Director: Sobey Martin
Writer: William Welch
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris
Composer: Johnny Williams
Air Date: 10/13/1965
Production #: 8505
After escaping from a collapsing cave, the Robinsons venture further south in search of a warm climate. Tensions between Professor Robinson and Major West increase during this time, with a dire warning from Dr. Smith informing both men of the planet’s erratic temperature patterns. Before long, Dr. Smith’s predictions are proved correct when the Robinsons’ icy surroundings are washed away by an excruciating heat wave.
By combining an adventure-themed narrative with another outstanding “Johnny” Williams score, “The Hungry Sea” earns its reputation as one of the greatest Lost in Space episodes ever made. In addition to its riveting disaster elements, William Welch’s narrative establishes the mutual respect that would define Professor Robinson’s relationship with Major West, thus providing fans with a poignant conclusion to the story arc that initiated this series.
“The Hungry Sea” utilizes the Dr. Smith character to advance its central conflict, specifically by worsening the animosity shared by Major West and Professor Robinson. On one hand, Don repeatedly denies the truth contained in Dr. Smith’s warning message given the dubious nature of its source. John, however, grows increasingly frustrated with Don’s defiant attitude, especially when considering that Dr. Smith’s scientific findings are corroborated by his own. Mark Goddard and Guy Williams should be commended for exemplifying the above hostility in such a realistic and convincing fashion, while June Lockhart, Marta Kristen, and Billy Mumy likewise portrayed their characters as if genuinely conflicted over divided loyalties.
By plunging the Robinsons and Major West into a life-threatening situation involving hurricanes and whirlpools, “The Hungry Sea” allows for a strict focus on redemption themes following its most turbulent moments. Upon safely returning to the Jupiter 2, John offers a sincere apology to Don for dismissing his suggestion to realign the Chariot’s solar batteries prior to crossing the tempestuous oceans of Priplanus, thereby demonstrating that his dominant personality will forever be kept in check by an admirable sense of humility. Similarly, Major West refuses to hold a grudge and instead learns to respect Professor Robinson’s authority—much in contrast to his insubordinate counterpart from the 1998 film. Also noteworthy is the transition that Dr. Smith undergoes over the course of this episode, which, though far from genuine, indicates a willingness to cooperate for the first time since his unwelcome arrival in “The Reluctant Stowaway.”
A fine conclusion to the five-part narrative that introduced the world to Lost in Space, “The Hungry Sea” will appeal to series enthusiasts for its heartfelt character interactions coupled with a compelling science fiction plot. In addition, a serious execution works to emphasize the perilous circumstances facing the Robinson family, while a lighthearted cliffhanger paves the way for more child-oriented episodes to follow.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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