Lost in Space Episode 14: Attack of the Monster Plants

General Information

Director: Justis Addiss

Writers: William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter

Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris

Composer: None (Stock Music)

Air Date: 12/15/1965

Production #: 8514

 

Overview

While exiled from the Jupiter 2, Dr. Smith encounters an alien plant species that can replicate both animate and inanimate matter. Trouble follows when lost-in-space-attack-of-the-monster-plantsDr. Smith—hoping to gain leverage over the Robinson family—lures Judy into a giant flower pod, thereby producing an exact duplicate of her.

Offering a Judy-centered twist on the premise of a classic science fiction film, “Attack of the Monster Plants” earns its reputation as an iconic entry of Lost in Space. Nevertheless, this episode may evoke criticism for its lack of closure in the final scene.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-attack-of-the-monster-plantsPortraying Judy’s clone in a sinister and conniving manner, Marta Kristen creates an effective contrast between both versions of her character. Especially unsettling is Kristen’s performance during the dinner sequence, wherein the Judy imposter explodes at her family over a trivial request—a reaction that will undoubtedly perturb those who admire Judy for her kind, unassuming nature.

 

Cons

After kidnapping Judy and threatening to strand the Robinsons on Priplanus, Dr. Smith is met with submissive reactions from every character except Major lost-in-space-attack-of-the-monster-plantsWest—an aspect that undermines Professor Robinson as a strong, heroic leader willing to protect his family at any cost.

(Spoilers beyond this point)

Despite exterminating the monster plants, the Robinsons fail to discard, banish, or locate a suitable home for Judy’s doppelganger—possibly the most egregious continuity flaw in Lost in Space history.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-attack-of-the-monster-plantsBy coercing his host family, threatening the life of an innocent young woman, and refusing to rescue Major West and Professor Robinson from a pool of quicksand, Dr. Smith establishes himself as a fiendish, cowardly menace with no loyalty to those who care for him—a personality transition that allows Jonathan Harris’ character, originally intended as a mere guest villain, to continue generating conflict throughout this series.

 

Concluding Comments

“Attack of the Monster Plants” benefits from sci-fi/horror tropes, topnotch performances from Harris and Kristen, and atmospheric references to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Casual fans may, however, wish to avoid this episode for its dated alien props and narrative loose ends.

 

Overall Quality: 7/10

 

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2 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 14: Attack of the Monster Plants

  1. I liked this episode a lot more than you did. I find the plants menacing, even today. I think Marta Kristen was great as plant Judy. It’s a shame they never really let her act again after this episode. Even as a kid I wondered what happened to plant Judy….