Director: Leonard Horn
Writer: Shimon Wincelberg
Cast: Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Jonathan Harris
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 11/3/1965
Production #: 8508
Requiring a human brain to act as a computer system, aliens from the fifth dimension paralyze Dr. Smith and beam him aboard a giant spacecraft. Unwilling to sacrifice himself, Dr. Smith offers to locate Will and deliver him to the aliens.
“Invaders from the Fifth Dimension” is a well-acted and compelling tribute to the alien invasion films of the 1950s. Worth praising in particular are the performances of Billy Mumy and Jonathan Harris, which add a layer of realism to the predicaments of Will and Dr. Smith—here depicted as a contemptible and predatory sociopath.
This episode should be commended for its horrifying use of the Dr. Smith character, who, reaching new levels of depravity while attempting to save his own life, preys upon the innocent nature of young Will—an intelligent but impressionable child who relies on Dr. Smith, an adult figure, for guidance. Particularly disturbing are Dr. Smith’s deplorable efforts to garner trust from Will, which serve to elicit sympathy for the Robinson child prior to his confrontation with the aliens.
Employing B-movie tropes in a science fiction setting, “Invaders from the Fifth Dimension” will likely evoke snickering from modern audiences. Specifically, the eponymous invaders—portrayed as floating, disembodied heads while interrogating Will and Dr. Smith—may invite mockery of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 variety.
(Spoilers beyond this point)
It should be noted that in spite of his participation in the alien plot, Dr. Smith goes unpunished by Major West and Professor Robinson—an aspect that may upset Lost in Space fans with a firm sense of justice.
By going to extraordinary lengths to rescue Will from the aliens, John and Maureen Robinson exemplify the values of a protective and traditional parent couple. (Viewers may, however, question why the Robinsons—obviously concerned for the welfare of their children—allow Will and Penny to continue associating with Dr. Smith, who, throughout this episode, proves himself to be a vile and cowardly menace.)
Combining ominous alien invaders with an engaging human side story, this offering should be required viewing for enthusiasts of the sci-fi/horror crossover genre. Also deserving of mention is the twist ending, which contains a poignant example of the love and dedication between Will and his family.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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