Crossing the Stream: Part 24 - "Lost in Space" Sn1 Ep 5

I must have done something right in a previous life. After a weekend of slightly undisciplined eating, I came back to the fold today and was pleased to see that not only did I stop the backslide in weight, but I surpassed. I have a new all-time low weight since starting this back more than a month ago: I've now lost a little over 22 pounds from start weight.

The weekend involved one of Rosely's favorite days of the year: Children's Day. The local cultural center in the next town over puts together a little fair for kids to enjoy, including some cheesy vending booths, arts and crafts spaces, and music. It really seems to be, however, that the chief reason we go every year is to eat freshly crafted tacos and pupusas, put our kids on top of a police motorcycle that's on display, and then go home. We did those things, and not only did I scarf down a number of tacos, I also committed my first full-on sin: I drank a soda pop. Not just any soda pop, but that classic can of Coke. Whichever advertising person unlocked the code of how that velvety, deep-yet-bright red gleans in the sunlight, that person should be a major shareholder. If they are still alive. Oh, also...Rosely bought some Oreo cookies in bulk. No one needs that many Oreos. I didn't need the amount I ate, let alone the amount that is left in thr pantry.

Luckily, my normally sedate weekend had some kick-starts in the form of yard work. It was cold, and wet, and miserable, because I live in Oregon and it's still April. But I mowed my lawn for (eeep, shame time) the first time this year. It took a good amount of exercise to lug around the mower and the weed whacker, and I was breathing hard and sweating by the time I hit the showers. Maybe that had something to do with keeping the weight off. If you're a larger person like me, and you're looking for practical ways to get a good sweat going, I highly recommend vigorous yard work, or washing a vehicle. There's something to appreciate in the efficiency of it, and the reward that comes at the end.

In the meantime, though, I hit the gym today and did fine. Mondays are pretty rough, but I held my own. The really big test is going to be for the rest of the week. I have family coming in to town, and won't be able to spend any time in the office, where my gym is. So, think thin and think happy encouraging thoughts, my dudes, dudettes, and everyone in between.

"Lost in Space" - Season 1, Episode 5 "Transmission"

"You see, son, when a boy and his robot love each other very much..."
Here we have a case of "This is what happens when television characters speak plainly to each other." After four episodes of stage-setting, building intrigue, and sowing seeds of conflict among the various survivors of the Resolute's sudden emergency, this fifth episode is content to spend many minutes with characters just speaking to each other about exactly what the plot demands at the moment. If you were to tell me after episode 4 that this one would depend so much on a fight between the overgrown Robot and several giant lizards, I'd have told you that this isn't quite that show. I was wrong. It's that show all over. And I like that show. But that show is surviving in fits and starts around a show that is rapidly leaning toward The 100 more than anything.

With colony politician Victor and his dozens of survivors now filling in the background with a scheme to contact that Resolute, despite the gigantic ship's communications array being torn off and smashed into Planet X, the Robinsons are worried about their wayward Robot. Well, except Maureen, who is literally worried about this planet's sun rising in the morning. It's an interesting give-and-take the show performs, in that characters' personal secrets and conflicts seem to be drawn out artificially to fuel the show (a common enough occurrence that I can't begrudge a typical modern show), but meanwhile the scientific or survival implications of each situational mystery are refreshingly solved by the competent people before we get much of a chance to speculate.

Maureen's field trip to the purple grasslands, and then eventually to the freaking upper reaches of the atmosphere, is a visually novel section of the episode that also moves the plot forward in a big way. Now that Maureen knows that a black hole is nearby, warping Planet X's orbit of its star and possibly even rapidly eating the star itself, it lends the survivors a timetable to beat in reconnecting with the Resolute. I have no doubt the finale episode will involve trying to make it off-planet before the whole planet freezes or burns to a cinder. But this sequence is also accompanied by our flashbacks: Maureen's protective streak toward Will, both as a newborn in the Neonatal ICU and during his tests to qualify for the colony. We now see why someone with the rational engineer's mind would do something as dangerous and foolhardy as switching Will's test results, and it's such a vulnerable, human reason that it made the episode for me.

On the opposite side of the episode, John is unlocking that same protective streak. As we saw back in episode 2, John is not completely unequipped to observe when his children are in emotional distress. His sit-down with Will is one of those Dad conversations that a boy gets maybe once every few years, where Dad cuts through the visage of authoritarian. It's a moment of growth for Bad Dad Astronaut Dad, and the more heart-to-heart conversations he has the more three-dimensional the character becomes. Now that he's had one with his estranged wife and his emotionally distant son, there's no telling what he'll say to the Robot next.

Speaking of Robot, it's maybe a little frustrating now that the too-large group of survivors are aware of him after his dirty donnybrook with some giant lizards. Robot has unwittingly become the most important character for a while, with Will remaining loyal to his friend despite knowledge of his past violence, Dr. Smith coveting the metal man for the untapped powers and absolute protection he provides, and the rest of the survivors likely scared out of their socks.

I'm still not completely comprehending what Dr. Smith's plans with the Robot entail. If she intends to use him as an attack dog once the murder charges aboard the Resolute catch up with her, that's a big leap. If she wants to use him to cover her tracks, she's going about it oddly. At certain points, Smith's actions make total sense, as when she artfully twists her time with Don West to sound ghoulish and justify her abandoning him. At other points, like when she finks on the kids to John, I wonder what her angle would be in telling the most dangerous other survivor about her best advantage.

Don West takes his chance to tell one of the Robinsons, Judy, about Dr. Smith's treachery. Good, that's imperative information that needed to be shared. But he also accepts Smith's dopey, improvised explanation for stealing his flare gun and leaving him out in the storm. That's a bit of wonky narrative, but since it's so fun to see Parker Posey as Smith, scrambling for the best possible lie to save her skin, I won't begrudge it.

Random Notes:

-By teaching Will to control the Robot, Smith is at once learning about the machine with minimal risk to herself, and also ingratiating herself to the pint-size controller.

-Technobabble: Maureen knows right away about the black hole, as her equipment detects Hawking radiation, which is specific to black holes.

-Vijay and Penny's little sparring matches help lighten the mood in the encampment. I'm always easily charmed by this show reminding me that some of the resourceful crew are bright-eyed teenagers.

Rating: B-


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