Director: Nathan Juran
Writer: Jackson Gillis
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, and Michael J. Pollard
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 2/16/1966
Production #: 8520
While seeking shelter from a cosmic storm, Penny and Dr. Smith discover a mirror composed of solid platinum. Following Debbie the Bloop through the mirror, Penny enters a mysterious dimension occupied by a boy (Michael J. Pollard) afflicted with Peter Pan syndrome. As Penny struggles to return to her family, Dr. Smith—having fallen through the magic mirror—assumes that all of his surroundings are the result of a psychotic episode.
Despite emphasizing fantasy-themed subject matter over hard science fiction, “The Magic Mirror” deserves its reputation as a classic installment of Lost in Space. Especially wonderful is the performance of Angela Cartwright, whose character begins developing into a mature, thoughtful young woman at this point in the series.
During the sequences wherein Penny, Debbie, and Dr. Smith remain trapped inside the magic mirror, a blurring effect serves to accentuate the surreal, dreamlike nature of the pocket dimension—a technique that, when complemented by John Williams’ musical arrangement (originally featured in “My Friend, Mr. Nobody”), delivers a haunting and unforgettable impact.
When wandering through the “mirror” universe, Dr. Smith rationalizes every bizarre, frightening, and incongruous event from a psychological perspective. Though mildly amusing, the antics of Dr. Smith detract, albeit not entirely, from the solemn, thought-provoking message at the heart of this offering.
Also worth criticizing is the furry, one-eyed monster that attacks Dr. Smith during the climactic scene, which, despite benefiting from a serious tone, may unintentionally prompt snickering from the audience for obvious reasons.
A metaphor for the trials, challenges, and insecurities that plague every young woman during her pre-adolescent years, “The Magic Mirror” should be commended by fans of Penny’s character. Specifically, the boy played by Michael J. Pollard (whom science fiction enthusiasts will recognize from his portrayal of Jahn in Star Trek’s “Miri”) embodies the temptation to remain in a state of perpetual youth, which contradicts the desire of Penny to accept responsibility as would an adult member of her family—a subtle, well-written commentary on a painful aspect of life.
“The Magic Mirror” is a touching, if terribly unrealistic, episode of Lost in Space. The ridiculous behavior of Dr. Smith does, however, occasionally undermine the interactions between Penny and her host (likely a manifestation of Penny’s id).
Overall Quality: 8/10
If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email address in the subscription box to stay tuned for more updates.