Director: Don Richardson
Writer: Robert Hamner
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Ronald Gans, Lyle Waggoner, and Ralph Lee
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 11/22/1967
Production #: 1504
Having pursued a female robot to the Zeta star system, Alien Leader (Ronald Gans) and his mechanical men (Lyle Waggoner and Ralph Lee) seek assistance from the Robinson family. Complications arise when the Robot B-9, now madly in love with the aforementioned female robot, decides to harbor his new romantic partner from the authorities.
“Deadliest of the Species” benefits from an action-packed and relatively serious, if not completely camp-free, execution. That being said, the Robot’s betrayal will likely offend Lost in Space fans for obvious reasons.
Additionally worth noting, the authoritative demeanor of Ronald Gans’ character (identified as “Alien Leader” in the closing credits) should allow viewers to accept him as a no-nonsense law enforcement officer in spite of his silly appearance.
Similar to “War of the Robots” from season one, “Deadliest of the Species” attempts to humanize the Robot B-9 so that the audience can easily relate with him. Though endearing in moderation, the Robot’s anthropomorphic qualities are overplayed to the point of absurdity in this offering; at one point, for example, the Robot erupts into a crying fit after enduring a barrage of Dr. Smith’s alliterative insults. Also cringe-worthy, the Robot falls in “love” with an alluring but extremely dangerous “female” counterpart—a nonsensical character transition that fails from both a logical and emotional standpoint.
Upon forming a relationship with the female robot, the Robot B-9 places the Robinson family in grave danger simply to protect his new companion. Despite serving as a commentary on how certain men will sacrifice everything in order to accommodate a charming or attractive woman, the above-described subplot should be criticized for depicting the Robot—normally a likable, self-sacrificing character—in a decidedly negative, perhaps even irredeemable, manner.
The final Lost in Space episode to feature Ronald Gans (known for his portrayal of the Frog Alien in “The Golden Man”), “Deadliest of the Species” is marred by the Robot’s sudden and inexplicable change of personality. For this reason among others, science fiction enthusiasts would be wise to search elsewhere for a captivating robot-themed story.
Overall Quality: 4/10
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