After three seasons full of breathtaking sci-fi imagery and, despite the darkness along the way, a fundamentally optimistic outlook on humanity’s future, “Lost in Space” (or, to borrow the term I personally gave it, “A Series of Unfortunate Events… in Space!”) has come to an end. “Lost in Space,” which is based on the 1960s CBS programme of the same name, made its Netflix debut in 2018 and has since come a long way.
The Robinson kids had been away from their parents for over a year as “Lost in Space” season 3 starts (providing a handy explanation for why Will Robinson actor Maxwell Jenkins is now about three feet taller). Captain Judy Robinson decides to go against her original instructions and go back to where the rest of the colonists were stranded, risking the children’s lives but ultimately getting everyone to Alpha Centauri alive. When given the choice between going on to Alpha Centauri or going back to save their parents from almost certain death.
Unfortunately, danger is following them right behind. Don West, the sole member of the Jupiter-2 crew who has visited the colony previously, was scanned by the alien robot leader SAR to learn the location of Alpha Centauri. SAR then prepared to attack the colony by sending an advance force to damage its power supply. However, not until a single alien robot ship with SAR on board, Alpha Centauri is able to raise its defence shields once more (unlike other sci-fi shows, the human spaceships in “Lost in Space” are not armed with guns or missiles, thus defending is the most they can do).
Previously, On Lost in Space…
Without a refresher on the beginning, the conclusion of many shows, but particularly one with a three-season arc as tight and cogent as that of “Lost in Space,” is difficult to understand. The extended Robinson family may have gathered at the dinner table in the series finale under an air of cosiness and fondness, but that same family initially had a tense dynamic. And I’m not only referring about the ice-frosted planet that the Robinson family arrived at in the “Impact” episode of “Lost in Space.”
Maureen and John were scarcely able to communicate when we first met the Robinson family, and the kids didn’t get along very well either. In “Impact,” Penny engages in card cheating and, when discovered, obstinately demands that Will turn over his card. Additionally, Penny and Judy argue with one another, establishing the bristly dynamic between the two sisters that would last for the duration of the series. The conflict and tension amongst the Robinsons begins to make a lot more sense after we see that they are a family of great overachievers who passed the demanding exams necessary for the colony mission—all but Will, who failed the stress test but had Maureen falsify his findings.
The first episode also explains why Will Robinson, in “Lost in Space” season 3, feels the need to discreetly take so much of the responsibility for maintaining the safety of the colony and his family, even if it means putting his own life in danger. John doesn’t spare any time in telling his little kid that he will have to go down and recover power cells from the ship when the Jupiter sinks into freezing waters in “Impact.” When Will becomes paralysed with dread, Judy jumps into the water but, unable to squeeze through the same narrow spaces that Will could, runs out of time and nearly perishes. It was an early and terrible lesson for Will that his indecision could cost his family their life if he doesn’t heed the call to into danger.
The “reprogramming” that shifts the battle against the alien robots in the “Lost in Space” series finale is also shown for the first time in “Impact.” Would and the split-in-half Robot are both trapped in a burning building, but Will decides against rescuing the alien in the hope that it will repay the favour. Instead, he only states that none of them needs to perish, and after liberating Robot, he lays back against the tree to accept his own demise. It’s a selfless deed performed with no thought of return that fundamentally alters Robot’s programming.
The show’s finale serves as a throwback to “Dr. Smith’s” very first appearance. Once more, she is discovered in a position of power over a vulnerable person whose demise would be to her profit. However, in “Trust,” Robot, who shows up just in time to “assist Dr. Smith,” stops her from executing an awful act of murder. In “Impact,” she stole the actual Dr. Smith’s jacket and left him for dead.
Even the end of Don West’s arc is set out in the pilot episode. In a flashback, Don is seen trying to find a way out when the Resolute was first attacked. The Jupiters, according to his friend Tam, are exclusively intended for the families of colonists, not for humble mechanics like themselves. It’s reasonable to conclude that Don has unquestionably found his family three seasons later.
Why SAR Hates Will Robinson So Much
The Third Season of “Lost in Space” eventually provided an explanation for why the Second Alien Robot, often known as “SAR,” was so obsessed with locating Will Robinson. The secret is tied closely to the show’s themes of friendship, family, and trust in the history of the alien robots.
The alien robots were built in the likeness of an organic race, with four arms, two legs, and razor-sharp claws, as Will discovered while exploring the ruins of an alien metropolis on the planet where the Fortuna was trapped. A horrific, catastrophic event that SAR cryptically assumes blame for wiped out this race. In “Trust,” Will came to the horrifying realisation of what killed the parent race of the alien robots: an engine igniting on the planet’s surface that tore a hole in space so wide as to tear their world apart.
What made SAR’s developers die? Because SAR felt that the only way it could ever acquire free will was by annihilating every single member of its parent race, and because the programming of the robots forced them to obey commands given in the alien language. Freedom is what SAR wants most of all. Therefore, when SAR discovered an alien robot that appeared to have been reprogrammed by a member of the squishy human race—the same race that had held Scarecrow as a slave and used alien technology stolen from other races for its colony missions—it was terrified of having to obey a master once more. In order to learn how Will was able to “reprogram” Robot and ensure that it could never happen again, SAR has been relentless in its pursuit of Will.
Naturally, SAR actually has it backwards. Will did not reprogram the robot; rather, he freed him from his original programming and granted him the freedom that SAR so dearly desires. While this is going on, SAR is still a slave to its programming; murdering its masters didn’t make it any different; instead, it just prevented them from issuing instructions. SAR is once more brought to its knees as the Robinsons and their allies surround it while playing a tape of instructions in the alien tongue. After seeing Robot give his life to help Will, the alien robots decided to trust humanity with the knowledge of how to stop SAR and gave Will and Dr. Smith the audio of the commands as a gift from them back on their home planet.
What is the essential component that actually enables Robot, Sally, and the other alien robots to escape from their programming? “Believe in Will Robinson.” It was a sign of trust that Will and Penny fixed their respective robot buddies. The robots, for their part, began to trust them and form freeing bonds with their new human friends.
At the risk of oversimplifying “Lost in Space’s” concepts, this one stands out: Violence and retaliation will only serve as a prison; but, forgiveness and trust will set you free.
Let’s Talk About the Death Fake-Outs
The final few episodes of season 3 of “Lost in Space” significantly increased the show’s penchant for bringing its protagonists uncomfortably near to death. At least two death fake-outs are given to Will, while Robot receives one. And since they are all connected to Will’s heart, SAR deduces that this is the source of his “hacking” abilities. Will receives a dramatic farewell sequence with voiceover in which he says his final goodbyes to his family after SAR stabs him in the heart first. Then Will acquires an artificial heart on Alpha Centauri, but overworks it by travelling to the planet of the alien robots in search of assistance. He acknowledges his impending demise; when Dr. Smith advises him to lie down and take a break, Will replies that it won’t matter any more.
That’s Robot’s cue to stage his own demise, which is much more effective than Will’s. Robot instantaneously restores Will’s health to full strength using some sort of alien robot lightning medication, but at the price of turning Robot into ash. It’s a scene that sadly calls to mind “The Iron Giant,” but the conclusion of “Lost in Space” is much brighter.
In a cruel irony, Will’s heart does prove to be a hacking device, just as SAR had feared. Robot implanted his consciousness into Will’s new artificial heart during the lightning storm. Robot grabs hold of that connection when SAR stabs Will in the heart again and uses it to take full control of SAR’s body. Robot obtains a new body after defeating the evil alien robot.
How Does Penny’s Book End?
The Robinson family now includes Robot, Don West, Debbie the Chicken, and Grant Kelly, Judy’s biological father, making it a joyful ending. Even though Dr. Smith and the situation finish amicably, there is still more mending to be done before she can truly become “family,” if she even desires that.
In relation to healing, the recently freed alien robots have forged a shaky alliance with the Alpha Centaurian people, and the two species are working together to create a new ship that incorporates the greatest features of both the Resolute and the alien spacecraft. Will and Robot leaving to get “lost in space” once more in order to discover new planets and learn more about the universe is a representation of this new partnership. Will’s siblings and parents no longer worry about him being out in dangerous waters because he has repeatedly shown that he can take care of himself after everything the family has been through and survived (or at least, not too much). He is protected by a seven foot tall robot companion as well.
The fact that many robots, including Sally, the robot Penny rescued and formed a bond with, just chose to go once the conflict is done without giving any indication of where they’re going is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the “Lost in Space” epilogue. It’s a crucial reminder that humans—not even those who personally saved the robots—owe nothing to the machines. Humans owed the machines an open hand after Scarecrow’s captivity and the dark secret that Alpha Centauri and the other colonies were founded on.
“Lost in Space” has quietly established itself as one of the best sci-fi TV shows of the twenty-first century, despite perhaps never achieving the levels of fanfare that other Netflix genre shows like “Stranger Things” or “The Witcher” did.