Lost in Space Episode 64: The Space Primevals

General Information

Director: Nathan Juran

Writer: Peter Packer

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

Composer: Fred Steiner

Air Date: 10/4/1967

Production #: 1503

 

Overview

When the Jupiter 2 is threatened by a lava flow, Dr. Smith and Major West take the Chariot to a nearby volcano with the intention of capping it. A problem ariseslost-in-space-the-space-primevals when Don and Zachary are captured by an alien tribe ruled by Protineus, a powerful computer, forcing both men to set aside their differences and depend on each other for survival.

For highlighting themes of friendship, self-sacrifice, and reconciliation in a disaster-themed setting, “The Space Primevals” should be commended by fans of Lost in Space. The antics of Rongah (Arthur Batanides) and his fellow savages may, however, try the patience of those with a low tolerance for camp.

 

Pros

lost-in-space-the-space-primevalsDangling from the edge of a cliff, Major West calls out to Dr. Smith who—much to the surprise of longtime viewers—risks his life to save that of his perpetual nemesis. Thereafter, Don and Zachary (still trapped in a cave and running low on oxygen) shake hands and express a heartfelt admiration for each other—a touching display that will appeal to those of a sensitive nature.

 

Cons

Attempting to distract the alien primitives, the Robot—now fashioned in prehistoric attire—participates in a tribal dance with Rangah and the other natives.lost-in-space-the-space-primevals Despite allowing Professor Robinson to locate and communicate with Protineus, the antics of the Robot—perceived as a god by the planetary inhabitants—will likely induce groaning from viewers of a serious inclination.

Also worth criticizing is the fact that Dr. Smith and Major West resume their bickering in the final scene, thereby reversing the character development established in earlier sequences.

 

Analysis

lost-in-space-the-space-primevalsSimilar to “The Return of the Archons” from Star Trek: The Original Series, “The Space Primevals” features a scenario in which an omnipotent computer (i.e. Protineus) prevents a race of aliens from recognizing its true potential. As opposed to the Beta III civilization enslaved by Landru, however, Rangah and his people lack the intelligence to erect a flourishing society independent of Protineus’ guidance—an ethical consideration that Professor Robinson, who wishes to help the space primevals by eliminating their mechanical deity, fails to address.

 

Concluding Comments

“The Space Primevals” makes underwhelming use of a worthwhile science fiction concept. The poignant interactions between Major West and Dr. Smith, the rivalry of whom had been thoroughly exhausted by this late point in the series, nevertheless redeem this episode from its middling execution.

 

Overall Quality: 6/10

 

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4 thoughts on “Lost in Space Episode 64: The Space Primevals

  1. This is my number five ranked episode for the psychedelic and far out, all over the place, highly inconsistent and relatively overrated, shortest final colored season..

  2. This one is another long time solid favorite with me. As with the early trend this season, this is high on the adventure scale. I always have this one neck and neck with the previous episode.

    I love the feel and the atmosphere of this one. In several ways, this one seems to have a throwback classic Season One feel to it. There are the usual drawbacks that cannot seem to be helped at this point anymore. Like many of these final season stories, however, this one also suffers from a rather disappointing finale. All things considered, though, it is one of the best of the season.

    • I didn’t care much for the silly ending either. However, the moment of reconciliation between Dr. Smith and Major West is one of my favorite scenes in the entire season. You make a good point about this episode being high on the adventure scale, which is always a positive in my book.

  3. I totally agree, Jon. That reconciliation scene between Dr. Smith and Major West was really good to see. It seemed so out of character for the series. It is kind of a pity, I think, that they were right back at each other by the end.