Director: Nathan Juran
Writer: Peter Packer
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Jonathan Harris, Reta Shaw, Walter Sande, Sheila Mathews, Robert Easton, Harry Harvey Sr., Helen Kleeb, Ann Dore, Donald Losby, Keith Taylor, and Johnny Tuohy
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 12/29/1965
Production #: 8515
Utilizing the matter transfer unit left on Priplanus by the Taurons, Will—hoping to replace the Jupiter 2’s supply of carbon tetrachloride—teleports himself to Earth. Upon arriving in the small town of Hatfield Four Corners, however, Will struggles to convince the local residents to contact Alpha Control on his behalf.
Combining alien technology with a holiday setting, this offering should appeal to those of a sentimental nature. Also touching are the sacrifices made by Will in order to rescue his loved ones, which serve as a testament to the strong family values at the heart of Lost in Space.
Despite behaving in a naïve, anachronistic manner, the townspeople demonstrate love, kindness, and charity while taking care of Will—a poignant reminder of an innocent time period in American history. Especially laudable are the actions of Aunt Clara (Reta Shaw) and her nephew Davey (Donald Losby), who, though skeptical of Will’s account, have no trouble accepting the Robinson boy as an adopted family member.
Additionally worth noting is the acting of Billy Mumy, whose portrayal of Will in this episode borders on exceptional. Specifically, Mumy deserves praise for embodying the frustration of a child who, while in desperate need of assistance, fails to locate a single adult willing to believe the truth concerning his predicament—a situation with which the majority of young viewers can undoubtedly relate.
“Return from Outer Space” never explains why the townspeople, several of whom possess detailed knowledge of the Alpha Centauri expedition, remain unable to identify Will—whose face appears on national television in “The Reluctant Stowaway”—as the youngest traveler aboard the Jupiter 2.
As evidenced by John and Maureen’s unwarranted suspicion of Will, “Return from Outer Space” offers a worthwhile lesson on the importance of trusting credible witnesses—even when presented with fantastic or unusual testimony.
“Return from Outer Space” benefits from topnotch performances, heartwarming character interactions, and an effective contrast between Priplanus—a desert-like planet with no aesthetic value—and a quaint New England town decorated for Christmas. Science fiction fans with a sense of nostalgia will therefore enjoy this episode, flawed continuity notwithstanding.
Overall Quality: 10/10
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