Lost in Space Episode 6: Welcome Stranger

General Information

Director: Alvin Ganzer

Writer: Peter Packer

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

Composer: Herman Stein

Air Date: 10/20/1965

Production #: 8506

 

Overview

Arriving on Priplanus in a ship known as Travelin’ Man, space cowboy Jimmy Hapgood (Warren Oates) introduces himself to the Robinson family. While lost-in-space-welcome-strangerDr. Smith bargains with Hapgood for a passage to Earth, John and Maureen make a difficult decision concerning Will and Penny.

Featuring a guest appearance from Warren Oates, “Welcome Stranger” will likely appeal to fans of the sci-fi/Western crossover genre. This episode may, however, evoke criticism for its campy sequences and logical inconsistencies.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-welcome-strangerThough ill-suited for an early Lost in Space episode, the character of Hapgood exemplifies the Southern charm, fondness for telling stories, and thirst for adventure that one would expect of an old-fashioned cowboy. Many viewers will therefore admire Hapgood, who, in spite of his fiery temper and stubborn nature, forms a heartfelt bond with each member of the Robinson family—especially Will and Penny.

 

Cons

While engaging in fisticuffs with Hapgood, Major West is made to appear weak, poorly coordinated, and unable to throw punches with the precision of alost-in-space-welcome-stranger competent fighter—a pitiful excuse for Hapgood to gain the upper hand in his scuffle with Don.

In another embarrassing sequence, Dr. Smith dons a pair of scrubs and performs surgery on the Robot. During the procedure, Hapgood inquires whether the Robot can feel pain from the operation—a ridiculous and cringe-worthy display, at least by the standards of a season-one Lost in Space entry.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-welcome-strangerBy choosing to send Penny and Will back to Earth when the opportunity arises, John and Maureen demonstrate a love and concern for their children that many parents would be wise to emulate. (Nevertheless, viewers may question why the Robinsons decide to entrust Will and Penny to a near stranger.)

 

Concluding Comments

Combining Western tropes with a science fiction premise, “Welcome Stranger” is a unique and memorable episode. That being said, this offering should be noted for introducing a high camp factor into Lost in Space—previously a dark, serious, and compelling space adventure program.

 

Overall Quality: 6/10

 

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2 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 6: Welcome Stranger

  1. I hate this episode with a fiery passion. I suppose it’s not that bad, for me it represents a betrayal. I started watching the show in syndication in the 70’s. It aired in the summer, staring with the first episode and airing in order. One day, all of a sudden, the thrilling, “realistic” show that I loved was replaced with….a cowboy? It’s bizarre that I say I love LIS when in reality from this point on there are 10 episodes I don’t like to one that I do.