sounds like music to John. Don is wearing a gold necklace. They try the starboard engines and the retros. Smith tells the others he will recommend "our astronauts" receive a medal of valor when they get to Earth. Will reminds him, "We're not going back to Earth, Dr. Smith." When the phase cycle reaches 1000, the Control Room shakes and vibrates, the read out power goes into the critical zone. The controls heat, the Jupiter smokes, and the two men move away from the panel. It blows into a fire. They put it out.
John and Don come back from around checking the exterior of the ship. They are at 800 cycles--which would get them six feet off the ground. Smith goads Don with insults, telling him he doubts his competence and also questions Don's ability to punch him in the nose. John and Judy stop this but John says, "Morale is low around here right now--so if you have nothing constructive to say...keep your mouth shut!" Smith tells them it was a subtle move on his part but Maureen counters that there was nothing subtle in what he said. Smith explains he was trying to goad him into proving how competent he really is. Don blasts this theory. Smith asks when they will leave this "obnoxious planet." Will asks John if he remembers his baby rockets with the SOS messages. John says, "Now how could I forget those?" Will suggests they send up a small spacecraft using the plasma drive fuel. Penny says, "Like people in a shipwreck building a RAFT." Don figures they can remove the reactor chamber and use it. Smith wants it to hold two passengers, "You and I, Major." Don laughs, "I can't think of a more useless payload." Will asks Don if he will do it--fly it. Don says that since no one is giving him any orders he guesses he will volunteer. It is a small round diving bell from VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA circa season one. Don in decontamination gear and hood goes into the Reactor Unit and shoots decontamination. It still has a slight reading so Don shoots it some more. Don welcomes the Professor to be the first welcomed aboard the SS Space RAFT. Robot removes heavy parts from the Jupiter; Will watches Don remove a device from the back of the upper deck control panel (the same device removed from the Robot in WELCOME STRANGER--nav unit perhaps)---both Don and Will are in T-shirts; John is in the raft with equipment measuring things--it appears to be night; Don puts an antenna on the top as Will watches in the daytime; night--John goes into the raft, being watched by Smith--who is hiding behind a rock. Smith's head comes up from the rock, sneakily. Day again, the balloon is over the bell raft and we see it in long shot with the Jupiter Two ramp, deck and roof. Will and Penny run from around the raft to John, Maureen, and the others. In the galley, John talks about Pryocon as a guide. Once Don reaches it, the RGS will get him to Earth. Will asks once more for Don to take him along and they can play chess. They would lose contact at full acceleration at 30 minutes. There are 14 hours before Don leaves and John suggests he sleep through every one of them. Maureen goes to Don who starts to go to his cabin, "Don, there may not be time to say very much in the morning and I'm not going to embarrass you by saying very much right now but I do want you to know how we all feel and until we see you again, you won't be out of our thoughts and our prayers for a moment." Don says, "Thanks," and leaves. Night at the bell: we see the outside camp with the Jupiter lit up, ramp and all. Control Room: Smith says to the Robot, "I take it you're thoroughly familiar with what it is necessary to release that bag of wind out there." Robot says, quite funnily, "Thoroughly familiar with bag of wind..right here." Smith asks, "Do you mean me?" "Affirmative." Smith says, "Very funny." Robot knows how to release it and explains the word affirmative to Smith. Smith uses the word castoff as the command to release it. Robot holds him to demonstrate. In one hour, he will take it. Don is in bed, staring. His light is on so Judy knocks on his cabin door in her robe. He couldn't sleep he tells her as she comes in. They talk at the same time. Judy can't say goodbye in the morning--it may be too difficult so she says it now and give him a gift. This awfully sickening scene is even more awful when Don asks in proper English, "May I know what it is?" Judy tells him a tape she made and tells him not to listen to it more than once--it may (will, if you ask me) get monotonous. Don says, "I'll let you know when I get back." Judy says, "You'll get back." Will goes to the Robot near the raft. It is still night. Will starts to leave but catches Smith opening the door. Smith calls Will into the raft, telling him he has permission from Major West to be inside, checking on the life support which is perfect. Smith, in telling this to Will, says the word "castoff" which makes the Robot cast them off. "You said castoff." In a neat and rare special effect, Will and Smith look out the window and view the Robot's head from above as the raft pulls up, away from him. The door closes. Smith tells Will they are at the mercy of space but will head back to Earth as Don would have on the auto set. They view stars at the window. The rockets fire and the balloon goes off the raft.
Morning: the others wonder about what happened. They have the same chance Don would have if they keep it on automatic. They have backup systems and Will was in on every phase of the construction of the raft. They are too far for radio, John says. They run inside to try anyway. Will finds Smith asleep and goes for the radio, calling the Jupiter 2. Smith stops him, "I'm your commander and I've ordered radio silence." The two of them sway back and forth as if they are at sea! Will thinks Smith enjoys knowing his folks are worried. He wants to be back with them. Smith won't stand in his way--he can be on the first ship back. Will gets a beep on radar--something coming in. He can't change course. Smith appoints him first officer to get them away. They see a planet coming up. Will says, "And we're headed straight for it." Smith thinks it is Earth--they don't know how long they were asleep or how fast they were going. Will doesn't recognize any of the stars or planets in the system but Smith attributes this to coming in too fast (cue DERELICT music). Will fires retro rockets and the raft lands with an even bounce. Will tells Smith he can open his eyes, telling him they landed 30 seconds ago. Will wants to check out the atmosphere so Smith tells him, "Alright my boy, go play with your toy." Will turns something and on the antenna it turns also. They lookout and see a mountain range. There is oxygen and nitrogen. Will figures they should call Alpha Control but Smith tells him it will spoil their fun in walking in on them unannounced--and that Will has no sense of drama. They emerge, the raft is tilted a bit. Smith thinks they are in the Dakotas or Wyoming; they head South; Will thinking he knows where the Continental Divide, Missouri and Pike's Peak are. Will goes to get the lunch pack and puts on a direction finder. The two pass a two headed bush thing--they've been walking for hours, there is no highway, no birds or mosquitos. Will notices the strange bush plant or tree. Smith calls it overgrown skunk cabbage. Will says, "I don't think we're on Earth at all." He tells Smith he has homesickness. Smith says, "But this is home." Will says, "But what if it's not?" He sets up a scenario--they will live alone here forever and he will live longer since he's not as old as Smith. Smith frowns, "Bully for you."
Will: Until then, you're the only person I can rely on. Until then, do you mind?
Smith: Mind what?
Will: Watching out for me like you were my father--seeing that I don't get into trouble, seeing I don't forget to eat or get lost or something.
Smith: Do you mean you actually want ME to look after you?
Will: You're the only one I've got. I'm sure you'd be pretty good at it.
Smith: Do you really think so?
Smith goes on to tell him that he hasn't much experience with children and hasn't thought about it much. Will tells him not to think about it but to sort of roll with the punches. Smith tells him he could carry him piggy back if he's tired. Will thinks he can go on. They move off and after they do, the bush "tree" moves--it is a two headed creature! They see more plants. Smith says, "...there is supposed to be a population explosion here remember." Will says, "It doesn't look like it exploded anywhere near here." Plants cover a door like opening in the dead end rock area which is covered with vegetation. The two are trapped within. Smith grabs Will as plants fall over the opening more and more. He runs with Will away from the former opening. The plant doors open a bit and we see the monster standing on the outside!
Jupiter II, the tent, and the old robot trail, no ramp seen. We hear some wind. John calls and the empty raft picks it up. He figures they must be on this planet. He and Maureen will check the south area; Don on parajets will cover north of the ship. Maureen feels foolish hoping it is Will but John tells her, "I hope we all remain that way--just foolish enough to believe it is Will." Will's pocket knife or can opener is blunted by the plants which are like metal. They can't get through. Smith advises digging under it. He tells Will to start tunneling but Will thrusts the tool at him, "You got us into this mess hijacking that spaceship--you start." Smith does; Will frowns. Don is on the flying belt (12 Mile music). There are several close up shots of Don flying amid clouds. Chariot searches amid stock footage from INVADERS FROM THE 5TH DIMENSION. John tells Maureen, "Let me drive for awhile." They change places. Maureen uses the binoculars. The Chariot passes a ridge under a plateau. John calls Will on the mike. Later, they get out of the Chariot, leaving the Robot inside, both calling in a rocky area. Will digs and sees flowers on the vines--all they needed was someone to do a little digging. If they cultivate the vines, they will go soft and they can get out. Smith says, "I am interested only in what is good for Zachary Smith." Will quips, "You're tellin' me." Smith says, "Indeed." Will says, "The way they hemmed us in it looks as if they want us to stay here and take care of this place forever." When Smith refuses, the door opens and we see the roaring monster. Smith grabs Will's hand. Control Room: all are gathered around. They have to find the open transmission--maybe triangulate on it otherwise they will go on searching like this for days. The portable RDF gear on the space theodolite can give them a direction if they take it up to the point. Will tells Smith, "I guess I was right about that bush creature wanting us to stay here and take care of this place. Those flowers are beautiful." Will eats a berry (I guess he guessed the monster would want them to live to be the caretakers of this place so he didn't worry about testing!). They taste like cranberries. Will wouldn't mind staying here a couple of weeks but mentions his folks again. Smith says, "Is that all you can think about--is your parents?" Will says yes especially since they are thinking only about him. Don has the radio space theodolite or whatever it is called. He calls John who tells him, "To save time make your way on up to the oasis." He tells the girls, "I don't think it's too far from that first weather station we set up." Smith destroys the flowers, much to Will's alarm and yelling. Smith gets his arm stuck in the mass of vines and plants on the wall door. Smith yells to Will to tell the monster anything to let him go. Smith drops a radio which Will scoops up and uses to call the Jupiter II. John answers; Will tells him they are in some kind of a ravine. The pair located the space raft. Smith yells to Will, "Tell him the buffalo lands--the prairie!" John cuts out before Will can tell about the creature. Will tells Smith, "Now what'll probably happen is when Don lifts off and heads back to Earth, he'll probably take you with him..." adding, "...as his prisoner." Smith gets free and points to the vines on the other end of the rocks where they can climb out. The creature bounces back and forth after them. They run to the other side. Will tells Smith to keep his promise he made to get free. Smith says he won't. They can't get up the rock vines--the vines fall off and down. The thing moves at them.
Smith screams and holds Will in front of him (something which will become common place very soon). John and Don run in and John shoots the bush man in the back (good job, prof and using a skinny laser pistol not seen before or after) and it falls (dead?). The rocks behind Smith and Will look like the same set (minus the plants and vines) that will be used next on ONE OF OUR DOGS IS MISSING). John tells them Don is not going--there is not enough power to get past the orbit of the planet--it couldn't break free. Smith says, "I knew it all along." He admits it was just a pleasure hop on Will's account. He will get back to his book, slipping past the dead monster. John says, "Let's go." Later, John leaves the space ship Jupiter II and carries bed rolls into the Chariot. He, Don, Will, and Robot will be gone a couple of days, setting up a giant dish antenna 20 miles wide--as part of relay system over many areas. Penny wants to go but John tells her, "Maybe next time, honey," and Will condescends, "We'll only have to keep lookin' out for ya." Smith brings bags out with Don, complaining. Smith tells John, "You may rest assured, Professor, that despite your petty anger, I will do everything in my power to protect your loved ones while you are away." Don takes some bags, "Do us a favor, Smith, and don't do us any favors." The leavers get in the Chariot and start it up and pull away amid goodbyes from the females. We hear Chariot music as it passes a big rock. Judy tells Smith that Don didn't mean what he said (what? yes he did). Smith tells her he can forgive him. For night watch, Smith starts three four-hour shifts and almost includes Penny but then stops short of that--having just two six hour shifts--one of Maureen and one for Judy. Dopey Maureen lets him get away with this by saying, "Alright. C'mon." She and Smith follow the girls into the ship. Maureen's an idiot here. And there's worse to follow. Night: Chariot plows onward; John writes some notes; and Don tells him he is worried about leaving Smith back at the spaceship. John says, "Knowing Maureen, I'm sure she can handle him." Don frowns, turning his eyes out the side window. NOTE: I agree with Don--Maureen couldn't handle Smith from here on out--at first she handled him well in the series--but from around this time in THE RAFT onwards--she overlooks his antics as if he were just a spoiled brat---for some other parent she were babysitting for. Not just that but the whole next episode, ONE OF OUR DOGS IS MISSING, is a good reason to call LOST IN SPACE, a show for male chauvinists. John asks Will to turn on the Robot to feed him some data. Robot warns, "Danger, danger, danger." At first, they see nothing but then Don stops the Chariot. We hear music from STOWAWAY. A meteor storm hits. Flashes pass down. Chariot shakes and smokes. John asks Will if he is all right. Will yells, almost sounding embarrassed, "I'm, alright!" Meteors crash down and create sparks and fires. One seems to fly right at the Chariot.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK SAME TIME SAME CHANNEL
REVIEW: Peter Packer should not have written for LOST IN SPACE. THE RAFT makes it very obvious. While he seems to know the characters pretty well, he makes them look very dumb--in fact, John and Don look dumber than Smith. Why didn't they realize the raft wouldn't break free of the orbit? Why didn't the plasma have enough power--first John tells his wife it is an endless supply if they can get it to work--and they do get it to work---and then Don is telling Judy it may not work on the propulsion--perhaps the actual launch off was the problem. John also admits to Maureen he doesn't fully understand what he is talking about, and also tells his wife she doesn't either! Will looks dumb too--using too much fuel--why wasn't someone checking on his experiments. It is true that Will and any of the others could make mistakes but this episode goes a bit too far on all counts. Will also eats some berries (but this can be explained away as he knowing the monster wanted them to live) without the berries being tested. Maureen looks even dumber (not really recalling the fourth state of matter that quick). The fact that the entire mission is a complete waste of time due to the fact that the raft cannot pull away from the gravity just makes them all look pretty stupid. The build up to Don's leaving is fairly well done despite some mushy crap from Judy and Maureen but then the let down of Don not going just makes it all seem fairly pointless. Smith and Will have some touching scenes as well as some touchy scenes. This episode does cement their relationship some more but also makes Will a bit more wise to Smith than previously (INVADERS had Will positively duped by him). It is also interesting to note that this dealt the end of the other characters having much to do---many think that happened in season two and three only. Not true. With exceptions it was Smith and Will and the Robot all the way from here on out. Judy and Penny do very little in this episode even when on screen and Judy is so gushingly coy with Don it is sickening. Why not make them kiss and not talk so much! Why not have Smith do something stupid and make the raft reland on the planet--irreparably? Procyon is a good choice for a star to guide home on. The visual aspect of this episode is quite nice, even though a some is borrowed from the unaired pilot. Some are not: the robot being seen from the window of the raft as it pulls up and the campsite with the raft and balloon are rather nice---and new. There are many nice, views of the lower deck including the "engine room" which I will call the "engine alcove" that houses the propulsion unit. The monster is seen in VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA's first season THE CONDEMNED, second season's DEADLY CREATURE BELOW!, and fourth seasons SECRET OF THE DEEP. It is also in HUNTER'S MOON, THE KEEPER, and PRISONERS OF SPACE. The skinny laser gun John uses is not used in any other episode. The Space Theodolite is not explained but a theodolite is a surveying instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical angles by means of a small telescope turning on a horizontal and a vertical axis (how will this help find them?). Not a terrible episode but not totally logical or even interesting considering how stupid the Robinsons are in it. Oh, and the Robot seems very unthinking at times here---he seems like a programmed machine--which he is--by releasing the raft with Will and Smith in it. The Robot of later episodes, season two and three, would not have done this, having obtained, somehow, more independent thinking and decision making. Smith, once more, seems to be the only one to order Robot around, the others do not seem able to again. By the cliffhanger in this one and in the entire next episode, however, the Robot leaves camp with Don, John, and Will--and Will gives him orders. Peter Packer also mentions skunk cabbage in THE DREAM MONSTER when Smith drinks something from Sesmar made from skunk cabbage.